It would be safe to suggest that this is the “Season of LEGO” as children of all ages around the world are likely excited about the latest playsets they could expect to find under the tree. This year marks the 90th anniversary of the Danish toy company’s founding, which has made its plastic brick-building toys since 1946.
Over the years, Lego has produced countless official playsets that have included knights in castles, pirate ships, and seemingly every Star Wars vehicle imaginable, enabling countless adventures on the living room floor.
Yet, LEGO has never actually produced any modern military vehicles. That likely may seem confusing, as there are plenty of LEGO-like tanks, airplanes, and even warships on the market – but those aren’t “official” LEGO products.
“We have a long-standing policy of not creating sets which feature real military vehicles that are currently in use,” Ryan Greenwood, LEGO company spokesman, told CNN in 2020.
In fact, the closest that LEGO has actually come to a modern military vehicle was a V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor helicopter, the aircraft designed and produced by Boeing and Bell Helicopter Textron and introduced. The set was announced in July 2020, but due to protests, it was pulled from the market even before its official release – and no doubt has become one of the most sought-after sets on the market.
The only other sets of “military vehicles” were a number of aircraft from the Indiana Jones line, but those hardly had the details that aviation buffs would expect.
The modern tanks and aircraft sets that are available are actually made by a number of other companies, notably Brickmania Toyworks, which was founded by former LEGO designer and “master builder” Dan Siskind. He was among the Lego builders that couldn’t understand why a Death Star set or pirates with guns and cannons was acceptable, while a World War II Sherman tank or British Spitfire was a problem.
Since branching out in 1999, his company has produced a range of World War II and modern vehicles that have included an F-16 Fighting Falcon and a Russian T-80BVM main battle tank (MBT). Now recognized as the world leader in custom LEGO toys, Brickmania Toyworks has also produced officially licensed kits of the F-22 Raptor and MH-60L Black Hawk among other aircraft in the U.S. military arsenal.
Toys Helping Ukraine
Earlier this year, Brickmania launched a line of modern figures and playsets that include a T-64V Ukrainian MBT, the “Ghost of Kyiv” MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter jet, and even a mini-fig of the “Frontline President” – the latter meant to depict Volodymyr Zelensky in uniform with a helmet.
These toys aren’t trying to profit from the war, however. Rather the proceeds from the sale of the custom building kits are going to support Ukrainian aid efforts, including United 24, Wingmen for Ukraine, the International Rescue Committee, Direct Relief, and the Ukrainian Red Cross.
To date, Brickmania Toyworks has raised nearly $230,000 for Ukraine – while producing some toys that grown-up kids would love to be building this holiday season.
A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.
December 19, 2022 at 3:05 am
Finally!! At least someone has found a way to keep Putin awake at night. When the Pentagon allocated billions to Ukraine and delivered several wagons of weapons, Putin’s heart of stone did not even flinch. And only Lego tanks and Lego Planes brought the Hated Dictator of the Known Universe to tears and interrupted his afternoon nap. Now the Dark Lord wipes his tears and blows his nose into the curtains. To finally finish him off in his Villainous Lair, it is necessary to release a set of Barbie-a Nazi in the form of a Ukrainian with SS stripes on his sleeve and Ken with Adolf’s mustache. Victory is near!!