Last year my son and I decided that we were going to build an AT-AT while he was with me during the summer. I searched the internet to find some schematics and happened upon a brilliant blog called Gimme Lego that chronicled one man’s quest to do the very same thing we were going to attempt.

I read the blog and got super excited about it, and eventually contacted the author about finding the blueprints. He had purchased LDD (Lego Digital Design) files from cavegod, and said that he would put me in contact with him so I could do the same. £50 later, I had received the files and an Excel spreadsheet that listed all the required parts. Full disclosure, cavegod designed this entire thing, and we were building upon his success.

This was right before I went on my 4th deployment with the US Navy. I wanted to make sure that I was ready for when my son came back, and while I was out to sea I used Brick Link to amass all the parts we needed. Well, mostly. More on that later. By the time I came home from deployment (after taking a break and marrying my amazing wife) I had 5,927 pieces waiting for me so we could build this thing.

Once my son was with me we organized everything and decided that we would start with the legs. Unfortunately, I didn’t have some of the pieces for the legs, but luckily we found out very quickly and just decided to build the head.

The red pieces above the unfinished head are the attempt at building the legs. We couldn’t even build the feet! Overall, we were short about 300 pieces, which we found out slowly as we went along. I put the parts we needed on order and we started our project in earnest.

The head was quickly assembled, and only took about 3 or 4 days. Mostly that was because I had to work during that time. We had to take a break, as we were living in a hotel at the time because I had just been transferred to a new duty station. Once we moved into our apartment, we really started everything up.

If you want to attempt to build this same AT-AT, Dr. Dave’s Gimme Lego blog is a must read. There are some frustrating features about using the LDD files, specifically the way it builds the instructions for you. It doesn’t do things in a logical, step-by-step manner. Instead, it simply reverse engineers the pieces and you don’t always see the best way to do something. He helps clarify a lot of that.

Next up, the body!