The Siren Song of SHIPtember 2016 [Volume 1 of 4]

Today is September 1st and the starting gun has fired for Simon Liu’s annual community building challenge, SHIPtember.  Well, for some paste-eaters it started weeks or even months ago, because some people simply will not follow the rules…it literally hurts them to do so.  “But I have school!” “But I have type-2 Diabetes!” “But my booty is bleedin’!”…the excuses are legion and the excuse makers don’t seem to understand that building together, under the same restrictions, is the whole point of the exercise.  Everyone has a good reason not to build, everyone is busy with “real life”, but most people don’t complain about it and ask for exemption from the rules.  In my experience the worst part about running an event like SHIPtember or any other AFOL endeavor involving deadlines and rules is that people immediately start whining about the hard edges and plead for exceptions to be made.  Inclusion is a noble goal and kudos to Simon for being so patient, but fuck me Freddy!  If you can’t make it happen this year, how about you just keep it to yourself, or build a SHIP on your own schedule and not reference SHIPtember.  Most of the people who complain and beg for the rules not to be applied to them, rarely come up with interesting results anyway.

For those of you not in the know, the premise of SHIPtember is pretty simple: to create a spaceship out of Lego that is a minimum of 100 studs long.  If you’re interested in a more detailed explanation, Adrian Drake put together an informative article about SHIP-building a few years ago that covers everything from how to begin, internal structures and detailing.  Building a SHIP is a rite of passage for many sci-fi builders, and SHIPtember provides a good incentive to take your best shot with a group of like-minded souls who are typically willing to give advice and encouragement.  This will be the 5th SHIP I’ve attempted over the years, and the 2nd for SHIPtember.  Two years ago I decided, in my arrogance, to not only build a 100 stud spaceship in a month, but also a 4x8ft diorama to go along with it.  In the end, neither one was very good, but I had a great deal of fun along the way. I’m hoping that by sticking to just the spacecraft this year, I’ll have better results.

The photo below represents my progress on Day-1.  As you can see I have my SHIPtember ruler ready, so I know when I hit the magic number and I’ve also pulled some concept art (courtesy of Ben Mauro), minifigs and my bin of random orange parts.  I’ve also selected the wheels for the landing gear, although that is subject to change as I actually get into the building process this weekend.  I’ll probably start with the landing gear and see how it goes, but I don’t have a plan in place yet for how to approach the model.  Having a structured plan is always preferable, but I typically just jump in and start building.  I’ve set a budget for this project at $60 and I’ll keep you updated as to how I spend the cash.  People don’t typically talk financial numbers with a project, but every large model I undertake gets a set budget that I’m pretty good about sticking to.  So this is what day-1 looks like, stay tuned to this feature for more SHIPtember action, I will be updating my progress at least once a week.  If we’re lucky, we might even hear from Mr. Liu himself on the topic.  Simon’s got a full plate with running the show and building an entry himself though, so we’ll have to hope for the best on that one.



I just figured out I have polling options here on the Manifesto and I can think of no better time or place to put it to the test.  So please, constant reader, won’t you indulge me and take part in this first survey to determine the official song of SHIPtember?

24 thoughts on “The Siren Song of SHIPtember 2016 [Volume 1 of 4]

  1. Haha, you didn’t believe me when I said I was a paste-eater and now, having started SHIPtember early and nearly finished, we have proof! You can’t police SHIPtember man, only Mother Earth owns SHIPtember (inhales) …it’s like her children dude…now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and freshen my gravity bong, whatever that is…


    1. Well I believe it now, boy! No disclaimer required hippy, I can tell you’re runnin’ a little close to the bone. Come on hippy! Come on!

      All you paste-eaters are lucky I can’t police SHIPtember, or all of you filthy non-conformists would be in the hoosegow or buried under it! Fortunately for you a benevolent spirit runs the proceedings in addition to a gravity bong.


  2. EW&F baby! Bellbottoms from heaven!! You could easily hide an ounce or twelve in those bad boys.

    Can’t wait for Shannon to finish his, still a month long marathon. But I do agree about the Sept. 1 to Sept. 30 limits. Kind of extra torture to watch everyone struggle in that particular time frame. Orange for the win! Please call it the Matango.


    1. That was my vote too, I saw them play live in Reno about a decade ago and they gave me more than my money’s worth, I could barely keep up with the funky groove. Either I was too liquored up or not nearly enough, but those dudes are showmen.

      You must have insider information, has Simon posted photos of his SHIP? I don’t see anything in his Flickrstream. Did he start early too? Cause if he did, that would be…an odd choice. For you, friend rountRee, the orange ship will be henceforth known exclusively as Matango! Can it be any other way? Matango! hauls mushrooms to the outer-colonies as EW&F blasts from the speakers.


      1. Not sure which I’m more pleased with, the SHIP christened Matango! (BTW it just isn’t the same without the exclamation point), EW&F blasting through the stacks, an axe wielding Matlock, or Marjoe’s hair. September is definitely off to a fine start!

        Haven’t seen anything from The Simon yet, should be posting soon I think.

        Yeah, when it comes to EW&F if you’re not tappin’ your feet or feelin’ the groove, just turn in your human card at the nearest deli and start kissing the meat slicer ’cause that’s all you’ll amount to: meat. It’s a shame that there was so much bad disco because there was some real good shit going on there too that got all lumped together. Those horns with that base and Maurice! How can you not smile at that?! RIP Maurice.


      2. Ha!
        I’m antipaste-eater.
        Scissor eater?

        I actually generally start late. Gives me time to get all the kids out to bed and first wave of wins properly kudos’d


      3. Scissor eater? What the hell is going on here. You don’t have kids and why do they sleep outside…I’m more confused than ever. Where are my proper kudos? Where is my article on SHIPtember? I can’t believe you’re gonna leave it to me to talk about SHIPtember whist yelling at clouds.


  3. That Simon sounds like a spineless jellyfish.

    Though I could see how allowing for flexible rules allows more to partake and have fun, though it does take away from some of the achievements of the regular SHIPtemeber boys…

    “In the end, neither one was very good, but I had a great deal of fun along the way.”

    Mission accomplished. Put up the giant poster on my battle carrier, it’s photo op time.

    Glad to see you taking up the challenge yourself. There was a buzz of excitement last night in chat when someone pointed out you were building 🙂


    1. I don’t think I’d want to see a jellyfish with a spine, that would look really freaky. For the record brother Si, you should run SHIPtember any way you see fit, the thing seems to get more popular every year so you are clearly doing something right. I just don’t like to see paste eaters take advantage of your kindly nature.

      The poster…it’s all about the poster isn’t it. The whole poster effect used to piss me off about Novvember. It was more important to make the poster than to honor the departed. Lego nerds continue to be the best and the worst.

      That buzz is gonna fade quickly, MATANGO is probably a bridge too far dude, time will tell. Looking forward to your SHIP, I keep thinking about adding lighting to mine because of yours.


  4. So I thought I’d try a ship this month. It took me a whole 20 minutes before I asked myself “What the fuck are you doing mate?” I didn’t have high expectation, just a Chris Foss design. :))

    I may yet attempt a 100 studs Myconid, give it a jetpack and call it a day.



    1. A whole twenty minutes to reach that point? Shit, you’re slow. 😀

      100 stud fungi with a jet pack. The S.S. Psilocybin. Yes please!


    2. Absurde, surely you tease!

      A 100 stud mushroom guy? Yes… the mere thought of it… yes. Would you make a place for minifigs to climb up inside of it? Frankly, I think that is the way to go.




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