Category Archives: LEGO Star Wars

Mynock

As a trained biologist, few of the various Star Wars creatures give me as much pause as the space creature in which the Millennium Falcon hides from the Imperial fleet.

While I suppose a vacuum-dwelling organic creature is theoretically possible, it raises all sorts of questions, particularly given what we see of the thing. Obviously it doesn’t need to breathe, but what does it eat? How does it attract its prey? How does it travel through space? Find a mate? Reproduce? Poop?

I could totally see a solar-powered space-dwelling creature, but this one lives in an asteroid belt at what looks like a considerable distance from its star. How does it get its energy? Organic fusion reactors?

By comparison, the mynocks that inhabit its innards are positively practical. Some sort of parasitic winged lamprey equivalent, drinking power from the space creature and any passing spaceships.

There’s evidently enough atmosphere within the space creature to sustain Han, Chewie and Leia with only a breather unit, so wings actually make sense as a form of locomotion. And maybe they’re not exclusively native to space creature gullets.

I could see them as being some kind of planetary creature that drinks electrical power, probably parasitic on some kind of large lifeform that makes use of bioelectricity. Even on Earth there are several creatures that make use of electricity: the electric eel, the platypus…

All well and good so far, but we also need the proto-mynock to be able to survive for some time in a vacuum. It’s not a vacuum-dweller by design: it has wings. But if it can at least survive vacuum on the outside of a starship for a few days then they could have spread all over the place, “chewing on the power cables”, as Han says. The mynocks inside the space creature would have been presumably brought on a previous spacecraft meal, and now subsist as parasites on the creature itself.

That’s my theory, anyway. Wookiepedia probably has a different one, but Wookiepedia’s xenobiological descriptions offend every scientific plausibility bone in my body, so I’m reluctant to give them much weight.

Anyway, apparently continuing with my reimaginings of Star Wars creatures, I built a large mynock model.

This one’s mostly black, rather than the pinkish shade of the ones from The Empire Strikes Back, so it’s either a related species (like there’s not only a single species of deer or a single species of vulture) or just a reimagining.

Black would make it harder to see in the cavelike environment within the space creature, but if you live in a completely dark cave who cares about vision? Most Terrestrial cave creatures are pure white. Mynocks do have eyes, though, which is an indication that they live in environments other than the dark inside of a space beast. Maybe they’re naturally black, and the ones in the belly of the beast have lost pigmentation in the darkness.

I got the idea to build a mynock from that Bionicle/CCBS tail element. I acquired it at the beginning of the year thinking I might use it on a Blacktron variant of my Classic Space Elemental Dragon or something. Apparently it’s “or something”. Here’s my black mynock, and a few musings about its potential xenobiology.

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Rogue Squadron

So, I went to the DFWLUG meetup.

For my first ever in-person meeting with other AFOLs I was understandably a little nervous, but it turns out I needn’t have been. Everyone was perfectly friendly, of course, and it was delightfully informal, even to the point of a bit anarchic if you want the truth. The DFW LEGO Users Group doesn’t really seem to have much in the way of a formal leadership or structure, so I fit right in.

This month’s meeting took place in a new “building lounge” in south Fort Worth called Rogue Brick, and it was the first time I’d been in one of those that wasn’t at the local LEGO Discovery Centre. The proprietor seems like a great guy, and to my surprise (and earning him my abiding respect) I got to see one of his builds in person that I know I’ve pinned on Pinterest and I think I’ve seen on Flickr as well – part of a large modular Jedha City display model.

I don’t know how typical Rogue Brick is – it’s my first time seeing one of these “building lounges” – but it’s a really cool place, and their “pick-n-mix” boxes may have just become my favourite ways to buy bricks. Just $10 got me the chance to pick through the 3’x30′ LEGO building table and fill a housebrick-sized box – a steal if ever there was one in terms of value for money.

The DFWLUG group said on their website that “participants are encouraged to bring something they are working on, or have built”, and I faffed around for most of last week trying to decide what to bring. As it happened I needn’t have worried as I was the only one who brought anything, but that gave me another worry as I had no-one else’s models there to compare myself with. No-one’s saying very much; are they impressed or just being polite?

