Tag Archives: Aircraft

SXSW

The world isn’t flying very much at the moment. With countries locked down due to Coronavirus many airlines have had to ground their entire fleets, with rows of parked airliners visible from – ironically – the air at airports globally.

Mini-figures seem unaffected however, as this marvellous Southwest Boeing 737-800 by Flickr’s BigPlanes is packed! Southwest are America’s busiest domestic carrier and use a fleet of only 737s. The airline has over seven-hundred, making it the world’s largest 737 fleet, and BigPlanes has recreated one their hundreds of aircraft with a complete mini-figure scale interior and a kinda-brick-built livery (a few decals have helped) that’s beautifully accurate.

Head south via BigPlanes ‘Southwest Boeing 737-800’ album at the link above.

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Patrouille Suisse

This strikingly-liveried aircraft is a Northrop F5-E Tiger supersonic fighter, and it looks really rather conspicuous indeed. Conspicuous is not what you want from a fighter of course, but whilst the F5-E was mostly designed to do battle against MiGs, it’s also used by the Patrouille Suisse aerobatic display team. Because what else do the Swiss need to do with a fighter jet?

Recreated here by previous bloggee Dornbi this brilliant brick-built Patrouille Suisse F5-E Tiger replicates the real aircraft’s livery in spectacular fashion, including the white ‘X’ on the bottom which we can’t even begin to fathom out. Head to Dornbi’s ‘F5-E Tiger’ album on Flickr to see if you can.

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Dark Secret

This is the Sukhoi S-37 ‘Berkut’, a Russian air-superiority fighter that never was. First flying in the early 2000s just one ‘Berkut’ was built. Until Ralph Savelsberg decided to tackle it of course.

This is his astonishingly well-replicated Lego version, complete with an opening cockpit, swept-forward wings, working landing gear, and an opening bomb-bay. It’s also black, and black planes are always cool.

Head to Ralph’s Sukhoi S-37 ‘Berkut’ album on Flickr by clicking here to see more stunning images.

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Silver Bird

We’ve featured many creations here at TLCB that include custom chromed pieces. We don’t mind doing this as a) it’s not really against the spirit of LEGO and b) they usually look awesome. However, it is sometimes nice when a builder uses only LEGO’s own silver parts.

There aren’t many silver LEGO pieces, which makes BigPlanes‘ recently re-photgraphed (and superbly presented) Boeing B-29 Superfortress even more impressive. Custom decals and mini-figure crew complete the build and there’s more to see of this speculator recreation of the historic bomber at BigPlanes’ ‘B-29’ album on Flickr. Click the link above and head to the skies.

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Supersonic Bricks

TLCB bold statement of the weekend; the Aérospatiale/BAC Concorde is the greatest aircraft ever made. And simultaneously one of the worst…

Concorde is one of only two airliners ever to fly supersonic (the other of which was basically a Soviet copy), with a top speed of over 1,300mph. That’s twice the speed of sound, and it enabled passengers to travel from New York to London in three hours, meaning that check-in probably took longer than the transatlantic flight.

This remarkable feat was enabled by Concorde’s incredible delta wing design and the four Rolls Royce Olympus engines engines that took the plane to around 60,000ft, an altitude 50% higher than other commercial airliners.

However despite this height the aircraft was spectacularly loud, and not just because of its engines. A sonic boom – caused by the pressure wave that builds up around an object travelling above the speed of sound – is not a one-off ‘bang’, it’s continuous, travelling with the object. This meant that Concorde was only allowed to travel at supersonic speeds over water, and thus almost all of the world’s airports refused to take it.

With costs spiralling to over £1 billion (in the 1970s!), the British and French governments effectively bought the programme, with each country’s national carrier (British Airways and Air France) becoming the only operators to fly the plane. From an original sales expectation in the low hundreds, just fourteen aircraft were built (plus six test units), entering service between Europe and America.

