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The Star Wars Alphabet Project 385

An anonymous reader writes "A ship for every *other* letter in the alphabet. Jon Palmer is creating a Star Wars fighter out of LEGO for every letter in the alphabet (minus X,Y,B,A,E and V). He has about 5 to go. Check out the project on From Bricks to Bothans." I have to admit, some of these look even cooler than the ships created for the newer Star Wars movies.
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The Star Wars Alphabet Project

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  • Fonts? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by T-Kir ( 597145 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @05:56AM (#6469194) Homepage
    How long before a font set will come out with the fighter characters? That would be quite nice!
  • S.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Illserve ( 56215 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @05:57AM (#6469195)
    Looks like he gave up without even trying on that one....
    • Re:S.... (Score:5, Funny)

      by nounderscores ( 246517 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @06:01AM (#6469204)
      unfortunately true. I would have thought that the sith S wing would have looked a bit like a wasp, with a curled over thorax and a canted back abdomen.

      Great job on the other letters though.

      I'd really love to see a stop motion animated movie of these guys in action fighting for the old republic.
    • Re:S.... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by duffhuff ( 688339 )
      From the article:
      The LL487 S-Wing is so old it makes the Y-WING look new. The ship has a very mysterious past and little is written about it in the old republic archives.

      So it looks like that because the ship is very old, not because of a cop-out. That still doesn't make much sense (Ships in Eps 1&2 look much different), but maybe that was the style at the time?
      • Re:S.... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by kisrael ( 134664 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @11:19AM (#6470896) Homepage
        Re: the original comment....Yeah, well, it's not like the "B"-wing is very B-ish either... (what does that stand for, bomber maybe?) it goes from I shape to T shape...

        Anyway, according to Star Wars lore, the rise of the Emporer was a time of great increasing boxiness in the fighters and such, as hand-tooled craftsmanship gave way to more factory friendly designs. So an old ship should look more organic (ala the Naboo fighter) and not less.

        Or not. I'm sure there would be tons of exceptions either way, and of course it has more to do with F/X technology than anything else...
    • Look at it again and read the comment at the bottom.

      S is for Shuttle.

    • Erm... there is a S-Wing [].
    • Information on "S" (Score:5, Informative)

      by Wes Janson ( 606363 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @08:41AM (#6469739) Journal
      The S-Wing is a deliberate homage to the origin of Legos in Space-the first Classic Space sets released, back in the late '70s. The S-Wing is a deliberate re-make of the 918
      One of the most famous sets ever made, the 918 was one of the original three classic spaceships released by Lego. Jon did not "give up", he built a deliberate homage to the Holy Grail of .Space.
      Space. Forever!
  • Poor guy. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mr. Self estruct ( 572947 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @06:00AM (#6469200)
    When you're 40, and all you do every day is build lego starwars ships... you really have to step back, and take a long hard look at your life.
  • by pen ( 7191 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @06:00AM (#6469201)
    ... a link to Lego's Star Wars page [].

    Also, try this one [].

  • These are not the mindstorms you are looking for.. ..Move along May the Source be with you
  • by pen ( 7191 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @06:23AM (#6469266)
    ...this []!
  • by farnerup ( 608326 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @06:30AM (#6469285)
    Sorry for acting like an old fart, but wasn't Lego more fun when there was a limited number of different pieces in a limited number of colors? Nowadays, the sets consist of like three large custom-made painted pieces that you put together in ten seconds. The point of Lego is that you can build anything from a few simple parts.
    • by lightcycle ( 649999 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @06:53AM (#6469355)
      Ever notice that the lack of build-anything-lego coincides with charts being dominated by brainless lolita pop and one crappy Hollywood movie remake after another being spammed out? Lego isn't the only thing using small numbers of custom-made pieces nowadays. I sense some kind of connection.
    • Real Lego artists build from molecules.
    • Yes, all those pieces do exist. A lot of them come from the official Star Wars lego, which does indeed feature a lot more custom bits.

      The really geek chique about the new ship designs is that the S-wing [] looks to be made entirely out of 'old skool' space lego pieces, circa 1980s ;-)

      Oh, and without custom moulded lego pieces we'd never have had the undersea set, and thus legocthulhu []!

    • limited fun (Score:5, Insightful)

      by No Such Agency ( 136681 ) <abmackay @ g m a i l . c om> on Friday July 18, 2003 @07:33AM (#6469474)
      The basic lego bricks may be ideal for very young children, but once you hit 6 or 7 you get very frustrated by the fact that there are no fighter canopies/big wheels/flexible hoses etc. Fortunately, in my case that was exactly when Lego started to produce more of these parts (I had a spiffy train set with quite a few specialized parts). The "old" parts were still useful of course, it's all about balance.

