Wednesday, 29 January 2014

The end of the line

It's been a long time since I last posted something here. I've been very busy doing other things, including building lots of other non-military models and nowadays I am a contributor to the Brothers Brick, the world's most popular LEGO-blog.

It was fun, but not lately

Now, I've also left the Lego Military Models flickr group. Magnus Lauglo, Chandler Parker and I started this group in July 2010to accompany this blog. It was fun. We organised build challenges and many of the on-line Lego community's best military builders joined our ranks. The group had a fantastic photopool and most of all, there were no arguments. Chandler, Magnus and I decided from the start that major decisions, such as banning people, would be taken jointly, by majority vote if necessary. In more than three years, we never had to do this and never banned anybody. Chandler left the Lego community a while ago and Magnus and I have been very busy lately. To add new life to the party, we added new admins late last year: Aleksander Stein, Justin Vaughn (Mainman), Andy Baumgart (D-Town Cracka ) and Dale Regan (Project Azazel, aka. PA). Unfortunately, things didn't work out as planned. A few weeks ago, several of us received messages from other flickr members whose pictures were being removed from Lego Military Models or who had been kicked out of the group. None of the other admins knew about this, but all of these guys had conflicts with PA. It has become clear that he is using his position as admin to fight personal vendettas behind our backs. We have told him that this is not right and we have offered to discuss this further, but to no avail. Andy stepped down last week, because he was fed up with this affair. All other admins, myself included, have subsequently asked PA to step down. He hasn't replied, except by once again kicking somebody out. I know there are plenty of military builders who think highly of PA. He is a good builder and he can be very friendly, but be aware: he absolutely cannot deal with people whose opinions differ from his own. I can't work with a fellow admin who I cannot trust and who cannot be reasoned with. It only takes one rotten apple. I wish Andy, Magnus, Aleksander and Justin all the best and like to thank them for our collaboration. I'd also like to thank the many excellent builders who are a part of LMM and the readers of this blog. It was fun while it lasted.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

2012 Flickr Military Building Competition

It's the time of year again. Several of us are organising a new LEGO Military Building competition over on flickr. Here's Magnus Lauglo's announcement:

Greetings all! Springtime once again brings you the Military Building Competition!

Judging with me again this time are past Competition judges; 4 year judging veteran Chandler Parker, and military/automobile modeler extraordinaire Ralph Savelsberg (aka Mad physicist). We’re also happy to be joined this year by two highly respected and influential builders; the tireless Norwegian military building giant Aleksander Stein, and talented multitasker, and 2010 winner of Best in Show, Justin Vaughn (aka Mainman). Thanks also go out to Jas Nagra for once more providing Competition image and others who have offered to help out in various ways. I’m confident this crack squad of judges will pull off a great competition. Of course it’s really you guys who make the competition what it is, with all your inspiring military builds.

The categories we’ve chosen are based partly on feedback from the community, and partly on our own areas of building interest. As we’ve done in the past we’ve tried to come up with interesting themes and categories that will inspire new building, while staying close enough to familiar ground that everyone will have fun expanding on their favorite building themes. Whether you are a diehard era-specific model builder looking for something different, you enjoy designing your own military vehicles, or you like to stretch out with a big dio, you will find some exciting building options here. We’re including particular emphasis this year on building in various scales, but there are plenty of options for traditional minifig scale building as well.

Whether you are new to military building, or you’ve participated in these competitions in the past, we hope you’ll take a look at these building categories, and see what catches your eye:

Basic Rules

The deadline for the competition is June 15, 2012. We will start accepting entries on April 15. So as soon as you hand in your tax returns, get building!

Entries should be posted to flickr, with at least one picture added to this group. In addition, you should enter them on the 2012 Competition entry thread.

Questions should be posted to the FAQ thread. You can also email one of the judges for the appropriate building category, but others may have the same question, so posting to the FAQ thread is usually going to be the way to go.

You may only enter new builds that have been specifically built for this competition

You may enter one build per category. You may enter as many categories as you like.

As like last year, you are encouraged to include specific builds in multiple categories. For example, you could include models or other vehicles in the Diorama or Forced Perspective entries.

BrickArms and other custom weapons are welcome, as are decals and stickers you make yourself. All basic building bricks should be official LEGO bricks.


