Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Serenity: More side engine work

As requested, here's an update on the work on the Mini-fig scaled Serenity.

When last we left my workbench, I had just completed a draft of the side engine cowling. The scale was too large, however - putting things at Belville or even Mini-land scale. Too big for my target, anyway.

So...I spent several hours trying to find a way to reduce the number of fins in the cowling while still keeping a technic ring as a base for rigidity and stability. And trying to keep it as "gapless" as possible. This, as it turns out, is not an easy task.

The final result halved the number of fins, while still leaving a pretty clear "cone" effect.
(You can click on images for larger views if you want.)

Changing the scale of the nose meant redesigning the back end exhaust area - here's the new arrangement with "end cap"

Next, I decided to work on the area just aft of the front cowling. This area presented some new challenges - to create the gapless look I had to design a sequence of alternating 2 and 4-width plates attached to a ring of 2-stud click-hinges.

The advantage of that layout is that I was able to attach the click-hinge ring to the six support struts connecting the cowling to the exhaust. It's quite stable, although I'm worried about the overall weight of things, even with the hollow center. I didn't want to have to prop up the side engines with support struts, but I may not have a choice in the long run. (I suppose I could just make them stay in the down "maintenance angle", but where's the fun in that?)

Oh. There's one cool feature I built in already - as seen in the movie, the gray ring has working airfoils/vents.

The next step will be to build the mounting bracket that will eventually meet up with the side of Serenity. That needs to be sturdy enough to hold the weight of the completed engine - hopefully. After that, I'll finish up with skinning the rest of the midsection.

I've been taking some pretty intricate construction shots; I'd share them here but this post is already huge. If you look in the background of the shots above you can see that I'm building two of these engines at once. The idea is that once the design is finalized, I'll have one to keep intact and one to dissect, document, and rebuild. We'll see how that works out.

The final shot for today shows the three-bears approach to building. In this shot you can see the Mama-Serenity Side engine (too small), the abandoned cowling from my first pass (too big) and the new engine as it sits at the moment (just right.)


Maarten said...

Way cool.

Anonymous said...


when are you gonna show us the rest of it?

Christopher Doyle said...


What "rest of it"? This is all I've built so far.

Jordan said...

Just 1 question. Is this serenity from firefly or serenity from the movie?

Christopher Doyle said...

Jordan: I'm working off of the movie version - so mostly shiny silver. (The front cowling hasn't been released in a grey yet, but will be replaced as soon as LEGO puts out.)

JimmytheJ said...


I like how this looks so far. Might 'Borrow' some of the design, if that's ok, for my similar project. Only I wanna make the series version.

say, why isn't this in the Serenity 4 project section/forum? It should be, IMHO