Unloading on Scarif with the U-wing that could have been

Star Wars and LEGO have gone hand-in-hand for quite some time now. Uncountable LEGO User Groups are centered around the very concept of building models based on the Star Wars universe. Suffice it to say, there is a wealth of models inspired by the galaxy far, far away. As many ships as there are in George Lucas’ fever dream of a series, a whole can of worms opens up when you look into the concept designs for some of the most iconic vehicles. This ship, built by Jan Südmersen, was inspired by a concept design of the rebel U-wing fighter from Rogue One. Quite different from the movie design on a few fronts, the main difference is the lack of wing-like strike foils. For those that aren’t hip, the s-foils were apparently used more for increasing the shield profile of the ship and less so for aerodynamics in an atmosphere. I doubt this big boy needs much help from some wings, though, as it looks like it can take a few hits without a problem.

Here’s the concept image by Thom Tenery so you can compare it for yourself. You’ll notice the large quad engine shared with the movie design and a profile similar to a wingless Republic Gunship. According to Thom’s Twitter feed, the U-wing was thought of as something similar to the Vietnam-era Huey helicopter at this point in the design process. He also points out some similarities between this design and the Razor Crest from the Mandalorian.

Parked on a landing pad on Scariff, this design of the U-wing seems much more armed for battle than the final design in Rogue One. That’s partially why it reminds me of the old Republic Gunship from Attack of the Clones. Especially with that formidable side gun. Of course, the bubble shield has been moved to a top gun that can defend this beefy troop transport from most pursuant fighters. The pilots’ section has a similar open view to the movie U-wing, though it’s less obstructed and provides much more visibility. The hoses leading to the two mounted front cannons also liken it to the finalized U-wing as its main weapons were two fixed cannons that depended on the orientation of the ship to aim.

From behind we can see some of the more unique pieces used in the model, such as the curved and angled Technic panels between the engines, leading to the rear guns. The gold wheels used in the engines are an eye-catching detail that compliments the light bluish grey, white, and sand blue color-blocking of the rest of the design. The brick-built sections of the engines, the hoses between the engines, or the little radar poking up from the top are lovely bits of greebly detail that add to the model’s quality. I’d say even the different grey wheel on the far, top engine was probably a nod to the Rebels’ penchant to fix a ship however they can. You have to do what you can for your fleet when you’ve got a rebellion’s budget.

This concept U-wing can always have a place in the Star Wars of our hearts and Jan Südmersen did a great job capturing this design with a model that would look great next to the rest of the LEGO Rebel fleet. While you’re here, check out some of the other Star Wars-inspired designs we’ve covered.