Making Of 'Lego Snowspeeder'


In this tutorial I will build a complete LEGO model from scratch using 3ds max 8. Originally I made this for the speed modeling contest. Since the purpose of this contest is to model as much as possible within one hour, I didn't model the underside of the bricks (or the underside of the model). For this tutorial I recreated the model and since there was no time pressure, I used some different techniques.

I will start of with modeling some basic pieces and after that the more complex ones. In the second part of the tutorial I will assemble all the pieces together to create a snowspeeder. The third part will be texturing, lighting and rendering.

Setting up Max

I'll start by setting the "Grid Spacing" to 4.0.

This will make modeling a lot easier since the dimensions (except height) of the LEGO bricks are all a multiple of 4mm.

The first brick

Set the 2.5D Snap mode and create a box with the following dimensions:

Convert the box to an editable polygon and select all the top edges and side edges. Click on the small button next to Chamfer and enter 0.1 as the chamfer amount.

Create a cylinder with the following parameters.

Convert it to an editable poly select the top edge and chamfer with a value of 0.1 units.

Move it up 9.6 (to do this right click on "Select and Move"and enter 9.6 as an offset value for Z).

Turn on the "Snap to Pivot" toggle and from the top view move the cylinder to the center of the box

Now you should have the following object:

More bricks

Create another box with the following parameters: L=8, W=16, H=9.6. Convert it to an editable poly, select the top and side edges and then chamfer with a value of 0.1 to get the following:

In the top view, move and copy the cylinder to create the studs on the brick.

The Sloped brick

Create another box with the following parameters: L=16, W=8, H=9.6 with 2 length segments. Convert it to an editable poly and select the indicated edge:

Move the edge down 8 units.

Now select the top 2 faces, click "Clear All" on the smoothing groups panel and then CTRL + click on Edge, click Grow and chamfer with a value of 0.1

Move and copy one of the cylinders to create a sloped brick.

Using the described techniques, I created some more bricks until I had the following.

By using a height of 3.2 units, I modeled the plates in the same way:

For some other plates (blue) I used the line tool and extrude modifier:

More complex bricks

For these bricks I started out with a copy of the 16x8x9.6 brick. I used connect to split the side in 3 equal parts and then used connect, extrude and chamfer.

For this brick I just used inset and extrude to create a hole in the stud.

Here are some more bricks and how they were created:

Using bevel, inset and extrude I created the round part

And then I connected it to the brick by dragging some vertices.

To create the next part I started with a tube with the following parameters:

I then used extrude, chamfer and mirror to create the finished part.

Click image for larger version.

I created the cockpit window by first drawing some lines and then using the extrude modifier:

I then used the shell modifier with the following settings:

All Parts done

After modeling the window of the cockpit on the back and one more plate. All the parts I needed were finished:

Top view

Assembling the snowspeeder

Before starting with the assembly I grouped the bricks and studs together. Assembling was mostly done from the top view. Just like before I just the snap tool a lot to get the pieces in the right place. Since I was trying to model this as fast as possible, I didn't model the underside and didn't put much detail in the back of the ship.

Left Wing

Using the move tool, I copied the bricks for the bottom part of the wing and the parts on top of that.

Top view:

Perspective view:

I then moved the up the parts that go on the wing (3.2 units) and moved them over the wing

Top view:

Perspective view:

I then repeated the process several times.

Left Side

Using the same technique I created the side of the ship:


And finally I assembled the middle part (in blue):

Using the mirror modifier I created the right side and right wing of the ship:

Texturing and rendering

The light gray, dark gray and tan are standard max materials, with a falloff reflection map:

The orange also has a bit off self illumination:

The glass material is one of the standard FinalRender advanced materials:

I also used some simple textures:

Fig. 49

Fig. 49

For lighting the scene I used two rectangular lights and a skylight.

I used most of the default settings of FinalRender. The only changes I made were to the anti aliasing settings and disabling the GI. Rendering took about 10 minutes.

For any questions please feel free to email me.

Fetching comments...

Post a comment