Wednesday 29 August 2012

Happy Birthday to Me !

I'm generally a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to birthdays. Finding myself one year nearer to death isn't really anything much to celebrate as far as I'm concerned. My wife thinks I've got it all wrong - she views it as a chance to celebrate having survived for another year. But maybe that's just because she's from up North where life expectancies are presumably lower.

All that having been said, I'm pleased to announce that this blog is two years old on Friday. Having previously given myself a big, self-indulgent pat on the back for having coaxed Gimme LEGO to the age of one, it would have been all too easy to let things slide having hit that milestone, but it's still going and people are still visiting. In fact, overall visitor numbers, and also the number of people following the blog, are gradually creeping up, suggesting that the time spent posting on here is worthwhile and that people are presumably getting something out of it.

Not everything in the garden is rosy, however. The Gimme LEGO Bargain Hunt ! page went great guns initially, but updates have been increasingly sporadic since I started to collaborate with Huw from Brickset on the Amazon Bargain Watch system which you may well have come across since its launch last year. For the uninitiated, Amazon Bargain Watch is a rather nifty LEGO discount tracker which has automated the process of finding the best deals on Amazon in Europe and the U.S., thus rendering my manual updates pretty much obsolete.

Anyway, one good thing about birthdays is that people generally cut you more slack than usual if you decide to get all nostalgic. On this basis, I thought it might be interesting to see which postings have attracted the most visitors during Gimme LEGO's 2-year existence, and you can see a list of the Top 10 postings below, ranked by the number of visitors.

  1. Review : Star Wars Set 10221 Super Star Destroyer

  2. LEGO Star Wars UCS Exhibition, National Space Centre, July 2011

  3. Great Western LEGO Show 2010

  4. Gimme LEGO Awards 2011

  5. Great Western LEGO Show 2011

  6. Review : Star Wars Set 10212 Imperial Shuttle

  7. Revealed : Kingdoms Set 10223 Joust

  8. Update : my MOC City Layout

  9. Preview : LEGO Star Wars UCS Exhibition, National Space Centre, June 2011

10. Review : Star Wars Set 10143 Death Star II

OK, so it isn't really very scientific - some postings have obviously been out there for longer than others so people have had more chance to stumble across them - but some clear trends nevertheless emerge from the data. My review of the Super Star Destroyer was some way ahead of the other posts in terms of hits, which isn't altogether surprising given that it was I think the first review anywhere on the net. There has in fact been a lot of love for LEGO Star Wars in general, with reviews of UCS sets occupying three of the top ten slots in terms of traffic. Reports from LEGO shows and exhibitions are also clearly popular, with four of the top ten slots occupied by show previews or reviews. I was also surprised how much traffic the updates on my MOC City Layout have been getting, although maybe I shouldn't have been given the number of e-mails I receive telling me to get a move on with it....

Set 10221 Super Star Destroyer - out in front

So what can you expect going forward ? Well, first of all, my enthusiasm for the blog remains largely intact, so Gimme LEGO will continue into its third year. I suspect that the current mix of excessively long reviews, opinion pieces, meandering event reports and general ramblings will continue pretty much as it is now. That having been said, I'm always happy to consider suggestions from readers, so if you feel inclined to get in touch with me and let me know what you'd like to see on here then please be my guest. Regarding the Bargain Hunt page, send me your tips and I'll endeavour to publish them on there. I'm also hoping that I'll be able to feature some custom Amazon Bargain Watch content on the Bargain Hunt page in due course, which should liven things up a bit on there. And yes, I really do need to press on with my MOC City Layout as there's more interest in it than I'd expected and I want to avoid another year's worth of "hurry up already" e-mails....

So thanks for reading the blog, and thanks for all your comments and e-mails. And thanks also to Huw for giving me access to Brickset's extensive library of photographs for my postings. I'd save you all some birthday cake but I'm just too greedy....

Wednesday 22 August 2012

Building the Perfect Beast - Anatomy of an AT-AT

OK, OK, so it took me longer to source the parts than I expected.... Last time I wrote things were going swimmingly, with only around 50 parts left to get hold of. And then I double-checked and realised that I'd made an error when collating the parts listings, and in fact I actually still had more than 200 parts to source. You can be glad you weren't there when I discovered this - I was not a happy bunny.

So here we are three weeks later. My epic parts grab is finally done and all the parts are in hand. I hope. So with LDD files in hand and more than 6,200 parts sourced and waiting to be part of something big, the scene was set.

