Sometimes you and your buddies see something nice that you want to build in LEGO. It could be anything, inspiration is all around us. I (Mansur “Waffles” Soeleman) have a close circle of fellow builders that we like to call “vehicle dudes” and “teal squadron.” Consisting of Caleb Ricks, Gubi, Thomas Jenkins, Pande (Malen Garek), Tim Goddard, Tom Loftus (Inthert) and more, we get on a group call on Friday evenings and build. During this time, we discuss things that happen in the world of LEGO, Star Wars, and everything in between. It is during one of these remote group build sessions that we discovered artist Spacegooose and their colourful starfighter drawings.
It was their similarity to Star Wars ships that drew us into building them. Their varying styles and functions have enough similarity to belong to one group, and so our builds became a small collaboration. With blessings from the artist who eagerly awaits their designs in LEGO form, we decided to include our own artistic spin as well as matching the original artwork.
One of the main appeals of Star Wars is its homage to classic genres like serialised westerns, samurai movies, and Arthurian legends. The Mandalorian presents that very well, with the titular character being a rugged gunslinger with a heart of gold helping various people in each episode. Thomas Jenkins captures one instance during one of his visits to Tatooine where he helps defeat a massive Krayt Dragon. Presented in a simple way: the Dragon bursting out of the sand, and the Mandalorian escaping its jaws.
The Krayt Dragon is complex in its angles and techniques, but captures the organic shape of a reptilian head. The floating sand and rubble is a nice addition and conveys a sense of motion from the rising beast. But the way Thomas got the Mandalorian to float is just ingenious. Using skeleton and droid arms to create columns of smoke from the minifig that is firmly attached to the rest of the build. Just like that, these few elements capture a simple moment. In a way, it is quite minimalistic, with very little need for anything else.
When it comes to racing around the galaxy, it’s hard to beat the ship that made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs, but that won’t stop Thomas Jenkins and their racing relay team from trying, built for the fan contest Space Jam 2020 relay racing category. I’ve been staring at that front section for quite a while, and I can not figure out how that thing stays together. It really does look like it’s about to fall apart, but at least it’s fast.
If this racing skiff looks cobbled together from spare parts, that’s probably because it is. The racers have to travel over some pretty rough terrain, and sometimes something important falls off.
Junk traders and scrappers are very common hobbies or occupations in the Star Wars universe. Not everyone can be a top politician from Coruscant, and in the outer rim territories dealing in junk is practically a way of life. Thomas Jenkins’s LEGO model certainly embodies the ingenuity and scrappy spirit of such a universe.
What I love most about this model is that it is truly from the imagination, it is not something we’ve seen on screen, but it most certainly looks like it could be from Star Wars. Of course the build utilizes many key elements that create the overall aesthetic, most notably the sail from Jabba’s barge and some imperial cargo boxes. The dark red and white bricks and tiles utilized in the bottom fin and two side-wings give the appearance of parts scrapped from Republic ships, while the grey elements give off an imperial vibe. The model as a whole looks like a speeder bike mixed with a hang-glider and a T-16 Skyhopper; it is certainly something I could imagine gliding around on Tatooine.
For the Rebellion! Arriving just in time to save the day is the Rebel Transport, as seen in this LEGO creation by Thomas Jenkins. If you know your Rebel starships, you’d see many similarities between this ship and the U-wing, made famous by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Jenkins’ ship features shortened wings and a pair fewer engines from the normal U-wing, but also sports a rear wing connector and a bubble turret.
Another detail I didn’t notice until my third look-through of this build is that the main body of the ship can slide forwards and backward within the wingspan. I’m honestly not sure what the purpose of this feature is, but frankly, I don’t care because it looks so dang cool.
With several soldiers loaded onboard and a speeder bike prepped to launch, this Rebel Transport is ready to deploy anywhere the Alliance sends it.
I’m a fan of the realm of possibilities in the Star Wars galaxy and especially for vehicles that could have been taken a page out of the storylines. This Junk Speeder by Thomas Jenkins gives that vibes of a single-engine mashup of what a scavenger or thrifty junkyard dealer would have up for sale or trade. For a moment, I would think this would be a perfect transport for Ewoks if they decided to venture outside of their forest dwellings. What makes this a sturdy build are likely the technic parts and pins integrated across its wingspan.
Check out Thomas’s other features that we’ve covered from a galaxy far far away.
