Monthly Archives: May 2013

CVF-104 – Microscale Aircraft Carrier

Jacob Unterreiner (4estfeller) says he was inspired by Stijn’s awesome Marine Air Ground Task Force and that inspiration has resulted in quite the spectacular near-future microscale aircraft carrier. This thing just screams to be played with…and we all know Jacob is sitting in his room right now pew-pewing and swooshing to his heart’s content!

Check out Jacob’s full Flickr photoset for detail shots of the air fleet and the build progress.

And here is a video of the play features:

To top it off, community poster maker and all around nice guy Pascal did the photo editing for Jacob. Now is that the sign of a great community or what? ;)

Only the monstrous anger of the guns / Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle

I get angrier and angrier with each passing Memorial Day here in the United States. Baseball announcers blithely wish each other “Happy Memorial Day!”, car companies attempt to entice me with “low, low APR”, and everyone celebrates the service of active-duty and surviving military personnel. No, Memorial Day is a day of somber remembrance, not to be confused with Veterans Day, and it’s a day — like Remembrance Day in other parts of the world — to honor those murdered by their governments in defense of long-forgotten political agendas. It’s a day that should remind us just how evil and unnecessary war is — not how cool it is.

And yet, there is real heroism in what many men and women in the armed forces accomplish in the face of such horror. I’ve mentioned before how much World War II fascinates me, not least because I grew up surrounded by abandoned bomb shelters in Japan and because my American grandfather served as a medic during the war.

One way I explore that fascination — and learn quite a bit of history in the process — is to research the people, places, and equipment of World War II. This year, I’ve been building for more than a month leading up to Memorial Day, and I have quite a few new builds to share.

The M7 Priest was self-propelled artillery (a “Howitzer Motor Carriage” in WW2 parlance) based on the chassis of the M3 Lee/Grant series of medium tanks.

M7 Priest (1)

My M7 Priest incorporates a 105mm gun that I reverse-engineered from the Brickmania M2A1 Howitzer kit (since I’d built a complete one to tow behind my GMC CCKW).

The Priest has an open top, so I spent quite a bit of time trying to get the interior right. I built ammunition stowage (by inverting 1×1 bricks and attaching them with the One Ring) and gave the floor corrugated steel plating with printed tiles from Citizen Brick.

M7 Priest (5)

See more photos in my M7 Priest photoset on Flickr.

The GMC CCKW 2.5-ton truck, or “Deuce and a Half,” served in many roles during and after World War II, with numerous variants to support all those roles. Even though I’m quite happy with the other models I’m unveiling in this post, my favorite is definitely this maintenance/recovery version of the CCKW.

GMC CCKW Maintenance/Recovery Truck (1)

The details are all modular, and I can quickly convert this rather complex truck into a number of other variants, including this one with a towable M45 Quadmount anti-aircraft gun.

GMC CCKW Truck with M45 Quadmount (1) GMC CCKW Truck with M45 Quadmount (2)

My Willys MB Jeeps also got an upgrade, with two new variants — both with Bantam trailers.

Willys MB Jeep with Bantam Trailer Willys MB Jeep Ambulance with Bantam Trailer

All these non-combat vehicles were making my minifig soldiers feel a little under-powered, so I built them an M5A1 Stuart light tank and an M8 Greyhound armored car.

M5A1 Stuart Light Tank (1) M8 Greyhound Armored Car (1)

Finally, it occurred to me recently just how little the average World War II LEGO model reflects the real-world diversity of the men and women who served in the United States armed forces during World War II. The segregated U.S. Army resisted placing African-Americans in front-line combat roles until fairly late in the war, but the all-black 761st Tank Battalion served with distinction in major engagements like the Battle of the Bulge. I made some minor modifications to my M4A3 Sherman tank, including the addition of a lip that overhangs the wider tracks, thus making this the M4A3E2 variant. While I was at it, I replaced my crew with members of the 761st.

M4A3E2 Sherman "Jumbo" of the 761st (1)

I’m currently working on something for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, or “Nisei Soldiers.” In the meantime, you can see more photos of everything I’ve posted here in my photostream on Flickr.

