Your first car was your best car. Well, it was almost definitely your worst car, at least in TLCB’s home nation where astronomical insurance costs prevent new drivers from owning anything with an engine larger than a lawnmower, but it was still your first taste of freedom.
However step back around ten years from your first actual roadworthy* vehicle, and you may have owned something even more special. For some of you it might have been the gloriously lethal Radio Flyer Wagon, alternatively it could have been this, the marvellous Kettler Kettcar.
Produced from the 1960s right up until Kettler’s sad bankruptcy at the start of this year, the Kettcar was a superb design that taught handbrake turns to decades of children.
Along with that simple handbrake the Kettcar was also fitted with a rudimentary gearbox, enabling drive via the pedals or neutral for free-wheeling down big hills, where that handbrake would be hopelessly inadequate.
Recreating the pedal drive, handbrake, and gearbox is Clemens Schneider, whose brilliant Technic recreation of the Kettler Kettcar was suggested to us by a reader. In fact so accurate is Clemens’ Technic replica that it would probably drive just like the real thing if you were small enough to fit inside.
There’s more of the Kettcar to see at Clemens’ photostream – click the link above to pull the handbrake!
*Definition of roadworthiness is – in our case at least – loose.
G.I. Joe has been the default choice for any patriotic American boy since the 1960s. This is despite him being, well… a doll, and – we suspect – boyfriend/GBFF to Barbie on the side (we’ve never seen Ken and Joe in the same room at once… just sayin’).
No matter, because when he’s not wearing a hawaiian shirt or driving a pink convertible, Ken G.I. Joe gets access to some pretty awesome stuff. Stuff like this, an articulated tank/rocket launcher device entitled the ‘Cobra Maggot’.
Built by Big Easy Bricks making their TLCB debut, the Maggot is every bit as playable as the real 1987 G.I. Joe toy, with working tracks, an accessible control room, and two rocket launcher/cannon arrangements. There’s more to see of Big Easy’s Cobra Maggot on Flickr – take a look via the link above.
This is a 1950s Murray Torpedo Roadmaster, a pedal car based on the Buick design of the late ’40s-early ’50s, and it might be the vehicle that we want in real life more than anything else we’ve ever featured on this website. Although we’re probably a bit fat to get in one these days.
This utterly beautiful replica of the Torpedo Roadmaster comes from Jacob Sadovich, who has built and presented his brick-built recreation of the 1950s pedal car to absolute perfection. Custom chrome, working steering, and an accurate working pedal mechanism feature, and you can jump inside for a go at Jacob’s ‘Pedal Car’ album. Unless you’re a bit fat these days…
It’s 1969, Man has landed on the moon, the Jumbo Jet makes its debut, and Woodstock hosts 350,000 spectators at the greatest musical festival the world has ever known. Things couldn’t get any cooler. And indeed they didn’t, as the era of free love ended almost as precisely as the decade did, the oil crisis hit, the world went on strike, and everything became a shade of beige or brown.
Hot Wheels ended the decade on a high too though, with their spectacular concept ‘Splittin’ Image’, recreated here in beautiful accuracy by TLCB favourite Lino Martins, complete with oversize engine and twin canopies.
A little over fifty years later and history seems to be repeating itself, with the world spiralling towards some kind of bleak apocalypse, factories shut, hospitals full, and even brown making a comeback on cars. It seems a perfect time to revisit Splittin’ Image then, not just because it hinged on the pivot between two very different times (as we suspect we are too right now), but also because with two separate cockpits it’s perfect for social distancing!
Head to Lino’s photostream via the link above, isolate yourself in one of the cockpits, and hope things aren’t about to go all 1970s on us.
This TLCB Writer was never allowed an ‘Action Man’ (or G.I. Joe to most of you). Deemed as too violent, Lego was the alternative, which is fortunate as otherwise you might not be reading this post.
MadLEGOman of Flickr was allowed G.I Joe toys though, having owned this magnificent hovercraft as a kid. Now an adult of sorts, Mad has recreated one of his favourite childhood toys in Lego form, complete with mini-figure-manned machine guns, cannons, and rocket launchers. Perhaps my Mom had a point.
There’s more to see of Mad’s G.I. Joe hovercraft at his photostream – click the link above to make the jump! If your Mom lets you…
We’re pretty sure that for some of you reading this your very first car was made out of wood, and looked like this. This marvellous ‘wooden’ fire engine is not wooden at all, and comes from Jens Ohrndorf who has recreated the iconic classic toy beautifully from LEGO pieces. Head out to rescue Mr. Duck, Giraffe, big sister’s Barbie, and whatever other toys are in peril via the link above!
Toy Story’s ‘RC’ was one of our favourite characters from the groundbreaking computer-animated movie from 1995, being the toy we always wanted over a Buzz Lightyear or Woody. Flickr’s Levihathan (aka Nico Lego) may have thought so too, as he’s built this delightful Technic RC version of ‘RC’. With Power Functions motors and rear suspension Nico’s recreation looks every bit as fun as the animated original and there’s more to see at the link above.
We’re pretty sure that whatever you first car was, it probably came inside a box like this. This is Rolling Bricks‘ Matchbox 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air, a wonderful homage to the famous toy maker’s 1980s vehicles (and packaging), recreated beautifully in Lego form.
Stacked red, yellow, white and blue plates replicate Matchbox’s iconic classic livery beautifully, and he’s even built the hole thingy that enabled the boxes to hang from those weird metal poles in the toy store, so you could slide them all out to find the one you wanted.
