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.
Polish LEGO builder Sariel is famous for his huge LEGO models that incorporate LEGO Technic and Power Functions elements for working features without sacrificing details or the overall look of the model. His recent MAZ-535 artillery truck was no exception, and it reminded us that we had overlooked his fantastic KV-1 heavy tank and KV-2 heavy artillery tank. I’ve built LEGO KV-1 and KV-2 tanks myself, so I have an appreciation for the challenging angles of these early WW2 Soviet tanks.
A little more than forty years ago, with the Cold War still in full swing, the Soviet Union introduced a new ballistic missile: the RSD-10 “Pioneer”. NATO code-named it the SS-20 “Saber”. It had a range of 500-5500 km and carried three nuclear warheads, each of which was roughly ten times as powerful as the bomb used against Hiroshima. It seemed purpose-built to threaten Western Europe. The missile’s short flight time, of roughly 15 minutes, left very little warning. Furthermore, it was mobile, which made it even harder to counter. A large six-axle MAZ-547 transporter erector launcher carried the missile, housed inside a large cannister, to dispersed launch sites.
My diorama shows the launcher at a snow-covered launch site, with the missile cannister raised upright for launch. On the model it is almost solid, so there is no actual missile inside, but you can just see the tips of the three warheads. Unlike most of my models, it is minifig-scaled (I picked 1/43) and built mostly without visible studs. I built it for a Cold War themed collaborative build for BrickFair Virginia, in the coming August.
The Volgograd Tractor Plant, previously known as the Stalingrad Tractor plant, produced the workhorses for the Soviet era Russian farming industry. Short, snub-nosed and chunky, the DT-75 is an exemplar of sturdy utilitarian design. Builder Jakeof has created two LEGO versions of these unique looking vehicles, a DT-75 and a DT-75M.
Although small, they pack in the detail, especially in the case of the neat tread design and exposed engines. Together they stand as an iconic reminder of Soviet innovation.
In July 1975, American Astronauts and Soviet Cosmonauts met in low Earth orbit, shook hands, exchanged gifts, and conducted joint scientific experiments as they docked their spacecraft together for over 40 hours. Luis Peña has recreated this historic spaceflight in LEGO, complete with an Astronaut conducted an EVA (Extra-Vehicular Activity). Like the designers of the wonderful LEGO Saturn V set, Luis has overcome the inherent challenges of building conical and spherical shapes in LEGO, with the Apollo Command/Service Module in gray and the Soyuz 7K-TM in iconic sand green.