Tag Archives: Aircraft

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 two 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 (above) 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.

Each aircraft has been superbly recreated in 1:40 (roughly mini-figure) scale and you can see more of both builds at Luis’ Chilean Aviation Pioneers album via the link above.

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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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Holiday Heroes II

Today’s earlier post remembers the heroes of the emergency services, who – unlike the underserving muppets here at TLCB – work over the holiday period keeping us alive. From the amazing National Health Service we enjoy in TLCB’s home nation to the fire, police, mountain rescue and lifeboat services that operate every day of the year, there are heroes in every town, village and street.

However one group that often gets forgotten, particularly in the current woke culture that sometimes attempts to undermine their existence, are the armed forces. They too work over the holidays, unseen, largely forgotten, and ready to protect us turkey-eating muppets on Christmas Day as they would on any other.

This find is one example of that group, the Canadian Armed Forces’ very cool looking Lockheed F-104 ‘Starfighter’ in ‘Red Indian’ Squadron markings. Part of NATO, these F-104s operated out of 421 Squadron in West Germany during the Cold War, following their introduction by the Canadian Air Force two decades earlier.

This superb replica of the CAF Lockheed F-104 ‘Starfighter’ is the work of Flickr’s John C. Lamarck and it captures the iconic aircraft (and its unusual CAF ‘toothbrush’ colour scheme) beautifully. There’s more of the build to see at John’s photostream and you can head to an airbase in West Germany c1983 via the link above.

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Holiday Heroes

We’re back! After a few days of being shut in their cages, TLCB Elves have been released back onto the internet to hunt down the best Lego vehicles that the community has to offer. It hasn’t taken long for the first of our smelly little workers to return, motivated by the promise of a meal token and the possibility of a Smartie.

Our first post-Christmas creation is this, a rather wonderful H145M Swiss Air-Rescue helicopter built as a commission by Jonah Padberg aka Plane Bricks, and it’s a fabulous reminder that whilst we were off for Christmas the heroes of the emergency services were still at work, putting out fires, calming board-game related domestic arguments, and – in this case – saving lives.

Jonah’s spectacular H145M is a joy to look at, bursting with brilliant building techniques and including a sliding side-opening door, an opening barn-door tail exit, and folding rotor blades. There’s much more to see at Jonah’s photostream on Flickr – click the link above to make the jump and remember those that were hard at work doing the most amazing jobs that anyone can do whilst we were eating turkey.

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MiGgy Christmas

As we approach Christmas here’s a build totally unsuited to the season of love and joy. But it is properly excellent.

The Mikoyan MiG-29 entered service in 1982 as one of the most competent fighters in the world. Designed for air-to-air combat against American fighters during the Cold War, the MiG-29 quickly adapted to become a multi-role aircraft, including air-to-surface and naval operations. It was also widely exported to a range of scummy dictatorships, with Iran, Cuba, Myanmar, Bulgaria, North Korea, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Iraq, Romania, Syria, and Yugoslavia all making purchases*. The fall of the Soviet Union has also meant that Russia is now openly hostile to some of the current operators of the MiG-29, which is a little odd.

The MiG-29 is also still in production today, making it one of the most successful fighter designs in history. Flickr’s Lennart C (aka Everblack) has added another to Mikoyan’s impressive production numbers with his superb Lego recreation of the MiG-29, complete with armaments and ground equipment.

Lennart’s replica of the iconic fighter captures the design brilliantly, with a multitude of cunning building techniques deployed to do so. Several further (and excellent) images of Lennart’s creation are available to see how he’s done it, and you can do just that at his MiG-29 album on Flickr via the link in the text above.

*Many of these are no longer scummy dictatorships.

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Flying Fruit

Airlines never seem to offer fruit on board. Little packets of pretzels yes. Fruit no. Or nothing at all if you’re flying budget, although there will be a catalogue containing a $4,000 watch. No matter, because the aptly-named Big Planes of Flickr has some serious in-flight fruit for us today. This is the Northrop N-9M ‘Flying Wing’, it really did exist and it really did look like a giant banana.

The N-9M was an experimental aircraft constructed in the early 1940s to test the theory behind an ultra efficient single wing bomber design. Four planes were built, and they crashed a lot. The idea worked though, and a pair of Flying Wings three times the size of the N-9M were constructed to further test the design.

