Rufus

MOC: T4a Lambda-Class Imperial Shuttle

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Nuts to the Falcon.  The beautiful and graceful Lambda Shuttle has always been my favourite of all the Star Wars ships, and I'm delighted to present my LEGO minifigure-scaled version of this wonder.

Didn't you already make one of these, Ru?

Yes I did, and well-remembered!  :grin:  It was ten years ago, and a large part of the reason I joined EB in the first place.  You can see it here.   I revised it a coupe of years later but never publicised the update; you can see it here here (link to flickr folder). 

I had always intended to go back and tweak the original; however this is a totally new MOC.  I started working on it back in 2016, but then we moved house and the LEGO went into storage for a couple of years.

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front

The overall scale of this version is similar to my earlier version, and like the former is based around using the 6x3 vertical windscreen also found in 2015's System-scaled Shuttle Tydirium.  The other major factor is the height of the rounded sides of the body: I've used the 4-wide cylinders to give what I think is the best approximation to the real thing. 

These are attached via a fairly complicated variety of SNOT techniques to a ten plate-high body.  Not all the parts are (yet) available in white (the macaroni tiles now are, but not the 4x4 round plates with 2x2 hole), hence the splashes of grey at the sides (or trans-clear in one spot).  

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Starboard

The wings are a composite of Technic liftarms and plates.  I chose this to keep the weight of the wings down; even built like this I had to work quite hard to prevent the wings flopping down too easily. 

Some more views:

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Rear 

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High 

I've tried quite hard to make this accurate to the movies.  There are actually two distinct versions in the movie canon - the sleek ILM model used in the space scenes, and the shorter droopier-nosed version which featured in the Home One hangar scene.  The cause of this discrepancy is apparently due to the set designers at Elstree studios in the UK having access only to a few photos of the lambda, but not the ILM model itself thousands of miles away in California. If you are interested, and for a nostalgic reminder of what the Internet looked like in the early naughties, check out Lambda-class Shuttles: the Dimorphism Blooper.

I've modelled this one on the ILM studio model.  Mostly, I think it is accurate, but I have had to make a few compromises.  The cockpit taper - which is only about a stud-width at this scale - is impossible to render without resorting to a solid-black windscreen, and instead is implied by the exaggerated taper of the cockpit sides.  The cockpit is a little deeper than the original - required to allow minifigure seating at this scale; the original Kenner toys model did something similar. 

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High close/detail

I've take a bit of a guess at the sloping vent-thing under the vertical fin; it is difficult to tell from reference pictures what this is supposed to be.  Pressing the silver grille-tile just in front of this operates a latch to allow the body to open.

In some places aesthetics wins over accuracy. The bulges on the side of the fuselage should rise to about half-way up the fuselage sides, and should extend back about half-way along the body, but I was so happy with the effect of the mudguard pieces here that I've left them as they are.

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Detail Front

The seven-wide cockpit does not allow a complete set of grille tiles at the front.  I may have to resort to a decal on the central tile.  The technic skis at the sides would perhaps work better with the pointy-ends at the front but there was no way to attach them that way round (and they could do with being two studs shorter!).

There are few canon reference images of the rear.  Rather than the usual blanket trans-blue tiles, I have instead tried to show what the engines might look like under the exhaust glow - inspired by this superb render by Thad Clevenger.  The vents end up looking a little square; it might be possible to improve this with decals.

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Rear detail

The extremes of the rounded rear end look a bit square, but this is the best solution at this scale, at least until LEGO produces this piece in 2x2.

Here's a view from beneath.  You can see the taper of cockpit sides, and how the technic skis are a little easy to knock out of position :blush:.

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underside 

One of the major challenges I faced was attaching the rounded sides of the body SNOT to the studs-up frame.  Mostly this is achieved with SNOT brackets, but there was no room for this on the forward sections, which are actually attached via an internal clip.   Inside here are two very hard shock absorbers which are intended to encourage the wings to sit in either 'up' or 'down' positions; see here.  The smooth sections in the middle are the landing gear doors.

An essential feature of any Lambda is that it must be able to fold its wings in order to land.  With this, the wing-mounted guns need to fold outwards.  I've also included a chin-ramp, though it is hinged a little further back into the body of the ship than on the real thing.

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Landed front low

As you can hopefully see, there is also landing gear, with folding flaps to cover the recesses.  It is retractable, as shown below:

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Landing gear detail

The shock-absorber parts act as a kind of suspension when the ship is landed, and provide a spring action when folding to keep the retracted gear in place. It works surprisingly well.

Towards the front of the above picture, you can see the cockpit floor is mounted at a half-stud offset, which allows two figures to be seated side-by-side.  Having experimented with several ways to allow the cockpit to open, I found that having the nose section slide off provided the best compromise between accessibility and strength.

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Cockpit interior detail

As you can see, the white 4L bars that frame the windscreen are held on by droid arms, and the sloping cockpit sides held in place at the front by 1L bars with claws.  It's a bit fiddly to put together.  The 1x4 trans tile at the rear unfortunately exposes the asymmetry inherent in any odd stud-width construction; if it were available in trans-black the stud might be better hidden! 