As anyone who has embarked upon a big build will know only too well, locating the right parts for each building step from within a vast sea of other pieces is often the most time-consuming and potentially frustrating aspect. My strategy for dealing with this involves some rudimentary sorting of parts prior to the build to make life a little easier. Specifically, I dump all of the small parts into one clear plastic crate, the plates into another, and everything else into a third crate which becomes the proverbial dumping ground. Given the sheer number of pieces I was going to be dealing with on this occasion - the AT-AT is made up of considerably more parts than any official set - I decided to use a couple of additional crates, one for tiles and one for larger Technic elements. The ultra purists might consider this to be cheating, but I have my mental well-being to consider....

So here they are : 6,200+ AT-AT parts, sorted and waiting to be fashioned into a thing of beauty.

For those of a particularly obsessional nature who want more detail on how the contents of the boxes break down and who crave a closer look at the parts themselves, read on...

Firstly, the crate of small parts (picture below - click to enlarge) contains anything with a footprint of 2 x 2 studs or less, plus all of the 1 x 3 plates, the 1 x 3 slopes, the Technic axles and the hoses. It is by all accounts a pretty arbitrary selection on my part, but what really matters is that YOU know what you've put in each crate and hence where to look when you need them....

Next are the plates (below), of which there are a prodigious number; basically anything flat with a footprint of more than 2 x 2 studs and which isn't entirely or partially studless went into this crate. It's worth noting at this stage that anything you can see in any of the crates which isn't light bluish grey or dark bluish grey, with the exception of the trans red cheese slopes which form the AT-AT windscreen, is part of the inner structure of the model and can't be seen from the outside;. This means that you can theoretically substitute them for parts of any colour you like, although in order to make it easier to follow along with Pete's LDD files I used pieces which were exactly the same colour as those he used in the files.

Then there are the tiles (below); any flat pieces which were completely or partially studless and had a footprint bigger than 2 x 2 studs went into this crate. When I built my UCS Millennium Falcon a couple of years back I didn't separate the tiles out before I started building, resulting in a much longer time to locate them amidst all the thousands of plates in that set; I didn't want to fall into the same trap this time round....

Next there's the Technic crate (below) into which I dumped all the Technic bricks and liftarms. Other Technic parts were spread around the other crates dependent on size and shape, but in a sea of bricks there's a tendency for some of these Technic beams to be confused with other parts so I thought it would make life a bit easier.

Finally there's the crate into which everything else goes (below - click to enlarge). In practice this was mainly standard bricks, inverted dishes, a multitude of slopes, and wheels of various sizes. Note the printed dishes peeking out from the sea of parts; these will eventually cover the joints of the AT-AT's legs. The giant light bluish grey wheels in the top left and bottom right corners of the crate, which have only ever appeared in Set 10030 Imperial Star Destroyer in this colour, were a total pain to source, so much so that Pete has replaced them with alternative parts in the most recent version of the LDD files. Having managed to source them, however, I'm sticking to the original design.

The beauty of these crates is two-fold. Firstly they're transparent, so you can look for the pieces you're after through the sides of the crates or even peer up from underneath to see if if they're hiding under other parts. Secondly they stack (picture below) so when real life impinges on your building experience you can store everything out of the way much more easily.

A final note for Kevin and anyone else out there who is embarking on a similar AT-AT building project; as I mentioned earlier, Pete has tidied up the most recent version of the LDD files and replaced some of the hardest-to-source parts with more abundant alternatives. The parts above were sourced with reference to the original LDD files, however, so if you see parts in the pictures which don't appear on your parts listings, or which are a different colour, there's no need to panic !

So all the preparation is finally complete. The next time I post on this project, building will be well underway - I promise ! Anyone reading this who wants a crack at building their own AT-AT and would like a copy of the LDD files and parts inventory please get in touch and I'll forward your request on to Pete.

<-- Building the AT-AT : Part 1                                       Building the AT-AT : Part 3 -->

Wednesday 15 August 2012

Going for Gold

Given my new-found enthusiasm for LEGO mechs (e.g. see here) I suppose it was really only a matter of time before I stumbled into another theme which I hadn't previously paid any attention to : Exo-Force.
Exo-Force Set 7709 Sentai Headquarters
The Exo-Force theme ran from 2006 to 2008 and consisted of around 40 sets all told, from small, cheap impulse sets to large expensive playsets such as Set 7709 Sentai Headquarters which was made up of almost 1500 pieces . The retirement of the theme coincided with my emergence from my LEGO Dark Ages, so I guess it's not altogether surprising that I only recently discovered and started to explore it. The theme, from the box art to the minfigures, not to mention the design of the mechs themselves, was clearly inspired by manga, the distinctive Japanese comic style, and if you're a fan of LEGO and mechs then this theme is definitely for you....

