Rogue Group, use your fork and spoons, go for the legs!

Well, being obsessed by props, spaceships, fighters and vehicles from the Star Wars universe, it always bugged me to see things like this:

Gingerbread AT-AT (Imperial Walker), off-proportions.

I like the posture, the hanging Luke Skywalker figure, the snowy environment etc. But what is a bit disappointing with this gingerbread AT-AT is the proportions between the legs, head and main body. After scouting through the great internet, I could not find a single ‘screen-accurate’ gingerbread AT-AT with the same proportions and look of ‘the real deal’; the original ILM studio model that is (which was used for the stop-motion/effects photography in ESB).

Master Replica’s rendering of the AT-AT.

With the use of this blueprint, some artistic freedom (some model parts had to be greatly simplified), I made the following paper-mock up using Pepakura. This gave me an approximate idea of the size and complexity which was to become the final gingerbread AT-AT.

Paper/Cardboard mock-up model of the AT-AT.

Paper/Cardboard mock-up model of the AT-AT.

Using the same patterns for the paper/cardboard mock-up model, parts of the AT-AT was cut out in gingerbread dough and baked. Final assembly was done using caramellized sugar (which by the way hurts like **** if you get it on your skin, so please be careful if you are to attempt anything similar), and icing made by egg whites and powdered sugar. The main body is very sturdy and pretty light-weight, and the whole gingerbread ended up being surprisingly balanced, with most of the weight situated below knee/ankle level. My belief was that the armor would withstand quite a lot of blast hits from the nearby cooking area, before it would collapse.

“That armor’s too strong for blasters”, Luke Skywalker said during the Battle of Hoth in ESB. He was right, indeed. But nothing would prepare it for what was awaiting next.

Final version of the gingerbread AT-AT. Ready for decoration. Please note that an ordinary LEGO figure should be in proportion with the gingerbread AT-AT.

The plan was to finalize the AT-AT by decorating it with white icing stripes, similar to the details as on the original ILM studio model.

“Let’s let this thing cool off for a few days I thought”, and the beast was left in the kitchen.

A few days later, a terrible sight met me in the kitchen.

A gruesome scene of melted and twisted gingerbread armor parts met me in the kitchen.

It could be rebel sabotage, or the result of a cat’s curiousity (or an attack provoked by its territorial instincts). There were no traces of tow cables nor blaster marks on the collapsed machine, and I don’t seem to remember owning a cat either. By carefully investigation and close analysis of the damaged parts, I noticed that all the major parts had some twist and bend on them close to the area of fracture. And when using my fingers to test the structural integrity of a few samples of damaged armor parts, it was evident that they had become soft.

The conclusion form the investigation commitee was as follows: The AT-AT was not a victim to rebel sabotage or any physical attack. It is logical to assume that large and sometimes rapid changes in temperature and humidity in the kitchen area weakened the bearing structure (main four legs) of the AT-AT. As the gingerbread was crisp and quite dry right after assembly, it was left to absorb humidity in the air while standing the the kitchen area. When the parts got soft, they deformed. As the main four legs was designed to take mostly axial forces, they reached their critical strength when they were twisted and bent, and thus reached a certain ‘yield’ point before final fracture. The only non-damaged parts were the head and main body. How the main body survived an assumed fall from the legs in standing position down to the kitchen table is still a mystery. But at least it shows that its main armor was indeed too strong for blasters. Luke was right.

I tried to reassembled the puzzle and restore the beast back to its original glory, but it seemed that all major parts were to soft to even bear their own weight. Now the parts are left in the kitchen for scavengers and Jawas…because they’re too soft for eating.