LEGOs are a fun construction toy popular among children but also enjoyed by hobbyists of all ages. Since the advent of the "LEGO Space" series in the 1970s and the introduction of the more recent LEGO "Star Wars" kits, spacecraft have been one of the most popular LEGO building projects. When building a spaceship, the creator can choose to build from a kit with instructions, imitate a ship from films or real life or create an entirely new design. LEGO blocks are intended to encourage creativity, but following simple guidelines can help in the creative process and allow later design modifications and variations.
Design the cockpit of the LEGO ship first as this section of the craft may not be the proper size if the body is constructed first. The cockpit will typically use a piece of flat LEGO panelling for the floor or base and usually includes some sort of transparent or translucent "window" that seals tightly within the frame of the cockpit. Depending on the size and shape of the window piece, the cockpit base may need to be built upon to ensure the window closes properly. Make sure the cockpit is large enough to fit a LEGO mini-figure and any desired seating arrangement when the window is closed.
Construct the fuselage or body of the spaceship by building sections onto the cockpit. Depending on the design you are using or creating, the cockpit may be located to the front, rear, centre or even the side of the spacecraft (such as the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon of "Star Wars" fame). The fuselage will need to be constructed solidly for it will act as the spine of the ship and hold the sections together. Fuselage parts are best constructed out of the longer "brick" pieces in an overlapping arrangement to provide structural strength.
Add the wings and engines of your ship by building them onto the fuselage. Many LEGO spaceship constructions have engines mounted on top of or beneath the wings, while others have them placed at the rear or sides of the craft. Wings are best constructed from large flat panels held together by smaller connecting pieces. Engines can be constructed from various pieces, or one of LEGO's specially designed engine pieces can be used, such as the type found in the LEGO X-Wing kit.
Add any weaponry, loading ramps, landing gear, escape pods, cargo sections or any other major components to the ship in the appropriate places. Weapons are typically mounted beneath the wings, at the wingtips, or at the front or underside of the ship's body. Landing gear should be splayed across the body for stability. Many builders choose to add doors or hatches for their LEGO mini-figures to access the ship. After all major components have been added, look at the ship's overall design and modify elements as you see fit (repositioning the wings or changing the weapons configuration, for example).
Add interior and exterior detailing to give your spaceship character. Many have instrument panels and computer monitors in the cockpit. Some builders choose to add additional seating for "passengers" or a cargo hold for other small LEGO creations. Flat panelling with no stubs on top is often used on the exterior of the ship to mask the modular appearance of the building pieces. Additional details might include antennae, "scanner dishes," small pieces representing lights or the glow of engine thrusters, extra windows and insignia pieces, whatever idiosyncrasies you desire.
If you are constructing from a kit with instructions, follow the instructions wherever they contradict this guide. Any LEGO spaceship, whether from a kit or custom-designed, can be taken apart, modified, reimagined or rebuilt to suit the creator's tastes. Experiment with designs and customise your craft until it looks the way you want it to.