Monthly Archives: June 2017

Tiny Giant

Microscale is fun.

I particularly like the very tiny creations that repurpose the smallest elements as something huge.

This is something along those lines. An immense building-sized monster mech attacking the city, battling a pair of valiant tanks defending. All rendered in tiny elements and resulting in a creation that can fit in the palm of a hand.

As a mech, I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.

As an exploration of scale, it’s doubly amusing.

The Logistics of Blackness

People do build Blacktron support vehicles, but they’re not as common as, say, tanks or mechs or space fighters. There are reasons for this: the Blacktron are supposedly the Classic Space universe’s criminal element. All the scientific and logistical support things that the Classic Space astronauts do are a little too much like honest work.

However, even if the Blacktron are merely the Cosa Nostra in space, they’re going to need some support vehicles, even if only to fuel up their spaceships and/or transport their stolen goods. And I don’t think that’s what the Blacktron are.

I think the Blacktron organisation are more like a rebel alliance or separatist movement, established to counter some perceived injustice or overthrow some perceived oppression.

The fact that they have their own equipment and uniforms and logo tend to suggest these aren’t merely run-of-the-mill criminals. Who knows? Maybe they’re even heroic Robin Hood/George Washington types, standing against the brightly-coloured tyranny of the Federation and its Space Police enforcers…?

And if that’s the case, that they represent a separatist state or rebel secessionist movement, then they need all the planetary survey ships and seismological monitoring vehicles and scoop loaders and mobile tracking stations that the regular Classic Space astronauts of the Federation have.

Being in the mood to build something Blacktron (to showcase my newly-acquired Blacktron astronauts (three of them, plus two red and two white Classic astronauts, all at very reasonable prices), I was singularly uninspired for a spaceship or a combat rover. But the idea of a Blacktron space truck sounded like a good one.

The configuration with the Blacktron quarter panel logo-up creates a slightly unusual container cross-section, shaped rather like the traditional “cut-diamond” gemstone shape. Not only is this pleasingly different, but I can think of an in-story rationale for it as well: Four of them get fastened together around a slim core section to form a single surface-to-orbit heavy-lift rocket. Perhaps with eight quarter-section containers stacked four and four, container loading and planetary gravity permitting.

Alas, I can only build one section, but I’ve added a rocket engine on the rear to suggest that capacity.

The cab is an open, roll-cage cockpit, because I imagine the Blacktrons probably can’t afford as much in the way of creature comforts; they’re fighting for their survival against the omnipresent Space Police.

Anyway, here’s my Blacktron surface hauler. No fancy codenames or backstory, for once. Just a nicely Blacktron model with a real Blacktron driver.

Horse de Combat

Ok, this is rather silly.  But people have made LEGO mechs piloted by frogs before, so I’m in good company.

But I don’t think I’ve ever seen a battle mech piloted by a horse before.

I  said once before that I’ve had a long-standing ambition to use the horse element in a spaceship, so perhaps this is where the inspiration came from.  But I really have no idea.  Just another of the weird ideas that pop into my head.

Galactic Fleet Voyaging

LL206 Diomedes and her squadron

Apparently Neoclassic creations are like buses: you wait all day and then two come along at once.

I built the big one of these first, aiming for a vessel that would be of substantial size even if not actually the biggest I could build.

At a mere 50 studs in length, this is no Seriously Huge Investment in Pieces, but it represents my largest Neoclassic microship to date, and I think my largest microscale creation of any kind. Which is pretty pitiful beside some of the monster vessels which grace the Internet, but I hold this truth in reserve: I could actually build something bigger, and in Classic Space livery colours, too.

It’s helped in its size achievement by being mostly conventionally-built (SNOT construction is brick-intensive), but for all its largely old-fashioned technique it looks pretty good. At least from the top.

“Goose-necked” ships like this have a long pedigree in LEGO, going back all the way to the Starfleet Voyager of 1980 and rising up through the Galaxy Commander, FT Laser Craft and so on. I guess it’s a cost-effective way to make a ship that looks suitably large and impressive.

The overall configuration of this is vaguely reminiscent of the old Starfleet Voyager (though the twin-pronged bow section is more like the Galaxy Commander). It wasn’t built as a deliberate echo or homage, but apparently there are only so many basic ship configurations out there.

Still, the name of the Starfleet Voyager might provide something like a decent derivation for a class name.

The smaller escorting vessel was built afterwards, as I looked at the pile of blue, grey and trans yellow leftovers and thought “I could have built bigger after all”.

I’ve maintained a similar design ethos so that the two ships feel like they’re part of a unified fleet with common basic features, and it was rather fun to build a “similar but different” vessel like this. And then I went smaller again for the corvettes.

As far as scale goes, I’m thinking this is a decent-sized vessel. I’m using a rough scale of one plate thickness per storey, so with a 3.5m storey height including between-decks space for power conduits and ducts and so on, that makes each stud length 8.75m long. This gives a total vessel length of 437.5m, or 1435ft.