Much of the meeting time was taken up with a building contest organised by Rogue Brick’s proprietor. Given an assembled LEGO Star Wars set, our task was to build a display background for it.

From an AT-ST, a Clone Turbo Tank, a Landspeeder, a Yoda’s Jedi Starfighter, a Y-Wing (one of the regulars is a big fan of Y-Wings and got to this before I could), the Ghost, a Wookiee Gunship microfighter and some sort of diminutive Stormtroopers’ walker (maybe one of the Imperial battlepacks?) I picked the Landspeeder, because it’s not that big, and proceeded to build some of my best ever rockwork to make a snippet of the Jundland Wastes on Tatooine.

Y-Wing attack run. I like the guy that did this’ taste in space fighters!

Clone Turbo Tank on desert terrain.

Kashyyyk beach scene. This guy’s a relatively new builder and he can already do trees at least as well as I can.

Desert terrain; presumably Tatooine or Jedha. I love the Stormtrooper falling off the edge into the sinkhole.

AT-ST attacking a village. Yoda defending. I don’t think the woman who built this is much of a Star Wars fan, so this is pretty good.

Indiana Jones tank chase. One guy didn’t arrive until we were all building, and I guess there weren’t any more built Star Wars sets to do a backdrop for.

The Ghost refuelling/service station. Apologies for the blurred image; I was on my phone and didn’t realise it was blurry until later.

Jakku. I love the nearly-dead foliage and the way it looks like dust being kicked up at the back.

And it turns out I might be one of the better builders there, at least when it comes to timed contests, and I won!

My winning entry. Really quite proud of that rockwork.

I totally wasn’t expecting this when I decided to go; I thought I’d be dealing with all and only elite builders of the sort who exhibit at conventions and I’d be some sort of near-noob who’s only just tumbled to SNOTwork baseplates.

The Clayface Splat Attack set that I won is now built, and makes a highly MOCworthy addition to the household brick inventory. We didn’t have more than a handful of bricks in the dark flesh that’s the set’s primary visible colour, and now we have a load of interesting elements in that colour and several in brown. Plus all the fun stuff I picked up in my goodie box.

There was perhaps not quite as much getting-to-know-you talk as I might have liked, but it was a really fun time building together. And winning is always nice.

I look forward to the next meetup, and to Rogue Brick’s Grand Opening next Saturday, with another AFOL contest after the time I get off work, which I shall try to win again, though the flyer says it’s architecture-themed which isn’t my usual thing. Maybe I’ll build a stone circle on Mars or something…

All Terrain Elf Transport

Forward the AT-ET!

In a rather different vein from my previous Christmas build with the candle and the angel, this one is pure fun and silliness.

As a Santa minifigure is still on my list of “stuff to get at some point”, my options are almost as limited for the other kind of Christmas build as they are for building some any sort of Biblical scene.

We’ve got some elves, though.

Okay, they’re the Emily Jones variety, not the Santa’s Workshop variety, but up to a point an elf is an elf is an elf. It’d be rather amusing to have Santa Claus leading a whole clan of Legolas’ kin into battle on dragons, but that’s another build. And I don’t have a Santa yet to do it with.

The words “Christmas elf mech” bounced through my mind like a rogue superball…

I’ve built an elf mech once before, but not a Christmas one (though it was posted on the old LEGO.com Galleries not here), and I thought about several options for making it Christmassy. I initially contemplated a steampunk Father Christmas mech (somehow a steampunk Santa has to go by his British name), but if I was going to use an elf for a pilot that didn’t seem quite right.

“Maybe I could make it shaped like a reindeer or something”, I thought, and the idea of a sort of chibi AT-AT popped into my head.

Of course, the All Terrain Elf Transport has antlers and a red nose, and somehow Santa Claus red seemed the only possible choice for a main colour. It’s not really in keeping with the colours of the various LEGO Elves, but that’s okay. They’re not necessarily in that world right now, and Santa’s colours overrule here anyway.

