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Imperial Death Star
Last Updated December 2007

This is my first attempt to create a playset based on a pre-existing design. The Death Star has always been my favorite sci-fi setting, but neither of the existing playset incarnations have been particularly satisfying. I set out to do a better job, knowing full well that I'd never have enough space or parts to capture every amazing aspect of the Death Star. Still, I love what I came up with.

The entire structure. I felt that the long corridors and gangways that make up the Death Star warranted a deeper, more three dimensional structure. Using extra pieces to make each floor deeper prevented me from making this structure as tall as some of my previous sets. Ideally I would have liked to have added at least one more floor.


The ground floor / hangar bay. I didn't have the space to make this thing look as roomy as it did in A New Hope, but I'm pretty impressed that I was able to leave enough space for the ship at all. The hangar door behind it was quite a feat to accomplish, too. That's a whole lot of support wall missing.

Above you can see the second floor rooms from a distance. One is a conference room for top officers and the other is Darth Vader's personal office.


The conference room, where the top brass discuss station readiness and strategic use. Fortunately, Vader hasn't stopped in to strangle anyone today.


Vader's office, just because he should have one. This is based upon that cool control room in Empire Strikes Back where the helmet is lowered from the ceiling and onto Vader's head. Granted, that room wasn't on the Death Star, but sue me for wanting to include it here.


Princess Leia's detention cell.


The door swings open to reveal a less than startled princess. Why does it look like she's smiling?


A nice, generic corridor where Storm Troopers can take their wookie prisoners for a stroll.


That famous deactivated platform from A New Hope. Looks like Luke will have to swing away dramatically.


Oh, wait. The platform can be reactivated in this playset. The other half swings into place and locks. Luke can take a leisurely walk across, instead.


The main command center on the top level. It wasn't until after I built this thing that I realized I was thinking of the main bridge of a Star Destroyer. Oh well. It still looks darn cool.


Modification 12/09/07: An elevator and other updates


I've made a few minor tweaks to the Death Star playset, most noticeably an elevator and shaft.


Grand Moff Tarkin decides to take the new elevator for a spin.


The elevator moves along a vertical track. It was impossible to make the track have exactly enough space to allow a beam to pass through and yet hold it securely, so I've made the track too tight at the very tops and bottoms, but loose and semi-flexible towards the middle. It will give exactly enough space for the elevator to pass through without sacrificing support.


Granted, it looks nothing like the elevators seen in the actual Death Star, but I felt that this solution suited the playset better. The ROTJ Death Star playset sacrifices a lot to make its realistic elevator the center of the entire structure. I think it would have been a mistake to go that far with this structure.


Another modification to the playset: I've made the hangar level taller. The Millenium Falcon felt too crammed in before. The retractable catwalk didn't seem as convincing when it was virtually on top of the Falcon.


This angle shows the change in height a bit better.


I've also opened up the side of the detention cell on the 2nd level, allowing more access for play and display. You can see my wife in the background, playing Zoo Tycoon 2!


Finally, I've added braces to the sides of the play-set. Its hollowed-out center has caused the entire structure to sag toward the middle. In order to combat this, I have attached braces to the sides of the playset, all of which are 1/8th of an inch shorter than the walls they attach to, causing the playset to bend out towards the braces. The braces have been in place for a week now, and the lack of floor sagging has been very noticeable since then.