While making 02 I began to wonder if I could take the idea of ďskinnedĒ octagons a step further by adding more sections thus creating a tail. While looking online for design ideas I saw a snake man naga mecha. A naga is a human torso combined with a snake body. I decided that Iíd try to make a LEGO naga mecha. The idea was to take the octagon idea from 02, shrink it, and multiply it several times to make a tail using ball sockets to provide articulation. Then I could coil it up to support the weight of a torso.

Some new parts created new design ideas I wanted to incorporate. LEGO released a cylindrical version of the click hinge that I wanted to use as teeth. I had made some horns from the 45 degree octagon cylinder parts from the Aquazone sets while building 02, so Iíd incorporate those. Plus Iíd gotten two black ones that I thought made a cool face or mask. Last I wanted to be the first to use the new cylindrical click hinges are fingers. Lastly I wanted to try and make some wings, another very non-LEGO design.

First I made the hands which ended up posing better than expected. Then I made the torso. Because it was fairly fragile I ran Technic beams up the interior and locked the torso together. With that configuration the torso became nearly unbreakable. Then I set to work on the head which underwent about 20 rebuilds and was by far the most  daunting part of the model.

During this time Bricklink came very much into itís own. To skin the tail I wanted a long plate-like part, and lots of it. I found 105 Star Wars pod fins for $.05 each and bought them all. I quickly found that the pod fins would not be long enough to cover the ball socket area between tail sections. Luckily about the same time Toys ĎRí Us put the original droid fighters on clearance for $3. I went out and bought 35 of them. I took the long brown useless slopes from the droid fighters and combined them with the pod fins. The result looked like feathers, so I started calling it Quetzaquatil or ďQĒ, the feathered serpent.

Now came to final assembly of the torso and the tail. Though the tail was far stronger than expected, when coiled up it did not have enough vertical strength to support the torso. I quickly realized that I would have to make some legs. Deciding to keep with the bird theme I made long thin legs with split claws. The thighs were made by running a Technic beams between two Throwbot gearboxes. The result looked much like a thighbone. Two horizontal oriented click hinges hold each leg to the torso. With the stress of the hip joint running perpendicular to the articulation they supported the weight easily.

In the end I made only skeletal wings because I was trying to minimize the weight of the torso. I used a click hinge attached to another at 90 degrees allowing for 2 planes of articulation. This accounts for the way the wings can fan out.

One annoying thing about Q is that the tail feathers tend to fall off en masse. When they do fall off itís often difficult to figure out where to put them back on. Though not a design failure itís annoying none the less. The most glaring failure is the split tail end which was, to be honest, a cop out. I simply didnít know how to end the tail.

In the end Q was a success. I had achieved most of my design ideas, minus the freestanding snake body. More importantly Q opened the door for more organic creations. Suddenly LEGO mecha didnít have to be robotic.


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