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  1. My obsession with making a Lego Cloud City has come full circle. Initially I was disappointed and bewildered by the images of the official Lego release of 2003. "What a piece of junk." Of course with 2D photos it's sometimes difficult to fully appreciate a Lego model properly. After a half dozen or so attempts at Cloud City over the past 3 years I'm still tearing these study models apart, unsatisfied with my approach. The most recent victim was this build, however I did spare the carbonite pit. I don't believe that Cloud City is unbuildable but I'm struggling with the inspiration for it these days. It's such a critical part of The Empire Strikes Back, it must be included in any serious OT collection! The last year of Lego Star Wars releases (2012~2013) has been a great pleasure on my shelf and a great pain in the wallet. (I'm looking at you, Jabba's Palace and Rancor Pit!) Upon careful study of 10123, reading reviews and analysis it was decided that I must have 10123 and only by building it will I truly understand the nuances, high points and low points of the only official Cloud City release. Imagine my horror upon finding that a complete kit was worth about $700 used. But looking at the major pieces of the kit I was fairly certain that I had most of the parts lying about needed to build most of the main part of the set... there were major omissions like the baseplates and some special pieces like the carbon rods (little transOrange ones) but I felt that I could check out instructions online and study printed out photos of 10123 and rebuild it pretty close to the official version. As I proceeded to start I found myself "building around" the problem areas and offering my own solutions. For example, I wanted a fairly smooth floor in the dining area so I ended up doing my own thing in there and taking out the sculpture to offer more minifig spaces. I didn't have all the correct pieces or colors so I built what I could and plan to swap out some proper parts when I come across them. There's no rush, and I'm so glad I didn't end up dropping $700 that I don't have on the original model! Yikes. The "force" mechanisms in the dueling room were easy enough but for the floor flipper I tried to improve on it and added a storage area for weapons underneath. The carbonite pit is completely manual with no crank; you must pull up on the chamber lift. You can rotate Han underneath from his minifig version to the 'old style' slab piece of Han frozen in carbonite. The front door lifts up simply without a gimmick. Finally being able to play with and display and reflect on this official version of Cloud City, I must admin that in front of me, it's actually better than expected. The usual criticisms are more or less true (doesn't really look like Cloud City from the film, missing the torture room, etc) but it's fun to play with and somehow effective at being Cloud City even though the resemblance is kind of a stretch. On my shelf I display it wall size out, so the rooms are hidden which looks much better IMHO. Part of the reason I'm so pleased with it (albeit not 100% complete) is that I'm not out $700 for it!! For anyone who bought this used, do you feel it was worth the money? Eventually I will add to this model... another three large areas in pretty much the same configuration to expand on what's been completed. I'll add a torture area/holding cell, hotel suite for Leia, Han and Chewie and some landing platforms for the cloud cars. I may also be inspired to improve the carbonite chamber. The three areas separate and fasten together like 10123 does. I don't miss the enormous landing pads as most of the ships that visit Cloud City are better off landing next to it and the minifigs can gather on the small platform from my last attempt at Cloud City. Besides, I don't have the room on my shelf for those huge platforms! I built the three major baseplates from the common 4x4 curved pieces. That's my rant about making 10123 from spare parts... it was super fun. I enjoyed the challenge of following the instructions and adapting without the required parts. I didn't think I had so many spare parts to do this but I guess I had enough... if you are aching for a new Cloud City, can't wait for it (like me) and have enough spare pieces lying about, I highly recommend taking a crack at it. "This deal's getting worse all the time!" - Lando, bidding on eBay for a complete 10123 with box and instructions!