My friend Vince is a Mega Bloks customizer who is very detail oriented and loves things to scale. So he took on the task of making a UNSC Mammoth that was closer in proportion to the in-game model, rather than the stock Mega Bloks model. Below are his results. The text included below is his. My thoughts will be included in BLUE text as normal.
Vince starts off by giving us some tech specs of his model:
4x Mammoth Signature sets + other asst. bloks + 4 months effort = 1 realistic looking REALLY BIG Mammoth.
HFFL: Folks this already is a costly model. Even if Vince got a couple of the Mammoths on sale, I’d venture to guess this cost him around $500 to complete.
This is my first really large blok build. While I admired the MB Forward Unto Dawn set, it just didn’t lend itself to realistic mini-fig play due to the ridiculous discrepancy between it’s external scale size and the mini-fig friendly interior. We bought a F.U.D. on sale but after stripping the exclusive figs out, I eventually sold it on unbuilt. I remember thinking at the time that the Scarab and the Mammoth held the most promise of all the potential candidates for realistic mini-fig scaled Signature builds. So when I heard about the upcoming MB Signature Mammoth I was like, “Yeah!” But then I saw the first publicized pics of the MB Mammoth set and following that, the first user reviews came in… Well I was like, “Bummer!” The model was simply too small to capture the Mammoth’s elephantine grandeur. The MB Mammoth model wasn’t significantly larger than the (absolutely perfect) v1 Elephant model. I was really hoping for something epic (like the prototype MB Scarab Signature set just revealed at the NY Toy Fair)! Well if MB wasn’t gonna step up and deliver an epic sized Mammoth model, then I would take up the challenge.
Hmmm… Methinks we have a wee bit of a size discrepancy here…
HFFL: Ya think? LOL
My goals for this build were:
- Scale up from the stock build until the model had sufficient headroom at front and rear for Warthogs to drive up the loading ramp at one end, through the interior, and down the ramp at the opposite end.
- Simultaneously accommodate several Warthogs inside.
- Retain the stock model’s easily removable upper deck sections to permit play access to the vehicle’s interior spaces.
- Add additional game-accurate interior & exterior walkways, stairs and ramps, doorways between the interior and the exterior, and mechanical details.
- Source and adapt some much larger balloon tire wheels to scale properly to the vehicle’s much increased size and weight.
- Really improve the vehicle’s “playability” by creating tons of realistic details for the figures onboard to interact with.
HFFL: Great goals to shoot for! The Mega Bloks build already takes a long time. Vince’s time spent on this blew that time out of the water.
This one is just for you HFFL!
HFFL: Why thanks Vince!
The build began with two Mammoth sets along with our pre-existing fairly extensive inventory of spare bricks in both desert camo and black colors. I began by loosely following the original design. Once I had the hull tub scaled up to a reasonable size and then got to work on the similarly upscaled superstructure, I began to run low on the large desert camo plates used for decking and both the standard and inverse slopes used pretty much everywhere else. I got pretty creative trying to make do with just the two Mammoth sets and our spares inventory but I wasn’t happy with some of the compromises that this was necessitating. If I had been willing to reduce the model’s size by a few inches in length and a few studs in width and I wasn’t such a detail freak I could have got away with just the two sets. But I’m clearly a bit obsessed when it comes to our blok creations so it was off to Ebay for a 3rd set (at a considerably higher price than what I paid for the first pair at a pre-Xmas TRU sale event). After a couple weeks of re-working different parts of the model I thought I had the Mammoth largely complete. While I had followed the original MB designer’s lead insofar as the clever hinged side cheeks on either side of the cockpit, the modular sectioned build, and easily removable superstructure- there was next-to-nothing left of the original build. Once you had the freedom of a larger more game accurate build, the model really evolved into something cool.
Obtaining, adapting, and mounting the much larger replacement wheels and tires was to be the last thing I dealt with. However I had researched replacement wheel ideas prior to even purchasing our first Mammoth donor sets. I had decided that the balloon tires and matching rims used on 1:10 scale RC Monster trucks were good candidates. I figured a large paddle tire in the 5″ to 5 1/2″ diameter range would provide a perfect substitute and confirmed this with a local RC specialist hobby shop owner before hand.
HFFL: Getting the wheel size right is one thing that stopped me from attempting a project of this scale. (Not to mention, not having the money for it…) Vince found a great work-around.
So even though I didn’t have the wheels on hand during the majority of the build, I knew approximately how large they would be and thus could build to accommodate them. When I finally did acquire a set of suitable wheels and axle stub parts, they proved to be straight forward to adapt to the model. I made use of a bunch of stock old MB 1×2 modified bricks that had larger holes in them than the current standard versions. The RC axle stubs fit snugly through pairs of the 1×2 bricks. I ended up grinding a few millimeters off the bell shaped end of the axle stubs for a better fit and simpler build of the axle supports. I think the big wheels are pretty much perfect.
