I’m always a bit of a sucker for a well-built tank, though I admit to not keeping up specifically with who’s currently got the most accurate LEGO tank and whatnot. I do know a nice-looking tank when I see one, though, and flickr user DutchLego has a hardy-looking M4A3. Before everyone screams it, yes, it does have some aftermarket parts and some modified bits, but the effect works well here. (If only LEGO actually made narrow treads like that!)
Jeff Churill (Cooper Works 70) mixes great shaping in LEGO with custom stickers and BrickArms to create this imposing walker that looks like it emerged from the military-industrial complex of World War II.
Buttoned up for combat, this is one walking tank I wouldn’t want to face on a dark battlefield. The feet and legs are definitely the highlight for me on this mech.
With so many great examples, I think at this point we’ve come to expect pretty great models of iconic World War II aircraft like the Boeing B-17 bomber from LEGO military builders. But we don’t often see less well-known aircraft like the Douglas A-20 “Havoc”. mrutek takes up that challenge to deliver a wonderfully sculpted rendition of the DB-7.
Thanks for the tip, Chris!
It’s been nearly a century since World War I, but the echoes of that horrific conflict still echo across the years. Each November 11, people all across the world pause to remember all those who died in the war. Here in the States, Veterans Day honors everyone who’s served in the armed forces.
Jason Allemann has built this gorgeous scene “to honour all those who have fought for freedom in the world.”
A collection of Lugpol members (Pit, Mrutek, Rasch, Ciamek, Glaz_Pimpur, Misiek, Zgredek and Kris Kelvin) have combined forces to produce this stunning diorama of the Eastern Front. The diorama is presently on display at Gdansk Town Hall and if I was near the area I’d certainly be checking it out.
The diorama is full of amazing details, wonderful buildings, decay, flora and excellent military vehicles. Kris has a collection of his shots and a lot of links to further shots in this set. This is my favourite diorama ever and sets the bar very high. I’m even more amazed that with so many cooks the broth is so delicious.
PS. If anyone can provide links to the other builders please post them below.
I’ve been enjoying Kaptain Kobold‘s fun little LEGO creations for just about as long as I’ve been blogging, and I’m especially enjoying his latest set of microscale arms and armor from World War II.
Alan’s Renault FT-17 tank and Heinkel He 162 “Volksjäger” fighter jet illustrate that you don’t have to put a lot of parts together to make really great, recognizable models.
My favorite is this Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter, complete with spinning prop and tiny guns.
LEGO M4 Sherman tanks are the single most popular tank to build, so it’s nice to see a builder break out of that mold and reproduce in LEGO a less popular but more interesting tank design. PhiMa does this with the tank that preceded the Sherman, the M3 Grant.
Three reasons I think the Sherman is so popular are because 1) They were the most common tanks by the end of World War II, 2) The convention is to build them in gray (standing in for olive drab) and gray is a fairly common color in LEGO, and 3) The structure above the chassis is fairly straightforward (though the curves are hard to get right in LEGO). In contrast, M3 Grants were used widely by British forces in North Africa, requiring tan instead of gray/olive, and they’re a lot more complex — especially with those two turrets — above the treads.
But PhiMa’s version isn’t just about the pretty exterior; he’s built significant playability features into the model, including a full interior and detailed engine.
Ed will be there for two full days, Friday April 15 and Saturday April 16, after which the LEGO Intrepid will be on display through September. This is a great opportunity to meet Ed and see his epic World War II vessel in person.
Read all the details on the Intrepid Museum website.
Immediately after the start of the Normandy invasion on D-Day, Allied forces began a battle for the strategic port city of Cherbourg that lasted more than three weeks. My diorama highlights the aftermath of the battle, when townspeople begin emerging from the rubble, while Free French partisans hoist the Tricolour above their safe house.
The diorama features an updated version of my M4 Sherman tank:
Like many LEGO builders, I spent the first decades of my life building in isolation, lucky to get suggestions or critique from a sibling or rare friend who also played with LEGO. But in the last 10 years — particularly the last 5 — the LEGO fan community has grown to include a critical mass of people who build in just about every possible genre.
People with shared interests who spend time together online will inevitably run out of solely positive things to say, and as a result, a culture of constructive criticism has emerged among LEGO fans. Balanced against this impetus to critique everything are the planning and research that individual builders put into what they create. In contrast to the solo building those of us in our 30s did 20 years ago, builders today have a wealth of sources right at our fingertips.
What effects do research, critique, and discussion among community members ultimately have on the quality of the LEGO creations we build and share? Since I’ve been on a bit of a building spree lately (amazing what you can do when your LEGO collection is sorted), I thought I’d step back and share my experience.
Read on, and share your own thoughts in the comments…
Before I set out to create a Dodge WC54 ambulance from World War II, I spent a couple hours finding the best pictures and determining where and when they were actually used during the war. Given that many World War II photos were taken by service personnel and are therefore in the public domain, Wikimedia Commons is a great place to find historical photos.
Historical re-enactors and scale modelers also run dozens of sites that pull together vast amounts of careful research. For both my ambulance and later battalion aid station diorama, I turned frequently to the WW2 US Medical Research Centre.
Targeting 1/35 scale, I translating the real vehicle’s length, height, and width into studs and bricks. Remembering what I’d learned from my wildland fire engine, I built from the top down. I struggled with the front, since I had to combine half-stud offset for the three/five-wide hood with SNOT for the grill and bumper, plus tiles (with no studs to sturdy connections on top) for the fenders.
I figured it out, though, and pleased with my results posted pictures to Flickr:
Checking back a while later, I saw a stream of notes from our very own Tim, whose windscreen I’d reverse-engineered for the original ambulance. I gritted my teeth and clicked through. (Honestly, I hate taking criticism, especially when it’s wrong. I’d vented a week earlier that too many of the suggestions to “improve” my M4 Sherman tank took it in more interesting but less historically accurate directions. That’s just plain annoying.)
Tim had seen the mini-rant I’d posted in a Flickr group we both frequent, and his critique was spot on. He made specific suggestions based on the source material I’d used myself, providing solutions where I hadn’t thought the model could be improved. The result is the version I included in my diorama, posted separately below:
The story arc (if you will) started with research, moved through community discussion and critique of the creation itself, and ended with a substantially improved LEGO model. This same story plays out every day in the LEGO fan community today — something that would have been nearly impossible 20 years ago and highly unlikely 10 years ago.
Side note: Looking to future World War II vehicles I might build, I’ll be relying on a copy of World War II AFV Plans: American Armored Fighting Vehicles by George Bradford. I was pleased to discover that I ended up almost 100% to scale (1/35) for my M3 Half-track, even without the book.
Nearly all of the book’s schematics are printed at 1/35 scale, which avoids eyestrain from the WIP-held-against-computer-screen method I’d been using before the book arrived in the mail.
So, what’s your experience with the balance between research or sources of inspiration and constructive criticism?