I picked up Exo-Force Set 7714 Golden Guardian (below) a few weeks back. Despite this supposedly being a "Limited Edition" set I was able to get a boxed example with sealed bags for less than £20. With an RRP of £19.99 / $24.99 at the time of its 2007 release, this isn't the first Exo-Force set I've recently bought which doesn't appear to have increased much if at all in value since retirement, not that I'm complaining.

The box is ridiculously large given that it contains just 267 pieces - I'm a big fan of LEGO's recent tendency to shrink the boxes down to a more appropriate size - and it's emblazoned with a big "Limited Gold Edition" banner. Is anybody really impressed by the knowledge that something is supposedly a "Limited Edition" anymore ? My scorn stops there, however - I love the art style, which brings to mind the cel shading you find in comics and certain videogames and lies somewhere between cartoon and photograph. The front of the box is pretty much wholly dedicated to a close-up of the Golden Guardian engaged in combat, printed over a metallic gold background, while the back of the box (below) highlights a few play features of the set, shows off some other sets in the Exo-Force theme, and even gives us a couple of comic book panels featuring the mech in action.

Cutting the seals releases the contents of the box : six numbered bags of parts, an A4-sized instructions booklet, a sticker sheet, two loose sections of flexible tubing, and lots of Billund air - did I mention that the box was stupidly big ? The front cover of the instructions is very similar to the front of the box, minus the golden sheen and a few extraneous details, while the back reproduces the comic strip panels from the back of the box and blows them up to fill the page (below).

The building instructions themselves occupy 36 pages and are printed against a restful background of blue sky with a few hazy clouds. Black/dark grey discrimination isn't great, but there's thankfully a parts inventory (below - click to enlarge) so you can't go too far wrong. There are also two pages of adverts for the LEGO Club and LEGO Shop at Home. Compared with most LEGO instruction booklets I've encountered, the paper isn't as glossy as usual - it feels coarser and thinner, reminiscent of the instruction booklets in some of the 2012 Super Heroes sets. I suspect that the use of this thinner, coarser paper is a deliberate ploy to give the booklets more of a comic book feel.

The sticker sheet, or DSS, is a shiny gold affair. Shiny or not, I generally hate stickers, especially when they're large and abundant, and this sticker sheet ticks both those boxes I'm afraid.... Still, at least the sticker sheet was intact, so I guess I should be thankful for that if nothing else.

Moving on to the parts included in the set, the pearl gold panel fairing and 2 x 2 x 11 support pillar (pic below - click to enlarge) are unique to this set. I have to confess to more than just a twinge of disappointment that they're pearl gold rather than chrome gold as the box art makes them look shinier than they actually are. You also get ten of the pearl gold 1 x 2 tiles with grille. There are a few quite unusual dark red parts included, notably the 45 degree 2 x 1 double inverted slope and the 8 x 6 x 2 curved windscreen, both of which only appear in two other sets apart from this one, while the white 1 x 12 hinge plate with tapered ends can be found in only one other set, namely the Star Wars UCS General Grievous sculpture. See the small yellow tile in the picture ? Exo-Force sets released in 2007 contained a yellow 1 x 2 tile printed with a unique "Exo Code"; this 8-digit code could be used at the dedicated Exo-Force website to unlock bonus material. The site ( has unfortunately now been retired, however, redirecting to instead.

To the undoubted dismay of the legions of minifig fanboys out there, the set contains only one minifigure.... Golden Guardian pilot Ha-Ya-To appears in various iterations in a number of Exo-Force sets, but in his "gold torso" form he's unique to this set. His legs aren't printed, and there's no back-printing on the torso, but his head is reversible, giving you the choice of "aggressive" or "wry smile". His red spiky hairpiece, more recently seen in green and doing a respectable impression of a lettuce in Set 10190 Market Street, has a distinctly rubbery texture and sits rather loosely on Ha-Ya-To's head.

