Wednesday 26 June 2013

UCS AT-AT : The Home Straight

So, not far short of one whole year after I published the first blog posting on my quest to build a copy of Cavegod's UCS AT-AT (you can read about how it all began here if you missed it) I finally find myself in clear sight of the finishing line, and with only one section left to build before I can finally put all the sections together.

A year, it seems, is a long time in the world of Star Wars MOCs; Cavegod (Pete) has teased me mercilessly about my slow rate of progress, and fellow AT-AT builder Morten has also recently started to wind me up about the time it's taking, while texting me pictures of his amazing UCS Nebulon B Frigate which he's also managed to finish in the time it's taken me to not-yet-finish the AT-AT....

The final remaining section is the right side of the body; I think I dragged my heels even more than usual recently because I struggled so much building the left side. Thing is, I do actually have a deadline for finishing the AT-AT - October of this year, of which more in a future posting - so I figured that I really needed to pull my finger out and get on with it. With this in mind, I booted up LDD and loaded up the last remaining LDD file (picture below - click to enlarge).

As discussed at length in my previous AT-AT posting, brick outlines are at last once again visible for me on LDD after an extended period of them being greyed out in the menu and inaccessible; it makes following the building guide one hell of a lot easier. As you can see in the bottom left-hand corner of the picture, the right side of the body consists of a total of 722 pieces, which is a dead giveaway that it isn't just a mirror image of the 720 piece left side.

As you might expect with something of this size, generating the building guide (which thankfully only requires a single click of the green and yellow button visible on the top right of the screengrab above) takes a couple of minutes. Interestingly, the building guide for the left side of the AT-AT body split the build into front, mid, rear and lower sections. The guide for the right side just dives straight in to the mid-section, however, and then literally continues the build into the rear and lower sections as you can see in the example page from the building guide below; only the front section is built separately and attached in the final step. There's really no good reason for this difference in approach, but then I've long since given up trying to understand the eccentricities of the LDD building guide generator - it's a law unto itself, and I suspect that any attempt to second guess anything it does would be futile.

As some of you will recall, I had massive problems with the left side of the AT-AT body, specifically attaching the front and rear sections to the larger mid-section. This was mainly because the sub-assemblies which join the sections together - basically a whole bunch of 2 x 3 slopes mounted on a couple of long plates - were warped and therefore struggled to bear any weight. Anyway, I think I figured out the cause of the warping.... Below (click to enlarge) you can see a picture of two 2 x 3 slopes placed upside down and side by side. The slope on the left is from the batch that I used to build the left side of the body; if you look closely at the two anti-studs on the underside you can see that their walls are thickened in some areas. The slope on the right is from a new batch that I bought when I got suspicious that there was a problem with the slopes I'd used for the left side; here the anti-studs don't have corresponding areas of thickening on their walls. I used the new batch of slopes to build the right side of the body and the warping issue was far less evident. I'm not sure if the slope on the left is from a faulty batch, or if it's a normal variant - if any readers can shed any light on this then please post a comment or drop me an e-mail. I'm pretty sure however that this 'feature' was at the root of my problems, and I'll swap out the faulty (?) slopes from the left side too when I get a chance.

Having identified the above problem in advance of getting started on the right side of the body, construction turned out to be reasonably straightforward, and was accomplished in just a few hours spread over 3 evenings. The front section was a bit unstable and needed some simple modification to stiffen it up a bit, but otherwise everything came together with relatively little fuss, and you can see the end result below (click to enlarge).

Taking a close look at the picture above, I can see that some of the joins between the various sections aren't as tight as they might be, but that should be fairly easily remedied with a bit of (carefully applied) pressure in appropriate areas; the fact that I was reluctant to apply much in the way of brute force to push all the sections together is a reflection of my bad previous experiences with the left side of the body when the application of just a little too much pressure in the wrong place was enough to break the blasted thing into many pieces....

As previously stated, the two sides of the AT-AT aren't symmetrical. Both the front and rear sections below (click to enlarge) are slightly diffferent from their counterparts on the left side of the body. Anyone out there with time on their hands can therefore feel free to play a game of "AT-AT spot the difference" should they so desire, although if that's you then you might want to consider getting out more.

One thing of note on the rear section above is the flash of blue visible in the upper left quadrant. This is down to a couple of blue Technic half pins. I really need to ask Pete whether this is intentional, or whether something's supposed to be attached to them; in the event that they're actually supposed to look that way I'll replace them with the equivalent parts in bley.

So that's it, then - all sections completed, and 6215 pieces used by my best estimate (plus a few extras to provide a little additional stability in places). Which means that all that should be left for me to do is the small matter of joining all the completed sections together into the finished AT-AT - not long to wait now !

 < -- Building the AT-AT : Part 9                              Building the AT-AT : Part 11 -- >


  1. Anonymous26/6/13

    I am really looking forward to read how you managed to join all Parts.

    I am working on Petes At-At as well (and finished all sections) but had severe difficulties joining the leg's with the Body (without having attached the Sites, roof neck and Body). Any Time i moved a Leg in horizontal direction it Almost broke immediately - resulting in a Model Crash :-(.

    Five Attempts later I finally Managed it, but i really have Mixed Feelings when thinking about joining the complete Model...

    With the best whishes for a successfull Last step


    1. Many thanks for sharing, Frank.

      Pete's AT-AT is living proof that the legs can support the weight as designed. That having been said, like you I've had concerns about the risk of collapse when the legs are flexed at the 'ankle', and so in preparation for putting all the sections together I've therefore been experimenting with a few modifications to try and support and strengthen the ankle. You'll find out how successful (or not) those modifications prove to be when I post my next (and final ?) update.....

    2. Anonymous6/7/13

      I finished up the AT-AT a couple months ago and the final assembly was definitely the most challenging. I would suggest putting the sides on after you have it standing up on its legs. I would also suggest having a friend assist while putting it all together; I had the whole thing topple over on me a few times, very discouraging (although funny cause it fell the same way as the walkers in Empire). Anyway, good luck, Dan

  2. Hello!

    Great job!
    I would also be very interested in the complet LDD - can I have this please?

    Thank you!

    1. No problem - I've passed your details on to the designer and he'll be in touch about the LDD files.

  3. Anonymous14/9/14

    Excellent job well done. What was the height, length, and the dimension of width that seems to be always missing from diagrams.I have started a project like this in that its an at-at and would like the LDD files and ask Pete some questions. My email is thanks. Just curious as to what your doctorate is I'm guessing BB.EPP.AMR (Brick Builder, Extreme Patients and Persistence, All My Respect!! Sorry I can not post my exact project in the open trying to be the first to do it send my an email and I'll tell how crazy I mean ambitious it is.

  4. Awesome work! I would like to build just one of these giant feet for a TFA MOC (Rey eating in Jakku). The size of the foot would be perfect.

    Could you please send me info about the parts for building one foot?? My mail is

    Thanks so much!!

    1. No problem - I've forwarded your contact details to the designer of the AT-AT and he'll be in touch with you regarding the necessary LDD files.

  5. Wow that looks great. i would like the ldd file so could you mail it to me. My mail is: