This camo-clad mecha from Marco Marozzi is a beast. A powerful frame, with broad shoulders, chunky thighs, and an intimidating growl fixed in its dog-like “face.” However, beyond the beefy proportions, there are lots to enjoy — functional-looking gears and greebles, a carefully-composed contrasting color scheme, and smart use of custom stickers to create the ripped camo effect. The absolute highlight has to be those feet, though — I love the way this hefty figure manages to look poised and somehow elegant, balanced on its tripod toes. It’s almost like it’s tip-toeing its way through a minefield, trying to get to the battlefront proper.
LEGO Minifigures are oddly-proportioned little fellows. Because I am fussy about the scale of my models I rarely use them with my builds. However, thanks to a number of collaborative builds I’ve been involved with, which all involved minifigures, I’ve grown to appreciate them a bit more. Recently I have been steadily building a collection of minifig-scaled military models. These are the latest two: a US Army M936 wrecker truck towing an M1025 “HumVee” armament carrier. There are countless quotes about how logistics are at least as important to fighting a war as tactics. Equipment used in combat may capture people’s imaginations, but modern armies include vast numbers of support vehicles that are true workhorses. To me those are at least as interesting as tanks or artillery.
What constitutes minifig scale can be difficult and LEGO themselves have muddied the waters. When I was growing up, LEGO cars were just four studs wide. About ten years ago, most LEGO city cars were five studs wide and trucks seven studs wide, including their mudguards. With the recent Speed Champions sets the width of a supposedly minifig scaled car has been bumped up to nine studs, again including the mudguards. The cars look cool and seat two figures side-by-side. However, if you pose a figure next to the vehicle, it’s clear we’ve moved firmly into silly territory. I based my scale on the figure’s height. The wrecker truck ended up being seven studs wide. The HumVee is only six studs wide, which is much smaller than most minifig scale HumVees that are out there. Despite this small scale, both vehicles still have enough space inside for a driver.
A LEGO builder who goes by the name Cezium has built something that gives new meaning to the term “angry birds”. He tells us the H-301 Autonomous Reconnaissance Units are designed for scouting missions and are often deployed on the battlefield acting as forward observers that relay information to units stationed at the rear. Thermal imaging and night vision also ensures consistent efficacy in locating enemy troops. While he makes no mention of it in his write-up, I’m going to go ahead and assume it has some bombing capabilities as well. Like when you wear a nice new shirt or when you have just washed the car. Consider your picnic ruined!
In the wake of global automation, robots are replacing humans in many jobs in factories, offices, and even in space. However, there is at least one thing robots will never be able to replace — man’s best friends, dogs. But even dogs have to keep us with technology push, so Red designs a K-9 multi-purpose unit of the future. He wonderfully captures the dog’s shape using medium-sized Technic panels from Star Wars buildable figures, while a bold choice of pieces in silver is what makes the build special. You’d better think twice before patting this boy!
When it comes to war machines designed to handle any terrain, the more legs the better. I mean, look what happened to the AT-STs on the forest moon of Endor, with their two spindly legs. But just because your walking death machine looks like an armored tarantula, doesn’t mean it has to sound like Godzilla stomping through the forest. This behemoth by Nick is sporting rubber feet for maximum stealth, which just might make it even more terrifying.
There are a lot of great part uses worth mentioning, particularly the missile batteries on either side of the head, made from a substantial collection of this roller-skate part, and several mysterious panels with 2 holes that turned out to be this cabinet door. That castle-themed shield is also a nice touch.
Almost two weeks ago, the first example of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to be based in the Netherlands arrived at Leeuwarden Air Base. It marks the beginning of the end for the forty-year career of the F-16 with the Royal Netherlands Air Force. The F-16 is officially named the Fighting Falcon, but commonly known as the Viper. I’ve been thinking about building a larger scale version of the Viper for years. A reason why I didn’t was that the 1/18 scale model by Everblack basically was just too good.
However, the arrival of the Viper’s eventual replacement and the 40th anniversary finally made me decide to bite the proverbial bullet. I picked the same scale, 1/22, as most of my cars and my Top Gun Tomcat. The F-16 was a lighter and cheaper alternative to the F-15 Eagle and, as such, it’s a fairly small aircraft. The large scale does make the model quite a big beast, with a span of 56 studs and a length of more than 80 studs. However, it also allowed me to add more details and to more accurately represent the jet’s sleek shape. I couldn’t have done this on a smaller scale or without some of the new parts that LEGO has released in the last few years.
