Omnibus: The Floatplane Notebook

The powerful engine you hear in the distance means that the Omnibus has returned to your town.  We’ll be going down to the shore so we can watch the seabirds land and maybe get a crappy tattoo on the boardwalk to commemorate the event.  Seaplanes, floatplanes, flying boats, whatever term you prefer just get up to the tower and ring the bell already, because we’re in for a very long drive and our bus driver is all jacked up on No-Doze and coffee.  Without further delay, let’s explore the wonderful world of floatplanes.  It should be noted that this robust posing could easily be twice as long if I included all the mundane attempts, so as usual, we’ll focus on the best stuff.  If you notice a glaring omission from this extensive list, please give me a link in the comments and if it’s any good, I’ll update the post. Now ring the bell already!

To my great shock I was not able to locate a Fantasy Island inspired Lego model, so I went with the floatplane that inspired this latest edition of the Omnibus.   Norweasel brings you a super-clean rendition of the “Piper Super Cub“, which features the only use of minfig swords in this diverse group of planes.  I also dig the two-toned rubber spikes on the back-end of the pontoons and the use of dark orange, a color that too often gets a bad rap.

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Just as clean and just as cool is this floatplane by Russian builder Сергей Антохин.  Unlike many of the models featured on this list, I think this untitled masterpiece would make a perfect official set, it’s too bad it didn’t catch on with LEGO Ideas.  The presentation is really enhanced by the in-flight camera angle.  I’d pay 30 bucks for this one.

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Unfortunately, Klaus “Eastpole77” Dobisch, the creator of this magnificent “Dornier Flying Boat” hasn’t posted anything in the last four years and even worse, he’s deleted much of his work from the internet entirely.  It’s a real shame because the guy was ahead of his time in terms of technique and always selected really interesting subject matter.   When you consider the fact that the Dornier was built eight years ago, before many of the parts and colors we take for granted, it seems even more impressive.

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As you must certainly know by now, it is my philosophy that even an average diorama will improve any given stand-alone model by at least 42%.  With that in mind let’s check out not one but two seaplanes in their natural habitat. The charming red umber on the left is the “Floatplane Po-13” along side a diorama depicting a “secret mission in a wild periphery of Zyberia” by one of my favorite Polish builders, Ciamosław Ciamek.  You really can’t go wrong when you’re talking about the wild periphery, constant reader. Also, the little raft is neat and the snowy trees look pretty good too.  Familiarize yourself with the builder, you’ll be seeing more of his work as we move along.  The diorama on the right is also by Mr. Ciamek, and features a classic PBY Catalina in the middle of a rescue operation, saving the pilot of a downed Corsair before the Japanese can reach him.  While the studded wings may not be the most attractive choice the proportions of the Catalina are spot-on.

 

Staying with dioramas for a moment, my favorite of the bunch is probably this “SN Curtiss SOC Seagull” from Joshua Brooks. It won Best Military Diorama at BrickFair Virginia in 2013 and I can certainly see why.  The plane is meticulously built and there is just enough tropical-style diorama to give it a context.  My only complaint is the lack of additional photos. I’d like to give the Seagull an in-depth look but this is all we have to go on.

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A few years ago there was a contest to update the beloved official set from 2000: 5935-1 “Island Hopper”.  We’ll be featuring two entries from that building challenge, the first is from Mike Psiaki, who was able to parlay his impressive skill-set with the brick into a paying gig with our corporate overlords.  The downside of that success is that Mike hasn’t built much since scoring the gig, but hopefully he gets back to it eventually.  If you’re not familiar with Mike’s work, I can’t urge you strongly enough to check out his photostream.  3127045611_df55db9fb9_o

Bruce Lowell, who was once referred to as a young Aztec god, also participated in the contest, going the extra mile with a pilot, dinosaur and accessories.  Bruce was like a a prototype for up and coming builders like Tyler Clites: young, super talented and willing to tackle any subject matter or scale with reckless abandon.  One of these days Bruce will be a guest in the Two for Tuesday lounge, but until then, enjoy his take on the Island Hopper.

