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Giant Lego Serenity spaceship astounds (pictures)

A fan's 70,000-piece tribute to "Firefly" results in one of the biggest Lego builds of all time.

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Christopher MacManus
Crave contributor Christopher MacManus regularly spends his time exploring the latest in science, gaming, and geek culture -- aiming to provide a fun and informative look at some of the most marvelous subjects from around the world.
Christopher MacManus
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Serenity insanity

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.

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Ready for a closeup

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."
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Tail end

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.
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Dining room

Adrian Drake's Serenity build features many creature comforts within -- such as this dining room -- accessible via removable panels.
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Jayne's salvo

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.
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The bridge

Hoban Washburne (played by Alan Tudyk) usually sat on the bridge of Serenity in the "Firefly" TV show. Can you spot the hidden "Star Wars" reference in this picture?
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Cargo bay

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."

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Intergalactic smugglers

The characters on "Firefly" often smuggled goods to make ends meet. Adrian Drake's Serenity spaceship features an extensive cargo bay area with a functional door that opens and closes.
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The cast

Custom-made "Firefly" minifigures, from left: Malcom Reynolds, Inara Serra, Derrial Book, Jayne Cobb, Zoe Washburne, Hoban Washburne, River Tam, Simon Tam, and Kaylee Frye.
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A work in progress

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."

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Behemoth brickery

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."

See more of the finer details of Serenity in Drake's extensive Flickr gallery.

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