Tag Archives: World War 2

Technic Snail

Lego Technic Citroen 2CV

The Citroen 2CV, affectionately (and unaffectionately) known as ‘ the tin snail’ owing to its looks and glacial speed, is one one of the world’s most important cars. Yes, you did read that right.

Designed in the 1930s, Citroen’s Car-for-the-People was intended for France’s numerous rural workers who were largely still dependent upon the horse for transportation. Reliable, fuel efficient, easy to maintain, and above all cheap, the 2CV was engineered to mobilise an entire population class. And then Hitler decided to be ‘a bit of a dick’.

The German invasion and the subsequent commandeering of French factories to build stuff for blowing up the British meant production for the innovative and much-needed 2CV never started. Fearful of the Nazi’s stealing the design, Citroen hid their 2CV prototypes across France in the hope they would remain undetected (some of which are still being unearthed today).

Lego Technic Citroen 2CV

The Allied victory in 1945 left behind a ruined France, but thankfully for Citroen an undetected cache of 2CV prototypes. Three years later, and a decade after the car was first engineered, the 2CV finally reached production.

As much as Europe’s poor workers needed cheap reliable transportation before World War 2, they really needed it afterwards, and the little Citroen was a huge success. Half the price of Germany’s ‘People’s Car’ – the Volkswagen Beetle, the 2CV sold almost 4 million units in a production run that spanned five decades and nine different countries.

When Citroen 2CV production finally ceased in 1990 the car had become a bit of a joke, but for much of its life the 2CV was the most important car in Europe, and is surely one of the greatest car designs ever created.

Lego Technic Citroen 2CV

This fitting tribute to one of France’s icons of motoring comes from previous bloggee and Technic building legend Nico71 who has recreated the simplicity of Citroen’s engineering beautifully. The 2CV’s legendary leading and trailing arm suspension (designed so a peasant could carry eggs unbroken across a ploughed field) has been faithfully reproduced in Lego form, plus there’s working steering and the doors, hood and trunk all open.

There’s lots more of Nico71’s brilliant Technic 2cv to see via Brickshelf, plus you watch a video of the model on YouTube by clicking here.

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Unterseeboot | Picture Special

Lego U-Boat VIIc

Britain in the Second World War was under siege. V1 flying bombs dropped out of the skies, the Luftwaffe bombed cities relentlessly, and a deadly terror lurked unseen under the waves offshore…

Lego U-Boat Submarine

Germany’s U-Boat, shorthand for Unterseeboot (which literally meant ‘under sea boat’ – the allies were definitely better at naming things) was a stroke of genius. Able to destroy a military ship (plus a few civilian ones too…) almost undetected, it must have been a terrifying time to navigate the cold waters of Northern Europe.

Lego U-Boat VIIc

Awfully effective though the U-Boat was, it’s not often we see one in Lego form. Discovered by one of our Elves today, this superb mini-figure recreation of U-Boat VIIc comes from Luis Peña of Flickr. Beautifully constructed inside and out Luis’ model features a wonderfully detailed interior underneath the cleverly sculpted hull, including a submariner using a torpedo for weights training, the captain manning the periscope, and a fully stocked galley complete with rat (aka tomorrow’s dinner).

Lego U-Boat VIIc

It’s a stunning build and we highly recommend visiting Luis’ photostream to see the complete gallery of images. Get ready to dive via the link to Flickr in the text above.

Lego U-Boat VIIc

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The Most Beautiful Model…

Lego Supermarine Spitfire

…of the most beautiful aircraft ever built. This is of course the thunderous Supermarine Spitfire, recreated in astonishing realism in Mk. 1a form by Lennart C of Flickr. There really aren’t words to do the photos justice, so we’ll get straight to the link. Click here to see more of this incredible creation.

Lego Supermarine Spitfire

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Not a Car

Lego Supermarine Spitfire

But, in this writer’s opinion, the most beautiful aircraft of the Second World War. This gorgeous Supermarine Spitfire comes from Mike Fifer of MOCpages, and it contains some of the most brilliantly-built colouring of any model we’ve found. It’s not just the superb camouflage you can see in these pictures either, as the underside is rather special too. Click the link above to find out why.

Lego Supermarine Spitfire

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Ocean Custodian

Lego RV Calypso Research Boat

Built by TLCB debutant Luis Pena, this is a 1:100 scale replica of the research vessel ‘Calypso’, complete with a helicopter and ‘diving saucer’ submersible vehicle.

The Calypso was originally a US-built wooden-hulled British minesweeper that served in the Mediterranean during the Second World War. Following the Allied victory the ship returned to US hands before being recommissioned as a Maltese ferry.

Within a year however, British millionaire Thomas Loel Guinness purchased the ship and gave it to the diving pioneer, film-maker, conservationist and adventurer Jacques-Yves Cousteau for use as a marine research vessel, a role the Calypso fulfilled for five decades. During an incredible half-century of oceanic exploration Cousteau and the Calypso made numerous discoveries, including the wreck of the HMHS Brittanic sunk during the First World War, the ability of marine mammals to use echolocation, and halted the dumping of radioactive waste in the Mediterranean Sea.

