It’s been a couple of years since I’ve reviewed the custom LEGO kits designed by Dan Siskind of Brickmania. Back in 2013, I reviewed the Dodge WC54 Ambulance, and writing those reviews really got me started in building World War II models seriously. In the meantime, Dan and his team have continued to release new custom kits, on a near-weekly cadence. One of Dan’s recent Brickmania releases is the M3A1 Scout Car, produced by the White Motor Company between 1940 and 1944. The vehicle served throughout WW2, and its basic design served as the basis of the iconic M3 Half-track.
Like some of the custom kits I reviewed back in 2013, the M3A1 Scout Car is a WW2 vehicle I also built back in 2014, so I’ll be comparing Dan’s version with my own.
Click through to read the full review
There are a lot of LEGO models of the Vaught F4U Corsair out there, but none of them are as shiny as this one. This WW2 Pacific carrier workhorse has never been so dark or brooding. So emo!
I generally think of the Corsair as being dark blue, but apparently they were also available in black. Marcus Schultz was the designer, and his use of high-contrast waterslide decals really brings the model together.
After a two-year hiatus, the annual LEGO Military Build Contest is back. If, like me, you are a (part-time) military builder and remember the contests from a few years ago, you’ll be excited, because the models that did well in previous contests were some of the best military models around and several ended up being blogged here. This year’s competition is being run and judged by Magnus Lauglo, Justin Vaughn, Evan Melick, Aleksander Stein, and last but not least , Andy Baumgart, who designed the exceedingly cool contest poster.
You can enter in five different categories, that cover a wide variety of scales and possibilities, from serious scale models and designing your own IFV to something slightly wacky:
- Come up with an original design for a new minifig scale Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) for the fictional country of Azmir.
- 20th Century Battlefields
- Build a diorama representing an actual battle that took place in the 20th Century.
- World of Tanks
- A good chunk of us Lego Military Modellers enjoy building tanks, so why not give you all a chance to strut your stuff? The massively popular video game World of Tanks is the inspiration behind this Scale Model category.
- Naval aviation
- This category invites you to build a scale model of any naval- or maritime aviation aircraft
- Springfield’s Citizen Militia
- In an effort to bolster civic pride, Mayor Quimby has called upon the citizens of Springfield to participate in the town’s very first Military Parade! Help your benevolent leader to make this a ‘Show of Power’ that nobody shall soon forget.
Be sure to check out the details of each of the categories in the military contest group on flickr before you start building or ask your question/ find your answer in the Q&A thread. You have until the 15th of August to complete your models. Rest assured that at TBB we will be keeping a close watch on this year’s entries.
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.
No doubt, World War II has had an enormous impact on modern society and culture, from cinema, books, art and even LEGO creations. Behind dozens of amazingly precise scale models of aircraft, tanks and ships there still hide just a handful of touching scenes telling stories of ordinary people who had to fight for our freedom. One of them is this powerful work by Dmitriy and Anna.
Builder Olga Rodionova also contributes with her heartwarming scene of a young girl meeting her beloved as he is returning home from the war. I don’t think this scene needs any description; the poses created by Olga say more than any words can. Also, the birch in the background is something I have never seen before – such a brilliant texture!
I may be a bit biased here, considering 1) Halo 3 is my all time favorite video game, and 2) these two vehicles are my top favorites in the series, but these vehicles by BrickTechStudios are pretty darn good builds. First up, the Hornet — a single pilot VTOL. Olive green is a great choice, perhaps the most accurate fit to the green of most human vehicles in Halo 3. This color is limited in parts selection currently, but looks like it wasn’t an issue here! Great parts choice all around make this Hornet instantly recognizable by any Halo fan.
Next we have the Brute Chopper. All Halo vehicles can run over players on foot, but the Chopper can also run over other vehicles! The Chopper, and the Brute aesthetic in general, is comprised of metal plating, taped/strapped components, and oversized blades. The builder uses light gray, brown, and flat silver pieces to distinguish each of these design elements. I like the prominence of the vehicle-shredding tusks in front.
See more LEGO Halo on BrickTechStudios’s Flickr.
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.
My passion for LEGO and gaming has resulted in quite an expansive arsenal of gaming weapons, and now I present the most massive of them all: the classic dual-tube rocket launcher from the Halo series in full 1:1 scale. I chose to build the most recent iteration featured in Halo 5: Guardians. It came down to small details when I chose this iteration: the orange highlights, the classic lettering of the “SPNKr” moniker, and the bulky grip section were all my favorite.
At 50.5 inches in length and weighing in at 24 pounds, it’s made from approximately 6,000 LEGO pieces, and initially I thought there would be no working features at all! However, there is one: you can open the launch frame and remove the launch tubes, just like how a Spartan would reload it in the game. Watch this demonstrated in this video:
Click to read how it was created
Several months ago, Kenneth Vaessen built a Soviet MiG-23M ‘Flogger’, which we failed to blog at the time. His latest model is a German Marineflieger Panavia Tornado IDS. Both are classic Cold War warriors, but somewhat unusual as LEGO models, which makes them even more interesting.
The Marineflieger version of the Tornado was used for anti-shipping missions over the Baltic and North Sea, armed with two belly-mounted Kormoran missiles, while the ‘Flogger’ was mainly used for air-to-air missions. These missions may seem very different, but the jets’ configurations have a major feature in common: the swing wings. In their most forward position these improve slow-speed manoeuvrability and allow more efficient cruising flight; to reduce drag for high-speed flight they are swept back.
When these jets were designed in the sixties, this was all the rage. The variable sweep on the wings works, the models have detailed weapons, retractable undercarriages (certainly no mean feat on the MiG), opening canopies and other nifty working features. They look great in their excellent brick-built camouflage.
When you are building a vehicle in minifigure scale, it’s usually hard to achieve all the details. It takes a lot of planning and rebuilding to properly scale the original. Andrew Somers worked four long years to improve his initial attempt on an M1A3 Abrams tank. The result is a magnificent craftsmanship. Thick shield of the tank requires smooth surfaces with low angles and Andrew perfectly recaptures all the subtle slopes. A correct amount of greeble is accompanied with related accessories and a nice photography shows off the model. See it from the back if you want to be amazed by more details!
YouTube builder MyDifferentUserName brings the future of covert warfare to life with LEGO bricks. His latest in his blocky arsenal is the KRM-262, a futuristic pump action shotgun from the popular multiplayer shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops III. In the game, most of the weapons have unusual reload functions to further immerse players into its high-tech theme. With a bit of guidance from a sketch model I built, MyDifferentUserName managed to make the robotic reload purely mechanical, taking his already screen accurate build to the next level. Watch his KRM-262 replica in action with working reload function, loadable shotgun shells, moving trigger, and sliding pump action in this video. (Content warning: some actual gameplay shown – Black Ops III ESRB rating M)