Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Back in . . . dark green?!

My fellow blogger Ralph Savelsberg has become all the more prolific as of late because he's taking a break from work, and his latest creation is a rebuild of his old HMMWV. As well as additional detailing (i.e., a bullbar and identification panels), he's decided to incorporate a brick-built windscreen into the creation and replace the rather lurid green of the previous iteration with dark green, bringing it much closer to the real-life standard NATO camo scheme. The result is a more interesting and realistic update of an already excellent creation.

Monday, 28 September 2009

there's your problem

As part of his ongoing project of building an African city, which is impressive enough in itself, imagelego has rebuilt his T-55 in a predominately brown color scheme that makes for very convincing rust and has presented it as a ruined wreck from some previous conflict. I'm reminded of the many photos of destroyed Iraqi military hardware during the Persian Gulf War.

back in action

Despite not posting anything for a while, Magnus Lauglo shows that he hasn't been resting on his laurels by unveiling two new creations. He's been working on the Raven, a multirole fighter that's lines are reminiscent of the MiG 29, for some time now, and as I was fortunate enough to watch it progress and even supply a few bricks for it, I can honestly say that it's among the best of his creations and as usual is quite a solid build.

Also of interest is the Piranha, a compact landing craft that nevertheless packs a punch in the form of three machine guns (one of which appears to be a gatling gun). Like his other watercraft, in a way it reminds me of Nordic designs - in this case the Finnish Jurmo class landing craft.

Saturday, 26 September 2009


The photography may be lacking, but creations built predominately with white bricks are difficult to photograph, anyway, and it doesn't diminish the quality of the creation itself, a ZSU-23-4 "Shilka" by stgeorge6. I've been a fan of Soviet armoured fighting vehicles in general and the "Shilka" (or the "Zeus," as it was known among troops) in particular for quite a while now, so I got a kick out of seeing it rendered in the brick for, as far as I know, the first time. My favorite part is the turret: the use of those corner bricks is one of the few ways to pull off the rounded turrets typical to Soviet armoured fighting vehicles.

Patrolling with Phi!ma

The Project: "Patrolling"
Originally uploaded by Phi!Ma
This very nice scene was built by Phi'ma as part of a project with four other builders involving each building a scene on a 24x24 stud base. This model represents close combat fighting in hedgerows -not unlike much of the fighting that went on in Normandy shortly after the D-day landings. The Jeep is a nice model by itself, but the luscious plant-life makes the scene really stand out.

In the caption he mentions that he believes it is some of his best work. I wasn't familiar with his building before, but I'll definitely keep an eye on what's next and would love to know what the other four are up to.

Friday, 25 September 2009

comin' at ya

Cole Blaq, a prolific builder whose creations often blur the line between contemporary military science and science fiction, busts out with an rugged-looking truck that contains a very cool surprise.

Achtung - T-35/85?!

Exotrator has finished his longtime work in progress T-34/85, Which turned out to be worth the wait. Though it appears to lack an interior, the payoff is that it's highly detailed and very accurate to its real-life equivalent.

Edit: It appears that he was able to incorporate an interior, after all. Even better!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

white cloud

Dutch builder Fredoichi presents a self-propelled weapons platform in microscale with a typically difficult to pronouceable Japanese name (which apparently translates to "white cloud"), operating somewhere in the arctic. According to him, it was merely a quick build for fun, but it looks pretty darn good regardless.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

instructions, please

Robin "GreenLead" Chang has finished instructions for Aleksander Stein's Type 30 "Ravager" jeep. Built for the Federated Republic of Cassegrain (FRC), the nefarious opposing forces of Alpha Company, Robin's pet project, it has a fittingly menacing look to it. As usual, the instructions themselves are well done, and he has included an interesting briefing on the vehicle at the back of them.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

MOCpages isn't all bad

Zackhariah Macasaet's M1 Abrams serves to remind us that there's still good stuff on MOCpages if you look hard enough (though I admittedly stumbled upon this photo on flickr). He says that it's studless, and, while studs don't bother me, I have to admit that the sleek end product is all the more realistic.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Military Lego at STEAM 2009

Time for some shameless self-promotion: on October 3rd and 4th members of the British AFOL group 'The Brickish Association' will be displaying models at the Great Western LEGO Show in the STEAM museum in Swindon in the UK. Too many different things for me to mention here will be on show, including a number of train layouts, neo-classic space models, Star Wars models and loads more. There will also be a military presence, however, which is where this blog comes in.

Dr. Sinister, imperial ruler of tabletown will be attending with his army. He made a video of his display during last year's show.

This year's Tabletown display promises to be even bigger and greener.

