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10143 UCS Death Star II

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#1 Lobot

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 05:36 PM

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Prologue: When I was very young I bought a copy of the ROTJ novel.  I hadn't seen the film at that point, but the first two paragraphs got me immediately hooked:

‘The very depth of space, There was the length, and width, and height, and then these dimensions curved over on themselves into a blending blackness measurable only by the glinting stars that tumbled through  the chasm, receding to infinity.  To the very depth.  These stars marked the moments of the universe.  There were aging orange embers, blue dwarfs, twin yellow giants.  There were collapsing neutron stars, and angry supernovae that hissed into the icy emptiness.  There were borning stars, breathing stars, pulsing stars, and dying stars.  There was the Death Star.

At the feathered edge of the galaxy, the Death Star floated in stationary orbit above the green moon Endor – a moon whose mother planet had long since died of unknown cataclysm and disappeared into unknown realms.  The Death Star was the Empire’s armoured battle station, nearly twice as big as its predecessor, which Rebel forces had destroyed many years before – nearly twice as big, but more than twice as powerful.  Yet it was only half complete.  Half a steely dark orb, it hung above the green world of Endor, tentacles of unfinished superstructure curling away toward its living companion like the groping legs of a deadly spider’


I know that as a child I was supposed to side with the rebels, but I’ll admit that I had a quiet admiration for the Empire - the sheer size of their command ships & the efficiency of it all.  Perhaps it was also due to my rabid hatred of ewoks......whilst I’m on the subject I’m still waiting for my sister to paint my version of ROTJ on one of the walls of my study; the Death Star in the blackness of space, the Shuttle landing on the illuminated platform, the patrolling AT-AT, the dish and a few Stormtroopers happily drumming on the heads of a dozen furry....... :wink:

Current:
Anyway, the UCS Deathstar II (10143) has been on my ‘wish list’ for several years.  I'd always intended to buy it at some point, but other (UCS) priorities kept getting in the way!  Unfortunately the Ebay price has gradually crept upwards and a new MISB version is now around £500, so I had almost resigned myself to never owning it.

However, a couple of threads about ‘Bricklinking’ a UCS Falcon this year got me thinking, and I was intrigued about the possibility of building one from scratch.  I only had 211 parts I needed from my small pile of spares, which wasn’t the most promising start.  However, a limited amount of research on Bricklink suggested that the project was viable, and I estimated that I could source all of the parts for between £225 - £250.  Could I build the Death Star on a budget? Only time would tell (and perhaps in doing so I would finally discover how it managed to travel across the galaxy despite having no obvious means of propulsion)... :laugh:

So during the last two months I’ve spent a lot of time trawling Bricklink for potential suppliers.  I hadn’t used it much before, and certainly not for anything of this scale.  I worked on the assumption that the postage would be a significant amount of the eventual cost, so I was determined to source most of the parts within the UK and to make the orders as large as possible.  I wanted to buy only new parts (as I’m OCD about such things), but  I quickly found that most individual stores didn’t have sufficient quantities of the necessary parts (e.g. the 231 x ‘Black Technic, Brick 1 x 2 with Axle Hole’, 458 x ‘Dark Bluish Gray Brick 1 x 2’, 271 x ‘Dark Bluish Gray Plate, Modified 1 x 2 with 1 Stud (Jumper)’ and 259 x ‘Light Bluish Gray Plate 2 x 8’) so ended up grabbing whatever I could, and making up the numbers from more than one supplier.

Before I forget I’d like to thank the following Bricklink stores, who unknowingly provided parts for it, via a plug: gizmocom, Kram, Byggeklodsen, Yellow Farm Bricks, AFOL Supply and Kamino Supply Post.  They all provided an excellent service and are officially Lobot recommended!  Special thanks also to cavegod for his help and encouragement!!

Total price per part, to date, has ranged between £0.01 - £1.46.  Some proved to be very reasonable, but others seemed ridiculous.  The worst value was the 30 x ‘Light Bluish Gray Minifig, Neck Bracket with Back Stud’ @ £0.18 each (which doesn’t sound much but they’re tiny!!  :look: ) and the most expensive was the ‘Light Bluish Gray Dish 10 x 10 Inverted Radar’.