      I agree that they have gone a tad overboard on the specialized parts in recent years, but the Star Wars line actually uses a lot of the old basic bricks, simply because they're needed to replicate the arbitrary shapes of the SW universe vehicles. I bought several SW Lego sets and they're loaded with great simple parts.
      • goodness me, yes! i had the same problem and it really aggravated me. i remember the happy day that i discovered the skinny transparent pieces so i could at least use only skinny pieces to create ships...of course, trying to create missiles was another story...

        ah, the good old days when i could reconstruct the argo from the big blue 2x8 bricks...i never did have enough pieces to make appropriately scaled fighters...

        [waxes nostalgic]

        32 years old and here i am waxing nostalgic about freaking legos. this
      • Re:limited fun (Score:4, Insightful)

        by turgid ( 580780 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @09:38AM (#6470056) Journal
        Even with those fancy new pieces, the thirst for more reappears. Technical lego ("Technic") was so cool in my day. I used to love building cars, cranes, tanks etc. When I was 11 I built a 4-wheel-drive car (3 differential gears!) with a 3-speed gearbox, rack and pinion steering and independent suspension on all four wheels. It was so big and heavy, and had so much friction, the poor little electric motor could barely push it along. I didn't have suspension springs, but I did improvise with rubber bands. Those were the days. Shortly after, my parents banned me from playing with Lego because they said I was too old.
      • Just to point out that there's a difference between "specialized parts", and regular, normal parts that have "specialized decals" on them. Of course, the decals look cool in certain situations, but sometimes they're not appropriate for what you're trying to build.

    • The great thing about Lego is that you can make stuff like planes and cars which literally smash into pieces when you crash them.

      My parents' staircase was the proving ground for many doomed dragsters and nuclear bombers.

  • by Jonathan ( 5011 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @06:34AM (#6469294) Homepage
    He is going to create Imperial fighters for ever piece of formal wear except bow ties...
  • Why is the X-Wing the only fightewr that looks like an letter from the back?
  • WOW! (Score:3, Funny)

    by SlashdotMakesMeKool ( 610077 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @06:39AM (#6469315) Homepage
    This is so exiciting! It's done wonders to break down the public perception of slashdotters!
  • Wings In Space (Score:3, Interesting)

    by turgid ( 580780 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @06:42AM (#6469327) Journal
    I never understood why spacecraft need wings if they are operating outside an atmosphere. However, if they're designed for atmospheric flight they will need wings. None of the Star Wars designs based on letters of the Roman alphabet look particularly practical or efficient. Obviously they're just a gimmick. Star Wars is junk science fiction. It's really fantasy and religious myth. Mind you, it's all good fun, and the muppet characters like Yoda are cute.
    • Re:Wings In Space (Score:3, Flamebait)

      by sql*kitten ( 1359 ) *
      Star Wars is junk science fiction. It's really fantasy and religious myth. Mind you, it's all good fun, and the muppet characters like Yoda are cute.

      Star Wars fans have a peculiar attitude to the universe. George Lucas decided, probably after no more than a second's thought, to call an imaginary spaceship the "X-wing". Possibly the shape of it even came after he'd come up with the futuristic-sounding name. But the fans seized on it and decided that there must therefore be a spaceship for every other lette
      • Star Trek fans don't flesh out throwaway comments into things of vast significance in the Star Trek universe

        Your kidding right?
      • Re:Wings In Space (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sirch ( 82595 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @07:17AM (#6469419) Homepage
        The reason I mention it is because I haven't seen this type of behavior in other sci-fi fans... Star Trek fans don't flesh out throwaway comments into things of vast significance in the Star Trek universe.

        That's probably because there are (currently) only 5 Star Wars movies (plus one Christmas Special which I haven't seen yet), yet there are something like 10 Star Trek movies (I can't be bothered to actually count), 5 Star Trek live-action series and a Star Trek animated series (I'm not counting the Endor series of Star Wars spinoffs, coz that would be silly).

        The Star Wars fans have much less material to go by, so they have to concentrate their efforts into those outlets. Hence every line is important to them, because it is one of a limited edition of lines in the Star Wars franchise. The Star Trek fans learn Klingon instead.
      • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @08:12AM (#6469594)
        Ask a Star Wars fan about how Han Solo made a voyage in however many parsecs and prepare to boggle at the convoluted thought process behind the explanation.

