The LEGO fan community goes in deep with giant space vehicles in SHIPtember. Adam Dodge, however, has taken a couple of interesting twists on the theme by going with a ship that’s not only super-wide rather than super-long, but also super-underwater. Based on the adorable animated adventures of the Octonauts, this is one studly tribute to the Octoray craft. The lines are crisp and clean, the wing-based turbines are spot-on, and the transparent cylinders used for the front windows are a really nifty solution. Even better, this Adam build this vehicle as treat for his son. That adds a big dollop of “awww” on top of the “wow”.
Are you looking for more undersea adventures? Check out other featured submarines!
Sometimes the motivation to build a SHIP (Seriously Huge Investment in Parts) comes from a really cool part, like a Minifig boat, or a tooth-shaped shield. Other times, the inspiration comes from a pile of bright-colored parts. This ice-cream wrapper-looking SHIP by Don Wilson uses a whole bunch of azure and yellow parts that make it really stand out against the inky blackness of space. Like any decent SHIP, there is no shortage of greebly details along the sides of the main body, and the asymmetrical disk thingy (I’m not at all sure as to its purpose) attached to the starboard side has some mind-blowing LEGO geometry at work. One of my favorite parts, though, is the dark gray plate at the front top, which stands out in a ship with very few visible studs.
Back at it again with the SHIPtember fare, we have an intricate, industrial SHIP by builder Sunder_59. This model is the latest of Sunder’s giant spaceships and there was plenty of planning as usual. This tanker, the ORS Hinduan, features plenty of brick-built cylindrical and spherical elements within its asymmetrical design. The shape of the ship, especially with the elevated bridge, is reminiscent of naval freighters. Equipped to refuel ships large and small, this side of the ship has landing pads and refueling stations above each tank while two large, extended refueling rigs are attached to the bottom.
Sensor and communications arrays extend from the front of the ship, though I imagine the pill-shaped section jutting out from the base is a form of docking mechanism. On the other side, the detailed, exposed elements of its large engines fit into a near-future, “hard sci-fi” model, like the ships of The Expanse. Known as greeble amongst builders, the mechanical components that Sunder has built into the engines elevate the design to something more realistic. For example, the orange spheres held in the rigging are probably reactors which is a delight to see accounted for within a design. The left side of the ship includes (what I imagine to be) an extendable solar panel as well as different piping around the tanks.
Some close-up shots give you a chance to appreciate the various techniques that Sunder_59 used to sculpt this. The bridge and refueling platforms are wonderful details. The bright yellow is eyecatching but compliments the blue(s), grey, and white of the ship’s body.
This builder seems to really understand how to build a SHIP from design to the challenges and benefits of space. For example, note the dark grey booster sections on the front and back of the ship which help adjust its heading and orientation. I can’t wait to see what Sunder_59 brings us in SHIPtember 2022.
LEGO Master Builder Tyler Clites has delivered a truly out of this world contribution to SHIPtember with the Zosma Starcruiser. The impressive shaping alone would make this a stand-out. The individual triangular sections, which make ample use of negative space, are gorgeous. And the way those sections sit askew on the larger frame evokes the sharp, elegant angles of a piece of jewelry. But, beyond the shape of the craft, Tyler’s gone the extra mile and used color to incredible effect. The way the thin lining on the ship moves from red to orange to yellow creates a gradient that almost tricks your eye.
It’s hard not to see these colors pulsing across the ship as it traverses through the night sky. Do the colors send a message? Is it an energy transfer that powers the ship along? Are we seeing some alien warp drive in action? Let your imagination run wild as you admire Tyler’s work here, or any of the other amazing ships from our SHIPtember coverage.
You ever ask yourself “what if Lord of the Rings was a space epic?” Well, builder Steven Wayne Howard certainly entertained the thought. Another SHIPtember contribution, this space citadel was named for the dreadful Mouth of Sauron. Commanded by the lieutenant of the Barad Dur system in the Middle Space galaxy, this terrifying craft laid waste to planets and systems in the name of Sauron’s dominion. With a face like that, it’s no wonder it’s rumored to be the remnants of the galactic tyrant himself. The mouth, spinal cord, and brain are now repurposed under the watch of the black hole known as the Eye of Sauron.
The annual LEGO fan celebration of SHIPtember has drawn to a close, and that means we get to revel in some really great, and huge, spaceships! My personal favorite this year is the B.O.A.T. by Julie vanderMeulen. This Blockade Out-runner Agricultural Transport is more than just 102-studs of streamlined goodness, it’s also a really clever way to make use of all those rubber rafts that pile up in your collection. Julie describes their use here as “24 individual bulk cargo pods…capable of delivering anything from apple pies to live zebras.” Also noteworthy is is the use of old Alpha Team: Mission Deep Freeze printed 12×3 wedges. It’s apt, as it’s also very cold…in space.
Spaceships come in all sizes, too. Check our our archive of awesome LEGO spaceships for even more out-of-this-world creativity.
