Main Gun Tips Minor Reconstruction

Please forgive me for being away for so long! I FINALLY took some time this weekend to work on the SDF-1, albeit I only had time to work a very small section: the white tips of the Main Guns. This section has always bothered me; I never felt I got them completely right.

My first issue with this section is the gap in the slope, in the series of 2 x 3 slope bricks you can see one of the studs right at the transition point. This is only place on ship where a stud sticks out like this. I’m no LEGO purist but I do feel that this breaks some kind of unwritten rule. Either way, it has always bothered me and I wanted to use a technique to build this slope that would not result in exposed studs.

LEGO SDF-1 Main Gun Problem Section

Exposed Studs on the left and the center section has 5 different angles.

Second you’ll notice when looking at the diagrams below that the front tips of the SDF-1 Continue reading

More Reconstruction

The appearance of second half of the center white section (the section the bridge sits on) had been bothering me for a while; I felt it was not scaled correctly. The more I looked at the section and compared it to the pictures the more I could see a few of the curves and angles were off. What I noticed was when the bottom of section begins to curve inwards, the start of the curve is aligned to the middle of the circular section, see image:

Note the horizontal red line.

However on my LEGO SDF-1 the inward curve began to high up, at the top of the circle: Continue reading

Weight Issues

I have been able to complete most of the leg; however my worst fear has come true. It appears that the weight of the leg has compromised its connection to the rest of the ship. To put it simply when I move the ship the weight of leg forces the connection points to break apart and the leg breaks away from the ship.

This connection point does not support the leg.

This connection point does not support the leg horizontally. Note the white brick on the right, even that extra support does not keep it from falling apart.

To attempt to remedy I reconstructed all of the connection points, including adding an axle connection and a male/female pin assembly as well as reconstructed an internal beam that extended from Section 3 into Section 4 (the legs). Although my improvements improved the strength of the connections I could not overcome the physics of the situation. The current weight of the leg is 2 ¼ lbs, and I think no LEGO Technic pin and/or axle assembly can hold that much weight up horizontally. Also, the leg is currently hollow and will only become heavier as I add more detail to the SDF-1.

SDF-1 Leg Work in Progress

I wanted to avoid using glue in building this model, but I think that at this point the physics of the SDF-1 make it unavoidable. The legs are a 1/3 the length of the ship, the heaviest section of the ship and protrude out with no support – with a model of this size extra support seems unavoidable. I know I could do some alterations to attempt to cut the weight of the legs, but I don’t think I could do any drastic changes that would cut the weight by a third or a fourth. Plus, after transformation the legs support the entire ship so they still must remain sturdy. I’m hoping that if I glue the connection points together it will give it enough strength to horizontally support 2-3 lbs.

If glue is the solution, I feel it is still premature in the build to be glueing LEGOs together; I’m not sure what might still change. Yet, if I don’t try to strengthen the connection with glue now I won’t know if it will work and I won’t be able to handle the ship easily. It’s a dilemma. In the meantime I going to do my best to think of other possible solutions to resolve this without glue, but as I alluded to earlier I think the chances of a strictly LEGO solution is slim to none.

"I know it hurts, I feel your pain too. But don't give up now...you are so close to building the perfect LEGO SDF-1!"

Zentradi/Meltrandi Connection Joint Redux

I decided to (re)build a larger Zentradi/Meltrandi (male/female) assembly to connect Sections 2 and 3. I shared in my ‘Reconstruction Blues’ post that I had to widen both sections to scale the ship correctly. Even before I did that the previous Zentradi/Meltrandi connection assembly I had built did not perform as greatly as I expected it to. In cruiser mode I still needed and external plate to hold the two sections together and when I vertically set Section 2 on top of Section 3 as it would be after transformation the connection wasn’t super tight and rigid.

The rebuild gave me an opportunity to try to build a better Zentradi/Meltrandi assembly. The male/female assembly concept is great but I felt I could execute it better. Before the rebuild the connection point was 3x, after the rebuild it was 4x giving me more real estate to work with. I built another test version of the assembly from spare pieces:

Test of the new Zentradi Meltrandi Assembly made from spare LEGO.

This new Zentradi/Meltrandi connection will be taller and wider. I think I will build the new version to also be longer so that it goes deeper into Section 3. The prior section also only used one pin and one axle to connect; the new assembly will double that to two pins and two axles. I’m hoping that this new Zentradi/Meltrandi assembly will provide more support and strength to the connection in both modes. I still wouldn’t be surprised though with the combined weight and length of Sections 1 and 2 that I would still need an external plate to connect Section 2 to Section 3. Even so, this new is assembly will still be two times better than the old version.

Note that this is my third time rebuilding all or a portion of Section 2. Again, this is the main reason I build only one half at a time!

Reconstruction Blues

LEGO SDF-1 in progress. Rebuild of 3 sections, still need to finish rebuilding the white tip of the Main Gun.

I have spent the past couple of days reconstructing much of the SDF-1 I thought I had completed. This is the prime reason to only build one side at a time! When I decided to build the white center section 10x across I wasn’t careful enough with considering the width of the other sections I was working on at the time. As it turned out the scale was way off, the other (blue) sections were way too thin making the center section look fat and way out of proportion. Since I wish for this to be largest most massive LEGO SDF-1 I have ever built I decided that instead of decreasing the size of the white middle section I should instead increase the width and length of the sections I had completed so far.

The reconstruction has forced me to rebuild 4 parts (I have rebuilt 3 so far – I still need to rebuild the white section of the Main Guns):

The 4 sections I had to rebuild, it was no fun.

Since the building techniques were essentially the same the rebuild wasn’t too complex, just time consuming. The only major discovery is in cruiser mode my male/female assembly I designed to connect the Main Gun (Section 2 to Section 3) doesn’t work as well as I predicted. The Main Guns are really relatively ‘heavy’ and the axle and pin still doesn’t provide enough support, an external plate is still needed for extra support. Also, with the rebuild the Main Gun section is longer and wider too. I’ll have to revisit how to better connect the Main Gun to the ship later on, but at least now with the Main Guns being wider I have more real estate to work with at the point of connection.

I’m also using the male/female assembly for the arm joints (the white section protruding out), but for now what I have built for them is more so just a place holder. What you see now in regards to the white center section is another place holder (mostly). I only started building it to help me with the building of the legs, I need the section to help build to the correct proportions. I know I’ll have to tear it apart and rebuild it at least 2 or 3 times. I’ll need to find numerous connection points, decide what to with the inside, figure out how to build and connect the bridge section, etc. – all of which will require extensive trial and error. However, with this at least I’ll have the basic length, width and height confirmed and proportional.

I still need tons of new pieces, so I’ll be back on Bricklink soon. Tomorrow I want to get started on the SDF-1 Legs…I already know it will be a difficult beast. This project so far is far, far more challenging then I originally thought it would be. Hopefully I won’t have another reconstruction mistake like this one, it’s more fun building new sections then rebuilding old ones.

Minmay worried about building the SDF-1 Legs...