Maybe it’s because this retro shape was so commonly illustrated in children’s books but, when I was a child learning to draw, I’d put pencil (or crayon) to paper and all my airplanes turned out pretty much like this. Without even knowing its name, I seemed aware that this is what the quintessential airplane should look like. Luis Peña not only provides me its name — Douglas DC-3C — but a stunning 1:40 scale LEGO model, which is much harder to build than to draw. A trip to the National Aeronautical and Space Museum in Santiago, Chile inspired this model. He tells us that LAN Chile bought several of these craft in 1946 after they were originally used as cargo planes during World War II, then refurbished them for a second life as passenger planes.
This particular model measures 73 cm (28.74 in.) wide and 49 cm (19.29 in.) long. To Luis this represents an important part of Chilean aviation history and, in my childhood mind anyway, the most perfectly quintessential airplane shape. This is clearly not the first time we’ve been delighted by his work.
We’ve featured LEGO aircraft models by Jack Carleson before, but his latest model of Air Force One completely dwarfs them. This stunning model is a whopping six feet long and has a wingspan of five-and-a-half feet.
The aircraft is a modified version of the classic Boeing 747 airliner, used as the US President’s personal aircraft. Its official designation is VC-25A, but “Air Force One” is its popular name. It is the radio call sign whenever the President is on board. Whatever you may think of its current occupant, this model of his aircraft simply oozes class.
Jack’s model isn’t just pretty from the outside. It has a full interior, including the President’s stateroom and meeting room, and also a galley, an operating theatre and space for Secret Service agents and the White House press corps that accompany the President on his trips. It also has working folding stairs, for direct access to the aircraft’s lower deck. Whether the model also features an escape pod, as depicted in the 1997 movie Air Force One, is, of course, classified.
This beast of a bomber is ready to spread its message of triumphant destruction among all those who oppose it. I love this digital dieselpunk design by Cagerrin, which is one of her many alternative history creations. The white and dark blue color scheme give the impression that this aircraft isn’t trying to hide. Its gold trim and eagle wings tell a tale of majesty, a symbol of the empire it flies for.
As far as aircraft made out of bricks go, this model is extremely well built. The wings are so smooth, with minimal studs exposed to give it a truly wooden appearance. Breaking from the vintage airplane norm, the engines utilize reverse propellers, pushing the lumbering bomber through the sky instead of pulling it along. The windows of the bomb bay is also another testament to Cagerrin’s sharp attention to detail. Even the barrels of the gun turrets have a World War I machine gun vibe.
Sometimes a builder’s chosen name fits perfectly with what they like to build. My case in point, these three big Boeing 7-series passenger jets built by someone who goes by the name of…well, BigPlanes. On the far left we have a Lufthansa 737-500. Next to it in the center is a now bygone Pan Am 707-120. Finally, on the far right is my favorite, a Southwest Airlines 727-200. So far this builder has stayed true to his name but may have to change it to “Big-Planes-And-Also-Some-Other-Stuff” if he chooses to diversivy.
Here is a photo of the Pan-Am 707 with three minifigs to help appreciate just how big these big planes actually are.
If you love LEGO flying vehicles, chances are that you may have come across the models of Maelven. His ability to switch between slick renditions of Star Wars vehicles and classic planes is beautiful. It always makes me wonder what he’s going to come out with next. His Blind Man’s Bluff Hangar is full of fine elemental compositions. The plane by itself looks great, with one wing folded up and step ladder at the ready.
This is a new rendition of Maelven’s previous Hawler Sea Fury T.20, a LEGO plane he has been refining since 2012. Accompanying it are a host of other fine details, from his beasty Ratrod to the stripped fuselage and workshop fixtures. However, my eyes kept being drawn towards the top of this superb diorama to take in the roof trusses of this classic hanger. A seamless combination of Technic connectors, liftarms and Technic bricks achieving a specific form such as this always makes me happy. Between the truss and the rigid hose conduit, this fantastic scene is well-framed.
