This astonishing creation is a the uncovered airframe of a First World War Sopwith Camel F.1 fighter, and it’s not quite, entirely, all LEGO.
But it is wonderful, and the use of supporting metal throughout not only replicates the structure of the real biplane, where wood and canvas were tensioned by wires, it proudly showcases the metalwork that is doing exactly the same job for the plastic bricks surrounding it.
Builder Crash Cramer details how and why the metalwork is used, including for the functional control surfaces which are steered via the cockpit, at his Flickr photostream, where a host of beautiful images are available to view.
Join us in taking a closer look via the link in the text above.
This is not a car. It is in fact a Prussion G12 steam locomotive, depicted here in Royal Württemberg livery (and in a wonderful snowy scene) by Flickr’s Pieter Post.
Around 1,500 G12’s were built between 1917 and 1924, when it became one of the first standardised locomotives in operation across Germany.
Pieter’s beautiful recreation of the G12 utilises a slew of third-party parts to maximise the realism, with custom valve gear, tender wheels, LED lighting, and a BuWizz bluetooth battery powering the LEGO L-Motor that drives the wheels.
The result is – as you can see here – spectacular, and you can check out the full description of both Pieter’s Prussian G12 build and the real steam locomotive at his photostream.
Click the link above to take a winter’s journey across 1920’s Germany.
War isn’t won just with planes, tanks and ships. Behind the scenes a huge machine needs to operate to keep the frontline moving, from medical care to mechanics and cookery to construction.
With shifting territory and short aircraft ranges in both world wars, runway and hangar building was as important to the war effort as the aircraft that used them. Often overlooked by Lego builders we have two builds today that recognise the behind-the-scenes heroes of the Allied victory in both wars.
First above (above) is Dread Pirate Wesley‘s superb First World War diorama, set somewhere in Northern France and featuring wonderful SE5a and Sopwith Camel biplanes alongside a brilliantly recreated canvas and wood hangar. It’s a stunning scene and one that you can see more of via the link to Wesley’s photostream above, where you can also find a trio of German Fokkers ready to meet the British fighters in the skies over France.
Today’s second wartime hangar (below) jumps forward around twenty-five years to the Second World War, with the canvas and wood replaced by concrete and tin, and the biplanes by the far more sophisticated Supermarine Spitfire, very probably the greatest fighter of the conflict. Builder Didier Burtin has curved LEGO’s grey baseplates under tension to create the impressive hangar, equipping with everything required to keep the pair of Spitfires airworthy.
There’s more to see of Didier’s beautiful Second World War diorama at his photostream via the link above, where you can also see what happens when a part fails on a 1940s fighter plane, and therefore why the heroes behind the scenes were as vital as those in the cockpits.
Coincidentally the title of today’s post describes not only the creation within it but also the Elf that found it. This neat Fokker D1 tri-plane, made famous by Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen aka ‘The Red Baron’, comes from Jonas Obermaier of Flickr, who has done a rather excellent job of recreating probably the First World War’s most famous aircraft in mini-figure scale.
Credited with over eighty air-combat victories, the Red Baron himself was killed aged 25 in 1918 by a bullet to the chest, although he managed to successfully land his aircraft in a field in France before he died. The D1 didn’t last long though, being stripped by souvenir hunters. Jonas’s lovely model shows us how his Fokker fighter would have looked, and there’s more to see at his photostream via the link above.
This delightful scene of calm in the midst of a Great War era conflict comes from Tino Poutianen of Flickr, who has created a lovely generic Allied fighter with its two dashing crew casually catching up on news from home whilst a pig steals some lunch.
Sadly we doubt they or the pig will be around this time next year. The early years of wartime flight were terrifically dangerous, and pigs are, well… really tasty. For now all is well though, and happily it’s this scene that’s been preserved in brick by Tino. See more at the link.
Once the largest aircraft manufacturer in the world, Fokker are now perhaps best known for supplying the German Army during the first World War. The company wasn’t actually German though, instead being founded by Dutchman Anthony Fokker in 1912 whilst he studied in Germany, before moving back to the Netherlands in 1919.