We’re very grateful for once again being sponsored by BrickArms and BrickMania – so if you’d like to pick up a great WWII model tank or need some replicas of real life weaponry to arm your minifigs with, please consider checking out these guys and their excellent products.


There will be prizes as always, and following past tradition we’ll wait to announce what those are specifically. But expect to see BrickMania and BrickArms products, as well as official Lego sets.

Building Categories:

We have five main building themes and ten separate building categories. LegoJunkie had a go at all ten categories last year. Are there any heroic builders out there up to matching him this year?

- judged jointly by Mad Physicist and Mainman

1. Minifig+ scale Middle Eastern Aircraft

The air forces of the world's major powers have become well-represented in the brick, but in today's world, air power ranges far and wide. For this theme, build an aircraft model at Minifig scale or larger based on an existing or historical aircraft used by a Middle-Eastern country's air force. Many of these aircraft were designed and built in the Soviet Union or the West, but each country has modified them to make them their own.

2. Minifig+ scale "Drawing Board" Armor

Military history is replete with concepts which never hit the battlefield or even made it past a blueprint. In this category we'd like to see your (minifig-scale or larger) interpretation of just such an armored vehicle. It may be from any era, and for the purposes of this contest, can include concepts that were actually built as prototypes, but never saw large-scale production (such as the Panzer VIII Maus).

3. Microscale Heavy Aircraft

While fighters often get the limelight, there is no denying the fact that they can't win the war alone. For this category we want to see your rendition of a heavy military aircraft such as a bomber, tanker, or transport, built at microscale (about 1:70 scale or smaller). While we aren't adhering strictly to the industry definition of "heavy," please note that large fighters like the Tu-28 and small transports like the C-23 will not be considered applicable. Large WWII bombers and transports are, however, welcome.

Minifig Scale Vehicles - judged jointly by Chandler Parker and Aleksander Stein

4. Light Utility Vehicle (LUV)

During the ongoing conflict with their neighboring country Saradia, the Azmir Army have made heavy use of their Monitor Light Utility Vehicles, which are renowned for their high mobility and adaptability to a great number of front line- as well as rear echelon roles. However, the lightly armored Monitor LUVs have proven vulnerable to modern mines and IEDs, and while add-on armor retrofits have improved matters some, the need for a new vehicle specialized to counter modern battlefield threats has become ever more imperative. As plans are currently underway for a major amphibious assault on the Saradian east coast, the Azmir High Command has given the program to acquire a new light utility vehicle top priority.

Presenting the following set of requirements for their new LUVs to defense contractors worldwide, the Azmir Army are aiming at replacing their obsolete Monitor LUVs double-time prior to the planned assault:

Max. length: 18 studs
Max. width: 8 studs
Armament: HMG or AGL
Min. capacity: 1 + 2

5. Landing Craft

In preparation for their amphibious assault on Saradia, the Azmir Navy has issued an urgent requirement for a new class of landing craft to supplement their small and aging collection of vessels. Open to defense contractors worldwide to develop, the vessel must have a vehicle bay large enough to accommodate the new LUV that’s to be developed concurrently. It also needs to be able to defend itself, so at least one heavy machine gun should be mounted.

Required vehicle bay dimensions: 8x18 studs
Min. armament: 1x HMG

Microscale Non-Model Vehicle - judged jointly by Aleksander Stein and Magnus Lauglo

Most builders tend to build in minifig scale, and with the wonderful range of figs out there to populate your own world it's no wonder. But we want to see what you can do on a much smaller scale. By taking the figs out of the equation, you don't have to build around their chunky inhuman dimensions, and by making everything smaller, you can come up with cool looking MOCs using fewer bricks, and perhaps use bricks in new ways.

We're aiming for a scale just under half of minifig scale, imagine a person being between 5 and 6 plates high, and a large armored vehicle like a main battle tank being about 4 studs wide. Think you can throw together a little jeep in half an hour for this? Think again. We want you to build either a small faction of vehicles, or a large transportation vehicle big enough to carry another smaller vehicle.

6. Mini Faction

Build a small collection of 3-5 ground-based self designed vehicles (not models) that look like they are all in the same faction. We're open to a wide variety of styles here (cold war style, steampunk, modern, near future, sci-fi), but they should all be in the same aesthetic style. Pay attention to coloring and camouflage, and feel encouraged to make use of interesting small elements. What you might use for a greeble on a minifig scale vehicle might make a great larger detail on a 3-4 wide vehicle.

