OK, so I have been working for months and months on and off on this AT-AT (since last December to be precise). You may or may not remember me making a topic about designing an AT-AT in LDD. Well, The LDD design was pretty much complete and so I wanted to get cracking with teh real thing!
- I wanted it to represent as many details as possible while allowing certain parts to be movable.
- Full and complete interior details!
- Posable legs/feet, with ability to stand up by itself with no support.
- Head to fit at least 5 minifigs; 2 drivers, the commander and room for 2 random troopers in the rear part of the head.
- Make the head like no other way I have seen before, include the head hump, chin guns, cheek anti personnel guns, viewport and easy access to head interior through its roof.
- Head/Neck to be hinged so the head can turn sideways a decent amount while having NO droop.
- Fit 40 seated minifigs comfortably.
- Have storage for 5 speeder bikes.
- Represent the atmospheric filtration system in the upper rear compartment.
- Neck to have a walkway to fit a minifig all the way through while showing the 'ribbed' exterior detail of the neck.
- Show the greebles on the rear of the body as best and as accurate as possible.
- Opening/closing troop bay door.
- Remove studs where possible but not get too anal about it, ruining detail to achieve it.
Incredible Cross Sections (for decision on layout), AT-AT studio model, Digital Recreation by Jas Hodge (unknowingly, but huge thanks to this guy for all the work he did digitally recreating it showing many interior and exterior details in so many angles that I was able to pick out.), Cavegod for his endless criticisms on the many roof designs until I managed to perfect it (to my satisfaction), as well as his (excellent) part usage suggestion for the neck and various other criticisms. Also Brickplumber, for initial inspiration making me decide to take this project on, and for the connection of the feet to the legs.
Warning: Sorry for the wall of text... If you would just like to look at the pics, please scroll to the bottom and click the link!
I had originally attempted to make the head have a vertical movement as well as horizontal but that failed, which meant I had to change the neck connection, thus changing the rear of the head, and so having to change the connection for the side walls and the roof... bah! I had only just started and was needing to change so much already! While that was going on (for ages might I add!), I started building the legs. Orders were mediocre and I was slowly building it part by part. First 2 feet, then the third foot, then the fourth foot. Then came the legs. All four legs were built and needed to be connected, so I then built the front and rear leg drive motors.
Now for the part that I had been desperate to build... the body!
Piecing everything together, I started building the platform for the body. Everything was looking excellent and going to plan! A couple of small changes happened to improve it, like decreasing the gap between the front and rear drive motors to bring them closer together, increasing the height of the gap for the troop bay door by 1 plate (surprisingly makes a hell lot of difference with the perceived look).
At this point, I was still playing about with the neck design and its ability to turn and so the connecting wall on the body was also being rather annoying in trying to finalise a design for it. Eventually I came to a conclusion and finalised a design for it which included using four of the 2x2 plate turntables (2 on each end, 1 on top, 1 on bottom), and so carried on the build. I built the head into the neck, and was amazed at how solid the connection was for it and how there was absolutely no 'brewers droop' on the head whatsoever! Once the side armour wall was made, I was then able to adjust the width of the rear roof section to meet the wall at the best angle I could achieve. LDD wouldn't allow me to cut the pneumatic flex hose pipe for the upper level interior ceiling detail, but now I had done it in real life, it looked brilliant! I hoped it added just that little bit more detail...
Finally! I completed it! well, nearly... It was stood up in all its glory! But I was unhappy with the lack of ribbed flex hose right in front of the body on the neck... so I decided to try something... I went right at it, getting carried away, pushed the part in place thinking how pleased with how good it was looking and it was like time slowed down to milliseconds...
The whole thing tilted away from me and all I could do was look on in horror!
What seemed like 10 seconds but was only about 2 seconds, the next thing I knew was it was in hundreds of pieces on the floor in front of me as I was still holding this piece I had been trying to attach
I had previously said that I was going to be exhibiting this at the Great Western Lego Show (in England) and this created a problem for me.
Admittedly, it didn't have the feet 'pistons' that joined the feet to the ankle (I later realised how important these were to its ability to stand by itself)... but was worried about the fact if it was on exhibit and this unstable, I couldn't risk it. I had to think of something.
Sat there on the floor, I looked on... and the answer was right in front of me!
An AT-AT got tripped up in the film and ended up down on its front knees... my AT-AT had posable leg joints, could it be posed in the exact same pose as in the film?!
I tried... It could!
And so started the build for the snow scenario, and born was the idea of it being displayed as 'crashed'. (yes, it actually crashed to pieces first before giving me the idea of displaying it crashed )
Time was not on my side, the event weekend was coming up and I had never built anything like this before, let alone on this scale! Why oh why was this happening!
Any way, many frantic hurrying messages and orders later, I received my final important order of snow pieces and finally finished the display on the very Friday of the event setup day itself.
I set it up for the first time, and dam... it did look good, but having built the snow in a 'just been crashed into' perception myself, I was unsure it recreated the correct feeling, or if it just looked like a bunch of white lego portraying nothing.
But thankfully, many very kind comments later, I was left satisfied knowing I had achieved something even better than I could have originally hoped for.
I did also set it up (with the feet/ankle 'pistons' in place), and it was quite stable, but I did not want to risk it being that was its first time complete and I had not fully tested its stability, hence some pictures show it stood up with legs posed in a walking position.
The intention of the one exposed side was that the people coming to view the exhibits could see the full interior details of the AT-AT from one side, while the other side showed the fully enclosed side with only exterior details visible.
So I will delay you no longer, and are the pics of my AT-AT, enjoy!
Forgot to say, criticism welcomed!