Sunday, 22 September 2013

It’s not as easy as it looks…

Strange as it may seem, I spend more time discussing Lego online on a videogaming site than a Lego site.  Probably because I spend more time on the videogaming site - Eurogamer - than anywhere else online.

Anyway, the ‘LEGO LEGO LEGO’ thread was started back in December 2011 by one of my EG compatriots, Tonka, and it’s been going strong ever since.  Topics of discussion usually revolve around :

What someone has bought.
What someone wants to buy.
What someone is building.
What someone’s child has just swallowed / stuck up their nose / fed to the dog.

Last week, just as a throwaway comment, I suggested that it might be fun to have a weekly building competition.  Someone suggests a topic on a Monday, and you have until 8pm on the following Sunday to construct something (1) and post a picture or pictures of it.  Whoever sets the challenge gets to judge the winner and then someone else sets the following week’s subject.

No prizes, just a bit of fun.

Well a few people thought it was a good idea, so on Monday, I set the challenge of a…

Lego Spacecraft

I said that as I was judging, I couldn’t compete, but might have a go at making something, just for fun.

So one evening this week, I fished my parts crate down from the spare bedroom, stared at the mass of Technic sitting on the table and…

...was stumped.

It’s considerably more difficult than it appears, to scratch build something from Technic.  After pushing a few parts round the table for a while, I happened upon a number of rectangular plates that ordinarily make up the base and sides of the Unimog trailer.  Combined with a few other parts, I managed to make a flat section with one of the panels hinged at one end, which made a sort of ramp.

That got me thinking about a dropship - the sort of thing that they had in Aliens, that didn’t do interstellar distances, but acted as a go-between for the main orbiting spacecraft and the planet’s surface, and carried crew and supplies.  A sort of flying Transit van.

The 'Cheyenne' Dropship from 'Aliens'

A few minutes later, and I realised that given the scale of the load platform, if I made the rest of the ship to an appropriate scale, it would end up about two feet long.  A quick check revealed that I probably didn’t have the parts, and certainly didn’t have the know how to finish it.

So then I thought ‘What if it wasn’t a completely enclosed ship.  What if it was just a flying platform with a small pilot’s cabin attached.
We often go on holiday to Cornwall, and one of my favourite things is the river crossing to Fowey on the Bodinnick Ferry.  Which as you can see, is exactly what I was thinking of.  Small crew section, attached to a large flat area for cars.

The Bodinnick Ferry, between Bodinnick and Fowey, Cornwall

Then further rummaging through the parts bags revealed a couple of turntables.  This dropship would need to be manoueverable, like… like a Hawker Harrier!  With it’s jets that can rotate.

A Harrier Jump Jet, doing what very few aircraft can

(Image from The Guardian)

The turntables got duly bolted onto the sides.

And sad to say, that’s as far as I got.  Technically I’ve got about four hours to finish something off for the 8pm deadline, but I do have a few other things to get done today, so I suspect it’s not going to happen.

And having seen the quality of some of the other entries, even if I wasn’t judging, I wouldn’t be winning.

But it was interesting, and something of an eye-opener to see how difficult it could be, so next week, when I can legitimately take part…

I’ll be starting a darn sight earlier!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

(1) Something original, not an official Lego set that fits the theme.

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