World War I vehicles are a source of inspiration for lots of LEGO builders. Maybe it’s the challenge of the many unique shapes these vehicles use. Whatever the reason, this model of the German Fokker D.VII by Wesley does a top-notch job of capturing the look of this fighter plane, from the cross built into the tailfin to the engine with wooden propeller, to the wheel structure. Even the camouflage pattern under the wings (while not official LEGO) is quite a nice detail.
The B series bombers are certainty some of my favorite airplanes ever created. I can’t help but think of them as battleships of the sky, with the ability to drop tons of bombs while laying down machine gun fire in all directions from a multitude of manned turrets. Nelsoma84 has brought one of these planes to life in LEGO form: the Consolidated B-24 Liberator. Although the B-17 usually steals the show, as we’ve seen before with a B-17 from PlaneBricks and a chrome Flying Fortress by Orion Pax, the B-24 was actually the most-produced bomber and American military aircraft in history. This particular model is based on one of the B-24’s based in Benghazi, Libya, which explains the tan coloring.
These bombers were used in 2,400-mile round-trip bombing raids on oil refineries in Ploesti, Romania which supplied 30-50% of the Third Reich’s fuel. The model has excellent shaping all around, from the tips of the wings to the signature glass nose, and has room inside for pilots and gunners. Custom stickers complete the model’s look and add an additional level of detail.
World War I (1914-1918) marked a turning point in military technology. While the age of aircraft was still quite young, it did not take military strategists long to recognize their advantage on the battlefield. The era produced legendary pilots like the Red Baron and Eddie Rickenbacker. 100 years later, we can add Wesley to the list of flying aces with his brilliant aircraft from the Great War.
By themselves, Wesley’s models look really slick, but his excellent photography really kicks things up a notch. He does an excellent job of setting the scenery, with believable landscaping and cloud laden skies. The muted colors used to present the images are reminiscent of turn-of-the-century hand-tinted color photographs. Wesley has created a number of planes for us to enjoy, including…
Check out the rest of Wesley’s amazing aircraft below
We’ve featured half a dozen or so Savoia S.21 flying boat from Porco Rosso over the years, but it remains one of my favorite LEGO aircraft whenever I run across a new version. This latest incarnation of the racing plane from the 1992 Hayao Miyazaki film is brought to us by Volker Brodkorb. The airplane’s huge engine mounted forward of the cockpit makes this plane instantly recognizable, as do the striping on the angled wings.
Volker uses curved slopes attached studs out to achieve the sloping shape of the boat-plane’s hull, and the pop of yellow on the front of the propeller is a lovely touch.
When it comes to building a great LEGO narrative, the right signature element can really set the scene. Take this delightful flying submarine scene by Yang Wang for example. The tall, skinny, chibi-style fuselage with that perfectly rounded canopy creates a unique and fun vehicle. The working tilt rotors make this airship/submersible complete.
See more detailed pics of this submersible after the jump
You would be forgiven for thinking that this was a huge LEGO butterfly. It certainly seems to have the key features of one; four wings, clubbed antennae and a segmented body. In fact, Milan Sekiz has called this beastie a Leption, the combination of the Serbian words ‘leptir’ meaning butterfly and ‘avion’ meaning airplane. I love those shapely wings, Milan must have used some LEGO mathematics to work out how best to fill their centres with decorative, coloured parts.
You will notice that there is a pilot at the helm, holding on to some handlebars – is he steering or just along for the ride?
Fans of butterflies may enjoy revisiting these two previous butterflies we have highlighted; a colourful glass-like butterfly and a larger, realistic butterfly.
The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is a four-engine heavy bomber aircraft that played a key role for the Allies in World War II. When the prototype B-17 first flew in 1935, a reporter for the Seattle Times was watching and coined the name “Flying Fortress” with his comment, “Why, it’s a flying fortress!” The B-17 was mainly used in the strategic bombing campaign of World War II. PlaneBricks has built a fantastic LEGO version of this famous bomber, complete with the machine guns poking out of clear ‘blisters’ to allow bombardiers and gunners to visualise their targets.
See more images of this classic LEGO aircraft