I’ve always been a fan of Sky-Fi aircraft. It’s a glorious retro-futuristic look, typified by the Xbox classic Crimson Skies, and the creations of LEGO builders such as Jon Hall and John Lamarck. To pull myself out of a recent bout of builder’s block, I set myself a challenge — to build a series of Sky-Fi aircraft, in a common colour scheme, with a similar overall style, but each design different. Crimson Squadron is what emerged over the next few weeks…
The first of the squadron’s aircraft to roll off the production line was this twin-engined beast — the Bulldog. It established the signature elements which sit across the rest of the fleet: the red and chequerboard livery, a whiff of a muscle car from the up-front intakes, a bubble canopy for a fun retro feel, and an overall super-condensed chunky chibi look. I was pleased with how the Bulldog turned out and immediately set to work once more.
The Jackrabbit was the result of the next stretch of building — so named for its distinctive “ears”. I was on a roll now, well beyond my bout of builder’s block, and over the next few weeks, I spent my time expanding the squadron, optimising the internal structure at the heart of most of the models, and exhausting my supply of red curved tiles. I think I delivered against my self-imposed challenge, with each of the aircraft having its own character yet fitting firmly within a family. At the end of this thematic marathon, a little helicopter somehow snuck into the line-up. Yeah, it doesn’t fit into my own design parameters, but what are rules meant for if not to be broken?
Crimson Squadron made its display debut at the Bricktastic LEGO Show in Manchester a couple of weeks ago. The visitors seemed to enjoy seeing the multiple riffs off a central style, and a number of kids asked if there were instructions available. These requests prompted me to put together a breakdown — a simplified version of the central frame within the models. Hopefully, this provides enough info to allow people to build their own chunky chibi Sky-Fi aircraft. If you do put something together inspired by Crimson Squadron, I’d love to see what you’ve done — please tag me as Rod Gillies on Flickr, or @thatrodgilliesbloke on Instagram.