Tag Archives: Navy

Flying the unfriendly skies

From his Flickr stream, it’s clear that builder arwen qiea is a Cold War military vehicle buff. It’s an impressive portfolio of (mostly Soviet) tanks, missile carriers and navy vessels from the 50s and 60s. But his gigantic airplanes kind of steal the limelight! Here’s his latest one, a model of the Soviet TU-135, an experimental supersonic bomber from that era.

From that angle, the TU-135 seems almost as sleek as a modern Russian fighter jet. But from a higher vantage point you can see why it was nicknamed the “flying wing”.

So that’s a pretty big plane, right? Nope. THIS is a big plane…

…say hello to the Russian Antonov AN-22, probably the largest turboprop ever built. And the big builds don’t stop there. His version of the Lockheed C5a Galaxy (a heavy transport used by the USAF) is so big it literally eats other LEGO models for breakfast!

And here it is, digesting its meal of tanks and other armaments:

Huge WWII Royal Navy Corvette Made of LEGO

Huge warships made of brick are always cool, and this 1:37 scale WWII Flower Class Corvette by John V is no exception. The authentic naval camouflage is something I’ve not seen previously on a large LEGO warship, and it looks fantastic.

Flower Class Corvette

Aft deck 1


Jump Jet

Peter Dornbach (dornbi) has built a very neat model of a Cold War classic: the British Sea Harrier. The Harrier has a somewhat odd-ball appearance, which is captured beautifully in the model. The odd shape is largely due to the aircraft’s unique Rolls Royce Pegasus engine, which allows the aircraft to take off and land vertically. This ability is why it is sometimes known as the Jump Jet.

Sea Harrier FRS.1 (3)

During the Cold War, many air forces worried about the vulnerability of their airfields to enemy strikes. Fighters that can operate from a much smaller strip, at a time of crisis, can be dispersed to smaller and better concealed locations away from their main base. Building a jet that can take off and land vertically is a big challenge, however. A whole range of different ideas were tried, including having additional lift engines mounted vertically inside the aircraft. This obviously was a very heavy solution. Using rocket boosters to launch a conventional jet from a short ramp worked, but left the jet in question with no place to land. The only successful design was the British Harrier, whose Pegasus engine has four jet nozzles that can be swiveled down to direct the jet’s entire thrust upward. Despite its diminutive scale of only 1/48, Peter’s model has these swiveling nozzles.

Its ability to operate without long runways made the Harrier an attractive choice for shipboard use. British Harriers gained most of their fame (or notoriety) in the 1982 Falklands War, where Royal Navy Sea Harriers, operating from small aircraft carriers, racked up about 20 air-to-air kills against the Argentinian Air Force and Navy, including against far faster Mirage fighters.

The Stingers’ Hornet strike fighter

It’s no secret that I like the F/A-18 Hornet (albeit not as much as I like the F-14 Tomcat), so I’m always happy to see a nice model of this US Navy strike fighter.

FA-18 VFA-113 009

Ryan Harris (Shep Sheppardson) has built a fine example in the markings of US Navy Strike Fighter Squadron 113, better known as the Stingers. This was the first US Navy combat squadron to start flying Hornets back in the eighties and is still active today. Some elements of the model aren’t all that different from other Hornets (including my own), but looks very much like the real deal and has a few interesting features. I’m primarily very curious to find out how the intakes are held together.

This Jolly Roger transforms

If I were checking out TBB right now, I’d probably think something along the lines of: ‘oh no, not another mecha!’ However, my excuse for blogging this model by daikoncat is that this is not just any old mecha; it’s the Skull Leader from the Macross saga.

VF-1S Valkyrie Skull Leader Battroid Mode

I used to watch the series as a child (although I knew it as Robotech). In fighter mode, the Valkyrie resembles the F-14 Tomcat and the Skull Leader’s markings are obviously based on the US Navy’s ‘Jolly Rogers’ squadron. As a big Tomcat fan and a big fan of the Jolly Rogers, I loved it and I love this model.

VF-1S Valkyrie Skull Leader Fighter Mode

This is not the first Valkyrie we’ve blogged, but it does look super-poseable. Mecha don’t get much cooler.

Out with the old, in with the new – revising and updating older LEGO models

For a long time I used non-LEGO plastic canopies on my aircraft and helicopter models, but in the last two years I have been steadily replacing them with purist brick-built ones. Usually while I was doing this, I also fixed up some other issues.

I have had models of an RA-5C Vigilante, A-7E Corsair II and F-14A Tomcat for more than ten years. The models represent aircraft that were assigned to the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, in 1978, and carry high-visibility markings that were typical for US Navy jets in the Seventies. The models were showing their age: their stickers were peeling, they were built with somewhat grubby-looking old grey LEGO, some of the white parts dated back to my childhood and were pretty badly yellowed and, finally, I have picked up a fair few new parts and tricks since I built them. They are the final three models that still had non-LEGO canopies.