Building functioning vehicles has been a passion for many builders ever since the introduction of the Technic line of LEGO sets back in 1977 as the Expert Builder series. Some builders add motors so their vehicles can move and steer, but then there are builders like Sariel who go far and above merely building a motorized vehicle to create something truly special. When I first saw this model of a MAZ 535 heavy artillery truck made in USSR, I was impressed by both the scale, and the attention to detail, which compared to photos is remarkable.
But the amazing attention to detail doesn’t stop there. Sariel has created a video that shows off some of the many hidden features, included an opening top hatch, and two speeds for the transmission, which allows the LEGO truck to pull an incredible amount of weight. In the video, the Maz is seen pulling a chair across the floor! There is even a scene of an adorable hamster checking out the fabric hand-stitched canopy.
The M35A2 is a powerful military truck aptly nicknamed the “Deuce and a Half” for weighing in at two and a half tons. However Tim Inman’s rat-rodded version has shed some considerable weight. It’s been lowered, chopped, channeled, stretched and bobbed (removed second rear axle). The result is a mean rat-rod that loses its military function but retains its color and some of its prior identity. Maybe it’s more of a peace offering now?
But before you go thinking such silly ideas a rear view reveals a gas can, fifth wheel for towing and a skull taillight cluster letting any would-be peacenics know this ratted-out deuce still means serious business.
When you need to defend your outpost from aerial attack, you need an anti-aircraft Ballista. Like this one built by Douglas Hughes, which features not one, but two substantially armed turrets; one sporting rocket launchers, the other, twin machine guns. The cab is very well sculpted with angled panels, and that blue striped detail is a nice touch.
The vehicle is based on the Anvil Ballista from the multiplayer sci-fi game Star Citizen. But Douglas didn’t just build an amazing vehicle, he motorized it (maybe you noticed the cleverly integrated control box on the side) and lit the cab as well.
There’s nothing pretty about war, but Dane Erland finds a way to bring some strong visual interest to the concept. Based on a creepily organic inspiration, the Abyssal moves forward in a manner far removed from a standard tank. Instead of treads, six clusters of tentacles sprout from the undercarriage. Each is made of pneumatic hose aligned with 8-Tooth Technic gears, and finished off with an array of claws. The tan body has some nice curves and angles, and it bristles with a wide array of brick-built sensors and weapons.
Is this a peek into the next stage of warfare? Maybe I’ll just stay indoors for the foreseeable future.
I like me some dam good LEGO building; or is that good LEGO dam building? I don’t know, but set in the not-too-distant future, this battle scene by Thomas depicts a grim future in which the forces of the European Union (EU) battle some Eurasian attackers in Germany, all to determine who will control the dam. If I understand the action correctly, the EU forces are trying to destroy the dam in order to fight back against the Eurasian invaders. It would a real shame if they succeeded, as it would ruin some perfectly good LEGO structures.
The dam itself is nicely constructed, with a clever brick-built “5” in the corner. A sense of action is also clearly conveyed, with the dark green EU forces against the grey Eurasians. I especially like the EU trooper battling some sort of insect-like robot at the base of the dam. The rough construction of the building gives it a post-apocalyptic feel, too, which is always a treat.
Building a properly scaled motor vehicle can be a challenge, considering the unnatural proportions of the LEGO minifigure. That challenge was undeniably met by Robson M who has not only built a pair of well-proportioned vehicles scaled to fit their LEGO occupants but also meet the additional challenge of making the convoy military armored vehicles. I was thoroughly impressed by the Humvee (on the left), and the Oshkosh M-ATV (on the right) based on the build alone, but when I looked up the reference material, I was even more impressed by so many amazing details captured in plastic.
For the Humvee, I think my favorite detail, besides the front grill, is the round tile for the air intake on the front right fender. The Oshkosh features a roof-mounted armored turret with a gun, and there is plenty of room in the back for any extra gear needed. I bet there is even room for a case or two of MRE rations.