Wolfenstein: The New Order was one of my favorite games of 2014, with its crazy yet immersive alternate World War II timeline. SHARPSPEED built one of antagonist Deathshead’s dog-like war machines, the Panzerhund. The LEGO version looks just as vicious and armored as the mechanized hounds roaming an alternate 1960s Berlin.
I’ve been following the recent builds of Thomas of Tortuga with interest and expressing little yelps of delight whenever a new creation pops up. He’s embroiled in a Flickr-based LEGO wargame called Divide And Conquer which I’m not even going to pretend to understand. However, the creations he’s putting together to represent his fictional nation’s military are fantastic. I particularly liked these armored tractor tank things…
I must admit to a certain ambivalence about rendered LEGO creations – I generally like to see builders put bits of plastic together in the real world. And I’m a firm believer that restrictions on quantity and color drive creativity, pushing builders to develop new techniques. However, these vehicles are absolute class, and I figured I’d let the handful of “impossibly colored” parts slide this time. (Those are pieces which LEGO has never produced in that particular color. But digital parts, of course, can be any color.)
The rest of Thomas’ photostream is stuffed with similarly cool and slightly steampunk military creations – well worth checking out. I’m loving his series of naval vessels (especially this dreadnought), although again some of the “impossible part” use does make me twitchy.
I know some people say rendering isn’t “LEGO building” at all. I’m not sure I’d go that far, and builders like Thomas are making me pay more attention to rendered works. I reckon LEGO creativity shines through, regardless of medium. What do you think?
Guns along the Western Front fell silent on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. Using LEGO as a medium to acknowledge Veterans Day, Armistice Day or Remembrance Day wherever you are, is just our community’s way of remembering all of those who sacrificed for their country.
Lest We Forget by Simon Liu
Remembrance 2015 by Luc Byard
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by Deborah Higdon
Poppy by Fujiia
Lest We Forget by JK Brickworks
We Will Remember Them by Nick Sweetman
Wise part selection is the key to any successful Lego creation; and that’s one thing Brick Burger is clearly well aware of. Using a rather specific (and large!) minifigure headpiece from the Superheroes line, he built a giant, unique, and very-well scaled Space Marine—one with an even larger space gun to boot. Perhaps the only thing more amazing is how the print of the headpiece perfectly matches the personality of the extreme character he has created.
Jack R. constructed a convincing LEGO replica of a Barrett M82 anti-materiel rifle. A full-scale model this realistic is impressive, but design alone isn’t enough for Jack. His M82 features a working trigger, working bolt, flip-up backup iron sights, removable magazine with release catch, folding bipod, and removable monopod. As a 1:1 scale builder, the details that fascinate me the most are the properly scaled .50 caliber rounds in the magazine, and the structural integrity of the bipod and monopod, which support the weight of the model.
This 1915 Rolls-Royce 40/50 Silver Ghost was modified to carry the first Premier of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin. A magnificent example of artistry in auto-making to begin with, the heavy modifications turned this Silver Ghost into a terrifyingly capable machine perfectly suited for the far northern reaches and harsh winters of the Russian homeland. The model here by Karwik well captures that capability by placing it in a diorama climbing a snow-covered hill beneath a gnarled tree.
The Grumman F-14 Tomcat was a big beast of a fighter, similar in size and weight to many WW2 bombers, but it could also carry a big punch in the form of four long-range air-to-air Phoenix missiles nestled under the fuselage and a Sidewinder and Sparrow missile under each of the wings. The jet and its armament were faithfully reproduced by Péter Dornbach (Dornbi). Like the real aircraft, his 1/48 scale model also has a working variable geometry ‘swing wing’.
It may be an old warrior by now, with the last examples in US Navy service having been retired almost ten years ago, but it’s still one of the coolest jet fighters in my book, certainly in the high-visibility colour schemes typical for the Seventies. Péter’s model is resplendent in the markings of Fighter Squadron 41 “The Black Aces”, aboard USS Nimitz in 1978. Excellent choice!
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.
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.
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.
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).
This giant LEGO battleship dwarfs the room it’s currently housed in at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.
You can see more photos, including lots of work-in-progress shots, in Dan’s “USS Missouri Project” photoset on Flickr.