Andrea Lattanzio (aka Norton74) has been a fan of LEGO since childhood. He loves to build great scale models and especially trucks and vans. His models have been featured in many specialised magazines and he’s well known in the international LEGO fan communities. When he is not building LEGO models, Andrea spends his free time restoring classic motorcycles and bicycles (he is one of the founders of Officina Super Sprint). He collects memorabilia, automobilia and vintage toys. He works in the communication department of an Italian non profit organisation. He lives with his Spanish wife and two children in Milan (Italy). Below Andrea describes some of his models:
1. Garage Life: oldtimer Volkswagen service and repair LEGO workshop.
Besides my passion for LEGO bricks I’ve always been involved in vintage car and motorcycles and I have always been fascinated by “garage life”. For this reason I devoted myself to build a workshop for a vintage VW Transporter. I was inspired by the Oldtimers department of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles that is now located into a new 7,000 square-meter facility in Hannover, Germany, where its staff of 13, dedicates itself to the restoration and preservation of old VW Buses. Today, the Bulli are sought after and very expensive and so many owners decide to restore them directly where the Bulli was born many years ago. I started with few sketches on paper to have an idea of what I was going to build. Then I started to build the walls and some details. In order to build the internal of the workshop I referred to my real garage where I spend a lot of time restoring and repairing old motorcycles and bicycles.
There are many tools and details in the workshop. Let’s take a look:
A workbench, with wrenches and vice, is positioned at the centre of the workshop. There is also a mobile roller cabinet with four drawers and the air compressor. Beside the workbench is positioned a column drill press in classic green. Close to the right door there is the oxy-acetylene welder. There is also the folding engine crane to lift up the aircooled engines. A vintage stereo cassette is positioned on the shelf with helmets and various trophies; two neon lights light up the garage. Many chequered flags are positioned between the ceiling supports. Oil cans, hammers, wrenches and many other utensils are everywhere in the garage. The entrance is made of two double folding doors. There are still many details to be discovered, but I will leave them to you.
I built the garage in the winter 2013/2014 and I spent many nights building it. The garage is made approximately of 2000 bricks. All my models are made of 100% original LEGO bricks except some wires and the stickers that I made myself with Adobe Illustrator and then printed on to adhesive PVC. As usual I used both my LEGO bricks and used pieces bought on a dedicated to sell/buy bricks web site (www.bricklink.com). After building the LEGO models I take pictures in a professional way: taking good pictures is very important!
2. Volkswagen T1 road service – canvas pick-up
In 2011 I bought the original LEGO set # 10220, I think it’s a detailed and well designed set. Furthermore I like vintage vehicles and especially the Samba. I hadn’t bought original LEGO sets for many years and it was a pleasure to have a new LEGO box in my hands. Personally I prefer “working vehicles” and I wasn’t satisfied with the camper version. I waited to build it until I had the idea to build a canvas pick-up for “road service”. I think the pick-up looks real thanks to the ropes I used for the canvas. The T1 has two side doors below the load compartment; two shovels for road emergencies are mounted on the doors. Two spare wheels, a fuel tank and a wooden box with various tools are positioned on the rack. The plate is an Italian one and the numbers are the original ones of a real T1, (I love the old Italian plate style). Two HELLA supplemental lights are fitted on the front bumper. I built the T1 in January 2014.
3. Volkswagen T2 surfer pick-up.
After having built the T1 I decided to design and create the model that replaced it, the iconic VW T2, introduced in late 1967 and built in Germany until 1979. The T2 is also called Bay or Bay Window. I personally prefer the T2 than the T1, in my opinion the front is more appealing. My T2 is a classic single-cab pick-up in blue. The pick-up configuration was very widespread in the seventies, both in Europe and in the USA. The T2 has surely been the most loved van/pick-up by the surfers of the world. So I placed two surfboards on the load compartment and close to it I put a classic LEGO palm tree from the pirates series. My T2 has two side doors below the load compartment, which is made of wood. Two S.E.V. Marchal supplemental lights are fitted on the front bumper. These were very common in the seventies. The rear hood can be opened and you can see the classic air-cooled boxer engine. In a little toy store I found for a few Euros a tin model of VW T2 (I love old toys and tin cars/trucks); it’s identical to the one I built in LEGO and so I bought it right away and I took pictures of the two pick-up side by side. I built the T2 in may 2014.
4. VW T1 Snowcat Adventuremobile
Here I am with another Bulli. This time it’s something really special. VW vans has been a favourite of surfers, tradesmen, hippies, couriers, families and more. It has also been popular with customizers. However, few T1s have been altered quite as radically as the white one above. Here’s the story:
An Austrian engineer recently retrofitted a 1966 VW Bus Bulli T1 with late-’60s Bombardier caterpillar tracks and a DJ sound system capable of causing an avalanche… And I rebuilt it in LEGO bricks. The front doors are welded shut – cabin access is now through the sliding rear door on the passenger side – and the stock wheel wells have been filled in. They aren’t necessary anymore because the Adventuremobile isn’t riding on wheels anymore; instead, the Bulli body has been placed on the chassis of a 1960 Bombardier B01 Spurgrat snowcat. A vintage Ford of Germany Taunus V4 sends power to the left and right tracks via a transmission system that allows the van to move forward, backward, and spin on its own axis. The little machine can reach up to 30 mph (50 km/h) in the snow and when parked a DJ booth pops out of the freakin’ roof! Fresh mixes are bumped toward the crowd by way of a 1,000 watt subwoofer, 2 × 300 watt speakers, a five-channel Behringer mixer and a pair of Technic turntables. Not exactly the stuff beginners would use. Let the party begin! To build the LEGO model I started with the official LEGO set 10220, modifying it in many parts. The caterpillar tracks are made of old technic link tread; at the beginning I used black wheels for the caterpillar tracks but they were too dark and it was very difficult to distinguish them. So I changed them to light grey ones. The side doors and the rear window can be opened. Inside there’s a light grey Ford Taunus V4 engine. I built an alpine background with snow and a snowy tree. It has been hard to take photos of the models because the white bricks I used weren’t all new and some of them were yellowed. Also the black isn’t an easy colour to shoot! I built the Adventuremobile in October 2014.
Thanks to Andrea for sharing his amazing models wit us. You can see more of his models here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/71040750@N08/sets/