Building Walker Assault - Part 2: The Walker
The base is done, now it’s time for the main attraction. Consisting of over 6,900 parts, the Walker alone would rank among the largest official sets in terms of piece count.
If you’ve followed along with the instructions yourself, at this point you know that all of the parts corresponding to the base have been used. Remaining are just the parts for the walker, but clearly the pile of parts is enormous. To break this down a little bit, I sorted the parts based on their shape to make things a little bit easier. The other way to have sorted them would have been by color, bit with large amounts of pieces, sorting them by color is rather inefficient as it is actually easier to locate bricks when they are sorted by type in such large amounts. Think of it like this, is it easier to find a red 1 x 2 brick in a pile of red bricks or in a pile of 1 x 2 bricks?
The categories I sorted the bricks into were the same as when Dave Watford initially built his Walker off of the original designs several years back. I find this method a good balance between sorting out the bricks enough to make it easier while avoiding the trap of spending too much time sorting. Of course, you don’t need to do it this way, sort them out any way you want as long as It helps you during the building process. The bins I had at the end of the sorting process were the following:
- 2 x 2 and Smaller: This bin contained all bricks that had a total footprint of 2 x 2 or less. This also included 1 x 3 bricks and plates as well as all technic pins and axles.
- Tiles: All remaining tiles and partially-studded plates.
- Plates: All remaining plates were placed into this category.
- Technic Bricks: All technic bricks and liftarms.
- Everything else: This included all remaining standard bricks, as well as the various wheels and slope bricks that was remaining
Starting off the build was the body section. Despite the sorting I had done prior to building, I still found myself struggling to locate some parts. A tip is that you should probably do some secondary sorting after separating into the broad categories. This would include things such as taking all of the plates and making one bin/pile for ones smaller than 6 x 8, and another which would include all of the larger plates. A lot of times I would find myself digging through a bin full of large plates trying to find a smaller one and would get frustrated after searching for like 5-10 minutes for a single piece and not being able to find it.
Everything with the main body went well in terms of the build. It was a bit of a puzzle attaching the large technic handle section, but after a few minutes I was able to snap in all of the liftarms properly, which made the body assembly rock solid.
After the body came the head and the neck. This portion of the build is split into building the bottom side of the head, then the neck, and then the rest of the head. This is due to the way the neck is connected to the head for the assembly, it’s simply easiest to build the two sections together the way that the instructions have them. The only issue I had while building these sections was the windscreen to the head. The part with the “eyes” of the Walker is a little fragile and it took a few tries to get this part of the build to hold together perfectly. I also found it easier to just slide this section into place on the head rather than trying to snap it into the rest of the head. This would prove to make it much easier to attach the head and neck to the body as I didn’t have to worry about knocking something off of the windscreen. The process of attaching the head to the body was a bit more intimidating than I had imagined. The head and neck assembly feels rather heavy, and I had some reserved doubts about the physics of the attachment, but sure enough I was wrong. Once I slid the technic axle in place it held up just fine.
After taking a second to appreciate the progress I was making, I moved on to the next section, the sides. These are rather straightforward sections, but they take some time to complete. I stopped my building for the day before this section, and then picked right up with it the following day. The only tough thing during this section of the build is how to lay the assembly down when working on another section or attaching the front or back panels. You don’t want to put too much stress on the hinge plates, but you also want to make sure you’re able to attach things such as the bottom section of the sides properly. Attaching them to the body is easy after you get the hang of it. The sides connect to the body via two technic pins, which can be hard to line up properly, but with a little patience you’ll get it done quite easily.
At this point in the build the Walker is pretty much where it will be at until the final assembly. So, if it’s taking up a lot of space in your building area you can go ahead and move it elsewhere, you won’t be touching it for a while anyways.
Now comes the repetitive part, the legs. The legs are unavoidably the same thing basically four times over. There are two variation of the legs, so the manual breaks them up into variation 1 (x2) and variation2 (x2). One of the things noted in the instructions that I would strongly encourage is to use a glue for a few steps. I know, “Kragle” is s big no-no for some people, but by using it for a few steps during the instructions adds an incredible amount of extra stability. This is one of the sections that gives you a sense of the scale of the Walker. If you own one of The LEGO® Group’s AT-AT sets, I suggest standing it up to one of these legs. Just the leg of Walker Assault is taller than the entire AT-AT released by The LEGO® Group! The foot is also very clearly able to handedly squash a minifigure, or even a small group of them.
While the manual shows the four legs being attached to the rest of the Walker at this point of the build, I would advise you to attach them to the base and leave them at this point. Attaching the legs to the rest of the Walker is clearly a delicate operation, and then you have to attach the roof panels at the end of the build. I would suggest building the rest of the model, getting a good feel for attaching the roof panels, and then attaching everything together at once.
As for the roof panels, this build feels like a breeze compared to the rest of the model, mainly because there aren’t many pieces left so it’s very easy to locate parts and complete the build for these panels. As I said before, I recommend getting a good feel for dropping these in place, and then it’s time to bring it all together.
The first thing to note at this stage is that you absolutely need some help at this stage. Grab a friend to help you with attaching the legs. A second recommendation is to move everything to where you’ll be displaying the model in your home. Once everything is put together it’s easiest to leave it there rather than to pull off the legs, move everything, and then put it together again. I will admit this is a very heart-racing moment because it is A LOT of weight being placed on the legs, but once again just take your time and be careful. Once you have it all attached and standing, it’s truly a speechless moment. After a simple dropping in of the roof panels you can do nothing but simply stand in awe of the completed model. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen built in-person before, and I’m sure you’ll feel the same way. It doesn’t even look like a model made of LEGO® bricks; it looks more like a display of a studio model.
If I had to estimate a number to the build time, I would say it took around 30 hours. I split this up over the course of two weeks, and while I was good at logging how long it took at first, I had some slip-ups along the way in terms of keeping track of time. I definitely would recommend beginners to gain some more experience before attempting this model simply because of how large it is, and the complexity of attaching some of the sections together can be a bit overwhelming for a beginner. Included with the instructions is a tutorial video that shows the best way to attach sections together, but I would say this is more of an aid to help builders achieve the smoothest attachments the can.
This is certainly the largest build I have done up to this point, but it only has me more excited to get working on some of the other projects we currently have in development.
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