While it’s more common to see LEGO models of neat and tidy downtowns that would look right at home in Disney, it takes at least as much skill to show a city in the aftermath of war. Builder Paul Rizzi has created this World War II diorama depicting the Soviet invasion of Berlin in 1945. Created using approximately 12,000 pieces, the 1/42-scale diorama’s centerpiece is a pair of large buildings that we can see were once quite ornate, before being bombed out, no doubt during the Allies’ extensive air raids. Paul has been careful not to simply build a standard LEGO building and then unbuild it partially, but instead actually provide some of the structural framework that’s typically not present in a LEGO building, such as the rafters and floor joists. The large number of scattered bricks and rubble blown from the buildings and street during the bombing, along with several large craters, give the whole diorama a sense of realism that’s sometimes missing in the “too clean” versions that many novice builders attempt.
The Soviet tank, a T-34/85, occupies the right half of the diorama accompanied by a handful of Soviet infantry facing off a smattering of German troops. The Soviet forces are crossing under Berlin’s famous Stadtbahn railway, which is striking in dark green. The tank itself employs an aftermarket flag and treads, and is a great version of the angular Russian tank that formed the backbone of the Soviet machine.
The LEGO community has been on a big Tensegrity kick lately, and I for one couldn’t be happier. While the art-lover in me is fond of the abstract sculptural versions, there’s just something cool when builders combine the mind-bending physics with their own choice of theme. Carrier Lost has chosen to take things into the realm of science fiction with this Tensegrity Tank. The sleek design and neon highlights makes this feel like it was lifted directly from some TRON:Legacy concept art. Is it a stretch to label this as a new take on a “hovertank” as well?
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.
Read more about Sariel’s Soviet KV-1 and KV-2 heavy tanks
There’s nothing pretty about war, but Dane Erland finds a way to bring some strong visual interest to the concept. Based on a creepily organic inspiration, the Abyssal moves forward in a manner far removed from a standard tank. Instead of treads, six clusters of tentacles sprout from the undercarriage. Each is made of pneumatic hose aligned with 8-Tooth Technic gears, and finished off with an array of claws. The tan body has some nice curves and angles, and it bristles with a wide array of brick-built sensors and weapons.
Is this a peek into the next stage of warfare? Maybe I’ll just stay indoors for the foreseeable future.
Singaporean LEGO builder Jeffrey Kong‘s latest composition is a simple yet moving piece marking the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Incident. Kong’s work, both with the brick and with the public, has inspired me many times, and this time its a combination of the two. The scale he’s chosen has brought out a well crafted yet ominous tank and unknown protester, with the large Chinese character 点, imposing its presence. Translated to “a small amount, a dot or a drop”, this character is censored annually on China’s internet. You can read more on Kong’s Instagram. Every part within this build is a common element, leaving a stark example that you don’t need countless complex combinations to achieve an elegant creation. I find the impressive compositions here relate more to the contrasting colour use and symbolism of what it represents. I do thoroughly enjoy the 2×2 round plate with Rounded Bottom that he’s employed inversely as the tank hatch though.
Kelvin Low’s latest LEGO creation brings to life a turret-headed mech based on original artwork by Emerson Tung. Taking inspiration from a number of classic tank elements, the Kaiserian Grunt Tankhead has a tough militaristic feel. It manages to achieve this aesthetic by balancing its heavy cannon-toting head and meaty body on top of substantial spread-toed feet.
To fully appreciate this type of build, you need to get under the skin of the mechanical beast. Luckily, Kelvin has supplied us with a video showing off his ingenious construction techniques. In it, he records in detail how the various components of the mech’s armoured body are applied to its Technic skeleton.
The mind of Andy Baumgart must be a very interesting place. Somewhere in that chaotic cranial coolness, there was a collision between the neurons responsible for housing the military schematics repositories, the hot rod files, and 90s girl LEGO themes. Thus, out popped the T-42 “Sugarcube” MLRS, which has got to be one of the most insane (and insanely awesome) military vehicles to ever grace our site.
Studded with nearly every chrome silver element LEGO has ever produced, and jazzed up even more with a generous dose of immaculately applied custom decals, this red rocket launcher houses a single Belville figure. As we’d expect with Andy, there’s no shortage of fantastic and unusual parts usages. The most obvious, of course, are rockets sprouting from the back which hail from the Series 17 Rocket Boy. The roof is a piece that isn’t seen often, but is actually being used for its intended purpose, having been a Fabuland vehicle top. Look closely, and along the side you’ll spot a well-disguised derrick arm, while Belville crowns and classic gates line the front. Of course, you wouldn’t want to miss tea time, so there’s a set just in reach of the driver.
If you’re a Ninjago fan, this vehicle may look familiar. After all, it was inspired by the official set 70654 Dieselnaut, which we covered in our news roundup of summer wave Ninjago sets. But there is a lot more to this steampunk behemoth by Mishima than a black paint job. Every detail from the official set has been re-built to fit the steampunk aesthetic, from brass and steel pipes throughout the tank, to the side and top mounted turrets. Even the crew have been custom fitted to the steampunk theme. Two smokestacks in front of the top turret look like they might have come straight off an old steam locomotive, along with the curved side panels that lift up to reveal more guns.
Although I have never played the tabletop games, I have always admired the aesthetic of the Warhammer 40k universe, particularly the vibrantly colored hardsuits and tanks. Simon Crocker has created an excellent Warhammer-Nexo Knights mashup with his razorback tank, which is based on a heavily armored variant of the Rhino APC from the Warhammer games.
Although the build may initially appear straightforward, closer inspection reveals the complex shaping and techniques used to make the front and back of the APC look so smooth, and to achieve the light bluish gray accents in just the perfect places. Although I overlooked it at first, the use of dark bluish gray panel pieces sticking out by 1/2 plates distance on the front viewports of the tank is particularly clever. As a finishing touch, custom stickers are used to add the fine details and make it especially accurate to the source material.
While we can all gaze in wonder at a huge LEGO diorama, there’s also a lot of joy that comes from building fun little models with interesting techniques. GolPlaysWithLEGO has built this fun little tank that has 61 parts and a lot of character.
Click to see the parts and instructions
As fun as building something from your own imagination always is, recreating something from history can be particularly challenging. On top of creating a great-looking LEGO M4A2 Sherman tank from World War II at 1/18th scale, Tommy Styrvoky has added a mine flail, and then motorized the whole thing. Watch the video here to see it in action.
Tommy’s Sherman includes the following features, powered by LEGO Power Functions:
- Turret with full 360-degree traverse
- Elevating gun in turret
- Two-gear transmission with electronic braking
- Torsion bar suspension
- Elevating flail arms
- Spinning flail chains on drum
Christmas is in the air, colored lights and holiday shoppers everywhere… It just makes me want to jump into a 60 ton tracked vehicle and go defend Poland. Forget nativity scenes; all I want for Christmas is a massive diorama of the North African Campaign.
Marin Stipkovic posts this beefy Eastern Bloc design, based on a 1948 prototype;
From the same time period but opposite weight class, Intense Potato shares this teensy M3 Stuart;
The East comes roaring back with Nick’s slightly futurized T-90;
But he runs headlong into Alex Zelov‘s Somers-style Abrams;
And finally, a blast from the past, Jeffrey Mille shares this adorably twee FT 17 from the Great War;