With Concorde only able to take around 100 passengers at a time, tickets were enormously expensive – costing dozens of times more than a conventional transatlantic flight. However in the booming 1980s both operators were finally able to turn a profit, as Concorde’s wealthy passengers were happy to pay the huge price for the speed and status offered by a supersonic transatlantic flight.

It couldn’t last forever though, and with Concorde ageing, fuel prices increasing, and alternative flights becoming more luxurious and much cheaper on conventional aircraft, the business case for supersonic passenger flights became less viable. A fatal accident in 2000 (Concorde’s only such loss in three decades of flying) and the global demand slump after the September 11th attacks led to the aircraft retiring in 2003, and with it the era of supersonic transatlantic flight was over.

This spectacular replica of the world’s most iconic airliner is the work of BigPlanes of Flickr, whose incredible recreation of Air Force One appeared here at the start of the year. With a fully fitted mini-figure interior including kitchen, cockpit, and bathrooms, a working ‘droop nose’ (which allowed the pilots to see the runway as the plane approached), functioning landing gear, afterburners, and a wonderful brick-built classic British Airways livery, BigPlanes’ Concorde is one of the finest Lego aircraft that we have ever featured.

It’s a fitting tribute to one of the most ambitious engineering masterpieces of modern times, and there’s more to see of his phenomenal model at his photostream. Click the link above to head out over the Atlantic Ocean and go supersonic.

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DC-3C

Nope, not an annoying Star Wars droid (we’re not Bricknerd), but this gorgeous classic Douglas DC-3C airliner, recreated beautifully by previous bloggee Luis Pena. Built for display at Chile’s Air and Space International Fair alongside his previously featured models, Luis’ creation captures LAN-Chile’s iconic 1940s airliners – that were converted from military transports after the Second Wold War – in wonderful detail. If you’re one of our Chilean readers you can see Luis’ Douglas DC-3C along with his other historic Lego aircraft at FIDEA Santiago, and if not you can see all the imagery at his Flickr album by clicking here.

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Smile, and the World Smiles with You

The Bell Huey UH-1 was used for all sorts of things during the Vietnam War. Other wars too (in fact the UH-1 is still in widespread service today), but it’s the pointless Vietnam conflict for which it is most famous. From medical evacuation – the role the aircraft was originally designed for – to troop carrying, reconnaissance, search and rescue, and an attack gunship, the ‘Huey’ proved to be an incredibly versatile design, and it’s the latter variant that has the Elves most excited today.

Modified with the addition of machine guns, plus rocket and grenade launchers, the UH-1 made for a fairly terrifying gunship, especially when a giant pointy-toothed smiling shark mouth was painted on the front. A smile we don’t think the Vietnamese locals would’ve returned…

This superb recreation of the Bell Huey UH-1 in U.S Army gunship configuration is the work of Robson M (aka Brick Designers) who has replicated the real aircraft beautifully in brick form. With top-quality custom decals, a highly detailed interior, opening doors, and super-accurate brick-built weaponry, Robson’s Huey is well worth a closer look. Head to Flickr via the link above to see all the photos and give it your best smile.

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Tragic Band*

We’ve waited three days for our Elves to find something blog-worthy and then they bring back this…

‘This’ is Sheo.‘s ‘Tragic Band’, a collaborative build containing an Aeschylus, a Sophocles and a Euripides. With our vast knowledge of all things sci-fi we naturally know what each of these is and does, but we don’t want to write it here so as not to show up the other Lego sites.

It’s a stunning build though, with some exquisite attention to detail throughout each of the three sci-fi vehicles and to be found in the landscape too, and there’s more to see of Sheo.’s collaboration, including links to view each creation individually, via the hyperlink in the text above.

*There are a few bands we could use for today’s title song. Lynyrd Skynyrd and Badfinger are the obvious choices, but we’ll go with the tragically-lost Viola Beach.

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Blumenkranz

This is the Blumenkranz, commanded by the mysterious Captain Brayan with a crew mechanical spider robots this dieselpunk ship has no equal in armour and firepower. Full disclosure, we took all of that directly from the builder’s description, because we are way out of our depth here!

