Longtime readers of the blog will be aware that the Mercedes Unimog is one of my favorite vehicles. While rare here in the US, they’re ubiquitous across Europe. Polish builder Damian Z. doesn’t disappoint with his Unimog crane truck in high-visibility orange.
Apart from a few manufacturers of exotic sports cars and an assembly plant for Minis, the Netherlands don’t have much of a car-building industry. Things are different when it comes to trucks, however, with the Eindhoven-based truck builder DAF being market leader in several European countries. Dutchman Nanko Klein Paste has built several DAFs in the last few years. His latest is a classic T 2400 DO, which represents an early attempt by DAF at building a truck for the international market.
Versions of this truck were in production until 1975 and when I was a child they were still a fairly common sight on Dutch roads. The characteristic sloped front of the cab is particularly well captured. This classic model is flanked by a modern XF105, in the livery of the heavy lifting company Mammoet (Mammoth), which makes for a particularly nice comparison between the two generations.
Welcome back fight fans, to Sin City Nevada for another round of Friday Night Fights. Since large parts of this blog’s ancestral homeland (Washington State) seem to be going up in smoke this week, we thought it appropriate to turn our attention to mini-fig scale fire trucks.
In the even shinier redder corner, Galaktek takes a step away from the real world and goes future-retro with the FutureCity Fire Engine from the planet Incendia XII (which sounds like it probably needs a lot of fire trucks).
As usual, constant reader, you are tasked with deciding, by way of comment, which truck is destined for glory and which is destined to rust in the fire house. On the last edition of Friday Night Fights, Concept Art Ships, Jake nailed it to the wall in an 11-4 showdown against Alexander. Tune in next week for another action packed edition of Friday Night Fights!
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.
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.
We don’t often feature Technic models on this blog. The Technic aesthetic is rather different from the ultra-realistic models that I tend to favour. In other words, I like models that look realistic (albeit with just the right sprinkling of studs), but don’t care too much whether or not it functions like the real thing. The subjects also tend to not excite me. I have great admiration for the cleverness that is involved in getting the mechanical bits to work, but the tenth Technic supercar, say, to me, looks just about the same as the first or second: both have got lots of gears and lots of holes in them. That said, sometimes a Technic MOC does hit the spot, like the Mad Monster Masher by Barry Bosman (Barman76).
It is based on the eponymous toy from the eighties, which I thought was pretty cool, and looks great. Like the toy, Barry’s model is remote-controlled. The front and rear wheels are steered using a Power Function M-motor and the vehicle is driven by no fewer than three XL motors. If you’re in the Netherlands, you’ll be able to see it in action at Lego World Utrecht, which is due to take place next weekend.
Since about two years, I’ve been building a collection of British vehicles to display at shows. In the summer of last year, I travelled from Portsmouth to York in the company of a group of British LEGO-building friends, going to a LEGO-show. Along the way we discussed my plans for building more British vehicles. During the five-hour drive we saw at least two dozen trucks operated by the Stobart Group. This company was founded by ‘Steady’ Eddie Stobart and operates more than 2000 trucks, mostly Scanias. They are ubiquitous in Britain and instantly recognizable. It was obvious that, if I was going to build a truck for my collection, it had to be a Stobart truck (or lorry, as my friends insist on calling it).
It took me a while though. One of the things that make these trucks/lorries so recognizable is their rather funky-looking colour scheme and even though the graphics on the real vehicles are done with stickers, I wanted to build them out bricks. This was complicated, obviously, but the end result does give a decent impression of what it looks like on the real Scania.
In little more than a week, the 2013 Great Western LEGO Show will take place in Swindon in the UK. My collection of British vehicles will be on display there, including this truck, as well as my B-52 model.
Hot on the heels of fellow Dutch truck builder Dennis Glaasker, Nanko Klein Paste (nkle) has also built a new truck. Unlike Dennis’ trucks, it’s not all shiny and full of chrome, however. It’s a much more utilitarian-looking Dutch DAF 2300 truck from the early eighties.
There is much to like though, such as the construction of the radiator with a small edge around it, the SNOT construction on the side of the cab and front bumper and the detailed chassis, engine bay and working tilt cab. Growing up, I used to regularly see trucks like this and I absolutely love it.
Many European truck lovers have a soft spot for the Scania brand. In some ways its reputation in Europe is comparable to that of a brand such as Kenworth in the US; they’re driven by proper truckers rather than by mere truck drivers. They are also popular among customizers, and Scandinavian custom trucks stand out, with lots of chrome and airbrush artwork. Truck builder extraordinaire Dennis Glaasker (bricksonwheels) has recreated this typical Scandinavian custom look in his latest Scania model.
This behemoth is more than 1.5m (5 ft.) long and remote controlled with Power Functions. The spectacular airbrush artwork, with a Pirates of the Caribbean theme, was made with a custom sticker and Dennis uses non-standard chromed pieces, with a very cool result.
I have a confession to make, constant reader, I’m a huge fan of Stephen King; the booze years, the coke years and even the post-accident years (for the most part). One of my guilty pleasures from the coked-out 1980’s was the cinematic gem Maximum Overdrive, directed by the author himself and starring the incomparable Emilio Estevez. The plot is brilliant in it’s simplicity: a handful of strangers find themselves trapped together in a truck stop diner after semi-trailers and other large vehicles are suddenly brought to independent life by an unknown force and proceed to gruesomely kill every human in sight. As anyone who has ever had the great fortune of seeing the King-directed horror flick will tell you, the real star of the show is the Happy Toyz Co. White-Western Star 4800 truck which has the face of the Green Goblin from Spider-Man mounted on its grill. It is without a doubt one of the coolest semi’s of all time and now it is immortalized in LEGO by -derjoe-, who did a wonderful job on both the Goblin-grill and the letters.
Who made who?