In 1996, almost fifty years after it entered service with Cousteau, the RV Calypso was accidentally rammed by a barge in Singapore and it sunk in the harbour. A week later the ship was raised and transferred to a shipyard, however Jacques-Yves Cousteau died the following year of a heart attack aged 87, and the Calypso was left to rot as various parties fought over the boat’s ownership, its restoration, and unpaid bills.

Today the ship, which has featured in film, documentaries, song, and even has a namesake in Star Trek, is still quietly dissolving in a shipyard in France, a victim of mankind’s inability to put progress over profit. However Cousteau’s legacy remains almost unfathomably huge, and continues to today via the environmental protection foundation that he created which now numbers over 300,000 members.

This beautiful homage to a ship which as done probably more than any other can be found in greater detail at Luis’ photostream on Flickr, and includes both above and below the waterline versions (each pictured here). There’s more to see via the link above, and you can read more about the Cousteau Society that continues Jacques-Yves’ work today by clicking here.

Lego RV Calypso Research Boat

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Not A Car…

Lego Nakajima Ki-84Eagle-eyed readers of this blog post will have noticed that this is not a car. It is in fact a Nakajima Ki-84 ‘Hayate’ World War 2 fighter, as flown by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service in the last three years of the war. One of the fastest, most formidably armed, and highest flying fighters of the time, the Nakajima Ki-84 was a feared adversary.

Over 3,500 Ki-84’s were produced between 1943 and 1945, although towards the end of the conflict the crippling effects of the war on production meant that defects rose dramatically and quality dropped. After the Allied victory several Ki-84’s were captured, with Indonesia the People’s Republic of China operating the aircraft within their own air forces, and America using two for evaluation.

Lego Ki-84 Hayate Fighter

Today just one Nakajima Ki-84 ‘Hayate’ fighter survives, an ex-U.S evaluation aircraft now located in the Chiran Peace Museum in Japan. However thanks to previous bloggee and military-building specialist Daniel Siskind we now have double the number of Ki-84’s available to view.

Daniel’s superb mini-figure scale recreation of Japan’s fastest Second World War fighter is a beautifully detailed build and includes authentically replicated Imperial Japanese roundels and tail markings, as well as a custom IJA airman mini-figure shown in the first image above. See more of Daniel’s Nakajima Ki-84 ‘Hayate’ fighter and its custom mini-figure pilot on Flickr by clicking here.

Lego Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate

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Mighty Meteor

Lego Gloster Meteor

The Gloster Meteor is one of this writer’s very favourite aircraft. And that’s probably the nerdiest line ever said in human history. Anyway, it is. Because look at it.

The Meteor was the Allies first jet-powered aircraft, and the only one to enter service during the Second World War. Powered by two Rolls-Royce Welland turbojet engines designed by the engineering genius Sir Frank Whittle, the meteor became the fastest aircraft of the time, breaking numerous speed and climbing records.

The Meteor was flying on the very edge what what was achievable in the 1940s, and thus hundreds of the aircraft (and the pilots that flew them) were lost to accidents, mechanical failures and fuel starvation (the Meteor could only fly for an hour at most). However, the Meteor was also fast enough to catch and destroy the V1 flying bomb in flight, and destroyed 46 German aircraft on the ground by the end of the war. The Meteor wasn’t permitted to fly over land in German occupation though, so great was the fear of the aircraft being captured and its secrets being learned.

After the war the incredible rate of jet aircraft development meant the Meteor quickly become obsolete, ending its days as a target tug, but without the Meteor’s pioneering technology it could have been many more years before jetting off on holiday became a realistic possibility for millions of people.

This beautiful recreation of a the Gloster Meteor in Royal Danish Airforce livery comes from previous bloggee Henrik Jensen, and it captures the iconic shape of the real aircraft brilliantly. There’s more to see of Henrik’s build at MOCpages and Flickr where Henrik has made the internal secrets of his model available to view. Even if you’re German.

Lego Gloster Meteor

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In the Bank

Lego Brooklands 1935

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.

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Battle of Berlin

Lego IS-7 Tank

This is a Soviet IS-7 heavy tank, launched during the closing stages of World War II, and largely responsible for the fall of Berlin and the surrender of Germany – something that seems to get left out of Western history books.

Commissioned by Stalin to supersede the Soviet Union’s existing KV tanks, the IS was built quickly and finished poorly, but packed a mighty punch. The IS-7 was also mightily armoured, and could withstand an attack by both the German Panther and Tiger class tanks.

Lego IS-7 Tank

This brilliantly-engineered recreation of the IS-7 is the work of Tommy Styrvoky, and it’s one of the finest working Lego tanks that we’ve found to date. Underneath the smooth-plated exterior are six Power Functions motors that control everything from the drive, transmission and steering, to the turret rotation and gun elevation, and Tommy’s tank also includes a beautifully replicated working V12 piston engine and fully independently-sprung tracks too.