Of course while waiting on the last pair of tires (the RC Hobby shop only had four on hand initially), I had a lot of time to obsessively compare the model thus far to the in-game render from all angles. Well the result of this was a huge tear-down and rebuild to further widen the exterior and permit the addition of game accurate exterior stairways up front. There was 6-8 hours spent in total just repeatedly reworking the grill and headlamps, another few days in total optimizing the tail end, etc, etc… Long after the final pair of tires arrived I was still futzing about custom fabricating and painting additional parts and going through endless revisions to perfect areas of the build I wasn’t quite satisfied with. I decided to patiently wait to reveal the model until either the revision compulsion petered out or I was truly satisfied with the build. Somewhere in that process I purchased a 4th Mammoth to acquire 75-100 set-specific parts I’d decided the model couldn’t live with out making this project by far the most expensive custom build I’ve tackled.
HFFL: Wow, buying another model just for 75 pieces? Folks, THAT is dedication to your craft!
HFFL: Now THAT’S what I’m talking about! A ramp large enough, with height to spare to fit a mini figure sized warthog coming down it!
The red arrow points out the pilothouse “dashboard” and steering wheel through the windscreen.
HFFL: Okay, now THAT is a cool addition that the Mega Bloks model does not have.
HFFL: Man, that MAC cannon looks like it’s got some POWER!
HFFL: I’m just loving’ all those “greeblie” all over Vince’s model!
HFFL: The side hatch is well done. I’m also happy to see that Vince didn’t miss the additional wheel well angles. That’s something I think Mega could have included.HFFL: Just look at that rear! LOL
As the pics suggest, our Mammoth possesses that genuine sense of gravitas missing in the stock Mammoth. So yes, it is substantially larger than the stock build- LOL! The finished model used about 5000 bloks. The model weighs about 16 pounds with the Warthog bay empty.
HFFL: 5K worth of bloks! The Mega Model is considerably less, by thousands.
While increasing the size and level of detail over the stock model, I followed MB’s lead where possible and kept the dead air spaces beneath subassembly structures hollow to keep the weight under control. Considering just how much air volume the model encloses and the minimal attachment of nearly the entire superstructure, it is remarkably solid and stable. It was built with 99.8% stock Mega Bloks but eagle-eyed folks will note a few spots where I either custom fabricated and/or custom painted a part or where a specialty block from a competing brand simply worked better than anything from the MB catalog. The vehicle bay comfortably accommodates three H4 Warthogs (one on the overhead hoist in game accurate fashion) and three Mongooses. And that is after I fully detailed the interior of the vehicle bay adding staircases, weapon storage racks, elevated platforms, and workstations for the crew. I actually considered lengthening the model to the 36+ inches required to accommodate four ‘Hogs but the requisite increases in width and height as well would have increased the blok count to a point where it was clear that the pneumatic RC monster truck tires could not have supported it.
The red arrows highlight the sliding doors.
HFFL: Vince’s Mammoth bridge is just so much better detailed. That extra space made by enlarging the model really pays off here! Sliding doors? AWESOME!
The catwalks and vehicle bay.HFFL: Now I noticed right away that Vince’s ramps to the catwalks were pointed in the wrong direction. However, he explains that later in the article.‘Hog stored suspended above the vehicle bay floor in game-accurate fashion with sufficient headroom for another ‘Hog to pass beneath unimpeded.
Covered exterior walkways.
Despite being approximately half the size that a properly HMB mini-fig scaled Mammoth should be, the exterior of my model stands up really nicely to close-up comparisons between in-game renders of the Mammoth.
HFFL: What? It’s only HALF the size it should be? DAY ‘UM!
However the interior was trickier due to the reduced scale. The interior 2nd floor is largely absent, replaced with a split level arrangement of catwalks, ramps and stairs (the latter of which unfortunately had to face in the wrong direction). As a 5′ long model wasn’t in the cards, this will simply have to do- LOL! On the positive side, there is now game-accurate mini-fig scaled access between the interior and external walkways and both the top floor “wheel house” and the main deck command & control center are much better represented than in the stock model. Besides the expense, this was by far the most effort I’ve spent on a blok model. I began the build three and a half months ago and have worked on some part of it pretty much nonstop since.
So I hope you all enjoyed. Normally I invite constructive criticism at this point in my build threads. However with so much of my blood, sweat, and treasure invested in this puppy I might up and hang myself if someone was to find something seriously amiss with this build- LOL! So best to stick to compliments then… As always, I’d love to see others attempt a properly sized Mammoth so clone away.
HFFL: This is just an awesome model. Man, if I had the money, I’d SO make a proper scale one. Given Vince’s specs, that would put it at 64 inches long (5’4″) and 27 inches tall…WOW!
I took it upon myself to create a comparison shot between Vince’s model and the Mega Bloks stock model. I took the side on view pic from and super-imposed it, to scale with Vince’s. It’s partially transparent with a blue outline so you can see it better, but still see where things line up with Vince’s creation.
Vince’s claim of using 4 Mammoths to make his behemoth is quite believable. Let’s not forget that his model is also several inches wider too (not shown).
Just amazing! So what do you folks think about Vince’s model?