Aeroeza

[MOD/MOC] GotB’s UCS X-Wing Starfighter 75355

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Posted (edited)

Well, hello there!

There’s a story behind every Lego build so, please indulge me, and let me tell you ours….

It’s a beautiful seriously wet night here in Australia where I find myself gazing riveted to my computer, with Studio 2.0 open, marvelling at the final depiction of what represents a year’s work between an odd coalition of adult Lego lads. Hovering virtually on the screen in all its three-dimensional splendour is the cumulation of our little brains trust, our version of Henrik Anderson’s 75355 Ultimate Collector’s Series X-Wing Starfighter.

Somewhere in Sweden though is the real thing. Our prototype. It sits solidly & gracefully in a professional photographer’s home reportedly receiving the lens love it deserves from his deft touch and eye. More importantly, he’s our team’s test builder, coder and (for all intents and purposes) Lego ‘Sugar Daddy’.

I say this with both the full respect and appreciation as a man who barely had to fund this project even a few cents or break any Lego lift arm pieces along the way. For that we can thank this professional photographer. A determined dreamer who both initiated and pushed this venture forward with a maximum amount of swear words in toe and a minimum amount of doubt in hand!

And, he’s probably had to fork out enough cash to almost build three different variants of UCS X-Wings along the way! Thanks ‘rde’ you’re a champ!

But wait! There’s also a chap quietly celebrating somewhere in Greece. He’s just finished an instruction manual for our build in addition to overseeing the first print run of its sticker sheet.

Now, when I say ‘quietly celebrating’ I mean instead rather ‘loudly’ with that measured quality you can sense in someone that betrays the fact that they tend to generally know what they’re doing, why they’re doing it and just how to get it done at the same time. This speaks volumes! He also flies helicopters for a living so you’d hope he’d have all those qualities in abundance otherwise your life insurance premiums would be through the roof!

He’s also ‘The Fixer’ and goes by the handle ‘Rilted’. That trickster that finds a solution just when all seems so dark, and your floor is dangerously strewn everywhere with a minefield of Lego pieces that obstructs your path to the bathroom you now so urgently need to use. He’ll find you a safe way there and faster than your bladder can say “Too late!”

And then there’s old Aussie me, ‘Aeroeza’. The VFX guy with a penchant for accuracy and tendency to see the tree for the wood and sometimes the wood for a forest full of hungry arborists looking for lunch. I’ll make a meal out of anything ILM jerry-rigged in 1976 and try to build the equivalent in polygons and Lego form however structurally unsound and physically unsafe. That’s a great place to start when you know your ‘back ups’ can both build and fix it no matter the price and broken piece count.

Together we formed an international brood of Lego devotees nominally referred to as ‘Gentlemen of the Brick’ a.k.a. GotB. A name mostly chosen because ‘League of Gentlemen’ was already gratefully taken, and ‘League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’, although a good graphic novel is still mostly remembered as just a bad film.

Introductions aside, behold our first project! GotB’s UCS X-Wing Starfighter!

75335 Original vs 75355MOD-GotB (excl. minifigs):

1949pcs vs. 2711 pcs

1.80kgs vs. 2.0 kgs

563x443x118mm vs 576x495x112mm (without stand)

 

01_KJI_2909_DXO

Well, that’s only a photo of the previous old prototype. The one that worked really well and then we made better….

Turns out ‘rde’ is also a busy responsible dad (not just the ‘sugar’ type) so I can only assume photos of said final prototype promised in my preamble above have been slightly delayed... 

So instead have a sexy render of the final model! We’ll update with new shots soon….

 

02_75355MOD-v3(attackPosition)-sideTilt

Is it a MOD or MOC? Hard to say but we think it deserves centre place on your coffee table!

Certainly, its external appearance owes much to Henrik Anderson’s original but that was always the point! We didn’t want to reinvent the wheel so much as make it spin faster, have juicer suspension, and enough tyre tread for urban assault expeditions. At the same time though, we wanted our X-Wing to look at home sitting alongside its UCS cousins while honoring the original set and Lego artist that inspired it in the first place.

Admittedly there were a few concerns for 75355 out there amongst Adult Fans of Lego that also inspired and galvanized us into getting this project off the ground. Chiefly amongst those was the set being a little too flimsy and somewhat fragile.

