This is a heavily edited version of an article I wrote for New Elementary (available on their Patreon site previously).
For my fifth birthday, I was given a #918 ‘one man spaceship’. The same #918 ‘one man spaceship’ pictured below, it's bitten, scratched and sun damaged… but still my original set from 1979. I recently took a pragmatic decision to “restore” the slope by removing the logo with Brasso and replacing it with a homemade sticker (it really was unusable in the state it was in).
This whole journey started as an attempt to reflect the classic moon logo by building an all red version of #918.
I ordered the parts I didn’t already own off Bricklink for ‘The Redbird’ above. I decided to go red with a few black parts - mostly because I had a lot of the missing bits in black as spares… and there aren't 3963 three-way direction jets (space rockets) in red anyway. Another rare part are the red 3940 support stands.
You think #918 is made up of mostly commodity parts, but some are fairly rare if you stray away into "all the colours" territory.
A modest 81 parts, according to Bricklink’s inventory. "This is doable!" I thought "...and anyway, we're down the rabbit hole now."
My first considerations were wings and slopes.
“Don’t Chrome crying to me that this isn’t a full ring!”
The 4x8 wedge/wing with 1x1 notch/cutout otherwise known as 3933 & 3934 (the original classic space wings) are available in 16 colours.
Let’s forget the chrome wings that came in the #10026 ‘UCS’ Naboo Starfighter from 2000. The price per wing is enough reason! I could buy reasonably priced custom items from one of the reliable chroming boutiques, but then where would it end?!
...I see a red car slope and I want it painted black...
The 3939 3x6 slope, comes in 8 solid colours and 6 translucent ones.
The reintroduced 6x3 slope 58181 doesn't actually help all that much. The exception being its appearance in dark bluish grey… which is a pretty rare piece as a ‘parted out’ component, it only appears #75144 UCS Snowspeeder.
I had most of the parts for a black one but I couldn’t decide whether I wanted a regular Classic Space black or a Blacktron variant.
An extra Blacktron #918 however, would mean that I would (just) need another pair of black wings and a few yellow parts. You can see where this is going can't you?
3963 direction jets (loudspeakers) are only officially available in 8 colours and they are not plentiful in yellow.
The yellow 3943b 4x4x2 cone was only available in four sets and is also pretty scarce.
For a few reasons I wouldn’t want to justify to my wife, I ordered enough of these parts that made a yellow version possible.
Brackets 3956 comes in 12 colours and doesn’t exist in yellow, but I worked out what I think is a neat enough alternative using the new 41682 2x2 bracket in yellow and 32028 1x2 modified door rail plate.
I used the bracket solution for another ship too. There is a dark bluish grey 3956, but it only came as an 'alternate' part in #8100.
Stealth mode ON!
I knew blue was going to be fairly easy, and I had almost everything as spare. The model is missing just one final 3940b blue support stand.
Other variants that were fairly easy were White and Light Grey.
My Dark Red #918 needs the 3956 bracket, but it doesn’t exist and currently at least I can’t use my 41682 “fix” either.
Dark Grey needs the front forks/guns (otherwise known as 3839a or 3839b). It could really do with the doors too, but the chances of there ever being original dark grey doors are virtually non-existent!
I also had enough parts to create a few extra additions to my fleet. I already had a good supply of Light Bluish Grey wings so a Neo Classic version happened and a Redbird variant too.
Another fun one is the multicoloured ship that has evolved out of the spare parts.
The brown wings and sand green 3939 slope kind of fell together… alternate parts are available but without the red crest, this ship just doesn’t earn its nickname!
I'm also still working on sand blue, dark orange, orange and dark blue versions.
Collectively (as you can no doubt see) there are still quite a few parts to locate in order to complete the fleet.
As with many of these endeavours, you discover how crazy prices can be, for example, the 6x3 slope 3939 in black was only available in one promotional set (#2998 for Stena Ferries) and will set you back £16 each, minimum, on Bricklink (at time of writing).
Amazingly, there are only 5 colours of the 3479 tail wing support, so decisions had be made as there isn't really a modern alternative.
The only real disappointment for me was the absence of green wings. So to make more of a rainbow I clad some spare yellow wings…
...and here is my rainbow, well sort of ;-)
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