We got a look at 7 of 2017’s new LEGO Technic sets last week, but LEGO still has more surprises to come. Here are 2 more all-new Technic sets, including an awesome Air Race Jet that cops some design cues from the new F-35, such as a thrust-vectoring nozzle for VTOL capabilities. The other set is a more utilitarian vehicle; a Telehandler bucket loader. Both kits have alternate builds, and we’ve got lots of images showing their working functions.
Daniel Siskind, creator of many advanced military scale models, has revealed his latest Mi-24 helicopter. Just look at this beauty!
There are so many awesome features of this helicopter, but the best of all is its perfectly balanced design. No matter which part you’re examining, every single piece, slope, or tile was meticulously chosen and placed. Canopies of rather peculiar shape work perfectly for the Mi-24’s cockpits, while a smooth row of tan and dark-green slopes along the body of the helicopter is aesthetically pleasing. Of course, the presentation wouldn’t be complete without a close-up shot of the rocket launchers — a perfect use of the most common of LEGO parts.
And yes, this particular LEGO model — unlike nearly everything else we feature here on The Brothers Brick — is available for sale, from Brickmania (at least until it sells out).
Builder LEGO 7 brings us a beautifully modern two-gate airport. Look closely, because this model is impressively large and very thoroughly detailed with all the hustle and bustle of real aviation.
The first minifigure-scale LEGO airport, 6392 Airport, released in 1985. Since then LEGO has produced about a half dozen more, most recently 60104 Airport Passenger Terminal. They’ve all been fantastic sets, and the planes have grown larger and more detailed with each iteration. However, they all suffer from one flaw: the terminals just aren’t big enough, even for very small airports, and none includes a jet bridge. Not so with LEGO 7’s stunning creation, which features not one but two jet bridges so jetsetters in this airport don’t have to step outside to disembark. Check out more photos below.
Pete Strege reminds us of one of the most powerful things in this world — no, not about the Joker’s sense of humor, but about love. Because what could be more romantic than a breathtaking flight in a hot air balloon above Gotham city?
The balloon’s envelope is something of a masterpiece. Those are just regular plates and wedges, but the shape they form is simply perfect. In case you missed it, the black and red diamonds are an extremely smart combination of LEGO parts, including the newest 2×2 wedges.
It is no secret that I think the Grumman F-14A Tomcat is the most beautiful jet fighter ever to grace the deck of an aircraft carrier. This is something that I share with James Cherry, who unveiled his massive 1/15 scale Tomcat model at the Great Western Brick Show in the UK little more than a week ago and who posted pictures today.
The Tomcat was also one of the largest carrier-based jets. The end result of building a large-scale model of a large jet is obviously going to be large. The LEGO model is 127 cm long, uses roughly 8000 parts and has taken nine months to build. James has included Power Functions to control the wing sweep as well as various control surfaces. Like on James’ older F-4J Phantom II, the complicated and subtle compound curves are mostly built using carefully angled surfaces and, to get closer to the look of the real jet than is possible with LEGO alone, he has used custom-made vinyl stickers and a vacuum formed canopy.
The jet wears the colourful markings of the US Navy’s first operational Tomcat squadron, VF-1 ‘Wolf Pack’, when it sailed aboard USS Enterprise in the late ‘seventies. One would think that it would make sense for a jet fighter to be painted in colours that are a bit less conspicuous, but that was never really the Tomcat’s style; it’s big and beautiful.
Have you ever wondered what the helicopters of the future will look like? Wonder no more, as mini gray is here to show us one. You may think “Hey, I’ve seen this one among the World City sets in 2003!”. Close, but not exactly. This orange beast features many cooler building ideas, including an awesome application of Technic panels and a brilliant choice of the cockpit windshield. I bet there must be a military modification with a couple of massive guns on both sides, but let us dream about a peaceful future tonight.
Two weeks ago I had the good fortune to attend Brickfair Virginia. As always, I had a great time talking to other builders and seeing their excellent models in real life. I also got to show off my own Tomcat model. I know that a fair few builders dread the public days on Saturday and Sunday, but despite having to answer the same questions over and over again, I love chatting to the public. One of the more commonly asked questions is: “How did you build that?”. I can’t give a satisfactory reply in a single sentence, but thanks to Brickfair, I now have two somewhat more complete replies to share with you.
Inspired by a great talk on building landscapes I saw at Brickfair last year, this year I gave my own talk on how to build military aircraft. Without me talking you through them, the slides don’t tell the whole story, of course, but I was also interviewed by the delightful Matthew Kay from Beyond the Brick. In the interview, I got to show off some of the Tomcat’s features and got to talk about the building process.
I hope you’ll agree that both of these are more satisfying than my default answer: “by sticking one part to another and repeating this until the model is finished.”
