“If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”

I’m not much into auto racing, especially that hillbilly left-turn league, but growing up in the 1970’s every kid in my grade-school loved Mario Andretti and Formula 1 racing.  The cars were amazing and seemed to my young eyes to have more in common with starships than automobiles.  Seeing Szalab Idihnab’s take on the iconic Lotus 72D brought me back to the only F1 race I’ve ever seen in person, the 1977 Long Beach Grand Prix.  There is nothing in the world like the howl generated by those engines, so loud that it made my rib cage vibrate like a double bass.  The 72D was designed in 1970 by Colin Chapman and Maurice Philippe for Lotus and it went on to be one of the most remarkable and successful designs in F1 history before it was retired for the 1976 season.  Although Andretti never drove one in competition (Emerson Fittipaldi was the king of the 72D), he would no doubt approve of this stunning model.


I’ve included a shot of the real Lotus 72D for comparison, I think you’ll agree that the Szalab nailed the design, from the front flaps to the pin striping to the Rear attenuator.  I kind of wish he had included some decals for that true racing vibe, but it is far from a deal-breaker. Normally I’d nitpick the color of the wheels, but I doubt they are available in tan and the gray makes a fine substitute.  If you like what you see, make sure you check out the Ford-Cosworth V8 engine detail, it is good enough to be a stand-alone model.  My only real complaint is that I wish the photos were larger so I could zoom in on the fine SNOT work involved in the pin striping and elsewhere.  It’s also worth complementing the photography, black is the most difficult color to photograph and the builder has done a fine job documenting this masterpiece.


Szalab has a strange photo-stream that contains exactly 5 immaculate F1 cars and nothing else.  It’s as if the builder sprung fully formed into the hobby in 2015 like a Greek god, with no modest or awkward early efforts.  All of the models have a criminally small number of views and favorites, so throw him a bone if you have the time because I hope we see more of these stunning rides in the future and a little encouragement might help.

11 thoughts on ““If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”

  1. Sorry, I’m a massive racing fan and I approve wholeheartedly of the hillbilly left turnin’ as well. And I have to ape your sentiment when all that horsepower lights up at once; it’s not a noise you hear, it’s a force you feel that has enough strength to vibrate your soul apart. Pardon my boner.

    This 72D is spot on brilliant! I can totally see Fittipaldi, Peterson, or Rindt hopping in and blasting off towards my hero worship. The livery is flawless, perfect John Player Special. Team Lotus shone like a diamond through the 70s and will always hold a special place in my heart in spite of mediocre at best performance levels throughout the past several decades. I can find no fault with this, like you I would like to have seen some decal work to really knock my dick in the dirt. But as it sits, I can look at this moc and hear the Cosworth. THAT is impressive!

    God I miss the playboys of the 70s. Nowadays, they’re all robots without necks. Or personality. AND so many goddamn rules! (Seriously!? A 1.6 litre, six cylinder, 15,000 rpm limitation!?!?! Ecclestone, go fuck yourself!!!) And those godfuckingugly front noses. Talk about butterfaces. jeeesh. When those engines needed heaters to expand the blocks enough to start because the tolerances were SO close, they were TEN cylinders running at 19,000+ rpm, and they had enough down force to LITERALLY DEFY GRAVITY AT 100 MPH (Yeah, at 100 mph there was enough force to stick their lightweight asses to the goddamn ceiling!), THAT’S when it was getting crazy brilliant. NOPE! Now we gotta reign them in because it’s unsafe. Yeah, no shit.

    Speaking of awesome race builders, Greg_998 is equally impressive and goes the extra mile with decals. Here’s his 72E:

    E Fittipaldi Légo

    If you hit Greg’s MOCpages account, he also adds great histories on the drivers, teams, designers, and how they died horribly. Good stuff!



    1. Oh man, thanks for the link to Greg_998, I just lost a half-hour looking at his amazing stable of race cars, he definitely has a passion for the topic to go along with the cool models. I should have farmed out this post to you, despite your love of the hillbilly circuit, you’ve got a much wider breadth of knowledge on the topic than me. Yeah, I don’t know if it was the change in cars or rules, but I kind of lose interest in F1 during the 90’s, it just didn’t seem the same. Cheers Matt!


