I haven’t come across this type of Ultimate Remix Project in the LEGO community yet, so maybe it’s something so unique that it hasn’t been done before. I anticipate there will be more than a few questions about it:
How did you start this project?
During my last semester of college, I purchased a Plo Koon Starfighter just for fun. I wanted something inexpensive I could build to de-stress my life–and as any AFOL knows, this is usually the first step out of the dark ages and into a lifelong obsession. Before long I was building an X-wing out of those same parts. And then a TIE fighter. And pretty soon I realized I could make just about any Star Wars vehicle with this set, at least recognizable if not nearly identical to an official set.
Why are you doing this?
I’m not entirely sure why I feel the need to embark on such an ambitious self-imposed quest. But I do know this: I want to demonstrate that builders are only limited by creativity and persistence, not by the pieces themselves. At the risk of sounding like a heavy-handed meritocrat, you can build great things with what you’re given, instead of worrying about what everybody else has.
Plus, I believe alternate builds are a small scale example of what LEGO builders do every day: take pieces from official set(s) and create completely new masterpieces. I’m just limiting myself to one set, and I’m certainly not proficient enough to call these masterpieces.
Why are you using Plo Koon’s Starfighter?
Solely because I started alternate builds with it, only because it was the only set I bought in college, which was only because it was a midrange Star Wars set and on sale at the time. But it has a lot of redeeming features. Slanted pieces, flat tiles, and blue 1×3 flats dominate the set, and the hinges and Technic pieces are much appreciated. The cockpit and engines are super handy too. And I really like the blue and white contrast.
Which movies are you considering?
I am building all vehicles seen in the six (6) Star Wars movies attributed to George Lucas. This includes the Special Edition of A New Hope and even vehicles from deleted scenes. However, this does not include the Clone Wars movie or TV show. I haven’t seen them (yet), and including them would effectively double the size of the project–I think it’s ambitious enough already. I’ll wait to see the new J.J. Abrams Episode VII before I decide on that too. And Extended Universe or Old Republic vessels are a distinct possibility in the future too. For now I’ll stick with the original and new trilogies.
What do you define as vehicles?
My working definition is quite simple: anything that carries something else. Star Destroyers, B-wings, and podracers clearly fall under this category. Vulture droid starfighters and hailfire droids fall tenuously under this definition as well–they don’t carry anything other than their own circuits, but they’re vehicular enough that I’ll count them anyway. I’ll also build non-sentient beasts of burden, like banthas and varactyls, but I’ll exclude sentient “vehicles” (like that time Luke Skywalker carried Yoda on his back). I might throw in some other items, like other droids or creatures that don’t carry anyone, but they will appear just for fun and I’m not requiring myself to make them.
Do you realize how many vehicles there are in Star Wars?
Yes, yes I do. A lot. I have accumulated a list of 191 vehicles so far. This has been developed mainly using the “Appearances” section on Wookieepedia pages.
How long will this project take?
As long as necessary. I can’t guarantee that I’ll post at a regular interval, but right now I would guess I will post a new build at least once every two weeks. As Geri the Toy Cleaner once said, “You can’t rush art.”
Will you build in a certain order?
Absolutely not. I considered building in a planned sequence (alphabetical, chronological) but I think I need the freedom to choose what I build next, just to keep things fresh.
What do you use for references?
Obviously I use stills from the Star Wars movies as my primary reference. If an official LEGO model exists, I typically check that for ideas as well. Other fantastic references include Wookieepedia, LEGO Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary (Beecroft and Beckett 2009), Star Wars Complete Cross-Sections (Jenssen and Chasemore 2007), and The Wildlife of Star Wars: A Field Guide (Whitlatch and Carrau 2010).
What are your goals?
My main goal will be simply to finish them all. But my construction priorities will be something more or less like this:
1) structural accuracy (does it look like the movie version?)
2) functionality (e.g. moving wings, rotating guns, landing gear)
3) pattern accuracy (since color accuracy will be rare)
4) scale (minifig scale if possible)
5) swooshability (that’s a technical term)
6) artistic license!
Will these look good?
I sure hope so! I will try to make these as accurate as possible. But some vehicles are quite complex or very different from the pieces I have. I don’t expect my kaadu to look amazingly lifelike, or my escape pods to be smoothly rounded. I will do my best though.
Will these be mini scale or micro scale?
A mixture of both. For everything smaller than a Jedi Starfighter, I will do my best to provide minifig scale. A few might be slightly larger (I’m envisioning a bulked-up battle droid already). For larger vehicles, I’ll have to do micro scale. I might even use two sets instead of one for some builds–for example, I’ll need tons of hinges to build a functional AT-AT. But those will be rare.
Will these be true alternate builds?
Not necessarily. Alternate builds try to reuse ALL the pieces from a particular set. Since I’ll be trying for realistic mini scale models of small objects like probe droids and training remotes, it’s unlikely that I’ll use all the pieces. For similarly-sized vehicles though, I’ll try to use as many as I can.
Who controls the action?
I do–and so can you! Although I’m ultimately making the designs and the rules for this project, I’m welcome to any suggestions or feedback. You can leave comments on the blog, or email me at plokoonremix (at) gmail (dot) com.