Lego Star Wars Star Destroyer

Lego Star Wars Star DestroyerThe time had finally come. I had longed to get my hands on the Ultimate Collectors Series Star Destroyer, but that $300 price tag was an effective deterrent. No more. A quick order from Lego.com (whose S&H is quite reasonable, I might add) and a week later a BIG box arrived in the mail.

I realized that I was in for quite a project when I opened the box and discovered four more boxes plus a 226-page spiral-bound instruction manual. The first task was to figure out a place to assemble this behemoth. After opening the four boxes, I realized that the living room coffee table was simply not big enough for the parts and assembly. I brought in a card table, but that still wasn’t enough room. I ended up dragging the kitchen dinette table into the living room. The two tables served as the part layout area, while the coffee table was the construction area. I then got to work.

Lego Star Wars Star Destroyer
The first day was spent sorting the parts. Normally when I start a Lego project I’ll just dump all the pieces out, do some minor sorting, and get to work. With over 3,100 pieces for this project, I knew that the old “pile of Legos” technique would needlessly add a lot of time to the assembly. I spent an hour and a half that first evening sorting parts. Some brick types were so numerous in the set that they were essentially pre-sorted (they were in separate bags).

Lego Star Wars Star Destroyer
After sorting, I spent another hour and a half on the top half of the ship’s frame. Unfortunately, my duty schedule dictated that I couldn’t stay up all night playing with Legos, so that ended the first session.

Lego Star Wars Star Destroyer
The next afternoon consisted of two hours of work. I assembled the bottom half of the ship’s frame (which went faster since it was the same as the top) and added the 16 detail plates to the frame. The display stand was the last thing worked on that evening.

Lego Star Wars Star Destroyer
Friday evening after work saw the construction of the port, ventral hull section and the engine cluster. The engine cluster was easy enough to put together, but was a challenge to attach to the frame. I swear I dislodged the main engines a half dozen times getting them attached.

Lego Star Wars Star Destroyer
The Saturday after receiving the set was the most productive. I was off duty, not on standby, and had the whole day free. This allowed 10 hours of off-and-on Lego construction. College football was on TV and the majority of the construction lay ahead.

Lego Star Wars Star Destroyer
The biggest challenge of this project was constructing the separate hull sections and attaching them to the frame. Our coffee table was barely wide enough to accommodate the full length of the hull sections. Once assembled, some trial and error was needed in figuring out the best way to get the hull section to stay. The hull sections are attached to the fame with three locking pieces along the port and starboard edges and a number of magnets along the centerline and aft edge. It’s a rather ingenious way to get the properly angled shape of the ship. However, I should note that the magnets on ventral hull sections did not hold too well when I had to move the model around. In fact, the weight of the hull sections caused them to dislodge entirely, forcing me to spend time reattaching. I eventually figured out how to move the thing around without resulting in too much reconstruction, but it did prove to be the most frustrating portion of the assembly.

Lego Star Wars Star Destroyer
Next came the base sections of the command tower. The command tower had its own unique challenges. The base sections of the tower have a slight slope from the centerline to port and starboard. This was accomplished in Lego form by allowing the sections to pivot ever so slightly. Between all the parts needed for the pivot feature and all the detail inherent in the command tower, it took about two hours just for that.

Lego Star Wars Star Destroyer
Once the tower base sections were complete I decided that I had dealt with Legos enough for one day, although I did skip ahead to the end of the instruction booklet and put together the in-scale model of the Tantive IV (the Rebel Blockade Runner). That was an easy enough ten-minute project.

Lego Star Wars Star Destroyer
I should note that the command tower sections were designed to be removed from the hull very easily. They don’t actually attach. They simply sit on posts on the frames. This feature is absolutely necessary since the only realistic way to move the entire model is in sections. The hull section is quite heavy, but as a result of the hull plate attachment method (magnets), actually quite fragile. With the command tower removed, the center spar of the frame serves as a carrying handle.

Lego Star Wars Star Destroyer
I should note that the command tower sections were designed to be removed from the hull very easily. They don’t actually attach. They simply sit on posts on the frames. This feature is absolutely necessary since the only realistic way to move the entire model is in sections. The hull section is quite heavy, but as a result of the hull plate attachment method (magnets), actually quite fragile. With the command tower removed, the center spar of the frame serves as a carrying handle.

Lego Star Wars Star Destroyer
On Sunday all that was left was the bridge itself and the little sign for the sticker with Star Destroyer information. Those two items were simple enough, but I discovered that the bridge was missing one piece. There was an extra piece that substituted well enough, and the affected section was on the port, aft side of the bridge (not normally visible), so I considered it good enough.

The project was finally complete. The kitchen table was once again available for meals (after I snapped some pictures of the completed model) and I had a huge Lego model to display. I was initially worried that the footprint of the display stand would be too big for my speakers to handle, but it turned out that it was just right. The Lego Star Destroyer does take up the entire corner next to the entertainment center, but it is so worth it. All told, I spent over fifteen hours on assembly.

Lego Star Wars Star Destroyer
Overall, the Lego Star Destroyer is a wonderful model. The model is very faithful to the source material with that Lego twist that’s so endearing. The level of detail is very impressive. The assembly of all those detail panels was very repetitive, but it ends up looking very good. It’s a wonderful display piece and would make a grand addition to anyone’s Star Wars collection. The price is a bit steep (as is the case with all Lego sets), but with over 3,100 pieces, challenging assembly, and a true sense of accomplishment at the end, it’s all worth it.

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