Construction of the mech begins with assembly of the of the feet, legs and cockpit, which involves the use of a fair few Technic elements. Once this is done, it's really just a case of bolting on the body panels and weaponry. It's not a challenging build; probably the hardest part is applying the stickers neatly.... The limbs articulate by way of a combination of ball joints and rotation joints, resulting in a reasonable range of movement and allowing the model to be posed to some extent, although the range of movement is perhaps not up to the standard of the more recent Super Heroes Set 6862 Superman Vs Power Armor Lex. You can see the finished article below - click to enlarge the pics and take a closer look.

The Golden Guardian is literally bristling with weaponry (pics below - click to enlarge). There's obviously the huge primary weapon fashioned from the pearl gold support pillar I mentioned earlier, and this is surely the very definition of a BFG if ever I saw one... The primary weapon is flanked by a spring-loaded launcher which can fire the supplied red competition arrow quite some distance. There's also what looks like a minigun on top of the BFG. And if that's not enough death-dealing ordnance for you, there are also a couple of rockets on the beast's shoulders....

.....and rockets !

The main defensive structure is the huge shield (below) which is made up of a couple of the pearl gold panel fairings that I highlighted in my parts round-up above. The shield is attached to the body by way of a couple of ball joints so it's readily manouevred into the desired position. Large stickers cover much of the surface; they're a pain to apply neatly, but I have to admit that they give the shield a nice, shiny appearance that'd otherwise be sorely lacking. A poor substitute for chrome gold parts, but better than pearl gold I must say.

Let's cut to the chase : I love this mech. It's big, shiny, cool looking and bristling with weapons and neat little design features. I love the use of the flexible hoses (picture below) on the feet, for instance, and the yellow-tipped rockets perched on the shoulders. All things considered, it's a mean-looking beast. On the downside, gold torso or not, the Ha-Ya-To figure isn't anything special. Also, I predictably found the application of the multiple stickers to be as tiresome as usual, but I do have to confess that they add to the sense of occasion when they're (finally) neatly in situ.

And after all this lavish praise, some more good news - you can pick this set up without breaking the bank if you'd like one. Used, boxed examples can be purchased via Bricklink from around £25 / $40 + shipping, while sealed sets start at around £50 / $75. There are a few ridiculously overpriced Buy It Now examples listed on eBay at present, but you can probably get one for much less if you're prepared to be patient, given that mine cost less than the original RRP a couple of weeks back despite being basically new.

A big thumbs up from me, then, and I'll definitely be seeking out other sets in the theme.

Thursday 9 August 2012

Scalpers Rejoice !

LEGO-wise it's been a bit of a frustrating week so far, initially spent willing the last few AT-AT parts to arrive so I could start to build, then realising that I'm actually short of more parts than I first thought and therefore having to dive back into Bricklink. Still, they say that you have to suffer for your art, so maybe I'll appreciate the build all the more when it finally starts. Maybe.

While I've been waiting, I've consoled myself by perusing the various LEGO forums. One thing that's caught my eye has been the number of people posting "Wanted" messages on the Brickset Forum seeking to buy or trade exclusive items given out by LEGO at events such as San Diego Comic Con (SDCC). Good luck with that, guys...

LEGO have been doling out small numbers of limited edition minifigures and exclusive sets at events for years now, although I only became aware of this practice a couple of years back when I read reports of attendees at Star Wars Celebration V and SDCC picking up limited edition Star Wars Cube Dude sets (above - click to enlarge). Since then, LEGO giveaways at such events seem to have become an increasingly prominent part of the LEGO calendar, to the extent that speculation about what will be given away starts weeks beforehand, and the subsequent bragging by the lucky few then goes on for literally months afterwards....

Some of the most recent LEGO giveaways include four exclusive Super Heroes minifigures at SDCC 2012 - Phoenix (above), Bizarro, Shazam and Venom - and a trio of unique Green Lantern, Batman and Superman minifigures at SDCC and New York Comic Con (NYCC) last year. In previous years other themes such as Star Wars (below) and Indiana Jones have featured.

On the surface, you might be inclined to give LEGO a big great pat on the back for their generosity and wonder what there is to complain about. LEGO are producing neat stuff to give away free, gratis and for nothing to LEGO collectors. The problem is that the route by which most of the passionate LEGO collectors eventually secure these items isn't via an obliging LEGO employee at a show, it's via eBay, or maybe Bricklink. And as you can probably gather, by the time most collectors get a look in, the nature of the transaction has gone from gift to gouging....

