Tag Archives: Military

Tanks and fighter planes, dioramas of World War II battles, dreadnoughts and battleships — LEGO builders have an obvious fascination with the arms and armor of the military-industrial complex. Find all these LEGO weapons of mass destruction right here on The Brothers Brick.

MIDA Multi-Tool from Destiny

Elliott Feldman spent several months to build a life-sized MIDA Multi-Tool Scout Rifle from the video game Destiny. The model is instantly recognizable to those who have played the game, but more interesting is the fact that the creation was scaled to one Lego piece. Find out what this part is in the description video on YouTube, which also showcases other features of the gun.

The Chogenbo is coaxial coolness

Over the years several people have constructed mechanisms to get coaxial rotors on their helicopters to spin in opposite directions, including Henry Oberholtzer. Recently one of his ingenious creations was successfully adopted by Matt Hacker for his AH-5 “Chogenbo” (Japanese for Kestrel). The end result is one of the coolest and most believable near-future helicopters that I have seen in a long time. Matt unveiled the model at Brickfair Virginia in August, where it won the ‘Best Military’ category. I have been eagerly anticipating him posting pictures of it ever since.

AH-5 "Chogenbo"

Let me apologise for the info dump in advance, but there is no denying that I am a bit of an aviation geek. (It’s fewer than 4000 words, I promise.) Coaxial helicopters are cool. There is a fundamental limit, of about 400 km/h, to the forward speed of conventional helicopters. This is essentially set by the blades being swept forward reaching the speed of sound -this is a bad thing- and the blades being swept aft, also known as the retreating blades, moving too slow through the air to generate lift. This is called a retreating blade stall and is also a bad thing. That going faster is difficult is evidenced by the longevity of the current record, set by a modified Westland Lynx as long ago as 1986. If you want your helicopter to go faster, you’ll have to get creative. However, coaxial helicopters, with two sets of counter-rotating rotors on top of each other, do offer the promise of considerably faster flight. The retreating blades on a coaxial helicopter do suffer from retreating blade stall, but the resulting loss of lift is compensated by the lift generated by the blades of the other set on the same side of the helicopter moving forward. To see the coaxial rotors on Matt’s helicopter in action, check out his video.

Japan’s WW2 surrender depicted on 26-foot LEGO USS Missouri

As the grandson of an American World War II veteran who was born and raised in Japan, I have a rather complicated relationship with the Pacific War in World War II. From Nanjing to Bataan, there’s no denying the atrocities committed by the Imperial Japanese military against both the peoples of fellow Asian nations as well as Allied prisoners of war, and yet I feel deep sympathy for the genuine suffering that the people of Japan experienced themselves — from the firebombing of my hometown Tokyo to burning Okinawan civilians alive as they hid in caves. The end of World War II could not come soon enough, and Japan’s surrender ensured that my GI grandfather did did not get shipped from Hawaii across the Pacific to participate in the invasion of the Japanese home islands.

To commemorate this important event 70 years ago today, Dan Siskind has built the American battleship USS Missouri, which was the venue in Tokyo Harbor for Japan’s surrender. At 26 feet long, Dan’s “Mighty Mo” is the largest LEGO warship ever made (four feet longer than Jumpei Mitsui’s Yamato).

Japan Surrender Cermony, September 2, 1945

This giant LEGO battleship dwarfs the room it’s currently housed in at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Japan Surrender Cermony, September 2, 1945

You can see more photos, including lots of work-in-progress shots, in Dan’s “USS Missouri Project” photoset on Flickr.

Thunder run

When Andrew Somers posted his M1A3 Abrams on flickr sometime last year, I was impressed by the details and its shape. However, I did not like it being grey when real tanks rarely are.


The model is still as grey as ever, but he has taken it to another level by adding a completely brick-built backdrop, complete with rubble in the street and a realistic-looking explosion; an effect that is enhanced by the depth of focus. This just goes to show that you don’t always have to photograph your model against a neutral background to get it blogged here!

Armies on the march at Waterloo

A few weeks ago, Nannan posted The Defense of La Haye Sainte Farm at the Battle of Waterloo. While impressive, this was only a small part of a much larger diorama that was unveiled at Brickfair Va., to commemorate the 200th anniversary of this historic battle.

Battle of Waterloo Diorama

This impressive display was a collaborative effort by Joshua Brooks, his father Gary Brooks (Gary^the^procrastinator) and Casey Mungle, Ken Rice and John Rudy, with further contributions by several more members of Wamalug. It was not only large, but also tremendously well-researched. The formations of figures and their uniforms were chosen to be period-accurate, for instance. The size of the diorama had the consequence that, when sitting at one end and looking at the other, it was impossible to focus your eyes on the whole thing at once. This made the hundreds of sometimes fairly rare minifigures really look like armies on the march. In fact, there were so many figures on this display, that this may be the very reason why some of them have become so rare!

Edit: The guys from Beyond the Brick have posted an interview with Gary at Brickfair, which is well worth checking out.

Military aircraft builders at Brickfair Virginia

Most of my fellow Brothers are already getting geared-up for BrickCon in October, but at that time of year, sadly, I can get away from work only barely long enough to attend Steam in the UK; a trip to the US is not in the cards. However, in the last few weeks I was in the US for a holiday which included attending Brickfair Virginia. I haven’t yet been home long enough to find the time to go over all the pictures that I’ve taken, let alone to find the owners of the models in them on-line, but will hopefully get around to that in the next few weeks. For now I want to share some of my experiences and to give a shout-out to the military builders I have been hanging out with, specifically Aleksander Stein, Evan Melick, Matt Hacker and Corvin Stichert. This year they displayed a collaborative airfield layout full of excellent minifig scale (near-future) military aircraft, helicopters and ground support equipment.

