Star Trek – USS Discovery


Quick Facts

  • Building time: Twelve months
  • Parts count: Nearly 4000
  • Versions made: One
  • Dimensions:  113cm long, 52cm wide
  • Weight: 5kg/11lb

The Design Process

The first step in designing the LEGO® Discovery was to get some good images so I could really articulate the detail. Once I had some images, I started with the ship’s unique saucer design. I chose to go basic, simply stacking bricks to build it, as I would a normal saucer. Therefore this was one of the simplest parts of the overall MOC. To make it a bit less grey, I added clear window pieces.

  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery saucer section
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery Saucer

Next was the connection piece to the stardrive, again this was straightforward and I added in clear pieces to create some more detail. The stardrive was the most challenging, and I forgot Discovery is a unique design where the saucer is proportionally much smaller than the rest of the ship, so the MOC ended up being much bigger than I expected – a happy surprise!

  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery Diagram
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery

I’ll talk more below about the challenges of the stardrive, but this section created the biggest delays which is why the project took so long. I took a break from working it out and started on the warp nacelles. With some SNOT (Studs not on top), I put together the front of the warp nacelles to a level of precise detail.

  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery warp nacelle
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery warp nacelle
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery warp nacelle
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery Warp Nacelle

The rest of the warp nacelles seemed straightforward, but needed a few rebuilds so they could taper out properly. Due to the nature of the pieces I had available I wasn’t able to taper them as much as I would like at the end, as they go from very thick to almost completely flat. The weight was also an issue as they are so long, but it held together with the extra stands.

Challenges

Discovery was by far one of my most challenging builds. The challenge lay in the unusual shape of the stardrive section. The angles didn’t match any LEGO® elements, so I needed to find a creative way to achieve the right angle. Because of the size of the model, if it wasn’t precise it would have made the entire model out of proportion. 

  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery Star drive

I ended up rebuilding the stardrive section 3 times! The angle ended up being the easy part. The challenge was building it at that angle, while being strong enough to support itself. Each technique I tried that allowed me to achieve the needed angle didn’t allow the strength to support the heavy warp nacelles, and ended being fragile. 

I ended up with a compromise, a moderate strength design which was a sturdy frame, with a fragile covering. Connecting the nacelles to the sturdy frame achieved just enough strength, but I still needed additional stands to support the weight – especially for displays where it could be easily knocked.

Another major challenge was I started the project as soon as the first images of the ship were released, and they were far from clear! I struggled a lot to achieve the accuracy I needed, so I waited until the first few episodes aired so I could get the details right.

Discovery was an incredibly challenging build, but also so much fun. It’s a completely unique and different design for the Star Trek universe, with the smaller saucer, triangular star-drive and long warp nacelles. I was sceptical at first but now I am a huge fan!

Gallery

  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery
  • LEGO Star Trek USS Discovery

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