It was fun, silly and therefore I was inspired to write about it. Sandro Quattrini built this Tankhead mech and was himself inspired by Emerson Tung’s Tankhead art. It’s like a circle of inspiration! I enjoy the color scheme, complex curves and overall stance and attitude of this mech. The oversized gatling gun it carries isn’t without its charms either. Maybe it’ll inspire you to build something. What does it inspire in you? let us know in the comments. While you’re at it, check out why we think Sandro Quattrini is an inspiration to us.
Don’t let its size fool you! This teensy LEGO SR-71 Blackbird by Greyson is a mighty recon machine from the factories of Lockheed Martin. Even while working in a monochromatic palette, this plane still feels dynamic, a perfect recreation of its real-life kin. Each wedge plate feels perfectly placed, and the shaping on the fuselage is all the better for Greyson’s excellent use of the katana minifig accessory. I even like the shaping on its gray stand: a simple bit that only accentuates the clever design of the micro aircraft.
Castles and knights are cool, but they are not the only ones who need impressive fortresses. What about grenadiers? These guys know a thing about pretty fortified buildings. Ayrlego and Evancelt Lego combine their love for historical-era creations to collaborate on a couple of sweet-looking military buildings. First, Arylego recreated the grenadiers’ parades outside their barracks in the Corlander settlement of Queenston. And it’s the massive corner tower that reminded me of the classic LEGO castles! In white, it looks stunning, bringing us to a very different place and era (compared to fantasy).
Meanwhile, Evancelt Lego goes with a different layout for his armory but sticks to the distinctive architectural style of the barracks. It took me a moment to notice a totally unique design for trees: they fit so well, I nearly left them unnoticed. And, of course, the combination of various shades of yellow and orange on the walls is so good. The weathering effects bring these builds to a whole new level.
After President Trump’s failed attempt to broker peace on the Korean Peninsula, North Korea resumed ballistic missile tests in 2019. They have done so many since, it has become quite hard to keep track of them all. However, two tests, in September 2021 and in January of this year, stand out because the missiles were launched from a train. Putting missiles on a train makes some sense. If it were to come under attack, North Korea needs to ensure it can still launch its missiles. Mobile launchers make it much harder for an adversary to find and destroy them on the ground. And North Korea has poor roads but a fairly well-developed train network. Finding the launchers becomes a shell game; just about any box car in the country can house an unpleasant surprise.
The train in September consisted of a single Soviet-built M62 diesel locomotive; a very common type in communist countries. This pulled two freight cars. The first was a regular Chinese-built P61 box car. The second was externally similar, but it had an opening roof, extra doors in its side and launchers for two ballistic missiles inside. I admire the skill that goes into building a LEGO train, but the last time I built one was in 2014. And the one before that was in 2009, so it is fair to say that I rarely build trains. But North Korean missiles on a train definitely piqued my interest. I have built number of other missile launchers recently, including a Soviet MAZ-547 transporter erector launcher for an SS-20 ballistic missile and a Cold-War cruise missile launcher. This fits that theme perfectly.
Furthermore, I also happen to write professionally about missiles from North Korea and I write computer models to predict their trajectories. So, the research that went into building this model is directly linked to what I do for a living. Over the years I have found that quite a few people in similar lines of work are actually LEGO builders.
Devid VII delivers a devastating desert destroyer with this high-tech hover vehicle. The insectoid shape calls to mind the Dune ornithopters, but the markings suggest this is a future Earth military vehicle, rather than an otherworldly piece of technology. Wherever it originates from, Devid’s done an amazing job with not just the build, but the small vignette that supports it. Thanks to the angle of the ship and the dust cloud it’s kicking up, we can practically hear the hover engines as it speeds past us.
Caleb Flutur didn’t have to go this hard for the pun, but we’re glad he did. By transforming the classic children’s character “Thomas the Tank Engine” into simply “Thomas the Tank,” Caleb has produced a surprisingly accurate military vehicle. Sure, it’s made from primary colors and has eyes, but look at the details! The intricate tank tread mechanics, the machine gun atop the turret. And it had to be done while incorporating some of Thomas’s iconic striping, which actually ups the difficulty level beyond what a regular tank would require.
Time flies. It has been 14 years since my LEGO aircraft were first featured on The Brothers Brick. Perhaps surprisingly, I still have most of the models I had back then. However, although I updated several of them over the years, my F-16 Fighting Falcon, commonly known as a Viper, and my F/A-18 Hornet were now really showing their age. My jet models usually have a retractable undercarriage and that takes up quite a bit of space. As a result, the fuselages on the old versions were about a stud too wide for their scale. So, my main goal was to make those narrower. This obviously requires major changes and, rather than updating the existing models once more, I decided to rebuild them from scratch.