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Danish builder Henrik Jensen whose entire body of work is crazy-good (that motorcycle!) has two seats on this week’s Omnibus and both models are simply gorgeous.  The plane on the left is my personal favorite type of seaplane, the U.S. Navy’s “052U Kingfisher“. Henrik chose a very interesting and rarely used scale to work in and it allowed him to really capture the shape with a high degree of accuracy.  On the left is the American-made “Bellanca CH-300“, which is no less stunning and was apparently featured in The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, for you trivial fans.  Henrik goes a step beyond the build and has posted very thoughtful write-up for each model, check it out of you’d like to know more about the building process and the history of both seaplanes.

We go from World War II to Weird War II with Beau Donnan’sDuck Diesel Fighter Mk. XVII”.
Diesel-Punk isn’t really my thing and it looks terribly unbalanced, but this plane has style for miles and that goes a long way with me.  I really like the way the wheels retract and the sparing use of string.  This looks like a WWII design that was left on the drafting table, but it makes for a very entertaining model.

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Speaking of things that retract, check out the retracting wings of Einon’s “Ar 196”, a dependable German workhorse for the Kriegsmarine throughout World War II.  The model on the right is Einon’s take on the Russian “Mig-3 Floatplane” and while it may not be as complex as some of the builds on this list,  it has clean lines and some great color blocking.

Sticking with warbirds for a moment, take a gander at this military biplane from Eduardo Ariño, entitled “Fairey Swordfish”  The camouflage is very well executed, although I wish the string was a little more taut on the left side.  The pontoons are nice and robust though and you can never go wrong with a tail-gunner.

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Ultramarine brings you the “Type 2 Flying Boat“, which looks pretty good, but you couldn’t pay me enough to occupy the nose-gunner’s station.  Nope, I’ll pass on that, even the landings would be terrifying, not to mention any kind of combat with another plane.

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We’re hitting a little turbulence with this next patch of builders, whether it’s blurry photos, bad lighting, background clutter or convention showrooms all of these models are good ideas dragged down by presentation.  However, the designs are so interesting that I was compelled to make room for them.  On the upside, we have a Tim Gould sighting, a super-inventive builder who has been on too long of a break from the scene.  I mean, we all have to turn a buck but the hobby needs you Tim.  Please return at your earliest convenience.  Tim contributes this stylish “De Havilland Otter” to the mix, with its killer striping and lovely swept back wings.  The prop has always bugged me but at least it’s a different, brick-built take on a design element that usually gets the pre-fab propeller treatment.

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Now this background is just sad…a wrinkly white sheet over a couch is about as bad as it gets, but the design of the flying boat is really compelling.  The builder is Ronan Dragonov, and the model is called “D.7 Neo-Clipper II”  One thing noticeably absent from this Omnibus are futuristic seaplanes , but this one fills the bill quite nicely.  The model’s core is a solid boat-hull, which was a very clever choice that looks great and provides a really solid base for building.  I wonder if this thing “really floats!”?

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I’m including this giant Technic sea-plane just for the curiosity factor.  A convention is about the worst place to take a photo, but Marius Postma never documented this behemoth called “Baby Twin Otter“, so this is the best we have.  I think it earns it’s place on the Omnibus, it is unlike any other entry.

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This big-ass “PBY 5A Catalina” is the work of Lego Admiral.  I was quite familiar with his mighty starships, but this floatplane was an unexpected delight.  The accuracy and level of detail is unmatched when it comes to the Catalina, there are other good versions but this one is the king, and not just because of it’s sheer size.  I’m sure this beast is very difficult to photograph but I’m not sure the setting does it justice.  The downside of photographing a model outside is the harsh shadows that result unless it’s a cloudy day or you nail the perfect angle of sunlight.

