Introduction: Gingerbread Star Destroyer
This Instructable shows you how to make a "Star Destroyer" from the Star Wars saga out of gingerbread. The steps outlined below apply to practically any gingerbread structure.
Step 1: Identify Source Model
To begin, find source material. I used the Star Destroyer from Hasbro's "Collector's Fleet," which is a reasonable facsimile of the "real thing" and a handy, manageable size for baking, assembling, and decorating. There are also plenty of images of Star Destroyers on-line and in books -- and of course the Star Wars movies themselves.
Step 2: Create Paper Templates
I scaled and measured the basic geometry of the source model, transferring dimensions to construction paper and drafting each surface to be baked. Then, I carefully cut each shape out. Note that due to the symmetry of the craft, many paper templates can be used for 2 or even 4 pieces of gingerbread.
Step 3: Mix, Roll, and Cut Gingerbread Pieces
There are dozens of structural gingerbread recipes available on-line, each a bit different from the other. After surveying and comparing several, I decided to mix my own, using: flour, dark brown sugar, butter/margarine, molasses, and salt. Using a generous amount of flour, roll the dough out to 3/16"+/- thick onto parchment paper, place the cut-out paper templates on it, and cut away using a knife or a pizza cutter.
Step 4: Bake Gingerbread Pieces
Bake according to the recipe you choose. I recommend over-baking the pieces till they are crispy, as gingerbread (even the structural stuff) tends to soften and sag over time. Technically, the gingerbread is edible -- that is, no bad chemicals -- but if you do it right, it's nearly as hard as masonry. Let the pieces cool thoroughly.
Step 5: Assemble Pieces
Now the fun begins. Assemble the pieces, and carefully glue them together. I use hot glue because its fast and strong enough -- but note that your structure will truly be inedible with this choice of glue. Alternatively, you can use icing (see next step), but it can take a long time for the icing to dry to hold a structure together.
I planned for the edge detail of my Star Destroyer to include candy canes cut to length. Your detailing may vary.
You may find you need to re-shape the pieces to get them to fit, using chisels, files, rasps, or saws. You may even find you need to re-cut and re-bake some shapes if you're not able to coax them into the right place.
Step 6: Decorate Assembly
While the Star Destroyer should be relatively complete prior to this step, it's the decoration that gives it a sense of scale and whimsy. You can decorate as much or as little to suit your taste. I used a variety of candies, including candy canes, cinnamon red hots, licorice balls, gum drops, candy from a candy necklace, candy-coated sunflower seeds, and a "coke bottle" for the captured Tantive IV.
I recommend going to the bulk section of your local grocery store, and getting "handfuls" of a variety of candies (or crackers, or any dry food) to experiment with. Of course you can get entire packages, but you might find you don't use a lot of each candy/food.
Mix up some icing -- again, there are plenty of recipes on-line. I prefer a mix of powdered sugar, water, and meringue powder. You can use a pastry bag, but I find it easier to use a squeezy bottle from a craft store, much like a diner ketchup bottle with a conical, pointy tip. Note you'll want to play with the viscosity of the icing. Too thick and it's difficult to squeeze out, but too thin and it will drip and your candy will sag.
Take your time here, plan and experiment, and have fun!
Step 7: Finished Prodcut
After some careful decorating, the finished Star Destroyer came together as a reasonable reproduction of the original source model, albeit a bit less threatening and more tasty than the original Imperial naval vessel!
Step 8: Photography and Photoshop
Even the most robust gingerbread structure doesn't last forever. Moisture, combined with plentiful handling by children and kids-at-heart alike, will all serve to soften your gingerbread Star Destroyer over time. Having built dozens of gingerbread structures in the damp Pacific Northwest over the years, I find that you can count on it lasting between 2 and 4 weeks.
Because your work of art is only temporary, I recommend photographing it right away. The architect in me tends to document plan and elevation views of the structure, along with views or poses that approximate the way it was seen in the movies. If you have Photoshop skills, adding pictures of your gingerbread structure/craft into movie stills is a fun way to document and share your art!
In addition to the gingerbread Star Destroyer I made this year, you might also enjoy other gingerbread vehicles from my "Sithmas" collection: the "GB-AT" (2012) and "T[GB]E Fighter" (2013)