Tag Archives: Aircraft

Island Hopping

Lego ATR 42 Aircraft

Anyone who’s island hopped around Europe or Asia will likely know the French ATR 47/72 aircraft well. With over 1,500 in service the design is the default turboprop for shot haul jumps. This impeccably-built commissioned replica of the ATR 42 comes from Flickr’s BrickMonkey and you can take a flight at his photostream via the link.

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Race to Mount Everest

Lego Air Balloon

LEGO’s late ’90s Adventurers series with Johny Thunder was one of this writer’s favourites. What was basically an unlicensed Indiana Jones theme, archaeologist ‘Johnny’ travelled around the world in search of unique and wonderful artefacts whilst trying to outwit his nemesis Sam Sinister and Baron von Barron, all the while being chased by rolling boulders. This lovely flashback to the theme comes courtesy of Flickr’s Markus Rollbühler and Grant Davis who have constructed not only a brilliant hot air balloon and classic bi-plane, but also the backstory to accompany them. Join the adventure by clicking here.

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Googly-Eyed Bastard

Lego Ekranoplan

Today’s, er… amusingly named creation comes from Tammo S of Flickr, and whilst we’ve used Sci-Fi in the tags, there is more truth in this remarkable design than meets the googly-eye.

Developed by the Soviets during the cold war, Ekranoplan ground effect vehicles occupied a weird space between ship, hovercraft and aircraft, whilst being none of them. The mightiest of these, and one that remained secret from the West for years, was the Lun Class Ekranoplan. It measured over 70m in length and was powered by eight Kuznetsof turbojets producing a combined 28,000lbf of thrust, enabling it to travel at almost 350mph for over 1,000 miles, skimming at just 10ft above the water.

Tammo S’s ground effect vehicle is slightly jazzier than the secret Soviet monster, and looks to be a great way to travel if you’re a LEGO mini-figure! Head over to Flickr via the link above to see more of Tammo’s fictional version of one of the world’s weirdest vehicles.

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Sky Warrior

Lego US Navy A-3B Skywarrior

This amazing aircraft is a 1950s US Navy Douglas A-3B Skywarrior carrier-based nuclear bomber and its purpose was… well, chillingly obvious. Thankfully the Skywarrior’s nuclear bombs were never used in combat, as – perhaps worryingly – the US and the other nuclear-armed nations managed to shrink their nuclear bombs so that they no longer needed to be carried on bombers like the A-3B, but could fit on conventional fighter aircraft. Yay progress!

Such advancement saw the A-3Bs re-fitted as air-to-air refusing tankers to service those fighters, a role they fulfilled right up until the early 1990s, last seeing action in the first Gulf War of 1991.

This spectacular recreation of Douglas A-3B Skywarrior comes from plane building extraordinaire Ralph Savelsberg aka Mad Physicist who has recreated the historic bomber in glorious detail. With folding wing-tips for carrier storage, working landing gear, and an accompanying aircraft tug there’s lots more to see. Head over to Ralph’s photostream via the link above for all the images, plus you can read Ralph’s interview here at The Lego Car Blog as part of the Master MOCers Series by clicking here.

Lego US Navy A-3B Skywarrior

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Bee Gees

Lego GEE BEE Aircraft

Sorry, we mean Gee Bees. An important distinction that avoids you having to hear this. Founded in 1925, the Granville Brothers Aircraft company built just twenty-four aircraft until their bankruptcy eight years later, but they left one hell of mark. In the ground mostly, with a trail of fire behind it, but we’ll come on to that in a bit…

Designed primarily as sports cars for the sky, Granville Brothers’ aircraft excelled at air racing in the ’20s and ’30s, winning multiple trophy races and speed records. Known as ‘Gee Bees’ the outrageous designs looked like caricatures, with absurdly short fuselages, tiny control surfaces, and hot-rod-esque engines.

The superb Lego recreations of two of Granville Brothers’ designs pictured here come from Volker Brodkorb of Flickr, and whilst they may look like exaggerated cartoons, their real-life counterparts really did look like this. Well, until they inevitably crashed of course…

The Gee Bee Model Z Super Sportster (above) was constructed in just five weeks in 1931, with the smallest possible airframe built around the largest possible engine. The Model Z’s enormous Pratt & Witney supercharged ‘Wasp’ radial engine gave it well over 500bhp, powering it to victory in every race it entered, despite it being ‘tricky’ to fly. Later that year Granville Brothers re-engineered the Model Z with an even bigger 750bhp Wasp Senior engine in at attempt at the Landplane Speed Record, when tragically a wing failure sent the aircraft spinning into the ground in a ball of flame, killing air-racer Lowell Bayles.

