When I was a wee little one, I went to a Catholic school near DC. In third grade, a kid named Miguel joined our class. His father was in the Venezuelan military and was stationed in DC, doing who-the-fuck-knows-what. Miguel and I became friends with a strong interest in the then brand-new Star Trek: The Next Generation television show, as well as those little plastic bricks I seem to have on my brain so often.
We built these big starships on Lego baseplates – nothing original, nothing super fantastic, ships made more real by our imaginations then by any pretense at skill with those bricks. Shoddy construction, color clashes, and non-uniformed crew never stopped us from acting out our own Star Trek adventures every weekend.
I have to admit that I was on the not-so-imaginative side, then. While he named his “crew” after people he knew, I just stole the crew from TNG – I, of course, was the Captain, but my crew consisted of Riker, Data, Geordi, Worf, Yar, Crusher & Troi. Miguel refused to allow me to name my ship “Enterprise”, so I think I called it the “Rendezvous” because it was the coolest name I could think of.
This is probably why I’m such a Lego geek today. Regardless, when I first discovered that there was an internet community of adult fans of Lego, my first desire was to see big, massive starships — not built on open baseplates, with no hulls, roofs, or engines — but honest expressions of what big Lego ships cruising through space might look like!
The first Lego starship I ever saw was Mark Sandlin’s Mirthandir.
I drooled looking at those pictures. I mean, wow! Yeah, okay, the color scheme is a little odd, but this was the biggest Lego spaceship I’d at that point ever seen (and I think this was the first big Lego spaceship ever made). The detail completely amazed me — every time I look at that ship, the exterior and interior photos, I always see something new. Mirthandir was, however, a simplified expression of a ship – bridge, engine, weapons. No mess, no crew quarters. An idea, more than an actual realized completion. At first it satisfied my hunger, but then it didn’t even feed it.
Dammit, I wanted more!
Boy did I find it. Kyle Keppler’s Myase seemed huge in comparisson, taking its basic design from Mirthandir, and expanding. Not only did the ship have a larger crew, but also bunks, mess, and toilets!
Even if Myase took the “bigger” mantra with a good side dish of “bulky” (I’d be damn proud to build something that good lookin’), there was something about these first two ships I found that said, “we’re just the tip of the iceburg.”
After discovering Myase, I happened upon the work of Dan Jassim, now known unofficially in the AFOL community as the undisputed king of the Starship. Care to guess why?
Dan’s first ships were big, and impressive, but I didn’t care for the use of baseplates, which, I have to admit, seemed sort of like cheating — after all, I built ships on baseplates! (I mean, nowhere near that cool, don’t get me wrong) but I think I always had, in the back of my head, the notion that big lego spaceships just don’t get built with baseplates!
Jon Palmer had some big … something … going on, but truthfully, I could never quite figure it out. It sort of reminded me of a story concept I once read, I think David Gerrold, about a starship run on a caste system – one group lived in the engineering section of the ship — dark, cramped, these subhumans toiled so that the “upper” caste — in the ship’s brightly lit, well maintained recreation suites — could live like royalty. Anyway, Palmer’s Bardiel sort of suggested the same sort of ship to me, although I’m not quite sure why … (some sections of it had an organic feel?)
Other Totally Excellent Big Lego Ships:
(Each image is a link – click on the link for more pictures!)
But of all these ships, all are quite literally eclipsed by the mammoth scale of Adrian Drake’s Tribunal:
Now THAT’S an awesome bit of work, there. And, I’d wager, only the first of the “giganta-humongous” Lego ships currently being designed in the whacked out head of some big kid …