It all started with SNOT *. Well, not just SNOT, but also a desire to make at least three identical craft. I'd wanted to build a pair or wing or squad of fighters instead of just one ship, especially (like so many of us AFOL's!) because of my love of modern jet fighters. I've also been warming up to the recent trans-neon light blue color. With the addition of several of the new cockpit pieces used as radar from this Jack Stone set, I thought that I had an interesting shape to start with, which looked promising in combination with the new cockpit assembly from Alpha Team.
* SNOT, or Studs Not On Top, for my non-Lego friends, is a building technique where you attempt to orient the bricks and plates in many other directions other than the standard stacking way.
I liked the initial bulbous quality as it reminds of a bee's thorax. I decided to try for a trio of insectlike vehicles in the hopes of making my own swarm!
Three ships now!
Noses filled in . . .
At this stage I was liking the pincer-like mouth, the engine flaps and the landing gear.
It's funny to me how the angles in this shot make the whole ship look very triangular.
Still three ships, but not for long . . .
I didn't keep the chrome guns on very long but I did detail the mouth a bit more . . .
and added a door/landing ramp.
When I decided to have the engine flaps on all four sides, that's when I went down to two ships.
I also used the 2x2 hinge plate to make a beak-like addition to the mouth.
I still had not made a pilot. That ended up being one of the very last things completed.
I added a ladder to the door/landing ramp with one of those pneumatic "T" joints which lasted awhile.
I love the Classic Space retro rocket piece and try to work it into the vast majority of my models.
They stayed like this for several months while I worked on a Castle project. When I finally came back to them, I decided to ditch the sand blue for black and reduce two vehicles down to one. The main reason for this was to save time whenever making changes. Having to do them twice or even three times was quite tedious because teardowns and rebuilds last MUCH longer!
Almost There . . .
Major changes everywhere! I articulated the engines with click-hinge joints, and then went to quite a few lengths to try and hide them. It's quite a challenge and gives me a lot of respect for mech builders! I also swapped out the engine flap pieces for a dark red version of the windshield to try and enhance design synchronicity. I also think that the curves are more organic-looking.
A pilot was finally created, using the Star Wars Episode III ARC-170 Starfighter clone pilot torso as the base. I swapped sand blue for light blue to add some contrasting color and because the cockpit looks like an eye with that bright blue helmet!
However, my landing gear was sucking wind. This took quite awhile.
I expanded the dark red "wing" into something that I see the BuzzHawk using to rake open the side of a ship to trigger a giant rip of explosive decompression, then switch to the mouth to grab whatever cargo or precious things come floating out.
The wings were expanded a bit, and that made room for the vent bricks by the intakes, probably my favorite detail. I'm still very much a novice at "greebling", so happy accidents like that are always welcome!
I like this final raptor/insect combo. I think it makes for a hybrid similar to the ship in the computer game "Yars' Revenge" for the Atari 2600. A mighty fun game from much simpler times!
The new cockpit click-hinge made it possible for a computer to unfold from inside the ship.
There was room in the back for a survival pack and sidearm.
When in flight mode, the engines are rotated 3 clicks outward.
The landing gear stowed in flight mode.
Gear down and ready to land!
It took LOTS of experimentation until I reached this arrangement. The one on the main body was particularly challenging because I didn't want a lot of height. The click-hinge iteration of those bar/railing pieces proved to be a lifesaver!
The new 1x1 "cheese" slope is one of the best multi-purpose architectural Lego pieces in at least a decade, and it was also a boon in making one of the few hatch designs I've done that I really like. Now if only I could seal that gap in the middle. . .
I like the new flat chrome 1x1 round pieces under the grille tiles.
The bottom ramp folds down just far enough to reach the ground while at the same time clearing the landing gear without making too steep a slope.
I added the click-socket joints behind the vents in the wings so that the engines could have a little mech action and greatly increased maneuverability. I think the next couple of action shots are good examples of what I had in mind.
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