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.
It’s safe to say that Warsaw was a dangerous place to be in 1944. Already oppressed for five years by both Soviet and Nazi forces, the Warsaw Uprising was the resistance movement led by the Home Army (Armia Krajowa) to liberate the Polish city from German occupation. This Home Army mostly consisted of volunteer civilians and a faction called “the Gray Ranks” who were merely the Polish equivalent of young Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Despite being severely outgunned and outnumbered, the Home Army fought like the damned and while eventually obliterating 85% of the city’s structures, Nazi forces didn’t quite establish a comfortable foothold there. What I find particularly intriguing about this build by H2brick is instead of a sprawling World War II layout, he offers just a well configured slice of what it must have been like to be in Warsaw at that time.
The wide black band flanked by two rows of 1×2 Medium Dark Flesh plates establishes a solid stand for the scene and I rather like how some of the 1×1 bricks and tiles along the stairs and wall are not quite clicked into place, thus offering a more broken, haphazard texture to the terrain. The advancing Nazi forces clearly outnumber the fighting citizens in this diorama, and the one officer without a helmet; his blonde hair offers a striking visual contrast to everything else and somehow implies that he is the one in charge. As foreboding as this scene is, the builder (maybe knowingly) offers just a glimmer of hope for both the Home Army and the viewer. The solitary tree, with its roots exposed, is a life form that may hang on despite the tragedy surrounding it. The bit of graffiti on the wall, while not entirely intact, is the Polish flag and serves as a symbolic reminder of what the citizens are fighting for. While things didn’t go entirely well for the Home Army, their efforts were not for naught. The nation of Poland still stands long after what was supposed to be a “Thousand Year Reich” was wiped from the Earth.
In LEGO fan creations, the Second World War is quite a common theme. This is understandable, as this is a historical period that has a very personal connection to many people, while also bringing some action and gritty machinery to the table. Jan T. takes inspiration from an important part of Polish history that’s much less often recreated in LEGO, the ill-fated Warsaw Uprising.
The street combat is captured very well with makeshift barricades made of bricks, furniture, and an excellent period street tram surrounded by barricades.
We recently reviewed the new Brickmania F-4C Phantom II fighter kit, but the Brickmania team has also just restocked the massive B-17G WWII Heavy Bomber custom kit, their largest LEGO aircraft kit produced to date. This custom kit of the legendary “Flying Fortress” is built from 3,074 LEGO pieces and includes 10 custom-printed minifigures.
Back in 1941, World War II inspired ceramic manufacturer Royal Doulton to release a patriotic bulldog figure. Royal Doulton re-released the bulldog in 2012 to coincide with its appearance in the film, Skyfall. Since LEGO Ideas is currently running a James Bond contest, Victor decided to build a nearly 1:1 scale LEGO version of the bulldog. Victor’s model looks adorable, and the smooth curves of the dog and studs-out sculpting of the flag on his back make for an eye-pleasing juxtaposition.
With its distinctive inverted gullwings and gorgeous dark blue color scheme, the Vought F4U Corsair is easily my all-time favorite fighter plane. Produced throughout both World War II and the Korean War, the warplane also has the distinction of having the longest production run of any piston-engined fighter. While James Cherry may not be the most prolific LEGO builder — he shared his amazing 1/15-scale LEGO F-14A Tomcat jet fighter exactly two years ago — but each of his creations is well worth the wait. Built to the same scale as the Tomcat, James’s Corsair is deceptively huge; for a better sense of the scale, notice that the palm trees are built from stacked washtubs! We’ve estimated that this LEGO Corsair has a wingspan of over one hundred studs (over 32 inches or 82 cm), and it’s over 80 studs long from nose to tail (over 26″ / 67 cm).
The B series bombers are certainty some of my favorite airplanes ever created. I can’t help but think of them as battleships of the sky, with the ability to drop tons of bombs while laying down machine gun fire in all directions from a multitude of manned turrets. Nelsoma84 has brought one of these planes to life in LEGO form: the Consolidated B-24 Liberator. Although the B-17 usually steals the show, as we’ve seen before with a B-17 from PlaneBricks and a chrome Flying Fortress by Orion Pax, the B-24 was actually the most-produced bomber and American military aircraft in history. This particular model is based on one of the B-24’s based in Benghazi, Libya, which explains the tan coloring.
These bombers were used in 2,400-mile round-trip bombing raids on oil refineries in Ploesti, Romania which supplied 30-50% of the Third Reich’s fuel. The model has excellent shaping all around, from the tips of the wings to the signature glass nose, and has room inside for pilots and gunners. Custom stickers complete the model’s look and add an additional level of detail.
Hardcore Star Wars fans would know that many of the scenes from the original trilogy were heavily inspired by World War II dogfight scenes, and even some of the ship designs were lifted from aviation bombers of that period. Builder Steve Peterson has reversed this inspiration and transposed the space vehicles back into what they could have looked like if World War II fighters were instead inspired by the vehicles from Star Wars. He took the fan favourites of the X-Wing, the Y-Wing and the TIE fighter and made them look very retro cool. It seemed like they stepped through a time transformation machine. If you’re familiar with the era, tell us what WWII aircraft you think inspired these builds!
One of the things I really love about the LEGO building community is how LEGO artists can undermine conventions and subvert expectations. We’ve long maintained the viewpoint here at The Brothers Brick that LEGO is indeed art. Art can be fun, art can be funny, art can be uncomfortable, and yes, art can definitely be political — Nobel Prize for Literature winner Toni Morrison says, “All good art is political! There is none that isn’t. And the ones that try hard not to be political are political by saying, ‘We love the status quo.'” So it’s always interesting to see LEGO artists take on unexpected, difficult, and even uncomfortable subjects. And there is nothing more discomfiting than seeing our favorite LEGO BrickHeadz style applied by Swedish LEGO artist O Wingård to two of the most terrible people in human history — General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Joseph Stalin and Nazi Führer Adolf Hitler.
But discomfort should provoke thought, and thought should provoke discussion, and discussion can (but doesn’t always) result in progress. If LEGO is art and all good art is political, then good LEGO creations are (by the transitive property of equality) inherently political. If you’re a decent human being, these adorable BrickHeadz should make you deeply uncomfortable. What does that say about art? About the human condition?
A Second World War themed LEGO airplane fleet is a rare sight to behold. This image by Allen Lim looks amazing, even though the Japanese Zero fighters are multiplied digitally. Obviously my favourite part is the effort put into editing, but that should not overshadow the excellent work on the aircraft carrier and the aircraft itself. There are some shapes around the cockpit and on the wings that are very impressive once you take a closer look and think about how they are done.
I think the best way to view this aircraft is in combat in a dogfight with a Spitfire.
Allen has been building military aircraft throughout February so expect to see more from him in the near future.
The destruction of Allied shipping by German U-boats was a spectacular and tragic feature of both World Wars I and II. Luis Peña has recreated the much-dreaded underwater menace and scourge of Allied sailors at 1:50 scale with U-Boat VIIc, the most common class of German submarine.
The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is a four-engine heavy bomber aircraft that played a key role for the Allies in World War II. When the prototype B-17 first flew in 1935, a reporter for the Seattle Times was watching and coined the name “Flying Fortress” with his comment, “Why, it’s a flying fortress!” The B-17 was mainly used in the strategic bombing campaign of World War II. PlaneBricks has built a fantastic LEGO version of this famous bomber, complete with the machine guns poking out of clear ‘blisters’ to allow bombardiers and gunners to visualise their targets.