Using curved parts, wedge plates, and various brackets that didn’t exist when I built the originals, I further improved their shape. Some things have stayed the same, though. Lately, I have built some studless models, but it is no secret that I do like studs on my models. To fit with my older models, these two still have them. And while the old versions may have been old, they had features that I liked, such as the design of the cockpit canopy on the F-16 and much of the design of the main landing gear on the Hornet, so I copied those. While I have become somewhat fatter as I have reached middle age, my models are now slimmer and far more elegant. And with these changes, they’re good to go for another decade.
As dawn broke across Ukraine on February 24th this year, the Russian Federation launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine. In my day job, I’ve been working with software development teams in Ukraine for nearly 15 years, mainly in Kharkiv, barely 30 miles (less than 50 km) from the Russian border. In the first hours of the invasion, I messaged an old group-chat from my previous job saying, “Stay safe, my friends.” My former colleagues began waking up to air raid sirens, rocket attacks, and fighter jets roaring over their heads, and I watched their online status turn from yellow to green as they began sending brief replies saying they were safe so far.
Brickmania “Ghost of Kyiv” custom Mig-29 fighter jet kit
Through colleagues like these in Kharkiv, Odesa, and the capital Kyiv, as well as ex-pats here in the US, I’ve grown to love the Ukrainian people and their independent spirit. Ukrainians have been fighting for freedom and democracy ever since declaring independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. That fight became much more visceral in 2014, when a democratic “Revolution of Dignity” overthrew a corrupt, oligarchic and pro-Russian government. Russia’s Vladimir Putin immediately responded by annexing Ukraine’s Crimea region and began a proxy war to take over the industrial Donbas region in eastern Ukraine. This led not just to atrocities like the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 that year, but an ongoing Russia-backed insurgency against the democratic government in Kiev — for many in Ukraine, the Russian invasion began in 2014, not on February 24, 2022. But since February, through the Russian army’s mass killings of civilians in Bucha, Irpin, Mariupol, and elsewhere; ethnic cleansing of over 2 million Ukrainians to Russia; and ongoing indiscriminate rocket attacks and air raids against civilian targets like schools and shopping centers throughout Ukraine today, the full-scale invasion this year has proven that Russia intends to commit terrorism and ultimately genocide against the nation of Ukraine and its people. In the 5 months since the Russian invasion, most of my old team relocated to western Ukraine, though nobody in the country is safe from Russian rocket attacks and bombing. Some staff from my old company chose to stay behind in Kharkiv, and at least one has even laid down his life defending his city and his nation.
Sometimes something comes along that has us simply awestruck. That would be the case with this stunning LEGO 1/38 scale U-BOOT TYP VII C built by Ciamosław Ciamek. This model has roughly 15,000 pieces and is about 70 inches or 177 centimeters long. It also took staggering four-and-a-half years to build. In case you were wondering this is the same type of U-Boat from the Das Boot movie, which, in my opinion, is one of the tensest and most exhilarating movies ever made; a worthy watch if you haven’t seen it already. The hull panels can be removed on both the port and starboard sides. Here’s a view with the port panels removed to view the interior spaces.
Do you feel the need…the need for speed? Robert Lundmark has felt it by building this fantastic LEGO model of the F-14 Tomcat from the original Top Gun movie. Curved slope pieces are placed along the wings and around the cockpit, recreating the sleek look of the jet. The windscreens of the cockpit are formed from one large bubble canopy and two angled sections at either end. There is even a custom made “decal” on one of the wings, built out of bricks instead of using a sticker.
The wings can be folded out, which is a great option if you want to store the fighter away. It’s an awesome model that really captures the essence of the original design.
There is so much going on in this WWII scene by builder PelLego that’s it’s hard to know where to begin. I don’t know if I should talk about the detailed rock work first, or the delicate trees with flex-tube trunks. Those natural forms stand in juxtaposition to the tall man-made domiciles, tiny cars parked out front, and sleek boat being loaded with gear. The build is a masterclass in tile usage, ranging from the flat, even stillness of the water to the rough and worn street next to the dock.
The fictional town of Spudkirk is home to this LEGO scene by builder Evancelt Lego, featuring a row of tiny townhouses and itsy-bitsy infantrymen. And the details here, even at this scale, are larger than life. The cobbling on the wall is excellent, demonstrating how war-weary the town must be. The use of color in the road, specifically the blotches of lime green and burnt orange, further the worn look of the town. And it does this without drawing too much attention away from the rest of the model. This allows other, more nuanced details to shine through, like that teensy tree on the left. The yellow-orange flowers as foliage on top of a trunk mostly composed of a brown stud shooter fits perfectly at this scale.