This document is part of a World Wide Web resource located at
There is also a version of this document with in-line thumbnail images.
In the spring of 1995 I put together the LEGO Valdez. My initial motivation for this was to show that a large, strong hull could be constructed of basic bricks without special large hull pieces. The advantage of this approach is that you have great flexibility in selecting the dimensions of your hull, rather than being stuck with the few choices offered by the special hull pieces. The LEGO Valdez, for example, has a beam width of 22 studs, 37.5 percent greater than the Black Seas Barracuda, and its length at the waterline is 67 studs, about 45 percent greater than the BSB (I could give this figure more accurately if I had the exact dimensions of the BSB).
The disadvantages of this technique are first, of course, that the piece count is considerably higher due to replacement of large pieces by small ones (though the typical piece is an inexpensive brick; Someday perhaps I'll do a ``price comparison''), and second, that due to the short supply of good inverted slopes (in my childhood, they were simply nonexistent), my hulls come out a bit ``pixellated'' (if I may be permitted to rip off Gary Cooper's famous line with a change in spelling and a complete change in meaning).
The hull itself was a quick evening's work to put together, but then of course I had to build a superstructure. I chose to build an oil tanker in this incarnation of the hull because it's relatively simple: all the superstructure is in the stern. Nevertheless, this ship has cabins for a captain and two crew (unfortunately I am missing the picture of these), a small galley, and a full bridge with steering wheel, engine telegraph and map table. Access to these decks is obtained by lifting off the decks above.
The ship has an anchor in the bow that can be raised and lowered. Fortunately, the sticker that the previous owner applied to the winch (part of an old rescue helicopter) is appropriate for this nautical model. A catwalk with railings runs down the center of the ship for most of its length to allow the crew to travel safely from bow to stern in heavy weather, and the rest of the main deck is occupied by various pipes, valve wheels, and other gadgets that looked like they might belong on a tanker. There are even hawse holes through which lines could be led to tie the ship up in dock, and a rotating radar tower and radio antenna on top (though I forgot to install the radio equipment below).
From David A. Karr's LEGO Collection, by David A. Karr