I tell you — it seems like every time I blink, another day goes by; every time I sneeze, I lose a week; and I dare not even tell you how much time passes when I… but let’s not go there.

Starting out on Day 01 (Click image to see a larger version — Image source: John Alflat)

Do you remember Day 01 of our 30-day build? When I posted that initial column deep in the mists of time that we used to call April 5, the end of our project seemed to be a long way away in the future. Now, just six sneezes later, we have great big beaming smiles pasted on our faces and we are proudly posing for pictures at the finishing post.

I’ve said this before on many an occasion (quite possibly in my The Times They Are a-Changin’ columns; see Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3) — when I was a kid, during the summer holidays, I spent the daylight hours up the road and round the corner at my Auntie Barbara’s house with my cousin Gillian.

We had small houses with small kitchens with small fridges. The only freezer available to us was a tiny metal compartment in the top of the fridge that was sufficiently sized to hold six cubes of ice or one bag of frozen peas. We used this compartment for ice because we didn’t have access to frozen peas at that time (even though the first peas were frozen by Clarence Birdseye in the 1920s, we didn’t have any supermarkets or freezer centers near where we lived).

Once each day, my aunt would sit Gillian and myself on the kitchen counter and scrub our hands, faces, knees, and elbows (I still have the cleanest, reddest knees in the known universe), after which we would set off walking down the road to purchase that day’s consumables from the little shops at the bottom of the hill. On the way, we would invariably meet other ancient people (remember I was only six or seven at the time, so everyone my aunt knew was ancient to me), at which point they would engage in conversation.

Most of the time, it sounded like the teacher talking in a Charlie Brown cartoon, but if I did tune in to see if there was any chance we’d soon be continuing on our trek, it was to discover the adults conversing about one of three things. The first topic was the weather — what it was like today, how this compared to the past 100 years, and what we might expect in the coming decades. The second topic was their health — who was suffering from what, who they knew who was afflicted with something or other, and who had the biggest scars, often displaying them to each other (and people wonder why I drink). The third topic of perennial interest was how time seems to go faster the older you get.

Remembering that this was exactly the same conversation they had engaged in every day since time began, I recall thinking, “For goodness’ sake, can’t you think of anything else to talk about?” But it turns out that — at least in this case — they knew of what they waffled, because the days, weeks, months, and years do indeed seem to race by as one gets older (or more distinguished, in my case).

All done on Day 30! (Click image to see a larger version — Image source: John Alflat)

But we digress, accompanying today’s photos, John shared the following words of wisdom “The final armaments have been attached and the LEGO mini-figure assembled and placed on the stand. The stand is cleverly constructed so you can have the fighter presented horizontally or at an angle.The fighter is not the same scale as the pilot — the pilot is of ‘mini-figure’ size and these are collectible in their own right. As a one-off, I’m not surprised that LEGO decided to not produce a figure in a larger scale. Compared to LEGO constructs I’ve built before, this one is a bit of a beast and — as of now — I have no idea where it will be displayed (Eeek!).”

John continued to say, “As you will be aware, this model has been built over 30 days, excluding weekends. Dividing the total number of instructions by 30 days gave me 19 instructions a day. This is not the first time I’ve employed this method, having done so previously when constructing a model of the Star Wars Millennium Falcon. There are two reasons I split the build over approximately one and a half months. The first is that these kits are expensive, so to get a better return for your money I suggest constructing them over time. If you build a £150 kit in a single sitting, for example, then it just cost you £150 a day, but if you build it over 30 days, then it’s only costing you £5 a day, which is much more palatable.”

Time for a Happy Dance! (Click image to see a larger version — Image source: John Alflat)

Being in a loquacious mode, John carried on as follows, “Another added benefit, for me anyway, is that I have something to look forward to over many days.”

John closed by saying, “Yet another advantage I had not anticipated, particularly in this construction, was that I got far more interested in how the model was designed in the first place, and I gave much more thought to the methods of construction employed. On top of all this, creating the model in this way has brought me into much more regular contact with my lifelong friend, Max, who lives across the pond. Next up an AT-AT :-)”

I was with John all the way up to the “AT-AT” part. I’m almost scared to ask what this is. Maybe he sneezed, which would explain what happened to this past week.

In closing, as I observed in yesterday’s Day 29 build blog, the cogitations and ruminations on alien life that were sparked by this build have caused me to want to re-read some old science fiction favorites.

I already made mention of The Star Beast and Orphans of the Sky by Robert Heinlein in yesterday’s blog. Some others of this ilk that spring to mind are Midworld by Alan Dean Foster and Non-Stop (a.k.a. Starship) by Brian W Aldiss.

Now I’m on a roll, because I also feel like revisiting Great Sky River by Gregory Benford, Eon by Greg Bear, and A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge.

Oooh, I just thought of two more. For those who like classical alien creatures, then we need go no further than The Voyage of the Space Beagle by A.E. van Vogt. It should be noted that this is a “fix-up” compilation of four short stories but — unlike some of his other fix-ups — this one flows reasonably well. Meanwhile, for those who prefer their aliens to be REALLY weird and wonderful, then Dream London by Tony Ballantyne still has me pondering and wondering.

Last but not least, I just ran across an interesting tale, The 16th Century Astronaut, about the first man to (maybe) have reached Earth’s Stratosphere. Also, my chum Charles Pfeil pointed me at an article, Oblique Wave Detonation Engine May Unlock Mach 17 Aircraft, which is the sort of engine I’d expect to find in a precursor to an A-Wing Starfighter. And, just to keep us grounded, my chum Jay Dowling pointed me at a column, Scientists Work on Ways to Keep Shared Astronaut Spacesuit Underwear Clean (I should hope so!).

How about you? Do you have any thoughts on this build, or any book recommendations, LEGO tips and tricks, nuggets of knowledge, or tidbits of trivia that you’d care to share with the rest of us?