What we do know is that AdNorrel‘s creation is a triumph of ingenious building techniques and incredible attention to detail, with wonderful approaches to design literally everywhere you look. Head to Ad’s Blumenkranz album on Flickr to the see the complete gallery of superb imagery.

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Chilean Aviation Pioneers


Luis Peña may have created the most niche Lego category of all time, and there are some bloody niche ones out there already. These three marvellous contraptions from the early days of flight come from his ‘Chilean Aviation Pioneers’ album, celebrating the first men to get airborne in Chile.

The Bristol M1.C (below) was Britain’s first combat monoplane. It was also Chile’s, as Britain delivered 12 M1.Cs to the country in lieu of two battleships that Chile had ordered from the UK, but that were commandeered by the Royal Navy to fight in the First World War before they could be delivered.

In South America the M1.C became the first aircraft in history to cross the Andes Mountains, whilst in Europe it became a successful air-racer after the war, back in the days when air racing was a thing. Just one example survives today, residing in a museum in Australia.

Luis’ second Chilean Aviation Pioneer (below) is the French-made Voisin Cellular biplane, which became the first plane ever to fly in Chile when it was piloted by César Copetta in 1910, some twenty year before the formation of the Chilean airforce.

Like the Bristol above the vintage aircraft has been superbly recreated in 1:40 (roughly mini-figure) scale, including the the guide wires, spindly wheels, and wooden frame and wing struts.

Luis’ Final Chilean Aviation Pioneer is the 1909 Blériot XI (below), a French design that became the first aircraft ever to fly across the English Channel, as well as the first heavier-than-air aircraft to be used in war, when it was deployed in Africa in 1910. The Blériot also became the first military aircraft to fly in Chile, in the hands of Captain Manuel Ávalos in 1913.

As wonderfully constructed as Luis’ other aircraft there’s more to see of the Blériot XI, plus the Bristol M.1C and Voisin Cellular and Luis’ ‘Chilean Aviation Pioneers album’ on Flickr. Click the link above to go flying over Chile sometime in the early twentieth century.

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Flying Dolphin

The Lego Car Blog Elves have never met a dolphin, and thus they have little knowledge of what one looks like. The naming department of Eurocopter must only have had a loose idea too, because the clever aquatic mammals definitely don’t have rotors. Still, we suppose the barracuda doesn’t have wheels and that provided a cool car name for Plymouth.

The Eurocopter HH-65 does have a sort-of-dolphinish nose though, recreated here in superb detail by Robson M of Flickr. As well as the nose Robson has successfully replicated the Dolphin’s complex tail rotor, fitted a complete interior (with neat sliding door too), and has enhanced the accuracy with some excellent custom decals.

There’s more to see of Robson’s wonderfully realistic Eurocopter HH-65 Dolphin at his photostream – click the link above to watch it do a backflip for some fish.

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Classic Space Redux

A few Elves got into the stationary cupboard over the weekend and between them ate four entire glue sticks. The result was some very sticky Elf droppings, and also some fairly trippy Elves, which may explain today’s somewhat spaced-out theme.

These two wonderful Neo-Classic Space builds were built for The Brothers Brick (wut!?), each rebooting LEGO’s ancient ‘Classic Space’ line with the latest parts and a whole lot more detail than the original sets achieved back in the early ’80s.

The first (above) comes from space-building legend Alec Hole, who has taken inspiration from the classic 6970 Beta Command Base set from 1980, with its launch pad, control room, and a funky little monorail thing that moved between the two. Alec’s version uses the same recipe but knocks it up a notch with some incredible attention to detail and enough ‘greebling’ for a model five times its size. We love it, and there’s more to see at Alec’s photostream by clicking here.

Today’s second Neo-Classic Space build (below) forgoes the usual rocket-propulsion system for good old fashioned rotors, creating a spacey helicopter that bears a strong resemblance to any one of a number of irritating drones. With Classic Space’s vintage colour scheme, a trans-yellow cockpit, and a smiling Classic Spaceman at the controls, Tim Goddard’s ‘Dragonfly‘ is much more our bag than annoying people in the park with a remote control helicopter (sorry drone owners). Head to Tim’s photostream via link above to see more, whilst we figure out how to remove some insanely sticky Elf droppings.