    2. I’m not much of a racing guy either, but damn this is impressive. In fact, I’ve never seen a better F1 model built in Lego. All those tan lines are insane.

      Matt – Actually I find Greg’s stickers to be a huge downside. First, the difference in shade of black is obvious and makes the entire thing look cheap and artificial. Second, the detailing done in brick on Szalab’s care is the most impressive thing about the model and the main standout for me.


      1. Valid point to be sure, black on black is a bitch. Also, clear decals are expensive if you can find ACTUAL “clear” decal stock. At some point clear became the same as opaque. ?!?

        Greg has ventured into several liveries that work well however, especially ones that are quite simple like the Gulf/Martin. His work on Le Mans cars is really where he shines. Szalab’s snot work is far more innovative and delicious, Greg uses a lot of slopes for angles, and on a sleek racer cutting through air that annoying step detracts from the design. Same can be said for F1 nose rules over the last five or so years. And that stupid inch tall “windscreen”. ?!?

        The decals are tricky to say the least. On something this small and close up however, they are very close to real life. The days of painting livery and sponsorship are sadly gone. Now they are stickers with multiple clear coats over them to seem like they blend in as if painted. Someone somewhere figured that the edges of the stickers actually interrupts the airflow by a fraction of a fraction.


      2. As a sticker connoisseur , getting the right stickers is tough, if you go with Lego stock, it’s tough even with some clever snipping.

        And customer white on clear is next to impossible without going to some serious print shops.

        That being said, depending on scale of the build, I rather see the usage of brick built techniques even if it’s not as ‘accurate’ as usage of stickers.


  2. Greg is one of my favorites. His works are always an individual scale for me. And this race car is absolutely great. Granted, the stickers on the first image have an unfavorable effect, but experimentation is one of them.


  3. Mr. Idihnab, this model is incredible. It illustrates both your determination to get every detail “right” and it shows just how difficult building models of real machines can be! There are so many shape, angles, and ratios to get wrong, or as is the case with your work, to get right! At first, I thought that your choice of scale was very ambitious. I thought that smaller would automatically be easer, but as I look at the picture I wonder if the size is not actually your friend here? Do you find it easer to capture all those difficult shapes in this large size? Finally, there is the photography. While the image might be sharper, or brighter, I find it delightful that you have provided us with images that show each and every plate. We can see how you captured all the challenging shapes and angles. Bravo sir, bravo!


    1. I tend to think that the scale choice is more a factor of simply the wheel selection available. LEGO tires, although many, are very limited with being accurate. They’re sort of nonsensical until you get into a vehicle that might venture into around 20 wide, and even then the sidewalls and widths are rather absurd. However, the absurdity in the shape and size fits well with decades’ worth of oddball F1 wheels compared to consumer models. LEGO has yet to make a standard 15″ wheel/tire in scale to anything especially minifig, even the smallest wheel looks to be about a meter tall in comparison.


      1. Agreed. Lego wheels, like the minifigs are just not like their real life counterparts. They don’t match real wheels, and so them make almost every MOC look sort of crazy. But how could a builder possibly embrace and celebrate all those subtle angles as a smaller size? When building smaller, in the absence of specialized parts, angels quickly become a question of “possible” over “imaginable”.


  4. I used to be into racing as a kid and this totally brings back all the right fuzzy memories of making vrroooom noises and paddle shifting 🙂

    Though I’m not particularly familiar with this particular car/team, it’s still an epic build.


    1. Paddle shifting? Good god, that ain’t racing. Levers, linkage, and lackeys baby! I want to see Mansell pass out because of intense heat and a transmission failure trying to pull a wounded 95T to the finish in Dallas (granted, he got out and pushed the car, BUT STILL.) I want to see A.J. Foyt jump out of his Indy car and grab a long screwdriver and a sledgehammer to beat the shit out of the clutch to separate mid race at Indianapolis in 82. I want to hear some hillbilly screaming over the radio for a bungee cord because the shifter keeps popping out of fourth on the backstretch at Atlanta when he hits 209 going into turn three. Fly by the seat of your fire suit racing, THAT’S racing!


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