A comprehensive gallery of images are available via Tommy’s photostream, and you can see what the IS-7 can do courtesy of the video below.

YouTube Video

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A Desert Island and a President

Lego PT-109 - 80' Elco Motor Torpedo Boat

This may not be a car, or even completely LEGO, but it is a stunning build nevertheless. TLCB regular Daniel Siskind is back with another superb military creation. Built utilising third-party Brickarms weaponry, thirteen custom mini-figures, and a third-party Brickmania flag, Daniel has created a near perfect replica of Elco Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109.

PT-109 was one of hundreds of Patrol Torpedo boats built in the 1940s by the U.S for service in the Pacific theatre. However PT-109 is more noteworthy than most due to both its fate, and the man that commanded it.

Lieutenant John F. Kennedy, who would later become the 35th President of the United States, was aboard the PT-109 in the dead of night on August 2nd 1943. The boat was idling so as to remain undetected by Japanese warships when, in a (probable) freak accident, it was run down a severed in two by the Japanese warship Amagiri.

Lego PT-109 Patrol Torpedo Boat

Two of the thirteen crew were killed as PT-109 exploded, and the remaining eleven survivors clung to one half of the boat as it drifted through the night. As it became apparent that what was left of the ship would soon sink, Kennedy and his crew decided to abandon it for land, swimming 5.6km to a tiny uninhabited island, with Kennedy towing a badly burned crew member the entire way.

Unfortunately the island the crew found themselves on had no food or drinking water, so Kennedy swam to the nearby Olasana islands in search of a more habitable refuge. Finding coconuts and clean water he then led the crew to their new island home, hiding from the passing Japanese boats.

6 days later the crew of PT-109 were rescued, and Kennedy was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal and Purple Heart. This fitting tribute to one of the Second World War’s more remarkable feats of survival can be seen in greater detail at Daniel Siskind’s PT-109 album – click the link above to see the full gallery of images, which includes several interior shots of the boat and a close-up of the custom-made mini-figure crew.

John F. Kennedy was elected the 35th President of the Unites States in 1961, and died by assassination on November 22nd 1963.

Lego PT-109 Patrol Torpedo Boat

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Retribution Weapon 2

Lego V-2 Rocket

Today’s creation may look like a jauntily retro space rocket, but it is in fact an Aggregat 4, known affectionately by the Germans during World War 2 as the ‘Vergeltungswaffe 2’, (or V-2 for short). That extravagant title translates as ‘Retribution Weapon’, which is an apt name, because retribution was all the V-2 was designed to do. Which makes it surely one of mankind’s most evil inventions.

But also one of the cleverest. Whilst abhorrent in purpose, the V-2 rocket was brilliant in engineering. It was the world’s first guided ballistic missile (which considering it first few in 1944, when a computer was the size of an office block, is scarcely believable), and also the first man-made object to cross the boundary of space.

That cleverness made it all the more evil though, as the 3,000 V-2 rockets launched from Germany during the Second World War are estimated to have killed over 9,000 people in London, and later other European cities. Another 12,000 concentration camp prisoners died in the making of it, and yet at the end of the war the Allies rushed to capture the designs to accelerate their own missile production.

Thankfully this V-2 is nothing more than a collection of superbly shaped Danish plastic, and it comes from previous bloggee Sunder_59 of Flickr. There are further pictures of Sunder’s perfectly recreated Vergeltungswaffe at his photostream – click the link above to see more of the worst mankind can do.

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Bulldog

Lego Lanz Bulldog

This weird agricultural oddity is a Lanz Bulldog tractor. 220,000 of these were built in Germany from the early 1920s up until 1960, making it one of the most popular European tractors of all time. Many Germans still use the word ‘bulldog’ as a generic name for tractors today.

The Bulldog’s popularity was down to its incredibly crude single cylinder hot bulb engine. Yup, just one cylinder, which came in a capacity of up to 10 litres, but which could run on just about anything – crucial in war-torn and then recovering (and then war-torn again) Europe.

This Town-style recreation of the vintage tractor comes from previous bloggee Peter Schmid on Flickr, and you can see more of his Lanz Bulldog build at his photostream by clicking here.

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Billy Bomber

Lego B25 Mitchell Bomber

Named after Major General William Lendrum “Billy” Mitchell, the North American B-25 Mitchell was one of the most prolific bombers of the Second World War, with almost 10,000 units produced and operating in every theatre of the war. The B-25 saw service until as late as 1979, giving it a four-decade long role in the skies, and this superb Lego version is a by Flickr’s Dornbi fitting tribute. There’s lots more to see at Dornbi’s photostream – click the link above to take off.

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Not a Car

Lego Mitsubishi Zero

But it was made by a car manufacturer, and very probably their most famous product too. This is of course a Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter from the Second World War, and it’s been neatly recreated in Lego form by James C of MOCpages. James’ updated build includes a mini-figure pilot, working landing gear, and custom decals, and there’s more to see on MOCpages via the link above.

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