This sweet low-slung ride by Jeff Churill looks ready to get into all manner of trouble, and do it with more than a bit of panache. Jeff started a business, Cooper Works, a year or two ago making stickers for LEGO models, and he’s proven that’s he’s got the building chops to put his own products to excellent use.
Our resident Lemur recently got asked how contributors to this blog are selected. Of course, much of the process is top-secret, but I’m pretty sure a contributor should add something new and distinctive to the team, even if that something new and distinctive is a cute bushy tail and a willingness to take care of the paperwork. However, most of us share that we got into this because we like building our own models. Fan-built models are the bread and butter of this blog and knowing a thing or two about building definitely helps.
In the last two years, I have been working on a large collection of movie and TV vehicles. I have close to fifty of them now, but there are still plenty of cool and interesting examples left that I haven’t built yet. I already had a jet, but I did not yet have a helicopter, for instance. With Blue Thunder, that has now been rectified.
Blue Thunder was a fictional high-tech police helicopter that starred in the eponymous 1983 movie. Its pilot was played by Roy Scheider, who is probably better known for his role as the police-chief in Jaws. The movie lead to a short-lived TV series, which I used to watch religiously as a child. Although the plots of the episodes and the dialogue were undoubtedly cheesy, the helicopter was one of the coolest things ever. It didn’t talk or have a red light scanner bar, but it had a tail-mounted fan instead of a conventional tail rotor and a Gatling gun that was slaved to the pilot’s helmet. Two flyable helicopters were used in the filming: Aerospatiale Gazelles, painted in a largely dark blue colour scheme and modified with a nose-mounted pod housing sensors and the Gatling gun, an ‘armoured’ cockpit canopy consisting of flat panels and a few other gadgets.
The cockpit canopy was the trickiest bit of the build. Building a rectangular structure is fairly easy. Building something that is rounded is also doable, by stepping plates or by using combinations of slopes. Building a faceted structure, however, is just plain awkward and getting it more-or-less right took a lot of trail-and-error.
By his own admission, in terms of LEGO builds Vibor Cavor didn’t have a very productive 2014, building just one model. As far as I am concerned, however, quality trumps quantity and his new year is off to a good start. His latest model, the 1935 Auburn Boattail Speedster from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, has quality in spades.
The Boattail Speedster is a prime example of thirties American luxury cars, with sleek Art Deco styling and high performance to match. I is also rare, with only a few hundred built before Auburn went bust in the Great Depression. Arguably, the original car looks even sleeker and more curvaceous than the model does, but to me it is not at all obvious how one could actually achieve that. With its beautifully sculpted mudguards, angled panels and working steering, this is one stylish build.
For hard-core Star Wars fans, even LEGO’s latest incarnation of the iconic X-34 landspeeder leaves something to be desired, with all it’s studs and tubing. Over the years, various builders have crafted their own versions, often with entertaining results. But now expert car builder Calin has created probably the classiest minifig scaled version of this vehicle to-date.
At first you’re drawn in by the color scheme, patterning and smooth surfaces. But then the details hit you: the brick-built turbines, the exposed wiring, the front hitch, and the use of a bucket handle piece for the pilot’s controls. Of course, the builder has chosen to keep that sweet curved windscreen piece, for which there’s just no substitute.
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.
There’s still one lazy Sunday left to enter the TBB Chibi Micro Contest! We’ve seen tons of fantastic ‘Chibi Micro Fighter’ versions of lots of planes, trains and automobiles from all over the film, television and videogame properties. But don’t forget, you can also rebuild your favorite LEGO sets too!
Here’s a round up of some of my favorite LEGO sets, now in Chibi form:
A Classic Space set the 6989 Mega Core Magnetizer by Andrew Lee (onosendai2600):
One the newer Space sets: 7066 Earth Defense HQ by John Kupitz (Phuonom):
And last but not least, 9446 Destiny’s Bounty by Robert4168
So break out those bricks! You have one more day to build something. Full rules and entries can be found in the Chibi Micro Flickr group.
I’m a firm believer that adding ‘Space’ to anything makes it more awesome. So what do you get when you add Space to trucks (which are already awesome), you get Jason Corlett‘s epic Space Truck:
Lucie Filteau built this model as a Christmas present for her brother-in-law, who owns a Vespa. Lucie has done a great job capturing the iconic look and feel of a vintage Vespa. Her choice of scale is spot-on as those complex slopes accurately mimic the clean lines of actual vintage Vespas and make this build really believable. I have to say that I’m rather jealous of her brother-in-law!