Farran’s green outfit made him the best choice to actually drive the AT-ET, but Azari wanted in as well. As hers was the only cold-weather mantle fabric element I could find I let her.

Anyway, have a rather reindeeroid AT-AT derivative, and enjoy!

Stand By Ion Control…

The giant Rebel ion cannon of planet Hoth was iconic enough that it got a Ralph McQuarrie painting all to itself. Not bad for less than two minutes of screen time in The Empire Strikes Back.

It occurred to me that the cup-and-ball cannon mounts might make a pretty good microscale version of the Star Destroyer-disabling planetary defence cannon. All that was needed was to enclose it somehow in an ice-carved turret.

I think 2×3 wing elements might have worked better for the enclosing turret, but I don’t have enough of those in white, and any other colour would look silly.

Even with all the white in use on my Ice Planet battle fleet, I still had enough left over to build a small baseplate and surround. And I put some transparent bricks together to simulate its firing, too.

This isn’t a huge or complex model, and I’m too impatient to wait for a Bricklink order of 2×3 left wings to make it look better. The toothed elements aren’t too bad; at least they add to the icy look.

Anyway, here it is. Enjoy.

Green X

Fellow LEGO blogger Vaderfan2187 has been recently posting pics of Star Wars hardware recoloured for the Ninjago ninja (the three posts covering the six main ninja can be seen here, here and here).

Excited about this awesomely original crossover concept, I decided to crash the party by building my own.

Lloyd’s X-Wing

Kai’s my favourite of the Ninja, and I was mostly expecting to build a vehicle for him, but then that stickered green curve element caught my eye.

So pretty-boy Lloyd is the one who gets the X-Wing, despite him being my least favourite.

Where Vaderfan2187’s creations were mostly simple recolours hewing much more closely to their far-far-away galactic originals, I’ve taken a slightly different route and more thoroughly Ninjified (Ninjagified? Ninjated?) the Original Trilogy X-Wing I selected as the base vehicle.

This is a full-on custom build, obviously, rather than a rebuild or modification of a set. The height of the rear section relative to the cockpit is slightly off compared to the movie X-Wing, but it was the only way I could get those gold Ninjago-set Technic wheel hubs to work as the engine intakes.

For extra Ninja coolness, I replaced the X-Wing’s wingtip cannons with gold blade elements, and added the hooked Bionicle sword blades alongside the forward section.

All too many of my interesting black elements are still in use on the Blacktron Thunderbolt, which remains standing after nearly two weeks, which is closing in on a record where my MOCmaking is concerned. Be that as it may, it meant I had to use some dark grey as well as black for a base structural colour palette, and eke out the scheme with a little dark red, recalling the saddle on the Green NRG Dragon. The yellow cockpit was the only realistic choice, and I think it works well. I think trans yellow would work with Kai or Jay too, though probably not Cole, Zane or Nya.

It seemed especially appropriate to use one of the Green NRG Dragon’s massive feet as a stand. It’s a little delicate, but I’ll put up with delicate for a stand so in keeping with the nature of the model.

Anyway, here’s Lloyd’s Green Ninja X-Wing. I’m not sure how (or if) it fires, given that I removed the turbolasers and put blades in their place. Maybe it meshes with Lloyd’s green ninja energy somehow and can shoot out bolts of power from the hull itself the way Lloyd himself can from his body.

Where the AT-ATs Roam

Sooner or later, every LEGO builder who’s any sort of Star Wars fan is going to attempt an AT-AT at something more substantial than palmtop scale.

This is my first try.

Star Wars vehicles, scenes, characters and battles have been modeled again and again to such a high standard of accuracy and modelling that really, you need massive chutzpah to attempt anything from the Star Wars universe. Especially something from the films; especially from the Original Trilogy.

This obviously isn’t going to be winning any prizes on Eurobricks’ Star Wars forum or anything, what with its general studdiness and too-long back end, but as a first attempt, “you-too-can-build-the-AT-AT” model, it’s reasonable.

