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?