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No collection of aircraft would be complete without an offering from a builder considered to be a master of the genre, Ralph Savelsberg.  Simply titled “Flying Boat”, upon finding it I had the same reaction I have about all of Ralph’s exacting models: too many studs.  I acknowledge without any trace of sarcasm, Mr. Savelsberg’s talent for capturing aircraft proportions in the brick and he’s got every technique in the book at his disposal.  All that said we have a fundamental difference in philosophy regarding studs vs. studless.  I just think the studs on the nose and wings take away from what is otherwise a beautiful model.

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This next floatplane is not based on a specific real-world design even though it looks right at home with the warbirds featured on this list.  The builder is Englishman Chris L, whose back catalogue will reward the viewer who is willing to follow the link to Flickr.  Those yellow engine cowlings really pop and I love the stabilizing pontoons, this one looks fun to swoosh around.  Swooshing isn’t the sole purview of “spacers” you know.

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The Adventures of Tin Tin have inspired many builders in the Omnibus, including Swedish builder Stefan Johansson. The “Arado Ar 196” was a WW2 German shipboard reconnaissance aircraft, featured in the 1941 Tintin comic “The Shooting Star” ( L’Étoile mystérieuse).  I love the roll-cage over the cockpit and those pontoons look like giant bananas!  What’s not to love about giant banana-pontoons?

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I told you we’d be seeing a lot of Ciamosław Ciamek, he’s  this offering in yellow is called the “Tradelands Seaduck Floatplane“, which sports a very interesting nose and double-tails, which is usually a cool gimmick.  Something about the engines seems underdeveloped, but the overall design is very strong and earns it’s seat on the Omnibus.

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Speaking of ducks, here is the trusty seaplane from the 90’s cartoon Tailspin, also called “Seaduck”.  The responsible party is  tbone_tbl and he’s done a faithful job recreating the central vehicle of the show in a scale that is not often employed within this subject matter.  I found some unremarkable nano-scaled seaplanes, but very little in micro-scale.  The only thing I don’t like is the reversed 2×3 plate on the roof, it makes my brain itch every time I look at it.  Otherwise this is a cool little model.

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Here is another, much larger take on the Tailspin Seaduck by French builder, Sydag, who has another floatplane on the Omnibus a little further down the list.  Frankly, I was on the fence whether or not to include this one, it seems a little basic to me and that small slab o’ water makes my OCD tingle.  However, it’s nice to have it included for comparison with the micro-scale version above. The striping is pretty cool and the choice of parts for the pontoons is definitely original.

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We’re staying with yellow because it seems to be the second most popular floatplane color after red.  This deceptively simple number is called the “Canadair CL-215” and comes to us from the talented and prolific builder, EROL, who is best known for his stable of highly detailed cars, but occasionally dabbles with things that fly and float.  This is one of my favorites of the group, it just looks so tight from nose to tail, and crosses that magical threshold where it doesn’t really look like Lego at first glance.  As it happens, this version of the CL-215 was inspired by…

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…this version by VinceZcl215_00

…and this digital version by John Lamark

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…and this digital version by Zorko Huljic.

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Since we’ve already entered digital airspace, let’s stay there for a look at these floating bi-planes by The Backward One.  The one on the left is a racing seaplane called the “The Manora“, not to be confused with the Menora, or the Minora.  The one on the right is the “K.28C-1 Recon Floatplane“, which sports a neat tail gunner and some nice shaping on the fuselage.  I especially love the colors on both models, even if the parts may not actually be available in all of said colors.  We’re in the digital realm now and all bets are off when it comes to those concerns.

More sweet biplane action, this time its the large and in charge “Curtiss NC-4“, from Vaionaut, which looks absolutely huge.  I didn’t realize string was available in LDD, I though that was an advantage that brick-builders enjoyed exclusively, but apparently not.  The design is quite striking, especially the wings, although I wouldn’t want to be one of those perilously exposed air crewmen.