Let's look at some of the recent giveaways for evidence of this, starting with the Super Heroes Shazam minifigure (above) given away at SDCC earlier this year. Cost to recipient : nothing. Cheapest current Bricklink price : $165.00. Or you can try eBay, but once you've eliminated the custom minifigures you're looking at a $100 starting bid. Alternatively, I see that some eBay sellers are offering all four of the exclusive SDCC 2012 minifigures for the 'bargain' Buy It Now price of $749.98 - way to go ! Then there's the exclusive Batman minifigure from SDCC 2011 (below). Cost to recipient : zero, zilch, zip. Cheapest current Bricklink price : $254.99. Or you can Buy It Now on eBay for $180. I could go on, but I'm sure you get the gist - these items are expensive. I don't necessarily blame the sellers for trying to get what they can for the items; the current shoddy state of affairs is at least as much down to LEGO for putting the conditions in place for such a situation to predictably develop.

So what is the LEGO company hoping to achieve with these desirable giveaways ? My suspicion is that they're trying to attract new customers by targeting the freebies at events such as SDCC rather than, for instance, LEGO shows attended by genuine LEGO fans, and if they antagonise a few existing fans in the process then so be it. After all, those LEGO fans are already hooked. The company do need to be careful, though - with increasing numbers of people buying LEGO sets just for the minifigures these days, there's a chance that some will stop doing so if you take away their ability to "collect 'em all" by releasing exclusive minifigures which are out of their reach.

Honestly, while I have managed to track down a few of these exclusives, I'd actually prefer that LEGO just didn't bother with these giveaways at all. Tantalising sections of your audience in this way just seems cruel and potentially counterproductive to me, the joy of the few outweighed by the frustration of the many, with the only real winners being those opportunists seeking to make a financial killing out of the whole thing....

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Building the Perfect Beast - the UCS AT-AT

My love of cavegod's massive UCS All Terrain Armoured Transport (AT-AT) MOC (below) is well documented, so much so that regular readers of this blog must be sick of me going on about it by now. It's hardly surprising, though - the AT-AT is perhaps my favourite ever vehicle from the Star Wars universe, and as a huge Star Wars fan and an equally huge LEGO fan I guess it was pretty much inevitable that if anyone was to build a huge and detailed version of the AT-AT then I would be all over it like a rash.

I've got to know cavegod, also known as Pete, pretty well over the past couple of years, and I've tried to persuade him to sell his AT-AT to me, but he always just laughs and says "build your own !". Thing is, having exhibited at LEGO displays with Pete a few times and seen the thing close up and personal, it'd be pointless to try to design my own. The guy has a serious knack of nailing the design of LEGO-built Star Wars vehicles time and time again - Sandcrawler, Republic Attack Shuttle and Speeder Bike to name but three - and his AT-AT is I think the best of the lot. Realistically, nothing I could build would come close - it'd just be a futile exercise.

Pete's AT-AT, NSC 2011
Anyway, to cut a long story short, at some point last year I think Pete finally got sick of me trying to buy his AT-AT and moaning about how empty my life was without one, and he offered to help me build one. I was sceptical, until that is the LDD files started to arrive in my inbox and I realised he was serious. Six files in all, covering the legs, head, neck, internal skeleton, sides and roof of the beast.

I've blogged about LDD a couple of times before (here and here). It's a piece of software that allows you to build 'virtually' with LEGO on a PC or Mac, with an almost unlimited palette of pretty much every part that LEGO have ever produced, in any colour, and in any quantity. You can see an LDD screen grab of one of Pete's AT-AT files below (click to enlarge).

The thing about LDD is that once you have a design, you can ask the software to produce a set of building instructions. Having reviewed the LDD files that Pete sent, it became clear that I basically had all the necessary blueprints to build a replica of his AT-AT.

Given the size of the thing, however, collecting together the necessary parts was obviously going to be a significant challenge. I have a relatively modest collection of loose LEGO, and cannabalising my collection of sets wasn't going to be an option for me, so it was immediately evident that I was going to have to source a hell of a lot of parts. In the old days, you could upload your LDD designs to the LEGO company and for a fee they'd send you the parts you needed to make your virtual masterpiece a reality. This service was unfortunately stopped last year, however, so another source of loose LEGO was going to be required. 

First things first, however : LDD unfortunately won't provide you with a listing of all the parts making up your digital design, but there's thankfully a third-party application called LDD Manager which apparently does the job. It was written by Eurobricks staff-member Superkalle, and what he doesn't know about LDD is probably not worth knowing; you can find out more about the software and download it here. There's another software package called "Wanted Bricks" which will, I'm told, also generate parts listings from LDD files. Please note that I've not used either of these applications myself - Pete sent me parts listings that'd he'd already generated from his LDD files - but both were applications that he recommended, so both should hopefully do the job.