The title of the post is an excerpt from “Anthem for Doomed Youth,” by Wilfred Owen, an English poet who died in combat one week before the end of World War I. It seems doubtful that I can convince a generation of youth who’ve learned more about war from the “Medal of Honor” video games than from challenging poetry to read Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, but it’s worth a try…

Starship ISIS (or) Manifest Cronyism

What is the point of being a Brother Brick with the all privilege and status that goes along with it, if you can’t abuse the power to promote the agendas of your closest associates? That was the question I asked myself when deciding whether or not to blog the latest massive S.H.I.P. by professional percussionist and raconteur Iain (~Ara~). I can hear the cries of the disenfranchised now…

“Goldman, this is outrageous, TBB always tells us we must have flawless photography on eye-burning white backgrounds! This photo doesn’t qualify at all: there is non LEGO clutter in the background, some kind of barbecue and is that an ashtray with butts in it? Butts on TBB!.”

Relax my excitable friends, this is Iain, and if you’d ever met him you’d realize that his inherent coolness allows him to supersede those concerns.


Sure, the SHIP is great, especially the bridge, but this post is less about how cool the model is and more about how cool the builder is. However, Iain cannot quite escape unpunished for his unwillingness to bow to the conventions of this site and the hobby in general.

How do you tell if the stage is level? The drummer is drooling from both sides of his mouth.

How can you tell a drummer’s at the door? The knocking speeds up.

What’s the last thing a drummer says in a band? “Hey guys, why don’t we try one of my songs?”

What do you call a drummer that breaks up with his girlfriend? Homeless.

How can you tell when a drummer’s at the door? He doesn’t know when to come in.

So please add your favorite drummer joke in the comments if you are motivated to take the piss out of Iain too.

Going a bit crackers – Beyond the Brick interview D-Town Cracka

One of the wackier categories in this year’s LEGO Military Build Competition is “Friends vs. Fabuland,” in which two rather unlikely foes go head to head. Andy Baumgart ( D-Town Cracka), who is one of the judges, was the mad genius behind this one.

Friends Propaganda Poster

He was recently interviewed by the guys from Beyond the Brick. If you’re interested in what makes Andy tick, how he discovered and joined the military build community on Flickr, or want to hear about the pleasures of having your models blogged on TBB, I heartily recommend you watch the interview on Youtube.

The Contaminated

I know what some of you are thinking: “you’ve lost your mind Goldman, this isn’t even a build!”. What can I tell you, I’m a sucker for the hazmat-guy minifig and all things G.I.T.D. Somebody told me this site started as a bunch of figbarf anyway, so hopefully you will forgive this break in your regularly scheduled programming. So what say you, constant reader, is this kind of image appropriate fair for the big blog, or strictly small-time action?

The Contaminated

The image comes courtesy of delgax and if this kind of shot is your bag too, he’s got a photostream packed with very classy minifig-based photography.

Hey, at least it isn’t a storm trooper walking across a chili-dog.

Toyota Land Cruiser HJ-47

Please indulge me again, constant reader and take a look at another model that isn’t as current as our usual fare. In December of 2012 a nice fellow called Arctic Fox posted a fine looking Toyota Land cruiser that made the best use of the much maligned rubber band that I’ve seen in a long while. I only discovered the model recently myself and I noticed that 5 months ago TBB’s own Mad Physicist called it “excellent”. Good enough for Ralph, good enough for me.

Toyota Land Cruiser HJ-47

Lego Hluboká Castle made from 100,000 bricks

Ryxe and Sanna has been working on a Lego model of the Czech Hluboká Castle for the majority of the past year. From the looks of it the model’s footprint is larger than a twin-sized bed. While size doesn’t always make a Lego creation great, there are sufficient details to be admired such as the windows on the round towers and other wall decors. While there aren’t additional edited photos, you can find work-in-progress shots in the builder’s Flickr photostream.

“Isolation is not good for me.”

We might as well build a casita out on the TBB back-40 and install Fedde (Karf Oolhu) as one of the blog’s Artists in Residence. By my count, and admittedly math was never my strong suit, the self-styled “Reformed Cthulhu” has appeared 20 times on TBB as of this posting. The model is typical Karfian boilerplate that elicited many cries of NPU!” on Flickr. There are currently 2,966 in his stream (the vast majority are LEGO realated), and 1,803 models have been placed int the LEGO Group on Flickr. While I realize that more doesn’t necessarily mean better, I can think of few builders who are as prolific and talented as Karf.