Almost 17 months after topping a LEGO Ideas poll to find the next Ultimate Collector Series Star Wars set, the Republic Gunship has finally been revealed by the LEGO Group – but the journey from concept to shelves wasn’t an easy one, according to designer Hans Burkhard Schlömer.
Speaking to Brick Fanatics and other LEGO Fan Media during a recent roundtable session, Hans explained why the Republic Gunship presented a few very specific design challenges at this supersized scale, which goes above and beyond any previous playsets in every dimension.
“Looking at the side of the model, I’d like you to try to think as a designer for a second,” Hans begins. “As a LEGO designer, you have to deliver a very stable model, obviously. So the best thing you can do is grab a big plate and start sticking [pieces on] and it’ll have a solid foundation. What you don’t want to do is build on empty air or build overhangs, and looking at this ship, it is one giant overhang.
“Only the first third, where the pilots are sitting, has the foot on the ground, so to say. The middle part is already hanging over in the air, but it gets worse as you get to the rear of the model. You can see that the hull is sloping upward and is providing absolutely no support for the model whatsoever.
“And if that’s not bad enough in terms of structural integrity, this is where the wings are connected, and sitting on top are the engine and gun combo, adding more weight to it. Structurally speaking, most of the weight is really just hanging over empty air, so it’s kind of a nightmare for a designer to deal with.”
You can see how successful Hans was at overcoming those challenges by checking out our review of 75309 Republic Gunship, which is already online ahead of the set launching at LEGO.com and in LEGO Stores on August 1.