Once I had parts listings for the six AT-AT LDD files, the next job was to painstakingly merge the six listings into one master spreadsheet. There's no doubt an automated way of doing this, but if there is then I don't know what it is, meaning that I had to resort to doing it by hand.... This involved some seriously tedious data entry. Anyway, it got done eventually, and for the record, the AT-AT is made up of around 6,200 parts, which gives it a bigger part count than any official set that LEGO has ever released, including Set 10179 Millennium Falcon (5,195 parts) and Set 10189 Taj Mahal (the current daddy of official sets at 5,922 parts)

Once I had the master parts listing, it was time to start collecting together the necessary parts. Luckily, I've been pretty diligent over the past few years about keeping track of my loose LEGO. I use a website called Peeron for this purpose; you tell it which parts you have, in which colour and in which quantities, and it will keep track of your stash of loose LEGO for you. Then, it's just a case of searching by part and by colour at a later date and Peeron will tell you how many parts of that colour you have (although it unfortunately won't tell you where the hell you've put them...). So for example, the AT-AT requires thirty three 2 x 3 bricks in light bluish grey. My Peeron listing (below - click to enlarge) tells me that I have 103 loose 2 x 3 bricks in medium stone (another name for light bluish grey) so I'm sorted for those parts at least....

All told, I had somewhere in the region of 2,000 of the parts I'd need for the AT-AT in my collection of loose LEGO, so it was then time to figure out where I could get hold of the remaining 4,200-odd parts. The answer to that question is Bricklink, the indispensible and inevitable destination for anyone looking for loose LEGO, and I quickly set about putting together the mother of all Bricklink Wanted Lists. Part by part you tell Bricklink what you need (see screengrabs below - click to enlarge) in what colour and in what quantity and when your wanted list is eventually complete, Bricklink will tell you which of the thousands of Bricklink sellers across the globe have the parts you're looking for. At least that's the theory; in reality, with a project this large, it's almost certain that nobody will have all the parts you need, and it'll invariably be necessary to use multiple sellers in multiple countries, piecing together the full complement of parts like a complex, expensive jigsaw puzzle. 

Building a Bricklink Wanted List (1)

Building a Bricklink Wanted List (2) 
Even with the tools available on Bricklink, the process of sourcing all the parts was time-consuming and challenging. I ended up placing orders with multiple different stores, located in countries on both sides of the Atlantic including the U.S., the Netherlands, Slovenia, Canada, Germany, the U.K. and elsewhere. The largest order was for more than 2,600 parts (from AFOL Supply in the Netherlands - cheers, guys !), and the smallest was for just 4 parts. Every store sets its own price for each individual part; some stores charge additional fees depending on the number of different parts you order from them; some stores add a specific charge for packaging; some stores pass on the PayPal fees to the buyer; postal charges obviously vary according to the size of the order and where the parts are being shipped from, and there's even the potential for import duty to be levied by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs depending on the value of the package and the country of origin. As you can imagine, it can be extremely complex to juggle all these variables in order to get all the parts you need from as few sellers as possible while minimising the total cost. I spent hours on this task, but I'm nevertheless pretty sure that I could have sourced the parts more cheaply than I did. And the total cost ? No comment - my wife might read this....

And then the packages start to arrive, from small envelopes to big, heavy boxes. The first job is to carefully check that you've received what you ordered as mistakes do happen. Sometimes wrong parts are sent, and sometimes parts are just missing. There have been issues with a fair few of my orders so far, but every single one of the sellers concerned has been quick to apologise and send out the correct parts. Once the orders have been checked and feedback has been left for the sellers, it's time to cross those newly-received parts off the master parts listing, which gradually chips away at the "parts left to source" count at the bottom of my humungous Excel spreadsheet....

Pete with his AT-AT
At time of writing, all the parts have been ordered, and most are now in hand. I'm waiting on just 54 more pieces and then my mammoth parts grab will be complete. I'll post an update when I'm finally in possession of all the parts and building is underway. Huge thanks to Pete for putting together the LDD files for me, but he did warn me in passing that they might contain some mistakes, so the build will be a whole different challenge I think...

If you're interested in building your own AT-AT and want to get hold of the LDD files, scroll up to the top and send me a message via the 'contact' link on the right side of the screen; I'll pass your details on to Pete.

STEAM 2011
                                                                                  Building the AT-AT : Part 2 -->