"This is Pequod! Arriving shortly at LZ!"
- Diamond Dogs Pilot
Hideo Kojima's final Metal Gear game, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is drastically different from previous entries of the series. Released in 2015 to critical acclaim, the game is characterised by an - for the franchise - unusual emphasis on freedom in gameplay. While most other Metal Gear games were story-driven and fairly linear, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain gives the player the necessary space and tools to approach any combat scenario in almost any way they want. It is this freedom that makes Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain such a masterful game and nothing represents it better than your own mobile command centre, callsign "Pequod".
"Pequod" is a customisable UTH-66 Blackfoot helicopter used by Big Boss' and the player's private military, the "Diamond Dogs". Not only does he transport you to and from missions, he can also be requested to give air support. Additionally, he serves as a home away from home. Inside you can change your equipment and pick the next mission. Over time, the walls become covered in pictures of you and your comrades. It is details like this, which make the player grow attached to this otherwise unremarkable helicopter.
Even though the specific helicopter is fictional, it is heavily inspired by real world military helicopters. Still, there are some notable differences: The racks on either side of the exhausts allow the player to equip "Pequod" with different weapons. The beam at the front, which is often mistaken for a refuel nozzle, is actually a "Fulton recovery device". In the game, the player can salvage almost anything he finds on the battlefield and send it flying via a tiny balloon, called "Fulton". "Pequod" will then pick it out of the air with said front beam and transport it back to the base.
Since the helicopter is mainly coloured dark bluish grey (Colour-ID 85) and its overall shape is not very complicated, I paid specific attention to getting all these little details right. Therefore, the unique front and the shape of the tail-rotor are very close to their in-game counterparts. The model also has an open sliding door, which offers some insight into the interior. The "Diamond Dogs" logo at the tail as well as next to the cockpit make the recreation unmistakable.
Returning to Mother Base
Arabian Sea, 20th Parallel North, 1.900 miles from Mother Base
As I noted already with regard to the LEGO® recreation of the AV-22 Sparrowhawk, models of flying vehicles are often hard to photograph and leave a far better impression, when they are embedded into a proper scene. For "Pequod", I decided to recreate a pivotal moment from the game: Big Boss is on his way back to Mother Base with the assassin "Quiet", who he captured in a previous mission, when they are attacked by an enemy jet. In the cabin of the helicopter, Quiet frees herself and precedes to shoot down the pursuer saving both Pequod and Big Boss. It is in that moment that Big Boss starts trusting Quiet and this constitutes the first step towards her becoming part of the team.
To recreate this scene properly, minifigures for both characters were necessary. The figures for Big Boss and Quiet were custom designed and printed by Leyilebrick. The rest of the scene was photo-edited. I tried to keep the colour of the sea and the lighting conditions close to the scene in-game, while simultaneously making the picture appealing as a stand-alone piece of art.