Only use old grey. I know there are all kinds of tempting new elements in bley, but there are also plenty of lovely things that haven’t been used in old grey. There is much to discover within the old palette. We’ve barely scratched the surface. You’ll have to find some trans yellow supplies, too (not easy). Working within these parameters is restrictive, but also rather satisfying (when it works).
There are still plenty of exciting new pieces in blue. Some of the elements from the new Racer ‘Ring of Fire’ set are amazing.
Beware of new grey infiltration. Segregation is the key. If a single element of light bley infiltrates a Classic Space display, it’ll make everything look grotty. It’s happened to me several times, to my shame. That’ll teach me to build in the dark. We must be vigilant at all times, my friends.
I once used two light bley cheesers in a moment of weakness. Terrible business.
The temptation to use them... just to have that one piece... it was overwhelming. A good friend publicly shamed me on flickr, which I needed. I’m only saying this so you don’t make the same mistake.
I have found that dark bley looks okay for accessories (in moderation). I can justify them by claiming they’re off-world cargo.
When building, start with the cockpit and work out from there. You have to find your trans yellow solution early on – trying to shoehorn something in afterwards is asking for trouble.
Always include landing gear. People just don’t respect you otherwise.
Control those studs, newbie. We’re looking for cutting edge build techniques here – not some ghastly throwback to the 70s.
Don’t forget the bumblebee markings, sideways plate on the wing (and correct orientation). Stacked 1x1s or 1x2 plates are my preferred method.
Find some trans clear visors if possible. They’re expensive, yes. And hardly ever on Bricklink...but they are out there. I need some more quite badly, actually.
Use only red or white spacemen, in the best condition you can get hold of. Their tools and accessories were black in the old days, and that’s fine for Neo-Classic Space. There are a number of exquisite accessories nowadays...black lightsaber handles and Star Wars blasters spring to mind immediately. There’s something very pleasing about a spaceman holding two uzis.
Do some underside work. It takes time, and there aren’t many elements designed to clip underneath a plate. But trust me, if you put in the time it’ll be worth it. Try and invert the studs where possible to allow for upside down construction. A couple of cans of strong lager can often help you through this stage. You should get into it, though - it’s always nice to hear a gasp when you flip a ship over for the kiddies.
Looking at the Galaxy Explorer box art, it seems that the red guys are the pilots and the white guys are the ground crew. So, logically, the red guys would be piloting the blue/grey/trans yellow stuff, and the white guys would be driving the grey stuff with red wheels. Right?
There are a lot of things that can be done with the white guys (Ground Crew, as I like to call ‘em). Doug Idle made a fantastic Lunar Crawler and rigidly stuck to the rules. The results are astounding.
More recently, I allowed some carefully chosen metallic colours into a (95% grey) ground crew build. I think I can justify it by playing the ‘extra realism’ card. In real life, there would be varying shades in mechanical areas. So perhaps a few dull metallics are okay, after all.
I’m always very cautious when using trans red and trans green. Some of the old sets used it with reckless abandon. It’s attractive to kiddies, but I find results are better if it’s used very sparingly. I’ve also taken the liberty of adding trans clear headlights to my Rovers. I’ll play the extra realism card there, I think.
If you’re building a blue and grey ship, you should be thinking about the three digit number it’ll have. Are there any cool birthdays/car registrations/bits of phone numbers that might be good? Look in the LL registry to check what’s been taken already.
I always try and build a model in several stages. I’ll also try and improve on existing designs to get them as good as possible. One thing you need to be asking yourself is ‘Is that bit there as detailed and lovely as it can be? And if not, why not?’.
I’ve built multiples of some of my better models. I’m trying to build a fleet after all, and there’s nothing wrong with making squadrons of certain ships. Rebuilding an existing model (with slight refinements) is a good way to get stuff done if you’re low on inspiration.
On the subject of inspiration – anything goes, really. I’d recommend looking through old Lego catalogues for possible sets that could be updated. But also study your sci-fi. Absorb as much spaceship action as you can. There’s nothing wrong with watching Return of the Jedi again, or Star Trek: Voyager, for that matter.But you don’t have to base the build on anything you’ve seen... you could just make something up and see what happens. Some of my favourite models aren’t based on anything.