 

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Awesome O’saurus, formerly “the not-so-great” brings you yet another snazzy looking biplane, “Wederwæccere” and although the builder is self-deprecating about his work, I find it to be quite inspired and I’d love to see it in the brick.  That sentiment probably irritates many digital builders but it always comes to my mind when I’m looking at an LDD construct.  This model is my favorite of the digital floatplanes featured in this installment of the Omnibus. I really dig the tail stripes and the wing supports…just about everything.

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The “Macchi 156” Cagerrin by  just looks fast and it’s got the best subtitle of the group: “The Devil of Chesapeake Bay“.  The racing livery is perfect and so is the color blocking.  I also appreciate the 4 in 1 presentation style, the multiple angles make it especially friendly for blogging.  Once gain I’m drawn to the wing and tail stripes, achieving just the right paint scheme makes a huge difference.

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I doubt this next offering could fly very far, if at all, but it is unique among the other builds on the list.  The builder is Max Fragg, (which sounds like Duke Nukem’s good buddy) and the oddball floatplane is called the “F/A-6 Seagull“.  Look at those giant torpedoes!  I’m not sure I can abide the propellers on both ends of the engines, but it is a fun build. As Max points out on his photo-comments, those double propellers were used by Dornier on several airplanes and they are not in the realm of fantasy as I inititially suspected.

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So we’ve finally come to the portion of the Omnibus devoted entirely to the most frequently attempted floatplane of them all, the famous Savoia S-21 from the 1992 animated feature, Porco Rosso.  I’m not going to go into any great detail about the Savoia because I’ve never seen the animation it’s based on and I don’t happen to like the design.  Also, I hate anthropomorphic pigs in all their horrible incarnations: Porkey, Piglet, Miss Piggy, Pepa, Olivia, Wilbur, Napoleon and Porco Rosso, the titular pilot of the cartoon in question.  I will say that I did not encounter a single crappy version of this plane, it’s as if there has been some silent agreement amongst builders that only the great ones will survive and all others will be parted-out immediately and taken down from the internet upon discovery.  With out further rambling, lets begin with Jon Hall and his take on the beloved Savoia S-21..

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You don’t like that one?  how about this one by fan-favorite, Pate-keetongu.

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Still not convinced the Savoia is the right seaplane for you? The may I direct your attention to MOCpages and this version by the always entertaining Uspez Morbo.

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If you put a gun to my head, constant reader and I had to pick a favorite it would probably be this take on the Savoia S21 by Stephen Chao

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…but you really can’t go wrong with the previously referenced company-man, Mike Psiaki’s version either.

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Look, I can tell you’re a discerning consumer but surely we can make a deal?  How about this model by Castor Troy, perhaps it’s the version you’re looking for?

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Look, if you don’t like this one by Sydag, then brother, I just can’t help you.  Maybe you hate anthropomorphic pigs too?  They never wear pants and the always look hungry.

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Now let’s move on to the floatplanes that are less literal, but are directly inspired by the Savoia S21.  The group of planes are the work of enterprising French builders who took turns riffing on the design with fantastic results.  The first builder mailed his model to the next and so on down the line.  You can read more about their team-approach by following the link to this model, which began the chain, called “Seaplane Porco Rosso” by _Quentin_

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..which inspired the next link in the chain, Pistash, to build the simply titled “Red Plane” and then he sent it along to…

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…Iron Builder Jimmy Fortel, who came up with this amazing, racing-inspired take on the Savoia called “Forza 77” and mailed it to…

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Gregory Coquelz, whose “Rosso-92” was the last link in the chain.

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Whew…let’s take a break from the flying pig’s favorite ride and check out this little number by the penny loafer wearing yuppie, Nick Dean.  He likes people to call him “Nick Mean”, but mostly they call him “Nick the dick” because he can be really off-putting both online and in person.  Some find him charming though, so your mileage may vary.  I do find his little seaplane rather charming, the tail striping (again) looks great and I like his take on the pontoon issue too.  He calls it the “Tulipano”, because of course he does. The flower on the wing is probably appealing to most viewers, but the gear-shift base standing in for a nose cone has got to go.

