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RV Kilo Moana by J Harreld - Lego - 1:94 scale - COMPLETED


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While not exactly a "build log" since it's already built, I'm going to illustrate here the process of building my custom (scratch) Lego model of the RV Kilo Moana.  The Kilo Moana is a small waterplane area twin hull (SWATH) oceanographic research ship owned by the US Navy, operated by the University of Hawaii, and launched in 2001.  It is 186’ long and 88’ abeam.  Max speed is 15 knots and max range is 10,000 nmi.  I've determined the scale here to be approximately 1:94, but as I'll get into later in my Point Reyes Lighthouse "build log", the determination of scale is a bit slippery working with Lego since the fixed geometry of the medium can be much more limiting than cuttable or formable media. 

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By the way, any images herein that do not present actual Lego bricks are most likely not mine and scavenged from the internet in various places, and so I apologize in advance for the lack of attributions.  I will include some of these images for reference.  If anyone wants a source, I'll be happy to go back and locate it with an image search.  Also, for the next big model I build (thinking of a large scale cross-section of a war galley as I've seen some post in this forum, but in Lego), I will take more photos with the build log in mind.  I think I have enough to briefly tell the stories, but the majority of my pictures were taken to just remember what I did in various trick spots so I could remember how I solved tricky connection problems or fix something if it broke later.

 

So enough preamble; here we go!

 

As you all do, my first step was to gather as much data and images as I could for the ship, to get a basic idea if/how I could make it and what scale I should use.  So this was my first step in the build, establishing the size of the decks and starting to figure out how I would make the "pontoon" like double hull components.  You'll see many Lego ship builders only build down to the water line so that they sit nicely on a table.  While this does also make the hull a lot easier to get through, it was not an option for me since the double hull is such a beautiful feature of this ship.

 

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These dark red shells of the hull components don't just click together like traditional Lego bricks, so some internal trickiness is needed to hold everything securely in place and get the connecting studs aligned to connect to the rest of the ship at the waterline.

 

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While I do have an entire bin chock full of Lego sea and air propellers, turbines, etc, none of these pre-formed elements had the right size and shape and number of blades, so I had to create my own  This would be described as "brick-built" instead of a molded piece.  Everything I use is Lego, including the little orange hub to the propeller which is a little disc ammunition that Lego use to use in disc-shooter guns from some of their older sets.  I discovered eventually that they were the perfect thickness to be held reasonably well by the little clips (that are the same as a lego minifigure "person's" hands.

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So now I've got the double hull "pontoons' figured out and ready to to continue on with the above waterline hull and decks...

 

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To be continued...  :-)

 

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This is a very unique vessel and I agree that building it just above the waterline wouldn't seem right. Glad you made that decision John.

 

I would assume that the real propellers would be made of some kind of copper alloy so you might consider changing the color to yellow. Brilliant idea with that disc-shaped piece!

Edited by Peter Y.
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Peter, you could be right about the yellowish tint to the propellers.  It's not easy to tell but here is the reference picture I used.  Trouble with using yellow would be that it's such a bright primary color that it might be too yellow.  I'll see how it looks.  I think I have all the parts needed.

 

 

 

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Okay, so continuing, I fixed lower hull to the upper hull and started trying to figure out how to build all the decks...  I struggles a long time how to make the diagonal green painted lines the way I wanted them, and have the fit neatly against the white background.  I could have gotten the straight green lines to work in either of the diagonal directions, but couldn't figure a way to get both at the same time.  The few solutions I came up with just ended up looking worse than the stepped diagonal that I finally accepted.

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The lifting A-frame and the beginning of the equipment bay on the back deck... There are very limited part selection in the dark green color, so I have to be a bit creative with how I made the form of the A-frame.  

 

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Battery box in place to light up the inside of the equipment bay...  Wires will also lead to lights in the bridge.

 

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Looking down into equipment bay...

 

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Finished the next deck and continuing with the walls...

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At this point I needed to finish the interior of my Lego studio that we'd just built as an out-building, so I have to move my entire Lego part collection and build space temporarily into the garage!  It wasn't ideal, but I kept going.

 

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To be continued...

 

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Sjors,

 

So far I've kept all the large models I've done, but storage/display space is absolutely at capacity.  So I'll need to start making some difficult decisions soon.  I had 11 models of various things at my friend's secondary market Lego store for a few years, but he's pairing down to retire, so I had to take them all back this summer.  It would be emotionally much easier to sell or donate than actually taking them apart, but I'l need to figure that out.

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And now the conclusion...  Finished the third deck and some of the lab space, getting closer to the bridge.  Electrical is tucked away inside and activated by a hidden button in the middle of deck #3.

 

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Finished with the top deck and almost have the bride closed up.  Just need to run the lights.

 

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And set approximately back on the "pontoons" of the lower hull...

 

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After completing the model and fixing the upper hull to the lower hull, mixed in with some reference photos.  You'll notice perhaps that the dark green instrumentation tower above the bridge is not yet correct in these photos, but gets fixed in the last picture of this post... 

 

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And now, the lights!  First the bottom deck equipment bay...

 

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And the bridge...

 

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Finally, I wanted to display this at an exhibition where it would only be seen from maybe 120 degree angle from the front.  Of course I didn't want folks to miss the details at the aft end, so I needed to build a 100% Lego turntable to automatically and slowly rotate the model while I was off looking at other exhibitor models (or digging through piles of Lego from vendors).  Here is what I came up with, using giant gears exclusively from a Lego Star Wars hailfire droid kit and a bunch of "ball bearings" from another sort of Lego shooter ammunition...

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Mark,

 

Ha, I wish I was that fast!  Not sure if you're joking, but I tried to explain in the intro that this, like the lighthouse, was a build that I did previously and fortunately had some pictures taken throughout.  It was basically from February to July of 2015.  So I'm not a fast builder but instead a very slow poster.  For my next big build I plan on taking pictures with the intention to share as I go.  These old pictures were all just meant for my own memory of how it went together.

 

Cheers,

John

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No worries!  Actually I'll make it up to everyone when I do a real contemporary Lego build log.  My latest inspiration is a large scale transverse cross-section of a large sailing ship.  The source of the inspiration is from this group, specifically  the HMS Victory Cross Section by Antony - FINISHED - Scale 1:36. 

 

I really think that or something similar needs treatment in Lego!  That's the feeling that normally gets me going.

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