There were also those who felt its accuracy lacking or even unsettling in critical ways. The nose cone was clearly very stubby for a vehicle inspired by a 70’s dragster car and the front section’s side profile was rendered a bit clumsily using stepped plates that were in dire need of streamlining. The engine intake cowlings also appeared either too big or too small depending on whether you thought the wings were long enough or just too short. The same could be said about the R2’s minifigure scale. And the general greebling, when compared to many other recent UCS models, was also often deemed more ‘creative’ in execution rather than intentionally ‘accurate’.

In truth we think Henrik got so much right and with a ton of tricks and wizardry on display for us to enjoy along the way.

Where 2012’s 10240 UCS Red Five X-Wing Starfighter had seemed focused on improving choices made for 2000’s 7191 UCS X-Wing Fighter, 75355 proved a radical departure altogether in techniques and design sophistication. It bristles with effective ideas made real for a commercial product and clearly pushed ‘The Bricks’ boundaries further than had been commercially possible before. We really do like it! But it did depart from 10240 in one critical way…

The S-Foil.

75355 has a rather snappy, dramatic action when deploying the wings. This is a novel approach and fun alternative to the slow thumbscrew-like turning mechanism the older UCS versions promoted. However, this S-Foil system is perhaps a bit too clever as the action comes at the cost of a more stable platform 10240 generated with its lift arm design. We felt our version needed to restore this lost stability.

Which leads me to highlight the heart of our build under all those external similarities. This is a feature very different in approach to the official set but harkens back to the solutions of old. An S-Foil system whose conceptual genesis lies in the form of a MOC designed by an American named…. well for the sake of privacy let’s stick to his Reddit username of Hypodorious. This nifty little 40-tooth gear and worm screw mechanism promised to address some of the concerns regarding 75355 out there.

We managed to make it a little more compact, move past its chain link driven mechanism and install cogs for the use of a dependable rear ‘thumbscrew’ to deploy the wings. The result proved a robust and reliable one that was still able to split open to a screen accurate 36-degrees or close without leaving a gap.

 

03_75355MOD-v3(S-Foil)_sideTilt

This proved only the beginning of our journey though…

We were also able to expand the internal space found in the engine bays, enough to accommodate two 31mm technic wheels. These directly link the lift arms of the S-Foil through a variety of pins and axels to the technic bricks and plates of the wings, simultaneously providing both stability and a degree of accurate detailing to an area of the build that the official UCS X-Wing’s have consistently overlooked.

 

75355MOD_v8-GotB_S-Foil

The wings themselves can droop ever so slightly toward their tip but this is not noticeable when they are in ‘attack position’. When deployed the S-Foil appears a pretty gravity defying construction that closely matches the external appearance of the hero model X-Wing Fighters from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.

Our wings have been lengthened by three studs to better match the source material as too the rear of the fuselage by one stud. The lasers have also been corrected. Schematics from the book ‘Star Wars: Rebel Starfighters: Owner’s Manuel Workshop’ were referenced to get these dimensions as close as Lego bricks could get us. It turns out that the width of the engine intakes Henrik designed are perfect when compared to these schematics but, his wings being a bit undersized, confused these proportions. Our new wings resolve this characteristic.

 

75355MOD-1_topComparison_1920x1080

 

Another area we wanted to nail down was the forward section of the model. Getting the front fuselage’s top and side panels to be smooth, angled and gap free has been successfully implemented by several MODs out there and ours is no exception!

But it was the front nose cone that really needed to be right. The solution we found took many iterations and additional research to refine but we believe it to be a nose cone worthy of any true 70’s dragster!

06_75355MOD_v2-noseExplode

We had a lot of fun with the rear fuselage’s top panel. The vertically oriented technic 6 x 8 technic bricks with open centre, that provides a framework for our S-Foil system, allowed too for a degree of height differential when mounting the details of the top fuselage panel, making for some subtle ‘greebling’ accuracy to play out.

07_75355MOD-v3(attackPosition)-topPanel

The rear fuselage side panels have also been completely redesigned and are pretty robust. The back panel has similarities to 75355 and the ‘thumbscrew’ integrates nicely here, passing for greebling that is also found on the screen model, just like 7191 and 10240 does.

