Monday, 11 October 2010

Arctic build challenge

They say time flies when you're having fun. It's only been little more than two months ago that Magnus, Chandler and I started the Lego Military Model Group and less than two moths ago that we started our latest build challenge. The new group may only be a fraction of the size of the old group, but we've got some great entries for this challenge. The signal-to-noise ratio is definitely up!

Tim Ltd started with a great entry called the hedgehog.
"Hedgehog" ISV
He posted two pictures and I like it so much that so will I. So, what do I like about it? First of all, the size. It's no secret that I favour the smaller end of minifig scale and with a width of a mere 12 studs, this vehicle is relatively compact.
"Hedgehog" ISV
The light grey/bley and white camouflage also works well.

If we had a prize for 'most active builder' in this challenge, Snuffwuzz >.<would have won it hands down. He's obviously having a bit of a Russian kick at the moment, producing a T90 Main Battle Tank, BMP-3 Ifantry Fighting Vehicle and BTR-80 wheeled armoured personnel carrier.
T-90 (Russia) 1/31 Scale
BTR-80A (Russia) [1/31]
BMP-3 (Russia) [1/31]
It's a shame LDD doesn't seem to do Technic tracks, because the BMP and T90 do look a bit unfinished without them, but all three are clearly recognisable and the shape and the camouflage are top notch.

BrickMonkey built a vehicle that has been on my wish-list for a long time. (I catually had one years ago, but it was yellow. No tan LEGO yet!). The SS-1, ASCC reporting name 'SCUD', is a tactical ballistic missile originally developed in the Soviet Union and (sadly) widely exported all over the world. It gained particular notoriety during the Gulf War of 1991, when the Iraqi military (under Saddam Hussein) launched versions of the Scud at targets in Israel and Saudi Arabia with almost complete impunity. They were hard to intercept, but they were also hard to destroy on the ground. The missiles could be carried and launched from so-called Transporter-Erector-Launchers. The name says it all. By constantly moving these around, it became almost impossible to track down the launch sites. Fitting for the challenge he's gone with a cool grey exterior for his entry.
SS-1 Scud B TEL
He didn't actually build this Arctic version in real bricks, but he has gathered all the parts to build it in the more common desert scheme. This is blogworthy by itself, so I might as well show it here.
SS-1 Scud B TEL

Cpl. Custard presents a counterweight to all this Russian-built mayhem in the form of an M1A2 Abrams, also built in LDD so also lacking tracks.
It is based on a custom kit by Tam Antony, but with a few changes to the shape of the front of the turret, added 'reactive' armour and a different colour scheme, obviously. Since I much prefer to see brick-built models than LDD-renders, I suggest you also take a look at the brick built model (largely in tan).

Avalella's C908A1 Longhorn tank shares its colour scheme with the vehicles by Snuffwuzz >.< and Cpl. Custard. It's nice to see it in the bricks (and with tracks).
C908A1 Longhorn (UFS)
I'm normally no big fan of custom minifigs, but I do like the crew he's built to go with the vehicle, using some nice-looking stickers made by flickr user Roaglaan.

In his back story Matt Hacker describes how his fictional Lynx Infantry Fighting Vehicle is Canadian-built. I think it looks quite a bit like an American Bradley, and that is not a bad thing at all.
C220 Lynx IFV WIP
He mentions it's still very much a work-in-progress, but it looks fine to me so far. In addition to his IFV, Matt also built a matching Multi-Purpose vehicle. At a first glance it seemed a bit large to me, but after reading the description it became clear that is is supposed to be a far heavier vehicle than, say, a HumVee.
C106 General Purpose Multi Role Vehicle

Aleksander Stein didn't disappoint this month, also building multiple entries. His first entry is an 8-wheeled Infantry Fighting Vehicle, based on the real world Patria AMV. The real vehicle is from Finland, which already gives it an Arctic twist in my book. Aleksander added t that by giving the vehicle a camouflage scheme involving light grey and white, which are colours we've already seen on other vehicles in this challenge, but also a few bits of dark green here and there. It gives them an added realistic touch. Also note how he's built the sides with brick on its side. Very nice.
Patria XA-383 Tulwar (winter combat livery)
A similar colour scheme also adorns the arctic version of his regular Wolfhound vehicle
C405 Wolfhound Tracker
I love the tracks on this in particular.

Chris C (who is from the UK, apparently) submitted an entry that caused some discussion between Magnus, Chandler and I. We are a LEGO group and this model, of a C-130 Hercules, contains a fair few Mega Bloks. So, what to do with this? We weren't sure at first. It is a reasonably nicely sculpted model, though, so we figured we'd let it in.
C-130 arctic build challenge
I don't really like the propellors, but the shape of the fuselage, the front and the sponsons for the undercarriage in particular, is nicely done. It also has an interior.

