Wednesday, 14 April 2010

the best of nnenn

Tragically, the reclusive builder known only as nnenn to most of his was killed in a car crash earlier this month (see this post on The Brother's Brick). The guys over at TBB are paying their respects to him by blogging their favorite creations of his, so I thought that it'd be the least I could do to blog a couple of my favorite of his military-themed creations.

His F-16 Fighting Falcon is always what comes to mind when I think of nnenn's work in the military theme. His tendency to build sleek and studless aircraft and spacecraft never failed to impress.

Of equal note is his near-future derivative of the Eurofighter Typhoon, which was his last military-themed creation. It's quite possibly his best, as well, considering the many intricate details that he managed to incorporate into the creation while still keeping it very clean in appearance.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

F-16 Fighting Falcon

A very detail-oriented builder, Mike Psiaki has been tweaking his F-16 Fighting Falcon for some time now. Though it's still a work in progress, I think it's safe to say that it's sufficiently developed to blog here. The new canopy from the Atlantis sets works perfectly for the cockpit, and the neon green works remarkably well, as fighter cockpits often have green glows to them from their heads-up displays. Otherwise, there are lots of interesting angles that doubtlessly have been achieved by only by very intricate SNOT work, but the payoff is that the model resembles its real-life counterpart down to every last angle. It's easily one of the best models that I've seen lately, and is all the more cool to see as the F-16 is my favorite fighter.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

LEGO Military Build Challenge #3: Rescue!

As usual at the end of a build challenge, I bring you my own overview of the various submitted models. It's a bit shorter than the previous two, quite simply because we had fewer entries. I'm hoping this means that everybody had plenty of ideas of their own rather than that we've chosen a poor subject.

It certainly got creative juices flowing with cm946. His entry for this challenge is probably also the most imaginative or weirdest depending on your point of view. I won't make any statements either way, it is called the Monkey Search and Reskewer, and according to the background story (for which you need to click the picture) was used to 'fend off abnormally large Sharks, of both the Sky and Sea varieties'.
Monkey Search an' Reskewer
Actually, I will make a statement: dude, I don't know what you've been sniffing, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's illegal (only joking).

I wasn't sniffing anything other than a sea breeze when I got the idea for my own entry. In the last few months I took two trips to Den Helder in the North of The Netherlands, visiting the Royal Netherlands Naval College. Den Helder is the home base for the Dutch Navy's SH-14D Lynx helicopters, and that's what I decided to build.
Royal Netherlands Navy SH-14D Lynx (1)
One of their missions is Search-and-Rescue over the North Sea.

Necessity is the mother of invention. What do you do if a) your troops desperately need food or ammo and b) you don't ave any dedicated cargo aircraft or helicopters? Brickgeek's solution is the Osprey 1, a crop duster turned into a multi-purpose support aircraft.

Some of us may still be building HumVees, but my fellow blogger Chandler Parker is already looking forward to the HumVee's successor: the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, building an ambulance version.
Joint Light Tactical Vehicle ambulance
Among other goodies it has working suspension and a cleverly constructed windscreen. It's also hard to beat the effective simplicity of a brick-built red cross logo.

For this challenge, Imagelego came up with a type of vehicle that I am sure neither Chandler or I thought of when we started the challenge -a recover tank. However, it's very fitting nonetheless and a very nice build. He builds tanks on a somewhat smaller scale than most military builders, but manages to make them more detailed than many larger vehicles I've seen over the years.
VT-55 (2)
Good stuff. I'm hoping we'll get a few entries of this level for the combat engineering category of this year's build contest, although they'll make my task as a judge a bit harder.

We may not have had many entries this time around, but the very prolific Aleksander Stein apparently felt that he could make up for that just on his own by building multiple entries. The first is a wrecker version of a military truck.
JDI Titan FH350R wrecker
I think this is the sort of vehicle that is often overlooked by LEGO military builders -part of the reason for the combat engineering category in the contest. Their utilitarian looks doesn't make them pretty, but Aleksander's truck definitely looks the part.
Like the US Military's HumVee, Aleksander's Dragoon vehicle comes in a whole variety of different versions. His second entry is an armoured ambulance version.
KMV/Hägglunds Dragoon armoured ambulance
To top it all off, he's combined both vehicles in an action-packed diorama.
Road to ruin

The American truck manufacturer Oshkosh is mostly known for builsing the HEMTT heavy tactical trucks for the US military as well as specialised vehicles for fire fighting and the construction industry. Bruno Vaiano's entry is a combination of both: the TFFT is an airport fire tender based on the HEMTT truck chassis.
Oshkosh TFFT
Bruno reckons it is his best military MOC to date and I am inclined to agree.

From my own entry I hope it is obvious that I like helicopters, I'm very happy that we had a three helicopters as last-minute entries. Ninja Pilot's helicopter is called the SS 40 Griffin.

I love the colour scheme (reminiscent of the colours used by the Canadian Armed Forces) and the working doors in particular -no small feat on a minifig scale helicopter.

Babalas Shipyards took some time out from building his massiveWW II Fletcher class destroyer to build the RH-21 Black Swan, also built to minifig scale and featuring working sliding doors as well as a retractable undercarriage.
RH-21 Black Swan02

The final entry of this challenge is a model of the classic UH-60 Blackhawk byGravel Cruncher, a helicopter type that is also used for missions such as Combat Search and Rescue.

Many other people have built Black Hawks, but what is special about this one is how many minifigs it can fit in spite of its modest size.

In numbers this may not have been our most successful challenge, but we did get some nice entries out of it and I'd like to thank everybody who did go to the trouble of building something. Chandler and I will be announcing a next challenge after the current build competition ends.