The next year Granville Brothers Aircraft built a successor to the destroyed Model Z, the R-1 Super Sportster (below). With a 25ft wingspan but just 17ft long, the R-1 was if anything even more dangerous to fly than the Model Z. Nevertheless the R-1 took victory in the Thompson Trophy in 1932 and the Landplane Speed Record the same year, before its inevitable fatal crash in 1933. Granville Brothers Aircraft re-built the wreck whereupon it crashed almost immediately.

Of the twenty-four aircraft built by Granville Brothers almost every single one was destroyed in a crash, with almost a dozen fatalities. By the mid-’30s the effects of the Great Depression – and a reputation as killers – meant that orders for new Super Sportster aircraft dried up, and the Granville Brothers Aircraft company filed for bankruptcy in 1934.

A few replica Gee Bees have been constructed since, however the Granville family have only shared the original designs with museums under the promise that the recreated aircraft will never be flown. Which is probably a good thing. Even so, we’ll stick with these fantastic and non-lethal Lego replicas. There’s more to see of each, plus Volker’s other planes, by clicking here.

Lego GEE BEE Aircraft

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Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird | Picture Special

Lego SR-71 Blackbird

First flying in 1964 the amazing Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird is still the world’s highest flying and fastest manned air-breathing aircraft, despite retiring back in 1999. With a top speed in excess of Mach 3 (that’s over 3,500km/h!), the Blackbird could fly higher and faster than even missiles.

Lego SR-71 Blackbird

Such incredible altitude and speed meant the SR-71 needed to be built from very exotic materials, specifically titanium; which made up 92% of the airframe. The U.S. didn’t have access to titanium itself, so had to source it from the USSR, with which the Blackbird was of course designed to fight during the Cold War. A complicated route via fictitious organisations and third-world economies delivered the newly acquired Soviet titanium ore to the U.S, where it was used to build a plane to spy on the Soviets… isn’t military history fun!

Lego SR-71 Blackbird

In total thirty two Lockheed SR-71 Blackbirds were constructed, with the final two being used by NASA until the late 1990s. During a long operational life twelve aircraft were lost to accidents, but thanks to the SR-71’s ludicrous speed and primitive radar-defying stealth technology not a single plane was downed by enemy action.

Lego SR-71 BlackbirdToday the surviving Blackbirds reside in America’s aerospace museums (or at NASA), but we’ve got one more to add to the SR-71 alumni, thanks to Flickr’s Plane Bricks and this awe-inspiring Lego replica of the world’s most spectacular aircraft. Put simply Plane Bricks’ stunning recreation of the SR-71 Blackbird is one of the most complete and impressive Lego aircraft that we’ve ever come across, with a suitably extensive gallery of superb imagery available on Flickr. Click the link in the text above to reach Mach 3.3 and take a look.

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Belville Bird

Lego MH-6 Little Bird

The male figurines from 1990s LEGO Belville have built an escape! Housed in a world of pinks, purples and glitter, even a plethora of attractive female figurines couldn’t compensate for their inescapable male-toy need for guns, helicopters and black. How they’ve found the pieces to construct their escape we’ll never know, but their MH-6 Little Bird helicopter looks the shiznit! See more courtesy of Lennart C on Flickr.

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Seahorse

Lego USMC UH-34D Seahorse

The early marine biologists of the world were not inventive in the naming department. It seems many marine animals are simply named after a land animal, but with the word ‘sea’ added before, or ‘fish’ added after, even if there are no similarities whatsoever between the two. The humble seahorse is a case in point. With a mass of just a few ounces, no legs, and reproduction via eggs, the seahorse and regular horse are about as far apart on the animal spectrum as you can get. Lazy marine biologists, lazy…

Military engineers however, are far better at naming things. This is a Sikorsky H-34 Seahorse helicopter, and whilst the weird little fish doesn’t have rotor blades, it really does look quite a lot like the H-34. The Seahorse’s strange looks come from the huge 1,500bhp radial engine mounted in the nose, as back in the fifties most helicopters were not powered by the more compact turbine engines that are now fitted to almost all rotorary-wing aircraft.

This enormous power plant meant the cockpit needed to be raised above it in order for the pilots to see, giving the Sikorsky H-34 and the many variants that followed their unusual seahorsey shape.

This particular version of the Sikorsky H-34 is a UH-34D from 1962, deployed by the US Marines in the Vietnam War and recreated beautifully in Lego form in all of its weirdness by Flickr’s Ralph Savelsberg (aka Mad Physicist). Ralph’s superb replica of the famous American helicopter includes a side opening door and some simply awesome detailing, enabled by the range of ingenious building techniques that Ralph is known for.

