Big Green Machine

NuthinButTheRain got a bunch of olive green parts and built a spaceship!

USS Maverick

The USS Maverick is a Hornet Class Frigate and fits nicely in a school of starship design informed heavily by the Sulaco from Aliens. The olive green colour leaves us in no doubt that it’s a military vehicle, just in case we didn’t notice the two massive guns on swivel mounts on each side…

USS Maverick

I love the styling of this, which borrows liberally from contermorary warships and submarines in the design of the bridge and e.g. the “missile tubes” on the deck; and gives a very believable and relateable feel. But what makes this model especially interesting is that it’s part of a much more ambitious project: an entire FLEET of themed warships of different scales and roles; some also built by Red Spacecat

Size comparison

In fact NuthinButTheRain‘s plans seem to stretch to a MASSIVE variant, a SHIP of over 144 studs length which will dwarf the Maveric. He’s designing all this in stud.io, the new building software from the Bricklink folks; and has already laid down a sturdy frame of technic which does, literally, dwarf the Maveric.

Upright is Alright

Nick Trotta has built a new LEGO spaceship. It’s called Volkite and, breaking the tradition of all Nick’s previous work it’s vertically oriented. Remember how I said I was a huge fan of Nick’s work? And how I love unconventional designs e.g. the B-Wing? Well this is pretty much gravy for me…

Right now there’s just a build walkthrough video; but I’ll post some pictures when he uploads them. Funny thing is I was just thinking recently how he needed to bring his flawless style to more unorthodox designs…

EDIT: the photos hit…

Volkite

Volkite: Details

Volkite: Side Perspective

M-exogon

The fine folks over at New Elementary are running a Parts Festival around the “Nexogon”; the 6 sided shield piece that comes with the new Nexo Knights Battle Suits. Whilst this is really interesting, neither the Nexo Knights, their Battle Suits or the Nexogon are a spaceship. Fortunately, Neil Crosby has built one from them. Phew.

M:TRON Nexoship

It’s a really neat bubble-like affair, kitted out in M-Tron colours with a retro minifig to boot. What’s really interesting from a building perspective is that Neil has shared the “tablescrap” that led to this model; the arrangement of pieces around the Nexogon which led to this design. It’s interesting you can’t even SEE the Nexogon any more, but it lends its unique properties to the formation of the shape.

The original tablescrap that led to the Nexoship

Only when opened up do we see the the Nexogon nestling inside; along with the massive speakers the M-Tron dude uses to pound phat baselines as he zips through space.

M:Tron Nexoship (Look - a nexogon!)

Discover the Future

Star Trek Discovery hasn’t even aired on TV yet, but that hasn’t stopped me making a LEGO model of the titular USS Discovery.

USS Discovery

Back in the late 70’s, Paramount developed several projects intended to bring Star Trek back to the screen. One of these was titled Planet of the Titans and went as far as production designs, including a revolutionary design for the Enterprise, by Ralph McQuarrie.

Whilst Planet of the Titans never came to be and Star Trek’s future eventually morphed into The Motion Picture with a much more conventionally re-designed Enterprise; I’ve always loved this design for the boldness of its re-imagining of such a classic design. I tried to build it in LEGO a while back, but it didn’t work very well; so imagine my surprise when the Discovery Teaser Trailer revealed they were leaning heavily on McQuarrie’s concept.

USS Discovery

The design has divided Star Trek fans; but I love it for so bravely defining a bold new direction. I was also really pleased with my LEGO model, where I was able to reproduce the striking angles of the secondary hull whilst keeping the model smooth. It’s a bit bland and featureless being light grey with only a few little details in colours to break it up. Perhaps when the TV series airs and the design finalised I’ll update the model. Meantime if anyone cared to build their own you can download the LDD file here.

Let’s Make Some Noise

Like all self respecting nerds I went to see Star Trek Beyond last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. Being also a LEGO nerd, I rushed home and designed a model of the USS Franklin in LDD (whilst listening to the Beastie Boys, as I recall). I was really busy at the time, so unable to actually order the parts to build the model I just posted a WIP screenshot from LDD on Flickr.

Let's make some noise

Some short time later I logged into Flickr and literally fell of my chair in amazement when I saw this…

USS Franklin

Flickr user NuthinButTheRain had seen my WIP, reverse engineered it and built his own version – before I had even finished it! He later completed the model as shown below.

USS Franklin

He’s built in dark grey rather than light grey and made some minor changes to the structure, but it was still really amazing to see a model I had designed being built by another LEGO fan. Meanwhile I continued to refine my design, aided largely by the revealing of new reference materials (principally this) and finally ordered some parts, built  it and only last night got around to taking some decent photos.

USS Franklin

USS Franklin

If anyone else out there fancies building their own you can download the LDD file here. Parts in green are entirely hidden and can therefore be any colour you like, and the two little 1×1 plate assemblies are (illegally) popped into the back of the 1x3x2 arches to make the impulse engines.

