Tag Archives: BrickArms

BrickArms makes custom weapons and accessories compatible with LEGO minifigs. LEGO purists might balk at the tiny AK-47s and realistic bazookas, but BrickArms products are ingrained in the LEGO building community at this point and we hope they’re here to stay.

Bring it on!

It has been my distinct pleasure to spin the tunes for you this weekend, but I’m going to hand it back to my Brothers and enjoy an unplugged Sunday night. Of course I can’t leave you without one for the road. This one is from Joriel “Joz” Jimenez and he calls it Bring it on…again. Cloned-cheerleaders and aftermarket guns; what more could you ask for?

Bring It On... ...again

See you next weekend.

Soviet armor forged in the Arsenal of Democracy

Thanks to having run out of LEGO track (I can’t wait for Brickmania Track Links), I’ve been forced to build something with wheels. Between June 1941 and September 1945, the United States delivered 400,000 Jeeps and trucks, 12,000 armored vehicles, 11,400 aircraft, and 1.75 million tons of food to the Soviet Union as part of the Lend-Lease Program. The US often reserved the latest arms and armor for its own armed forces, and older or obsolete designs ended up on ships to the USSR to fight the Third Reich on the Eastern Front.

One such vehicle was the M3 Scout Car, an armored car created by the White Motor Company in the late 1930s. You can clearly see the M3 Scout Car’s heritage in the later M3 Halftrack, which I’ve included here with the Scout Car — both in Soviet livery.

Soviet Armor Forged in the Arsenal of Democracy

Recent posts about my LEGO World War II models didn’t really discuss materials or building techniques. While I wholeheartedly agree with LEGO’s stance not to produce LEGO sets based on recent real-world military conflicts, it does leave a gap for the minifig-scale LEGO military modeler. Several custom accessory vendors fill that gap. Here’s a quick run-down of the custom items I’ve used in my recent models.

  • Weapons and headgear by BrickArms: Will Chapman has been branching out from American and sci-fi weaponry over the last couple of years, with PPSh & DP-28 machine guns, Mosin-Nagant rifles, Tokarev pistols, and even an ushanka hat for those long Russian winters.
  • Flags and trenchcoats by Cape Madness: My Soviet armor wouldn’t be the same without a proper Soviet flag. Naturally, LEGO isn’t going to make one of those… My thanks to Dave Ingraham for generously giving me a large selection from his catalog.
  • Printed accessories from Citizen Brick: Though a bit on the pricey side, Citizen Brick sells a variety of interesting elements you can’t buy from LEGO, including printed BrickArms headgear like the ushanka with the red star and the medic helmets I’ve included in previously posted models.
  • Printed BrickArms crates from Brickmania and G.I. Brick: Quite possibly my favorite recent addition to the BrickArms catalog, the crates are long enough to hold long guns and come in a variety of realistic colors and useful patterns. Frankly, I feel a compulsion to collect them all…

M3 Scout Car (1) M3 Scout Car (2)

The Soviet decals — “CCCP” and so on — are stickers salvaged from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull LEGO sets (a theme rife with exceptions to LEGO’s policy, but full of elements useful to the military builder).

I’ve written before about how much I enjoy research while building LEGO models based on historical people, events, places, and vehicles. Though I haven’t posted anything in a few weeks, I’ve continued improving many of my existing WW2 models based on feedback from other builders and better photos I’ve come across.

Once I’m reasonably happy with a military model, I like to reproduce it so I can make further variations without destroying each one in turn. Here’s my much-improved (I think…) M5 Stuart Light Tank alongside a new M4 Sherman Medium Tank.

Sherman & Stuart tanks of the 761st

I rebuilt the front of the Stuart to reduce how much it projected in front of the treads, lowered the turret by a plate, and gave the turret a proper commander’s hatch. The Sherman has a brand new turret, using 1×3 arches that I first saw built into the turret on the Brickmania Sherman I reviewed earlier this year — another example of how LEGO builders are indebted to each other to improve their designs.

I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with all my World War II armor (LEGO Italy circa 1943 seems overdue for liberation), but I’m certainly enjoying the vehicle builds along the way.

