It is really, really, really hard to find time to spend finishing my LEGO SDF-1. Fortunately I am an entrepreneur and I love it, but unfortunately it leaves me very little free time, even on weekends! I took a break this Saturday and my wife was out of the house all day visiting friends leaving me alone with my favorite LEGO project. I didn’t get that much accomplished today, but still it was fun. Here is a snapshot of the bottom of the legs. I think I’m going to switch out the boosters though:

To give you an idea of the weight of the ship so far, just one hallow leg alone is 3 lbs. I don’t want to guess what the weight of the entire ship is now, but please know it is heavy! Because of the weight, I’m using six 1×1 plates (you can see on the far right) as pegs for the ship to stand on when either standing upright in crusier mode or after transformation. I would rather the 1×1 plates get scratched up over time on surfaces than the entire bottom of the legs. Continue reading

SDF-1 Arms and the Start of Macross City

Yesterday I was able to construct the arms (not the carriers) of the SDF-1. Fortunately I had about 90% of the white pieces I needed. I plan on using a Technic brick assembly to connect the carriers to the ship and to hold the carriers horizontally after transformation. This assembly is a huge challenge because it has to handle a lot of weight post transformation; only testing will tell if my design theory will work. I foresee post transformation the arms and carriers will be another section of the ship that will require glue to provide extra strength to manage the weight and stress.

There is not really anything extremely complex about my arm design, just turntables to rotate the arms out and wedge plates to get the angle effect. The rest is just white bricks, tiles and plates. The photos below best show the functionality:

Note the arm above is still under construction.

My apologies that this is not the most up to date image of the arms. The image above is of Continue reading

Where is Macross City?

Macross City Views

I want to insert a miniature version of Macross City within the SDF-1 but I have been conflicted as to where to put it. In the movie Macross: Do You Remember Love? the city’s location was shown to be in the right leg and that location was confirmed with the scale SDF-1 model that was released last year:

Yamato DYRL Collectible version.

External view from the legs into Macross City from Macross: Do You Remember Love?

But in the Macross series I have not found any references to the exact location of Macross City within the SDF-1. I always used to think the city was in the white center section of the ship until I viewed DYRL and observed that it was actually contained in the leg of the ship.

Macross City within the leg.

I have scoured the internet for a ‘Macross City Map’, ‘Macross City Location’, etc. and mostly what I get are images and information about the DYRL version, not the series version. As I mentioned when I started this project, there is much more information and pictures available for the DYRL version, it is by far more popular.

I’m almost positive for the creators of the original series details such as the exact location of Macross City within the SDF-1 was not a priority concern.  They could not have predicted that the series would be so popular that 30 years later people would be building the SDF-1 from LEGO and wondering where to place Macross City.

Another point about the lack of information concerning the inside of the SDF-1, if the right leg contains the city then what is the left leg? Is it the barracks? Is it empty? Does it warehouse supplies and/or ammunition? Does it house Valkyries and Destorids? Yes, no? Also what is in the center section? What is in the other outer sections? There is no map (or least I haven’t found one) that details how the inside of SDF-1 is layed out – for either the original Macross series or Macross: Do You Remember Love?

At this point I anticipate my LEGO SDF-1 to have three empty compartments:  the legs and the main center section. I haven’t yet decided if I’ll follow the DYRL template and place Macross City inside the right leg. I also haven’t decided what to place in the other empty compartments, for example should I make it a space for a mini-barracks, should I create mini-Valkyries and store them there, etc.?. At this point I’m not too concerned about it because when I get to that point of the build it would mean I would have successfully accomplished building the legs and the second half of the ship and my LEGO SDF-1 would almost be finished!

Building Techniques

For all my past LEGO SDF-1 models I have used the same building technique. I always start from the main guns and work my way back to the legs and then out to the arms and carriers, see below:

Sections 1 and 2 should be the easiest sections by far.  They are pretty straight forward except for a few color scheme issues. For each of these sections I plan to use different techniques and pieces to achieve a more detailed and accurate model, nonetheless Sections 1 & 2 should be still relatively easy.  Section 3 will be a bit difficult because this section overlaps section 5 and I need to figure out a way to have to be able to transform. I have never built this section before with the overlap so this will be a new challenge.

Section 4 will be somewhat difficult because this is the center of the ship and integral to the transformation, I will need to find the optimal point for rotation. Plus at this stage I haven’t decided yet if this will be the place for Macross City (I know in DYRL the city is located in the leg but I haven’t found any images of where the city resides within the SDF-1 in the original Macross series). Plus the bridge section is another part that will be extremely challenging to build because of the slopes, the moving parts required for transformation as well as the scale of the bridge and radar.

Section 5 has traditionally been the most difficult part to build, one of the most challenging features is that during transformation the legs slide down (and out) to give the SDF-1 additional height. For LEGO this could be an issue, especially impacting the sturdiness of the model. The model will need to stand and be able to support the weight of the top and middle sections as well as the main guns…I don’t think I have it quite figured out how I will achieve that. Also in the past I have had issues with the long slope of the legs as well as getting the length and height of the legs correct as far proportion to the rest of the ship.

As if Section 5 wasn’t hard enough, Section 6 is the section I am drawing a complete blank on – this I anticipate to be the most challenging part to build.  Even after spending a considerable amount of time on Bricklink I’m not sure what pieces to use. The fact that these sections have to hold up two carriers when it transforms makes it seem that this section is next to impossible. I am not sure of what structure or technique I can use with LEGO to achieve this effect.

If I can get past 5 and 6, Section 7 should be fun to build; I just have to be cognizant of the weight depending on how successful I am with section 6. Limiting the weight could impact the amount of detail.

I already foresee after I ’finish’ each section I will most likely need to go back and alter prior sections either because of scale, proportion, weight and/or transformation issues. This has always been the case with the smaller LEGO SDF-1s I have built in the past. With the increased scale of this one, these concerns are heightened. If I was simply building the SDF-1 in cruiser mode there would be no sections, everything would be connected and the model could be relatively sturdy. However building it in sections so that it can transform creates multitudes of issues that at this point I am not sure how I will resolve and overcome.