For his day job, 37-year-old mechanical engineer Adrian Drake designs combustion science experiments for the International Space Station. In his off time, Drake (also known in the Lego community as brickfrenzy) loves to build large-scale custom Lego masterpieces.
His latest effort resulted in the creation of a 70,000-piece replica of the Serenity spaceship from the 2002 cult classic sci-fi TV show "Firefly" (and subsequent 2005 film "Serenity").
The larger-than-life Serenity ship took Drake roughly 475 hours over 21 months to assemble. Don't expect to pick up this creation and fly it around easily, though, as the behemoth Lego Serenity ship weighs 135 pounds measures an astounding length of 7 feet, 2 inches.
Adrian Drake's reimagining of the vessel featured in "Firefly" reflects many years of experience in custom Lego building. "I have been buying Lego regularly since 1999, when the first Star Wars product line came out,” Drake noted in a recent Reddit "Ask me anything" thread. "Buying a few dozen sets a year over 13 years really adds up, so there are around 430,000 pieces in my collection. I had to spend an additional $800 or so on various parts from online places like Bricklink in order to finish the ship."
The Serenity spaceship originally derived from the imaginations of "Firefly" director Joss Whedon, visual effects supervisor Loni Peristere, and production designer Carey Meyer. In the fictional sci-fi series, Serenity's main propulsion system utilizes a fusion explosion behind the ship for increased speeds, and it looks like a firefly. Adrian Drake's Serenity model features a light-up "Firefly drive" in the rear and cargo bay within.
Jayne Cobb (played by Adam Baldwin in both the movie and television versions of "Firefly") wielded a certain affinity for weapons. In this close-up of Cobb's room, we see how Adrian Drake faithfully recreated the weapon rack featured in the show.
Lights illuminate the cargo bay of the Serenity spaceship. Amazingly, creator Adrian Drake did not glue together any part of the 70,000-piece monster toy.
"There are probably $7-10k in parts alone, plus a few hundred hours of labor," Drake recently said in a Reddit discussion. "I would never sell the original, so if Nathan Fillion says, 'I want this,' I'd build a copy, and glue it together. So parts and labor is likely $25k just to get started, and another few hundred hours to make the copy."
This early image from Serenity's construction (see the full gallery on Flickr) reveals a mountain of work still left to go in the building process.
"I have a lot of experience building technic, and having a strong frame is vital to that," Adrian Drake said on Reddit. "So, I build a good framework and then attach parts to it, while keeping in mind the interior spaces I want to include. In the case of this project, I started with the cargo bay and built the walls. Once they were done I capped them with the wings and built the neck. The neck technic is strongly attached to the front bulkhead of the cargo bay, which is a huge mass of bricks and technic."
In this picture of the nearly completed spaceship, it's possible to get a true sense of the 7-foot Serenity's sheer size.
"Once the framework was done, I built the interior corridor and crew quarters, then completed the outside skin of the ship from front to back," Drake said on Reddit. "I came back at the very end and finished the interior details (cargo bay, dining room, and bridge). The break (disassembly) points for this were determined by the width of the doorway to my basement, and how big my car is, in order to transport it."