The Discovery One from 2001: A Space Odyssey was the most ambitious and complicated model I have ever undertaken. The model has 3,861 pieces and is over 6 feet in length. I wanted to do something to celebrate both the best movie ever and the history LEGO has with outer space.
I found the model instructions online. Having never built a custom model from online instructions before, this was going to be a new experience for me. I sat down with my current stash of LEGO parts and looked at what I had. It was not much, to say the least.
During the Christmas break I ordered most of the parts I needed. After an incredibly large purchase from LEGO’s Pick-A-Brick site, I still was not finished. I had to turn to BrickLink to find the rest. This was a long and time consuming process and wound up double ordering some parts and forgetting to order others. Only a few weeks ago did I finally get the last pieces I needed, about 2 months after I placed my first order.
The first complication I had was just getting all the pieces in the listed colors. I wound up having to do a few substitutions, like using dark gray instead of tan for some of the magnet holders. A second issue was finding a proper application to read the instructions. I had the LEGO design app on my Mac but that app could not handle the .mpd files; it would only handle .ldr format files. I wound up finding another Mac app called Bricksmith to allow me to read these .mdr files. Construction related issues I had with the model involved how some of the parts go together. The engine plates and magnets holding the Pod Bay Doors are attached half a stud off of normal. This makes the connection is more likely to come undone and I spent many days struggling with getting the engine panels to stay on.
I learned quite a bit working on the model. Maybe down the road I will take another crack at it to improve the design. Currently, I am not sure how long I will keep the model up. There were days that I wanted to just give up and rip it right down.