The Lego Car Blog Elves are having a great time this morning. This lovely remote controlled Willys Jeep was discovered by one of their number today, and fortunately our eagle-eyed intern caught it before the model could be used for any smushing shenanigans.
That means no tidying up for us, and a gaggle of Elves being transported around TLCB Towers, much to their delight.
The model in question is properly good too, looking wonderfully like-like and featuring a complete remote control drivetrain, with four-wheel-drive, front and rear suspension, and working steering.
TLCB favourite Sariel is the builder and there’s more to see of his superbly presented 1940s Willys Jeep on Flickr and via the Eurobricks forum.
It might sound like European cat food, but the Kettenkrat was altogether weirder than that. Half motorcycle, half tank, the Sd.Kfz 2 Kettenkrat was designed by NSU, powered by Opel, weighed 1.5 tons, and could climb slopes of over 24°, even in sand.
A unique drive system delivered power to both tracks simultaneously on hard ground, or – when the driver selected – operated via a subtractor to skid-steer on soft ground, and it was used throughout the Second World War to lay cables, transport troops, tow aircraft, oh – and to invade Russia.
This amazing motorised Model Team recreation of the Sd.Kfz 2 Kettenkrad comes from previous bloggee Samolot, and not only does it feature the most terrifying LEGO figure we’ve ever seen, it also includes a fully working remote controlled version of the real bike/tank’s ingenious steering system.
Exactly how it works is beyond the collective minds housed here at TLCB Towers, so the best way to see if you can figure it out is via the video below. There are also more images of both Samolot’s model and the real 1940s contraption at Bricksafe, and you can read the full build description and join the discussion via the Eurobricks forum here.
Designed by Daimler-Benz, this the Panzer III Sd.Kfz 141, the German military’s primary medium battle tank built to take on the formidable Soviet T-34 during the Second World War. It was powered by a 300bhp Maybach V12 giving it a top speed of just over 20mph, which wasn’t fast (but then it did weigh around twenty-two tons), and it was armed with either a 37mm, 50mm, or 75mm gun, depending on specification.
Around 5,700 Panzer IIIs were built between 1939 and 1943, seeing service in Poland, the Soviet Union, France, North Africa, the Netherlands, and Italy – amongst other theatres of war. This superb Lego version of the Sd.Kfz 141 comes from previous bloggee Rebla, who has recreated the design brilliantly, including a rotating turret, elevating cannon, and a crew of custom mini-figures.
Rebla has presented his model beautifully too, and there’s more to see at his photostream – click the link above to make the jump to all the imagery.
It must have been beautiful but bleak navigating the Ardennes in 1944. Nicholas Goodman has depicted the scene beautifully, with his tank advancing through the mud and ice, wonderfully recreated in brick form. Head to Nicholas’ photostream for the full image, and – as we do from time to time – click here for the other side of war.
This TLCB writer has learned something today; the Royal Australian Navy uses little red kangaroos in place of the red dot more usually found in the centre of the RAF roundel! Kangaroos!
Entering the rabbit hole he has now learned that South Africa’s insignia features an eagle, Trinidad and Tobago a hummingbird, Papua New Guinea the mythical phoenix, and Luxembourg an extravagant lion.
If we ever start a military campaign against The Brothers Brick perhaps we should outline an Elf for the centre of ours?
Following that somewhat tangental start to this post, the aircraft depicted here that features the kangaroo-in-a-circle markings is a Hawker Sea Fury, in this case flown by the Royal Australian Navy.
Based on the Hawker Tempest, the Sea Fury entered service at the end of the second world war and flew until the early ’60s, operating first a pure fighter and then as a fighter-bomber as its suitability for multi-role use became apparent.
This particular Sea Fury is a F.B.11 that operated with Squadron 724 from the H.M.A.S. Albatross, most notably serving in the Korean War, and it’s been recreated beautifully by John C. Lamarck, complete with folding wing-tips, retractable landing gear, an opening cockpit, and – of course – accurate Royal Australian Navy markings including kangaroo roundels.
There’s much more to see of John’s superb Hawker Sea Fury F.B.11 on Flickr – hop on over via the link above!
