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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....... 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)... 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!! ) 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: And what can I build with them so far: "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