7. Transport Vehicle

Build some kind of larger transportation vehicle that has space to transport one or more small vehicles in or on it. Examples could be landing boat, a heavy truck, or a transport plane.
If you've always wanted to build a heavy transport chopper, but didn't want to try out something that big, it's a lot more manageable if you do it in microscale. Again, we're fairly open to style here, so if you've always wanted to build a dropship to land your hover tank, or a train to move your steampunk tank, here's your chance to do that in microscale. Of course, more traditional modern military building is perfectly fine. You can build your transportation vehicle inspired by a real life vehicle, but we're not looking for a model of an actual Osprey or anything like that.

Minifig scale Diorama - judged jointly by ChandlerParker and Magnus Lauglo

Like last year, we are going to give you two thematic options for the dio category, and then judge the dios against one another based on size rather than theme. The dios will be placed in a size category as follows:

Small dio: 32by32 studs (minimum) up to 48 by 48 studs (maximum)

Large dio: larger than 48 by 48 studs.

Dios that are not built on baseplates, and perhaps have jagged edges and so forth are welcome but we ask that you provide us with pictures that demonstrate what the dimensions are so we know which category to fairly judge them within.

8. "What If"- alternative reality history

Here's your chance to build a dio of a historical battle or other military scene that never happened. What if the Germans had won the Battle of Britain and it was the Brits who were defending themselves against a cross-channel invasion? What if the Warsaw Pact and NATO had ended up in a real shooting war in the '70s? What if the Argentinians had sunk one of the British carriers in 1982, how would the land war have gone on the Falklands? This lends itself well to models of real life vehicles rather than self-disigned vehicles. Although if you want to give us your take on a German tank designed ca 1947 that's fine too.

9. "Battlefield 2052" - sci fi /futuristic military style

Military technology advances all the time. What will the battlefield look like 50 years from today? Will wars be fought exclusively with advanced unmanned vehicles, will there still be functioning AKs lying around, or (most ominous) will we be back to sticks and stones? What do you think? And will we still fight over the same things? Or will people fight over control of resources that are plentiful today? Build a dio of battle or military scene based on a scenario half a century from today.

Other - judged jointly by Mad Physicist and Mainman

10. Forced Perspective

This category was introduced two years ago with some very fun and inventive results. Build a military MOC using at least two different scales to create the illusion of depth. As before, there are no restrictions on size, scale, or theme, and you are welcome to use entries from other contest categories as part of your FP MOC. Be creative, bring your A-game, and wow us!

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The best laid schemes of mice and men (or my year in review).

Those of you who were hoping for regular updates on this blog may have been disappointed by our lack of activity this year, but unfortunately all of the contributors to this blog have had very busy years in our private lives -moving from one end of my country to the other for a new job in my case. Even though we have plenty of ideas and plans for things that might be interesting for the blog, none of us have had the time.

However, I'm on leave and have a bit of time on my hand. I've been thinking about models that I might like to build and have been looking back at the year that's gone by. In a thread in the discussion on the military models group on flickr about a year ago, some of us discussed our future plans.

Here's the list I came up with back in January.

  • a large 1/36 aircraft (most likely a B-52)

  • a minifig scale WW-II bomber (most likely a B-17)

  • a 1/22 scale jet fighter (most likely an F-16)

  • a 1/22 scale helicopter (most likely an AH-64)

  • a 1/22 scale infantry fighting vehicle (most likely an M2 Bradley)

My list shows that my plans for writing for the blog aren't the only ones that I didn't see through. I did none of the above.

So, what have I been up to in terms of military building? Despite my sometimes hectic schedule, I have built a number of new models this year. Some of them were things that I put on the back burner years ago, but that I still wanted to do. Others were prompted by shows that I attended or activities for the Lego Military Model group on flickr. I'll go over them one-by-one.

The first one was prompted by this year's flickr military build contest. It had a category for Warsaw-Pact aircraft and even though I couldn't participate (being one of the organisers/ judges) I did feel I wanted to build something for it. I looked at a number of different options, wanting to build a jet that hadn't been done by many people before. I narrowed my choices to either the Su-24 Fencer or the Su-25 Frogfoot. Because I feared that the camouflage on the latter would pose too many problems, I settled on the former.

