Today is the start of this year’s Dakar rally. This off-road race, for trucks, cars and motorbikes used to run from Paris to Dakar in Senegal, but because of worsening security in Northern Africa is nowadays held in South-America. Back in 1985, a Dutch team led by Jan de Rooy finished second in the truck category. They raced a much modified DAF 3300 known as The Bull, recreated by Nanko Klein Paste (nkle). The model has a Technic chassis and is remote-controlled using Power Functions, to participate in Truck Trial competitions organised by Lowlug.
I don’t think I’m particularly prone to nationalism, except when it comes to my choice of beer and the sort of trucks I like. Forget your Scanias, Volvos or Kenworths; to me DAF trucks are king of the road. DAF has its home base in Eindhoven, in the south of the Netherlands, where I lived for more than ten years. I used to see trucks operated by De Rooy Transport haul DAF cabs through town on a regular basis.
Happy new year! As some of you may have noticed, we seem to be enjoying a bit of a holiday break at TBB and are not posting much of anything. I spent my holidays with relatives, a few hundred kilometers away from my LEGO.
I wasn’t building, but that didn’t stop me from thinking about what to build. I realised that I could combine two existing ideas into one. In the last few months, I’ve been building a collection of vehicles from movies and TV shows and I’ve been wanting to build a Ford Model T, also known as Tin Lizzie, for several years, but I never got around to actually building one. Fords Model T were used in many different early Hollywood classics, but I mostly associate them with Laurel and Hardy. As a child, I loved their movies.
I am pretty sure that when most of you think about a large American truck, you imagine it being ornately decorated and having a long nose that sticks out in front of the cab. The type of truck with a flat front, known as a cab over, isn’t very common in the United States (with the exception of light trucks used in cities). In the seventies and eighties things were different, however. Many American truck manufacturers used to build cab over trucks, with the Kenworth K100 Aerodyne, represented by this great model by Maciej Drwięga, being a popular type.
Maciej is in the process of revamping many of his builds and this one isn’t brand new, but well worth having a closer look at. It has a detailed chassis and engine. The dark red colour and the striping give it an eighties look and it looks the part of a work truck. It does have the bells and whistles that you’d expect on an American truck, but without being overly flashy. I also like seeing some exposed studs on the top.
Italian tractor manufacturer Ferruccio Lamborghini was a man not to be messed with. When he complained to Enzo Ferrari (of the eponymous sports-car manufacturer) that the busted clutch on his Ferrari was the same one as he used on his company’s tractors and about poor service, Enzo Ferrari famously snubbed him by telling him that, as a tractor manufacturer, Lamborghini couldn’t know anything about sports cars. Lamborghini set out to prove him wrong, by starting a company to build the best Grand Tourer money could buy. He chose a raging bull as the company’s emblem.
Since then Lamborghini has become famous for its supercars and, according to the guys from Top Gear, is the maddest car company of them all. Senator Chinchilla has built an excellent model of one of the fist ones: the Miura Jota
Unlike Ferrari, Lamborghini doesn’t have a racing history, focusing on road cars. The Miura Jota however, was a development of the road car intended for racing. This explains the particularly unadorned look of the car, when compared to the already very clean design of the ‘normal’ Miura. The car never took part in a race, however. In typical Lamborghini fashion it crashed and then burned to a cinder during a test drive.
Most of the car models we feature are basically detailed sculptures, with perhaps a few functions such as steering or opening doors. I don’t tend to blog pure Technic models. This is not because I don’t appreciate the skill involved in building them, but for me it’s about the aesthetic. I prefer the look of system builds. Senator Chinchilla’s Miura has a beautifully sculpted body, with opening doors and an opening clam-shell engine cover. Underneath the voluptuous curves lurks a Technic chassis with steering, working suspension, gearbox and a transversely mounted engine, like the real car. It combines the best of both worlds.
Thanks to Jack Marquez (Ewok in Disguise) for the suggestion.
Santa’s house, built by Gary Davis (Bricksforbrains), shows preparations for Christmas in full swing, with the elves preparing toys to be delivered to delighted children all over the world. Santa may live in a rustic-looking cabin, but in Gary’s world his whole set-up looks like it could teach amazon a few lessons.
The elves aren’t running around sorting packages by hand. That work is done by a Rube Goldberg-type contraption (or Heath Robinson, if you’re British) that sorts and packages them before delivering them to Santa’s sleigh. This operation is run by computer from ‘Mission control’ and Santa himself sits behind a desk communicating via his smart-phone. Gary is a big fan of Gerry Anderson’s work, including Thunderbirds, and I think it shows. Merry Christmas.
