For anyone remotely familiar with me, you know I have a deep love and respect for manned space flight. I grew up with the Space Shuttle program. I’ve been to two launches and hope to be there when the mighty Atlantis takes flight for the last time on STS-135. It is in her honor and the entire Space Shuttle program that I designed and created the set “Last Flight”. A little over 12 years ago, I started building a scale model of the space shuttle, using minifigs for scale. I never made it past the flight and mid-deck.
I would go on and build many other things but for some reason never came back to the shuttle. As events for the launch of Endeavor (STS-134) started to pick up steam, I decided it was time. Having just completed Yuri’s Vostok 1 and a series of observatories in Lego, I jumped in feet first. A few days later (and countless hours) I completed “Last Flight”.
My design philosophy was on accuracy, scale and “playability”. The latter part may need a little more explanation. I wanted whoever built this to be able to pick it up and go “swoosh!!!!” with it. Also, to have as much real stuff for the minifigs to interact with. In reality, that mainly means the hatches work and the CanadaArm moves. The cargo bay doors open and close and the main engines even gimbal (my favorite feature).
There is a “just too tight” for a minifig hatch between the flight and mid deck – a problem with working at this scale. Because I was designing this digitally, I avoided adding landing gear. While I have some experience in building large models, I didn’t want to chance it with this one. So for now, Atlantis will be “in orbit”. After I build the model in real bricks, I’ll add the landing gear. Maybe as a “patch” to the original model! I’ve also gotten suggestions for cargo to fit in the cargo bay. I’m pretty sure but I think my Hubble fits in there nicely… might have to test that out later! The model has been uploaded to Lego.com’s DesignByMe Gallery and hopefully will be approved and up for sale tomorrow or soon after.
Name: Final Flight
Subject: Space Shuttle Atlantis
Number of pieces: 6034
Cost: $1376.49 (from Lego, not including shipping) – I don’t make any money from this.
Availability: (very soon)
I’m also working on posting the building instructions online soon. In the meantime, once the set is available for sale, you can download the model via Lego Digital Designer for free!
Happy building and ad Astra!
I thought I’d combine two of my sets and see if the math worked out. Yep. Both the Shuttle and Atlantis are in scale.