This beautiful aircraft is a PBY-6A Catalina, as built by Henrik Jensen of Flickr. Introduced in 1936 over 3,300 Catalina were constructed, making it one of the most widely used flying boats during the second world war. The Catalina saw service in maritime patrol, night bombing, anti-submarine warfare, and search and rescue, with some still in use today as fire fighting water bombers.
The PBY-6A Catalina depicted here was operated by the Royal Dutch Air force, and has been recreated wonderfully by Henrik using a myriad of clever building techniques, with a few stickers enhancing the realism too. There’s more to see of Henrik’s Catalina at his photostream – click the link above to head there and take a look.
This is an M8 Greyhound 6×6 Light Armoured Vehicle (or something close to it, as builder Robson M doesn’t specify!), built by Ford in the 1940s for Allied troops during World War 2.
The British, who like naming their military hardware after animals and the weather, gave it the ‘greyhound’ name, as it could sustain 55mph on reasonable roads, which was very quick for the time. And – at least in this one’s case – it was grey.
Much like a real greyhound though, the M8 wasn’t particularly well armoured, especially underneath, and nor was it very good off-road, despite being a 6×6. However it was useful enough that 8,500 were made, and – again like its namesake dog – many found new homes after being retired from their first military owner, with some M8s still in service around the world as late as the 2000s!
This neat Town scale version captures the M8 Greyhound rather well, with Robson using a few custom decals and a custom machine gun mounted on top to add to the model’s realism. There’s more of Robson’s build to see at his photostream – click the link to make a visit to the dog track.
This is a Tatra T87, and it was one of the fastest and yet most fuel efficient cars of the era. Built from the mid-’30s to early-’50s the T87 was powered by rear-mounted air-cooled 2.9 litre V8 engine which was about half the size of its competitors, yet – thanks to its streamlined shape – it could reach almost 100mph whilst using nearly half the fuel.
The occupying Nazis loved it, calling it ‘the autobahn car’, but so many German officers were killed trying to reach 100mph that the T87 was dubbed ‘the Czech secret weapon’, and they were subsequently banned from driving it.
This brilliant Technic recreation of the Tatra T87 comes from Horcik Designs who has replicated the car’s streamlined shape beautifully from Technic panels. Underneath the aerodynamic body is functioning swing-arm suspension, working steering, and a detailed engine under an opening cover, and there’s more to see of all of that at the Eurobricks discussion forum and at Horcik’s Bricksafe folder.
Click the links above to ty to reach 100mph on the autobahn c1940. Unless you’re a German Army officer.
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.
This is a Fritz Riemerschmid Gleiskettenkrad (which we can assure you that we pronounced flawlessly in TLCB Office so you can too as you’re reading this), a 1930s BMW R12-based tracked motorcycle that was designed to drive on snow. In straight lines only presumably.
Built by previous bloggee Nikolaus Lowe, who seems to have a penchant for odd vintage machinery, this marvellous Model Team recreation includes a sidecar, a working two-cylinder engine with functioning gearbox, and something purporting to be steering.
There’s much more to see at Nikolaus’ ‘Fritz Riemerschmid Gleiskettenkrad’ album – click the link above to head over. In a straight line.
Airlines never seem to offer fruit on board. Little packets of pretzels yes. Fruit no. Or nothing at all if you’re flying budget, although there will be a catalogue containing a $4,000 watch. No matter, because the aptly-named Big Planes of Flickr has some serious in-flight fruit for us today. This is the Northrop N-9M ‘Flying Wing’, it really did exist and it really did look like a giant banana.
The N-9M was an experimental aircraft constructed in the early 1940s to test the theory behind an ultra efficient single wing bomber design. Four planes were built, and they crashed a lot. The idea worked though, and a pair of Flying Wings three times the size of the N-9M were constructed to further test the design.
Unfortunately the design really needed computer control to keep it airborne, which was incredibly limited at the time, and the projects were shelved; all but one of the four N-9Ms built were scrapped. The fourth was left to deteriorate, but following a funding campaign it returned to the air in 1993 after two decades of restoration work, touring airshows and events across America. Sadly it too crashed in April of this year, killing the pilot and destroying the last N-9M in existence.
