Like most people, I enjoyed playing with Lego as a kid and building fanciful constructions. I was not able to afford the fancy themed sets like Pirates or Space, which I could only marvel with amazement at in Toys R Us. But I had a box of loose Lego bricks that satisfied me just fine and allowed my imagination to run free.
After nearly 20 years of not building Lego, I developed a sudden itch when I randomly came across Lego’s Ultimate Collector’s Series (UCS). These are large, elaborate Lego sets targeted towards young adults and resemble models more than toys. Unsurprisingly, they’re also expensive but are true collectibles. After selling a UCS set retail for a couple years, Lego retires it forever and the value skyrockets on the flourishing aftermarket. The most famous example is the UCS Star Wars Millennium Falcon, which was retired in 2009 and is now worth $2,000+ from a MSRP of $500.
I fell in love with the UCS Star Wars Imperial Shuttle, one of the iconic spacecraft from Star Wars. It retails for $260 and will likely be retired next year. Very expensive, but I justified it because of its strong value in the used market and appreciation in the future. So I can easily get my money back if I want to sell it, or even make money if I’m willing to wait a couple years.
Look how amazing it looks! And I finally have my very first Lego set, all these years later!
This is a monster of a set with 2,503 pieces and FOUR booklets with step by step instructions. Building Lego according to instructions is a very foreign concept to me, since as a kid, everything I made was free-form and only limited by my imagination.
First step was to sort all the big pieces for more efficient building, rather than having to hunt for specific pieces in a mountain of Lego. I kept small pieces in their plastic bags until I needed them so I wouldn’t lose any.
Creating a lumberyard of Lego. But that’s just a glamour shot for the camera because once I start building…
… it’s time to get dirty. I wanted to keep my instruction booklets in mint condition in case I sell the set later, so I downloaded the PDF instructions from Lego’s website. Watching Top Gear on my second monitor for double the entertainment.
12 hours of building later, I’m finally done! Construction was not that challenging, even for a Lego novice like myself, although there were a couple times when I realized I messed up and had to backtrack. The Imperial Shuttle is a magnificent model worthy of being a centerpiece for my entertainment center. This photo doesn’t convey how immense the Shuttle is, standing nearly 3 feet tall. The box is gigantic also.
The Shuttle incorporates some neat engineering with gears so that the wings can be folded up and down. This is the landing position with wings up. Doesn’t look as awesome as full deployed mode though!
Time for a photoshoot out in the Endor forest.
So much swagger.