For a previous post I was looking at the new UCS Star Wars Millennium Falcon. I stumbled upon a link to the Lego Rebrick site. The Rebrick site is a part of the Lego.com website that features various Lego related contests. The thing that caught my eye is the Millennium Falcon contest. Or more accurate a YT class Corellian freighter contest. Build your own YT class corellian freighter and you might just win the new UCS Millennium Falcon.
Since I don’t have enough unboxed Lego to actually build a model. I started working on a model in the Lego Digital Designer.
Lego Digital Designer (LDD)
When googling the Lego Digital Designer (LDD) several posts came up with some negative remarks. It seemed Lego decided that it would no longer actively support the software. Lego quickly responded with another statement that they did not abandon digital Lego building. They just stopped automatic updates and make no promises about adding elements.
This made me look at alternatives. It seems there are several. I downloaded two others, LeoCad and LDCad. Both seemed promising and well documented. Eager to start however, I did not feel like reading manuals. This is where I discovered that LDD was most ‘new’ user friendly and easy to use. Parts and colors were easily selectable. Parts can even be filtered on color. If a part is not available in a color, it will not be selectable in the list.
Because of the statements from Lego I was afraid I would have the need for a part that would not be available in the LDD. The fear was unfounded. Every part I wanted was quickly located. Then I ran into another problem. I found I was lacking the experience to build a model as complex as I wanted to in the time available. So I decided to go the other way around.
Instead of modeling a big one I started out small.
Above is my first attempt. Even though this is kind of what I envisioned it did not come out as I wanted it to. It looks more like an old warship then it does a space ship. So I started thinking about alterations.
In my second attempt I added the red color. I thought it looked better immediately. I gave it bigger engines and completely altered the front beams. At least it doesn’t look like a total war ship anymore.
Although I thought the second model looked better, I still wasn’t happy. So I moved the cockpit down and removed the triangular brick. That was one of the elements that still made me think of a warship. Now, it looked more like a tank. Still not what I wanted.
The fourth attempt was only a minor revision. I switched from a two stud wide cockpit mount to a one stud. I thought it gave the freighter a sleeker look and made it less of a tank. Even though I wanted to create a blockade runner that could take a hit, a tank was not what I was going for either.
While looking at the model and comparing it to other YT class freighters I noticed that the front beams were, well, beams. Most of the designs had a nice flow, where the beams would just seem to be part of the round hull. So I added a plate with an angle to create the same effect. It looked a whole lot better instantly.
Still not happy I decided to rework the rear and sides. I removed the cylindrical bricks on the side an replaced them with a sloped brick and one that allowed adding a transparant stud on the side. The engines were altered too. I started out with one main part and two side parts. Instead I gave it two of the main parts.
During my search for parts I discovered a new one. One that would be a great replacement for the dish mount. This just showed me I still have a lot to learn about the available bricks and how they can be used. In other words, I’m lacking experience.
In the last change I added a round disc to the bottom of the ship. As an explanation it may give the freighter more cargo space but the truth is, I just wanted to do something about the grey color on the bottom.
In order to get some nice images to upload to the contest site, I decided to use POV Ray. But to get that to work I needed pov files which, I learned, can be made with LDView. But it seems LDView can’t open LDD files. So I exported the LDD model to an LDR (LDraw) file. Ldraw is perhaps the most used model format for third party software.
When opening the exported LDD model in LDView I noticed something weird. The two sloped bricks on the sides, were missing. It seems the export was not completely successful.
In order to fix this, I opened up LeoCAD and added the bricks again. This actually took some time because the interface of LeoCAD was unfamiliar to me and I couldn’t get the parts to ‘snap’ onto the other parts as I had in LDD. Once the parts were added I could create the POV files in LDView again.
The result is below.