Monday, July 21, 2014

Rise, Agent Janus…Roundup

We all die alone and afraid in our underwear. And when you go, you can take solace in knowing that I'm going be alright. You see, I got this great new job… Wait, wait, WAIT! Lino, you dumb twit, you've used that stupid condescending joke last time you got a job. Come up with some original material, will ya?! Um...Yes, but, you see, it all comes full circle. I got a new job doing pretty much the same thing but specializing in working with the most difficult students…which is what I started with doing the last job. But now I have my own office. Yes, at some point or another all the students who fail out have to see me. Think the misfits from the Breakfast Club, add another 3000 or so and that is my population. Its like being an assistant principal, except without the receded hairline. Shut up, Tim! Anyway, this challenge called Rise, Agent Janus! comes full circle as well. This is our third Agent Janus adventure and it couldn't have come at a better time, what with the new Ultra Agents sets out. How'd I do at leading this ragtag bunch of misfits? Well…not so good. The other two Janus challenges were among the most popular challenges of all time. This one…(crickets chirping. chirping. chirping…)

Oh here's one by our resident  physicist Ralph Savelsberg. Its James Bond's DB5. Not quite Agent Janus, but with these slim pickings I'll take it. Heck, I'd even take his new Pussy Wagon and call it some secret agent vehicle if he entered it. That's how desperate I am.

James Bond Aston Martin DB5 (2)

Speaking of desperate, Sir Manperson pounds out a Prowler Minaccia. Like my eyebrows, the front is all evil and pointy, thus making it secret agent-y somehow. Sir Man falls us there would be more secret agent goodness to come but none doing. That seems to be the way of Sir Manperson.

Prowler Minaccia

Loek1990 sort of renders us a Jaguar XFR-S and tells us it has all kinds of secret agent gadgets but he doesn't quite explain what they are. That's cuz they're so secret that if he falls ya, he's gonna have to kill ya…or something.

Jaguar XFR-Spy

Rolic enters a Koeningsegg CCXR that is so secret, the secret agent doesn't know its a secret and neither do we. It wasn't even a secret agent car to start with but I sort of coaxed him to enter it here. By this point, I would have also accepted an ice cream truck, a Ford Fiesta or a stick of butter.

Koenigsegg CCXR

Lastly, Lino Martins graces us with some real Agent Janus action for once, a 2025 Mercedes-Benz Ener-G Force with truly a slew of secret agent gadgets, including an arsenal big enough to take down a small country and a concept bike that launches out the side. I'm still pretty keen on the stick of butter idea.

2025 Mercedes-Benz Ener-G Force

That's it? That's it! Five entries, one of the least populous challenges of all time. What has happened to our little car club? That's OK. Maybe the next challenge called Generation Gap will bring in more entries, and why not? Its all about cars, trucks, and bikes that have once been classic, but have also have had a modern resurgence. The Ford Mustang, the VW Bug, and the Dodge Charger are all worthy entries in a challenge just ripe for buddy team ups! Yes, old and young alike can set our differences aside and work together toward a common goal for once. That's right, get ON my lawn, Justin Bieber, and in doing so, we can discover who we  really are. Who are we, anyway? (Cue the Breakfast Club theme music) You see us as you want to see us…in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is in each of us is a brain…and an athlete…and a basket case…a princess…and a criminal. Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, The Breakfast Club.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

LUGNuts Goes Wingnuts…Roundup

We're all certified car nuts around here. But, whether it be the frightening sonic boom of a jet breaking the sound barrier, the color and shape of a stealth bomber or the thrill of having your junk hanging out during crotch check, truth be told, there is just something freaking cool about aviation. For month after month during these challenges, after building car after car, I occasionally wished I could build something else…like an airplane. Which is why I devised a little challenge I like to call LUGNuts Goes Wingnuts…all about cars, trucks and bikes inspired by aircraft. For the first time ever, we also had the option to build the aircraft to go along with our automobiles. After all, long before cave men invented the wheel, they looked to the skies at the giant birds attacking them, and wished they, too, could fly. So it makes sense that we have this challenge. So how did we do, anyway? Let's take a look, shall we?

It makes sense that Peter Blackert starts us off with a car that can fly from the children's classic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It also makes sense that the book was originally penned by Ian Flemming of James Bond fame. See the connection there? Flying cars…secret agents. See what I mean?

Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang

Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang (Wings deployed)

It was Peter's Mustang/Mustang combo a few months back that got me started on this challenge anyway so this time he comes back with a USAF Mustang P51-D, notable for the canopy having greater visibility to the rear.  The car is the 2010 S195 Mustang special AV-X10 edition, which incidentally has blind spots the size of an oncoming Accord no one ever saw. The "Detroit Doll" on both are a neat touch.

USAF Mustang P51-D and 2010 Ford Mustang 'AV-X10 Special Edition' - Detroit Doll

I was hoping there would be some hot bi-plane action all up in here. Peter delivers with this old timey 1922 Packard Twin-Six 3-35 Roadster and the LUSAC-11. Both were built in the Packard plant and both was powered by a 425 Packard-developed V12 Liberty engine.

Packard-Le Père LUSAC-11 (1917) and Packard Twin-Six 3-35 Roadster (1922)

How were the opposing forces doing at the time? Peter tells us that the fearsome Baron Manfred von Richthofen (famously known as the Red Baron) was shot down and badly injured in 1917 in this Albatross D.V. He would have whole-heartedly enjoyed this 1923 Mercedes 28-95 Targa Florio Roadster had he have not been shot down again and killed in 1918. Tough luck, dude!

Albatros D. V Biplane (1917) & Daimler Mercedes 28-95 Targa Florio Roadster (1923)

Both named Comet are this red duo, the de Havilland DH88 Comet aircraft of 1934, designed for the MacRobertson Air Race and Mercury Comet Cyclone Hardtop Coupe of 1964…which won no races. I can attest that the '74 Comet started itself in the driveway, handled like an oxcart, and didn't help a impressionable teenage Lino get any action with the ladies.

De Havilland DH88 Comet (1934) and Mercury Comet Cyclone Hardtop Coupe (1964)

Perhaps my action with the ladies would have been better had I have had something resembling in size and shape to the 1938 Graf Zeppelin II airship or the 1934 Maybach DS8 Zeppelin Cabriolet Spohn Streamliner.  At 6ft5 and well over 6000 pieces, that Graf would have been a contender for the largest LUGNuts entry ever had it not been a render.

Graf Zeppelin II Airship (1937) and Maybach DS8 Zeppelin Cabriolet Spohn Streamliner (1934)

The only British military aircraft to see service during WWII was the Supermarine Spitfire. As a result, this had become the most famous aircraft in Britain as well as throughout the greater allied forces. Knowing a good thing when they see one, the Brits also devised the Triumph Spitfire, both in lovely British racing green. Action with the ladies assured in one of these puppies!

Supermarine Spitfire Mk VB (1941) and Triumph Spitfire Mk I Roadster (1962)

Ever wondered where the '48 Caddy got its iconic tail fin shape? Peter tells us that the Cadillac design team under Harley Earl were allowed to visit the top-secret aircraft development facilities, just prior to WWII, and drew inspiration from the formidable double-finned aircraft that went on to be called the Lockheed P-38 Lightning. 

Lockheed P-38 Lightning (1941) and Cadillac Series 62 Fastback (1948)

Peter Also tells us the Lockheed P-38 Lightning directly inspired the 1950 (and 1951) model year Studebaker. I don't see much of a resemblance there, but to make matters stranger, he says that the Star Wars Naboo Starfighter…directly inspired by the P-38 Lighting! I can see that.

Lockheed P-38 Lightning (1941) and Studebaker Champion Convertible (1950)

I guess there is an advantage to computer rendering…other than the ease of building without handling any actual LEGO pieces. You don't have to wait until August to see what you can do with those tasty dark green fender pieces when the official Mini Cooper LEGO set comes out. Peter has them here. Both car and plane are named after the mosquito.

De Havilland DH98 Mosquito (1941) and Aston Martin Ulster Roadster (1936)

Last on the Peter slab is a true beauty and the beast story...The Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde (1969) and Chrysler Concorde (1998). One has the grace of a swan, the other, I guess, was cool at the time, but reminds be of a bulldog's ass. One Concorde I've never seen in real life, the other, maybe I have, but can't remember it.

Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde (1969) and Chrysler Concorde (1998)

Everyone knows Lino Martins likes to build strange and unforgettable cars so it makes sense that I choose a plane to match this idea, the strange and unforgettable Vought V-173 "Flying Pancake". Yes, it was real and yes it actually flew…very well, in fact. Strangely it did not inspire the Star Wars Naboo Starfighter but should have. The matching fuel truck…ironically, a forgettable afterthought.

Vought V-173 "Flying Pancake"

Our resident aircraft expert, Ralph Savelsberg was the inspiration for this challenge and was privy to it happening several months in advance. That's cuz he invented the time machine! Anyway, he makes building aircraft seem easy but truly it isn't as evidenced by this 1941 Buick Century US Navy staff car and the Wildcat. The link between these two goes further than their user…both were constructed in the General Motors plant.

FM-2 Wildcat fighter and Buick Staff Car (1)

Tim Inman rounds out the challenge with this stunning G-Power X6M Typhoon RS V-10. The link to aircraft? This automaker is BMW, also known for building aircraft engines. As stated in the intro paragraph, it seems our affinity for cars and our underlying interest in aircraft are intertwined within our DNA. They go hand-in-hand…or rather wing and wheel…or something.

G-Power X6 Typhoon V-10

Is that all of them? Seems it is. This was a rather short and sweet roundup. I'm winding down this write up and my coffee is still warm. That's a rarity around here. This challenge offered the chance for all of us to step outside our comfort zones to try something new and it seems only the admins stepped up to the plate. The rest decided that, just like Mary Poppins, they are practically perfect in every way! That's OK. The way to follow up a dud challenge is to come up with a sequel to one of our most popular challenges of all time. Its been pointed out that after 53 months (holy crap, 53 months!) Agent Janus is back in a new challenge we like to call Rise, Ultra Agent Janus! The new official LEGO Ultra Agents line came out this month so an Agent Janus tie in was inevitable. Vehicles with ejection seats, hidden missile racks and sharks with freakin' lasers on their heads are all the rage in the world of secret agents, spies, and espionage. I'm working on a top secret entry myself. I'd tell ya what it is, but according to Ultra Agents protocol, I'd have to kill ya with my tiny, womanish hands that are clearly not registered as weapons. So instead tune in next month, same bat-time, same bat-channel, to see how we have all done in this awesome new secret agent challenge that is sure to be ripe with "shaken, not stirred" jokes. Later, dudes!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Places, Everyone…Roundup

So last month I joked that I’ve been learning how to play guitar on Rocksmith for a few months now and the best I can do on a song is 67.9% accuracy. As a result, I wrote a particularly mediocre roundup and hilarity ensued. At the end of it, I wrote something along the lines of “Here’s to hoping I can bring my guitar playing and blog writing up to a solid C-...but no guarantees.” Frankly, I was going to ditch that idea and write about something else this month. But, wouldn’t you know it, I revisit the song “My Generation” , after a long hiatus of doing other things, and, low and behold, I score 70.3% accuracy!  So welcome to the roundup that I am obliged to make a solid C-. That’s good enough to get me a real estate license but not good enough for say...air traffic control. You heard me real estate agents. Do you want me to repeat myself? Yours is an occupation where passing a high school equivalency test is good enough. Its the job you get when you’re a mom who turns 45 and you no longer have a cheerleader’s body due to popping out a couple of kids and your rich husband leaves you for a younger woman. Think about that as you gulp down a couple of Zoloft with a gin chaser, won’t you? Think I’m being too harsh? Then I challenge you to prove me wrong, dear readers. Prove me wrong. Anyway, this month’s challenge is called Places, Everyone...all about cars, trucks, and bikes with place names.

Once again Peter Blackert starts us off and takes this as an opportunity to build every car in the history of the world ever. His first entry showcases a couple of oldsters standing next to an Ibiza SEAT MKIV. Peter tells us Ibiza is an island with an uninhibited party atmosphere and is a popular place for young Brits to make a dicks of themselves.
This must be what he means...note the shape of the man’s head.

SEAT Ibiza MkIV - 5 Door Hatchback (Eurobricks Miniland Car Design Competition)

Next on the SEAT slab is a Toledo 5 door liftback in blue. Toledo is a small ancient city in the centre of Spain, and is also the name of the province in which it is located. Its also a place in Ohio where I found a humungous bra just laying on the street in front of God and everybody.