Custom Roundup: BrickArms, BrickForge, BrickWarriors & BrickFortress

Spring is upon us and the makers of custom accessories are coming out with more new items to tempt us!

First up, BrickArms just released 10 new guns that run the gamut from World War II to Sci-Fi. Fans will be excited to see the E-11 and DL-44 come to production. Personally, I’m pretty excited about the Mosin Nagant.

Another shot of the BrickArms Spring 2013 Release

BrickForge has a number of new items. These include gas masks, ballistic masks, face shields, tactical masks, night vision goggles and chin straps.

Night Vision Goggles - Dark BleyTactical Goggles - Dark Blueish Gray

Gas Mask - Trans ClearBallistic Mask - Dark Bley

Brickwarriors made Dark Blue and Lime items available.

March 2013 - Dark Blue

Finally, BrickFortress doesn’t have any new items but all of their poseable, stubby legs are on sale for $1.15. They have been on sale for some time now, so this may be the new, standard price. They recently ran a poll, asking which colors people would like, so we may see something new in the future. See our review for an opinion on these items.

mini-action-legs-gray-228x228

BrickArms on Evening Magazine [News]

Will Chapman over at BrickArms was featured on yesterday’s episode of Evening Magazine here in Seattle. Thanks to the magic of the Internet, everyone else in the world can now watch the segment, in which Will talks about the origins of his business and his creative process, and shows off some of the equipment he uses in his shop.

Custom Roundup: Crazy Arms, Brickarms, Brickforge & BrickWarriors.

There have been so many new custom items coming out recently, it is almost overwhelming. I’ve been meaning to highlight several of these items and more of them keep coming out!

First on the list is Guy Himber’s Crazy Arms. Guy sent me some of these awhile back but I never got pictures uploaded because my camera was on the fritz and then I forgot. But luckily he has restocked them and they are a lot of fun! They replace the existing minifig arm, allow other “crazy” poses and are currently available in black, brown and white.

CRAZY ARMS info from V&A Steamworks

Brickarms released their Xperimental weapons in October and they look good. I don’t own any but I got to look at a few of them at BrickCon. They definitely live up the standards that Brickarms fans have come to expect. On a side note, Brickarms has reached an agreement with the makers of Offensive Combat. Brickarms will be releasing weapons from the game and some of the Brickarms product line will be appearing in the finished game. I did get some of the prototypes of these weapons and they are fantastic.

By Request, the eXperimental Series

Brickforge has been busy as well, releasing new Shock Trooper armor, Camo patterns and baseball bats in the last couple of months. I haven’t seen the Camo and baseball bats in person, but I got a set of Doomsday Shock Trooper armor in my swag bag at BrickCon and it was pretty cool!

Peek-a-boo!

Lastly, BrickWarriors has been heating up their molds with all sort of new products, including Androids, Demon Armor, Two-Headed Ogres, new plumes and RPGs, among other things. I haven’t picked up any of these yet, but I have been impressed by the number of items they have been putting out lately. I see that some of the items are already sold out, but hopefully they will be restocked soon. Also, BrickWarriors is donating a percentage of each order to Toys for Tots through December 1st.

November 2012 - Dragon Wings, Tail, Lance, and Plumes!

That is all for now, but I will be doing another Custom Roundup this weekend. There was just too much for one post!

BrickArms featured on NPR & in new book on “makers”

I’ve been a fan of BrickArms ever since Will Chapman won me over during a talk at BrickCon way back in 2006. Since then, Will has expanded his business to a new dedicated location, released more new designs than we can keep up with, and been featured in numerous publications and media outlets.

NPR logoThe latest coverage of BrickArms was on NPR today. Will explains how his son’s interest in World War II inspired him to create BrickArms, and the story covers a bit of the process Will uses to design his minifigs and accessories. You can listen to the full story on NPR.org.

Following the feature Chris Anderson wrote for WIRED magazine a couple years ago, he expanded the piece into a full-length book titled Makers: The New Industrial Revolution.

