The reason the original castle set from 1978 was yellow and not gray is that LEGO didn’t want to encourage kids to build military stuff. All that changed with the abundance of gray in the Star Wars sets. Still they had similar hesitancy with olive green. It took the Pixar Cars line in 2011 to introduce the color and military builders rejoiced. So there, the joke is on you, LEGO! (That was much funnier when I thought of it earlier today.) While this particular shade of green is now available in many sets, it’s still a difficult color to amass in large quantities. That is just one of many reasons why this rough and tumble Soviet Ural-375D by Rolands Kirpis is so impressive. Another reason is each axle and the steering functions are run by Power Functions motors. It took a year to collect all the right parts to build this model but the end result is as mighty as the Ural mountains.
The Sukhoi S-37/ Su-47, also known as the “Berkut” (“Беркут” or “Golden Eagle”), may look like something from Japanese anime or Ace Combat, but it was very much a real-world aircraft. A little less than twenty years ago, the Sukhoi design bureau (ОКБ Сухого) proposed this sinister-looking jet as the next-generation air superiority fighter for the Russian Air Force. It was a big black beast, with forward-swept wings for added agility and an internal weapons bay. Sukhoi also planned to add thrust-vectoring engines and an aft-looking radar. Although the design seemed promising, eventually things didn’t quite work out. The advanced features were never finished and only a single prototype ever flew.
In 2018 and 2019 I was part of a group of LEGO builders in Vietnam War and Cold War collaborations, for BrickFair Virginia. For the 2020 event, we’re planning another collaboration. We’ve themed it: “eXperimental Military”. It’s all about X-planes, prototypes and technology demonstrators. S-37 is my first contribution. To fit the styles of the other builders involved, I’ve once again adopted a slightly different aesthetic from my usual studded look. The model is almost completely studless. Rather than using plates and wedge plates for the wings, I built them using bricks mounted on their sides. Hinged sections at the leading and trailing edges hold slopes, to make them less blunt. Minifig scale is quite small and minifigs are a bit awkward. Nonetheless and despite the undercarriage bay underneath, the cockpit can house a minifig pilot, with the canopy closed. The real aircraft was not a success, but it sure makes for a badass looking LEGO model.
Since it’s first flight in 1966, the Russian Soyuz rocket system has become the world’s most frequently used launch vehicle. With over 1,700 flights in 50 years, this Russian stalwart has hauled cosmonauts, satellites, and cargo aloft, with its relatively simple design creating an enviable reliability record. However, this LEGO version of the latest Fregat version of the Soyuz is anything but simple — Jussi Koskinen has pulled out all the stops to capture every last feature of the spacecraft’s detailing. The scale of the effort involved is impressive — the model took 18 months to put together, and measures over 1.25m.
The overall structure of this massive model is excellent, and the shaping and angles on the lower boosters are particularly good. The smaller details are worth a look too — don’t miss the texturing around the base of the boosters, the scaffold-style connection between stages, and the nice integration of the Russian flag into the upper stage’s colour scheme. This formidable model wouldn’t look out of place on display beside the LEGO Ideas Saturn 5 set, and that’s high praise indeed.
I’ve always wondered why we don’t paint our military jets with blue camouflage so they blend in with the blue sky. Well, after a quick Google search, it appears that the Russians thought the same thing, because the wonderful camoflauge pattern on this Sukhoi SU-34 by ModernBrix is indeed accurate to the real-life jet. It’s an excellent choice, because we rarely see this type of camouflage pattern recreated in LEGO.
Camouflage aside, the shaping is outstanding, especially on the cockpit and fuselage. The builder has also managed to fit side-by-side seating for two pilots in the cockpit — an uncommon feature the Sukhoi is known for — which eliminates the need for duplicate instruments required in the front and back of tandem seat fighter jets.
Markus Rollbühler is a LEGO product designer based in Billund, Denmark. Despite spending his weekdays working with LEGO pieces, Markus challenges himself to build microscale versions of the world’s most famous cathedrals in his spare time. His very special series of architectural masterpieces featuring Frauenkirche Dresden and Santa Maria della Salute is now joined by a marvelous copy of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia.
St. Basil’s Cathedral is famous for its nine chapels of vibrant colors. Markus did an amazing job recreating each of them in a unique building style using bricks, hoses, slopes, and tiles of over a dozen different colors. However, the most genius trick of the build is nine sonic screwdrivers right from Doctor Who sets used as crosses on top of the chapels.
And, of course, the cathedral is totally worth checking out from all angles — make sure you visit Markus’ photosream for more high-res pictures!
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: