While the rest of us toil away at day jobs and try to squeeze in a bit of LEGO building in the evenings and weekends, Dan Siskind runs Brickmania full time, continuing to lead his company’s LEGO design team even while he brings on other great designers. Dan’s latest personal design project has been a full-size minifig-scale version of John F. Kennedy’s World War II torpedo boat, PT-109. Dan’s model includes over 4,000 pieces and measures 27 inches (over 68 cm) long, with a crew of thirteen custom-printed minifigures.
Enemy armor slowing you down? Then get ready to pop some tanks with the War Mustang Multi-Purpose Anti-Tank Missle System (try saying that several times real fast) built by Stud Systems. The War Mustang is a lovely and cleverly designed combat vehicle. The coolest detail has to be the poseable missile launcher and guidance system, which conveniently folds down into the roof when not in use.
There’s no stopping Tyler Clites when it comes to building remarkable and just plain mind-boggling spacecraft. In a similar vein to the awe-inspiring alien vessel we featured a while back, Tyler presents us with another beautifully spherical craft in the form of this futuristic Russian starfighter.
The unique shape is the star of this creation, but there’s so much to appreciate here. The touches of gold, olive and white add just the right amount of color to what is otherwise an appropriately drab and utilitarian palette. The retro, “lo-fi” look of the vessel is a fantastic design choice, as if this intergalactic starfighter was built using Soviet technology from the 1960’s. Like Sputnik, but with one big frickin’ laser.
Gerald Cacas brings us a well-shaped LEGO version of the turboprop Fokker 50. There’s a lot of grey going on, but that’s because the build is modelled on the Royal Singapore Air Force version. This old warhorse of an aircraft is still in service with the RSAF in a Utility Transport and Maritime Patrol role. Aside from its realism, the muted tones of the model create an uncluttered feel, really showcasing the builder’s skill.
Nice innovative parts use with the claw element forming the six-bladed propeller on each side. Aviation fans will also notice the attempt to shape the cockpit window as close as possible to the real McCoy.
Bryce Dempsey expands his arsenal of LEGO gaming weaponry with the Zeus X27 taser featured in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Accuracy to the in-game model in the various thicknesses throughout the body of the stun gun make Bryce’s replica stunning. Watch the builder discuss his replica taser and demonstrate the working trigger and simple firing function in this video.
Welcome aboard Daniel Siskind‘s X-Craft Mini Sub for adventure under the high seas. The captain salutes from the forward top hatch, grabbing a breath of fresh air after months of stale air tinged with the sweet smell of submariner sweat. Waves crash over the bow as the submarine slices through the turbulent seas (a large trove of translucent white and blue studs). With the British Naval Ensign flying proudly astern, the silent hunter of the deep will slip back into the depths and continue to patrol the oceans.
Inside, the belly of the beast also features working hatches in the bulkheads, periscope and various crew stations.
Like most of Dan’s work, copies of this model are for sale through his company Brickmania, which recently produced our own Senior Contributor Ralph’s Antarctic LC-130 aircraft. The X-Craft Submarine will set you back $445, and new kits often sell out quickly.
The original shades of gray used in LEGO sets were phased out in the mid-2000s in favor of bluish grays, making the choice of elements in the original grays limited. However, this limitation can lead to creative uses of those parts, such as in this NATO “Devil” Main Battle Tank built by Carter Baldwin. The angled armor plating on the turret stands out as my favorite detail here, but the whole build has a great flow to it.
Did you see the LEGO LC-130 Hercules we sent to Antartica at the end of last year? Did you want your own rocket-powered ski-plane? Over the last couple of months, TBB’s own Ralph Savelsberg worked with Dan Siskind and his team at Brickmania to turn Ralph’s model of this iconic aircraft into a custom LEGO kit you can buy.
Ralph is awesome, Brickmania is awesome, science is awesome, airplanes are awesome — we couldn’t be happier that one of our team’s designs is being turned into a Brickmania kit!
The Hawker Typhoon, known by the RAF as Tiffy for short, was a British single-seat fighter-bomber, produced by Hawker Aircraft during World War II. Einon‘s LEGO version of the Typhoon features a fully retractable landing gear and carries eight rockets under the wings and two bombs. The real life bomber had a few design issues but Einon has managed to iron out some of these in his minifigure-scale version. The brick-built propeller is a good solution for sizing on this model but the invasion stripes on the upper wing surfaces and fuselage seal this as an accurate wartime Typhoon.
Einon has made a short video that not only shares more details about the Typoon, but also demonstrates his version’s retractable landing gear and how swooshable this LEGO bomber can be.
Rotary-winged aircraft are probably not the first thing to come to mind when contemplating the excitement of naval aviation (who remembers seeing a helicopter in Top Gun?). But these whirlybirds are the unsung heros of navies across the globe. The UH-2 Seasprite is a perfect example, painstakingly detailed here in LEGO form by TBB’s own Ralph Savelsberg.
The Seasprite entered service with the United States Navy in the early 1960s and played a vital role rescuing downed pilots during the Vietnam War. This particular model, Ralph explains, is an early model UH-2A which served aboard the USS Forrestal in 1965. After a complete rebuild, this helicopter was delivered 50 years later to the Royal New Zealand Navy.
Ralph is no stranger to building military aircraft, particularly naval models — check out how he does it and his recent LEGO Sikorsky HH–60G Pave Hawk. His newest creation is no less accurate or well-built than his others. Every angle and shape of the Seasprite has been captured. The coloration and markings also help bring this beauty to life. In fact, it’s so realistic it looks late for an important mission. After all, naval planes may get the glory, but its naval helicopters which get the work orders.
The Sikorsky HH–60G Pave Hawk is a twin-turboshaft engine helicopter in service with the United States Air Force, and TBB’s own Ralph Savelsberg has chosen to depict this versatile helicopter in ‘European One’ camouflage colours. The amazingly accurate shaping of Ralph’s model was the first reason this model caught my eye. I have flown in Blackhawks and seen them close up in my previous line of work, and I instantly recognised the Hawk family resemblance. There are a few details that I particular like, for example Ralph’s clever solutions to using a limited palate of dark bluish grey, dark green, and olive green means the hubs on the wheels are actually dark green minifigure heads!
The news that Si-BORED industries has just released an exciting new edition to their drone lineup has been announced by Canadian builder Simon Liu. The Grunzen drone comes with the tagline, “This all-purpose military unit has been built ground-up to exceed all your combat requirements”. These seem to be fantastically poseable LEGO drones, with more joints than a West coast state after cannabis legalisation. I love the joints that Simon has designed, firstly for the knees using a 1×1 plate with clip as the pivot point, and then the shoulder/elbow joints which ingeniously use a droid torso.
For Star Wars fans, the tan helmets would quickly be recognised as belonging to the Star Wars resistance trooper minifigures from Episode 7. These are great helmets and work perfectly with the colouring and style of Simon’s drones.