Neo FX Star Patroller
On my return to building creations with Lego bricks, I focused on modern day scenes such as harbours with ships and container cranes. These were some of things I’d wanted to build when I was a kid but never got round to. However, my childhood passion was building spaceships and imaginary bases on distant planets. This is the story of my first proper foray back into outer space, completed just over a year ago in June 2015.
After a while got to know a few AFOLs in the UK who built Space-themed designs– two of them had even written the definitive book on the subject! They encouraged me to get back into designing Space models again, and to try my hand at the ‘Neo-Classic Space’ (NCS) style. This style uses the same colour scheme as the original Lego Space range which appeared in the late 70s: grey, blue and translucent yellow for cockpits and windows. To bring things up to date it also makes use of the latest elements and employs building techniques to hide upward-facing studs for added realism.
After building a couple of rovers, it was time for me to try my first Neo-Classic spaceship. The initial plan was for a small three-pronged fighter, but after a few sketches and test builds it wasn’t going the way I wanted. I looked back at some old Lego catalogues for inspiration, and came across the 6931 FX Star Patroller from 1985. It was one of the last sets which used the original grey and blue colour scheme, although the designers gave it a dark blue canopy instead of a yellow one. The slanted rear wings and tall pillar reminded me of the three-pronged design in my sketches, so I decided to re-imagine the set at a larger scale using NCS techniques.
The final result turned out a bit larger than expected, and it took about six months’ work in my spare time to complete. My ship is 88cm long, 50cm wide and 31cm tall– the set that inspired it is about 30cm long. I’ve tried to reference many of the details in the original, such as the small exterior computers behind the cockpit area and the large engines on the middle wings. I’ve also made sure that the rear tower still has a gantry-like quality by using fence pieces mounted at angles. I’ve kept the flexible hoses feeding the rear engines, but beefed up the engine design here.
Despite being fairly large the ship is swooshable and has been designed to be carried by the central neck section. Most of the weight is at the back, so you can grasp the neck near where it meets the rear section and lift it. There are lots of overlapping plates in the neck to strengthen it, and even the pipes clipped along the sides help reinforce the structure. The rear wings are braced underneath so they don’t swing off when you swoosh her.
Other features include folding undercarriage and space for a small exploration rover in the rear cargo bay. The rear door swings down to become a ramp for it to drive out. When closed, the door can be locked in place so the rover doesn’t fall out the back. You can see more photos of the Star Patroller in this Flickr album.
August 6, 2016