It definitely takes talent and building skills to create a realistic, yet funny vehicle or aircraft. John C. Lamarck nails it with a chubby JL-450 “Wolverine” inspired by fighters and bombers of the 1940’s. A perfect choice of stickers completes its clean look very well, but it is its short and clusmy body that really creates the character.
Sky-Fi is a niche branch of science fiction, essentially pushing the aesthetic and technology of WWII aircraft to the extremes. This zippy fighter by Thomas W., which he calls the F11 Locust, is a prime example of the artform, mashing up elements of numerous WWII fighters into an awesome new aircraft design. It’s rife with clever bits from a LEGO angle, too, from the minifigure hands as manifolds around the radial engine to the car mudguards with the headlight protrusions as perfect machine gun mounts. The rad sand green, orange, and white color scheme also helps bring a touch more sci-fi to the mix.
When it comes to the “Sky-Fi” Dieselpulp style of LEGO building, one man is the undisputed master of the air: Jon Hall. He strikes again with his latest retro-flavoured aircraft — the P-98 Nemesis. The shaping of the hefty triple-fuselage structure is excellent, and there are loads of lovely touches on display — the strong colour-blocking, the raked exhausts peeking from beneath the engine cowls, and the racks of ordnance slung under the wings.
Packed full of Jon’s trademark attention to detail, the model includes custom stickers, a folding undercarriage, and a detailed cockpit interior. Check out this view of the seat and the instrumentation panel with its trio of joysticks. And don’t miss the spanner mounted up-front as a gun sight — great stuff.
Sky-fi is one of those strange themes that seem to be disproportionaly popular in LEGO, similar to space and castle. Over the years these imaginative airplanes remain present in the LEGO community, very often in high quality. This F14-Thunderhead by Sylon-tw is no exception, using careful colour blocking and combinations, as well as skillful bulbous shapes iconic for the theme.
The colour scheme is easily my favourite part, combining sand blue and pearl gold, both somewhat rare and difficult to work with – and yet they fit together so nicely! The slightly swept back wings give the aircraft a unique sense of character and there is some great parts usage with the consecutive minifig arms on torsos for the exhausts. Very importantly, the stickers bring it all together quite nicely.
After a long break, German builder Sylon-tw is back into his assembly hall proving that his futuristic airplanes are still dominating LEGO skies. Instead of the dieselpunk go-to colors of grey, dark blue, bright red, or reddish brown, Thomas goes for bold black on the body and elegant decorations of white and dark red stripes. Combined with short droid bodies, the dinosaur flippers work perfectly as propeller blades. And in a nice change from convention, the aircraft has a fetching female pilot.
Sky-fi may be among the more obscure LEGO building themes, but if you dig deep, plenty of amazing models can be found. The F70 Double Falcon by Vincent Tolouse is a great representation of the alternate-history early aviation-based theme, because it has everything, from beautiful curves to unique and imaginative shapes. Add to that the gorgeous dark red and chrome silver along with some nice part uses such as the Galidor shields at the front, and you get a very memorable and absolutely insane aeroplane.
This sexy sky-fi creation by perig perig, inspired by concept artist Ian McQue, is incredibly detailed, with beautiful vibrant colors and red striping that presumably serve to avoid mid-air collisions. This simple yet elegant beauty looks like it could be sailing between high rise buildings in the not too distant future.
It is very reminiscent of Mr. Kim’s flying food cart in the Fifth Element. The Chinese lanterns strung across the rigging and the tendrils hanging from the hull are quite ingenious. But my favorite detail is that quirky roof on the small aft cabin.
My office at work looks across Lake Washington toward Seattle, and I spent much of the morning and afternoon distracted by F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets of the US Navy Blue Angels acrobatic team as they roared past my window. When I saw the predominantly blue and yellow color scheme of this excellent X-shaped fighter plane by Thomas W., I was immediately reminded of the Blue Angels. But with the double gull wings and large propellor, the real-world US Navy fighter that Thomas’s design truly evokes is the Vought F4U Corsair from World War II — one of my favorite aircraft of all time. The yellow stripe on the leading edge of the wings is lovely, and the white accents give the whole plane a more modern look for some reason.
After a hiatus of several months, Jon Hall has returned with this lovely little fighter with a giant rotating Gatling gun on its nose. My own favorite detail is the air intake in front of the cockpit.
See more photos in Jon’s photoset on Flickr. Jon says he’s back to building after a move, so I can’t wait to see what he shares next!
Synchronicity is a funny thing, and in a hobby where we have a limited palette of parts but a near-infinite number of possible builds, surprisingly rarely seen.
Cagerrin’s Kyusu A9W1 is a riveted piece of dieselpunk Sky-Fi, with smoothly curved angles and a plethora of real-world detailing, such as the complex night-fighting radar array in front.
While keeping the same basic structure, Damien’s Space Wulf 190 is a spinier space-worthy fighter, similarly clad in a retro vibe but this time harking back to 70’s scifi.
Both builders credit anime as a primary source of inspiration; Sky Crawlers for Cagerrin and Captain Harlock for Damien. The design archetype also shows up in Wings of Honneamise, as built by Mike Psiaki with this classic.
Jon Hall built five incredible planes this year. To commemorate that, he just posted this montage. Somehow we dropped the ball and only posted one of them here. That lapse has now been rectified. Here they are, all together in their breath-taking awesomeness.
Jon’s planes are truly works of art. So smooth, so seamless, so beautiful. He does paint some of them and uses custom stickers, which probably irritates somebody, somewhere. But he does it so well, I feel it just adds to the “realism” and makes the suspension of disbelief that much easier.
Whether on our Facebook page, Twitter, or requests to each of our contributors individually, I’d guess that fully 99% of the LEGO Ideas projects we’re asked to throw our weight behind are not original ideas born of the project owner’s own imagination, built in LEGO with their own talent and skill. This is why we, along with many of our readers, were so excited about the LEGO Ideas Exo Suit — it’s a truly original design by a talented LEGO builder. We’d like to see more ideas like that succeed.
I’ve always said that Jon Hall is one of my favorite builders, and I’m happy to see that he’s posted one of his stellar sky-fi planes to LEGO Ideas.
The project already has over a thousand votes, which means it’s gaining a bit of momentum. Join me in supporting this great original idea and see if we can get it to 10,000 supporters.
(Thanks for making sure we saw this project, Curtis!)