Friday, 4 December 2009

'Fire support' challenge round up

In the last two months the flickr military group has been running it's second challenge, titled 'Fire Support'. Obviously you can look at the discussion on the group, but as I did last time I've listed the entries here and give my opinion and some background info.

Erogwin was the first to come to the troops' rescue with his F36B Gryphon

According to his description is a heavy fighter used for close air support. At first this struck me as a somewhat unusual combination. Then again, the USAF nowadays even uses B-52 bombers for close-air-support, so why not?

A more traditional entry is the MA-(L) 'Sifter', by Mdrn-mrvls, a towed artillery piece

He built more than just the gun, it's part of a nice little diorama and I can only recommend that you check out the full photset to appreciate all the details.

Magnus Lauglo entered the fray with his Forktail attack aircraft seemingly inspired by jets such as the A-10 Thunderbolt II. Like the A-10, which is more popularly as the 'Warthog', Magnus' jet also has a nickname:'Killer Duck'. Some of the names you guys come up with are at least as creative as the models themselves.

The model has some lovely angles, in particular on the tail and in the way the cockpit canopy has been built. Magnus has taken a whole
series of pictures showing it from different angles.

Wiseman_Lego chose to go for a helicopter, the suitable chunky looking 'Nh-95 Plus' Special operations gunship. In common with real-life special ops helicopters it has some weird-protruberances fitted to the nose. However, I don't think I've ever seen a special ops. helciopter packing quite this much heat.

There's no kill like overkill!

It's rare to see something built by Greenlead and his entry, the Non-Line-Of-Sight Launch System had me puzzled. Fortunately he provided a handy link to a wikipedia page giving details of a similar system designed for the real world. It's a modular missile launcher that can be mounted on just about any vehicle or ship.

Greenlead has made instructions for this design and using those
Mickomaley has recreated the model in the brick.

I personally am not familiar with Warhammer (other than knowing of its existence), so I cannot vouch for the accuracy of cm946's Vendetta gunship from the Warhammer40k universe. Apparently it's a transport but with enough fire-power to support the troops it carries.

Robbyem has built something that can best be described as a low-rider half-track (albeit without tracks). It's a somewhat odd but futuristic looking combination and the effect of a missile being launched using a large transparent orange flame part looks cool (or should that be hot?).

The next entry was rather more conventional. Pmjredsox's U-902 Ferret is a helicopter reminiscent of the US Army's AH-1 HueyCobra attack helicopters and that's a good thing as far as I am concerned. Sadly there's only a single picture. I wouldn't have minded seeing other angles as well.

Pdragon> has built a vehicle, the One-Winged Angel with -as the name suggests- a very unusual configuration. I gave him a hard time about how real-world flying craft are usually largely symmetric (there have been a few assymetric aircraft in history, but they were never a success).

Still, it's nicely constructed.

One of the things that came to my mind with 'Fire Support' was mortars. So far we've seen a fair few really high-tech entries, but in practice lowly mortars are still in wide-spread use. Their lighter weight compared to proper artillery means that they can be carried by infantry units, although it's not uncommon for them to be transported using a vehicle such as the one built by legosim
M9982-FS 80mm Mortar Carrier

Rossart12 has gone for a classic, the Rockwell OV-10 Bronco. The real aircraft was designed specifically as a light attack/ counter-insurgency aircraft and saw operational service with the US Military from Vietnam through to the Gulf War of 1991. It's still in military operational service elsewhere in the world and in the US still fights battles of a very different nature: it is used as a spotter aircraft for fighting forest fires.

Ross' model has such goodies as a retractable undercarriage and moveable control surfaces. Spot on!

For this challenge Vaiano has produced two truly excellent entries. 'To Carlie with Love' is a version of a WW-II vintage M3 half track modified with a turret with four M2 Browning machine guns. Vehicles like this were used during the Korean War for defence against enemy aircraft. In practice the firepower also came in handy against ground targets and if Vaiano is to be believed these trucks were still in use in Vietnam.
Halftrack guntruck

His second entry is a hill-top fire base.

If customised minifigs are your thing, I suggest you to take a closer look at this.

Snuffwuzz >.< has defied the limitations of Lego Digital Designer to produce two CAD-models of real-life artillery used by the British Army. The first is an AS90 Self Propelled Gun

The second model is the one I like best. It represents an M270 multiple-launch rocket system, also known as the 'Grid Square Removal System'.

edit: Apparently my wish was granted before I even expressed it. Check out the brick-built Challenger.

My own entry is a model of a US Army HumVee modified for use by special forces.
US Army Ground Mobility Vehicle (1)
Vehicles like this were used in the 2003 invasion of Iraq to penetrate deep behind enemy lines.

Brickgeek27 has what he himself calls a 'cute entry'. I'm not sure whether cute and military mix very well, but I'll leave you to decide. I myself quite like the minifig.

I could blabber on about the next entry. Aleksander_se has built the massive Koalitsjia "Blackbear" Self-Propelled Artillery piece. As usual with Aleks' builds it isn't based on a particular real-world piece of armour, but it looks as though it was.

It's full of amazing details, as usual. Check out the interior, for instance.

edit: as usual reality is stranger than fiction. Imagelego informed me that it is actually based on a real vehicle!

Fellow Dutchman Wouwie13 found some inspiration in my own model of a Predator UAV and built a very convincing model of the latest development, the ominously named MQ-9 Reaper.

Experiments with armed unmanned aircraft were done as long ago as WW-II, but it's in the recent war on terrorism that they have first seen widespread service.

DarthNick has entered two versions of basically the same vehicle, which he calls the Coyote. The first version is armed with two surface-to-air missiles.

the second version carriers surface-to-surface missiles.

It's a nice little vehicle, but I can't help wondering whether the crew wouldn't be burned to a crisp by missiles launching right over the tops of their heads. Ouch!

Brickmonkey presented an LDRAW version of his AH-6 Little Bird attack helicopter. This type of helicopter is used by the US Army's Special Operations Aviation Regiment 'Nightstalkers' to support troops like Delta Force or the US Army rangers. Perhaps you've seen them in action in Black Hawk down. Due to bricklink orders not arriving in time he was late posting the pictures of the brick-built version, but since I prefer real bricks over virtual ones I decided to put pictures of the real model in this write-up.

John Lamarck was another builder somewhat late to the party due to Bricklink orders not arriving, but the model was well worth the wait. John presents his Mil Mi-31 "ЛАСКА" (Russian for Weasel) as a near-future replacement for the current Ka-50 'Hokum'. Some of you may find Megabloks offensive, but this mix with proper LEGO works well and I have to admit that they apparently make some parts that I wouldn't mind LEGO making.

edit: I got fiction and reality a bit mixed up here. John actually presents his Mi-31 as a replacement for the Mi-28.

We haven't had as many entries as last time, but some really nice models came out of it nonetheless and I'll take quality over quantity any day. It'll be a while before we do another challenge quite like this, because next up we'll have a challenge that'll be a bit more specific. An announcement will follow shortly.


  1. /unlurk
    in regards to the vendette entry:
    looking over my model one, and comparing it to his pics,
    its pretty spot on, im tempted to make one myself now

  2. Much gracias for the mention of my NLOS-LS! I was pleasantly surprised it made it into the round up. Looking forward to the next one :)

  3. Very good Lego models, I also am a fan of these amazing games.