The Voyager-class star cruiser LL206 Diomedes is a member of the third flight of that class, named after heroes of the Trojan War, following on from the first of the fifth-flight ships, LL198 Odysseus. It is a medium-large vessel, one of the smallest to receive the designation of “capital ship”, though in truth it only fulfils this function in the outer colonies, where fleets are composed of smaller and more versatile vessels. In the full Federation wedge-of-battle, ships like the Diomedes are more like heavy screening elements beside behemoths like the Sovereign of Space-class dreadnought.

The third flight Voyagers replace the ventral pulse cannon turret with a twin-mounted penetrator cannon turret, adding to the two forward-firing penetrator cannons already mounted on the sides of the forward hull. The so-called “penetrator cannon” is an energy-intensive meson-decay weapon able to fire through an opponent’s shields. The rest of the primary armament remains unchanged from the second flight: three twin-mounted pulse cannon turrets and six capital missile tubes in broadsides of three apiece.

Diomedes and her sisters fire the XT-13 Werewolf capital missile, whose centrally-augmented fire control allows off-beam targeting to the extent that all six missile tubes may be fired at a single opponent even in front of or behind the ship.

For secondary weapons, the Voyager-class is well equipped, as befits the class’ colonial role where individual ships must often act alone and unsupported. The Diomedes‘ secondary antimissile lasers are invisible at this scale, but provide a good all-around defensive capability against fighters and missiles.

Like all Federation starships, the Diomedes maintains both interstellar hyperspace drives and sublight impellers. The physics of hyperspace field generation requires the Ilion field generators to be located at the ship’s broadest point perpendicular to the main axis, where they generate the ring-shaped gateway field which forms the entry-point into Ilion hyperspace.

Situated at the stern of the ship are the vessel’s sublight impellers. Though in form reminiscent of the ancient reaction thrusters by which Humanity made their first forays into space, the impeller drive is a reactionless pseudogravity-magnetic drive system requiring little actual fuel beyond that used for the ship’s main power reactors.

Diomedes‘ primary weakness is its limited integral small craft capacity. The main hangar ports are located ventrally on the after hull and mostly support the class’ various landing shuttles and pinnaces, but the ship does carry a half-squadron (six ships) of small one-man fightercraft, usually older designs like the Viper and Corsair.

Escorting the Diomedes here is LL3242 Scamander, a River-class light cruiser named after the principal of the seven rivers of Troy.

Doctrinally, the River-class are intended as fleet escorts, designed to screen larger capital vessels from attack by small fighters or missiles. Accordingly, while they bristle with light-calibre antimissile and antifighter lasers invisible at this scale, their sole primary armament is a pair of twin-mounted ion cannon turrets and a heavy laser cluster cannon located dorsally amidships.

With their designated role as fleet escorts, the River-class’ fire control system and sensor net are designed to be tied into that of the fleet, allowing them to provide coordinated missile defence to several capital ships.

Also flying in LL206 Diomedes‘ ad hoc squadron are two small Dagger-class corvettes, Falx and Shuriken, each armed with a single laser cluster turret. Corvettes are the smallest Federation vessels to bear an Ilion hyperdrive unit; their primary role is as light scouts or couriers.

Eat My Moondust

It seems like a while since I built a space rover, and apparently my son saying he was going to build the Bat-Dune Buggy from the LEGO Batman Movie struck a responsive chord with me.

This doesn’t look especially like the classic dune buggy lines, but the underlying chassis with the wheels on the ends of Technic-built struts seems very dune buggy-esque.

So with its partial dune-buggy ancestry, Moondust seems like an appropriate name for this rover.


The Moondust-class space rover is one of the smallest Federation rover classes to feature an enclosed cockpit. Built along old-style dune buggy lines, the cockpit canopy helps to prevent the dust kicked up by the wheels from caking onto the outside of the driver’s spacesuit.

The rover is a basically unarmed command and exploration rover with space for a single crewmember. The large engineering section houses an extended-range power plant, high-powered communications gear and life support equipment useful for both exploration and command-and-control.

Large wheels provide traction on rugged planetary and lunar surfaces, and the independent active suspension gives a smooth ride in almost all terrain regimes.

They’re Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace

Well, I’m back from my trip back to Dear Old Blighty, and in celebration of the event I’ve built a royal guardsman.

Complete with bearskin hat, red coat and trousers with the stripe down the sides, he doesn’t look all that happy about the prospect of guarding Her Majesty.  Maybe he’a a closet republican.

The hands would be better in either white, for white gloves, or tan for flesh tone.  But I’ve ended up with dark grey, which is buildable and can stand in for gloves.  Likewise, the sword’s a little wonky-looking; maybe one of those long sword blades with the bar attachment point would look better, but I think this works well enough.

I think my favourite part is managing to approximate the red and white cockade on the side of the hat.