A few months back there was a (probably pub-based) discussion in which two buddies of mine mentioned how they’d both managed to track down a hard-to-find scale model of the ‘Mave’ jet plane that appears in Chohei Kambayashi’s SF novel Yukikaze. I’ve never been a huge fan of that plane; it looks a bit odd and too alien for me, but I really like the design of the earlier ‘Super Sylph’ that appears in the OAV. Since the Super Sylph model is long out of production, I made an off-handed comment about how I might as well make my own.
When I was young I was, like most introverted indoors-type nerdy kids in the late 80s and early 90s, a huge fan of Lego. I asked for boxes of the stuff every birthday and Christmas, and kept hold of my childhood collection for nostalgia’s sake when I left home. Earlier in the summer though, after finishing a guitar build project, I set about building a scale model of the Yukikaze, the Super Sylph that appears in the early part of the story. Pics and in-depth Lego geek talk after the jump.
The standard Lego ‘minifigure’ size is roughly 1/40 scale, but I wanted a bit more detail and room to get the shape and proportions right. The Technic Lego scale is twice the size at 1/20, so I built the model to fit a Technic-sized figure. To makes things really hard for myself, I attempted to incorporate a retracting landing gear that ran on the Lego Technic Pneumatic compressed air cylinders and pipes.
This was my first attempt at building anything since packing my collection away during my teens, so there are a few things I don’t feel I got quite right. Although the landing gear works in the sense that it moves and retracts correctly, the weight of the model means that the wheels and support struts can’t support it. I guess I could make them strong enough, but the end results wouldn’t look right. Hence the stand.
I’m happier with the outline of the wings though. The novel describes it as a ‘clipped delta’ with a wingspan of 13.5m and an overall length of 19.8m; I’m not sure why the book goes into such detail, but I tried to get as close to that as I could. The animated series portrays the plane’s design as have two low-slung engines with two vertical stabilisers, angled wingtips and a pair of foreplanes oddly positioned high up behind the cockpits. It reminds me a lot of the Russian MiG-29 and SU-27, which always struck me as cool.
So there you go. I’m glad it’s finished, but the process of putting it together and shopping online for the various extra pieces I needed was a bit arduous. Part of me wants to take on the challenge of the Mave, but quite frankly I’m just glad this one’s done and the photos are online for everyone to enjoy. Comments/criticism welcome!
Rear view of the jet pipes and vertical stabilisers
Viewed head-on. Apparently it’s so long that it screws with the focusing of my camera. 0_o
Overhead view, showing the wing outline. The light grey box with a black peg in the middle is the air valve switch for the landing gear.
Side profile. I’m not 100% happy with the shape from this angle; the anime portrays the nose as being angled further downwards than this, but I couldn’t quite manage that with pieces that are, by their very nature, mostly straight lines and right-angles.
Underside view, showing the air intakes and landing gear retracted. The black pipe is connected to a pump cylinder, which makes the landing struts and wheels move up and down.
The landing gear when deployed.
The full-rez photos are now uploaded to my Flickr.