SEAT Toledo MkIV -  PQ25 (Eurobricks Miniland Car Design Competition)

Next up is the larger SEAT C-Segment Leon. Peter tells us the city and province of Leon lie in the northwest of Spain and is an ancient city founded by the Romans. The city has played a major role in Spain's cultural, trade and political life for nearly two millennia.Orange shoes and vest apparently required.

SEAT Leon MkIII Cupra 3-Door Hatchback -  MQB (Eurobricks Miniland Car Design Competition)

Largest of the SEAT range of vehicles is the SEAT Alhambra MPV. This vehicle has three rows of seats for up to 7 passengers. And also Peter tells us about Moorish Kings and fortresses in Alabama or something.

SEAT Alhambra MkII MPV -  PQ46 (Eurobricks Miniland Car Design Competition)

Shown next is the 1986 Holden Calais Turbo.The place of Calais is a port city in France from whence Brits frequently enter Europe and wash their hair.

Holden VL Calais - 1986

This 1966 Buick Riviera was awesome! 'Riviera' being a name commonly associated with the Mediterranean lowlands of France and Italy and where I assume Ricardo Montalban was from flexing his pecks and sexing up the ladies.

Buick 1966 Riviera Hardtop

This is a 1956 Ferrari 860 Monza Barchetta Sportscar racer and is named for the Italian Monza race circuit where the four cylinder Ferrari sportscars debuted in 1954. See, with Peter around we learn lots of things.

Ferrari 1956 860 Monza Barchetta Racer

Named for the body of water and the island nations contained in its warm pirate-riddled water, the 1954 Packard Caribbean Convertible was intended to remind people of a relaxing life by the beach in sunnier climes. I think of rum.

Packard Caribbean Convertible - 1954

But lets face it, I often think of rum. That and that one hilarious time I didn’t flush at a Burger King bathroom. Anyway, taking its name from the Corsica Company coachbuilder on Corsica Street, Kings Cross, London, is this one-off sinister looking 1930 Bentley Speed Six Corsica Coupe. Nice!

Bentley Speed Six Corsica Coupe - 1930

Who am I kidding? It was more than once. Boy, were those Burger King employees pissed! Adding some much needed class to this joint is a 1924 Bugatti Type-23 Brescia. Amazingly, race-track success spurred serious demand, and close to 2,000 chassis were produced. This is Chassis No. 2243, a green Tourer.

Bugatti Type-23 Brescia Tourer Chassis No. 2243 - 1924

Peter says my pre-challenge spiel is always a place for good ideas. Indeed it is. But I never reveal my own ideas in the write up. Bet you didn’t know that! Anyway, here is the 1957 Chrysler New Yorker Hardtop Coupe.

Chrysler 1957 New Yorker Hardtop Coupe

Named after the inland plateau amongst the mountains south of where Peter grew up in Australia, the Monaro was the Australian GM outpost - Holden's answer to the American V8 Muscle car idiom.

Holden HQ Monaro GTS Coupe

Next on the Peter slab is a couple of historic Holden Belmonts. The 'Belmont' name was attached to 4-door sedans, wagon, and also the commercial vehicles, shown here in tan Ute (utility) and white Panel Van forms.

Holden HK Belmont Ute

Holden HK Belmont Panel Van

Proving to be an inspiration to us all, a brick version of this rendered 1919 Australia Lincoln Six Speedster was brick built by Flickr member 'Lazy Meerkats' for display at the Birdwood museum and it also made it to Melbourne's 'Brickvention'.

Australian Motors - Lincoln Six - 1919 Speedster

See, kids, copying relentlessly does pay! Copying from my own write up, Peter finds inspiration in a 1956 Lincoln Capri Hardtop coupe shown here in what looks to be prosthetic leg orange.

Lincoln 1956 Capri Hardtop

When I think of Milan I think of expensive handbags, fashionable boots and sleek, expressionless models on the runway showing off the goods in sheer outfits. Peter thinks of the 2010 mercury Milan in dark grey.

Mercury Milan 2010

The very small town of Tarago in Australia apparently inspired this 1990 Tarago minivan. You can probably fit the entire population of Tarago in it and still have room for Burt Reynold’s mustache.