My office at work looks across Lake Washington toward Seattle, and I spent much of the morning and afternoon distracted by F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets of the US Navy Blue Angels acrobatic team as they roared past my window. When I saw the predominantly blue and yellow color scheme of this excellent X-shaped fighter plane by Thomas W., I was immediately reminded of the Blue Angels. But with the double gull wings and large propellor, the real-world US Navy fighter that Thomas’s design truly evokes is the Vought F4U Corsair from World War II — one of my favorite aircraft of all time. The yellow stripe on the leading edge of the wings is lovely, and the white accents give the whole plane a more modern look for some reason.
It has been thirty years since Top Gun hit the big screen, and the true star of the movie, the charismatic Grumman F-14 Tomcat, was retired from US Navy service almost ten years ago. I built my first LEGO Tomcat more than 20 years ago and I have kept making improvements, as I learned new tricks and as new parts became available. Usually the changes were fairly small, with the core of the model changing very little.
Ever since I completed my 1/22 scale model a few years ago, I’ve been eyeballing my three smaller 1/36 scale models, no longer liking what I saw. They looked very crude compared to the bigger model and they lacked a few essential features. The intakes on the Tomcat are cranked and the vertical tail fins are canted outward. These sort of things may not seem important, but they make a big difference to the look. Furthermore, the undercarriage never really worked properly, the nose was a bit long, the angles of the wings weren’t quite right and there were a host of other little things that could be improved. Of course, I had to avoid messing up the things I did like about the existing model, but small incremental changes weren’t going to hack it any more.
I started with a new model, albeit with the old one nearby for comparison purposes. The first jet I decided to rebuild has the famous skull and crossbones markings of Fighter Squadron 84 “Jolly Rogers”, like they had in the ‘seventies. I don’t care much for stealth fighters. My Tomcats are probably the closest thing I have to a signature build, which makes me proud to say that the cat is back!
Before going bust, the Swedish car manufacturer Saab built cars that were stereotypically driven by architects and college professors. The cars were always a bit quirky and different, which is probably one of the reasons why the company went bust. Saab didn’t start by building cars, however. Its eponymous parent company started by building aircraft for the Swedish military and it is still going strong. The Saab J 35 “Draken” (Dragon), built by Stefan Johansson, first flew in 1955 and was one of Europe’s first supersonic fighter aircraft.
Stefan’s model clearly shows the very distinctive cranked delta wing of this Cold War classic. The Swedish military typically required their aircraft to be suitable for operations from poorly prepared surfaces, in terrible weather and to be maintained by conscripts with relatively little specialised training. The resulting aircraft always looked rather different from their contemporaries. This also applies to the Draken’s replacement in Swedish service: the Saab JA-37 “Viggen” (Thunderbolt). If anything, Stefan’s model of this jet is even more impressive.
It has a large double delta wing, canard foreplanes and an unusual undercarriage with double main wheels in tandem, designed to facilitate operating from unpaved runways. Another quirky feature is that, in order for the jet to fit inside small underground hangars, its vertical tailfin can be folded down. Judging from the row of hinges this can also be done on the model. The complicated curvy shapes of fuselage are recreated very effectively using various slopes, and while I am normally not a fan of studless builds, the choice to build the model’s wings using bricks on their side works really well. Saabs are unusual fighters and an unusual choice of subject for LEGO models, but these are just more reasons to like them.
Along with the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, the B-25 Mitchell with its iconic twin tail fins is one of my favorite World War II aircraft. As more and more LEGO elements have become available in dark green, nelsoma84 and Florida Shooter have been collaborating on a design for the venerable bomber.
Here’s nelsoma84’s Mitchell in its Pacific Theater gunship role with the “Air Apaches” of the 345th Bombardment Wing.
The builder says that the eagle-head nose — here with its ferocious complement of .50 caliber machine guns (there were 18 total on the airplane!) — is modular, and can be swapped out for a clear nose.
And here’s his collaborator’s version, the blue-nosed 499th Bomber Squadron version.
The military use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, popularly known as drones, goes back to WW2. As long ago as the Vietnam War, the USAF used versions of the Firebee UAV for dangerous reconnaissance missions over the North. In recent years, military drones have been used for surveillance as well as for controversial targeted killings, typically with relatively slow and high-flying machines against adversaries that don’t have meaningful air defences. These machines are not yet a viable replacement for a full blown jet fighter. The Peregrine, built by Stijn van der Laan (Red Spacecat), offers a glimpse of what a future unmanned combat aircraft may look like, if done up in a particularly snazzy colour scheme.
The way the wings and canard foreplanes are angled makes the model look super sleek and I love how the wedges used to build the engine nacelles and the forward fuselage interlock. More angles can be seen in Stijn’s flickr Album.