Ever since I missed out on 2015’s 76042 SHIELD Helicarrier I’ve been looking for a cost-effective way to add one to my collection. I’m still putting aside bits of my LEGO budget, but Didier Burtin has found a better way: A custom microscale marvel. The shape is instantly recognizable: inverted turntable tops make great turbines, and the angled flight decks are right on. Light grey ingots make for great surface details, and a variety of tiles fill in the gaps. The only thing missing is a teeny-tiny Nick Fury. Of course, at this scale maybe there’s a speck of dust on the model that’s meant to be him.
Didier hasn’t shared any instructions, but if you’re looking for a step-by-step guide for a similar model, check out this 2017 version by Wayne de Beer.
LEGO builder Didier Burtin has designed a gorgeous Supermarine Spitfire Mk. II, along with a countryside hangar to house it. This famous aircraft was one of the most powerful weapons in the Battle for Britain in World War II, and in fact, there are two Spitfires here, one in traditional brown desert camouflage (maybe this is North Africa, and not Britain?), while the other is outfitted with the less common grey winter camouflage.
The concrete slabs that make up the mottled runway are actually slabs of sideways bricks, carefully spaced with enough room to slot in a variety of foliage and green clips to make up the overgrown grass. And of course the hangar itself is gorgeous, consisting of two grey baseplates gently curved to form the arched roof of the hangar. It’s an exceedingly simple technique that is perfectly suited to the task. But if one scene with Spitfires isn’t enough, Didier has also presented a diorama of a less fortunate Spitfire, having been ditched in a snowy landscape, where it plowed an impressive trail before breaking apart.
Want to see more LEGO World War II models? Check out our archives: LEGO WWII models
There are many ways to build curved forms from the humble brick – some more imaginative than others. Take a close look Didier Burtin’s Interplanetary Cruiser and you’ll spot a unique one. The interior docking station has a beautifully bowed shape, formed from two 32 x 16 blue baseplates held under tension. Despite the obvious frustration this must have caused Didier during the building phase, it was clearly worth it, giving his creation an unexpected and individual look.
Viewed from the rear, not only do you see the lovely thrusters that you’d expect on a spaceship this size, but also further evidence of the builder’s skill. A range of visible hinged plates clearly show how the model’s structure absorbs the stress created by the flexed plates.
The original Death Star was designed with a fatal flaw — that tiny exhaust port right below the main port. With the second Death Star, the Empire corrected this flaw by making the exhaust port…bigger? Indeed, it was big enough for Lando to fly the Millennium Falcon right to the main reactor, and this stunning re-creation of the second Death Star’s final moments from Return of the Jedi by Didier Burtin closely resembles its on-screen inspiration. From the varied shades of gray and splashes of red that pull off the partially constructed look, to those red scaffolding pipes circling the opening, this scene makes us want to fly into the Death Star ourselves!
This is the second in a series of models by Didier featuring a microscale version of the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy, the first being a stunning shot of the Falcon attached to the back of a Star Destroyer from the Empire Strikes Back.
It’s one of the coolest moments in The Empire Strikes Back, when Han Solo evades the Imperials by hiding his ship in plain sight, latched on to the hull of a Star Destroyer. Here this memorable scene is recreated in LEGO bricks by Didier Burtin. The model is immediately recognisable — indeed, at first glance it’s practically indistinguishable from a still from the movie. The Star Destroyer’s surface is impressively detailed, packed with a generous level of detail that breaks up all that grey, and the lighting for the photo is spot-on, managing to capture the stark contrast and drama of the original scene.
William Gibson’s seminal sci-fi novel Neuromancer helped set the cyberpunk standard for urban cityscapes with its depiction of The Sprawl — a vast built-up area stretching the full length of the Eastern Seaboard of the US. Whilst Didier Burtin doesn’t mention Neuromancer with regards his latest model, this microscale LEGO creation immediately made me think of Gibson’s work. The architecture and the presence of some small-scale aerial vehicles also brings to mind Syd Mead’s vision of the cities of the future from Blade Runner. Whatever your particular favourite flavour of cyberpunk, you’re sure to find something you like in this model…
The city is gloriously detailed, rewarding a closer look with a wealth of textured detail, the product of smart parts choices and interesting combinations. Too often futuristic LEGO cities offer a homogenous architecture, but this offers a rich variety of building style, looking like it evolved over time in a messy clash of planning, business, and everyday living — much as a real world city does.
The model is all the more impressive for its tight footprint. All the glorious details in the images above are found within a small square of construction — a great advertisement for the effectiveness of microscale building in being able to conjure up epic vistas…