Big Planes’ beautifully built mini-figure scale replica of the Northrop N-9M is now as close as you’re likely to get to seeing what this incredible aircraft was like, however the design direction continued and – once computers caught up with the ambition of Northrop’s 1940s engineers – a flying wing did finally take to the skies; the amazing Northrop-Grumman B-2 Spirit ‘Stealth Bomber‘.
There’s more to see of Big Planes’ brilliant Northrop N-9M at his photostream on Flickr. Click the link above, open a little pack of pretzels, and enjoy the images.
Sometimes we’re surprised we have any Elves left at all…
This is a Soviet Kliment Voroshilov KV-1/KV-2 tank, it comes from Lego-building genius Sariel, and it has caused considerable carnage within our Elven workforce here at TLCB Towers.
Sariel’s model faithfully recreates the 1940’s Russian battle tank, complete with remote control drive and skid-steering, torsion bar suspension, a rotating turret with elevating gun, and – in the case of the mad KV-2 version – a working firing mechanism.
It’s this feature the Elf that discovered today’s find chose to use on its colleagues, firing at them as they fled and then running those that got hit over. It’s not fun being an Elf sometimes. Unless you’re the one doing the firing and running over we suppose…
Anyway, we have the controls now so order has been restored, giving us a chance to examine the astonishing quality of engineering that has gone into this creation.
You can see it for yourself at Sariel’s KV-1/KV-2 Flickr album, the full gallery available at Bricksafe, or the Eurobricks discussion forum. You can also check out Sariel’s interview here at The Lego Car Blog via the first link in the text above, plus you can watch the Kliment Voroshilov tank in action in a Michael Bay-inspired short film below…
Lightning is always cool. OK, not always; this guy took some liberties. But other than that it’s cool. One of fastest and most terrifying forces in nature, lightning also makes a for a great aircraft name. It’s been used twice that we know of, the second being the unhinged English Electric Lightning and the first being this; the glorious Lockheed P-38J Lightning. The Lockheed P-38’s usual (and we think quite beautiful) twin boom design makes it an oddity in the aircraft world, and even more so considering it first entered service in 1941.
Deployed as a bomber, a long range escort fighter, a ground attack craft, for photo reconnaissance, and as a night fighter, the P-38 flew throughout the entire American involvement in World War Two in a vast array of theatres, with over 10,000 produced in just 4 years.
This colourful mini-figure scale version of the iconic warbird comes from previous bloggee John C. Lamarck of Flickr, who has done a wonderful job recreating the P-38 Lightning in lego form. The hand-drawn decals add to the cartoonish nature of the build too, and there’s more to see at John’s photostream by clicking here.
This isn’t Henrik Jensen’s first Vought F4E Corsair. In fact he built one way back in 2014, which didn’t feature here as it didn’t quite meet our standards. Or we weren’t paying attention. One of those two anyway. Henrik’s second iteration updates his previous design with LEGO’s latest dark blue parts and folding wingtips, and adds a gloriously cool brick-built checkerboard engine cowling that frankly every plane should have. Custom decals complete the aesthetic accuracy and there’s more of Henrik’s superbly realistic F4E Corsair to see at his Flickr album by clicking these words.
The staff cars here at The Lego Car Blog are, as revealed way back in 2013, all Austin Allegros. Not so the Wehrmacht, who got themselves a vehicle much cooler.
This a Mercedes-Benz W31 Type G4, a three-axle, straight-8 engined, all-terrain limousine as used by Nazi senior management for parades, inspections, and the annexation of other countries.
Only 57 Mercedes-Benz W31 G4s were produced, all of which were used as staff cars by the Nazi regime as the model was deemed much too expensive for normal military use.
This most excellent recreation of the G4, complete with neat caricature of a certain moustachioed despot, comes from Flickr’s Redfern1950s, who has captured the vehicle brilliantly in his trademark cartoon style. Head to Red’s photostream via the link above to join the parade.