Category Archives: Lego Space

One Brick On Top Of Another

12×12 is a nice size for a scenery square or room corner. It’s big enough that you can exhibit repeating patterns and really give a sense of a larger area, but small enough to be manageable.

I originally built this to showcase my Classic Space robot George, only to realise that light bluish grey wasn’t necessarily the best background colour on which to display a light bluish grey robot. Honestly, you’d think I was slow-witted or something.

Still, I was quite pleased with my scenery-building, because it’s something I always feel like I suck at or don’t have enough pieces for. And once you have a piece of scenery you can use it for numerous purposes. It doesn’t have to be a display case for any one thing in particular.

 

The three 2×2 jumper plates with which I graced the top of the walls were originally placed there because I couldn’t find enough flat tiles just then, but then I realised that it would be quite easy to build a stackable second storey to be held on those 3 studs.

And thus began the modular stackable space scenery.

The balcony storey came next, because I liked the idea of an upper walkway overlooking some cavernous room of which this is but a corner. At only 3 studs wide, there’s not a lot of room up there, but it does its job. I think my favourite part of it is the handrail, actually.

After that I built a roof, and then, running low enough on 1xwhatevers in light bluish grey for more walls, I decided to shift colours and go to a rough-hewn dark bluish grey mining area.

So now I have 3 storeys of stackable modular space scenery, ready for whatever I want to do with them…

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Ice Dragon 2002

Not my first combination of dragons and space, but definitely my most draconic, this is obviously a dragon of the old Ice Planet 2002 theme.

Ninjago has given us plenty of “elemental dragons” of all sorts of elements including ice, and in the past I’ve personally built “elemental dragons” of Steampunk (on the defunct LEGO Galleries, alas) and Classic Space. I had some ideas about building a Blacktron space dragon (which served as a partial inspiration for the Dragon-class Blacktron battlecruiser) but I’d never considered an Ice Planet elemental dragon before.

Until now.

The Elemental Dragon of Krysto is much more definitely a dragon than the fusional Classic Space variety, with a rider rather than a cockpit and those moulded dragon feet elements on its four legs. Still, Ice Planet 2002 did have a lot of open-cockpit vehicles, so I felt less need to enclose the crewman.

Sized about like the Jay’s Lightning Dragon or the first Zane’s Ice Dragon, about the only concessions to space vehiclehood here are the shoulder-mounted rocket engines and the bits of ice saw and skis at the end of the tail.

Still, you couldn’t mistake it for anything but an Ice Planet dragon with its colours and Celestial Christmas Pudding logos.

I’m fairly pleased with how this turned out, even with the CCBS elements on the neck and tail rather than being exclusively built. That shouldn’t really feel like a cheat, but somehow it does a bit.

The Dragon of the Spaceways

Dragon-class Battlecruiser of the Blacktron Alliance

Ever since I built my Elemental Dragon of Classic Space back in January of 2017, I’ve been contemplating a Blacktron counterpart, but so far I haven’t produced. I’ve made a couple of abortive false starts, but nothing that’s actually any good.

This past week, however, it occurred to me that the hypothetical Elemental Dragon of Blacktron wasn’t the only way to combine Blacktronian spacecraft design with the idea of dragons.

Borrowing some of the more ornamented design ethos of the Sunhawk-class (but with a vastly different actual design), this Blacktron battlecruiser was designed around that decorative dragon’s head form of the upper frontal hull and then took in the bat-wing vanes toward the rear. I was initially half thinking about a raised dragon’s tail at the rear as well, but then I built the ship’s engine section a little differently to what I had thought after those rather Y-Wing styled engines took shape, but then I realised that I could still add the tail so I did.

But it didn’t look as good as I had first hoped so I removed it again.

At 32 1/2 inches long (which this handy LEGO stud calculator calls 103 studs), the Blacktron Dragon-class battlecruiser turns out to actually be a SHIP. I was slightly surprised at this because I’d got hold of the idea from somewhere that 100 studs was 37 1/2 inches, not 31 1/2, so some of my previous SHIPs and near-SHIPs get their stud length estimates revised upwards. The horribly designed Liberator is still 101 studs long (I measured that in studs to begin with), and Dark Pegasus clocks in at 126 studs.

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The Blacktron Alliance’s smaller absolute size compared to its sprawling Federation adversary has made it far more aggressive in its interstellar dealings due to its perception of the size disparity as a disadvantage.

When it comes to large combat ships, however, the size disparity tends to go the other way and pile it on: Blacktron spacedoing dreadnoughts and battlecruisers are often more powerful on a class-by-class basis than their putative Federation Space Fleet counterparts, and almost always proportionally larger to make up for the smaller number of hulls that the Alliance is able to field.

Federation officers going toe to toe with Blacktron dreadnoughts often report the ship size disparity to be somewhat intimidating, and it is perhaps due to awareness of this fact that later Blacktron vessels have the designs that they do, a prime exemplar being the latest generation of Blacktron battlecruisers of the Dragon class.

