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.
I recently picked up Wolfenstein: The New Order in the Steam Winter Sale — partly because it was very cheap, and mostly because it promised cool alternate history robots. While the game didn’t win me over, the promise of robots was fulfilled and now I’m seeking more vaguely German machines. Djordje delivers with this “Höllenhund”. My favourite part use here must be the single armour part angled in such a way to create a dome helmet, and the red eyes peeking out below.
History is rarely accurate when written at the time. The first comprehensive History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire wasn’t published until 1776, and William L. Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich wasn’t published until 15 years after the end of World War II. And so it goes with the great Battle of Bricksburg, which took place October 1-4 at BrickCon in Seattle this year. Now, nearly three months later, thanks to the intrepid battlefield photography of Sean Edmison, we have an unprecedented view of this historic engagement between the Union and the Confederacy.
The idea for the Battle of Bricksburg was conceived during BrickCon 2014. We envisioned a realistic, historical contrast to our many years of sci-fi displays such as the original Zombie Apocafest 2008 and Numereji 2421.
In the end, about a dozen TBB readers and staff members participated in building a cohesive display that was assembled from individual segments as well as loose brick in the two days before the public exhibition hours on Saturday and Sunday. The display featured about a thousand troops, including cavalry, sharpshooters, supply trains, medical corps, and even a pair of ironclads on the nearby river.
Union troops charge forward in front of an 1800’s farmhouse built by Caylin. Another group of Union soldiers has captured some Rebels.
Our friends over at Beyond the Brick produced a video overview of the display, in which I describe some of the display’s highlights and show off details like the BrickArms stackable cannon balls that are hard to see in photos.
Particular thanks go to Will Chapman of BrickArms, who supplied huge quantities of stackable cannonballs, cannon muzzles, caplock muskets (by the thousand, in gallon bags), bayonets, cavalry sabers, and pistols. We would not have been able to achieve the level of historical realism in the display without these accessories, many of which Will custom-designed and injection molded in small batches by hand just for this display. Similarly, we relied on historical flags and unit banners printed and donated by Dave Ingraham of Cape Madness.
Nick G‘s model of the Russian T-90MS main battle tank looks armed and ready to blow the LEGO battlefield to bits. All the subtle shapes and lines in Nick’s replica are true to the real tank; a challenge to accomplish at his chosen scale. On top of that, the builder mentions it features a working suspension system.
I’m more impressed with his variant of the same build with added ERA (Explosive Reactive Armor). Smart use of gold ingots in light gray to show the separation of ERA panels.
Grantmasters is pushing the boundaries of microscale with this lovely set of Great War aeroplanes. My favorite part of microscale is how much can be evoked with just a handful of pieces, and here the Sopwith Camel and Fokker DR1 are instantly recognizable. The forced-perspective with the clouds and mountains in the background is easily overlooked, but also subtly adds a lot to the scene.
Every talanted builder has his or her own particular style of bulding and presentation. And the longer you follow your favorite authors, the more recognizable their styles become. But then there are collaborations. And what I love the most about them is the fact that you can never predict the result. And this time Sunder_59 brings us an amazingly executed digital render of SiMaI7’s (Kirill Simerzin) latest T-72A military tank. You should already know Sunder_59 as we mentioned a couple of his renders not so long ago. Personally I’m rather apathetic towards digital building, but the quality of this rendering is outstanding. And don’t hesitate to examine the model online.
Following up his life size Mida Multi-Tool prop, Elliott Feldman presents to us his LEGO replica of the Exotic hand cannon Hawkmoon from Destiny: The Taken King. While his Hawkmoon appears larger than 1:1 scale, the details, angles, and elegance of the original weapon design are on point. I particularly like the construction of the cylinder and angles surrounding the barrel.
Elliott demonstrates the working trigger and moving hammer, provides more insight into his build process, and shows side-by-side comparisons with his Hawkmoon and the in-game Hawkmoon in a short video posted on his YouTube channel.
The current Iron Builder battle has been producing some fantastic builds and the latest entry by David Hensel is definitely one of my favourites. The Enigma machine built by David is a LEGO replica of the German military model used during and after the Second World War.
The Enigma machine is a combination of mechanical and electrical subsystems. The mechanical subsystem consists of a keyboard; in David’s model this is the main area using the Iron Builder seed part, the Fencer’s Foil. There are also a set of rotating disks called rotors (Technic Gear 24 Tooth Crown) arranged adjacently along a spindle, and a method of ‘stepping’ to turn at least one rotor with each key press (1×1 round tiles).
David, can you just whip up a quick LEGO British Bombe to help decipher your LEGO Enigma machine please?
The model is 1.2m long, contains around 6,000 pieces, and took James nearly 5 months to design and build. But beyond the impressive scale and the lovely custom stickering, it’s the smooth curves and the shaping of the various sections which make this creation stand out for me. I also really like the handful of studs left exposed, creating a feel of riveted panels around the intakes.
James managed to squeeze no less than 5 Power Functions motors inside the model, allowing the rudder and various flaps to be operated using a remote control. It was very cool to see these features “in the brick” in London last weekend, and I wasn’t alone in thinking it was a highlight of the show. Carl Greatrix – one of the best LEGO plane modelers around – spent ages examining this creation and pronounced it “Bloody good”. High praise indeed.
I’d heartily recommend a visit to James’ Flickr photostream to check out all the details of this amazing model in the close-up images, as well as photos of his beautiful custom-chrome P-51 Mustang model.
Unlike Black Ops III, I played countless hours of multiplayer in Call of Duty: Black Ops II, blasting away with SMGs and sidearms at enemy teams squeaking high-pitched expletives. Tyler Clites built one of my favorite SMGs in multiplayer, the PDW-57, in incredible detail. Not only does this futuristic cousin to the FN P90 look like it’s straight out of the game, it features a working trigger, collapsible stock, interchangeable magazines, and is complete with detachable suppressor, reflex sight, and laser sight attachments.
Those spent casings on the ground are a nice touch!
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 didn’t grab my interest as much as Halo 5 and Fallout 4 recently, but that doesn’t prevent this 3-foot, 1,200-piece Purifier replica by YouTuber ZaziNombies from being awesome. ZaziNombies takes his presentation style a step further by adding real fire (though it is not fired by pulling the LEGO trigger). Watch his demonstration with real flamethrowing in this two minute video, but please don’t try this at home!
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?