LEGO® is a trademark
of The LEGO Group of companies
(creators of LEGO building toys).
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.
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
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
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.)
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
That had been a deliberate simplification; interestingly, the official
87-piece model also has a flat bottom.) Then I carved out the docking
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
modifications to the model in February 2004. It's still not an exact
likeness, but, again, I think it gets the point across.
Also, for completeness, I built a
Rebel Blockade Runner for the larger Star Destroyer to chase. It's not
quite tiny enough to be engulfed, though.
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.
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
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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