I haven’t read the book yet, but we’re told that BrickArms features prominently in the longer work as well, providing an example of how individuals and small business can incubate innovation and deliver interesting new products, without the staff and apparatus of traditional corporations.

If you’ve read the book yourself already, let us know what you think in the comments.

GP-1 Blackjack “Ground Pounder” walker

Jeff Churill (Cooper Works 70) mixes great shaping in LEGO with custom stickers and BrickArms to create this imposing walker that looks like it emerged from the military-industrial complex of World War II.

LEGO military mecha

Buttoned up for combat, this is one walking tank I wouldn’t want to face on a dark battlefield. The feet and legs are definitely the highlight for me on this mech.

LEGO military mecha

BrickArms to release minifig weapons from upcoming Offensive Combat game

BrickArms is partnering with U4iA Games to make custom minifig weapons from the upcoming Offensive Combat game. You can read more about it on PRWeb or check out the designs on Flickr. Let us know what you think about the start of customizers creating officially licensed products.

Offensive Combat - Battle Axe

How-to: Confessions of a minifig customiser – Part I: Getting started

As we say in our AFOL jargon glossary, purism is “a form of religious fundamentalism.” LEGO fandom includes a broad range of preferences for what’s “legal” and what’s not. In the spirit of broadening our horizons, we’re very pleased to bring you the first in a series of posts about LEGO minifig customization by master customizer Jasbrick.

Light Tent TestContrary to popular belief customisation of minifigs is not a dark art and even established purists have tried their hand at slapping some paint around (albeit on the Friends Mini-dolls). Some will never stoop to the mutilation of their favourite brand of ABS plastic, however I do believe that if done properly it can at least be appreciated by all.

The Brothers Brick have given me the opportunity to introduce you to some of the tools and techniques of my trade to help those amongst you that have the desire to walk on the dark side for a while. In later posts I will go into specific techniques that I developed in my time as a customiser. Hopefully you can benefit from avoiding the pitfalls I fell into and get a few projects like these underway:

New Gears of War 3

These minifigs involve more advanced painting techniques and some third party accessories.

Monster Manual Player Power

This group utilises painting, combinations, third-party accessories and printed decals.

Establishing a strong concept design

One tool a customiser must have is a highly developed imagination (something pretty common in the Lego community); everything else is optional.

Off to Afghanistan!Those moments when putting a particular combination of parts together and a perfect fig pops out are wonderful, but about as rare as chicken dentures. The key to a good custom project is pre-planning and a well defined concept. This does not have to be something completely new, as for example computer game concept art offers a rich seam of material to be interpreted, or real life inspiration can be just as good. The minifig on the right was created for a Green Beret Major currently serving in Afghanistan who sent me a photograph of himself to copy.

But if you want to start from scratch then a sketchpad is your best friend. You don’t even need to be good at drawing to develop a decent concept due to the simplicity of the design of our little friend the minifig. As this series develops I hope to be able to share with you some of the concept designs that I have developed and how they become a reality. Alternatively you can sketch your concept over a template like this:

Collectable Minifig Design Interview

Once the concept is set (not in stone, but pretty solid) the next step for me is to determine how much of this can be achieved with standard parts or by utilising third party accessories. I will be delving deeper into how to get the best from suppliers such as BrickArms, BrickForge, Brick Warriors and Arealight later, but I highly recommend checking out these companies as they offer a great range of products that can serve as inspiration in themselves.

Parts Library

As an AFOL who has amassed quite a large collection of minifig parts and accessories I have a library that I can dip into that can make most custom projects a matter of tweaking to get the final effect rather than building everything from scratch.

The following image is a recent group of minifigs that I put together that are without any noticeable customisation. I managed to achieve a lot with just the combination of parts and a few third party accessories thrown in to tie the concept together:

Odysseus Crew need ship

I recommend that you take a close look at the Minifig and Minifig parts areas in the catalog on Bricklink and see which figs / parts speak to you of further opportunities. Developing an inventory of useful parts is essential to allowing you to get projects moving swiftly before your enthusiasm for the concept dies.