Brickton Air Force Base Collaborative Display - BrickFair VA 2015

The event consisted of three set-up days, which were for registered attendees only. There were a lot of organised activities, including games and talks about build techniques, as well as two talks by the guys from Beyond The Brick about their youtube podcasts. I was too busy chatting to other builders while all of this went on, but I did catch an excellent talk by Gary Brooks (whose Battle of Waterloo was featured here a few weeks ago) about building landscapes, that taught me a few new tricks. The set-up days were followed by two public days, during which we all got to display our models to an appreciative audience. I know some exhibitors dread these, and they can get very busy, but I enjoyed talking to the audience and demonstrating the folding wings and undercarriage of my Wildcat fighter.

Brickton Air Force Base Collaborative Display - BrickFair VA 2015

The fun didn’t end at Brickfair. Since all of us share an interest in military history and technology, the next day we hit the road (and thanks to the satnav, DC rush hour traffic on the way back) to visit the USMC Museum in Quantico. This had a little LEGO twist: its shop features an impressive model of the USMC Memorial by Nathan Sawaya, which was the perfect backdrop for a group photograph.

BrickFair 2015 - Lego Military Models Goes On A Road Trip

I know that there must be a fair few people among you who have never actually been to any sort of LEGO convention or event. I was like you for a long time. Building with LEGO was something I did on my own. Later I started sharing models online, which added a welcome social component. However, as I found out when I joined Brickish in the UK and started attending events, nothing beats face-to-face meetings with fellow enthusiasts and being able to see their builds in real life. I’d like to thank Magnus Lauglo for inviting me to brickfair several years ago and for offering me a place to crash this year too. Congratulations to our very own Simon for winning four (!) Brickee awards, including best aircraft. Thanks guys, I had a ball.

Massive 5-foot LEGO model of USS Kitty Hawk

This 1:200 scale model of the USS Kitty Hawk isn’t the first large-scale LEGO ship model Matt Bace has built, but it just might be his best yet. While his model of the USS Missouri is impressive at over 4 feet in length, the Kitty Hawk dwarfs it, coming at 5 feet, 3 inches long, and boasts an astonishing complement of aircraft, with over 40 helicopters, fighter jets, and support aircraft adorning its flight deck. This model was built digitally, but anyone who doubts the skill and time required by a model like this has clearly never built a large, detailed digital model.

USS Kitty Hawk (Vietnam Era)

Reminder: “Battle of Bricksburg” American Civil War display at BrickCon 2015

Each year except 2013 (we needed a break!), The Brothers Brick organizes a collaborative display at BrickCon in Seattle, the first weekend in October. We’ve mentioned this a few times and set up the official group on Flickr a while back, but with just under two months left until BrickCon, it’s time to share more details!

Battle of Gettysburg:  Pickett's Charge

“Picket’s Charge” by Sean Edmison

Review:  BrickArms Cavalry Sword Prototype (Part 4)After zombie outbreaks, space colonization, and time-traveling dinosaurs, “The Battle of Bricksburg” will be TBB’s first historically themed collaborative display. All TBB readers who attend BrickCon are welcome to participate. (Please note that we cannot accept drop-offs during the public hours on Saturday and Sunday.)

Following the custom sonic screwdrivers he made for ChronoCon last year, we’re incredibly grateful to Will Chapman from BrickArms for collaborating with us on a number of specially designed custom accessories for our display. Planned accessories (pending finalization) include:

  • Stackable cannonballs
  • Caplock musket
  • Cavalry saber


To start getting your minifigs properly equipped, you can pick up the BrickArms Caplock Musket from Brickmania (where you can also buy a really excellent M1857 cannon used by both sides during the war). Both US and Confederate flags are available from our friend Dave Ingraham over at Cape Madness (along with other cloth accessories, like great coats).

Even though we’re targeting a certain level of historical accuracy, the display isn’t trying to reproduce a specific battle or a specific location. To help make this a success for everyone, we’ve designed the layout so that it can be as large or as small as it needs to be, and can accommodate nearly whatever you build. Whether you bring just a few infantry, a squadron of cavalry, big hulking ironclads, houses for the town, or a full section of landscaping, we’ll do our best to incorporate your hard work.

Nevertheless, BrickCon organizers need to have a sense of how much space the display will need, so please register your MOC(s) — after you register yourself, of course! — and please also let us know in the Flickr group and/or here in the comments on this post.

“Strength for Freedom” – the battleship USS Missouri

Dan Siskind has been designing a microscale USS Missouri, and he and his Brickmania crew have recently completed a full minifig-scale version that they’re hauling around the country to various events. I’m really looking forward to the micro-scale kit myself, but Eínon couldn’t wait, and built himself his own WW2-era “Mighty Mo.” It’s unusual to see ship models without a big block of bold red under the ship’s waterline. But the subtler dark blue with a range of gray hues suits the venerable and historic battleship — now a museum ship on display in Pearl Harbor, Hawai’i — rather nicely.

Battleship USS Missouri BB-63 - LEGO Model