So my Lego building buddy was over again last week. While he played with the heavy duty airport fire truck from last time I decided I would take on building an airplane. And not just an airplane, but pretty much the single biggest Lego model I have ever attempted.
I started off with the front edge of the wings. I figured I would gang together a bunch of wing pieces into a MEGAWING and then scale the rest of the model based on the size the wing established. More than once in this process I was fairly certain I would not have enough pieces and while doing the wing I had the distinct thought I would run out of flat grays. I didn't, but the parts did start getting smaller and smaller.
From the wings I worked my way up and forward. I think I did an ok job managing the taper at the front and the back. Probably the rear is a little more successful. We had an extended discussion about whether this could be minifig scale or not. In the end it isn't. I think to accomplish that the body would have had to have been maybe a third wider and then all the other dimensions would have had to be upsized accordingly.
I'm not 100% thrilled with the windows. This is absolutely a case of not having the pieces in inventory. Instead of the big yellow blocks the windows should be single clear pieces alternating with single white pieces, but I don't have nearly that many of either in inventory. I also ran out of large flat white pieces doing the roof.
The blue stripe on the bottom was a proactive concession to conserve white bricks. Actually, one of the cool things about not being a minifig model is that the interior doesn't so much have to work. That let me use some double width bricks when singles were really called for. I also think the blue actually helps the body appear to roll away in a fashion that it really doesn't, so that's cool.
The landing gear were sort of an afterthought - or rather they just weren't so much a part of the plan. They work well enough for what it is, but the rear gear has no place to go. So it isn't very authentic.
In hind site I think I fumbled the tail a little. It could have been (should be?) much steeper than I did it. It seemed right to start the slant where the body started to taper in. Maybe it should be less linear and more logarithmic a progression. Also if I had thought I was putting in the stabilizers I could have done another grey stripe lower on the tail to make them blend in better.
If the landing gear was an afterthought then the engines got no thought at all. The wings looked a little bare and I figured I'd take a stab at some nacelles. These are the only part of the model where the construction axis shifts. I think part of what makes this thing cool is that for the most part the dots are up. In point of fact I actually had to do something fairly atypical to get the right angle pieces to work properly under the wings. All things being equal they really would rather be on top for the part to work properly. So in order to get the rear of the engine to mount I had to use a technic shaft through the center rather than the normal snap together arrangement.
I had to stand on a chair to get far enough away to get the whole thing into the frame for this photo.
Once again I finished off the build with the p-touch. If you are doing the build with a young kid you get more mileage out of a personalized label than just about anything else you can do.
So it could probably use some signal lights. The gear, tail, and engines are very much a first draft. The windows are what they are. But even with all of that I think this is a pretty kick ass build.
As far as the Lego playdate concept goes, I may have inadvertently raised the bar problematically. Only time will tell.