The history of aviation is littered with failed attempts at building an aircraft that can fly like a jet but take-off and land like a helicopter. One of the few successful exceptions is the British Harrier ‘jump jet’, recreated by Carl Greatrix (Bricktrix)
Key to the jet’s ability to take-off vertically is that its thrust can be vectored by rotating the four engine exhaust nozzles vertically down. These are present on the model, of course, and it is finished in Carl’s typical style, with finely crafted lines, a few custom working lighting elements and expert sticker work to recreate the camouflage pattern. The only thing missing, really, is that it can’t actually fly.
Put into service with the RAF in 1947, just after the close of WWII, the Hawker Sea Fury isn’t quite as well known as its older sibling, the Hawker Hurricane, but it went on to see service as a carrier-based fighter in the Korean War. Building good minifig-scale fighter aircraft is a notoriously tricky thing, particularly sculpting a decent looking cockpit. Maelven has done an admirable bit of work here, though, and this plane looks ready for action.
I have a personal tradition of watching a depressing movie on Christmas Eve; I find it has a nice effect of tempering the holiday festivities with some sobering reality.
Apparently Gabe Umland is similarly inclined. This depiction of London during the Blitz has some gorgeously detailed rubble, with just the right touch of Christmas spirit.
Christmas is in the air, colored lights and holiday shoppers everywhere… It just makes me want to jump into a 60 ton tracked vehicle and go defend Poland. Forget nativity scenes; all I want for Christmas is a massive diorama of the North African Campaign.
Marin Stipkovic posts this beefy Eastern Bloc design, based on a 1948 prototype;
From the same time period but opposite weight class, Intense Potato shares this teensy M3 Stuart;
The East comes roaring back with Nick’s slightly futurized T-90;
But he runs headlong into Alex Zelov‘s Somers-style Abrams;
And finally, a blast from the past, Jeffrey Mille shares this adorably twee FT 17 from the Great War;
In the spirit of that old Imperial saying, Victory is achieved through mettle. Glory is achieved through metal, comes this beast of a tank. The Vindicator will stop at nothing to crush its opponents, and flickr user Slnine has done a bang-up job with this LEGO version. While the builder is careful to point out that he took inspiration from some previous models, his version is still super cool and quite a feat.
This weekend, in the Netherlands celebrations are being held to commemorate the 70st anniversary of Operation Market Garden. This was a bold attempt by the Allies to capture bridges over a number of important rivers in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands and build a bridgehead across the river Rhine. This would bring their forces to the doorstep of Germany’s industrial heartland and, in the words of Field-Marshall Montgomery, would end the war in Europe before Christmas 1944. Airborne Troops were dropped far behind enemy lines to capture the bridges, while ground troops fought their way from Belgium through the Southern Netherlands to relieve them.
It was one of the largest airborne operations of the war, which inevitably involved large numbers of C-47 Skytrain transports, such as the one built by Kenneth Vaessen, still marked with the black-and-white stripes that were applied to aircraft that participated in the D-day landing a few months earlier. (Kenneth actually posted it a few weeks ago, but I decided to wait for this opportunity to write about it.)
Unfortunately, things didn’t work out as planned. The relief columns were held up and German resistance, in particular in Arnhem, was much stronger than anticipated. The allied advance was halted, thousands of Allied troops were killed, as well as thousands of German troops and numerous Dutch civilians. The war lasted eight more months, but much of the Southern Netherlands was liberated during the operation by soldiers from Canada, the UK, US and Poland.
We have featured a fair few trains built by Carl Greatrix (bricktrix) in the past. More recently he turned his attention to cars. Apparently there isn’t much that he cannot do, as he has now built an F-4B Phantom II jet fighter and it is gorgeous. I have been following his work-in-progress pictures for weeks, eagerly looking forward to the finished model.
In the sixties and early seventies, the Phantom was the premier fighter aircraft in the US armed forces, serving with the Navy, Marine Corps and the Air Force. Carl’s model wears flamboyant markings typical for US Navy Phantoms. The markings of VF-161 Chargers, which was home-based in Japan as part of the Air wing assigned to USS Midway, were some of the most attractive ever to grace a Phantom and I applaud Carl for choosing this squadron. The model isn’t just good-looking, but has a lot of functionality too. It has opening cockpits, for instance, as well as a retractable undercarriage and moveable control surfaces. Although I actually like studs on a model and prefer my own aircraft models to be somewhat less reliant on stickers, it’s interesting to see Carl apply his typical style to this subject. The result is phabulous.
I built a factory diorama for my T-47 Sheridan walking tank a few weeks ago. Of course, as the style of the build is alternate WWII, the workers in the factory are all female. As it’s Labor Day here in the US, it seemed like the perfect day to post this diorama, and celebrate the achievements of the American worker.
Proving that a LEGO model doesn’t have to be a spaceship in order to be totally swooshable, Dutch builder Red Spacecat has created the AV-24B Seahawk, an imaginary modern military VTOL gunship inspired by the AV-8B Harrier II jump-jet and AH-64 Apache helicopter.
As well as featuring the usual elegant lines and stud-free surfaces of his other builds, this one is also fully configurable and comes with all manner of interchangeable armaments, making for one fun toy!
And the attention to detail with stickering practically borders on the obsessive! It’s enough to make the model airplane builder in me salivate…
(FLAVIO) has been building a series of characters/vehicles using the old hockey big-fig helmets. He calls them Wiffys, and this is the first I’ve spotted. It certainly won’t be the last, though, as these are adorable. The Metal Slug vibe reads perfectly for this one, and I especially like the “tiptoe” pose.