Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Blacktron-painted X-Wing

I've mentioned before that I like to "repaint" LEGO sets now and again. It's one of the simplest forms of MOC-making, and often it's a way to recapture the attraction of an old LEGO set in a new way. Normally, repainting is a rather simple task, but it can be taken to extreme lengths. A few years ago, as a Christmas present for my brother, I did just that: Some LEGO fans will recognise that this fake set is a repaint of one of the original Star Wars sets from 1999: 7140 X-wing Fighter. Although this original model has been superceded by shinier, curvier, more recent attempts, the original X-wing still has a certain "wow" factor. By the standards of the time it is well-designed, an excellent source of basic parts, and eminently--swooshably--playable. My younger brother did not own the set, though he is a Star Wars fan, and he is a major Blacktron fan (in particular a fan of Blacktron's second incarnation)--to the point of running a blog about Blacktron. In addition to having to find all the parts to make a Blacktron(ii)-coloured X-wing, I also had to make a couple minor adjustments for the canopy--and decide how I wanted to shift the minifigs from Rebel Alliance uniforms to Blacktron II. I ended up keeping the original minifig's faces but otherwise playing it straight with the Blacktron uniforms--though I went a bit further with the mechanic/ground crewman, who gets to wear a white version of his Star Wars counterpart. The astromech ("R2-unit") was similarly blanched: The REAL challenge to making this set, however, was not finding the parts (though that was my first real Bricklink-based parts-hunting venture), nor modifying the original LEGO set's designs, but putting together instructions. Fortunately, I'd tinkered around a lot as a teenager making MSPaint-based LEGO instructions, and still had the templates. Nonetheless, it was a time-consuming process--and made me wish I'd learned to use LDraw or a similar program. Below is a sample page of the instructions, to give an idea of the finished product: Though overly pixellated for some tastes, the end result is sharp enough--and was certainly something my brother could follow. Add in a fully-recovered box in the style of the first image, and you had one very happy younger brother that Christmas, as he received his first brand-new Blacktron (ii) set ever... and one rather exhausted older brother who decided not to tackle such a labour-intensive Christmas present again. He succeeded... mostly.

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