There’s much more to see of Rolling Bricks’ glorious Matchbox Chevy at his Flickr album, where you can also find building instructions should you wish to recreate the cars of your youth yourself. Click the link above to head to the toy store.
Fresh from Santa’s sleighhover car hot rod, this neat vintage space rocket toy vignette caught our eye today, partly because it’s great, and partly so we can post this link. See more courtesy of barneius on Flickr.
Likely the first vehicle of many of our American readers, the Radio Flyer Wagon has been an icon of free-wheeling adventure for over 90 years, making it the cause of more broken bones than probably any other vehicular design in history.
Despite this legendary status the dangerous tub-on-wheels had so-far escaped the attention of Lego builders, today corrected wonderfully by 1saac W of Flickr. 1saac’s inspired choice of pieces have recreated the Radio Flyer Wagon to perfection, from its brake-less axles to its gloriously unstable draw-bar steering. Now let’s go and find a really big hill!
How to Feel Healthy: Five Mental Health Benefits of LEGO
1 in 4 of us will, at some point in our lives, experience a mental health issue. But LEGO can help! Here are five ways the little Danish bricks can improve your well-being.
To some parents, toys are simply things that children play with in order to keep them quiet. They fail to realize that they’re so much more than that. Toys such as LEGO can teach a child valuable life skills to the point where some may decide to build professionally later on in life.
There is actually a program called LEGO Therapy, were children who struggle to interact with others can learn collaboration and social skills that they can then apply in normal situations.
Here are five major benefits of playing with LEGO, from teaching children life and social skills, to helping them to feel healthy.
1. LEGO Can Develop Children’s Social Skills
Some children lack the social skills to communicate well with others, fining interaction difficult and sometimes even scary. For children such as these, programs like LEGO Therapy mentioned above can really help. With the assistance of a qualified leader, children break into small groups to build LEGO creations together.
This forces children to work with each other, sparking conversations that they wouldn’t otherwise have had and helping them to work on their social skills. It’s both fun and therapeutic.
2. LEGO Tunes Fine Motor Skills
Toys like LEGO offer a great distraction from the world. Think about it. Children will play with them for hours without realizing that they’re actually learning! While working on their creations children are using their hands constantly, sometimes for hours at a time. This means they’re both having fun and working on their fine motor skills too.
3. LEGO Gives Children a Sense of Accomplishment
Children get excited by the things they build. They can’t wait to show their parents or teachers a new idea they have brought to life using bricks. This is not just an outlet for a child’s creativity, it’s really good for instilling self-confidence. It’s the little things that matter to children.
4. LEGO Teaches Persistence
In life, unexpected things happen. You can work really hard on a project or at a job, just for it to potentially crash and burn. This sounds pretty bleak, but for children, playing with toys like LEGO can actually prepare them for it.
Imagine a child builds a creation they really love, only to bump it with their elbow and send it crashing on to the floor. The child may get upset but eventually, they’ll be hard at work again, creating a brand new idea. Whether they realize it or not, they’re learning how to be persistent, a skill that will prepare them for the real world.
5. LEGO Boosts Their Motivation
Anyone can suffer from depression, from a young child to a full grown adult. It’s a debilitating mental illness that can leave you unable to leave your bed for days, unable to work, and unable to socialise.
For some children, toys like LEGO can give them the motivation to get out of bed and do something. It gives them something to shoot towards because there’s always a new goal. Whilst it can be hard to know how to help a child with depression, there is plenty of information available to help; click here for more information on support.
Feel Healthy By Playing with LEGO
It’s easy for a child or even an adult to forget how to feel healthy and happy. For some, playing with bricks may be the only thing that helps them that day. Sometimes social skills just aren’t up to par, but playing with bricks, especially in collaboration with others, can help these develop. As a parent it’s so important for you to encourage your child and to help their creative juices flow – LEGO bricks could be the perfect tools to assist you.
This is a teddy bear-controlled mech, because… well, do you need a better reason? Priovit70 owns the mind that’s equipping stuffed carnivoran mammals with walking robots, and this one is apparently a Cabearpillar Power Loader B-948X prototype. Whatever, there’s more to see of this bear-in-a-mech-suit at Priovit’s photostream via the link above!
Normally a mixture of Elves and remote control vehicles heralds chaos and destruction across The Lego Car Blog’s offices. Fortunately this excellent model from Arran Hearn lacks the Power Functions that our workforce require for “fun”. It’s left to us to enjoy the look of the build and neat connections that make its shock absorbers. As well as the control unit in the background of the photo, Arran has built a full-sized radio control unit in Lego. Click on the link in the text to see Arran’s work or click here for today’s British pop song in the title.
These, Ladies and Gentlemen (OK, probably mostly gentlemen) are the most realistic Lego replicas that you may ever see.
They’re not replicas of real vehicles of course, but of three wonderful die-cast Hot Wheels toys from way back in the 1970s. Lego builder Brick Flag of Flickr recently decided to recreate his favourite model cars from his childhood, and in doing so he may have built the most accurate-to-life Lego models of the year.
Hot Wheels launched their die-cast vehicles ‘Ramblin’ Wrecker’, ‘Emergency Squad’ and ‘Fire Eater’ between 1975 and 1977, and now 40 years on Brick Flag has faithfully rebuilt the iconic toys so brilliantly that in some photos it’s hard to tell whether you’re looking at the metal original or the plastic replica.
We have a well documented nervousness about child’s tricycles here at TLCB, but this one is so cool even we’d have a go. Flickr’s Rhys’ Pieces has used just a handful of Lego elements to create this most excellent drift trike. See how he’s done it at the link above.