This is take 2 in a number of ways. Since I’m putting the massively Complex Death Star on the back-burner, I thought perhaps the intended-for-display Death Star II would be an easier/quicker build. Yikes – was I wrong on a couple of counts! At 3,460 pieces, it’s practically the same count as the UCS Death Star. And while it did not have an overly-detailed interior, it did have angles – tons of them – which stretched my Studio skills to the max.
I thought I was doing pretty well when about half-way through the build I still had absolutely zero collisions (physical impossibilities with pieces within other pieces). But then the curves started happening. Every other shell-segment connected to both the equatorial ring AND a ship’s wheel in the central axis. But despite the fact that there weren’t any real “adjustable” hinges in each segment, they didn’t actually line up properly. In the real world, there’s probably a bit of “give” to the pieces, but Studio, at least, is pretty picky. I just barely got them all collision-free when the next issue popped up.
The exposed “innards” of the station are actually top/bottom mirror images. So while there was a lot of detail (a. lot. of. detail.), at least I was able to copy-paste the entire blob (plus every-other layer of plates/bricks was nearly symmetrical as well). But when it came time to attach, collision-purist-disaster struck. A unique tile covered “brick special 2x4x2 w/ studs on sides” was situated between the two halves but with alignment of technic pins and upside-down plates, it’s actually a couple of millimeters too thick to fit between the two. With nothing else to do, I started giving up on perfection. Which helped out a lot when it came to the laser.
Creating the “circular” base of the dish was actually pretty easy, and I angled all of the hinges just right, so the wedge plates created a nice circle that the 6×6 and 8×8 dish plates would fit inside and around. When it came time to attach the trans-neon antenna pieces, I realized I had a problem. I had to shorten the base of each side-beam, but even then, the tips of the antennae intersected with the center column (which, to be fair… if they were lasers… is the whole point!). Again in real-world build, this wouldn’t be a big deal – these parts are flexible enough to bend a bit. As it is, it’s pretty hard to tell they’re intersecting anyway.
The rest of the build went pretty well, though I do have to admit there were some strange inconsistencies with the instructions and/or both Rebrickable’s and BrickLink’s inventories. I often had to pull parts from the master inventory because I was missing something. Black and Dark Bluish Gray were very oddly-appearing, and the “pearl dark gray” of some of the central supports (which… why use pearl dark gray there?!) were darker than black in the PDF but lighter than Dark Bluish Gray in Studio. Then there’s the weird 41529 piece which is in Light Bluish Gray in the inventory but clearly NOT the same color as the rest of the minuscule star destroyer. And finally, there seemed to be a couple of locations inside the central axle that were begging for extra 5L Technic Liftarms, but as much as I checked the instructions, they were never applied. But these are all very nitpicky.
Overall it was a satisfying end-result, if only for the challenges it made me overcome. This is definitely one of those models meant for display-only, so as much as I would enjoy (or rather…probably hate the redundancy of) building it, I’m glad I only did it in the computer. Plus you can still rotate it around to get unique views the promotional art never shows you… like the underside. Oooh. Neat!