We are now fully entrenched in October, but SHIPtember is still with us with this late entry by Tim Schwalfenberg. Living away from his home (and his LEGO collection), but still wanting to participate, Tim was convinced by a friend to construct an alt-build of the LEGO Saturn V and voila we have the Jupiter V. Making good use of printed elements Tim has created a sleek molded body using most of the Apollo launch vehicle, even using the stand as a kind of outrigger for a necessary splash of colour. Combine all this with some fancy editing skills and the Jupiter V looks quite capable of boldly going to a galaxy far, far away.
SHIPtember may be over, but there’s still plenty more spacecraft measuring over 100 studs in length left in the sea. Feast your eyes on Christian Benito‘s fin-tastic, Spelljammer-inspired SHIP. In addition to a snazzy design, this beast has an articulated tail, exposed “rivet-style” studs, crystallization along the head, and a heavy-duty turret gun. What else could a space whale SHIP ask for?
For more photos of Benito’s creation (including several interior and work-in-progress shots) check out his Flickr page.
SHIPtemper is by far my favourite month of the LEGO building calendar — we get to see inside the imaginations of the most talented builders and see what they envision for the future of humanity. This year, when friends Sean Mayo and Tyler Clites got together, not only did they create two of the most beautiful SHIPs to enter cyberspace this year, they also filmed a time-lapse of their build so we can see into their process.
Sean’s Kel Corona is a deep space scanning station that’s 110 studs long. Creating curves in LEGO is always a challenge, but the payoff is spectacular — the lines, the colours and the small touches all contribute to make this SHIP spectacular.
Meanwhile, Tyler’s Bishop is seen here on its voyage to the Yens galaxy. The color choices are brilliant, the dark blue and vibrant LEGO yellow contrasting against the grey. The angled protruding air intakes on the side are sublime and I am loving the use of the new squared macaroni pieces as the company logo.
Spaceships can come in all shapes and sizes, and this build by Inthert manages to capture an unusual form with brilliant brickwork. Its organic shape makes it stand out — a beautifully curved structure, something challenging to achieve in LEGO. The key in making a great spaceship model is making one believe what it can potentially do. What sells this is not only its aerodynamic shape and the depth of functional-looking details, but enough bulk and build around the engines that it genuinely feels like it could have sufficient thrust to make warp speed.
The side profile certainly gives you a sense of how curved and elegant the model looks…
Extending to a length of 125 studs — or for better scale, the length of 4 LEGO modular buildings — this battlecruiser dubbed the Basilisk was designed and built by Pico van Grootveld, and it’s a thing of stunning beauty. The belt frame built in yellow gives it a sturdy and unique texturing for a spaceship’s body. The army green all over makes it feel like it’s a tank-class battleship not to be messed with, especially with the menacing looking fins — or spikes shall I say!
The answer: You get a Hag Titan, or more precisely, this spacecraft by Shannon Sproule. Built for the annual SHIPtember building challenge, it just goes to show you don’t need thousands of pieces to make an interesting SHIP (Significantly Huge Investment in Parts). I love the way it looks like a half-mechanical, yet half-alive alien creature.
Early in the build process, Shannon made a neat collage showing some of his inspiration sources for the ship, including a Star Wars Trade Federation transport and a weird black blob with tendrils that is likely some kind of parasite (a shark’s egg case, actually), various creatures, and various lava fortresses. It is interesting to try and spot how each inspiration had small effects on the final build.
Not all great LEGO spaceships need to be colored variations of “realistic” gray, nor must they be actual ships in space. Master of motorized LEGO builds mahjqa has built a jarringly beautiful planetary exploitation crawler or “landship” named Khagaan, which has two smaller, fully motorized rovers to gather resources and space junk. The main vehicle is 43 inches long (109 cm), weighs 20 pounds (9 kg), and the builder says he used 25,000 LEGO pieces to create it.
It’s not often that we’re fooled into thinking that a LEGO video is a render rather than the real thing — it’s more frequently the other way around — but watch through to the end of mahjqa’s video to see behind-the-scenes footage proving that all but the background and dust are practical effects (the real-live feline interloper proves it).
SHIPtember is in the air, which means you get the best of the best (space)ships from the LEGO fan community being churned out all month long. You could almost smell the fumes from the fuel of competition out there. This elegantly elongated wingspan of a build by lokiloki29 is aesthetically pleasing in shape, and almost looks like an orbital satellite of sorts. Thinking of ships, I’m starting to wonder why I see more space(ships) instead of actual floating ships of the sea.
Intergalactic space is getting busy with SHIPtember traffic as the number of large LEGO spaceships begins to rocket. Here’s another fine looking vessel called the ZC Lapsadle. Built by TBB alumnus Simon Liu, it definitely meets the longer-than-100-studs criteria to be a SHIP. The flashes of Bright Light Orange are a standout feature along with the interesting two-prong shape of the bow. I love the central launch bays on either side — dark and deep enough to generate some intriguing shadows.
Do you think Simon actually built two of these ships or are we seeing some artistic jiggery-pokery at work?
What does September mean to you? Perhaps it signals the end of summer, when the days are noticeable shorter and leaves start to change colour. For a significant number of LEGO builders, September is SHIPtember when the aim is to build a large spaceship of at least 100 studs in length. Marcin Grabowski completed this huge dropship on 10 Sept after 29 days of building. His DragonFLY class dropship is certainly eye-catching with its lime and yellow hull. I love those central wings with the ball of complex machinery, wiring and ducts at the connection point.
Sometimes is is hard to get a sense of scale with this type of large model. I am happy to report that Marcin did exactly what any self-respecting LEGO SHIP builder should do…he swooshed it!
Fans of the TV show The Expanse will recognize this sleek vessel. Named by James Holden after Don Quixote’s horse, described in the book as a “stubby black wedge of metal” and visualized in the show as a lean, mean fighting machine, the Rocinante is a former MCRN Corvette Class ship previously known as the Tachi. Julie vanderMeulen had been mulling over building a LEGO version since seeing the show earlier this year. She decided to go with 2/3 minifig-scale to make it a nice, even 100 studs long.
As a proof of concept, she built the drive cone and then shelved it for a while. When she finally decided to give it a go, it just so happened to be the same day SHIPtember 2017 was announced, so she ended up speed building the whole model — and it is gorgeous! Julie has captured the Roci in all her glory, heavily armored and heavily armed — every detail has been stunningly sculpted in LEGO.
In the words of James Holden, “As long as we’re living and breathing, there’s more we can do. We just have to be strong enough.”
Deep into Ma.Ktober and with Novvember almost upon us, we’re still not quite done with SHIPtember yet! Most of the giant LEGO spaceships we’ve featured over the last few weeks have been lengthy, horizontal ships. LEGOLIZE IT MAN goes in a completely different direction with this huge vertically oriented spaceship mounted on docking clamps. I love the repeated circular motifs in white, along with the angled black section at the rear.
Note the minifigs for scale. This is actually a vertically oriented, minifig-scale starfighter rather than the typical microscale battlecruiser. Very cool indeed.