With the end of September comes the completed SHIPtember LEGO models created by expert builders from around the world. Builder Isaac Snyder is one of those, who shared his battle cruiser with The Brothers Brick.
The Commiere Battle Cruiser is ready for battle. In fact, it’s fresh out of the drydock, built during the annual SHIPtember event. This model has a ton of repeated parts but it’s built in a way that doesn’t give off repetition. I love the use of tan, orange, and dark sand-green. These colors contrast so well with the dark grey, especially around the engines.
I’m also impressed at the pieces used that aren’t just standard bricks. The engines, for example, are made in part of brown Bionicle torsos. The pointed orange pieces in between the dark sand-green are feet from the Hero Factory figures. It’s a true SHIPtember starship!
They don’t just call it SHIPtember because it’s a time to build spaceships. It’s about a Seriously Huge Investment of Parts. And this spacefaring fuel tanker clocks in at more than 21,000 of ‘em. Even for a digital build, that’s a huge investment. In fact, the build is so big that builder ReD M’s computer almost couldn’t handle it. Attempts to render the image resulted in some programs crashing. Thankfully it all worked out, and we can admire all the work that went into this behemoth. I love how the orange and blue work as accent colors against the largely gray spacecraft. And there’s so much detail. There’s barely a surface on this ship that isn’t decorated with a bar or a clip or a paint roller. No wonder the computer struggled to bring it to life.
For LEGO fans like myself, September is a very special month. Known as SHIPtember to us space nerds, the month presents a challenge for builders to create a giant spaceship at least 100-studs long. Though many take this to mean length, some builders also play with the width and height of thier builds to meet the requirements. Enter builder Oscar Cederwall and his ship, the Claymore. This thin, lanky design features an interior mechanism for mirrored movement of the wings. According to Oscar, also know as o0ger, this allows fleets of these to be stowed on larger vessels. The single stud width of the main body was a design challenge that the builder solved with the two detailed black sections that run the length of the ship. These greebled portions make up a part of the tandem plasma cannons at each end of the body while also holding the structure of the ship together, with some help from the engine. This thin design gives the ship a small profile in firefights making it a formidable foe that cuts through the enemies much like its namesake.
This design is based on a concept by Theo Stylianides and it proved to be a delicate build that even broke apart during the build process. In addition to the black stripes on the side, the wing folding mechanism is held in a Technic structure that also holds the top and bottom together.
This is hands down one of my favorite months, especially as a participant. Seeing SHIPs like Oscar’s always excites and inspires me. The massive vessels that builders pump out during this month are a wonder to behold. Especially when they render it into a space scene and really immerse our imagination.
LEGO builder Cagerrin wasn’t planning on participating in SHIPtember, but a late-night bolt of inspiration couldn’t be ignored. And so the Aposemate Sidputante of the Nth Coterie was born.
After a year spent mostly designing seafaring vessels, it’s no wonder that Cagerrin’s inspiration for this interstellar digital build is rooted in the ocean. While there’s no doubt that this behemoth is a product of a technologically advanced intelligence, there are plenty of details that give it an almost organic quality. I particularly like the way the alternating pattern of bars and magic wands create realistic spines on the sides of each arm.
Some spaceship builders take their inspiration from science fiction movies or video games, while others use real-world inspiration, like NASA. But some of the most interesting sources, in my opinion, are naval vessels. Maybe it’s because I remember watching Starblazers (Space Battleship Yamato) when I was twelve. Battleships, fighter jets, and submarines in space? Count me in. From the looks of this amazing space destroyer, Ryan Olsen agrees. His original SHIP (built for SHIPtember) looks like a combination of a submarine and a battleship, with a symmetrical central fuselage bristling with an array of railguns, cannons, missile launchers, and even a few Modulex parts, is full of great details. One detail I love are several hardpoints or small docking ports along the center of each side where smaller ships could dock.
Another naval inspiration is the complex bridge and conning tower, which is covered in sensors, targeting scanners, and communication relays.
A fun fact about Ryan’s SHIP building process is that he often starts his models in a digital format using only parts that exist in real life, in currently available colors for added authenticity, and to explore many details quickly in order to perfect his designs. With his digital design complete, he created a fun info-graphic to point out the many points of interest on his space battleship.
September is quickly coming to an end, and you know what that means… pumpkin spice (the spice must flow). But it also means an end to one of the most challenging and rewarding LEGO monthly build contests. That epic challenge known to many as SHIPtember. SHIP in this case stands for seriously huge investment in parts, as demonstrated by this tall boy by Andreas Lenander. One of the hallmarks of a great ship is its greebles, those seemingly random bits and bobs. Andreas uses them sparingly to spice up the large top section.
There are lots of subtle curves throughout the build like the small repeated section on the lower sides, and the long smoothed out front section. I also like the tangle of black pipes leading to the main thruster, but I think my favorite part is the large eye-like orange ring on the side. Another nice part usage is the bit of straight roller coaster track used to attach an assortment of sensors.