By now you may be wondering why I mentioned self-promotion? After all, I'm not Dr. Sinister. The answer lies in a display that I mentioned in the very first post on this blog. A few months ago, Brickish displayed models at the Manchester Museum of Science and Technology. Part of the display was a set of aircraft built by Ed Diment (a.k.a. Lego Monster), his lovely wife Annie (Mrs Monster, obviously) and me (you see, there I am!). The whole thing was too big to capture completely in one nice picture, but here's one to give you an impression.

All of the aircraft, including a Sopwith Camel, Hawker Fury, Supermarine Spitfire, AVRO Vulcan, BAE Hawk, Sea Harrier, Panavia Tornado, and Eurofighter will be on display at STEAM as well. Yours truly has already booked his plane ticket!

FlaK attack

Henrik Hoexbroe is new to the FOL scene on flickr, but you certainly can't tell it from the exellent quality of his work, which so far focuses on WWII microscale vehicles. All he needs is some white paper to use as a background and he's set!

4x4s galore

After a three-month hiatus, urthedead is back in action with a rugged Unimog chock full of working features, complete with independent suspension. While he was at it, he also gave us a glimpse of two other vehicles that he's been working on - a Land Rover and a Land Cruiser - photos of which he assures us will be up soon.

Friday, 18 September 2009

combined arms

Dan Siskind gives us a sneak peak of yet another kit that he's working on, this time a German StuG III. He presented in an older dio of his, which he modified to make it look war-torn. The rubble is a nice touch, and of course the design of the vehicle itself is excellent as always.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Swiss neutrality

Once again, Jerrec shows us just how awesome he is by building a futuristic Swiss tank and motorizing it by incorporating no less than four Power Functions motors. Check out his video on YouTube to see it in action.

not your average hearse

▸Jacob presents a futuristic halftrack for his Jiindu faction, and, as usual, manages to cram in an interesting surprise.


As my first post, I'd like to blog an abstract vignette by Polish builder pepik_. It depicts a German and Polish soldier locked in mortal combat, with a Soviet soldier sneaking up to stab stab the Polish soldier in the back. It's a fitting metaphor to the unfortunate events of the Invasion of Poland.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

H-78 Helicopter

Unlike many military LEGO builders I tend to focus on building models of real vehicles. One builder who always designs his own models is Aleksander Stein and even though they are fictional, his models always look as though they could potentially be real. Stepping out of my comfort zone, a few weeks ago I built a fictional minifig scale Coast Guard helicopter, which I decided to call the HH-78 Gannet.
Coast Guard helicopter (1)
The design is obviously influenced by real-world helicopters such as the HH-60J Jayhawk (a US Coast Guard version of the BlackHawk), the HH-65 Dolphin and helicopters such as the A-109 and AW-139. Actually, the main reason for building a fictional helicopter wasn't so much that I wanted to, I just couldn't imagine actually building a Dolphin on a 1/45 scale that could still seat three or four minifigs. Anyway, I was quite happy with the result. In my opinion it looks as though it could potentially be a real helicopter.

You can probably imagine that I was quite happy when Aleksander contacted me to ask me whether I was OK with him building his own military variant of the HH-78. I was more than OK with it; I loved the idea! A few days ago he finished it and uploaded it to flickr. He turned it into a super-advanced ship-based helicopter, the SH-78 Sea Gauntlet.

The helicopter is armed with anti-ship missiles and has a side-mounted sonar buoy launcher, an enlarged nose-radome for a radar and various other goodies.

With navies performing more and more 'brown-water ops' (missions closer to the coast) ship-based helicopters have taken on a all kinds of roles that they didn't have ten or twenty years ago. They are much more likely to have to operate in areas with enemy air-defences. To defeat IR-guided surface-to-air missiles, the Sea Gauntlet has large IR suppressors fitted over the engine exhausts and a IR counter-measures turret mounted behind the rotor pylon.

One feature that I wanted on my helicopter, but couldn't get to look right was a ducted tail rotor, also known as a Fenestron or fan-tail. Aleksander managed to make it work. It looks excellent, but I simply couldn't make this in orange.

If you want to see more and let Aleks know what an excellent job he's done, I recommend you check out the full photoset.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Flickr Lego Military Build Challenge #1 Round-Up

There are a few people in the on-line LEGO community who seem to feel that many of us are being too nice. If you're one of those people, you might want to skip reading what follows.

Participants in the Flickr Lego military build challenge may not get a prize, but Chandler Parker and I felt we should try to have some sort of finale. Taking a page out of Lino Martin's book, here follows a round-up of the entries.