        I am not a Star Wars fan at all (though I used to be a casual enjoyer of the movies, before episodes I and II), but this point isn't as convulated or silly as you may think.

        Remember Einstein's equation: e=m (more commonly known as e=mc^2)? You can drop the c^2 if you chose your units to be such that c=1, meaning that the speed of light is little more than a constant that converts between two sets of units that essentially measure the same thing. Indeed, physcicists have proposed [] that we adopt more natural units that clarify this relationship.

        Distance and time are likewise the same thing (as becomes apparent when dealing with general relativity).

        You could measure time in units that describe how far light travels in a given period of time. While saying "just give me 300,000 kilometers, I'll be right with you" is a little more verbose the "just give me a second," the two are, in terms of physics, identical. Alternatively, you could say something is about a nanosecond distant, i.e. that object is one light-nanosecond away from your current position.

        The fact that we didn't understand the relationships between space and time, nor that between energy and mass, is why we've ended up with two essentially incompatible units for each (meters vs. seconds, grams vs. Joules) which make the e=m relationship, and the distance vs. time relationship, appear more complex than they actually are.

        So, saying one made a trip in x parsecs (which is silly sounding and undoubtably resulted from George Lucas not knowing a thing about physics or the units he was tossing about) isn't really as silly as one would think.

        What is silly is that we still have different units for distance vs. time, and mass vs. energy, when in each case they are one and the same.

        There, now you've read a 'convuluted' explaination by someone who hates what Star Wars has become and was never a very ardent fan ... an explaination that happens to be true.
        • So, saying one made a trip in x parsecs (which is silly sounding and undoubtably resulted from George Lucas not knowing a thing about physics or the units he was tossing about) isn't really as silly as one would think.

          That may or may not be true - but the explanation you will get from a hardcore fan involves Solo being such a skillful pilot that he was able to fly closer to debris fields or black holes or something than any other pilot in the galaxy, so in fact flew from A to B by a shorter route. That's
          • Oh, so now you're picking on B5 fans?!

            What about the explanation from Star Trek for the difference in look between the original Klingons and the later ones? "The Klingons genetically engineered a race of humanoids that looked more human in order to facilitate peace between them and the humans. After war was declared, they didn't need this any more, so they've gone back to how they should be."

            I think it's a little unfair of you to pick on just Star Wars fans. Just look at the sphere of fanfic which is av
      • Re:Wings In Space (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        "Like, they didn't decided that because there was something called "dilithium" that there must also be "quadlithium", "pentalithium" and so on."

        Didn't you see the episode with the "trilithium"?
      • Re:Wings In Space (Score:4, Informative)

        by GrouchoMarx ( 153170 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @10:36AM (#6470524) Homepage
        Star Trek fans don't flesh out throwaway comments into things of vast significance in the Star Trek universe.

        Dude, you've clearly not seen what I do for fun.

        Why Warp Works [], (or doesn't work).
        Star Trek Computers []

        Born and raised a Trekie.
    • Re:Wings In Space (Score:4, Insightful)

      by p3d0 ( 42270 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @07:11AM (#6469405)
      I never understood why spacecraft need wings if they are operating outside an atmosphere. However, if they're designed for atmospheric flight they will need wings.
      Have you seen the movies? All the ships can take off and land from the ground.

      Ever notice that the space shuttle has wings?

      • This really is sad...

        So, one day, on a website devoted to Nerds, someone asks why the spacecraft have wings.

        Someone else has to point out that they do fly through the atmosphere, which means, wings are a good thing to have, unless you enjoy making craters on every landing...


        Which, lets be quite honest, it isn't very insightful at all: "Things that fly-wings helpful."

        No offense intended to p3do, because it needed to be said. And props to the moderator who
      • Have you seen the movies? All the ships can take off and land from the ground.

        Ever notice that the space shuttle has wings?

        Counter example: The Millenium Falcon takes off and lands from the ground but it doesn't have wings.

        So we can conclude that wings are not necessary for atmospheric flight or landing in the Star Wars universe.

        So the real questions is why do some ships in SW have wings and some don't?
        • Re:Wings In Space (Score:4, Insightful)

          by gamgee5273 ( 410326 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @11:09AM (#6470820) Homepage Journal
          The Falcon is a freighter - it isn't designed for planetary flight (though it can take off and land), but rather hauling stuff to and fro. It just isn't a good ship to have on a planet.

