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.
Progress on my Pave Low helicopter has been slow. In Part 1 of this series, I explained how I am using new parts and techniques to build an up-to-date version of the model I built ten years ago. In this second part of a short series, I’ll explain one of the difficulties I ran into. I plan my models such that actually building them is usually a fairly straightforward process. I used my old model as a template and had an idea of how to do most of the other things in my head. As a result much of the model so far indeed came together quite easily.
Note the words “usually”, “most” and “much” in those last three sentences. The tail on my old model was quite narrow and I wanted the new one to be wider, using curved slopes and bricks. However, the fin is tilted aft at a roughly 45 degree angle, with a horizontal fin on top of it. I only had a loose idea of how to this. Actually building it took about eight frustrating hours of tinkering and trial-and-error. The diagonal part is attached to the tail boom using clips and plates with bars. The horizontal fin uses a similar attachment. A major problem was positioning all of this at the proper angle. I wanted as few visible gaps as possible and the tail should also be reasonably sturdy. This was asking rather a lot. The result is an improvement over the old one, but I’m still not completely happy.
A few months ago, I wrote three articles on how I built the E-1 Tracer aircraft model. I haven’t built much in the intervening months, but recently I have started on a new project: an MH-53M Pave Low helicopter. This is a somewhat different cup of tea. It’s not a fixed-wing aircraft and I am not starting from scratch. Instead, I am starting with an old model that I built ten years ago.
This means that there is a lot less planning involved. The proportions of the old model were pretty much spot-on, but there are many parts and techniques that didn’t exist or weren’t possible ten years ago. As a result, the old model looked, well, old.
In this and subsequent articles, I’ll go into how I am building this new version and how newer parts and techniques change how I approach the design.
When you need to get somewhere fast in Metal Gear Solid V, you can always count on Pequod, the callsign for the Solid Snake’s chopper transport. Seen here in its sea-grey color-scheme, the fictional UTH-66 Blackfoot is a huge helicopter that draws heavily on real-world inspiration, and nowhere have we seen a better LEGO version than this one by Marius Herrmann. He’s has made sculpting the compound curves of the accurate minifigure-scale cockpit look easy.
Outfitted with multiple weapons and a long refueling probe, this LEGO chopper is one of the best pieces of realistic military machinery we’ve seen recently.
The war in Vietnam was the first in which helicopters weren’t mainly used for resupply missions or as flying ambulances, but were a central element in newly developed tactics. In ‘Search & Destroy’ missions, helicopters flew troops into countryside controlled by Communist insurgents in order to, well, seek them out and destroy them. The troops would then be helicoptered to another location to repeat the procedure. I will spare you the details, but the insurgents had their own ideas about this and things often didn’t work out all that well.
My latest model represents a US Marine Corps Sikorsky UH-34D Seahorse helicopter on just such a mission, picking up troops from a rice paddy somewhere in South Vietnam. The helicopter most people will associate with the war in Vietnam is the UH-1 Huey. Consequently, there already are really nice LEGO Hueys out there. I wanted something different, so I built the Seahorse instead. Because this will be part of a larger collaboration, the model represents something of a departure from my normal style. It is minifig scale, I built the helicopter with only a few visible studs and I’ve used some third-party accessories in the form of BrickArms weapons and helmets.
Rotary-winged aircraft are probably not the first thing to come to mind when contemplating the excitement of naval aviation (who remembers seeing a helicopter in Top Gun?). But these whirlybirds are the unsung heros of navies across the globe. The UH-2 Seasprite is a perfect example, painstakingly detailed here in LEGO form by TBB’s own Ralph Savelsberg.
The Seasprite entered service with the United States Navy in the early 1960s and played a vital role rescuing downed pilots during the Vietnam War. This particular model, Ralph explains, is an early model UH-2A which served aboard the USS Forrestal in 1965. After a complete rebuild, this helicopter was delivered 50 years later to the Royal New Zealand Navy.
Ralph is no stranger to building military aircraft, particularly naval models — check out how he does it and his recent LEGO Sikorsky HH–60G Pave Hawk. His newest creation is no less accurate or well-built than his others. Every angle and shape of the Seasprite has been captured. The coloration and markings also help bring this beauty to life. In fact, it’s so realistic it looks late for an important mission. After all, naval planes may get the glory, but its naval helicopters which get the work orders.
The Sikorsky HH–60G Pave Hawk is a twin-turboshaft engine helicopter in service with the United States Air Force, and TBB’s own Ralph Savelsberg has chosen to depict this versatile helicopter in ‘European One’ camouflage colours. The amazingly accurate shaping of Ralph’s model was the first reason this model caught my eye. I have flown in Blackhawks and seen them close up in my previous line of work, and I instantly recognised the Hawk family resemblance. There are a few details that I particular like, for example Ralph’s clever solutions to using a limited palate of dark bluish grey, dark green, and olive green means the hubs on the wheels are actually dark green minifigure heads!
Devid VII recently shared his version of an AH-64 Apache attack helicopter packed with plenty of firepower and details. We’ve seen several good examples of Apaches in the past, and the builder pays homage to them while also incorporating some personal touches. Details particularly worth noting are the techniques used to achieve the shaping of the fuselage, the slanted cockpit and nose sensor array. The Apache’s slanted, quad-blade rotor is nicely recreated as well. Armed with a 30mm automatic cannon, guided missiles and rocket pods, this chopper is ready for action!
Daniel Siskind, creator of many advanced military scale models, has revealed his latest Mi-24 helicopter. Just look at this beauty!
There are so many awesome features of this helicopter, but the best of all is its perfectly balanced design. No matter which part you’re examining, every single piece, slope, or tile was meticulously chosen and placed. Canopies of rather peculiar shape work perfectly for the Mi-24’s cockpits, while a smooth row of tan and dark-green slopes along the body of the helicopter is aesthetically pleasing. Of course, the presentation wouldn’t be complete without a close-up shot of the rocket launchers — a perfect use of the most common of LEGO parts.
And yes, this particular LEGO model — unlike nearly everything else we feature here on The Brothers Brick — is available for sale, from Brickmania (at least until it sells out).
Have you ever wondered what the helicopters of the future will look like? Wonder no more, as mini gray is here to show us one. You may think “Hey, I’ve seen this one among the World City sets in 2003!”. Close, but not exactly. This orange beast features many cooler building ideas, including an awesome application of Technic panels and a brilliant choice of the cockpit windshield. I bet there must be a military modification with a couple of massive guns on both sides, but let us dream about a peaceful future tonight.
For more than five decades, the Sikorsky Sea King has been one of great workhorses of the helicopter world. After returning from the Moon, Neal Armstrong, ‘Buzz’ Aldrin and Michael Collins were plucked from the ocean by a Sea King. US Presidents are routinely flown to and from the White House aboard ‘Marine One’, which is usually a Sea King fitted with a VIP interior.
Originally, however, the Sea King was intended as a submarine hunter and the excellent 1/40 scale model built by Maksymilian Majchrzak ( [MAKS] ) represents one of these, as used by the US Navy aboard aircraft carriers in the seventies and eighties. From the sponsons to the five bladed rotors, it’s as close to real thing as you can get using LEGO parts and it looks about perfect from every angle.