Impressively detailed “Ugly Duckling” Long Range Research Vessel is over 4 feet long

Years in the making, Blake Foster presents one of the finest examples of LEGO spacecraft masterwork with the Ugly Duckling Long Range Research Vessel. It’s a rare achievement; it boasts impressive measurements at 168 studs long, 47 studs wide, and 45 studs high (approximately 52.5×14.5×14 inches), yet its size doesn’t prevent Blake from carefully considering every stud on his craft inside and out.

Ugly Duckling Long Range Research Vessel

I know if I were to pick a favorite detail, parts usage, or motif on his research vessel, another favorite will reveal itself, reinforcing what I mean by careful consideration of every last 1×1 square section. I do have a favorite view: the front, with the extended red-and-white tower and internal runway, as well as defining the general Y cross section down the length.

Ugly Duckling: Front Hangar Bay

Blake makes bold use of larger LEGO elements to excellent effect. For example, note the light gray dump truck buckets and yellow Alpha Team mecha feet.

Ugly Duckling Long Range Research Vesselling04

Similarly, an array of Death Star spheres are very well integrated into the ship’s hull in shape and color blocking.

Ugly Duckling Long Range Research Vessel

I’m impressed by the depth created in negative and hollowed-out spaces on the Ugly Duckling. One fine example of this is in the larger rear thruster which curves inward if you take a closer look. Again, large LEGO elements are integrated beautifully in the thruster; dark gray rafts work well here.

Ugly Duckling: Business End

The bridge, comm array, and twin vehicle bays help define the scale. Details in this area are reminiscent of classic spacecraft such as the USCSS Nostromo

Ugly Duckling: Bridge and Comm Array

Ugly Duckling: Hangar Bays

With its inspiring and believable design, I consider Blake’s Ugly Duckling to be an instant classic in LEGO spacecraft design. It is and will be fine inspiration to LEGO builders for years to come. Explore all photos on Blake’s Flickr, both in its work-in-progress and completion stages.

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