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No investigation of seaplanes would be complete without some reference to sky-pirates and tri-planes.  Fortunately our friend curtydc has us covered with pilot Don Karnage and his magnificent flying machine, the CT-37 “Tri-Wing Terror”.  This build brings some much-needed levity to the mix and once you get past the fun of it, there is a nice little model to appreciate.  This death machine was also inspired by the Disney cartoon Tailspin, which only aired for a couple of years but seems to have made a lasting impression.

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Staying in the category of goofy, let’s check in with the ever popular Rod Gillies, who has two seats on the Omnibus.  The offering on the left is called the “Blue Cat Flying Boat“, and it involves some sort of steam-punkery that is best left unspoken here. It’s impressive but it leaves me wanting for wings.  On the right is the equally bonkers “Axiom Wavestormer“, which I have to admit, is a pretty cool name, perhaps the best of the bunch.  The color blocking is superb although the build runs a little too “chibi” for my tastes.  Both are quite popular, as is nearly everything Rod set’s his mind too.

We conclude our studies of the “lighter side” of floatplanes with KeithLUG sympathizer .Tromas, and his very playable looking “Bombardier CL-113 Mallard”.  Although it may look like it flew off the screen of your favorite cartoon, this is a Tripod original.  That’s right, the ladies call him Tripod, just ask him if you don’t believe me. At any rate, I’m sure his boys love zooming this one around with the old man. 

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This is the last of the builds by our Polish friend, Ciamosław Ciamek, and it’s a doozy. “Ushakov’s Flying Submarine” was apparently a Soviet R&D design that was tested but never actually produced.  This design is crazy in the best possible way, I want to see a movie with this plane as the main attraction.  Maybe in super-marionation?  In any case I hope Mr. Ciamek continues his exploration of the subject matter, all of his entries to date have been very entertaining.

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Lookout!  It’s another Catalina, this time in shiny dark gray by Petar Jurković, A.K.A. Jack Riveorpout.  He’s chosen just the right minifigs for the job and the plane itself is quite good too.  The working flaps are nice and so are the proportions.  It might not be the most flashy build on the Omnibus, but unlike some of the other builds, it looks very solid, like it wouldn’t break apart the first time you breathed on it.  I love it because it is a bit mundane, it would look great in numbers sitting on an airfield or floating.

 

 

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And finally, no Omnibus would be complete without a brief trip through LEGOland.  I’m about talked out on the topic but I will note the wear and tear on each model.  I’m not a big fan of either design, even if they were new bricks, the design looks old and bland.

Unfortunately the Omnibus has run out of gas, constant reader and the driver is nowhere to be found.  So unless one of you has a Class B driver’s license, our journey has come to an end.

17 thoughts on “Omnibus: The Floatplane Notebook

  1. So many! That was enjoyably thorough from realistic to fantastical and all scales in between. I think any seaplane strikes a “best of both worlds” chord with anyone. They’re just too damn cool.

    A lot here to search out and explore!

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  2. Keith, do these omnibus things happen when you get carried away with candidates for a Friday Night Fight? That was quite the journey. I’m left with a few disjointed thoughts:

    I agree about Ralph Savelsberg’s studdiness. I get that he knows what he’s doing, but I find it amazing that he uses newer pieces and still manages to make his stuff look like something out of an idea book from 30+ years ago. Maybe that’s part of his charm for some people, but I can’t help but think of him as a missing link between the AFOL world and Nathan Sawaya. And I find it scary that we might share a common ancestor.

    I’m actually a fan of the Savoia (not so much the movie it comes from) and was waiting for you to get to the many iterations of it as I was reading, some of which I had never seen before. My favorite is probably Sydag’s (it’s so clean!) but I dunno about some of those other riffs on the design. Seriously, what the hell is going on with the tail section of Pistash’s?

    Overall, I think you probably could’ve omitted half of these easily and we wouldn’t have missed anything notable.

