Lam Siu Wing is an artist and writer based in Hong Kong who has a keen interest in urban landscape, transport, and culture, which inspires him to always have a wandering eye during his travels. During one of his return trips on an A350 from Tel Aviv to Hong Kong in the summer of 2017, he had a sudden inspiration to build an aircraft made from LEGO. What resulted was a beautiful LEGO model of the Airbus A350 with a wingspan of more than 5 feet.
Siu Wing’s research started with a thought to upgrade the official LEGO Boeing 787 set 10177, but he quickly found that there wasn’t sufficient design information on the real airplane’s interiors. That’s when he decided to instead focus on the Airbus A350. Of course, living in Hong Kong would mean that Cathay Pacific airlines was the obvious choice of an airline carrier. So he began building from the inside out, and had a prototype completed within 2 months. Continue reading
Lately I’ve been on a bit of a building spree. The Cold War collaboration for BrickFair Virginia, for which I have already built the SS-20 Saber and Gryphon GLCM transporter erector launchers, has given me lots of ideas and motivation. So far I have focussed on Cold War doomsday weapons that never saw use in anger. The actual armed conflicts that took place during the Cold War, although certainly brutal, fortunately were fought using conventional weapons. One of these was the Korean War.
In 1950, when Communist North Korea invaded South Korea, the US and a number of allies came to South Korea’s aid. At the time, the first jet aircraft were already in service. However, propeller-driven aircraft still had a role to play. Most US Navy aircraft carriers still had several squadrons of Vought F4U Corsairs on board.
This WW2 design may have seemed like an anachronism, but the veteran warbird could carry more weapons and spend more time overhead than faster jet fighters. They were the workhorse of US Naval aviation.
A good piece of Sky-fi art never gets old, and this alternate-WWII Tomahawk Kaiju Interceptor by Albert is a wonderful example. Making ample use of sand green slopes and tiles, this twin-tailed LEGO fighter is skillfully built with angled wings lined with forward-facing cannons and outrigger engines. One of the neatest details is the moveable inset rudders. It may not be the most aerodynamic design, but it sure looks cool, and after all, that’s what Sky-fi is all about.
WWI-era aircraft generally don’t receive as much attention from LEGO builders as their modern (or futuristic) descendents. Wesley makes a worthy attempt to redress the balance with this wonderful Fokker Eindecker, an early German fighter plane, one of the most advanced aircraft of its day. The model is nicely put-together, with some great angles in the undercarriage struts, a well-shaped fuselage, and good use of string which always adds a classic vintage aircraft feel. But it’s the photography which really sets this creation apart — the addition of a couple of simple background elements makes for an effective backdrop, and the low camera angle is a great choice. It’s nice to see Wesley yet again present a LEGO aircraft model in something different from the standard three-quarter view high-angle “flying” shot.
Be sure to check out Wesley’s other fantastic WWI aircraft we’ve highlighted.
No stranger to building wonderful and totally imaginative aircraft, Jon Hall brings us a gull-wing fighter plane that looks like a cross between a Corsair from World War II and a Star Wars TIE fighter. Like so many of his other aerial creations, Jon’s latest flyer – dubbed the AR-31 “Swordfish” – is exquisitely designed and presented. From the inverted gull wings and functional-looking pontoons to the bright color scheme and exposed engine components, this torpedo-armed seaplane has so much to love.
The wings and twin boom give the aircraft an undeniably sleek look, despite the bulbous fuselage. This plane and others by the builder are reminiscent of the Second World War and even interwar periods. Back then, aircraft designers went wild with all types of unique and downright crazy prototypes (see the French Breguet 410 or the USSR’s weird but intrepid Zveno Project). Jon’s planes, however, are completely and 100 percent original. In fact, one of his nicest touches is also developing the world in which they exist. It’s a fun addition that always leaves me wanting more.
These backstories and cinematic photos help bring these awesome creations to life. When it comes to this style of building – called “Sky-Fi” in the LEGO community – Jon is no doubt an ace. Check out many other great creations on his Flickr.
For decades, the Long Island-based Grumman Corporation was the US Navy’s primary aircraft supplier. They built a range of now-famous aircraft, including the Wildcat, Avenger, Hellcat, Cougar and, of course, the Tomcat. Starting in the early seventies, they also built the EA-6B Prowler; a four-seat electronic warfare aircraft for jamming enemy air defenses. I’ve had a model of one of these since 2007. In recent days I rebuilt it using new parts and techniques. Thanks to curved slopes and a lot more sideways building, I’ve been able to improve the shape.
