Peter Dornbach (dornbi) has built a very neat model of a Cold War classic: the British Sea Harrier. The Harrier has a somewhat odd-ball appearance, which is captured beautifully in the model. The odd shape is largely due to the aircraft’s unique Rolls Royce Pegasus engine, which allows the aircraft to take off and land vertically. This ability is why it is sometimes known as the Jump Jet.
During the Cold War, many air forces worried about the vulnerability of their airfields to enemy strikes. Fighters that can operate from a much smaller strip, at a time of crisis, can be dispersed to smaller and better concealed locations away from their main base. Building a jet that can take off and land vertically is a big challenge, however. A whole range of different ideas were tried, including having additional lift engines mounted vertically inside the aircraft. This obviously was a very heavy solution. Using rocket boosters to launch a conventional jet from a short ramp worked, but left the jet in question with no place to land. The only successful design was the British Harrier, whose Pegasus engine has four jet nozzles that can be swiveled down to direct the jet’s entire thrust upward. Despite its diminutive scale of only 1/48, Peter’s model has these swiveling nozzles.
Its ability to operate without long runways made the Harrier an attractive choice for shipboard use. British Harriers gained most of their fame (or notoriety) in the 1982 Falklands War, where Royal Navy Sea Harriers, operating from small aircraft carriers, racked up about 20 air-to-air kills against the Argentinian Air Force and Navy, including against far faster Mirage fighters.
For some reason, a lot of military builders choose to build their military vehicles in dark grey. I suspect that it is because more suitable colors, such as tan, dark green or olive green, are expensive and because relatively few parts are made in them. Of course, if you do want a color that is available in vast quantities, you could always opt for a United Nations color scheme. This is exactly what Project Azazel has done for two of his new vehicles: an M113 Armored Personnel Carrier and a Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle (AIFV).
The M113 was developed in the mid-fifties, when the US Army needed a new Armored Personnel Carrier. It had to be smaller and lighter than existing vehicles, so that it could be transported aboard the then-new C-130 Hercules airlifter. The key to keeping the weight of the M113 down was a new welding technique that allowed using aluminum for the armor instead of steel. It first entered production in the 60s and is still in use with the US Army and many export customers all over the world. It also spawned many different versions, including the AIFV. This was a more modern and more heavily armed version. It wasn’t adopted by the US Army, but was further developed for export customers, including the Netherlands, Belgium, Turkey and South Korea.
One thing I like about the model vehicles, besides their refreshing white paint scheme, is that they don’t appear to be ridiculously large.
Tyler Clites (legohaulic)does it again with this pile of curvy goodness. This model is a recreation of a tank designed by legendary film-maker and artist, Hayao Miyazaki. In the words of that immortal tanker, Donald Sutherland, “It’s a mother beautiful tank!”.
Today, I came across two great micro scale creations. The first was this stealth missile boat built (virtually) by Evan Melick (Legoism). It really captures the look and feel of this type of sea-craft. In fact, it’s a style of ship that I’ve long wanted to build at minifig scale. It’s great to see that the shapes can be achieved in a manner pleasing to the eye.
Next up, is a lovely little space ship by Vaughan James (legovaughan). Just look at the angles! I love all the various small and compound angles come together to give a cohesive form, while lending the appearance of extra detail. It’s as if the power loader from Alien and a drop ship mated.
It’s no secret that I like the F/A-18 Hornet (albeit not as much as I like the F-14 Tomcat), so I’m always happy to see a nice model of this US Navy strike fighter.
Ryan Harris (Shep Sheppardson) has built a fine example in the markings of US Navy Strike Fighter Squadron 113, better known as the Stingers. This was the first US Navy combat squadron to start flying Hornets back in the eighties and is still active today. Some elements of the model aren’t all that different from other Hornets (including my own), but looks very much like the real deal and has a few interesting features. I’m primarily very curious to find out how the intakes are held together.
Japanese builder popo lego (STUD SYSTEMS) has been hard at work developing various machines of war and he has thoughtfully combined them into one easy to consume 6-pack. The consistency of style is nice to see and my favorite is the WAR RAT, I think it would make a great official set.
I told myself I wasn’t going to blog any Ma.Ktoberfest 2013 offerings this year because like some of you I find the whole end of the year sci-fi themed months to be a little overwhelming and Brother Tripod has that particular beat covered. However, my love of a great diorama overrides any such petty concerns and it is my pleasure to share with you “Super Jerry” by Logan (∞CaptainInfinity∞) that has just the right mix of detailed vehicles, understated landscaping and good photography from a builder who knows how to frame a shot. The tree isn’t too shabby either.
Semper Paratus, the US Coast Guard’s motto, means “Always Ready” and this gorgeous render of a Reliance class Coast Guard cutter by Matt Bace (mmbace) indeed looks ready for anything. The helicopter on the back is particularly cool, and the ship looks fantastic in white with the iconic red stripe.
I’m starting to think that LUGPol either doesn’t have any sub-standard builders within its ranks, or they kill them off before they can embarrass the group publicly. Either way I’m delighted to present Polish Air Marshall mrutek’s latest effort, a fabulous single-engine biplane called the Antonov An-2. The An-2 was a large, slow flying utility transport used as both a crop-duster and for the deployment of paratroopers. The Guinness Book of World Records states that the 45-year production run for the An-2 was for a time the longest ever, for any aircraft, but it was recently exceeded by the Lockheed C-130 Hercules.
Time to go digital with a mind-blowing tank called the “Ûbârrek-Âssoi Remîv ÛâR – 57/6” by Edmonton’s own Ian MacDonald (ABS doohickies). This brutal looking war machine was inspired by the Valdor Tank Hunter from the Warhammer 40k franchise and I have little doubt that Heinz Guderian would approve of its style and features. While the vocal tribe of purists might complain that most of the parts used are not actually available in dark-tan, we try to have a wider view of things here at the big blog. I included a photo of the back-side because the level of detail and clever parts usage is simply too stunning to miss. BOOM SHAKA-LAKA!