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    1. You’re right Christopher, I could easily have omitted a dozen or more entries but one lead to the other and it got a little carried away. I certainly didn’t set out to use 50+ examples but I think my OCD kicked in a little bit and I was a little less selective than usual. Hopefully it wasn’t too tedious to get through. I have no plans to roll that deep with future Omnibus postings in future. 58 posts in, the blog may seem like it’s a finished product but I’m still trying to figure all of this out. I do very much appreciate your feedback.

      As for Ralph…yeah, ultimately I’m not a fan of his stuff because all those studs look silly and juvenile. It can be infuriating to hear him rant against studlessness and claim that more studs makes a model look better when as you say, it makes his own stuff look old and out of date, even with modern parts. It’s a shame because his models would look amazing if he would just let go of his slavish devotion to studs. I think he’s got a big blind spot about his own work, or maybe he’s one of those guys who thinks it has to have studs to remind everyone it’s a kids toy. Either way, I have the same reaction whenever he pimps his stuff on TBB.

      As far as Pistash’s riff on the Savoia, I included it more out of interest in the French version of the telephone game using Savoias, it would not have made the list otherwise.

      Thanks again for the comment, it’s always great to get feedback.

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  3. Great scott but that’s a whole lot of float plane!

    I’ll throw in my 2 cents on the number of pics. To many. I mean, I’m down with treating a topic with some depth, but some of these planes just flat out suck. The two models from Lego Land? Meh…

    On the other hand, before looking at this post, if you had mentioned float planes I would have thought it a pretty narrow field for an omnibus style post. But your treatment of the subject here, soundly dispels that notion! I had no idea the field had been so agressivly built in. And some of them are simply magnificent!

    Ciameks “Tradelands Seaduck Floatplane“ might be my favorite, but even that is a stretch in that picking a single favorite seems silly in the face of so much excellent building.

    Say what you will about Savelsburg. But you can’t doubt that it is a deliberate decision on his part. Not simply a limit of skill. I mean, he likes studs, and he owns it. I agree, it’s an unfortunate affliction… because his eye for proportion and structure is obviously very strong. He picks cool planes, and builds them with a stylistic consistency that lets his identity shine through without making his models all look alike. That alone is praise worthy… but there is a bottom line that I cant get away from. It’s this: Do the models look better for having studs? In most cases the answer is simply: No. No they do not.

    I guess he is just the stud advocate. Like those Lego Land models. Studs up and your not the boss of me! Ok. Freedom baby. Your planes look rough, but your free! Go forth and build!

    Excellent take on a surprisingly broad topic. An education. Good on you Keith, but 30 would have done you just as well.

    Attack!

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    1. I included a photo of the Legoland planes because I’m always ready to stick it to Merlin for their lack of park maintenance. For the prices they charge, they deserve the heat.

      If I had to do it again, I would definitely be more selective about the total number of Omnibus entries but writing one of these posts is more organic than plotted out. One build leads to the next and so on, and I think there is a place here for less than perfect builds. They can still illustrate a trend, or in the case of the four Frenchmen, it can illustrate a larger building experiment.

      I’m sure it’s a deliberate decision on the part of Savelsburg, an he does indeed own it. I was very careful to heap praise on his technical skill, I just think those giant studs look horrible, especially on wings. I know, they could be rivets, but they would be huge, nasty, battleship sized rivets. I probably wouldn’t poke at him so much if I didn’t hear him sound off so often about how wrong the studless esthetic is. I celebrate his right to choose the wrong side of that coin, and if there was anyone who can be classified as not giving a fuck, it’s Ralph.

      Less floatplanes next time, got it!

      Artax!

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  4. A great presentation of a wide variety of both, real and fictional, genuine and rendered, LEGO-seaplanes!
    As you know I`m dedicated to scale modelling, but I also appreciate a lot of those fictional models, particular Awesome O’saurus cool biplane, and the CT-37 “Tri-Wing Terror”.
    Regarding studded vs. studless design: I never go for a completely studless model, I always try to use studs as a tool to soften transitions on the surfaces. Often completely studless models end up with a dead or flat looking expression.
    Thank you for the blogging and the kind words!