Su-24M Fencer-D (5)
Su-24M Fencer-D

The real aircraft is somewhat boxy and at a first glance doesn't look all that interesting, but when studying photographs and scale models (on-line) I came to realise that there were certain subtleties to the shape that would make it challenging. There's a slight taper to the aft fuselage. It has a complicated undercarriage and the gentle outward flare of the intakes gave me some trouble. I had a hard time choosing armament for it. Fencers can carry a bewildering array of weapons, but most operational ones seem to carry unguided bombs. Somehow, I didn't fancy those. I ultimately settled on two AS-17 'Krypton' ant-radiation missiles with their associated 'phantasmagoria' ESM pod and two AA-8 'Aphid' air-to-air missiles. I think it's actually the armament that makes the model stand out. Looking back at it, I think it would have been nicer if I'd have chosen a purist solution for the cockpit canopy (more about that later), but this was a fun build that turned out allright.

After the fun I had building the Fencer, I decided to turn to building a Frogfoot after all, and as expected, the camouflage indeed did turn out to be complicated. The problem is that the number of different parts that LEGO make in suitable colours is very limited. I would have loved to build the underside in medium blue, but there are no hinges in that colour, so I was forced to use medium stone grey instead -fortunately not a bad match for the real colour. For the top I wanted to use dark green, reddish brown and dark tan. However, dark green and dark tan have very limited parts palettes. I saw no way of using both. Since there really is no suitable substitute for the dark green, I decided to use regular tan instead of dark tan.

Su-25 Frogfoot (2)
Su-25 Frogfoot-A

I still would love to replace the tan with dark tan at some point in the future, as more parts become available, but overall, I like it.

The next thing I did, in terms of military building, was because I decided to attend Brickfair in the US in August. Magnus Lauglo had invited me to come over the previous two years and this year I finally decided to take him up on his offer. I finally got to meet him, as well as Chandler Parker, Aleksander Stein and Evan Melick. It's great fun to meet people that you've more-or-less known for years through the internet in real life. I definitely intend to go back next year.

BrickFair 2011 - Military Builders
Military builders at Brickfair 2011, by Legosim

I didn't build anything new to bring to the event. Instead I decided to take a few of my older but reasonably well-known models. I did give them a small update, however, with brick-built numbers on the Abrams, improvements to the camouflage and added details on the HumVee and a brand-new brick-built canopy and new stickers on the Su-27 Flanker.

My models for Brickfair
My models for Brickfair

After I came back from Brickfair, I also decided that I was going to attend the Great Western LEGO Show in the UK in August, for the fifth time. Ever since I moved bavk to the Netherlands from the UK, this has been the opportunity for me to stay in touch with the friends I made in the British AFOL community through Brickish. I knew that I wasn't going to top last year's event, when Ed Diment revealed his USS Intrepid model, with my aircraft models aboard. This year I was going to do something small. I decided to take my minifig scale WW-2 aircraft and to add a new one, a P-61 Black Widow. It's an aircraft that I'd been thinking about building for years -one more plan that took a few years to reach fruition.

P-61 Black Widow with air- and ground crew
P-61 Black Widow with air- and ground crew

While I was at it, I decided that I should make the most of the benefit that minifig scale offers, by building a ground crew and some vehicles to go with the P-61 and with the other aircraft. I built a US tanker truck, gave my old Jeep an upgrade and built an RAF refueller and a German Kettenkraftrad to go with my Mosquito and He 219, respectively. With plenty of minifigs added, it made for a nice display.

My display at GWLS 2011 (3)
Display at the Great Western LEGO Show

The next military build I did was also part of a plan I've had for years. Back in 2007 I started building aircraft that were part of Carrier Air Wing 8 that served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise back in 2001. The collection has grown over the years, but what was lacking until now, was a model of one of the Sea Hawk helicopters that was part of the air wing. I did have a Sea Hawk model, but it represented an all-black version as flown by one of the US Navy's adversary units. Back in October, shortly after returning from STEAM, I finally got around to rebuilding it in the proper colours. While I was at it, I also made a few changes, replacing the non-LEGO cockpit windows with a purist solution.

HS-3 'Tridents' SH-60F Seahawk (2)
SH-60F Sea Hawk

Obviously, since it was rebuild of an existing model, there wasn't much design work that needed to be done. Most of the parts I used for the black version are available in light blueish grey and old light grey. The only exception are 2x4 wedge bricks that I used for the tapering of the fuselage towards the tail. On this version I replaced them by mounting 1x4 curved slopes sideways.

