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!

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