So after a total spend of £225.30 I’ve ended up with 3,251 parts (94.34%) with 195 left.  I’ve made 10 orders (7 from the UK, 1 from Ireland, 1 from Denmark & 1 from the Netherlands), summary below:

Order Parts cost (inc P+P) Cost/part (£)
1 979 £59.90 0.061
2 311 £24.62 0.079
3 314 £22.40 0.071
4 296 £16.49 0.056
5 210 £14.85 0.071
6 66 £9.96 0.151
7 159 £16.95 0.107
8 473 £29.87 0.063
9 130 £19.13 0.147
10 102 £11.13 0.109
Total 3,251 £225.30 0.069

So what does this look like? Well, see for yourself:

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And what can I build with them so far:

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"We can dispense with the pleasantries, Commander”.  Vader’s words echoed as from the bottom of a well. “The Emperor is concerned with your progress.  I am here to put you back on schedule” Jerrod turned pale.  This was news he’d not expected. “I assure you, Lord Vader, my men are working as fast as they can.......”

Unfortunately, I’m currently missing some of the key parts, most of which I now have on order.  As they arrive I’ll be posting updates.  Do I regret taking this on?  Well, it’s certainly been rather challenging and frustrating at times, but perhaps I’ve taken it a bit too seriously!!

Cheers, Robin  :classic:

#2 Mr Man

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 07:10 PM

Wow, this looks like a great project :wub:. Is £225.30 the final sum for this? And will you be making any modifications to it, or straight from the instructions?
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#3 VBBN

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 07:19 PM

I look forward to watching the progress on this project.
Do you plan on eventually modifying it in any way, or is this just a step by step from the instructions sort of thing that you want to complete?

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#4 juzo

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 07:46 PM

Wow, big project!
I'm looking to do this later on myself, but since i've never used bricklink before for parts (only full sets) i decided to start small and build the 10027 train shed first as sort of a test run. With 670 odd pieces it's turning out to be frustrating enough on it's own so i applaud you for your effort here!
Can't wait to see your end result, will watch with interest.

#5 BrickPicker

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 07:56 PM

Great deal.  You would pay double+++ that for a MISB 10143.

http://www.brickpick...cfm?set=10143-1
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#6 Lobot

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 09:13 PM

Thanks everyone, it's been quite a challenge!

View PostMr Man, on 20 June 2012 - 07:10 PM, said:

Wow, this looks like a great project :wub:. Is £225.30 the final sum for this? And will you be making any modifications to it, or straight from the instructions?
I've just put in the last order today  :classic:  Actually, I've resorted to cheating a bit, by 'borrowing' 56 parts from my UCS Falcon as I was getting frustrated trying to track down the last few (it wasn't impressed!).  The other 139 parts took another 4 orders @ a net total cost of £38.79 (I had to add a couple of minifigures to reach the minimum order level on two orders so I've discounted them from the total!).  If my maths is any good it's a total of £264.09.  

Interestingly, when I put in an order through Lego's 'Pick a Brick' today it kept bringing up a message at the checkout 'Item: 11998 Out of stock, will ship in 30 days' which appeared for any brick I tried....perhaps Lego has finally run out of Lego!!  :grin:   Anyway, I hope that it's just a glitch, otherwise the build might be delayed.

I haven't got any modifications planned, although saying that, I'm really tempted to add some LEDs to the lasers at some point.

#7 cavegod

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 10:05 PM

Have you got the instructions, sticker and box though? I am about 1500 parts short but they are all basic parts so looking good at this end!

#8 Bilbo Baggins

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 11:16 PM

Wow. It really looks like a fun project, I hope you achieve it :thumbup:

#9 Mr Man

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 09:49 AM

View Postcavegod, on 20 June 2012 - 10:05 PM, said:

Have you got the instructions, sticker and box though? I am about 1500 parts short but they are all basic parts so looking good at this end!

Oh you are building one in parallel?

Along with the SD this is my favourite UCS set, I really want to try this but it'll have to be some time in the future, now I'll struggle so much to put together a measly £2.70 :grin:.
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#10 cavegod

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 11:53 AM

View PostMr Man, on 21 June 2012 - 09:49 AM, said:

Oh you are building one in parallel?

Along with the SD this is my favourite UCS set, I really want to try this but it'll have to be some time in the future, now I'll struggle so much to put together a measly £2.70 :grin:.


Yep I sure am although it is alongside two MOCs which take priority obviously, I do have the origonal box,instructions and sticker though!

#11 JackJonespaw

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 01:33 PM

Wow, that's amazing! You got it for half of what it was online, and less that what it originally cost! Nice!

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#12 Hartfan

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 01:51 PM

Looks like a really fun project. Good luck with it. Cant wait to see more pics.
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#13 Ash

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 02:16 PM

That's a lot of gray! Not the most colourful set, then again the same is true for a lot of the big Star Wars sets.