It was inevitable, really. We’ve blogged hot rods and a full size LEGO car before and British LEGO-Technic enthusiast Simon Burfield built a working Lego vehicle large enough to carry a person a while ago (which we sadly neglected to blog at the time), but now there’s an actual full-size drivable LEGO hot rod, large enough to carry two people. This crazy contraption was built by Australian Steve Sammartino and Raul Oaida, from Romania.
About half a million bricks were used in the construction. The wheels aren’t made out of LEGO elements, obviously, and neither are a few of the other structural bits. The engine, however, is built with no fewer than 256 LEGO pneumatic pistons, which are powered by compressed air and can propel the car to a speed of about 20 km/h. According to Steve he is neither a car enthusiast nor a Lego enthusiast, which makes me wonder just how big things get if he is enthusiastic!
Via the BBC. Thanks to billyburg for the suggestion.
There’s something wonderfully old-fashioned about the latest model built by Nick Barrett (TechnicNick), the LEGOLand circus. Before there were minifigs, LEGO already made the much larger maxifigs (although nobody called them that at the time). Their upper torsos and heads were specialised parts, but their bodies were brick-built. I had a few of these as a child and my sister had a much larger collection. Nick, who is a few years older than me, has combined these classic figures with modern parts and top-notch build techniques in this fantastic model.
Apparently I’m not alone in liking this, because Nick’s model won the 6th annual MocOlympics contest. Check out the details (and what happens after the fuze on the cannon is lit) on MOCPages.
If Phuket in Thailand tickles your fancy and you’ve got some money to burn, perhaps Villa Amanzi is just the place to rent for your holiday.
This spectacular model of the villa was built by Robert Turner (rt_bricks). It’s roughly half minifig scale, but still measures a respectable 96 studs x 64 studs x 61 bricks and has a detailed interior. The house is fantastic, but I particularly like the rock face and the tropical foliage above it. Robert’s description sounds as though it could be from a holiday brochure: “It features a 15 metre infinity pool overlooking the Andaman Sea, 6 bedrooms, and a contemporary modern design nestled into the edge of a ravine and up against an impressive rock face that penetrates into the house on multiple floors”
Back in 2009, LEGO released two sets (8183 and 8184 ) that got me pretty excited. The reason for my excitement was that these sets contained a car chassis that could be remote-controlled using a Power Functions IR-remote. This would make it relatively easy to build your own relatively compact remote-controlled car. I bought one, but it had about as much directional control as a puppy on a wet floor; it constantly bumped into walls or bits of furniture. It was fast, though.
Curtis D. Collins (curtydc) has now used a similar chassis to build his “little big rig”. He too reports that the steering isn’t great, but also that it is a zippy a little RC. I believe that, certainly with those big wheels. I also think it looks pretty cool. Like Barry Bosman’s Monster Masher, it has a certain toy-like quality to it that reminds me of the RC cars that were around when I was a child.
Peter Dornbach (dornbi) has built a very neat model of a Cold War classic: the British Sea Harrier. The Harrier has a somewhat odd-ball appearance, which is captured beautifully in the model. The odd shape is largely due to the aircraft’s unique Rolls Royce Pegasus engine, which allows the aircraft to take off and land vertically. This ability is why it is sometimes known as the Jump Jet.
During the Cold War, many air forces worried about the vulnerability of their airfields to enemy strikes. Fighters that can operate from a much smaller strip, at a time of crisis, can be dispersed to smaller and better concealed locations away from their main base. Building a jet that can take off and land vertically is a big challenge, however. A whole range of different ideas were tried, including having additional lift engines mounted vertically inside the aircraft. This obviously was a very heavy solution. Using rocket boosters to launch a conventional jet from a short ramp worked, but left the jet in question with no place to land. The only successful design was the British Harrier, whose Pegasus engine has four jet nozzles that can be swiveled down to direct the jet’s entire thrust upward. Despite its diminutive scale of only 1/48, Peter’s model has these swiveling nozzles.
Its ability to operate without long runways made the Harrier an attractive choice for shipboard use. British Harriers gained most of their fame (or notoriety) in the 1982 Falklands War, where Royal Navy Sea Harriers, operating from small aircraft carriers, racked up about 20 air-to-air kills against the Argentinian Air Force and Navy, including against far faster Mirage fighters.