It should be said, however, that the Blacktron Alliance has always had a more flamboyant design ethos than the stark functionality favoured by the Federation (compare the Federation’s Galaxy Explorer class with the similarly-sized Blacktron Renegade), and many observers see the more ornamental design of the Dragon-class as merely a continuation of that flamboyant attitude.

The class is recogniseable not only for the characteristic dragon’s head design of its upper forward hull, but more importantly for its massive spinal graser weapon system. For more conventional weapons, the Dragons are armed with 2 dreadnought-calibre antimatter accelerators and 12 battlecruiser-calibre laser cannons in dual-mounted turrets, backing these up with smaller secondary weaponry serving as antifighter and antimissile defences.

The initial production run of the Dragon-class currently stands at twelve vessels: Jormundgand, Ouroboros, Tiamat, Smaug, Weng Chiang, Mnementh, Gojira, Quetzalcoatl, Night Fury, Leviathan, Kongyong and Strabo.

Snowbird

VX925 Snowbird

Inspired by the shape of the original 928 Space Cruiser but sized more like the 924 Space Transporter, I’m calling this neo-Ice Planet shuttlecraft the “VX925 Snowbird”.

Having a limited range of available trans neon orange windscreen elements, several parts of this spaceship were necessary adaptations of that original design to what I had available; in particular the two separate compartments.

The overwing engines and cranked-arrow delta wing obviously reprise the 928 Space Cruiser/497 Galaxy Explorer, but on a smaller scale because a lot of my blue elements are still in use on the Auriga.

I guess the VX925 Snowbird would be a sort of slightly larger stablemate to the Blizzard Baron, with a more realistic enclosed cockpit. It’s possibly a bit overengined for its size, actually, so presumably it serves the Ice Planeteers as a kind of fast courier.

Both crewmembers are sporting what I’m considering for an adapted Ice Planet standard gear, adding blue epaulets and replacing the airtanks with a backpack that presumably includes airtanks but which looks much more rugged. Technically I suppose the epaulets ought to desigate a commander, but Commander Bear is still on my list of “need to get this but haven’t yet” minifigures (which also includes Space Police 1 troopers, yellow and black Classic astronauts and the legendary Ice Babe).

Whatever. It was eighty-something Fahrenheit in Texas last weekend, and so I naturally built an Ice Planet spaceship.

NCS’ Wingèd Chariot

Auriga-class Heavy Fighter

The Auriga-class heavy fighter is a transatmostpheric attack craft of the Galactic Federation. Named after the ancient Terrestrial constellation depicting a charioteer, one of the distinguishing visual identifiers of the Auriga is the pair of disclike force shield generators located aft.

It is not every Federation fightercraft that is large enough and has a powerful enough energy plant to operate a force shield generator of this size, let alone mount two of them, and it is this dual shield and its power requirements which make the Auriga so comparatively large a fightercraft. Indeed, Hoplite was considered as a class name, but this would have broken with Federation tradition of naming fightercraft after Old Earth constellations.

The Auriga-class is sparsely armed for all its well-protected nature, but the weapons it does possess are relatively powerful. A pair of 10cm laser cannons form the primary weapon system; these are considerably more powerful than the 5cm mounts usually found on fightercraft, but there are only two of them. Backing these up are up to four standard small-craft torpedoes, usually Mark 7s with proximity-fused plasma warheads or bomb-pumped laser warheads, though occasionally a mix of Mark 7s and Mark 11 Electronic Warfare torpedoes are carried.

The Auriga-class is less manoeuvrable than many pure-space fightercraft designs, but has the advantage that it can freely enter the atmosphere. Auriga squadrons have been known to take advantage of this by entering the outer atmospheric layers of gas giant worlds to hide and ambush aggressors like space pirates or the Blacktron Alliance.

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Something of an homage to the old Minbari Transport from 1990s TV show Babylon 5, my Neoclassic Space version is necessarily smaller but has the same sort of overall shape.

I liked Babylon 5, and I remember the Minbari ships in particular with much fondness. Their transport was almost pedestrian-looking beside their vertically-oriented angelfish-like cruisers and trilaterally symmetrical space fighters, but it still had the same sweeping curves and flowing grace. Compared to the ugly box ships that the human race flew, the Minbari showed you how it’s supposed to be done.

There are some obvious differences, notably the prominent trans yellow windscreen and general Classic Spaceity, but that was the original source of inspiration. I hope you like my adaptation of the basic configuration.

The Chase

I missed the “District 18” contest hosted by Flickr’s LEGO Speeder Bikes group. I was busy with FebRovery and didn’t really realise it was happening until the month was half gone. And then I was like “District 18? What the smeg is that? Some kind of Halo crap? Nothing for me here then…”

Three days from deadline and with no time to actually build anything, let alone photograph it in daylight, I finally worked out that “District 18” meant whatever you wanted it to mean; it wasn’t a tie-in to some popular game I don’t know.