First one to get moving for this challenge was NXTMonger, building a chunky armoured truck in the ever popular RAMM theme and a typical mock-German name: Gepanzerte Frachtfördermaschine II. Try saying that five times in a row!

In his first of two entries, imagelego builds a scene in which things actually stop moving. The trucks are neat, but what I like most about the scene are the figures and their details.

In his 2nd entry, he took inspiration from one of the examples I wrote for the announcement: Vietnamese guerilla fighters moving supplies through the jungle using bicycles (it's nice to know that people sometimes read the stuff I write). Like his first entry, a nice scene.

Mdrn-mrvls built a 7-wide military truck in a somewhat unusual colour scheme.

It reminds me of a picture I once saw of a truck delivering beer to the Fort Bragg PX. I like the construction of the cab in particular.
His second entry has a somewhat more conventional military colour scheme. Nice work.

Showing that he does more than a spot of truck building, he's entered a third model: the H(T)-1 Provider -a really nifty transport helicopter that despite its relatively compact size can seat seven minifigs!

Fitting for his name, ninjapilot decided to build an aircraft: an elegant propeller driven transport with particularly nice wings.

The tail can swing open for access to the cargo hold, which may look a bit odd, but wasn't all that uncommon before Lockheed introduced the C-130 Hercules.

The minifigs in Kojman_47's entry seem to mainly be moving a lot of brickarms kit rather than any cargo, but they look as though they mean business.

So, you think the army is somehow glamorous? Perhaps it is, but in his second entry there's a lot of back-braking labour involved with guys hand-carrying very chunky boxes of ammo. To add insult to injury, they get caught up in an ambush too. Sometimes things just don't go your way.

With his entry, Muffinmanifestation (cool nick by the way) asked "I dunno, could this pass for it?". My reply would be, "I don't really know either, because I've got a complete blind spot for sci-fi stuff". Seriously, the whole thing somehow reminds me of a Sikorsky Sky-Crane heavy-lift helicopter and there's no way that can be a bad thing in this challenge.

When we wrote this challenge, we didn't anticipate there being all that many dioramas or actions scenes (well, I didn't anyway), but pmjredsox' entry is both. He's come up with an unusual vehicle that carries its cargo externally on a crane. I suppose it has advantages. You don't need a crane to actually load it ;-)

Anyway, somebody is hell-bent on this particular cargo never reaching its destination and has launched a missile at it. I don't remember ever seeing a decent representation of the smoke-cloud a missile launch produces, but using transparent clear dishes gives an interesting result.

Skinny boy has built another sci-fi vehicle.

I don't have anything sensible to say about the vehicle, short of that like many military transports it looks fairly chunky. I do like the idea that its main cargo are peace negotiators, complete with a white flag. Apparently the war is not going well.

Not to say that I don't like the other entries, but as far as I am concerned, the helicopter built by -RC- is one of the nicer ones to come out of this challenge. It's a very convincing model of a transport helicopter, that seems to owe design features to classic helicopters such as the MH-53 Pave Low and the HH-3 'Jolly Green Giant'. It's nicely proportioned and detailed and even has an interior. Good stuff.

Of course, I've got a soft spot for helicopters.

Dark red camouflage; Who ever thought that was a good idea? Apparently
Vaiano does, and tell you what: it actually looks a lot better than it sounds.

Steampunk; I don't get it. However, the apparently standard browns are perfectly suitable for a military vehicle, as shown by Pain Parade's entry. If there ever was a fictional vehicle for which I can imagine a steam engine make sense, a tracked transport is probably it.

Appius' entry consists of two guys moving themselves. They've got a good reason for it, as they're trying to find their way to friendly territory. It may not be quite what we had in mind for the challenge, but is a nice little scene nonetheless.

His second entry is very much the sort of thing we had in mind. Much of the cargo moving may happen in relative safety, but there may always be a bunch of enemy troops lurking at the bottom of a hill ready to ruin your day.

Is it just me, or does the (rather nice) brick-built Canadian flag on Aaron's amphibious transport truck like a large target? Jokes aside, it's cool choice, looks impressive and has a lot of working features. More than anything it reminds me of the 'LARC-V' amphibious cargo vehicle as used by US Navy Beachmaster units.

Nice bunch of troops too.

Adding to his already large collection of military vehicles, Tim ltd has built a new truck. As usual with his MOCs, nice camouflage and a decent level of detail. It's a multi-functional vehicle used as a prime mover for towing field guns as well as for moving cargo.

As though the collection isn't large enough, he follows up with a second entry. A transport helicopter with a certain Huey-like quality to it. Very neat.

Mangos are awesome
also builds a helicopter.

