Saturday, March 19, 2011

"Ten": The Prototype

The Prototype is the spacecraft our Hero uses to fly to the Villain's moon base. My goal was to build a futuristic looking jet that communicates the ability for great speed while also being "functional" (i.e. has a cockpit that a minifig can fit into and theoretically work). This required some LEGO skills that I do not have a great abundance of, but I like to think that after so many weeks work, I did a pretty good job of it.

The very first obstacle was the wings. My original vision was that it should be shaped like a dart and have three fins equidistant apart (think of a tiny cousin of the Star Wars Lambda-class shuttle). I quickly realized, however, that wings pointing downward would make it difficult for the gliding crash landing it has to perform on the moon's surface. Not wanting the wings to be boringly horizontal, I pointed the tips up to just a degree.

This is easier said than done, and the method of attaching the wings to the body at such an angle was quite a chore. Once the method of joining was decided upon, the shape of the wings was next. I really wanted to use SNOT methods with their construction (which is a LEGO term for Studs Not On Top). Having them in a forward-pointing orientation eventually allowed me to create the most aerodynamic design. I was particularly happy with some unique arch pieces from the recent "Prince of Persia" purchase for the back of the wings. A nice fluid design.

The cockpit needed to be detailed and visible, given that we will have multiple shots of the hero sitting inside it. I went through all the different LEGO windscreens there were available and found the best one for the job already in my collection. It had a wide curved pane that wouldn't distort or block the Hero's face in the shots during the flight. Finding the best way for it to fit the ship and appear to have an "airtight" seal was another chore, but eventually resolved itself. Of course, the most fun portion of this was putting in the instrumentation, including a new piece for the main computer screen right in front of the pilot.

And so, that's it. I'm going to take about a week's break now that it's done. Next week, we'll cover some changes I've already made to our cast of characters.

Next Week: The (Re)Cast

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