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    1. Thanks Henrik, I appreciate the feedback! I’m not advocating for stulessness in general, I think studs have there place in design, where they make sense or allow for an angle that would look clumsy with tiles or snotted brick. I just think that more often than not, studs (with their raised logos) do not add value to a design.

      I hope to hear more from you around here, new voices are always welcome in the comments section and as a contributor if you ever feel the urge to write an essay.

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  5. Your dedication towards collecting all known instances of seaplanes is astounding. I’ve never really taken a crack at it myself because 1. It’s been done by other people, and as you demonstrate, in a far better way and 2. I haven’t found a compelling aircraft to attempt. That said, Henrik’s CH-300 and the Russian guy are my favorites on the list. It’s hard for me to get excited about digital models and as an engineer, some of the more outlandish designs (Dieselpunk, Chibi) would have a very hard time getting off the water or would be troublesome to maintain (S-21). I appreciate the outreach and thoroughness all the same.

    My position on studs is very close to Henrik’s: a few should always show. Studless creations always make compromises to dimensions and shape, and it breaks the illusion of what is Lego and what is not. It should be somewhat obvious that what you made can also be used to make a (grey) Ninja-went dragon or a volcano exploration vehicle or whatever. Studless creations confound the general public and make them complain about specialized pieces. They also add a nice bit of texture and suggest very large rivets or what have you.

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    1. Cheers Juan! I’m glad you enjoyed the Omnibus, I was surprised how many versions are out there. I know it seems like I included everyone with a pulse but believe me there are more than twice as many out there that didn’t make the cut. I’ve slowly come around on digital models, and although I tend to consider them as entirely separate exercises, I do appreciate some of the designs that emerge, to call them fresh is an understatement. Also, when in doubt I like to trend towards inclusion so they make the cut. Oh, and I don’t like the chibi stuff either but I think we’re in the minority there.

      My own view is also pretty close to Henrik’s, I don’t advocate for the total elimination of studs, I think they should be a detail-option but when you have too many it just overruns the model for me. It needlessly downgrades it back to a toy when most of the time we try and elevate our builds to something more. Studs have their place, but when you’re talking about an aircraft you’re talking about something streamlined and smooth by definition. Studded up wings suck, I won’t back down from that one.

      Thanks again for the comment, I’m glad you’ve stuck around!

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  6. No doubt there are some builders out there who are zealously anti-stud, although I think that mentality was way more rampant 5 or so years ago. These are extreme cases who don’t realize that an extra plate of thickness often sticks out more or creates a more abrupt transition than a few studs would. You might say they’re the opposite extreme of Mr. Savelsberg.

    But I reject the idea that all builds should show some studs or that studless builds are bad PR for the hobby. Maybe studlessness in itself shouldn’t be the goal, but sometimes the result just happens to be so. If the model looks better studless, then I see no reason not to keep it that way. Public perception of the hobby will never change if you cater to their misconceptions.

    Many of them only understand the more limited palette they grew up with, so they have little context for what they’re seeing; they can’t see individual pieces the same way we can and assume anything they can’t parse is prefab. I took the time to explain the hobby to a new friend last night and his initial impression was that a large color-blocked section of one of my builds was all one piece. But he understood the second I started taking it apart to show him and he appreciated how much effort must have gone into creating the shape. As much as it makes most of us groan, the dreaded “how many parts” question does actually seem to help people understand a bit better, even if it is a shallow rubric.

    I think we could all make more of an effort to show people outside our little circle what we really do. If someone displays a misconception about your work or the hobby in general, kindly prove them wrong; you most definitely know way better than they do. More generally, I think a well-written article or two on some of those big “nerd culture” sites would go a long way towards changing public perception as well.