The sequel Star Wars movies brought us the MG-100 StarFortress SF-17 Bomber. Nevermind trying to figure out how bombs can drop in the vacuum of zero-gravity space. Forget that they seemed to be dangerous fiery tinderboxes that would engulf its crew and anyone else within farting distance. They were neat and rather imposing visually, and when it comes to selling movie tickets and merchandise, that’s all that matters, really. Thomas Jenkins gives the Resistance bomber the LEGO midi-scale treatment and the result is quite good. LEGO sold us a minifig scale 75188 Resistance Bomber back in 2017 with, I would imagine, some moderate success. But this model, though smaller, seems to portray its shaping and proportions better. It just goes to show that you don’t need a massive payload of bricks to drop an accurate looking bomber like this one.
We’ve seen Han Solo’s pride and joy in this scale before in 2009’s 7778 Midi-scale Millenium Falcon. But in the 11 years since that release building techniques in the world of LEGO aficionados have evolved.
The way Thomas built the forward mandibles, for example, is a departure from every official rendition of the Falcon we’ve seen to date, and in fact many fan creations. The closest I can recall is Gol’s sleek version from late last year which also used slopes to achieve the acute angles. He’s also smartly used a smaller version of the wedge plate flap techniques of it’s larger siblings, and I also genuinely appreciate the effective choice to simply alternate between two different molds of the jumperplates to achieve The Force Awakens-era rectenna.
This isn’t even the first Falcon we’ve featured in a month or even in a week, but you can trust that as long as savvy builders keep coming up with fun and interesting ways to reinterpret the YT-1300 Light Freighter, we’ll share it with you.
I love the LAAT gunship from Star Wars, so when I saw it was a candidate for an upcoming UCS set I was thrilled. Better known as the Republic Gunship, it is probably my favorite Clone Wars ship. It has great blasters, a refreshingly not-grey color scheme, an interesting shape, cool doors on the sides; it’s essentially a cross between a UH-1 Huey, an A-10 Warthog, and a spaceship. And I love it. This rendition by Thomas Jenkins is awesome, with elegant curves and smoothly-transitioned angles. Because that’s the trick with the LAAT; there are so many different curves and angles that fitting them all in while maintaining a solid model is exceedingly difficult. But this one succeeds, and even appears to include Jedi Bob.
Modified bricks with curved tops make for some smooth curves, improving the square edges of all the official LEGO renditions. Also a major improvement is how Thomas made the wings and doors of bricks rather than plates; this allows them to be smooth and solid without needing a ton of tiles, which always looks a bit off due to the slightly rounded edges of tiles. The interior looks smooth, too, and big enough for minifigs without being excessively large. If LEGO does release a UCS version of this ship, I hope the designers borrow some design elements from models like this one. I would buy one in a heartbeat. Did I mention I love it?
The recent release of 10266 NASA apollo-11 lunar lander has inspired LEGO fans to create some great models, like this lunar rover by Robson M. But Thomas Jenkins has made his own interpretation of the lander, using some interesting parts for the legs — the bicycle frame works quite well. I also like the lunar landscape, brick-built with slopes and arches, complete with craters and moon rocks.
Every installment of the Star Wars movie franchise has brought a plethora of new spaceships and other vehicles which continue to inspire LEGO builders around the world. In addition to the movies, the six seasons of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series also introduced many more. One of the more distinctive fighters to emerge was the v-19 Torrent. This LEGO creation by Thomas Jenkins shows off some of the features of this highly maneuverable 1 man fighter.
Inspired by the F4U Corsair, the V-19 Torrent was designed for vertical landing and take-off, with the folded wings allowing more fighters to fit in the hanger of the Venator class star destroyers used by the Galactic Republic during the Clone Wars. Thomas has very skillfully recreated the clean angles using a number of angled slopes and Technic lift arms.
For many Star Wars fans, the jury is still out on where the prequels stand. However, it’s likely that few would argue with the quality of their vehicle designs. I’d agree with Thomas Jenkins, who considers the ARC-170 Starfighter to be one of the franchise’s best ships. It’s also woefully underrepresented in LEGO, which makes his latest creation such a treat.
It’s a clean, compact build with carefully modeled lines. Positioning the ship into its attack configuration reveals grey and white colour blocking on the inner foils, which I find particularly pleasing. Overall, it brilliantly captures the ship’s unique proto-X-wing theme and reminds us just how talented those prequel designers were.