And Now For Something Completely Different

This SHIP by Cecilie Fritzvold isn’t like anything I’ve seen before.

Zea'x Dauphyz

A peaceful vessel of exploration, the Zea’x Dauphyz is faintly reminiscent of a blue whale, in the way it gracefully seems to hang in space. There the comparison stops however, because this spaceship uses some really mind-bending construction techniques to make elaborate curved surfaces speckled with trans-green; and trails various tentacles in its wake, also punctuated by trans-green.

Zea'x Dauphyz

It’s wonderfully alien, and a really unusual change in the pace of the annual SHIPtember contest. I’ve also created a new tag for this post, Fragile as Hell, as I reckon this thing falls to bits if you so much as LOOK at it.

Play Space

What do I like about this little Cargo Spaceship by spaceruner? One word: playability.

Square Y - transport ship

This is a really sweet little build that would have been enormous fun to play with when I was 8 years old. It’s got this really cute square shape, marked out in a striking colour scheme with yellow edges and a fun trans orange bubble window on top – so it just looks FUN to swoosh around.

Square Y - transport ship

But when we swoosh in to land we get to open up the front, disgorge the little buggy and scoot the little cargo pods back and forth, loading the ship to blast off on another delivery. This kind of detail might seem like it’s just a neat extra to an adult, but anyone with small children will know this is seriously engaging entertainment. Kids don’t necessarily need added conflict and stud shooters to enjoy playing with spaceships – just loading and unloading this thing is going to be hours of fun.

Square - Y

The builder has also photoshopped a picture to be a neat recreation of a Classic-Space-style box art. It’s got me thinking that a set like this would kind of bridge the gap between Space and City. The play functionality is EXACTLY what City sets do all the time; but which there’s no room for in the LEGO Star Wars theme. Makes me think I’d like to build more examples of Space/City sets – Space Fire Engine, Space Police, Space Pizza Van…

Square Y - transport ship

The cockpit’s got some lovely old-school detailing (hello incongruous steering wheel!) and it looks like if a customer doesn’t pay their shipping fees the massive gatlin gun can tear them to shreds! Maybe it DOES have an element of conflict after all!

Lobsters iiiin Spaaaaaaace!

The producers of Return of the Jedi decided the rebels needed a large capital ship to be their equivalent of the Star Destroyer. Thus was born the Mon Calamari cruiser, as modelled here by Baciccia_1978.

Like the B-Wing I blogged recently, the Mon Calamari filming model wasn’t particularly popular with the special effects team. Whereas the Star Destroyer is all harsh angles, the Mon Calamari ship was made blobby and “soft” to better fit the rebels’ aesthetic; but hence didn’t look that good from any angle and didn’t come across as being particularly distinctive.

It’s apparently so unpopular that to date LEGO have never made an official set of the Mon Calamari ship (apart from 7754 which is the interior bridge, briefing room and hangar bay). Also whereas there are millions of Star Destroyer MOCs I had to actually hunt out this MOC, which is probably the best one on the internet. The builder has done a great job of capturing the blobby shaping, with some neat detail around the engines and landing bays at this large UCS-style scale; but it’s still a slightly forgettable design. He could have made strategic use of tan and dark red pieces to capture the slightly patchwork effect of the real thing; but it might have started to look a bit like a quilt.

Interestingly, in Rogue One we see a different Mon Calamari cruiser which is kind of similar, except the designers gave it a big elegant fin dropping off the bottom. This certainly helped to make it a more distinctive and interesting design. I couldn’t find a decent picture of that ship, but I DID find this awesome model of everyone’s favourite lobster-headed flag-officer. With me.. “It’s a trap!”.

Admiral Ackbar

 

 

Realistic Spacieness

It’s been a while since I’ve used the real space tag, so…

explorationship

These models by Damien Labrousse really stand out for me as excellent examples of plausible near-future spacecraft, done really well in microscale. The above is an Exploration Ship and I love the heatshield thing at the front and the mid section with its jumble of criss-crossing modules. The colour scheme is muted, with bright greys, tan and white to reflect sunlight; save for splashes of yellow and metallic gold.

patrouilleur

This “Patrouilleur” (Patrol Boat) also adds some great chrome gold pieces which look totally at home in the near-future aesthetic.

light cargoship

However this Light Cargoship seems to have stepped forward in time a touch, with a design less rooted in NASA and more akin to the Sulaco from Aliens or a comparable design; albeit with old school rocket nozzles still apparent. It’s interesting how even these quite small models, built with only a few handfuls of pieces, display enough design and detail to allow these kind of reactions.

Future Classics

This excellent Classic Space MOC by Bongobert successfully combines the essence of Classic Space (blue, grey, trans-yellow, bumblebee stripes) with a very modern aesthetic.

bonus angles..

I really like the engine pods with the reversed jet engine piece and the big flag; and the cockpit has a kind of insect-like attitude which looks particularly menacing as it hovers overhead. Apparently it does this to pew-pew you with its big chin mounted gun. Ouch.

Sparrow Hawk