Toyota Tarago Mk II (1990) - Previa

Morris Motors was founded in 1912 and was named after an orange overweight finicky homosexual cat who hawked 9Lives cat food for a living. Right? I’m pretty sure that’s true. Anyway, here’s a 1959 Morris Oxford in sand green.

Morris Oxford II - 1954

No its not just a place to buy books, CDs and the occasional women’s undergarments online. Its also not just a huge jungle in Brazil, which is also the source of most of the Oxygen we breathe. The Amazon was also a Volvo in 1956. Who knew!

Volvo 120 Amazon

The Ford Motor Company was big on exotic locations to name its vehicles in the 1960s. The Cortina, first introduced in 1962, was no exception. Shown here is the Cortina MkIV from 1976 in classy beige and brown.

Ford Cortina Mk IV

And, lastly, Japan is known for square watermelon and groping on crowded subways. Its true, there is even a name for it...frottage. They are not known, however, for cars with place names. One exception, and notably also for being named after a Japanese city, is the Mitsubishi Sapporo of 1978. 

Mitsubishi Sapporo - 1978

When you grope someone on a subway that isn’t crowded that’s called a lawsuit. Not that Dohoon Kim would know anything about that. He does, however, know all about the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona, named after a beach where groping is encouraged.

1969 Dodge Charger Daytona

He also knows all about the Dodge Royal Monaco, named after a small country where its OK to leave an unflushed surprise in a Burger King bathroom. Probably. Actually, I didn’t really research that one. I’m pretty much just dialing it in at this point.

Dodge Royal Monaco

And speaking of an unflushed surprise, Tim Inman squeezes out this stunning 1941 Graham Hollywood. Man, he makes it hard to write jokes when this creation looks so good! I love the chrome elements.

1941 Graham Hollywood

Loek1990 renders an Opel Monza concept car. Sorry, no jokes here. I’m still drooling over Tim’s Hollywood Graham. Man, what a beauty!

Opel Monza Concept Car

OK, must think funny thoughts. Must think funny thoughts! OK, got it! Here goes. New guy, Sir Manperson, admittedly the only recent LUGNuts member I was afraid to look at his photostream while at work for fear of seeing hardcore gay porn, builds a 4-wide Charger Daytona.

Lego 1970 Dodge Charger Daytona Update [1]

Turns out Manperson is just a normal kid who likes cars and LEGO. Nah, go ahead, have a look, I checked, its all safe. But he does have a habit of apologizing for everything he posts. His second entry, he apologetically calls the Pebble Beach.

31006 Pebble beach

Never needing to apologize for anything he does is Ralph Savelsberg and his 1958 Plymouth Fury known as Christine. Its a story about a boy who loves his car and his jealous scornful car that goes on murderous rampages every time he smiles at another girl. I think I dated her once!

Christine (3)

And speaking of murderous rampages, Lino Martins finishes us off with this 1984 Monte Carlo SS all decked out in over-the-top Donk attire. Donks are a phenomenon you find primarily in the US “dirty south” rap culture. I saw a few of these while visiting New Orleans. My tagline: “Safe, Practical, Sensible. The Monte Carlo SS”. Ironic considering I’ve never built anything safe, practical or sensible.

reDONKulous! Monte Carlo

And with that bombshell we end yet another unsafe, impractical and senseless roundup. How’d I do? A solid C-, just as expected. Hey, at least I pull through with my promises. So what’s in store for the future of LUGNuts, then? Next month, I promise a mediocre roundup for a little challenge I like to call LUGNuts Goes Wingnuts. Lets face it, aircraft are pretty cool and ever since I lit my first paper airplane on fire and threw it into a third grade classroom, I’ve been fascinated by things that fly. Our own Ralph Salvelsberg (whom I presume had a less destructive fascination with aircraft) offers his inspiration and expertise in the matter. Plenty of cars bikes and trucks were inspired by aircraft so this will be your month to build them. Also, for the first time ever in LUGNuts history, you may also build the aircraft that inspired your automobile entry. Sound good? So tune in next month where I promise to spend a couple nights writing mediocre jokes and wishing I was building instead, the eight of you might get a chuckle out of it (or not) and somebody will leave a comment having nothing at all to do with the roundup. I promise.