I actually wasn’t really considering building an AT-AT at all; this whole build started out with the microscale snowspeeder (with which I’m actually more pleased than the big Imperial walker).

But having built this little speeder, it occurred to me that it might be possible, with my household’s relatively-limited-for-an-AFOL brick inventory, to build an Imperial walker to proper scale with the speeder.

Official LEGO’s never done this. I’d actually love to see someone build an AT-AT to full minifig scale based on the size of one of the snowspeeder sets, but the sheer size of it probably prevents all but the most dedicated builder, and with all the expanses of plate armour the hull’s actually fairly uninteresting at that scale.

Still, what I can only dream about at minifig scale I can finally actually build at microscale.

If I was building it again I’d correct that too-long rear end, but I don’t possess enough tiles to successfully destud it having used this construction method, and I don’t possess enough grey 1xwhatever bricks to build it using the other main technique family for producing a smooth finish.

Ah well. Steps on the path, my friends. Steps on the path. This build was mostly about getting past the intimidation factor of all the really huge $120+ official AT-AT sets and the even huger and more detailed Imperial walker MOCs; a figuring-out that really, building an AT-AT doesn’t have to be that hard.

I think a lot of my mental hangups come from my childhood attempts to build one back when The Empire Strikes Back was a new film and we were still waiting with bated breath for Revenge of the Jedi, as rumour had it the next film would be called.

Trying to make an articulated All Terrain Armoured Transport that would actually stand up back when the black Technic friction pins were a nonexistent brick was way beyond my youthful skill level. I wasn’t about to build a statue; if I was building it, it was going to move. But I couldn’t find a way to keep it from sprawling on the ice like a giant robot Bambi, so I eventually gave up on the idea as an impossibility with the bricks of the era.

And I’ve carried that sense that building AT-ATs is one of the hardest challenges facing any builder with me through all those years.

So here’s an AT-AT. Not a very good one, perhaps, but here it is.

And it really wasn’t hard at all.

Now, a Mon Calamari battlecruiser, with all those lovely stylish curves? That would be truly difficult!

Sanctuary Moon

A break from the Classic Space and Blacktron modes, but not from sci-fi, this Star Wars Original Trilogy build is unusual for me on several counts.

Number one, it’s vegetation. I’m not a great builder of vegetation; my trees are pretty simplistic and I don’t have a huge amount of the various leafy green elements that make good cround cover. This build used about 90% of my inventory.

I always feel like to get good at vegetation I need more plant parts and elements that would be good treetrunk and so on, but because I so seldom build very much with vegetation I never actually purchase any more. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle.

Anyway, Endor is a forested moon, and needs lots of vegetation even at microscale. I’m satisfied, at least, with how it’s turned out.

Number two, it’s microscale with actual human figures, a first for me.

I’ve never really liked the “stack of 1×1 round bricks = human” approach; it’s about the best possible approach at that scale but part of my mind always rebels at it.

This time, though, I’ve used it myself for Luke and Leia in the foreground.

Number three, it uses a technically “illegal” technique, also a rarity for me. The scout troopers’ heads are not properly attached, just jammed onto the ends of the black barbs forming the necks. It’s not that I don’t approve of “illegal” (ie “you’ll never see this done in an official set”) techniques, but I just seldom think of them in building context. A lot of the techniques seriously stress or deform the element, and I don’t have the inventory to sacrifice to the resultant breakages. I’ll need those bricks later.

This creation began as something else entirely. I was haphazardly putting bricks together to build a microscale space fighter when my visiting nephew said “that looks like an X-Wing”. A flurry of “Build a TIE Fighter!”, “Build a Star Destroyer!” followed, and I found myself putting bricks together for a microscale speeder bike.

The white clip elements from the “Mighty Dinosaurs” Creator set seemed like perfect Scout Trooper bodies, but I had to try several different things before I came up with this design for the heads.

And then an Endor scene just naturally followed, with a second speeder bike and a massive tree and underbrush. Putting in Luke and Leia just completed the Return of the Jedi scene.  The giant mushroom in the back isn’t official canon, but I wouldn’t be surprised.