So this isn’t a District 18 contest build.

It’s similar, though. District 17.5. Area 52. Platform 12 2/3. Whatever.

This started out with the speeder that’s being chased. I wanted to try incorporating a minor trilateral symmetry at the front, though with the rest of the speeder the way it is it gives it a vaguely cobbled-together look.

Having built that speeder I decided to make a whole scene, and it got larger and more complex from there.

The police speeder bike followed after I pulled out TLNM’s Officer Toque in my search for a suitable pilot. Okay, police speeder bike, then. A bit more finished-looking and sleek, with a similar pilot mount.

Neither speeder is really all that and a box of chocolates. It’s the background that makes this. I’m really developing a liking for building ramshackle, tumbledown future-industrial wastelands, and I think this is one of my better ones. Complete with large grey rat, because wasteland.

I’m not certain what the precise story is here. The guy being chased doesn’t have a particularly villainous or criminal look, but neither does the officer look especially like an instrument of state oppression. Maybe the dude did something minor like running a red light or operating a speeder bike with an expired inspection sticker, I don’t know.

At any rate, here they are. A police officer and another speeder bike pilot (possibly a criminal, perhaps an innocent biker in the wrong place at the wrong time) locked in relentless pursuit.

Like last year’s “The Ninja and the Dragon” build, I think the ambiguity helps to sell this. Make up your own backstory and enjoy.

A Solar Bird

Sunhawk-class War Frigate of the Solarian Empire

ISS Royal Falcon is a Sunhawk-class heavy war frigate of the Solarian Empire’s Imperial Space Navy.

In the Imperial age of Human expansion, “war frigate” has come to mean a heavy warship of capital ship class whose design emphasises manoeuvrability (compare “battleglobe”: a heavy capital warship whose design emphasises armament and defence over manoeuvre).

The Sunhawks are armed with six powerful antimatter beams – Imperial capital ship beam weapons akin to grasers but using antiphotons – with enough destructive potential to crack the crustal plate of a smaller Earthlike world. Backing this up are a pair of dorsally-mounted graser turrets and the usual anti-small craft defensive lasers.

Missiles have largely been superseded in the imperial age: even the Solarian Empire’s finest minds have not thus far been able to cram a supraluminal-velocity drive and the power plant to run it into a hull even remotely missile-sized. However, the Sunhawk-class carry a bank of ten of what would once have been classified as missiles that employ standard reactionless sublight drives and antimatter warheads. Doctrinally, however, these are “mines”; their sublight speed makes them ineffective as direct weapons but they can be dropped in prepared positions as a defensive measure.

ISS Royal Falcon is the third ship of its class, following her sister ship ISS Condorine and ISS Sunhawk herself. Imperial tradition is for Naval vessels to be painted predominantly white; at the distances and stellar irradiation levels at which spatial combat takes place colour is largely irrelevant, and white has been the Imperial colour since the ascension of the Averon dynasty.

The Imperial Space Navy is not simply a war-fighting body, however. As one of the most visible arms of the Imperial state, they are often called upon to fly the Emperor’s banner in internal diplomatic functions, and for that a certain amount of visual impressiveness is called for.

Like all Imperial Space Navy vessels, ISS Royal Falcon is ornamented with sections of ornate gold paneling and other highlights in the ancient precious metal. Since the advent of asteroidal smelting and the fusion torch which can literally remodel the nuclei of atoms, gold is commoner than its precious metal status would imply, but Humans continue to associate it with wealth and kingship. Besides, it is more attractive than truly rare metals such as the Palladium group.

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I wanted to try my hand at building an ornately decorated spaceship.

Scrollwork and semi-baroque styling are not something you see every day on a space cruiser (unless it’s a steampunk aethergoing dreadnought). It’s a waste of time and resources. Most future-human societies follow the mass-production-derived aesthetic of clean lines and heavy functionalism.

However, given the stylistic changes that have come about in the last couple of centuries, who knows what the aesthetics of the 23rd-27th Centuries are going to look like? A return to ornate decoration isn’t out of the question, especially if it has a psychological role to play in inspiring awe of the central government.

I’d rather have liked to build a larger vessel than this, but I found myself using more white than I initially anticipated in the forward section and then running low as I built the back. That explains the slightly more blockily-shaped rear section and the fact that it’s a mere 60 studs’ length rather than being the SHIP I suspected I wouldn’t manage. SHIPbuilding is hard work.

Ornately decorated space cruisers just seem to say “empire”; Star Wars’ Imperial fleet may have grooved to brutalist minimalism, but I just can’t imagine a basically democratic state like a Federation ending up with semi-baroque ornamented battleships. Therefore the Solarian Empire, with its white-painted war frigates and its golden decorative elements.