Category Archives: Modelling

Lego-ish Blockade Runner and Nebulon B Frigate

Back in March, I and my eldest son Dan both got Lepin STAR PLAN kits — from the same Lego-alike manufacturer that made my STAR WNRS Super Star Destroyer. I got a Tantive IV blockade runner, a kit I’d wanted for years but which Lego long ago stopped making.

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STAR WNRS. Yes, Star Wnrs

This looks like a Lego 10221 Super Star Destroyer, from the Ultimate Collector’s Series (UCS) Star Wars range.

But it’s not. It’s a Lepin 05028 Super Star Destroyer, from its Star Wnrs range — an original space-adventure series, like Ricky Rouse and Monald Muck. (Slightly closer to the camera, a third of the way back, is a Star Wnrs Imperial Star Destroyer, to the same scale.)

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Get your “Kylo Stabbed First” T-shirts!

Every Star Wars fan knows that, contra George Lucas’s revisionism in the Special Edition of the original movie, Han shot first. The moment I came out of seeing The Force Awakens, I knew I wanted to make this T-shirt, but I held off for a month so I could avoid spoilering anyone who wanted to see the film:


Above we see my good buddy Matt Wedel modelling the shirt as only he can. Want one of your own? Course you do! Buy the Kylo Stabbed First shirt here!

Upgrading my Lego Star Destroyer

In December 2008, after years of unrequited desire, I bought myself a second hand Lego UCS Imperial Star Destroyer, kit 10030. Because it was missing a handful of pieces, I got it surprisingly cheaply, for the ridiculously cheap price of £160. (That’s the £145 that I bid, plus £25 P&P, minus a tenner that the vendor very kindly unilaterally refunded on finding that it was less expensive to post than they’d thought.)

I topped it up with 77 pence worth of spare pieces from Lego’s pick-a-brick facility (plus £3.25 P&P) and suddenly I had a whole Star Destroyer for £163.25:

09. Lego-Star-Destroyer-10030

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We’re selling our model railway

Remember back in 2011 we started building a new model railway? (That blogging series didn’t really get off the ground — though I’ll finish it one day, because the actual railway has come out pretty nicely.) But in part zero of that series, I showed our older railway, built in 2004:


Well, we’re selling that railway now on eBay. We need to recover some space, and we can’t really justify keeping both old and new layouts.

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Building a model railway, part 2: track and hills

Last time I covered how we planned the layout of the new railway.  I made the last step look rather easy: having got the broad-brush of the layout right, it still took a lot of tweaking with different radius curves, putting in and taking out short straights, before we got the various elements to sit sufficiently straight and parallel without too much strain on the connectors.  But once that was finally done, the next step was to glue down the parts of the track that were to be at ground level, and weight them with heavy books until the glue dried:

(This picture and the next are taken from the “east”.)

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Building a model railway, part 1: planning the layout

Last time I showed you our old model railway.  In designing the new one, we had several constraints to honour.

First, we needed to be able to physically fit the new railway into available space.  The old one is 135 by 95 cm, and by pure coincidence it turns out that the space we want to put the new one into is the same size, plus maybe one or two cm in each direction.  So we made the new one exactly the same size as the old.  Here’s a sketch that I made of the old layout:

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Building a model railway, part 0: our old railway

As I write this, we’re on our all-too-brief summer holiday.  (This year I only get a week with the family, as I have two palaeontology conferences later this year that eat up too much of my annual leave.)  We’re taking the time at home this year, to avoid all the packing-and-travel hassle, and spending part of the time building a model railway.

Here’s one we made earlier:

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