CVW-8 revamped

The new models are built with new grey and I gave all of them new stickers. The Tomcat had been updated before, and apart from the canopy, its shape remained the same during the rebuild. The other two jets, however, were rebuilt from the ground up. I hope you agree they now look good to go for another decade.

Petit éléphant

Thanks to a combination of builder’s block, photography fails, and general non-LEGO busy-ness it’s been quite some time since I blogged anything of my own. The “Petit elephant” is the second war-machine in my Imperial Russian alternate universe. It’s clearly inspired by Erik (lemon_boy).

Imperial Land Navy "Petit éléphant" (небольшого слона)

The Imperial Chinese Navy takes to the stars

I alluded to the opposing force that inspired my own microscale battle fleet, but it looks like I didn’t end up blogging Mike Yoder‘s fleet on its own. Well, this wonderful new poster created for Mike by Stijn gives me a great excuse to do so.

Imperial Chinese Navy Poster

All of Mike’s ships have a consistent design that visually places them within the same faction, while each vessel has a unique style of its own. I just love the little fighters!

US Navy Whalers by Lego Monster

I love the sloped hulls on these WW2 era US Navy 26ft whaler boats by Ed Diment (Lego Monster). Great curves without clunky interior support structure. Very nice.

Lego Monster US Navy whalers

French Navy Xebec by Bonaparte

I like the elegant lines, upper hull design and rigging on this Mediterranean Xebec by Tom Jacobs (Bonaparte). It doesn’t hurt that his picture title reminded me of a Camera Obscura song I get stuck in my head.

LEGO Bonaparte Xebec

Ralph’s F4U Corsair, TBF Avenger, and A6M3 Zero are ready for Ed’s USS Intrepid

As Ed Diment works on his minifig-scale USS Intrepid aircraft carrier, Ralph Savelsberg (Mad Physicist) has been contributing World War II era fighter aircraft.

Ralph’s latest plane is the Imperial Japanese Naval Air Service’s Mitsubishi A6M3 “Zero” carrier-based fighter, or 零式艦上戦闘機 as I grew up knowing it. Long before I fell in love with the Corsair, the Zero captured my imagination, and Ralph’s LEGO version captures it accurately in brick.

LEGO A6M3 Zero fighter plane

A couple weeks ago, Ralph also posted a new pair of US Navy fighters, the F4U Corsair and TBF Avenger:

LEGO F4U Corsair and TBF Avenger US Navy fighter planes

LEGO battleship Yamato, largest LEGO ship ever, completed after 6 years

In a feat of LEGO naval engineering rivaled only by Malle Hawking’s USS Harry S Truman and Ed Diment’s HMS Hood, Jumpei Mitsui (JunLEGO) completed his World War II battleship Yamato today.

LEGO battleship Yamato

LEGO battleship Yamato has some very impressive specifications:

  • Length: 6.6 meters (22 feet) from bow to stern
  • Width: 1 meter (3 feet) at the widest point midship
  • Scale: 1/40
  • Time to complete: 6 years, 4 months
  • Parts: 200,000 LEGO elements
  • Weight: 150 kilograms (330 pounds)

Jumpei’s LEGO version is based on the way Yamato appeared immediately prior to the fateful Operation Ten-Go in 1945.

Jumpei Mitsui with LEGO YamatoJumpei built LEGO Yamato to answer the question he posed to himself all the way back in elementary school: “How big would Yamato be from a LEGO minifig’s perspective?” A third-year college student today, Jumpei can now demonstrate exactly what that would look like!

Breaking through the language barrier, Jumpei pioneered the use of Bricklink among Japanese LEGO fans to source the two hundred thousand LEGO elements necessary to build Yamato.

Yamato includes wonderful details like the Imperial chrysanthemum emblem on the bow and a brick-built Japanese navy flag flying from the bridge. The superstructure is especially impressive:

LEGO battleship Yamato superstructure

See more photos of this amazing LEGO creation on Jumpei Mitsui’s website and in his LEGO Battleship Yamato gallery on Brickshelf (when moderated).

Japanese battleship YamatoNot to be confused with the fictional Space battleship Yamato, the real Japanese battleship Yamato was launched in 1941, and remains the largest battleship ever constructed by any navy.

Having fired her guns against Allied forces only once during the Pacific War, Yamato was sunk in 1945, taking nearly 2,500 of her 2,700 crew to their deaths.

Six years in the making, Jumpei Mitsui’s LEGO battleship Yamato is major news in the LEGO fan community. The Brothers Brick will get in touch with Jumpei and try to arrange an interview for our English-speaking readers. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the pictures.