 

75355MOD-v3(attackPosition)_35mm_02

Which brings us to the cockpit.

75355MOD-1_cockpit

We’ve done our best to scale its details correctly and to utilize every millimetre of space. Control surfaces were incorporated into the side panels of the cockpit and unsightly gaps found in the forward avionics area closed. We even designed additional stickers for placement on these consoles that wonderfully match the style of the official UCS set’s decals.

The rear avionics of the cockpit also went through many iterations. In the end it was decided to incorporate a couple of play features at the expanse of a little accuracy. The targeting computer has been kept and can swivel, retract, and angle into a stored position while allowing the canopy to still close.

For further information regarding our instructions, parts list and sticker sheet please visit our MOC's page at Rebrickable or our website at jedi.se.

 

 

 

09_75355MOD-v3(retractedPosition)-panelsRemoved

May all our UCS X-Wing dreams come true!

 

Cheers all,

Aeroeza, rde and Rilted – GotB May 4th 2024

P.S. More images to follow & Happy May Fourth!!

 

 
Edited by Aeroeza

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Great work!

Assuming you had a 75355 X-Wing lying around, how many new parts would you need to buy to build this?

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Krazeh said:

Great work!

Assuming you had a 75355 X-Wing lying around, how many new parts would you need to buy to build this?

Thanks! Let me indulge you on this with the following screen shot from rebrickable. The majority of the parts are readily available as we’ve put in a great effort to make it easy for everyone to upgrade their 75355 X-wing.

You can download the parts list together with the manual to see if you like it.

IMG_3778.jpeg

Edited by Rilted

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Incredible work GotB! An amazing May the 4th surprise. I truely appreciate the time, passion, and attention to detail that went into this project. I can't wait to build this Mod/Moc/Masterpiece and display it proudly next to my other UCS sets. It's everything I wanted the offical UCS xwing to be. 

I've tried going to Jedi.se but it only links to this image:

here be dragons

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, dmount said:

Incredible work GotB! An amazing May the 4th surprise. I truely appreciate the time, passion, and attention to detail that went into this project. I can't wait to build this Mod/Moc/Masterpiece and display it proudly next to my other UCS sets. It's everything I wanted the offical UCS xwing to be. 

I've tried going to Jedi.se but it only links to this image:

 

PM sent! :)

And thanks for your message. It means alot!

Edited by Aeroeza

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On 5/4/2024 at 5:57 PM, Rilted said:

You can download the parts list together with the manual to see if you like it.

Thanks for the response. Really interesting stats.

Have downloaded the manual and parts list, looks really good. Great work on the manual!

Have a couple of questions though:

  1. Do you have a full parts list for the build? So not just the additional parts needed on top of 75355 but what you'd need to buy if you wanted to build from scratch?
  2. Is it possible to get the stickers with a thinner 'cut' line? The thick pink line on the current set isn't ideal. Would be nice to get something that's closer to the image you have at the end of the instructions (bottom of page 211).

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Posted (edited)
On 5/8/2024 at 8:14 PM, Krazeh said:
  1. Do you have a full parts list for the build? So not just the additional parts needed on top of 75355 but what you'd need to buy if you wanted to build from scratch?
  2. Is it possible to get the stickers with a thinner 'cut' line? The thick pink line on the current set isn't ideal. Would be nice to get something that's closer to the image you have at the end of the instructions (bottom of page 211).

Thanks for the feedback on the manual and we hope you'll enjoy the building experience! As to answering your questions...

1. We do not see any point of releasing a separate parts list as we are using more than 75% of the original set. The unused parts are very common pieces and at the end of the day you will spend more on the uncommon ones included with the set, such as the printed canopy, sticker sheet and the engine intake pieces to name a few. I would suggest to keep an eye out for this set on sale if you wish to save (it was recently sold with a 20% discount at the official Lego store).

2. The cutting line is at the recommended size that we send to our print shop that cuts out only the inside of this line. It may look thick when zoomed in, but they are made for 1x1 and 1x2 tiles and quite small in size when printed. If you wish to remove this line I would suggest using any graphic software of your choice.

Edit: Having gone through the process of uploading it all to Rebrickable, it was necessary to create a complete part list as you initially requested. This can be found here.