Access to the inside is easy: the whole top slides off.  The red Technic liftarm at the front is a latch to keep the roof in place; it is released by pressing down the metallic silver grille tile.  I've also removed a side wall for the photo.

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Interior

I had in mind that this is the shuttle Darth Vader uses to transport Luke from Endor to the Death Star II.  It is kitted out for high-ranking officers, with an Imperial Coffee Machine and an Imperial Waffle maker.  :grin:

For a size comparison, here's my Lambda next to the latest official playset version.

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Comparison to system set

I really liked that set, despite is obvious compromises of proportion (and I infinitely prefer it to the hideous UCS set).  I like to think that mine is on the same approximate scale to this but more proportionally accurate.  

The Lambda is the end result of a long process of trial and error, and I'm pleased with the result.  I hope you like it too! 

For more pictures see my Flickr album.  C&C welcome!

Rufus

 

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Great model of a cool ship and also a very professional presentation! :thumbup: Furthermore I agree that we need a 1x1 grille tile. :classic:

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Are you going to offer instructions for this at any point? I have kinda avoided the Lambda because various sets looked bad and a few MOCs I have seen ended up very tall but yours looks simple and effective and not to tall for the hangar I'm building.

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Too bad this is not Falcon. Then it would have been perfect!!

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How well-proportioned and studly :wub:

I love the patches of grey on the sail, as well as the detail and shape of the cockpit - those grille tiles are so simple but make it just that little bit better. Great work, thanks for sharing!

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Very nicely built ship! I like the funny pic at the end :laugh:

Would really like to see how the landing gear works in detail, as I am hoping to mod the UCS set with retracting landing gear.

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On 5/19/2019 at 8:03 PM, t-brick said:

Great model of a cool ship and also a very professional presentation! :thumbup: Furthermore I agree that we need a 1x1 grille tile. :classic:

Thank you, t-brick.  If and when one becomes available I'll be waiting!  (And then waiting again for it to come out in white :laugh: )

On 5/19/2019 at 8:25 PM, LiLmeFromDaFuture said:

Impressive! And most impressive landing gear!

Thank you!  I've spent years moaning about the lack of decent landing gear in official LEGO sets so am trying to do something about it.

22 hours ago, BrickSixty said:

Are you going to offer instructions for this at any point? I have kinda avoided the Lambda because various sets looked bad and a few MOCs I have seen ended up very tall but yours looks simple and effective and not to tall for the hangar I'm building.

Thanks, BrickSixty.  This your first post?  I'm flattered!  I will probably work on some instructions (much for own reference as for sharing) but it involves learning a whole new skill set so might take some time.  I've done LDD instructions before but they are a bit sucky, so will try to learn L-Pub which involves tackling something like Bricksmith first...

22 hours ago, Kristof said:

Too bad this is not Falcon. Then it would have been perfect!!

Umm... thanks Kristof?

20 hours ago, jimmynick said:

How well-proportioned and studly :wub:

I love the patches of grey on the sail, as well as the detail and shape of the cockpit - those grille tiles are so simple but make it just that little bit better. Great work, thanks for sharing!

Thanks, jimmynick, glad you like the studs :sweet:

14 hours ago, Reaper said:

Very nicely built ship! I like the funny pic at the end :laugh:

Would really like to see how the landing gear works in detail, as I am hoping to mod the UCS set with retracting landing gear.

Glad you appreciated the joke!  

Here's the basic structure of the landing gear, deployed on the left and folded on the right.   When folded the 'feet' sit inside the 2x4x5 half cylinders.

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3 hours ago, Rufus said:

Glad you appreciated the joke!  

Here's the basic structure of the landing gear, deployed on the left and folded on the right.   When folded the 'feet' sit inside the 2x4x5 half cylinders.

 

That's a clever solution! Thanks for the pic!

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I really like what you did with the landing gear!

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13 hours ago, Rufus said:

Umm... thanks Kristof?

I hope my joke came through lol :D Its a fantastic model. I can only put my signature under anyone else's praise. Just fabulous!

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21 hours ago, Reaper said:

That's a clever solution! Thanks for the pic!

You're welcome :classic:

19 hours ago, K_W said:

I really like what you did with the landing gear!

Thank you K_W!

12 hours ago, vador22 said:

I like this lambda good work :classic:

Thanks vador22!

10 hours ago, Kristof said:

I hope my joke came through lol :D Its a fantastic model. I can only put my signature under anyone else's praise. Just fabulous!

:laugh: Thank you Kristof.

7 hours ago, LiLmeFromDaFuture said:

@Rufus How easy is it to engage the landing gear, it looks fairly manual?

You have to do it by hand; there's a little push to overcome the springs to release the feet from the body, then it's simply a matter of swivelling the 3L technic beam outwards.  It's quite a satisfying action.  A side effect of using the springs is it helps to maintain the balance (quite what led the Empire to design a ship to land on two points is anyone's guess! :laugh: ).

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@Rufus  Well, if LEGO ever considers remaking this shuttle they should take note from this—it's fantastic!  Though, it would probably be gear operated to reduce the labor involved to engage it and so it does simultaneously.

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