How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

A Photo Essay by a Very Prodigal Blogger

Because my wife loves me very much and understands sometimes I need to spend 15 hours in the basement doing “cool” things, she got me a Lego Star Destroyer for Christmas.


Please note the empty wine bottle, provided for scale. If you click for the full-size image, you might be able to read the part count — 3,104 pieces of Lego in one big box.

OK, make that five boxes. Inside the big box are four smaller boxes – not one of which was actually small. Stuck in between was the product manual. So far as I know, the Star Destroyer kit is the only Lego manual to be spiral bound. Otherwise, there’s not a chance any of the 225 pages would lay flat enough to read.

After getting all 3,104 bits organized (sort of) into manageable piles, I celebrated having finished the first page (or 1/225th of the process) by taking a picture.

If you don’t know, Legos are square-ish bricks. They don’t easily form the sharp angles of an Imperial Star Destroyer. So you first build a frame for the angled bits to hang from, hinged. 22 pages later, I’d finished the first part of the frame.

I was only slightly depressed when, after finishing Page 22, I noticed the big “X 2” at the bottom. Yes, I had to go back to Page 1 and do it all over again for the bottom half of the cruiser.

Here they are hooked together, along with the built-in display stand. Purists might say the stand detracts from the realism of a made-up starship built out of bumpy plastic bits — but without the stand, the model would fall apart as you put it together. It gets heavy.


That done, you build the four angled panels which form the ship’s hull, starting on the lower port side. Coke can and Cheet-Ohs bag provided for scale. Also note, I’m building this before putting away all the Christmas wrap boxes, despite certain promises made to my bride.

The above shot is of interest only to Lego fans and other would-be engineers. Getting that last hull panel on would be impossible, if it snapped together in the usual Lego way. Instead, the outside edges still go click, but the centerlines are held to the frame by magnets. Those are the yellow and black bits in the center of the shot. Excuse the lack of focus, but it was getting late and I had forgotten all about shooting for depth-of-field.

Almost forgot – the engine assembly is pretty cool, too.

Three of four hull panels finished, and I was about out of steam for the night. Then again, it was 2am and I’d been at it for 10 hours.

One hour later, I called it quits for the night. With nothing save the superstructure left to assemble, I called it a good day’s work.

The next morning, my thumbs felt like they’d been used for pincushions. But work still went pretty quickly. The next four shots show the progress of building the superstructure, one layer (and about 200 pieces) at a time.


Finally, two beauty shots of the finished product. On the last one, another Coke can is there for scale. Altogether, it’s 37 inches long and took about 15 hours to build. And that’s for a guy who plows through Lego sets with all the unrushed grace of a teenage boy losing his virginity.

And that’s how I spent my Christmas vacation.

NOTE: Pictures courtesy of the Nikon D70 digital SLR – another gift from a bride who loves me far more than I deserve. She might have outdone me this one Christmas, but it’ll never happen again.


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