Tech Yeah! Space Shuttle LEGO Set
This week's Tech Yeah, is a ridiculous LEGO set that I absolutely fell in love with. Back in April, I saw Derek Kessler at Future had bought this and assembled it. He shared some photos and it just looked awesome. So I had to have it. I not too subtly suggested it to my wife and then just waited, content in knowing that if she didn't get it for me, I'd just go buy it myself. So fathers day came and, "Oh my goodness! What a surprise! I never would have guessed it's a space shuttle LEGO set! Wow! Thank you!"
So now it came time to build it, and it's 2,300 pieces. I budgeted four hours for it and as it turns out that wasn't nearly enough time. In the end, it took me nearly eight hours to build. I was shooting the build in timelapse, so once I started, I couldn't really stop. It was one long session and it was long, and it was really great fun. I listened to podcasts and even watched the Cubs game while building it. Ok, well the Cubs game part wasn't fun, but everything else was.
There are 17 bags of LEGO in total. That's a lot of LEGO, let me tell you. The instruction book is three hundred pages long. I haven't read a 300-page novel in years. The book is thicker than two smartphones stacked on top of each other. It's a long, long book with a lot of instructions.
The instructions themselves are very intelligently laid out. The only problem I had was some of the pieces in the set are very specialized and the illustrations aren't always clear on what piece I should be looking for. The specialized pieces can be hard to tell apart, especially when they're in a tray with dozens of other pieces. Beyond that, the instructions are brilliantly done, as they have been for literal decades. At each step, the instructions lay out what pieces you'll need, how to assemble them, and where to assemble them, even going so far as to outline the new pieces in each step in red. Of course, that did not prevent me from screwing up a couple of times. But still, the fault was my own, not the instructions.
You start off by building the Hubble telescope, which, as I write this, is just about as useful as the real thing in space. There's still hope for the Hubble telescope in space, so hopefully, it can be revived. My Hubble telescope encompasses the first 50 pages of the instructions and took about 2.5 hours to complete. The Hubble telescope comes with a display stand and plaque telling you what it is. There are a ton of silver roundish pieces along its length, which makes sense because the real Hubble telescope is a large tube. That being said, I lost one of the roundish pieces early on, and couldn't find it at first, so I opened the next bag and deferred the piece to the next set of round pieces and the next set after that, hoping that there'd be an extra. There was not, but fortunately, I was able to locate it after only a short burst of panic.
Once that was done it was time to dive into the shuttle itself. Like the Hubble, there's a display plaque and stand to build first. Then you get into the shuttle itself. I won't go into a ton of detail here, but suffice it to say it was a long journey completing this part. The shuttle bay doors are lined with silver stickers that were a bit of a pain to stick on. Honestly LEGO, just affix them before you ship. There's no reason to make people stick them on. Especially since there are other pieces that are painted with like the American flag and what not.
Speaking of stickers, at the end there were a few stickers I was supposed to stick on, but I couldn't find the sticker sheet. I just skipped past them, but it reinforces the argument to just stick the darn things on, for me, LEGO. Anyway, When all is said and done, it's a magnificent, huge build. These are not small sculptures. Plus, when the solar panels are removed, the Hubble actually fits inside the shuttle. There's also a stand that mounts inside the shuttle bay doors that you can set the Hubble on, so it looks like the Hubble is being deployed. I mean seriously they thought of everything.
Overall, I'm truly impressed with this LEGO set. It has a ton of nerdery in it but dear god is it huge. You really need to know what you're getting into if you buy this thing. If you have a fireplace with a mantel, perfect. If you have a bookshelf with an empty shelf, perfect. If you have a corner of a table in need of decoration - not perfect unless that table is 175 feet long.
This thing is simply amazing and I love it. Is it worth $200? Well, in the way that any LEGO set could be worth $200, sure, but it wouldn't be my first choice to pay that much. If you're a LEGO enthusiast, if you're a space nerd, if you're just a dyed-in-the-wool geek, this is an awesome set that you will love. I happen to be all three which is why I love this thing. I have no idea where I'll keep it, but I love it. I don't regret it for a second.