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  LEGO Star Destroyer
Modeling a classic fictional spacecraft with LEGO bricks


Picture of LEGO Star Destroyer

LEGO® is a trademark of The LEGO Group of companies (creators of LEGO building toys).
Imperial Star Destroyer™, Rebel blockade runner™, and Star Wars™ are trademarks of Lucasfilm Ltd. (creators of the Star Wars movies).
This web page is not in any way affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by either entity.

Updated December 2011: LDRAW file; see below.

Star Destroyer

The Imperial Star Destroyer, the immense wedge of metal and menace that pursues and engulfs the Rebel Blockade Runner in the opening scene of Star Wars, is one of the best-known fictional spaceship designs ever. As such, it should need no further introduction from me.


LEGO bricks are among the coolest toys on Earth. Little plastic bricks that lock firmly together with little pegs, available in a wide variety of shapes. Building recognizable models with them is a bit like doing origami or tangrams, especially when you restrict yourself to a small number of pieces.

Official LEGO Star Destroyers

There are two official LEGO models of Star Destroyers. One has over 3,000 parts and is over 3 feet long. (Yikes!) The other is only 87 pieces, and perhaps 6 inches long. I recently got one of the little ones - it's an okay model, and a great source of some other shapes of wing plates. But it uses the new bluish shades of gray, which don't quite match the old Classic Space grays, unfortunately. (You can see a few of these new pieces in the photographs below. They're the ones that look like plastic-colored plastic instead of spaceship-colored plastic.)

Unofficial LEGO Star Destroyers

There are also quite a few unofficial models by various people, at various scales. Some of them are pretty nice; many of them are very big. For example, check out the one on this page, or this one.

My LEGO Star Destroyers

When I was young, there were no official LEGO models of Star Wars designs - they didn't get the license until more recently. But the "Classic Space" line of kits relied heavily on certain gray "wing" plates, which I always felt would be perfect for the Star Destroyer.

For some reason, though, I never actually tried to build a Star Destroyer until the mid-1990s. Upon retrieving my LEGO collection from my parents' house, I realized that I had collected about ten gray wings over the years. I decided to finally see if they were as suitable for this model as I thought. I wanted to make a model with a very low piece count, while retaining the distinctive groove between top and bottom sections of the hull. I chose an arrangement of eight wing plates that would look good with a plate-high groove between them, and built to the resulting scale (very approximately). This model was pretty simple, and not very accurate at all, but I thought it got the point across. It was clear what it was supposed to be. (I've since taken it apart, but here are some pictures of an LDRAW model of this version.)

simple Star Destroyer from the front
Simple version
simple Star Destroyer seen from the side

About a year ago - early 2003 - I showed my original model to a friend, Nik Johnson. He encouraged me to make it more accurate - more steeply sloped, longer, with a smaller and more detailed bridge - and then he grabbed it and proceeded to do many of the improvements himself. I had more parts available this time around; Nik piled most of my gray plates on the model, making it taller and more angular. (The bottom had been almost completely flat in the original. That had been a deliberate simplification; interestingly, the official 87-piece model also has a flat bottom.) Then I carved out the docking bay underneath and reworked the engines, adding the small ones I had left out in my original version. We built an all-new bridge. I made some additional modifications to the model in February 2004. It's still not an exact likeness, but, again, I think it gets the point across.

detailed Star Destroyer

detailed Star Destroyer

detailed Star Destroyer

Also, for completeness, I built a tiny Rebel Blockade Runner for the larger Star Destroyer to chase. It's not quite tiny enough to be engulfed, though.

detailed Star Destroyer

With only eight large wing plates, our Star Destroyer is a pretty efficient model, but it's obviously not as small as it could be. Nik and I also put together a "smallest" version, with just two of the classic wing plates and about four other pieces. In 2004 I added some additional detail. The bridge isn't really in scale with the hull, but I think this still captures the overall look of the ship pretty well for its size.

tiny Star Destroyer seen from the front   tiny Star Destroyer seen from behind


These certainly aren't the most realistic models possible, but I think they're pretty good for their size. They were a lot of fun to build.

Before building these models, I hadn't seen any others in a similar scale. (The big official model had been released, but not the mini one, which is in a comparable scale.) While writing this page, however, I've found several comparable unofficial models on the web. It seems the official mini model has sparked a lot of interest in small versions of this ship. For example, I found this one a few weeks ago, and before I even finished writing this paragraph the creator had already posted an improved versionThis model and the one on this page are also similar to our detailed version; the one on this page is slightly bigger than our "smallest", while this one and this one are even smaller.

Updated December 2011: By request, I've provided a LDRAW file for the smallest version. This LEGO CAD data lets you create parts lists, building instructions, and even raytraced virtual models, when used with the appropriate software.


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About the Artist

My name is Dan Efran. I build stuff out of LEGO bricks sometimes. It's fun.

I do other things too. Check out the rest of this gallery for some examples. I can be reached by email at embassy@efran.org.

Villa Infinity Copyright ©1999-2011 by Daniel S. Efran. All rights reserved.
Last update for this page: 4 December 2011
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