Tag Archives: Airplane

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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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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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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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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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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Flight of the Phoenix

MOCpages isn’t quite dead yet. Most of our Elves stationed at the once-default creation sharing site have been redeployed elsewhere as – thanks to the site’s frequent outages – the community has all but departed it. However, proving that gems can still be discovered in the abandoned mine is yamato yukimasa, making his TLCB debut with this wonderful six-engine twin-boom bomber. It’s a huge creation featuring some lovely building techniques and there’s more to see on MOCpages (if it’s working of course) via the link above. Take a look whilst we feed a very hungry Elf that’s thankful to have finally come home…

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Constellation

This gorgeous Lockheed Constellation airliner was discovered by one of our Elves on Flickr today. Built by the aptly-named BigPlanes it’s a fully fitted mini-figure scale replica of the iconic triple-tailed aircraft, complete with a highly detailed cabin including cockpit, toilets and even a kitchen!

The Constellation first flew in the early 1940s and was produced until 1958, by which point jets were quickly replacing piston engined aircraft. The ‘Connie’s four piston engines were eighteen-cylinders each, and allowed the plane to fly at over 375mph (faster than a Mitsubishi Zero fighter!) and for 3,500 miles.

The Constellation was also the first mainstream aircraft to feature a pressurised cabin, and saw deployment by both the military and civilian airlines with carriers including Air France, Pan-Am, and – as shown here – Trans World Airlines.

Still in limited service today we think the Constellation is one of the most beautiful airliners of all time, and BigPlanes’ Lego recreation certainly does it justice. Head over to his photostream via the link above check out more images of his spectacular model including some wonderful interior shots.

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Baron Von Sprokitt

We have no idea what’s going on here, but we still rather like it. That said, there is a worrying likeness to TLCB Elves going on…

Baron Von Sprokitt and his biplane come from deep within the mind of Djokson (aka icemonster) and we’re assured any likeness to TLCB Elves is purely coincidental.

There’s more to see of the Baron at Djokson’s Flickr photostream or via Brickshelf here.

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Thunderbolt II

One of the most ‘interesting’ looking aircraft, the A-10 Thunderbolt II is certainly a tricky beast to build in Lego. However we have our second Thunderbolt in a month today, as Flickr’s Lennart C (aka Everblack) has constructed this brilliant mini-figure scale version, complete with an array of wing-mounted weaponry. Head to Lennart’s photostream via the link above for all the photos.

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Thunderbolt

This might be the most beautiful recreation of a butt-ugly vehicle we’ve yet published. The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II, nicknamed the ‘Warthog’, is a close air support aircraft – effectively providing air cover for front-line troops – that has served the USAF since the late ’70s.

Its, er… ‘unique’ appearance is dictated by the need for a short take-off and landing ability, significant firepower, and heavy armouring – due to the aircraft’s high likelihood of coming into contact with enemy forces.

This utterly brilliant Lego recreation of the A-10 Thunderbolt II comes from previous bloggee Plane Bricks of Flickr, who has nailed the challenging aesthetic thanks to a range of expertly deployed advanced building techniques, particularly evident in the engines and cockpit.

A huge gallery of images is available to view at Plane Bricks’ photostream – take a look via the link above.

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Three Little Birds

This is in the ‘Town’ category? Wait, what? Yup, these incredible aircraft are indeed mini-figure scale, and have been built by the astonishingly talented (and suitably named) BigPlanes of Flickr. Each is a beautifully accurate replica of one of Boeing’s narrow-body aircraft, with the classic 707, 727 and more modern 737 all represented, each featuring a wonderful real-world livery from a time-appropriate airline.

They’ve been photographed outside superbly too, as they’re probably too large for indoor shots, and there’s a huge gallery of images available to see at BigPlanes’ photostream, including close up details and a few insights into how such amazing accuracy was achieved. Head to the skies via the link above, and you can hear today’s most excellent title song here.

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Harvard Reference

Well we’re never going to write a title cleverer than that… On to the build. This is a North American T-6 ‘Harvard’ a World War 2 training aircraft, and sometime fighter, as built here beautifully by previous bloggee Henrik Jenson. Henrik’s Harvard is shown in Danish livery, one of the many airforces that operated the T-6 from the 1940s until the 1970s, including some that the U.S. has subsequently fought against. See more at Henrik’s album on Flickr via the link above.

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Fictional Fighter

From one strange vintage aircraft to another, only this one isn’t real. This oddly-shaped aircraft comes from the mind of Jon Hall, being constructed in his trademark ‘sky-fi’ style, and featuring some rather lovely detail and decal work. It’s called the ‘P-65 Tomahawk’ and it looks a bit like one of those terrifying crab thingies or the alien from Alien. Head to Jon’s photostream via the link above to check it out, whilst we enforce a strict ‘Bring Us Back a Bloody Car’ policy on our Elven workforce. We’ll see you in, er… a few days? A week? It depends on what you lot build…

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