          Same with the Slave I - no real wings (those flaps are supposedly a gravity stablizer/gyro of some sort) and I doubt Boba or Jango could properly fight with it on a planet.

          The ships with wings seem to be designed specifically for flight in an atmosphere or in space. Thinking about the video games, the only ship without traditional "wings" that I've used in an atmosphere is the Y-Wing (maybe those massive engines make up for that). Or the car, if you've played Rogue Leader with the cheats... ;)

    • by fenix down ( 206580 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @07:18AM (#6469423)
      Because when these [] dogfight it looks cool. When these [] dogfight, it looks like squid fucking.
    • Repulsors (Score:3, Informative)

      In the SW universe, cheap (eg. Luke's landspeeder) and ubiquitous repulsor "antigravity" technology has made atmospheric design a lot less important for space/aero vehicles. You just fly atmospherically with repulsors holding you up instead of aerodynamic lift. You'd design space fighters optimally for their space use, and worry much less, if at all, about what to do once they hit atmosphere. I assume there'd still be a niche for traditional fighter planes which could be designed to use "old-fashioned" a
    • Re:Wings In Space (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mblase ( 200735 )
      I never understood why spacecraft need wings if they are operating outside an atmosphere.

      If you look at the ships, the wings are clearly not intended for aerodynamics. Their main purpose is to carry guns, and expanding the X-wings turns two gun turrets into four.

      But they look like wings, and they're shaped like wings, so you may as well call them wings.
    • Re:Wings In Space (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jerf ( 17166 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @12:20PM (#6471532) Journal
      It's not half bad from an engineering point of view. Bear in mind I'm not a fanboy and so have no particular interest in "forcing" Star Wars to work. (In fact I tend to prefer ultra-hard sci-fi like A Fire In The Deep.)

      The requirement of being "space worthy" does not itself add any shape requirements to a spaceship. Many sci-fi spaceships are spheres, for maximum bang-for-the-buck surface area/enclosed volume ratio. Also due to limitations on materials. One of Vernor Vinges spacecraft described in Marooned In Realtime, for instance, was an assemblage of spheres, not even physically connected to each other (impossible due to other technological considerations).

      But Star Wars spacecraft aren't traditional spacecraft. The ones we see are typically combat craft, and that adds several concerns into the mix:
      • Mounting space: There must be space to mount weapons platforms, such as missles, turbolasers, ion cannons, and other things. A Spherical design is actually a little too efficient with the surface area in this case; you probably need more room then a Sphere would have left over, plus you'd be challenged to get spacing and angling right.
      • Reduced silhouette: You want to be able to present a reduced silhouette to the enemy, so you can be harder to hit. This means that there is some other angle with an increased silhouette, but the tradeoff is worthwhile, if you have an intelligent pilot. Again, a Sphere, or a random misshapen lump of metal, does not meet this criterion, and this strongly indicates a traditional aircraft-type design, with a limited number of thin protrusions and as small a main body as possible. (Of course this doesn't indicate exactly an aircraft; the B-Wing fits this just fine.)
      • Manueverability: You need to be manueverable. Whether you have air-like physics as in Star Wars, or real Newtonian physics in space, that indicates being able to turn quickly and focusing the thrust elsewhere. Again, random lumps of metal don't do this well. This forces a relatively short axis on the thrust line, so you don't get too much rotational inertia, again limiting your freedom of design.
      Add this all up and you aren't free to throw hunks of metal together.

      Most of the designs on that page aren't too bad, and thrust coming from off-axis is regrettably already established in Star Wars (B-Wings in particular look really wrong to me, the engines should be about 25% lower, unless the lower spike is entirely hollow, in which case it should not exist for other good reasons). Star Wars has already established high levels of technology, such that while we'd never build those ships, they make OK sense in that universe.

      Once you have these limited protrusions, you might as well go ahead and make them wing-like. All Star Wars craft have enough power that true wings are not necessary, in the sense of providing lift, but they can still provide valuable manueverability by acting as control surfaces in atmosphere. Also, since drag rises quite quickly, you still want to limit drag in a craft that will spend significant time in an atmosphere, as many, if not all, craft in Star Wars do. Again, "misshapen hunk of metal", while spaceworthy, doesn't help you here.