Edited by Rilted

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Posted (edited)

This is just outstanding - I love the way you have slimmed down the nose cone (probably the ugliest part of the set) and tapered the fuselage forward of the cockpit whilst avoiding gaps, but managed to retain the essence of the official UCS set.  It really is the UCS set Lego should have released.  I think I will almost certainly execute this mod, although I don't relish the idea of Bricklinking well over 1000 parts - that's going to cost a bit!  (I say this acknowledging the irony that I have recently Bricklinked 80% of the parts for the UCS B-wing 10227, roughly the same number of parts).  Thanks to the three of you for making the instructions available.

Edit: Link to the free PDF instructions appears to be broken

Edited by Neophyte_brickie

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54 minutes ago, Neophyte_brickie said:

This is just outstanding - I love the way you have slimmed down the nose cone (probably the ugliest part of the set) and tapered the fuselage forward of the cockpit whilst avoiding gaps, but managed to retain the essence of the official UCS set.  It really is the UCS set Lego should have released.  I think I will almost certainly execute this mod, although I don't relish the idea of Bricklinking well over 1000 parts - that's going to cost a bit!  Thanks to the three of you for making the instructions available.

Edit: Link to the free PDF instructions appears to be broken

Thanks mate! I was a little intimidated by using BL too.... Ordering the parts for our MOC/MOD was the largest order I'd ever attempted to date. But, once I'd set up my wanted list in Rebrickable before I knew it I had'em! Five orders in total, all within my home turf of Australia for $247 AUS including postage & handling. Four days later and they're all here! I'm ecstatic to finally be converting my virtual build into the real thing!

The link should be up BUT, to quote it "....we are currently in the process of setting up a distribution point for the package including the building instructions and sticker sheet in PDF format, together with the parts list available for ordering through Bricklink or Rebrickable services." Our May 4th celebration is complete! Stay tuned!!! :pir-huzzah1:

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Waiting in anticipation for a link to instructions from your website!

Have spent a fair bit of time looking at the photos and renders; as I said earlier, the work you’ve done on improving the look of the nose cone is particularly impressive, however the edge of the nose cone where it joins the fuselage along the side of the vehicle doesn’t look quite right to me.  I know it doesn’t help that there are differences between the various models that ILM used for filming, and as with all Lego sets the medium itself imposes constraints.  It’s something I think I’ll need to see in the flesh, but I wonder if the use of the 2x2 half wedge tiles in the original set achieves a better shape here? Be interested to hear your thoughts - it’s clear this is a detail you put a lot of thought into!

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Posted (edited)
On 5/12/2024 at 9:01 AM, Neophyte_brickie said:

"...the edge of the nose cone where it joins the fuselage along the side of the vehicle doesn’t look quite right to me.  I know it doesn’t help that there are differences between the various models that ILM used for filming, and as with all Lego sets the medium itself imposes constraints.  It’s something I think I’ll need to see in the flesh, but I wonder if the use of the 2x2 half wedge tiles in the original set achieves a better shape here? Be interested to hear your thoughts - it’s clear this is a detail you put a lot of thought into!"

And we have! Thanks so much for your observations! Let me expand on some of our decision-making processes behind the build….

An argument can be made that the way we have approached the nose cone’s side ‘transition’ is a clear deviation from the appearance of Red 5 – and they’d be right. However, it is worth pointing out that the four hand sculpted fuselages used for the hero models in ANH aren't identical and are  also somewhat asymmetrical.

For our Lego rendition we hit the research road. What we came to truly appreciate about the hero models of ANH & ROTJ (none were made for ESB as they used an MPC model kit instead) is that there are few X-wing nose cones that are alike! These differences are found primarily at the rear of the cone where it connects to the fuselage. However, port and starboard sides could also have discrepancies between one another on a single model too!

'Broadly' speaking there were three variants in particular within all these discrepancies that caught our eye...

The first, I’ll call Type 1 (as depicted in Henrik’s original build) has an upper section with a wedge-look, the angle of which pretty much continues to the lower section creating an overall swept back look.

Type 2 has a slight concave upper section and a more acute angled lower section when compared to Type 1, giving it a softened swept back appearance.

Type 3 depicts a deeper concave shaped upper section and almost 90 degree angled lower section. The ‘swept back look’ has gone.

noseConeStudy

How they blend with the fuselage also differs for this lower section. Some are quite distinct, appearing to be almost a separate component to the fuselage while others have little distinction at all and gently merge into it.  

