We’ve featured custom LEGO kits by Brickmania many times over the years, but Dan Siskind‘s small business has grown considerably since the last time we reviewed one of the company’s kits. Most notably, Dan himself is no longer the sole or even primary designer — great LEGO builders like Cody Osell now contribute many of the custom designs to the company’s products. While Dan is best known for tanks, Cody has designed most of Brickmania’s airplane models, including the F-4C Phantom II we’ll be reviewing today.
With its distinctive inverted gullwings and gorgeous dark blue color scheme, the Vought F4U Corsair is easily my all-time favorite fighter plane. Produced throughout both World War II and the Korean War, the warplane also has the distinction of having the longest production run of any piston-engined fighter. While James Cherry may not be the most prolific LEGO builder — he shared his amazing 1/15-scale LEGO F-14A Tomcat jet fighter exactly two years ago — but each of his creations is well worth the wait. Built to the same scale as the Tomcat, James’s Corsair is deceptively huge; for a better sense of the scale, notice that the palm trees are built from stacked washtubs! We’ve estimated that this LEGO Corsair has a wingspan of over one hundred studs (over 32 inches or 82 cm), and it’s over 80 studs long from nose to tail (over 26″ / 67 cm).
Military jets are a popular subject for LEGO model-makers and represent a particular challenge with their swept back wings and curved fuselages — difficult shapes to recreate in bricks. But Evan M seems up to the challenge, presenting this fabulous minifig-scale F-4 Phantom, decked out in US Navy Vietnam-era livery.
Evan has made great use of some of the new angled tile parts to give the wings a smooth leading-edge, but there’s excellent brickwork all over the model. We’ve seen fimpressive LEGO Phantoms before, notably James Cherry’s astonishing 6,000-piece LEGO F-4 Phantom, but this is one of the best fast jet models I’ve seen at this sort of scale. The overall shaping and the model’s sleek lines are readily apparent in this side view, as is the smart integration of the twin cockpit pieces and the subtle angle up on the wing tips. Retractable landing gear and a full load-out too! Fantastic stuff.
Even though the North Vietnamese didn’t have much of an air force at the start of the air war over Vietnam in 1964, with Soviet assistance they were soon able to present US pilots with a few surprises. Their MiG-17 fighters were old-fashioned and only had guns as their armament. The jets were small, though, and well-suited to out-turn heavier US jets mostly optimised for higher speeds. Peter Dornbach has built the more modern MiG-21, known as the “Fishbed” in the West. This entered Vietnamese service in 1966.
Peter’s model has a retractable undercarriage, opening cockpit and a brick-built representation of the characteristic camouflage used by the Vietnam People’s Air Force. With its higher speed and two AA-2 Atoll air-to-air missiles the Fishbed was typically used in hit-and-run attacks. The US countered this threat using the F-4 Phantom II. This wasn’t particularly agile, but had powerful twin engines. Its crews were taught to use these as an advantage against the MiGs by manoeuvring in the vertical.
The particular example built by Evan Melick is “Showtime-100”, a US Navy F-4J flown by Randy “Duke” Cunningham and William Driscoll who put this tactic to practice shooting down three Vietnamese fighters during a famous mission in May of 1972. Added to their two previous victories, this made them the US Navy’s first and only aces of the Vietnam war. Like most US Navy aircraft from the time period, it had distinctive squadron markings, which Evan recreated on his model using a mix of brick-built patterns, custom vinyl stickers and water-slide decals intended for 1/48 scale models. Note his clever use of new 45 degree angled tiles to build studless leading edges on the jet’s wings.
Both jets are part of a Vietnam collaboration by about a dozen builders, including yours truly, which will be on display at Brickfair Virginia in a little less than three weeks.
If an X-wing from Star Wars and a Viper from Battlestar Galactica had a baby, it would look a lot like this long range fighter from tastenmann77. Loaded with engines and carrying a full payload to supply its brave pilot on his deep space scout mission.