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‘Peacemaker’

Is there a more ironically named aircraft than this? The Corvair B-36 ‘Peacemaker’ was introduced in 1948 as an intercontinental strategic nuclear bomber, originally conceived to bomb Germany from the U.S should Britain fall during the Second World War.

With the largest wingspan of any combat aircraft ever built (a truly enormous 230ft), the B-36 could travel for 10,000 miles carrying a nearly 40,000kg payload and is still the largest mass-produced piston engined aircraft in history, a title it will likely always hold.

Those piston engines were often not sufficient however, and four turbojets were later added to help the giant bomber get airborne. They didn’t help enough though, and the arrival of the jet age meant the Peacemaker was phased out just ten years after its introduction, replaced by the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress with all bar five of the nearly four-hundred aircraft built scrapped.

This amazing recreation of the short-lived yet still slightly terrifying nuclear-carrying monstrosity is the work of previous bloggee BigPlanes, whose magnificent Boeing 747 Air Force One appeared here last week. BigPlanes’ astonishing B-36D measures 6ft across, includes a complete mini-figure scale cockpit, and features functioning bomb bays, and there’s loads more to see at Big’s photostream via the link above.

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This is like, totally the best plane in the world. Just the best. Totally the best. Bigly.

“In fact it is so good you might think it was built by tiny little hands. So tiny. The inside allows me to fulfil my great and unmatched wisdom, with 24/7 access to Twitter, a machine that makes the best covfefe, the very best, and a bedroom with a golden shower. So very golden.” Donald Trump

Mini-figure Donald seems pretty pleased with his new wings, and so he should be; it measures 6ft long, has a 5½ foot wingspan, includes functioning landing gear, flaps, stairs, and complete interior and exterior lighting courtesy of Brickstuff.

BigPlanes of Flickr is the creator behind this astonishing build, and you can join the orange-in-a-toupee en-route to his next impeachment hearing via the link in the text above. Bigly.

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Bullet the Blue Sky

This is the Lockheed U-2 ‘Dragon Lady’, an aircraft from the 1950s that is still in service today, flying on the edge of space. Designed for the Cold War, but carrying no weapons, the U-2 is able to operate at an altitude of over 70,000ft, taking photographs of the ground beneath it.

Believed to be out of range of ground-to-air missiles, the U-2 was flown extensively over the Soviet Union, supplying the United States with information on nuclear development, missile locations, and airbases.

Unfortunately for the U.S this theory proved inaccurate when, on May 1st 1960, a U-2 flown by Francis Gary Powers was successfully shot down. The Soviets had been tracking the aircraft from 15 miles outside of the border, and an indirect missile-hit brought the U-2 down, with Powers miraculously surviving.

The U.S didn’t believe that a pilot would survive a crash from 70,000ft and thus stuck to a pre-written cover story that the U-2 had drifted into Soviet airspace after the pilot became unresponsive. The Soviet Union cleverly let the U.S release their lie to the world before revealing that Powers was alive and had admitted spying under interrogation. Oops.

Powers spent a year and a half in prison before being swapped in a prisoner exchange at Glienicke Bridge between East and West Germany. He subsequently returned to the U-2 programme working for Lockheed before losing his life in a helicopter crash in 1977.

Amazingly though, the Lockheed U-2 is still in service today, with the United States Air Force taking over operations from the CIA. This splendid recreation of their incredible aircraft was constructed as a commission by Jonah Padberg (aka Plane Bricks) whose brilliant H145M rescue helicopter featured here earlier in the week.

Jonah’s model captures the iconic Cold War aircraft in stunning accuracy and there lots more to see of his superbly built and presented Lockheed U-2 spy plane at his photostream. Click the link above to fly to 70,000ft and take a look.

*Today’s excellent title song.

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