Not long after I finished the Seahawk, we had a build challenge on the Lego Military Models group, with 'military innovation' as the theme.

MV-22B Osprey (1)
MV-22B Osprey

For this I decided to build yet another model that I've been planning to do for years but never started: the MV-22B Osprey. Part of the reason why I didn't start earlier was because for a long time I couldn't work out how to build the wings. They have anhedral, are (slightly) forward swept, have heavy engines at the wing tips and rotate to lie flat on top of the fuselage. For a long time it was all a bit much. However, for this challenge, I decided it was time to give it another try.

MV-22B Osprey (4)
MV-22B Osprey wing fold

I fully expect to take it to Brickfair in 2012.

Because the new brick-built canopy on my Flanker turned out far nicer than I imagined, I also came up with a new plan: retrofitting my existing models with brick-built canopies and windows as well. It's going to be a long process, but I've already made a start, spending a fair few weekends rebuilding some of my favourite models.

Aircraft of the 366th Wing 'Gunfighters'
Aircraft of the 366th Wing 'Gunfighters'

190th FS 'Skullbangers' A-10A Warthog (1)
190th FS 'Skullbangers' A-10A Warthog

Aircraft of Carrier Air Wing 8  (1)
Aircraft of Carrier Air Wing 8

I intend to give more of my aircraft the same treatment, but expect it to take a while.

I may not have stuck to the specific plans I had for 2011, but as you may have gathered, a lot of the things that I did do had been in the works for a long time prior. So, what is up for next year? I'm not making any promises on blog posts, but you can be sure that there'll be plenty of new military models, perhaps even including some from my 2011 list. I do get around to building most of my plans eventually.

Have an excellent 2012 and happy building.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Lynx MOC being auctioned

I've been asked a few times if I'd consider selling MOCs, but I've never done so until now. I guess there is a first time for everything. If you're interested in helping out a good cause, and you think this might look good on a shelf somewhere in your home check it out! The auction seems to be ending around the end of this week.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Stalin's organ

Ralph and I have been busy helping organize the annual LEGO military contest, so that's probably one reason why we haven't updated this blog much lately. But just to remind our readers that we're still alive, here's an excellent diorama by pepik_ that features a Katyusha rocket launcher mounted on a Studebacker US6 truck:

Dubbed Stalin's organ by German troops during WWII because of its resemblance to a musical organ, the Katyusha still sees service today.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Achtung, Spitfire!

Ed Diment built a wonderful rendition of the Supermarine Spitfire for the Flickr LEGO military build contest two years ago. So, how do you top that? By building a Spitfire twice as large!
Lego Spitfire Mk IX (little and large)
Damn, I wish I had time to build!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Land Rover Wolf

A little over two years ago, I built a model of the Land Rover Wolf, a militarized version of the Land Rover Defender that's used extensively by the British Army:

As you can see, it was pretty rough, but then again, it was my first model of a real-life vehicle. After the apparently arbitrary deletion of the LEGO 16+ group on flickr recently (which has since been replaced by a new group, AFOL 16+, but I'm getting off topic), I thought that it'd be a good idea to back up the photos in the flickr photostream. While doing so, it occurred to me that it might be fun if I rebuilt some of my old creations, seeing as my building skills have improved quite a bit over the years. The Land Rover Wolf seemed like as good a place to start as any, and within a couple of days, I had built a new model:

After posting it on flickr, Tim Ltd and Aleksander Stein pointed out that the cab was disproportionately big, and that it'd look much better if it was shortened by one stud. I at first wasn't sure that it could be done, but after having another look at Aleks's Wolfhound family of vehicles, I realized that the technique that he used to build the doors on them could be adapted to fit my Landy. After making a few other changes, I posted the revised version:

Meanwhile, Aleks had decided to build his own version of my Landy, which he dubbed the Radio Wolf, a communications version of the Land Rover Wolf, which, among other changes, he built in the camo scheme of his faction, the Nordic Defense Council, and a used a technique for the canvas that he had previously used on one of his Wolfhounds:

Tim (the aforementioned Tim Ltd) has also said that he might try his hand at building his own version of my Landy as well. I hope I haven't bored you all (our readers, that is) too much, but I thought that some of you might it find it interesting that simply building something can turn into a community project of sorts.