      All in all, while Star Wars craft are fanciful and deliberately made for aesthetic effect, they aren't too badly done, and harsh criticism of them, once you accept the aircraft-maneuverability "physics" of Star Wars, really isn't too justified. (Criticism of the physics is, but you have to at least admit they knew they were wrong and they were deliberately imitating WWII dogfights, which mitigates it a little; I find deliberate violation less annoying then accidental violation.)
  • by Harald Paulsen ( 621759 ) * on Friday July 18, 2003 @07:01AM (#6469376) Homepage
    ..and he still can't get laid.

    I've always wondered if I can rebuild my lego mindstorms into some sort of robotic sex-toy.

  • by jolyonr ( 560227 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @07:05AM (#6469389) Homepage
    But if I remember right, whenever you see any writing in the Star Wars movies it's all in a strange alpahbet, so how come the ships are named (and shaped!) after the Roman alphabet.

    Oh hang on, am I taking things too seriously? :)

  • by fleppir ( 563959 ) <> on Friday July 18, 2003 @07:17AM (#6469420) Homepage Journal
    Lego ought to hire this guy on the SPOT, these are STUNNINGLY good, beautiful designs.
  • Hmmm! (Score:5, Funny)

    by rylin ( 688457 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @07:18AM (#6469424)
    It seems to be missing a few letters, namely å, ä and ö :(

    /me ducks
  • by peterpi ( 585134 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @07:26AM (#6469446)
    "I have to admit, some of these look even cooler than the ships created for the newer Star Wars movies."

    Well that's hardly difficult seeing as they sucked ass. X wings and TIE fighters on the other hand looked like they actually had someone engage their brain before making them.

    • Yeah, I remember the great design of TIE fighters from playing the PC game of the same name when I was a kid. Let me tell you, their paper-thin shields that withstood all of one laser hit were great. And don't give me that "but they were faster!" shit, they couldn't even outrun the Millenium Falcon.

      But my favorite part of that game was when you messed up a mission and shot down an Imperial ship. The commander would say "Return to base immediately! The Emperor will have your head!" What great incentive.
  • I think this was a great exercise; at least he was not driving around shooting at people!

    I mean, he took a common exercise (Building and designing Lego things is pretty common in western culture) and he added a set of restrictions (the Roman Alphabet, The Star Wars Universe). By denying himself total creative freedom, he forced his mind to solve actual problems, but in a very creative way.

    This is what they should be teaching in schools! Creative problem soling is the key to intelligent thought. Hell, I'd
  • by Ethelred Unraed ( 32954 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @08:00AM (#6469554) Journal pick up these things in my hand, make them fly around and make guttural "thruster" and rocket noises involving lots of spittle gurgling at the back of my throat. (My spittle, that is. Not someone else's.) And "teeeeuuuw teeeuww" laser noises.

    And have them blow stuff up (imaginatively, of course).

    Ah, to be a child again...



  • depressing... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kisrael ( 134664 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @08:09AM (#6469581) Homepage
    this is so depressing...I wanted to be a lego designer when I was a kid, and of course I've had dark ages since then that are still kind of going on, and few of my creations where anywhere near as cool as these.

    Lego is coming out with some really cool stuff these days, getting back to their roots a bit, without being too blocky. Designer series [] come with pamphlets with like 30 or so creations (you can build 2 or 3 at the same time with the bricks provided) and the new Star Wars mini stuff [], tiny scale, is really clever (though I've seen fans do similar stuff earlier.)
  • a small preview of a friends project. SWAFT []
  • by Call Me Black Cloud ( 616282 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @09:23AM (#6469968)
    This is the first Lego-related article that hasn't immediately been slashdotted. Apparently the Lego community has learned not to host web sites on servers made of Legos...
  • What the F? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Lispy ( 136512 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @09:42AM (#6470077) Homepage
    What the F []?
  • by FearUncertaintyDoubt ( 578295 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @09:44AM (#6470084)
    The S-WING had a spacious interior and plenty of cargo space.

    Yes, but what about rich Corinthian leather?

  • You might have wondered why B-wings are called B-wings, they certainly don't look like a B...

    Well, aparently they developed two new prototypes for George Lucas to take a look at, and they called one A and one B. They realized that the A model actually looked like an A, so A-wing felt very natural.

    Whne George picked both, the B sort of stuck to the other one also.

  • Comparison: S-Wing []

    Lego Space Cruiser circa 1979 []

  • I think this one looks the coolest... anyone think it looks a little like those killer craft in Terminator 3?
  • I would like to see him build one fighter for every traditional chinese character in existance.

    So what are YOU doing for the rest of your life?

Try `stty 0' -- it works much better.