Peter Dornbach (dornbi) has built a very neat model of a Cold War classic: the British Sea Harrier. The Harrier has a somewhat odd-ball appearance, which is captured beautifully in the model. The odd shape is largely due to the aircraft’s unique Rolls Royce Pegasus engine, which allows the aircraft to take off and land vertically. This ability is why it is sometimes known as the Jump Jet.
During the Cold War, many air forces worried about the vulnerability of their airfields to enemy strikes. Fighters that can operate from a much smaller strip, at a time of crisis, can be dispersed to smaller and better concealed locations away from their main base. Building a jet that can take off and land vertically is a big challenge, however. A whole range of different ideas were tried, including having additional lift engines mounted vertically inside the aircraft. This obviously was a very heavy solution. Using rocket boosters to launch a conventional jet from a short ramp worked, but left the jet in question with no place to land. The only successful design was the British Harrier, whose Pegasus engine has four jet nozzles that can be swiveled down to direct the jet’s entire thrust upward. Despite its diminutive scale of only 1/48, Peter’s model has these swiveling nozzles.
Its ability to operate without long runways made the Harrier an attractive choice for shipboard use. British Harriers gained most of their fame (or notoriety) in the 1982 Falklands War, where Royal Navy Sea Harriers, operating from small aircraft carriers, racked up about 20 air-to-air kills against the Argentinian Air Force and Navy, including against far faster Mirage fighters.
It’s no secret that I like the F/A-18 Hornet (albeit not as much as I like the F-14 Tomcat), so I’m always happy to see a nice model of this US Navy strike fighter.
Ryan Harris (Shep Sheppardson) has built a fine example in the markings of US Navy Strike Fighter Squadron 113, better known as the Stingers. This was the first US Navy combat squadron to start flying Hornets back in the eighties and is still active today. Some elements of the model aren’t all that different from other Hornets (including my own), but looks very much like the real deal and has a few interesting features. I’m primarily very curious to find out how the intakes are held together.
Sometimes LEGO builders drop off the map all of a sudden. Real life priorities take over or they lose interest. If the only way you followed the stuff that Ed Diment (Lego Monster) built was via flickr, you might think that the same at happened to him. To some extent it has. Ed’s real-life priority, however, is LEGO-related: he has become a professional LEGO builder, who, together with Duncan Titmarsh, runs a company called Bright Bricks. They also built the jet engine we blogged a while ago. Today, for the first time in a long while, Ed has posted one a new model on flickr.
It is a 1/55 scale model of an Airbus A-380 airliner, commissioned by a toy shop in Heathrow Airport. I already saw pictures of this a few weeks ago, whilst visiting the Bright Bricks workshop, and have been eagerly anticipating blogging them ever since. I know from Ed that being a professional LEGO builder means often spending time building things that aren’t necessarily all that interesting as well as dealing with a lot of red tape, such as health and safety rules and planning permissions. Ed is an airplane buff, however. Back when his LEGO-building was just a hobby, he built a model of Concorde, for instance. It is no surprise then, that the Airbus was one model that he himself was looking forward to building.
The real aircraft is a bit of a blimp, but the way the difficult compound curves on the fuselage were sculpted, the way the wing profiles and engines were built and the wonderful Brick-built British Airways markings on the tail make this model a thing of beauty.
I’m starting to think that LUGPol either doesn’t have any sub-standard builders within its ranks, or they kill them off before they can embarrass the group publicly. Either way I’m delighted to present Polish Air Marshall mrutek’s latest effort, a fabulous single-engine biplane called the Antonov An-2. The An-2 was a large, slow flying utility transport used as both a crop-duster and for the deployment of paratroopers. The Guinness Book of World Records states that the 45-year production run for the An-2 was for a time the longest ever, for any aircraft, but it was recently exceeded by the Lockheed C-130 Hercules.
Come fly with me, constant reader, before the weekend draws to a close and the Monday factory whistle blows. Our conveyance is provided by the always impressive David Roberts and his “Albatross“, while the soundtrack is provided by Iron Maiden, who I had the great fortune to see recently on tour here in Vegas. Rock on David, way to bring the clean lines, bold colors and snappy presentation. I’ll see the rest of you next Friday at the fights.
I don’t think I’d want to be on the wrong side of this one. It’s not often that I see a helicopter design that looks original, but this one by flickr user piratesxlovexrum is awesome. It’s aggressive and bold, and looks vaguely Soviet-inspired. And I have to point out that great bit of photography.
This sweet mobile fighting platform by Garry features the same cockpit and hull, and then adds legs, rotors, and whatnot onto it to turn it into different weaponized vehicles, all of which look totally BA.
From French builder 74louloute comes this amazing diorama of 1930s aviator Henri Guillaumet, a mail pilot in South America who crashed in the Andes and lived to tell the tale. The scene here is brilliant, and the builder is the first I’ve seen to use tiles and the new inverted tiles together to make a super thin smooth wing, and it works marvelously.
This medium-scale Sopwith Camel by TheBrickAvenger is a gorgeous looking model of one of the most famous airplanes of World War I. The fuselage looks awesome in dark tan, and the overall build is incredibly accurate for the scale.
For a long time I used non-LEGO plastic canopies on my aircraft and helicopter models, but in the last two years I have been steadily replacing them with purist brick-built ones. Usually while I was doing this, I also fixed up some other issues.
I have had models of an RA-5C Vigilante, A-7E Corsair II and F-14A Tomcat for more than ten years. The models represent aircraft that were assigned to the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, in 1978, and carry high-visibility markings that were typical for US Navy jets in the Seventies. The models were showing their age: their stickers were peeling, they were built with somewhat grubby-looking old grey LEGO, some of the white parts dated back to my childhood and were pretty badly yellowed and, finally, I have picked up a fair few new parts and tricks since I built them. They are the final three models that still had non-LEGO canopies.
The new models are built with new grey and I gave all of them new stickers. The Tomcat had been updated before, and apart from the canopy, its shape remained the same during the rebuild. The other two jets, however, were rebuilt from the ground up. I hope you agree they now look good to go for another decade.