Head over to Flickr via the link above for all the photos, and you can read our interview with the builder as part of The Lego Car Blog’s Master MOCers series by clicking here.

Lego Sikorsky H-34 Seahorse

 

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UN-Useful

Lego UN Mil Mi-26 Helicopter

This is the Mil Mi-26 heavy transport helicopter, the most powerful series production helicopter in the world. Built for the previously publicised ‘Brickman Awesome‘ show, Certified LEGO Professional Ryan McNaught (aka The Brickman) and his team spent 52 hours and 8,302 bricks in the construction of the Mi-26.

Completed in UN-livery, Ryan’s build includes opening clamshell cargo doors and a roller conveyer to enable cargo to be parachuted to the ground, meaning his recreation of the mighty Russian helicopter is depicted doing something that its real-world counterpart – being part of the most ineffectual organisation on earth – probably never will. Prove us wrong United Nations…

Anyhoo, there’s more to see of Ryan’s amazing Mil Mi-26 at his Flickr photostream via the link above, and you can see more of Ryan’s models built for the Brickman Awesome show by clicking here.

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Once in a Blue Moon

Lego Sky-Fi P98 Nemesis

We know even less about sky-fi than we do about sci-fi, so apologies to any sky-fi fans out there – this post is going skip all our usual storytelling guff and get straight to the point. This creation is really pretty. Built by sky-fi extraordinaire Jon Hall this dusty blue ‘P-98 Nemesis’ is the latest in his long line of wonderfully creative sky-fi aircraft. There’s more of the model to see at Jon’s photostream where you can also find a wealth of other superb airborne contraptions. Click the link above to take off.

Lego Sky-Fi P98 Nemesis

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The Most Beautiful Model…

Lego Supermarine Spitfire

…of the most beautiful aircraft ever built. This is of course the thunderous Supermarine Spitfire, recreated in astonishing realism in Mk. 1a form by Lennart C of Flickr. There really aren’t words to do the photos justice, so we’ll get straight to the link. Click here to see more of this incredible creation.

Lego Supermarine Spitfire

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Fight for Your Right

The current run of nostalgia and the run of aeroplane builds continues here at The Lego Car Blog towers. During this writer’s late teens it was quite normal to see Volkswagens bereft of their iconic badges and the cause was the Beastie Boys. Brick Flag has created the crumpled tail end of a Boeing 727 that featured on the group’s classic album “Licensed to Ill“. Click here to see unedited photos of the model, including the neat rock-work on the red cliff the ‘plane has hit or here to travel back to the 1980s again.

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Highway to the Danger Zone

The art of Air Combat Manoeuvring (ACM) came to the attention of the general public with Tony Scott’s 1986 film, Top Gun. Whilst this concentrated on the US Navy’s school the US Marine Corps and Air Force have similar units. With the advent of high-tech missiles, guns and dog-fighting were deemed to be obsolete. Pilots would be able to destroy their enemies using radar, way before they were close enough to see them.

Vietnam was to become the testing ground for the technology. However, the Rules of Engagement often dictated that the identity of opponents had to be visually confirmed first. This could lead the heavy American aircraft (often with no guns) into tight, close-in, turning fights with lighter, cannon armed MiGs. Analysis showed that US airmen needed new aircraft, leading to the F-15 & F-16 programmes and new skills, which lead to the creation of the USAF’s Aggressor squadrons. These squadrons flew lightweight aircraft, often of types not used by the US, which could simulate the tactics and manoeuvres used by enemies.

Evan M‘s excellent F-16C comes from the 16th Weapons Squadron, based at Nellis AFB. The model does a very good job of capturing the smooth curves of the F-16’s blended fuselage and wing in angular Lego. The tan & brown colours from Lego also represent one of the various colours scheme used by the squadron. Click here to see more images and click here to take the Highway to the Danger Zone.

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Flight of Fantasy

Jon Hall‘s fantasy aeroplanes have featured several times before on TLCB. His Fe-47 Rapier is just as impressive and creative as his previous ‘planes. The aircraft has Jon’s trademark custom decals and a smoothly streamlined fuselage. Streamlined that is apart from the giant cannon that is this model’s most prominent feature. Click the link in the text to see more views of the aeroplane, as Jon releases them over the next few days.

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Tuesday Trio

Lego US Navy Aircraft

Flickr’s Dornbi has appeared here numerous times with his stunning Lego aircraft. He’s recently pictured three of his historic US Navy planes together, with the F14a Tomcat, A-6E Intruder and A-7E Corsair all faithfully recreated in grey and white bricks. There’s more to see of each at Dornbi’s photostream – click there for the full set of images.

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