Prowlers entered US Navy service in 1971 and, after a career of more than 40 years, the US Marines have only just retired their last examples. Their longevity is a testament to the quality of the design. Because its products were famously well engineered, Grumman was also known as the “Iron Works”. Their aircraft, however, aren’t exactly famous for their elegant looks. Even the Tomcat, arguably one of the prettiest fighters ever to grace an aircraft carrier’s deck and certainly one of the company’s prettier products, looks quite ungainly from some angles. Also known as the “flying drumstick”, the Prowler is no exception. It has a fairly large front end, which houses two separate cockpits, each with side-by-side seating for two crewmen. The large “football” on top of the vertical fin contains jamming equipment, as do wing-mounted pods. The wings fold up for use aboard aircraft carriers. For air-to-air refuelling, it has an oddly-cranked probe just in front of the windscreen. It all makes sense, but it’s not pretty. I think “purposeful” is more appropriate.
Growing up, I was a huge fan of Batman: The Animated Series. One of the highlights of the show was seeing Batman fight crime in his bat-themed vehicles, including the Batwing. Jerry Builds Bricks has reproduced the Batwing in LEGO form, and it looks as slick and fast as its animated counterpart. A mixture of curved and angled slopes help form the iconic fuselage, while a combination of curved slopes and hinges are used to pull off the iconic sweeping curves of the wings. Jerry’s Batwing also looks to be the perfect size for “swooshing” back and forth.
It’s done! Building my Transforming Bumblebee distracted me for a bit. However, I actually completed my Pave Low helicopter before the Beetle. In parts one and two of this series I explained how this sort of model has gotten a lot more complicated. Thanks to newer parts and techniques, the simple solutions I would have been happy with ten years ago just don’t hack it anymore. In this third and final part, I finally unveil the finished article.
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The Douglas DC-3 is among the most iconic aircraft in the world, with a distinctive shape that’s instantly recognizable. Unfortunately for LEGO builders, that shape is also rather difficult to produce with LEGO bricks. However, that hasn’t dissuaded Vaionaut, who turned his skillful hands to this classic and produced a masterpiece. He started with an earlier design by Obuh Samateus and significantly overhauled it for accuracy and stability. Apart from the excellent shaping of the compound curves in the aircraft’s fuselage, the small touches, such as the brick-built German flag on the tail and the chrome non-custom chrome cowling on the engines, really make this model sing. The small service truck is easy to miss, but it’s a fantastic accompaniment also.
It definitely takes talent and building skills to create a realistic, yet funny vehicle or aircraft. John C. Lamarck nails it with a chubby JL-450 “Wolverine” inspired by fighters and bombers of the 1940’s. A perfect choice of stickers completes its clean look very well, but it is its short and clusmy body that really creates the character.
Sky-Fi is a niche branch of science fiction, essentially pushing the aesthetic and technology of WWII aircraft to the extremes. This zippy fighter by Thomas W., which he calls the F11 Locust, is a prime example of the artform, mashing up elements of numerous WWII fighters into an awesome new aircraft design. It’s rife with clever bits from a LEGO angle, too, from the minifigure hands as manifolds around the radial engine to the car mudguards with the headlight protrusions as perfect machine gun mounts. The rad sand green, orange, and white color scheme also helps bring a touch more sci-fi to the mix.
This article is the third and final installment in a series. Read about the LEGO Grumman E-1 Tracer Part 1 and Part 2 here.
In the last four weeks, I have been building a LEGO scale model of a Grumman E-1 Tracer aircraft. Part 1 described how I planned the build, and part 2 dealt with how I built some of the difficult bits; in this, the third and final part, I explain how I built the last bits, and present the finished model.
For weeks this build seemed to progress really slowly. I know that for some builders September means building huge spaceships. It took me most of this month to build just the radome, the nose, the wings and the engine nacelles. When I started building the fuselage, however, it felt like I had reached the home stretch. All of a sudden things went really quickly. Building the final parts wasn’t necessarily easy, but certainly easier. It was great to see the collection of separate sections come together into something that looked like an aircraft. The anticipation of seeing the end result motivated me. So, here it is.