Hello again, Eurobricks members,
There were a few different incarnations of Cloud City that I've been messing around with for the past few years. I have a lot of OT Lego but I'm often surprised at the lack of sets aimed at screen time in the original trilogy. I believe Cloud City, Yavin IV and Degobah are underrepresented in TLG's catalog of sets. Luckily, LEGO is a construction toy and making a set exactly the way you want it is a matter of motivation (obsession).
I've lost count but I believe this is the 8th version of this model... another thread here contains my 2nd attempt: http://www.eurobrick...showtopic=59737
Thanks to everyone for the kind words about the old model.
Cloud City... it's an obession for me to find the 'right' way to do it in Lego.
I was very critical of TLG's 10123 design I found myself returning to the strip-mall style of it... where the exterior of Cloud City is expressed on one side of each modular piece and the other side contains the room and play area. But after ripping apart and rebuilding from scratch a half dozen times I then tried to make a more custom version of 10123 but with more adaptability in the re-arranging of rooms. I've come up with something that has many different combinations of play/display.
There is no basic "default" state for the arrangement yet.
Here's this model in it's entirety so far (above). The carbonite chamber is the heart of Cloud City and the source of its income and prosperity for collecting and manufacturing the tibanna gas from Bespin. My Besgas 3 platform from the other models had been revamped and improved with some half-rounded pieces. There's no place for figs to stand but it seemed an important "feel" to Cloud City to have at least one.
So the carbonite chamber doesn't have a lowering/raising mechanism included, however for the sake of expansion I did leave a sizable hole in the floor... eventually I'll engineer some kind of crank that raises/lowers a HanSoloSickle.
One very difficult aspect of Cloud City are all the lighting effects that are not easily registered in Lego but remain inportant when re-creating key scenes... within the chamber itself it's good to have some blue in the background. My solution so far was to include some transparent pieces on the backside of the carbon freezing chamber to give it the blue feeling like in those dueling scenes (see below).
Another problem altogether is the orange glow of Cloud City when the heros are arriving/escaping at sunset... but I dash of orange pieces here and there fix that. I'm satisfied with the mini Cloud Cars over full size ones, they add that important hint of orange.
I did add a light brick here because I feel the carbonite chamber is such an important location and the heavy light there really adds to the mood of the room. You can move the light brick down and out of the way for dueling play... and of course the top comes off completely to access the chamber unimpeded. Jabba's Palace 9516 gave me the idea about having one big rounded corner "main" area that all of the other areas could connect to... and I took the idea of the removable top and stuck it in there as well.
The result is a very playable carbonite chamber complete with pipes and tubing for Luke to hang from and an all-too-easy lever. The top 'hat' piece slides off easy for duels in the chamber.
There's also the extension platform where the duel ends. It can easily hang over a tabletop for some handless Luke diving. "Come with me. It is the only way."
There are three other "main" areas, two hallway areas left and right which lead to East and West platforms and a back area with the dining room, hotel suite and all the utility rooms from the film. I squeezed as much as I could into each scene without going crazy on the piece count. Which is something I think TLG tries to do with big playsets. But I fully realize that to pull off the sleek, 70s feel of Cloud City I'll need a lot more smooth white tiles.
The hallways are small and bare but do the job of allowing characters to sneak around Cloud City trying to avoid detection. One of these hallways feature a large decorative sculpture. The two angled areas contain a guard rail (love this piece, have to get another) and a table with chairs. I haven't completed the decals yet but these smooth 1x2 pieces on the table will eventually become Sabbac cards.
I tried to build a casino into Cloud City many times but it's lack of appearance on-screen in the movies confuses the overall 'look' of being identifiable. I feel that gambling is a big part of the Cloud City experience, although not seen in ESB.
The hatch (below) was used in many attempts to get the scene where Luke escapes from the underside of Cloud City back to the Falcon. But doing it underneath Cloud City and making it accessible is nearly impossible... although I'm sure Stoutfiles' full scale globe-shaped Cloud City could pull it off!!
We've got two holding cells on the top. The left is the prison that Leia, Chewie, Han and C3P0 are taken to after their "dinner" with Vader. Chewie is trying to fix C3P0. No one in the dining area at the moment. When there are, I'm sure they'd be honored if you would join them. There's the garbage room with a cute reference with the 'recycling' sign that will be replaced once I find another white thin wall piece. ;)
Ow!! That thing hurts. "They never even asked me anything..."
The window of the dining area needs a sticker to from a circular window.
The Ugnots (sp?) need work. The faces work I think but they need blue jackets and caps. Having a rim around the garbage room allows for lots of fun bits to be laid in there... somewhat like the Death Star 10188's does.
I have no idea how TLG will figure this out (if they ever revisit Cloud City).
Also some little spikes on the top of the Cloud City dome (above the carbonite chamber) could use more detail.
Thoughts, suggestions? Were this to develop more I plan to make 4 Lego boxes to show off the units individually; I'd love to see this as a playset for about $160 total but broken into $40 pieces that can be collected x4: The Carbonite Chamber, The East Platform, The West Platform and the Hospitality District.
Until TLG makes an official follow up to their old set, this will tide me over. I think Cloud City is a fantastic challenge. It has a very recognizable outer shape and for a long time I was hung on making that shape look right as well as the inside. But now I feel that as long as the play areas are correct this 'city' playset will do the trick.
Thanks for reading and please share your criticisms and observations.
Edited by darththeling, 01 December 2012 - 10:46 PM.