The company that once supplied Germany then fought against them in World War 2, before the Germans invaded the Netherlands and requisitioned Fokker’s factories.
The bombing by the Allies that followed completely destroyed Fokker’s manufacturing facilities, and with a glut of cheap ‘lightly used’ aircraft available at the end of the war the company barely survived. But survive it did, right up until 1996 when the might of Boeing and Airbus finally put an end to Fokker aircraft production.
These two wonderful models depict Fokker in their glory days, when they designed arguably the best fighter aircraft in the world for the German Army during the First World War (and we won’t begrudge them that as the First World War was, as previously explained here, completely pointless).
Built by Dread Pirate Wesley they are a Fokker D.VII and Fokker Eindecker E.IV, both recreated (and photographed) beautifully in mini-figure scale. There’s more to see of each aircraft (plus many more) at Wesley’s brilliant ‘Lego Aircraft’ Flickr album – click the link to take off.
Renault may be better known for things like this and this, but it’s a little-known fact that they’re also the inventors of the modern tank. The tank was first used by the British Army in the First World War, but it was horrendously slow, unreliable and a magnet for unwanted attention. Renault took the idea and simplified it, creating a vehicle that was much lighter, more reliable, and featured a fully-armoured 360-degree rotating turret.
The Renault FT-17 could also be operated by a few of just two, and it thus became a phenomenally successful design. Around 3,000 units were produced in France (mostly in 1918), whilst another 950 were built under license in the United States. Twenty-seven countries/revolutionary armies used the FT-17 over the next thirty years and the design fought in almost a dozen separate wars, which probably says as much about mankind’s propensity for war as it does the brilliance of the FT-17.
This beautiful Lego replica of the Renault FT-17 has been built by TLCB regular Sariel, who has recreated the world’s first light tank in glorious detail. Inside the stunningly accurate shell are three Power Functions motors, a Micro Motor, and a third-party SBrick programmable bluetooth control brick. Each track is suspended via oscillating bogies and powered by an individual Medium Motor, a third Medium Motor rotates the gun turret, whilst the Micro Motor powers the gun barrel elevation.
Today is Remembrance Sunday in The Lego Car Blog’s home nation, and never has a Lego image seemed more beautifully suited.
Henrik Jensen‘s wonderful dogfight between a German Fokker Eindecker EIII and his previously featured British Airco DH2 reminds us that the First World War claimed an enormous amount of life on both sides, and was the first war where conflict rather than disease caused the majority of the loss.
The war itself was pretty pointless, yet around 6 million Allied and 4 million Axis Powers servicemen lost their lives, along with an estimated 2 million civilians. We remember them all, including those our forebears fought against.
This odd contraption is an Airco DH.2, an early First World War fighter aircraft designed by legendary aeronautical pioneer Sir Geoffrey de Havilland.
The early years of flight were dangerous ones, with poor pilot training and machines pushing the boundaries of aeronautics almost continuously. This meant a huge incident rate (and the Airco DH.2 gaining the nickname in today’s title), but once the Royal Flying Corps were familiar with the design the DH.2 proved to be more than a match for its German counterparts, being highly manoeuvrable and relatively easy to fly.
The single Lewis machine gun mounted up front originally swung from side to side, but as pilots found it easier to aim with their aircraft than the gun it became fixed to the cockpit. Behind the pilot was a French 100bhp Gnome Monosoupape nine-cylinder radial engine, mounted there in ‘pusher’ configuration as unlike the Germans the British hadn’t yet developed a synchronisation system to allow a gun to fire between spinning propeller blades.
The Airco DH.2 had a ridiculously short yet successful career, destroying 44 enemy aircraft in The Battle of the Somme. Such was the pace of development in the First World War that just a year later the arrival of new German fighters meant DH.2 was outclassed and replaced by the DH.5, which itself only lasted a single year in combat operation before the S.E.5 arrived to see out the conflict, by this time looking far more like a plane we would recognise today.