One of the latest and greatest propeller-driven aircraft of WW2 is surely the F4U Corsair. The American fighter is instantly recognizable with its inverted gull wing. Brought to life in LEGO by Patrick MAGO this monster of a model is built at a scale of roughly 1:10. It has a wingspan of 1 meter and weighs in at a hefty 6 kg (13 pounds).
It took Patrick approximately 10 months to build the model, and he had to redesign it no less than 3 times during the process to deal with the weight. Beyond the structure itself, a big challenge in such a build is the limited selection of dark blue parts available.
Check out the video to see the wings unfolding, and more details like the cockpit interior…
Everyone has a different process for building. Some people start with a piece of reference art they find inspiring, or a drawing they’ve made. Some people start with a technique, or a combination of parts and just keeping adding pieces until something takes shape, which is the route I took in designing this small starfighter, which I call the Wyvern.
I knew I wanted to build something dark green, so I sat down with the dark green bin and looked for interesting elements. What I found were a surprising number of minifigure chairs, so I began stacking them. Continue reading
So the first full-blown trailer for Rogue One has been out for all of a few hours, but that hasn’t stopped Vaionaut building a cool LEGO version of the new U-Wing ship which looks like it will be ferrying our intrepid heroes across the galaxy.
This sort of thing is why I’m getting pumped-up for Rogue One. I’m looking forward to seeing new ships and vehicles and characters and planets, all for the first time, yet all carrying that unmistakable whiff of Star Wars. However, we’re not featuring this model just because I’m excited — it’s a smart build in and of itself. It captures the lines and colors of this interesting new spaceship design, and features some nice details, particularly around the rear and the engines.
The ever-popular LEGO Star Wars line continues to pump out models of everyone’s favorite Star Wars spaceships, and after 17 years most ships have seen multiple iterations. The iconic X-Wing has seen over a half-dozen iterations, including the two versions from Episode VII. And fans have always sought to one-up the official models — sometimes to spectacular success, such as Mike Psiaki’s beautiful version in 2011. However, there’s always room for new builders to try their hand at this venerable starfighter. Enter Maciej Szymański with this stunningly accurate model that even includes working lights. I think my favorite details on this model are the hockey masks used as a the flashback suppressors on the wing-mounted lasers, and the carefully curled hose for the pilot’s life support.
Brick Martil‘s Merkabah-class Heavy Gunship is one of the coolest spacecraft I’ve seen in a while. The shape and the phenomenal color blocking are ravishing, giving this model a strikingly unique appearance. This ship positively screams “deadly”.
Another element I love about this ship is the size. A lot of LEGO spacecraft would be sized akin to small WWII dogfighters, regardless of its designation as a fighter, heavy bomber, etc. Most would clock in around 20-40 (scale) feet in length, while many modern fighter jets are 50-60 feet long, and other classes even larger. So it’s cool to see a spacecraft sized up to what they most likely would be without becoming capital ships — where a two-man gunship is a huge craft, outfitted with engines and life support to get it through the cold reaches of space and the harrowing re-entry of an atmosphere, not to mention lugging a payload.
The Merkabah is deceptively large — that windscreen is from the UCS Slave I, so check out this comparison photo of the two to get a feel for just how big it is. And here’s a closeup shot so you can check out the fantastic detailing…
The venerable Y-Wing was a mainstay of the Rebellion, but TBB alum Tromas has decided to give it an upgrade. The new YT-T3 is a sturdier craft with slick plating and a side-mounted R2 unit, and a rear-facing cockpit for a gunner. I also love how Tromas has tweaked the engines, giving them more cowling and some cool fins in the rear. Here’s hoping Episode VII will contain an awesome ship like this!
You know you’ve seen a great spaceship model when it inspires you to try to build your own, and this model by Leonardo Lopez does that for me.
The design of the Tizona is excellent. With four huge thrusters, this thing looks like it can go really fast, and the two main canons fit the design beautifully. The cockpit is also very creative and fits a minifig inside, but what strikes me the most is the unconventional shape and amazing colors.