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Interstellar Spacecraft Collection (Endurance, Ranger, Lander)

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== Overview ==

This collection features the 3 spacecraft appeared in the 2014 movie Interstellar. They are the Endurance, the Ranger, and the Lander:

Endurance - Originally designed based on the International Space Station, this is the mother ship that carries the four crews who conduct a mission to travel through a wormhole to search for a habitable planet and save humanity on Earth. The Endurance consists of 12 modules connected circularly:
  • 4 landing modules
  • 4 main engine modules
  • 4 functional modules: 2 habitat modules, 1 lab module, and 1 command module.
It also has a docking hub that connects with two other types of spaceships: the Ranger and the Lander.

Ranger - A space shuttle equipped with 2 engines. It is able to carry the four crews to enter and exit planetary atmosphere.

Lander - A cargo spaceship that can deliver landing modules with settling equipment to planetary surface.

== Background ==

I was obsessed with the movie when it was released in 2014. I went to the theater twice, every time leaving with my face covered with tears. There are many elements that could move me, including the Endurance. To me, it's a spaceship full of poetic sentiment. It's designed to mimic the shape of a clock, which is a metaphor for their spatiotemporal odyssey through the wormhole and along Gargantua, which is a massive black hole that makes a single hour spent by the Endurance's crews near it equal to 7 years on Earth. The Endurance is one of the movie's cores, around which there are many breathtaking scenes, like the famous "docking scene". The spaceship is about advanced science, formidable space, but still, it's about human nature - it carries human nature into the deepest space - and that is what can still give you all kinds of feelings when facing completely unfamiliar objects and situations. Your love to your children tells you not to explore near the black hole, which will make you miss all the precious years in their life in just a blink; your love to your lover tells you to risk everything on a venture of uncertainty, just hope to meet them again, dead or alive, by traveling through the vast universe; your fear of lonely dying on an alien planet tells you to fake promising stats to cheat for rescue, despite it wastes the survival chance of the entire humanity; your determination tells you to dock a broken, out-of-control space station rapidly spinning at 68 RPM, because you see only necessity rather than impossibility when your mind is dominated by the hope of returning to your home planet; the strong love and trust between parent and child forms a subtle but powerful connection between two worlds across time... Ultimately, the Endurance is launched based on a lie on its mission: the chief scientist doesn't anticipate it could save the entire humanity at all; he just wish it can save the 5000 frozen human embryos carried by it. Yet the hope is eventually realized by individuals' strong willpower, and of course, love.

So this is why I like the Endurance so much that after 7 years, I came up with this idea to build a Lego set of it. I did lots of research on the spacecraft in the original movie, as well as other existing Lego sets about them. Although there are many other spectacular works, I still decide to make this set, which features all three spacecraft, and is large enough to show some details on each of them.

== Details ==

Total pieces: 3,000

Before I learnt that Lego Ideas doesn't accept submissions with more than 3,000 pieces, I built an initial version that has 7,228 pieces (and of course it's rejected). So I reduced the scale to about 3/4 of the original one (because (3000/7228)^(1/3) ~= 3/4). Yet at the end I still struggled with the limit, so I optimized the structure, cut some exterior details, and turned to decorated bricks to show some of those details, like the portholes. So some parts become more realistic instead, as long as you don't consider using decorated bricks as cheating ;-) I also had chance to completely rebuild the Lander, because I was not so content with my initial version.

Endurance

To make the exterior as real as possible in terms of shape, color and scale, I referred to a lot of film stills, photos of the original models built by the film team, and online 3D models. A lot of details are kept, like the “chamfer" at the edges, the solar panels on the top and side of modules, the windows on the top of the modules. The command module has an extra structure on top, which I believe is the cockpit. Each main engine module also has three thrusters at the bottom, and two RCS thrusters at corners.

The 12 modules are connected circularly, so the angle between 2 adjacent modules are 30 degrees. I used the Technic Rotation Joint Disk (44224, 44225) to create that angle. Based on their structure, they seem to be designed to create firm angles that are the multiples of 15 degrees. I never had chance to test but I hope they can provide enough support when the Endurance is at different attitudes.

To strengthen the connection between the docking hub and the habitat module, and the connection between adjacent sections of the docking hub, axles and connectors are used internally.

Ranger

Although the Ranger's surface curve is not as smooth as the original model in the movie, the overall shape is maintained. Some highlights are its curved wings, the port/starboard slope, window/porthole patterns, the engines, the aft hatch that can connect with the Endurance, and an openable cockpit.

Lander

The 4 cargo/fuel pods on its sides are probably the most challenging to reproduce due to their shape in irregular polyhedron. I used hinges and tiles to demonstrate their shape. The port/starboard is also angled and I used the fixed 135 degrees connector to create them. The 4 cargo/fuel pods on its sides are also firmly connected to the body using that type of connector. Other than these, there are some details with the cockpit windows and headlights on the forward side. On the aft side, there are 2 angled engines each with 3 thrusters.

Overall

I hope you enjoy viewing the rendered pictures and/or the descriptions of this set! I really wish to assemble this in reality, but the software told me the cost is 1421.289 USD (partly because some bricks are probably rare, for example, the 48 Technic Rotation Joint Disks cost 568.65 USD somehow). Thanks for viewing/reading, and please let me know your thoughts!

Lastly - Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

== References ==