I've been boring people to death by insisting that helicopters need tail rotors. This model doesn't have one either, but in this case it's OK because it has a tandem design. Check out the full set to see special forces depart from the rear ramp in a small boat. Nice feature.

Another favourite of mine to come out of this challenge is CrispGL's Hagglunds BV202. It's a pretty accurate model of one of the more unusual tracked vehicles I know.

In his mind, the entry by Rocker geek probably moves quite quickly, but that is really the only link I can think of with what this challenge was about. A missed opportunity.

As usual, Aleksander S doesn't disappoint. I like the model, but I like the mud even more.

Opening doors, an opening hood, lots of detail. What more could we want? A laser guided air-dropped self-cooled beer tap perhaps? Actually, how about an aircraft towing tractor? A very original idea for this challenge and nicely built to.

Aleks was obviously enjoying himself for this challenge, building a third entry: the MHT-800XT "Faran" 8x8 transport truck. While he was at it he built a whole load of different versions of it too.

These are visible in his set, which you should really check out (if you haven't already).

Erogwin presents his M7 'Elephant', a multi-purpose logistics vehicle that I like a lot, although I have to admit that I am very biased in its favour because the design was inspired by

The nice thing about this is that I intended that people would be able to build their own custom versions of my design from the start, so thanks Erogwin! You've made me a happy camper.

I may have hinted that I like the Sikorsky Skycrane helicopter a bit earlier, so you can imagine that
Sir Robin's Minstrel managed to tick multiple boxes by building one for this challenge.

He managed to capture the overall look of the classic helicopter very well.

I think that M ? r c (Marc for people who don't like inverted letters) took more than the name from the dropship from the movie Aliens, but it's hard to think of a better source of inspiration for military sci-fi MOCs in my opinion.

Ceramite's hardsuit seems to mainly carry a salt shaker around, but hey, soldiers need some good grub!

When writing this challenge, I had great plans for what I was going to build. Other projects and real-life priorities took over, so I stuck to building a minifig scale tanker truck. No modern army is moving anywhere without vast quantities of fuel.

Rather than equipping his truck with a cargo compartment, Iainy73 decided to show it packing a mighty wallop in the form of eight missiles. The truck he entered in the challenge is just one of a whole family of vehicles based on the same design, pictures of which are in their own dedicated photo set. Nice.

bermyskier1235 Presents a post-apocalyptic zombie defense truck. It seems this zombie-building virus is infecting more and more people. What ever's next? LUGNuts doing zombies?

Eveybody's favourite tyrant, Dr Sinister shows us some lurid green goodness in the form of his Replenisher Tanker trucks. Guess what parts he used to build the tank. Nothing is sacred -not even Duplo.

If you want to rule the world, you've got to think big, which is why Dr. S didn't rest on his laurels just yet and built two more versions: the Provider and Conveyor trucks. Just because he could, he built two of all of them.

His Tabletown Army keeps getting bigger and bigger. Soon there'll be no stopping him (or the price of green LEGO on bricklink from sky-rocketing).

Talking about big, without a doubt the biggest entry in this challenge is Babalas Shipyards's HMS Babalas. It may not be the biggest ship we've seen in LEGO so far, but it comes with a lot of details, has a nice shape and was built in an amazingly short period of time. My hat's off.

Brickgeek27 enters the challenge with a little four-wheeled oil truck. I know I'm probably not supposed to write this about a military MOC, but to me it looks kind-of cute. Perhaps I should go look at kittens a bit more.

With his model of a BMP-3 Infantry fighting vehicle, 777kaboom777 may be skirting the edge of what we had in mind, but he didn't take half measures building it, undertaking several small rebuilds before coming up with a final version.

IMO attention for detail is what separates the men from the boys.

Chandler Parker, one of the instigators of this madness, rises to the challenge with a suitably utilitarian looking truck.

Spot on!

Now here's one we didn't see coming -in part because it's obscured by the trees. Legos117 (dude, loose the 's') has built himself a hovercraft and presents it invading a beech/ swamp. You'll have to dig deep into his photostream to see more pictures of the craft itself, but it's got some nice details.

Spot on!

Last but certainly not least hmick_ enters his futuristic supply vehicle. I don't care much for the zombie propped up against the front wheel, but I like the working technical details -steering, suspension and whatnot.

Obviously this whole thing was a bit of an experiment and I for one am pleasantly surprised by the number and quality of the entries. We wrote very broad requirements, allowing builders a lot of freedom. Not everybody managed to come up with something that fit the challenge, but it's as much an experiment for the participants as it is for the organisers. It's hard to do all the effort that people put into their entries justice by writing a few words about them, but I hope that everybody who built something for this challenge had fun participating.