Conspiracy theorists claim that the pyramids of various ancient civilizations were all inspired by aliens coming from outer space. Ancient peoples were clearly not smart enough to figure out engineering, they claim, so they must have had help from elsewhere. Plus, there are strange figures engraved on them, and how do you explain the striking resemblance of one pile of cut stones to another? I mean, compare those Egyptian pyramids to the Babylonian ziggurats and the Mayan temples. Exactly the same. And don’t forget the most conclusive evidence of all, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Well, builder Ivan Martynov provides us with some insight to solving the mystery. He has made an entry into SHIPtember that is both a space ship and an ancient temple.
There are the stairs to reach the summit, a shrine at the top, and what appears to be a six-legged beetle (or is that an alien form, carved crudely?). Then there are thrusters, power cores and other bits of advanced technology. It all makes perfect sense. This ship touched down in several places on Earth, inspired worship and emulation, and then left to visit other worlds. Do you believe the conspiracy theorists yet? Maybe you should.
There are a lot of variation to the giant spaceships created for SHIPtember (SHIP = Significantly Huge Investment in Parts). Many of them draw inspiration from classic LEGO themes, video games, or movies. Sometimes, however, you see something new from this month long building challenge. For instance, Sheo‘s Hitchhikers has some fascinating shapes, unusual colors, and great part usage. One standout detail is the Death Star piece at the core of the Technic construction at the aft of the ship. I also really like how the main body isn’t built with a standard “studs to the ceiling” approach. The angled bricks give the Kirby-esque detailing a very energetic feel.
In a nice recursive touch, the Hitchhiker has some smaller hitchhikers of its own. These four micro ships also have some unique color choices and part usage. I particuarly like the use of a minifigure hat and flower petals on the blue and red model. The roller skates on the red cargo hauler are pretty sweet, too.
The challenges of building LEGO spaceships is getting the different parts to work together to create something aesthetically pleasing, quasi-functional, and just plain cool. This difficulty is magnified with larger ships, especially when you enter the realm of a SHIP (Significantly Huge Investment in Parts, a LEGO spaceship 100+ studs in length). Sometimes one spaceship isn’t enough; you need to build a whole fleet, and that is what Ryan Olsen did. Ryan shared with TBB that his fleet has been slowly growing for eight years, with the mid-size one with the prominent white stripe (roughly in the middle of the formation) being his first. He also drew inspiration from Pierre E. Fieschi for the color scheme and the video game Homeworld.
The studs-not-on-top (SNOT) approach to the spaceship in the foreground makes for a sleek design, and the white stripes, including diagonals, are expertly integrated into the hull. The asymmetrical design works wonderfully, too, with the long appendages coming off the side from near the large reactor core. Hinge bricks do a great job of making a smoothly angled bridge. Everything fits so well, and nothing seems out of place. This fleet is cruising the stars in style!
When I think of spaceships, I think mostly drab grey things. This is probably because my imagination has been so strongly formed by Star Wars and the dingy industrial feeling of that universe, evident in almost every Imperial vessel (like the Star Destroyers) and the Millennium Falcon. ZCerberus bucks that trend with a glorious orange SHIP (Significantly Huge Investment in Parts) called Dominion. I know I would submit to its dominion if such a craft appeared on my scopes, because it has enormous cannons of some sort bristling off of every surface, plus a full squadron or twenty of smaller fighter ships docked inside its hull. The greebles on this thing are worth admiring, as they all look perfectly positioned to do something technical, like vent things or convey things or connect things. The whole surface is highly detailed without looking cluttered, which, in my numerous, and all failed, attempts at building a SHIP myself, I have learned to be a sophisticated skill.
I love the angled hull plates with the dark orange striping, with the white striping and brick-built lettering (does this belong in classic – or neo-classic, more specifically – space, with the “LL” designation?). 2×2 modified bricks with side grooves make for some great cannons on the side, and some 1×2 log bricks are just as good on the top in a similar role. The side cannons are mounted on round turrets made from 6×6 radar dishes, which fit neatly into the undersides of some 1x8x2 arches. All in all, this is one of the sturdiest looking SHIPs I have seen, as well as one of the coolest. Check out Z’s Flickr to see more space ships (not SHIPs) in the same color scheme, all part of an epic fleet. I hope it keeps growing!
We’ve featured a few large LEGO spaceships for SHIPtember already this month, and with September over, there is sure to be more to come. But I think my favorite entry so far would have to be this lunar transport ship by Finn Roberts which — thanks to a beautifully staged photo — looks like a clear glimpse into our not-so-distant future, where cargo payloads and crew make regular round-trip journeys between the earth and the moon. The model makes great use of structural support like this scaffold part to ground it in current aerospace manufacturing. The heat-shielded crew capsules and the large solar arrays provide the perfect additions.
And here at turn 16, space-racing fans we have Brendan Mauro taking the lead! Mauro followed by Nice Part Usage! Coming up in third by a narrow margin we have Classic Space Nerd followed closely by Train Guys Are Jerks, A Wee Nip of the Good Stuff and Vintage 1×5! Why Is My Mom Using The Eggplant Emoji? is coming up in seventh place followed closely by Dad Probably Doesn’t Read This Stuff Anyway! This could still be anyone’s race, ladies and gents! What an exciting day at the races!