Unfortunately the design really needed computer control to keep it airborne, which was incredibly limited at the time, and the projects were shelved; all but one of the four N-9Ms  built were scrapped. The fourth was left to deteriorate, but following a funding campaign it returned to the air in 1993 after two decades of restoration work, touring airshows and events across America. Sadly it too crashed in April of this year, killing the pilot and destroying the last N-9M in existence.

Big Planes’ beautifully built mini-figure scale replica of the Northrop N-9M is now as close as you’re likely to get to seeing what this incredible aircraft was like, however the design direction continued and – once computers caught up with the ambition of Northrop’s 1940s engineers – a flying wing did finally take to the skies; the amazing Northrop-Grumman B-2 Spirit  ‘Stealth Bomber‘.

There’s more to see of Big Planes’ brilliant Northrop N-9M at his photostream on Flickr. Click the link above, open a little pack of pretzels, and enjoy the images.

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Whirl ‘n Wheel Again

As 2019 draws to a close might have found our favourite model of the year so far! The 5590 ‘Wheel ‘n Whirl Super Truck’, thankfully called something far less silly in our home nation, was one of the three sets that launched the Model Team range almost thirty years ago.

Three models in one, 5590 included a cab-over truck, trailer, and helicopter, all of which were detailed beyond any other LEGO sets of the time. Things have moved on a bit since then though, and Flickr’s Havoc has brought the classic Model Team set bang up to date with his incredible reimagining of the original.

Built at a considerably larger scale, Havoc’s 5590 Redux packs in even more detail, becoming a Freightliner cab-over with a working V8 mounted under the tilting cab, a TV screen inside the sleeper area (playing the movie ‘Convoy’!), and even a to-scale box containing 5590 set sitting on the bench, whilst the helicopter also gets taken up a notch, now replicating a real life Bell 206 Jetranger.

Havoc’s stunning redux of one of LEGO’s most important sets is available to view in more detail at his photostream via the link above, where several high-quality images of each part of the build can be found. You can also check out our review of the brilliant original 5590 set that inspired Havoc’s build by visiting TLCB’s Review Library, where it and over a hundred other reviews can be found!

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Persian Cat

War is complicated. However much Fox News try to dumb it down into a simple ‘goodies vs. baddies’ fight, it is rarely – if ever – the reality.

Take this for example, the American F-14A ‘Tomcat’ fighter, which is flown by the Iranian Air Force. Yup, the very same Iran that the U.S threatens to wipe off the map every six weeks.

Because not very long ago Iran were on the side of the U.S. in the first Gulf War, if not for their comradeship with America more their hatred of Iraq.

Not that Fox News remembers that of course. Anyway, this rather brilliant Republic of Iran Air Force F14-A ‘Persian Tomcat’ comes from regular bloggee Ralph Savelsberg (aka Mad Physicist), who has replicated the real Iranian fighter – including its desert camouflage – in stunning realism.

You can head to Ralph’s F-14A album on Flickr to see the full gallery of excellent imagery, plus you can read his Master MOCers interview here at TLCB by clicking here.

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Sci-Friday I

OK, this is definitely not a car, but it somehow manages to look a little bit like a vintage racer, so it’d almost be rude for us not to blog it. Edward Lawrence is the builder and there’s more to see on Flickr here.

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Cruising the Clouds

Of all the sub-themes the online Lego Community has taken on, sky-fi is the one that confuses us the most. Boats in the air, or even in space – where they don’t need to be aerodynamic let alone hydrodynamic – it all makes absolutely no sense. But does it need to, because a) Lego is escapism, and b) the theme generates creations that look as marvellous as this.

‘This’ is Sunder_59‘s ‘Air Battlecruiser’, and whilst we don’t know how it works, it is a properly wonderful build. Barely a stud is visible thanks to some brilliant ‘SNOT’ techniques, whilst a battery of guns and even an on-board micro-scale fighter plane add to the detail.

There’s more of Sunder’s magnificent creation to see at his photostream – head into the clouds via the link above.

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Ka-Blaaam!!

Also an appropriate title for yesterday’s reveal of the new 76139 1989 Batmobile set, Jeremy Williams‘ ‘Raptor Fighter-Bomber’ is about to turn someone’s day a whole lot more orange. To quote a brilliant Simpson’s line; “There might be a slight ringing in your ears… fortunately you’ll be no-where near them”. There’s more to see of Jeremy’s killer build on Flickr – head to his photostream via the link above to push the big red button.

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