Monday, 22 February 2010

A fist full of Hummers

It has been a while since I last wrote a post. Suffice to say I've been busy (building, and travelling). Furthermore there simply weren't all that many military MOCs in the last few weeks that tickled my fancy, apart from the ones Chandler already blogged.
That I am writing this post now is due to me seeing a very nice representation of a LEGO HMMWV built by legohaulic this morning. One could argue that the 'terrorist' being crushed by the model is a tad distasteful, but I like the vehicle. The grille is nice, I like that it has working suspension and I love the use of curved bricks to build the lip of the hatch in the back. They are small details, but add a lot to the model.

Legohaulic remarks:"I know that there are many LEGO versions of the HUMVEE out there that are almost identical." With many builders having tried their hand at building Hummers, it has become hard to build one that is obviously different, apart from changing the scale. Because of Legohaulic's model I decided to trawl flickr and brickshelf looking for Hummers and Humvees. There are a lot of models of civilian Hummers out there as well, but since this is a blog about military LEGO I'll focus on the military versions.

The HMMWV for High Mobility Military Wheeled Vehicle, known to troops as the HumVee, was designed in the late 'seventies as early 'eighties as a replacement for a range of different vehicles in use with the US Army. This included various development of the classic Jeep, but also a number of different light trucks and a wonderfully weird six-wheeled contraption known as the Gama Goat (I don't think I've seen one of those yet in LEGO). The vehicle was to have an exceptional ability to drive off-road and replacing light trucks meant that the vehicle was going to be considerably bigger than a Jeep. I doubt anybody would call the result pretty, but the trucks did the job. The US Army uses thousands of HumVees in a bewildering variety of types including fairly basic pick-up trucks, versions armed with anti-tank or surface-to-air missiles, long range patrol vehicles for special forces and ambulances. During the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan vehicles such as HumVees have proven very vulnerable to mines, improvised explosive devices and rocket-propelled grenades, leading to efforts to add more armour but also to finding replacement vehicles. Regardless, I think we can expect HumVees to remain in service for a long time still and to see many people try to build LEGO versions.

I think that Mike Yoder has influenced a lot of other builders with his 8-wide Hummer.

Some of the people who commented on Legohaulic's HumVee that there are a lot of people who seem to copy what other people have done. This seems to be the case for 8-stud-wide models in particular. I'm not going to post all the other 8-wide HumVees that I came across that were obviously inspired by Mike Yoder's, but they are numerous. Instead I'm going to focus on other 8-wide models that do manage to be different (and not suck while doing it).

Like LegoHaulic's HumVee, the 8-wide model by urthedead has working suspension.

Brickshelf user sfzdk also has an 8-wide model, which manages to be different once again.

(edit: I replaced a picture with a thumbnail, because the original is too large. Clicking the picture takes you to the brickshelf folder.)

Mike Psiaki acknowledges Mr Yoder's influence (and it is obvious in the construction of the chassis), but manages to give it his own twist by choosing to use aircraft windows that make it look much more like an up-armoured Heavy Hummer.

Obviously if you have different but roughly similarly skilled builders take on a similar subject, you'll end up with similar results. These models are all variations on a theme, perhaps, but you can see that much of the construction of these vehicles is very different, and yet they manage to look similar. Isn't LEGO wonderful? There are so many different ways of achieving a similar effect!

Now I'm going to turn towards different scales and I'll start with a tiny little model built by brickmania

It is only four studs wide, but it still manages to capture all the salient details.

For those of you who follow this blog or with whom I've discussed the issue on eurobricks (ad nauseam) it will be no surprise that I tend to opt for the smaller end of minifig scale. I think that 8 studs wide is a bit to much for a HumVee. The real vehicles are wide, without a doubt, but part of how wide they look is caused by the fact that the cab is fairly low and sits high above fairly chunky wheels. When I tried my hand at a minifig scale HumVee, I opted for six studs wide.
Unfortunately, in order to be able to fit at least a driver in there, it ended up with a cab that looks too tall.

Using my design as a starting point, channaher built his own six-wide HumVee and by using a few tricks (a plate here and there and some door rails) he managed to make it look much better.

Moving on towards a larger scale, for a long time I've been building cars to the slightly unusual scale of 1/22 (although I am pleased to see that it seems to be catching on!). On that scale HumVees end up being 12 studs wide.
HMMWV revamped (3)
To me the old-school technic tyres I used seemed made for this vehicle.

Showing that size matters, rabidnovaracer built a whopping 34-stud wide monster:

I am sure that there are some worthy and original models of LEGO Hummers out there that I overlooked (if you know some, please leave a comment), but I hope I have given you a nice overview of the various ways in which LEGO builders can make a box on wheels look interesting.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Black Arrow and Shrike B

Magnus Lauglo, a rather prolific builder as of late, has been focusing on building aircraft for the past few months, and has added two new creations to his ever growing collection of vehicles. The Shrike B (an upgrade of the earlier Shrike) is a multirole fighter that is reminiscent of real-life trainers, and the Black Arrow is a sleek stealth UAV that's supposed to be a technology demostrator.


Henrix Hoexbroe, a fantastic builder who typically builds microscale creations, has branched out to building in a larger scale with his 1:24 scale T-34. The model is exceptionally accurate, and is possibly the best LEGO T-34 that I've seen yet.

(Also, I've linked to the photo on flickr from the embedded photo itself, something that up until now I've been too lazy to do.)

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

LMBC #3: Rescue

It has been a couple of months since we've held a build challenge, and I know that some of you all have been begging for more, so without adieu I'd like to announce the newest one, which centers around the concept of rescue.

I'm sure that the first thing that comes to mind for most of you all when you think of the concept of rescue is building scenes of troops helping others out of a sticky situation or springing them from an enemy prisoner-of-war camp, both of which would be acceptable entries, but use your imagination! Military ambulances, such as modified trucks, armored vehicles, or helicopters would be welcomed, or even microscale hospital ships (we don't expect anyone, except maybe the ever industrious Ed Diment or Babalas-Shipyards to churn out a minifig scale hospital ship within our set deadline). Another option that might not immediately come to mind is armored recovery vehicles. Such vehicles could even be incorporated into a diorama for a more dynamic presentation.

So, get brainstorming and I'm sure that you all will be able to come up with interesting entries, but make sure that they're directly related to the concept of rescue. You have until March 31 to build, photograph and post your entries here and discuss the build challenge here. Good luck, troops!