Large spaceships get the geeky type quite excited, and we LEGO builders are some of the geekiest. Over the decades, this has lead to a standardized criteria of what qualifies as a large space ship – 100 studs in length. While I do love every large spaceship out there (as the especially geeky type of person I am), I wonder if this criteria has started to impede creativity. With an annual celebration of large LEGO spaceships (also known as SHIPs) every September, the bricks of the world have been concentrated to bring us many elongated spacecraft that quite often measure exactly or just over 100 LEGO studs long. What about bulkier 90 or 80-stud spaceships that so rarely get made? On the other side of the coin, this cultural phenomenon has been a great source of inspiration to builders who may not have otherwise built a big hunk of space metal, not even a medium sized one! Another point is that this common perception of what qualifies as “large” is a uniting factor in the community.
The third side of this (apparently three-sided) coin are builds that are basically the definition of an elongated spaceship, but still manage to impress immensely! Anthony Wilson brings us a creation that has some amazing textures, negative space and colour blocking. What I love most about Anthony’s Pelicon-3 is the bridge area, with windows on either side, revealing a busy interior filled with trophy minifigures.
I’m not saying it was aliens–but it was aliens! Builders Aaron Newman and Tristan Cain teamed up to build a close encounter of the ancient kind. Cleverly named “Parthenonsense,” the scene depicts a microscale Greek-inspired city being visited by a red “chariot of the gods.” The city itself is enjoyable to look at, with curved walls, a bridge, and buildings of varying heights. I particularly enjoy the UFO, which has a self-sustaining habitat under its dome. The beam of light over the lighthouse is a nice touch, almost as if the spacecraft is engaging in oneupmanship with its terrestrial subjects.
To learn more about the model, visit Aaron’s personal blog post on “Parthenonsense.”
Fans of the short-lived television series Firefly will instantly recognize this LEGO version of Serenity built by Richard Van As. His model does a fantastic job of capturing the look of the sturdy, cobbled together freighter that was as much a cast member as her human crew. The model features an opening cargo bay door, rotating thrusters, landing gear, and docking for two short-range shuttles. The ship has several off-colored parts to represent the many repairs and replacements installed over her years of service. If you squint, you can almost see Wash’s collection of plastic dinosaurs through the cockpit viewport.
For more Serenity, you can build your own, or check out this shiny large scale model.
Bringing a bit of far-future tech to the exploration of Mars, this Red Morn One drop shuttle by Rat Dude is a gorgeous take on a LEGO microscale spaceship. Alternating with smooth curves and intricate details, the carrier hauls a huge habitat to the Martian surface.
The ship is loaded with great textures, but one of my favorites is the old-school Bionicle feet, which actually made their first appearances on the first generation of Bionicle characters back in 2001. Appearing here in tan, they frame the engine thrusters and make a great repeating pattern with the landspeeder engines on top.
Back in 2017, Maelven teased the LEGO community with First Contact: The Drone. This small, intricate build fit in nicely with Maelven’s other vehicular creations, but would remain an enigma for years. Was it a spaceship? A creature? A bit of both?
Fast forward to 2019, and the reveal of First Contact: Ktulu Awaken! We finally learn where the drone came from, but we’re left with even more questions than answers. Described as a “scary alien thingy” all we know for sure is that it’s huge. Clocking in at just under 100 studs, this monster of the space lanes appears to be part squid, part Reaper from Mass Effect, part battleship, and maybe even a little electric guitar thrown in for good measure. Whatever its true nature, it contains some really excellent building techniques and part usage.
Red Technic panels provide the suggestion of mandibles, while the rest of the red hull sweeps back in well-constructed curves. Touches of white detailing in the body echo the biologic greebling, tying the whole build together. The use of a tan dome for the central “eye” also works really well (if that is an eye). The underside has a very organic feel, with the repetition of Bionicle feet and other tan elements giving a very lobster-esque vibe.
Whatever the true nature of Ktulu ultimately is, there’s no denying it’s an awesome creation.
I love spaceships. I might not be Benny the 1980-Something Space Guy, but I was born in the 1980s and my name is Benjamin. I used to build spaceships all the time from my modest LEGO collection, mostly small, single-seat fighters. This spaceship, built by seb71, hits all the things I love about spaceships. It has elegant lines, attractive curves, a coherent color scheme, enough greebly texture to be believable, and massive propulsion units; it looks perfect for picking up and swooshing around while making engine vrooms and blaster pew-pews and running around the living room. I mean, everyone does that with a spaceship when they are done building it, right?
In addition, it has great striping, lovely integration of sloped bricks and different angles, and the single-seat cockpit that brings me back. Of course, this is way bigger and way better than anything I built as a kid. While smaller elements give satisfying greebles, like the gear rack and the macaroni tube, the real star of the show is the hot air balloon piece as a reactor cover. It works perfectly. I love that the reactor is still visible underneath the housing, too. The twin-pronged fuselage gives the ship a distinct Vic Viper feel, making me hope that we’ll see more from seb71 around NoVVember.