Notably, the hero Red 5 nose cone is wildly different to the hero Red 3. Red 5 has the more swept back look on top and semi swept lower section. Red 3 on the other hand has the deeper concave upper shape (at least on the starboard side) with a lower section dropping suddenly (port and starboard). Both models have nose cones that remain distinct in form where they connect to the fuselage.

The million-dollar question is - which nose cone can be best replicated in Lego form at the scale we were working with? The answer is Red 3. Thanks Biggs!

kg-lucasfilm_archived-red3-reference-010-1

The reference used for our nose cone was therefore the hero Red 3 model (Type 3) from ANH rather than the hero Red 5 (Type 2). Our take here was regardless of call-sign, if ILM built it & we use it for reference, then it would be right for our project!

These differences to Red 5 allowed for treatment of the cone as a complete & separate modular build for better integration with the rest of the X-Wing’s dragster front. There was less call for a diagonal half-tile on the cone’s upper section and none for the lower. The use of the modified tile with curved cut-outs on the upper-rear section also proved a fair match to the concave look of Red 3 while allowing too for a streamlined flow into the side panels of the fuselage that compared well with the broader source material.

noseConeComparison

Personally, I’m really enjoying the look and clean flow of the ‘roundedness’ of our cone as it segways into the X-Wing’s angular hexagonal silhouette.

Scaling the schematics (while using the canopy as a reference point) to an orthographic top render of the front fuselage also proves an interesting reveal... 

X-Wing_Master_2023-11-29_RT-Top-Cone-Matched

This is a render of our first prototype nose to explore the solution. It's not identical to our final take (the above has a slightly different top panel) however it does show not only how close we got (proportionally a 1 x 3 rather than 1 x 4 nose cone top plate is the way to go), but that the front fuselage of 75355 is really at a different scale to it's rear due to the width of the canopy piece.

That said, it's quite remarkable what the original designer pulled off!

Edited by Aeroeza

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My favourite part of this whole project is actually the way you write your posts, so elegantly worded and managed to get me hyped more than I would've expected for a mod of an existing set. Great job.

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2 hours ago, Sucram said:

My favourite part of this whole project is actually the way you write your posts, so elegantly worded and managed to get me hyped more than I would've expected for a mod of an existing set. Great job.

Cheers Sucram! I must admit I'm having fun here :blush: & I'm chuffed to read you are too! 

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Posted (edited)

Here is a comparison between the original Lego set 75355 X-wing Starfighter UCS and GotB's MOD.

Update! The instruction package is now available over at Rebrickable.com!

75355-vs-GotB.gif

Edited by Rilted

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What an amazing project! Are you guys willing to share the stud.io file with folks who purchase the instructions? I’d like to render a light bluish grey version.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/15/2024 at 5:48 AM, MBricks said:

What an amazing project! Are you guys willing to share the stud.io file with folks who purchase the instructions? I’d like to render a light bluish grey version.

Thanks MBrick.... It certainly kept us busy when time permitted & we're relieved to have completed it by our self imposed deadline of May 4. As for the io file, well, after discussing with it with 'The Gents', we're of the opinion that handing it out felt like giving away our first born! The umbilical cord is strong with this one! Apologies!! :look:  

Edited by Aeroeza

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This is fantastic. I don't collect the UCS-size sets that aren't minifig scale but this makes me wish that I did so I could start right here. The improvements to the official version are huge, and what an amazing collaboration!!!

I can't wait to see what you guys tackle next!

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Posted (edited)
On 5/12/2024 at 9:01 AM, Neophyte_brickie said:

"...I wonder if the use of the 2x2 half wedge tiles in the original set achieves a better shape here?"

I had a little play in Studio and recreated Red 3's port side using a 2x2 half wedge. Collisions caused by the 2 x 3 dark red plate with our modified build meant the original mounting approach for the 2 x 2 tile from 75355's had to be restored. Importantly, what I refer to as 'the band' which softens the transition between the angled forward top fuselage plate and angled top plate of the nose cone, is maintained. It's this 'band' that helps the 1 x 4 width of the fuselage on top to become a 1 x 3 nose cone. 