This is a really cool project. Looking forward to more.

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#14 Lobot

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 04:55 PM

Update: I’m still waiting for the last orders to arrive, but I’ve been able to been the majority of one section.  It’s missing the 15 x ‘Light Bluish Gray Flag 2 x 2 Square’ but I can add these later.  I just love the ‘old school’ design; I could have built something similar in 1984!  The Executor is very cute & surprisingly detailed considering the size:

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Darth still isn't very happy:

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“Perhaps I can encourage their progress in ways you have not considered,” Vader growled.  He had ways, of course; this was known.   Ways and ways again.  Jerrod kept his tone even, though deep inside, the ghost of hurry began to scrabble at his throat.  “That won’t be necessary, my Lord.  I tell you, without question this station will be operational as planned.”   “I’m afraid the Emperor does not share your optimistic appraisal of the situation”.  “I fear he asks the impossible,” the commander suggested.  “Perhaps you could explain that to him when he arrives.”  Vader’s face remained invisible behind the deathly black mask that protected him; but the malice was clear in the electronically modified voice.

You might wonder why Chewbacca is amongst the assembled ranks.  However, it’s actually a Bothan spy, disguised as Chewbacca, trying to infiltrate the Empire.  Possibly not the best idea, in hindsight  :wink:

#15 Bilbo Baggins

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 05:01 PM

Wow! It is starting to look like the real thing :thumbup:

#16 Mr Man

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 05:31 PM

View PostLobot, on 22 June 2012 - 04:55 PM, said:

Update:

Oh :oh: looks good, keep going :tongue:.
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#17 LEGO Train 12 Volts

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 06:58 AM

View PostLobot, on 22 June 2012 - 04:55 PM, said:

Darth still isn't very happy:

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This scene is already so great ... I can't wait to see the finished work!  :wub:
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#18 Lobot

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 03:47 PM

Small update:The 2 x 2 flags have arrived so I've been able to complete my fist section. They finish it off really well and are worth the extra cost:

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I've also managed to build the laser yesterday.  9/10 for the design, but 2/10 for stregnth!!  It's quite a challenge to build and is very delicate, although hopefully it will be a little more sturdy when it's attached to the main technic frame.  One thing that really impressed me is that it really glows under any indirect light :wub: ; I'm surprised no-one has mentioned this before in other reviews of the set (apologies for the rubbish photo):

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Now if only the Empire had test-fired it at the Ewok village.... :wink:  I can't do much more until the 16 x 1x15 technic liftarms arrive, they haven't been shipped yet  :angry:

#19 DFOL

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 04:12 PM

Wow, your project is coming along very nicely! I can't wait to see how it progresses!
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#20 Mr Man

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 04:45 PM

View PostLobot, on 24 June 2012 - 03:47 PM, said:

Small update:

Do you have any better pics of the Executor?
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#21 Lobot

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 05:34 PM

As requested by Mr Man:

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Cheers, Robin  :classic:

#22 AndyC

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 06:03 PM

I know many dislike it, but this is still one of my all time favourite sets. A word of warning though, be very careful when it comes to finally putting the big pieces together. Especially the upside-down greebled side. It's super fragile and quite tricky at that point and if/when you drop one, it's a bugger to reconstruct again (yes I learnt this the hard way!)
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#23 Remus_Lupin

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 07:42 PM

View PostAndyC, on 24 June 2012 - 06:03 PM, said:

I know many dislike it, but this is still one of my all time favourite sets. A word of warning though, be very careful when it comes to finally putting the big pieces together. Especially the upside-down greebled side. It's super fragile and quite tricky at that point and if/when you drop one, it's a bugger to reconstruct again (yes I learnt this the hard way!)

Most reviews of this I've read have been quite negative, but I've always thought it looked really good. I'll be following this with interest - I've yet to tackle a Bricklinking project but the more I see the results the more I'm tempted to try!
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#24 Huntleyfx

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 11:41 PM

I understand the frustrations with the delays, but the small scenes on the progress are making this build speed along. It is looking great!
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#25 mortesv

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 12:40 PM

Good Job Lobot, and thanks for an entertaining thread!  :thumbup:

I got my DSII for around 300$ about a year ago and I'm very happy with it :wub: It stands right next to the Falcon  :tongue:

Some have complained that the unfinished plate "belt" is a little too see-though, but I don't really have a problem with it. Alternatively you could create a second layer of detailing beneath the surface, but as wobbly as the set is, I wouldn't recommend it  :grin:

A very nice UCS set - with a somewhat risky design, but I'm glad TLG made it  :wink:
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