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    1. Chris,

      Yea yea… good points, outward and communicative focus… building bridges of understanding… every builder is an ambassador… yada yada yada… all good stuff. But lets take another look at where the power of this comment REALLY RESIDES: Vocabulary!

      First you hit us with “Parse” I got no time for pride, I’ll admit it… I had to look it up! High five on that one sir!

      Then you paint a tiny super detailed picture with this gilded clause: “a shallow rubric” I wept.

      Are you trying to knock Gill “The Poultice Guy” off the top of the obscure vocabulary throne? Is that your deal Chris?

      I’m thinking we might have to shift the focus for FNF this week.

      RowntRee, I hate to say it, but you and I are strictly bush league. I mean… you were on point with knowing that obscure “articulated mannequin” deal over in the Gundam post. And I have been waiting for weeks to drop “penumbra” on this blog… but I don’t think we can hold the line against these cats. Their Kung Fu is to strong!

      That said Chris, I do think that the your comment is intrinsically outward in its focus. You remind us of the importance of our own ability to explain and educate others about our hobby. I’m down with that whole direction of thought. As for “a well-written article or two on some of those big nerd culture sites… I’m no media analyst, and I am no “micro-brand snob” either… but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

      Oh, and yea… I agree. The Studs vs No Studs argument is a classic artificial dichotomy. Why on Earth would we choose one school over the other when the truth, what “looks best” is in a constant state of negotiation, one MOC at a time? Is this negotiation not part of the Art that we invoke so often? Put the studs where they look best, and avoid them where they distract. Some questions are best resolved on a case by case basis!

      Attack!

      Like

    2. Interesting. Regarding the “how many parts” question each of us gets, I think that it is asked less out of actual curiosity and more in line with small talk or friendly introduction purpose. We all have the ability to look at a model and estimate the piece count but we in the hobby care VERY little about it. The non-LEGO community that are actually interested in the shallow rubric (love that) seem to equate it as a standard to judge one moc with the other as if the value is in the sum of its parts. I think we all understand that the question is utterly pointless and is why we all tend to roll our eyes and growl a bit every time we hear it. Besides, every time that I’ve been involved with something massive that gets the question asked a lot, it tends to go completely over their heads when I tell them. “How many Legos are in this display of Homer’s Odyssey?” “We estimate that it is just under one million.” “Oh, that’s a lot of Legos.” “Um, yes, I suppose it is. By the way, may I compliment you on your glossy eyes and their vacant stare?”

      Regarding the Studs vs. Studless, I think most of us strive for studless and compromise a bit when there is a stud showing, it’s LEGO. I think Ralph represents a very small percentage that celebrate a stud filled build. It’s not a bad thing or a good thing. I think it’s just a slightly different style of the same palette like Pointillism, Cubist, or Modernistic. But I think all of us tend to scratch at our brain a bit more when we see a “sleek” aircraft with studs all over it.

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    3. At first blush I agreed with you that the whole argument about studs is old and largely over, but here we are talking about it, instead of floatplanes or horrible anthropomorphic pigs. I do agree that eradicating the stud from your build should not be a goal, but neither should it be to include studs for no reason.

      I’m not sure changing public perception about the hobby is a fight I’m ready to engage in. In fact, I think we put too much emphasis on the public in general, we give up too much convention time to cater to them. I’d rather pay a little more money for registration and have a little less time with the unwashed masses. You’re right, the dreaded “how many parts/how long did it take/where do youget all the parts” can get really old but they are perfectly reasonable questions. Ive seen enough mouth breathers looking at models and trying to grasp what they are seeing because they can’t imagine Lego being used in that way, by adults. So I applaud you for spreading the gospel of the brick, but I take the opposite approach, if somebody is really interested in what I’m doing, I’m very easy to get a hold of. The public will never get to the point of fully endorsing us, there is always the barrier of adult (men in most cases) playing with a kids toy and there will always be a stigma there.

      Good conversation though, I agree that the bigger “nerd culture” blogs should take a stab at the conversation, but they are too busy pimping steampunk books and their regional conventions.

      Like

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