Ozymandias . Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair! .
Length: ~123 studs, ~38.5 inches, ~97 cm
The inner Technic frame is 102 studs long, and has studs facing up, down, and to either side. Essentially this creates a long thin box with four faces to put an outer skin on.
Construction commenced in the summer of 2009. Once I had my sturdy frame, this ribbed section was where it really all began. I wasn't sure whether to orient it so this section was wide and flat (as it ended up), or tall and thin. Spaceships don't need a "top" and "bottom" if there's no gravity, but you have to display it somehow.
It sat for a long time untouched, then I started on the main bridge and center section. This pattern would continue over the course of the build. A week or two of work on a particular section, then weeks or months of no building, just staring and thinking, then work on the next section, then let it sit for months...
Early on there was a hangar deck in the space underneath the four tanks. But the more I thought about it, the less I liked it there. There are tanks below as well, and it seemed that between and inside would be extensions of those tanks, pipes, refinery equipment, who knows what kind of machinery. No room for a bunch of shuttlecraft to be docked or launched.
Building a SHIP with a lot of little nooks and crannies on top over the course of a year and a half is an excellent way to collect dust. And if you're building a big dust collector, you might as well build it in black so that every little speck of dust and bit of lint and ABS-seeking cat hair is painfully visible.
The underside is as detailed as the top. In fact I think the bottom looks better. Maybe it isn't really the bottom, maybe I'm displaying the damn thing upside down. It doesn't matter -- it's in space, there is no up.
With the frame pointing studs out in four directions, I had a wild idea at the outset to make each surface different. Something that Other Shannon could pull off, but not me. I'm not obsessive-compulsive in any meaningful real-life way, but I have problems building spaceships that lack bilateral symmetry.
My favorite part of the SHIP, buried on the underside. I really like the texture of the minifig legs used this way.
The underside bridge. My original plan was to have a lot of superstructure down here, something that extended down a good long way. It ended up being much more sparse.
Next came the tail section. I had a basic engine design I liked, and it was just a matter of getting the right skin over the frame to go with it.
In taking a year and a half to build a SHIP, there is no excuse for having any section look like less than your best effort. I thought the thinness of the hoses going into the engines looked okay when I built it, but it kind of bothers me now. I do this all the time, looking back I'm rarely satisfied with anything I did. I had to restrain myself from constantly reworking previously built sections, otherwise this never would have been completed.
I like this back panel with the technic pieces. Over the course of the build it was a constant search for new and different black parts to make a variety of details and textures.
On the top and bottom are red highlights and minimal gray conduits. On the sides, mostly gray grills and these. There were always gaps in the design here for greebling of some sort, but I'm no good at greebles.
Looking up at it from a slightly low angle, we call this our hero shot.
The nose was the last thing tackled. More greeble space I had no idea how to fill, so just decided to echo what was already there elsewhere on the SHIP.
Red highlights and trans-red for windows. Maybe I should have gone with trans-yellow or clear?
I had a lot of different ideas for how to finish the front, none of which remotely resemble what actually got built.
We'll call this the hangar deck. Or the wave motion gun, I don't care. Just like all the hollow studs on the ship are either thrusters or torpedo tubes. Yes, space torpedoes. Haven't you ever seen Star Blazers?
Underside of the front, showing the different techniques used to extend the red highlights all the way to the nose.
The final detail shot. In starting out to build this, I thought microscale would make it easier. Now I'm not so sure. At this scale almost every square inch needs to be detailed or textured in some way, or it would look empty. At minifig scale larger blank sections would not look so bad. I looked a lot at Mark Kelso's build journals, as it seemed his large SHIPs were about the same scale -- two or three times the size, but the same scale. I found this detailing work tough on a three foot SHIP, so I can't imagine doing it on a six or eight foot one.
And so, in spring of 2011, all that's left is to build the stand. And wonder how in the world I was supposed to photograph the damn thing. This may be the first time a Lego spaceship has been presented against the wall of an old barn for a backdrop. Short of spending a ton of money I don't have on a nice photo studio setup, this is my best option.
It may not be eight feet long, but at least I can swoosh it!
And if you're interested, a video tour featuring the barely coherent mumbling of a Lego geek trying to relate all the relevant information off the top of his head. The presentation can only be described as white-trash-eriffic, but I think you do get a little better idea of the scale as opposed to the still shots. Warning: my writing is much more eloquent than my speech. Or, if I was to say it aloud, me write more good than talk. You'll probably have to turn the sound way up; apparently I'm too soft-spoken for my poor old camera's little microphone.
Details of the frame alone:
The core, this is where the frame rails will connect.
Add four 1x8 technic bricks...
Then your 16, 14, 12, or however long frame rails.
There are four joints to be secured, so multiply this by four...
And lock everything in place with some plates on top. You can use more 2x4 plates to secure the joint from underneath as well, but I found it wasn't really necessary.
The major drawback is that when the frame is skinned over, the side panels will not be flush with the top or bottom. The variance here is probably about a quarter plate.