"The Fireflower" — Mighty Super Mario 3 Airship!!!

(click on the above picture to see a full panoramic view!)

Here it is at last, the finalized version of the massive Super Mario 3 airship project that I’ve been gradually working on since November 2011! Initially planned to be much smaller and streamlined, this titanic brute ballooned up to a larger scale, and used over 8,000 LEGO pieces in its completed form — as well as electronic components, such as lights and audio. The bulk of the ship is built entirely from reddish-brown pieces that resemble wooden planks, to create the effect of a rickety, wood ship made from logs, such as in its respective video game. Rather than have this ship docked on the ground, I used the magic of transparent-clear LEGO pieces for stanchions and columns, to keep it suspended several inches off the ground (as well as its small fleet of miniships flying)!

This ship has been gradually worked on throughout the winter season, with lots of downtime due to parts shortages. Constructing the ship itself wasn’t a challenge or time consuming, but waiting weeks on end for packages to arrive from Bricklink.com would often cause major delays. For example, the 2x2 round brown bricks constantly ran in short numbers, yet were vital for making the roofs and bodies of the ship’s sections, and I’d generally buy large packs of 300 pieces just to make one side panel. You’ll also see something odd about the arrangement of the bricks: the side “logs” face sideways (studs to the left), yet somehow have studs embedded in them to face upwards. This engineering strategy came to me while I was drunk one night a few months back, where I managed to come up with a method of building a traditional flatbed boat hull, with sideways-facing “wooden” panels attached to the sides using Technic pins — almost like rivets on a boat.

These photos were taken just recently by my friend Roz, who was more than eager to grab her Canon Rebel SLR and come to my house in Queens for a grand photo session in order to help out her burgeoning portfolio. The ship is currently set up in my spare room in my attic apartment, and for lighting, we used two bright white daylight CFL bulbs. These photos are essentially shown here in chronological order, starting with the large panoramic view shot — that was taken first, when we were still calibrating light arrangements and debating to use the flash or combine the CFLs with the default incandescent bulbs — hence the strange mismatched cloudy light balance for the first two full-ship images. Eventually down the line, we found out which light settings worked best, and thus took better photos:

Hovering over a 6-foot folding table!

The bow (front) of the ship was the first part to be constructed. It’s an elongated traditional-looking ship front, with a pointy blade for a figurehead, a subtle nod to the Super Mario 3 cartoon series “Doomship.”

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The Bullet Bills being fired in mid-cannon blast!

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Why, it’s those pesky Mario brothers, up to no good!

To escort the ship are several “miniships”, based off the ones first encountered in Bowser’s Dark World of Super Mario 3. These little buggers constantly kept breaking and falling down, as their narrow clear stanchions were very rickety and vulnerable. To create the illusion of the ships flying chaotically out of formation, I would stack smaller ships (hovering) on top of larger ones, to avoid having them all bunched together in a large swarm — as the ships in the game were spread out and came towards the screen one at a time.

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The very back of the ship — the stern, and its main cabin — have a large warp pipe to transport people inside, just like the end of each airship level in the game. And unlike other LEGO warp pipes that I’ve seen online, mine is virtually round (not square), and totally hollow — meaning, you can in fact drop stuff down the pipe and make it end up inside!

As mentioned previously, this ship is named “The Fireflower”, and to flaunt its name, the command bridge of the stern has a giant 16 cm stained-glass window — with a 6 watt lightbulb rigged up to a 9V battery for illumination like a Tiffany Lamp!

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Please note: this isn’t the full, completed circuit as originally planned. Long story short, the electrical infrastructre was made before the circuitry was complete, and at the last minute (before the pictures were taken) my wires came loose and wouldn’t work — which were hooked up to a small silver on/off switch (not shown) — therefore, for the sake of the photo, I tore out the switch and simply directly connected the two battery wires to the lightbulb base itself.

Inside the cabin (the stern’s 2nd floor) you’ll see mosaic tilework of classical artwork…

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Although, since this ship is set up in my tiny, cramped attic with a triangular roof, the back of the ship was difficult to photograph, hence the lack of appearance of the Mario tile, as well as the incomplete images of the Pihrana plant’s body (which was elongated).

The ship’s stern was quite heavy, and the most difficult to attach the clear stanchions to the bottom, unlike the bow and middle sections, in which I could easily lift with one hand. The stern is so big and heavy, that in order to place the columns on the bottom, I had to basically “jack it up” like changing the tires on a car, by placing it on top of a square box, putting stanchions in each corner then sliding the box out of place. Despite its great weight, the ship’s stern holds up pretty well and sturdy. The stern has three hinged doors: one on the bridge’s deck — a.k.a. the computer room (first picture), a barn door in the very bottom rear (middle picture) was intended to be an aircraft launching deck, and of course a hinged door where the warp pipe and inner lights/battery attached to (above photos). The third photo below is the top hinged door of the ship’s bow.

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Once we wrapped up shooting the pictures, something awful happened: the support kicker to keep the top-most door open came loose, thus violently swinging the stern’s high trapdoor shut — in the complete opposite direction, which forcefully tore the whole right side of the stern off! The roof and warp pipe fell to the ground and completely crumbled to pieces, and are now awaiting repairs. Below is a shot of the back end of the ship, with its bridge’s trapdoor open, as well as the top door (where the pipe, lightbulb and 9V battery stood) missing! Fortunately, the strong structure of the ship stood virtually unharmed following the accident, and the entire stained-glass fireflower window was untouched.

"2nd floor: hardware, children’s wear, lady’s lingerie… Oh, good morning Mr. Koopa! Going dooowwn?"

-Baron von Brunk

  1. iheart69boners reblogged this from vonbrunk and added:
    HOLY FUCK
  2. smurfcumtasteslikewindex reblogged this from vonbrunk
  3. mushroomsandflowers reblogged this from toastcrust
  4. kadd9th reblogged this from vonbrunk
  5. wtfitsroz reblogged this from vonbrunk and added:
    The fact that my photos ended up in Nintendo Power made my year. **sigh**
  6. jorgejoestar reblogged this from vonbrunk
  7. johnrudolfadriano reblogged this from vonbrunk
  8. poisonmushroom-org reblogged this from vonbrunk
  9. unsuspectingfish reblogged this from 4dbutterfly
  10. e-o-g reblogged this from sacrificialanxiety and added:
    Is there a parts list available?
  11. 4dbutterfly reblogged this from itswalky
  12. belades reblogged this from rabbitlegs and added:
    Oh hey! I saw this in Nintendo Power! It’s pretty sweet.
  13. scribblingninja reblogged this from vonbrunk
  14. idran reblogged this from vonbrunk
  15. elementnumber46 reblogged this from rabbitlegs
  16. cannonbarrage reblogged this from itswalky and added:
    I’d suggest checking out the full thing because jfc this is pretty amazing.
  17. texasuberalles reblogged this from itswalky
  18. reflex76 reblogged this from itswalky and added:
    Epic Lego!
  19. rabbitlegs reblogged this from vonbrunk and added:
    Ffffffffff
  20. therealoliviabenson reblogged this from itswalky
  21. griffonknight reblogged this from itswalky
  22. dustybins reblogged this from itswalky and added:
    I heard the airship theme the whole time i was reading this
  23. sacrificialanxiety reblogged this from itswalky
  24. fbcoverx reblogged this from vonbrunk
  25. le-ouistiti-est-dans-la-place reblogged this from vonbrunk
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