Speaking to Brickset, Henrik Andersen revealed that display models – like the Nebulon-B, which was intended as an exclusive for San Diego Comic-Con – are becoming “increasingly popular”. And that suggests the LEGO Group could one day use them to release previously-unseen vehicles from the Star Wars saga.
77904 Nebulon-B Frigate is the first time the rebel cruiser has appeared in LEGO beyond an advent calendar mini-model. But it’s not the first time the company has considered releasing it. The relatively obscure ship was among the options on this year’s Ultimate Collector Series poll, but lost out to the Republic Gunship.
“The first sketch model was constructed before the poll and this is a model that we have looked into many times,” Andersen explained. “However, we have never had an opportunity to actually release it before.” As it turns out, that’s mainly down to the ship’s hugely impractical design.
“The Nebulon-B is an extremely difficult vessel to recreate as a toy, since we are working with gravity and the nature of the subject is not very gravity-friendly,” Andersen continued. “The long, slim spine would be very hard to integrate with a play model.”
It wasn’t particularly easy in this smaller-scale model, either, as the beam presented significant structural challenges for Andersen. “My first choice was a long Technic beam, which is obviously very sturdy, but I had to swap that for several layers of plates because of the proportions of the vehicle,” he explained.
“Also, several changes were necessary to improve the flow of the building experience. The sideways construction techniques are an integral part of the structure and provide support for the slender beam.”
Those techniques hint at another opportunity these adult-targeted display sets provide. “The age rating is usually slightly higher than most retail products, so we are able to make the model more complex,” Andersen said. “There can be limitations when it comes to new elements or colours of elements though.”
While most fans may never get their hands on a boxed copy of 77904 Nebulon-B Frigate, the instructions are available to download right now from LEGO.com. And thanks in part to those aforementioned limitations, there are no exclusive bricks required to recreate it at home.