For his first MOC posted on flickr Brickout felt like doing something a little different in this vehicle-heavy challenge. He built a small diorama called the 'Arctic Incident'.
Arctic Institute
in one of his comments he writes: "you already know the backstory, don't you". Well, no, but I'm guessing it's something from a computer game I don't know. Anyway, it depicts a US Navy seal lying in ambush inside a ruined building, ready to cause havoc to two baddies. There is no single picture that shows the whole scene, so to appreciate the details you'll have to take a look at the whole set.

Brickout wasn't the only person to have the idea of building a diorama. Our very own Chandler Parker has built a historic scene showing German troops captured by the Soviets after the famous battle of Stalingrad. The German army put the city of Stalingrad under siege for several months and had succeeded in capturing parts of the city. However, they were increasingly hampered by fierce winter weather. In February of 1943 the Red Army launched a massive counter-attack and managed to surround the German 6th Army, which ultimately was forced to surrender. The Soviets captured 130,000 PoWs, the majority of which were German. The months of fighting had already caused scores of casualties on all sides, but many German soldiers also perished in captivity.
outskirts of Stalingrad, Feb. 1943
It was the first major defeat suffered by Nazi Germany.

There were more to follow. On 'D-day', in June 1943 the Western Allies successfully invaded Nazi-occupied France and slowly but surely moved towards Germany. In a desperate attempt to halt the Allied onslaught, the German army launched a counter-attack in the Ardennes region in Belgium in the cold winter of 1944/1945. Due to weather conditions, Allied troops could not count on air support and in particular troops of the 101st Airborne Division in the city of Bastogne had to slug it out against the Germans without support or resupplies for several days.
Bastogne, December 1944
Phima depicts a wintery scene in which US troops attack a German pillbox during the Battle of Bastogne.

Magnus Lauglo built a vehicle he calls a Snow Cat for this challenge.
Snow Fox Tank Destroyer
Most of you cats may not remember much from the 'eighties (or weren't even around), but I remember seeing a rather similar vehicle on TV back then. In fact, here's a toy version: the GI Joe Snow Cat.
Snow Cat
Look familiar? Knowing that Magnus likes a bit of 'GI Joeness' about his models, I don't imagine that the similarities are a coincidence.

Size does matter, but small can be beautiful. The Legonator built three microscale vehicles for this challenge.
LMM Entry (ii)
It's a small vehicle, something that does look rather like a science-fiction drop-ship and, my own favourite of the lot, a tracked truck. This works particularly well on this tiny scale.

I'm going to end this write-up with two helicopters. Regular followers of this blog may already know I have a thing for helicopters. Sgt. Gunshow entered his UH-77 Patriot.
UH-77 Patriot "Bobcat"
According to his description, it's his second attaempt at building a helicopter. I think it could do with some more clearly visible engines, but it's certainly not a bad effort. I like the teeth! I also like the name: the UH-77 Patriot.

I'm going to end this write-up with one of my favourite models to come out of it. That is not to say that I don't like the others, but regular followers of this blog may already know that helicopters aren't the only topic I have a thing for. I also love the models built by Mike Psiaki. So, when he builds a helicopter, it ticks multiple boxes.
snow helicopter
It's got all kinds of things I like. It's nicely proportioned and is very detailed. It also includes Mike's brilliant sliding door mechanism, which I highlighted a while ago. I particularly like the rotor hub and it too has a fancy name: the UH-76 Pennacook, which fits nicely in the US Army tradition to name its helicopters after Indian tribes.
I'm not sure it's a coincidence, but we seem to be building a sequence, with the UH-76, UH-77 and the HH-78 Gannet/SH-78 Sea gauntlet. Nice!

Chandler has already introduced our next build challenge: Air Defense. I hope I'll find the time to build something for this myself, but in any case I'm looking forward to what members of the Lego Military Models Group will come up with.

Happy building!


  1. Epic! Keep blogging.

  2. Ralph, thanks so much for the writeup! Kudos for catching the Snowcat influence (the yellow missile tubes were meant as a nod of acknowlegdement ). I actually have another MOC in the works that is even more directly influenced by the Snowcat.


  3. Thanks for the great write-up! I have one minor correction though: The Arctic Scud TEL render isn't grey! It's white.

    - Adrian

  4. Thanks for the comments guys.

    Sorry about the wrong colour for the TEL. It looked grey to me!

  5. No problem, Ralph. I only mentioned it as I thought you might want to edit the blog to correct it. It's great just to have a model described here as blogworthy. :)