Swedish fighters are different

Before going bust, the Swedish car manufacturer Saab built cars that were stereotypically driven by architects and college professors. The cars were always a bit quirky and different, which is probably one of the reasons why the company went bust. Saab didn’t start by building cars, however. Its eponymous parent company started by building aircraft for the Swedish military and it is still going strong. The Saab J 35 “Draken” (Dragon), built by Stefan Johansson, first flew in 1955 and was one of Europe’s first supersonic fighter aircraft.

Stefan’s model clearly shows the very distinctive cranked delta wing of this Cold War classic. The Swedish military typically required their aircraft to be suitable for operations from poorly prepared surfaces, in terrible weather and to be maintained by conscripts with relatively little specialised training. The resulting aircraft always looked rather different from their contemporaries. This also applies to the Draken’s replacement in Swedish service: the Saab JA-37 “Viggen” (Thunderbolt). If anything, Stefan’s model of this jet is even more impressive.

It has a large double delta wing, canard foreplanes and an unusual undercarriage with double main wheels in tandem, designed to facilitate operating from unpaved runways. Another quirky feature is that, in order for the jet to fit inside small underground hangars, its vertical tailfin can be folded down. Judging from the row of hinges this can also be done on the model. The complicated curvy shapes of fuselage are recreated very effectively using various slopes, and while I am normally not a fan of studless builds, the choice to build the model’s wings using bricks on their side works really well. Saabs are unusual fighters and an unusual choice of subject for LEGO models, but these are just more reasons to like them.

British Petrolheads

Joe Perez (mortalswordsman) works for Bright Bricks in the UK, where he builds LEGO models for a living. He is also a bit of a petrolhead; a British term for people who are crazy about internal combustion engines.

Gold rush by Joe Perez

This made him the perfect choice for a recent Bright Bricks project that involved building miniland scale (1/20) vehicles, including a fair few motorcycles. Despite building with LEGO for a living, he still finds the time and interest to build just for fun. He has obviously caught the bug of building motorcycles, as shown by his groovy chopper.

We can make this happen

Talking of petrolheads from the UK who are also professional LEGO builders, Carl Greatrix (bricktrix) launched a Lego Ideas project for a Caterham Seven model several months ago, which has now passed 10,000 votes. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for the design review.

Fill her up in style

In the world of gas/ petrol stations, corporate blandness rules. If it weren’t for the scenery, just looking at the building and the forecourt doesn’t really tell you whether you’re at a petrol station next to, say, the M3 in the UK heading towards Southampton, the A2 between Utrecht and Amsterdam or even I-70 through the Rocky mountains. Back in the thirties, there was still something glamorous about owning a car and it showed in the architecture. The stylish gas station built by Marcus Paul (ER0L) looks like a work of art.

Shell Art Deco Gas Station

I know ER0L mainly from the cars he builds, but even though I prefer my own minifig scale cars to be a bit smaller, his vintage truck doesn’t look out of place.

Shell Art Deco Gas Station - Front

The proportions, clever build techniques and all the small details really appeal to me. The building also has an interior and I encourage you to take it all in by looking at the other photographs.