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
Sleek and grey and deadly — a predator slips through the swell. At least that’s the image conjured up by Luis Peña‘s latest LEGO creation — a microscale model of a Porter-class US Navy destroyer. Although small in scale and simple in colour selection, this model manages to pack in some nice details and textures. I particularly like the use of “Wolverine claws” and quarter-circle tiles in the creation of the ship’s anti-aircraft emplacements.
The Porter was a class of eight heavy destroyers in the United States Navy. Although originally commissioned by Congress in 1916, construction was delayed and the first of the vessels didn’t enter service until 1936. The destroyers went on to see action throughout the Second World War. Only one, USS Porter herself, was to be lost in action.
Army and Marine Corps ground troops bore the brunt of the American casualties in the Vietnam War. Serving aboard a Navy ship off the coast may have been comparatively safe, but part of the US Navy was right in the thick of things too: the Riverine Patrol Force. They operated on South Vietnam’s many rivers, in particular in the Mekong river delta.
Hot on the heels of my USMC Seahorse helicopter, this weekend I built one of their boats: a Patrol Boat Riverine, which, like just about anything in the military, had its own abbreviation: ‘PBR’, which was typically pronounced as ‘Pibber’. These were small and fast boats that could operate on some of the smaller tributaries of the Mekong, often surrounded by jungle, with crews living in stifling heat and primitive conditions. This type of boat was made famous by Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, a war movie whose ‘Making of’ is at least as memorable as the movie itself.
The making of my model was considerably less of a psychedelic trip than the journey described in the movie. Despite the dark green, which is still a somewhat awkward colour to build with, it came together very quickly. The diorama will be part of a collaboration and for it to fit with the other builders’ styles, the boat has very few visible studs. I built its hull mostly with bricks on their side, which gave me both a smooth deck and a nicer shape. I used BrickArms M60s and helmets as accessories for the minifigures, but the rest is all LEGO, including the luscious jungle foliage.
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.
This pair of heavy combat vehicles by Zach Sweigart are packing some serious heat. The dropship features rotating engines for vertical take-off and two more engines on the main fuselage. The angled nose gives the draft a bird of prey vibe. And that mobile troop carrier looks like it could punch a hole into pretty much any target.
Watching Top Gun is like eating a Philadelphia cheesesteak with cheez whiz. Some of the ingredients are a bit dodgy and there really is an awful lot of stringy cheese, but it tastes oh so good. Why? Forget Tom Cruise—the undisputed star of the movie is the Grumman F-14 Tomcat. However, instead Lego Admiral chose to build one of the villains, called the MiG-28, and that’s cool in my book.
The MiG-28s in Top Gun weren’t really Russian, of course, because they never made a MiG-28. In reality, the planes on-screen were F-5 Tigers, which are normally used by the US Navy as adversaries in air-to-air combat training. However, the jets certainly looked the part, as for the occasion they were painted in temporary color schemes with fictional national markings of some Communist country. This made them look even more sinister, as we all know that evil wears black. The LEGO model has a long shark-nose and an expertly rendered coke-bottle fuselage. Even more than thirty years later the MiG-28 still looks bad-ass.
Harking back to an age of more gentlemanly aerial combat, these LEGO versions of a Sopwith Camel and a Fokker Triplane from Vaionaut are beautifully done. The tan and dark brown colour scheme on the Sopwith is perfect, and I particularly like the smart use of clip-and-bar pieces to give the upper wings their signature raked-forward look. Nice use of binoculars and screwdrivers to create the twin machine-guns too. The restrained use of some custom stickers, an appropriate choice of minifigures, and a lovely little workbench all come together to complete the scene.
However, if you have a Sopwith, you must have an opponent in red. And sure enough, Vaionaut has built a gorgeous Fokker Dr.I to accompany.
Now here’s a technique we haven’t seen before… using chalk on your bricks. Stephan Niehoff‘s armoured personnel carrier has a wonderful dusty and stained feel. The added weathering pulls all the grey together into a cohesive whole and ensures the brighter-coloured elements fit in by muting their tones. It looks great, but at first glance I thought the bricks had been drybrush-painted like a scale model kit. However, working with chalk means the bricks can be dusted down and re-used. I’m still not sure it counts as a “LEGO-purist” technique, but it certainly adds a level of realism and visual interest to the model.
There are some other nice details on display here beyond the use of chalk. Don’t miss the cut tubing around the hatches at the front, and those Technic “half-pipe” connectors poking up along the sides at the rear. I’m also a fan of the functional-looking hatches, and the rear lights — too many builders don’t consider the practicalities of regular driving when they build things like this. After all, even the most rugged-looking rover needs to obey the rules of the road on its way to the battlefield.
A Second World War themed LEGO airplane fleet is a rare sight to behold. This image by Allen Lim looks amazing, even though the Japanese Zero fighters are multiplied digitally. Obviously my favourite part is the effort put into editing, but that should not overshadow the excellent work on the aircraft carrier and the aircraft itself. There are some shapes around the cockpit and on the wings that are very impressive once you take a closer look and think about how they are done.
I think the best way to view this aircraft is in combat in a dogfight with a Spitfire.
Allen has been building military aircraft throughout February so expect to see more from him in the near future.
The F-15 is a twin-engine, all weather fighter that is the mainstay of the U.S. Air Force’s air superiority and homeland defence missions. Boeing boasts that its proven design is undefeated in air-to-air combat, with more than 100 aerial combat victories. Kai NRG has a special reason for building a LEGO version of this particular jet fighter, his grandfather worked on developing the aircraft. He has certainly done a very good job, the shaping is fantastic with SNOT building giving a wonderfully smooth, streamlined appearance.
Just in case you didn’t spot the working flaps in the main image, this view shows the added functionality in Kai’s design.
The Battle of the Bulge was the German’s last offensive of World War II. Although it initially caught Allied forces off guard, especially in the heavily wooded Ardennes region, it proved to be a major disaster for Germany that hastened its inevitable demise. Dunedain98 has build a wintry scene from this battle that depicts American soldiers preparing to attack an StuG III Assault Gun alongside a derelict, battle-damaged home.
A view closer down to the action from minifigure eye-level really shows off the atmosphere with the snow-laden trees and the offensive anticipation in the air. Continue reading
This year’s big build by Brick to the Past is called ‘The Jacobite Risings: The Fight for Britain’s Throne’. The risings took place between 1689 and 1746, mostly in Scotland as supporters of the Stuart dynasty attempted to restore them to the throne. They were effectively Britain’s last civil wars.
The model is around 16 square metres in size, sitting on the equivalent of 105 48 stud baseplates. It has a mountain in its centre that reaches about 1m high. It was built by the Brick to the Past (BTTP) team, Dan Harris, James Pegrum, Simon Pickard, Tim Goddard and Steve Snasdell, and took around 10 months to complete.
See more detailed photos of this massive build and read our interview with Brick to the Past