75355MOD-v3_nose MOD

It isn't a significant modification to our nose cone or side fuselage panels. Adding the additional half wedge for the lower rear section present on Red 5 is easy enough too. However, the underside fuselage plate would then need to be adjusted to account for the widening gap again.

As to whether it's better shaping? Well, there are pros and cons here that are best left to the eye of the beholder. :classic:

Edited by Aeroeza

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, stevej said:

This is fantastic. I don't collect the UCS-size sets that aren't minifig scale but this makes me wish that I did so I could start right here. The improvements to the official version are huge, and what an amazing collaboration!!!

I can't wait to see what you guys tackle next!

Cheers stevej. It's certainly proven to be a most unexpected way to make friends around the world. Gives me an excuse to hit a Greek beach & a Scandinavian mountain while 'The Gents' plan our next MOC or MOD in person!

The whiskey will flow. :grin: 

Edited by Aeroeza

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KJI_3053_DXO_web.jpg

Quick photo of the final build. :pir-huzzah1:More to come later on.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, rde said:

KJI_3053_DXO_web.jpg

Quick photo of the final build. :pir-huzzah1:More to come later on.

The nose section looks so elegant compared to the official set. This is the most complicated MOD of an UCS set I've seen yet. Amazing job! I wasn't satisfied with the official set, but it was a goog improvement of the previosus version, so I bought it. I will definitely build these modifications in the future to bring the model in almost perfect shape.

Edited by ClassicLook

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Posted (edited)
On 5/17/2024 at 2:18 AM, ClassicLook said:

"The nose section looks so elegant compared to the official set. This is the most complicated MOD of an UCS set I've seen yet...."

Really appreciate your sentiments ClassicLook! Thank you!!

'The Gents' are sometimes a little irrationally on the fence as to whether it's classified as a MOD or MOC but, realistically, given it is based on all the elements we loved most about 75355 we always came back down to Earth and accepted that it's just a MOD. Admittedly though, a thoroughly comprehensive one. We're just being a bit cheeky calling it a MOD/MOC! :grin:

I really hope you enjoy the building experience when you get around to it. There's plenty enough new there to surprise those who have already built the original and lots of homages to and inspiration taken from Henrik along the way as well.

Edited by Aeroeza

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Ok @Aeroeza, I have more questions!

In the changelog on Rebrickable you mention you've substituted a 2x3 plate for two 1x3 plates at steps 357 & 358. As it happens I had downloaded instructions before the change was made so I am comparing before and after.  I'm curious why you made the change?  It doesn't appear to have been necessary.

I suppose the one major feature of the 'real' X-Wing design you and your team haven't replicated in your mod is the way the canopy kind of slopes down from front to back (ie the base of the canopy isn't horizontal).  I'm assuming you must have attempted it, but not found a satisfactory solution, given the attention to detail that is evident throughout the rest of the mod! Did you look at whether that was achievable?

I'm moving toward doing the mod myself - have purchased the instructions and been through my own lego pieces to find I already have 20% of the required parts! (on top of the actual UCS 75355 previously built).  It looks like I will be able to get the remainder (almost all new parts) through Bricklink for about AU$200 including shipping - not bad at all!

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2 hours ago, Neophyte_brickie said:

In the changelog on Rebrickable you mention you've substituted a 2x3 plate for two 1x3 plates at steps 357 & 358. As it happens I had downloaded instructions before the change was made so I am comparing before and after.  I'm curious why you made the change?  It doesn't appear to have been necessary.

I suppose the one major feature of the 'real' X-Wing design you and your team haven't replicated in your mod is the way the canopy kind of slopes down from front to back (ie the base of the canopy isn't horizontal).  I'm assuming you must have attempted it, but not found a satisfactory solution, given the attention to detail that is evident throughout the rest of the mod! Did you look at whether that was achievable?

The swap from the 2x3 plate to two 1x3 plates was done so that the 2x2 hinge plate can be centered onto them. It was originally like this in our prototype but got accidentally changed during the process of reducing the part count for the overall build.

As for the canopy, the hinge itself only allows for a few locked in angles which are 0°, 45°, 68° and 90°. This is by far the most limiting piece of the original set, not only the angles but the way it is widened towards the front instead of the opposite as in the screen reference.

AU$200 including shipping is not bad at all and we hope you have a great time building it!

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