This neat mini-figure scale recreation of the Airco DH.2 comes from Henrik Jensen, and it captures the aircraft’s weirdness rather well. With such a short life-span there are no surviving original DH.2s today, so this may be as close as we’ll get to seeing one – take a look at Henrik’s photostream via the link above, or at MOCpages here.
This remarkable looking thing is a 1918 British Mark V tank that saw duty in the final months of the First World War. With an engine (built by Ricardo, who now make the twin-turbo V8 engine fitted to McLaren supercars) mounted in the centre of the crew’s cabin the Mark V was a miserable place to spend any time in. Ponderous, painfully slow, and unreliable, these early tanks were no fun at all, but they would change the course of warfare for ever.
This beautiful Model Team style recreation of the 100 year old Mark V comes from Master MOCer and TLCB regular Sariel and it’s packed with brilliant engineering. With an XL motor driving each track Sariel’s Mark V can cross 22cm wide gaps, climb 9cm vertically, and ascend a 60% slope thanks to the 176 rubber feet mounted to the tracks for traction. This means that just like your Mom at a free buffet, nothing will get in its way.
Sariel’s Mark V also features a working 6-cylinder piston engine inside a realistically replicated cabin, a functional un-ditching beam, and two remote controlled side mounted guns that can rotate and elevate. Twin SBrick bluetooth bricks take care of the control signal, and mean that the Mark V can be controlled by a mobile phone and – more coolly – by a Playstation controller!
It’s time for some history here at TLCB, because we are – at heart – complete nerds.
The world’s first purpose-built racetrack (or what’s left of it) lies not far from TLCB Towers. The Brooklands race circuit opened in 1907, built partly for manufacturers of the newly emerging auto-industry to test their cars, and partly because driving really quickly is bloody good fun.
Measuring just under 3 miles long the Brooklands track was built from uncoated concrete banking, which in places reached 30ft high, and was simply unimaginably steep, far steeper than any modern banked circuit. With no safety barrier at the top and cars routinely getting airborne over the bumpy concrete the spectacle was incredible, and crowds topped a quarter of a million in the circuit’s hay-day.
The outbreak of the First World War saw Brooklands requisitioned by the War Office, as the site also included an aerodrome, becoming the UK’s largest aircraft manufacturing centre by 1918. The end of the war saw motor racing return the the track, alongside the continuation of aircraft manufacturing, but when Hitler decided that Germany hadn’t quite finished with Europe yet motor racing at the track ceased for good.
During the Second World War the Brooklands site became the hub of Hawker fighter and Wellington bomber manufacturing, amongst other aircraft, and the track’s survival as a piece of British heritage sadly, but necessarily, came second to the war effort. Trees were planted on the track to disguise it from German bombers, and whole sections ripped up to expand the runways.
By the end of the war the track was in a poor state, and the site was sold to Vickers-Armstrong to continue operations as an aircraft factory, at one time laying claim to being the largest aircraft hanger in the world. However as the UK’s aircraft manufacturing industry declined the Brooklands site was gradually sold off, becoming a business park, a supermarket, and the Mercedes-Benz World driving instruction track.
Today not much of the original circuit remains, but what does is managed by the Brooklands Museum, who are endeavouring to preserve possibly the most important motor racing, aeronautical and war-time manufacturing site in the world. A recent heritage grant aims to return both the aero-buildings and the famous Finishing Straight to their former glory, and a section of the incredible concrete banking is still standing. You can even take a car on it if you’re feeling brave.
If you’re in the UK and you get the chance to visit the Brooklands Museum we highly recommend it, but for our readers further afield you can get an idea of the insanity of the vintage racing that once took place there courtesy of this lovely scene recreating Brooklands circa-1935 by Flickr’s Redfern. There’s more to see of his 1930s Maserati, its racing counterpart, and his wonderfully recreated Brooklands banking his photostream. Click the link above to step back in time.