2019-02-12

Slalom Probemaster

This MOC is based on simple need to build something completely different, in other words not character builds nor Art Nouveu architecture related projects. I also wanted to use some new pieces and develop some tablescraps further.

Slalom Probemaster is an unarmed robot unit designed for icy landscapes. It is likely related to Clam-type heavy diving suit from a diorama named Novo Atlantis from summer 2015. Same lamp/eye sensor is used here, and the both have bulbous, even mushroom-like shape I find pleasant in subjects like this. It's probably inspired by the numerous Ma.K creations around in every October. I also wanted to be the bot to be unarmed. Violence seems to be very common in sci-fi creations compared to its fortunately low presence in everyday life (at least my everyday life) and trying to give a robot personality and function without "weapon of choice" was in a way a challenge, and a differentiation from the norm. This is an interesting phenomena. And definitely includes a pacifistic message.

The built itself began with the cylinders leading to eye sockets and the 10x10 dish above it. These are the areas most similar to Clam-type diving suit. The eye tubes were different on the earlier version. They rose above the dish in somewhat slug-like fashion. The legs were also part of the original idea. I wanted to use those angled TECHNIC frame pieces, sort of simplified thin liftarms. They look uninteresting parts at the first sight, but they work nicely with the boat stud joint connection and have simple and even elegant form. I had tablescrapped some pincer arms with them and those larger ski pieces, but here the skis ended up being just skis. The pincher arm ended up in another creation, which is finished except for the scenery of it. I also wanted to use the shock absorber pieces. I've had those since I was a kid, but despite their overall coolness I have never used them, or at least I can't remember any times. They're here mostly for aesthetics, but they actually absorb shock a bit; they're of slightly different length in the pictures, but it's hard to notice.

The large nose using those Bionicle parts was a late addition. I wanted to use some Bionicle stuff here. I haven't used in much during the last few years, which is a shame. Bionicle building is challenging, hard, strange and takes lot of skill. Never overlook a Bionicle builder. But I'm drifted away from that form of building a bit, as SYSTEM is so much easier. With curved sloped you don't have to compromise that much. Here using the Bionicle pieces is just a slight trick to make the thing weirder. It gives the bot a sort of snout.

There is also a some scenery. It's simple and I'm not sure if the tan bars sticking from the snow appear as straws as they're supposed to, but I didn't have much inspiration from winter landscape in minifigure scale. The bot is accompanied by sole explorer to give it scale. There was two minifigs at first, but arranging them on the base didn't work. It can be questioned why the figure has to walk, as there's a massive bot skiing next to it. I do not know the answer, but I rather enjoy the oddity of the setting.

-Eero 




2019-02-01

Visual Arts

This MOC is based on an existing piece of art, Czech Art Nouveu artist Alphonso Mucha's Study on Visual Arts, which is a sketch for one of four decorative panels depicting arts forms (visual arts, poetry, dance and music) from 1898. Like the previous creation, bust of Archchancellor Ridcully, this is an old WIP rescued and finished after moving. This is not that ancient though, I began building it around one of a half years ago, perhaps.         

The goal was to achieve a likely pose unlike those I've done before; Mucha's line is very lively, especially on these studies, and it felt something like a building from a live model (I don't know if anyone has ever done it). Actually, it began with a pair of arms, but they were too big: Too long, too thick, completely off the scale... But I proceeded with them for a while, made most of the torsoa and the legs, and experimented with a cloth made of those tail pieces, and had a head similar to the finished version, but due to overscaled arms it didn't work out, and was abandoned. 

The early version had one large difference and it was the setting. I had experimented with 1x3 bow pieces and built some cool lattice-like tablescraps that looked a bit like sliced mushrooms. With couple of those I built a chair that consisted of swirly yellow curves; it was a beautiful piece of furniture, but after all it didn't work. The back rest looked awkward with the figure's forward-leaning pose, and the style was more akin to cast-iron neorenaissance designs from 1800s than swan-neck-lined Art Nouveau objects. I tried to remodel it with more elegant legs, but it didn't have the knack. I must use those tablescraps on an another build, because this figure went outside, to a riverside, where admiring a flower made more sense and gave the creation new fresh atmosphere. Round rainbow is a call-back to Mucha's round ornamentation motifs in his work.

The new arms have a unique design that works only on a models with specific posing; this enables natural width as complicated joints are not needed; making them on this scale would be very hard on monochrome tan. I like how the curved slopes add some shape to the elbow. A tan tap is used on the shoulder, and 1x1 quarter round tile hides it nicely without making the joint too blocky. Another large challenge when finishing the build was the hair. Realistic hair colours, especially on lighter tones, are quite hard - as the skin here is tan, it can't be used on the hair. I was skeptic how medium dark flesh would work - I didn't have too much trust in my collection of it. But in other hand, the "persian arch" pieces created very nice texture, and even though the hair has bit of thrown-together look on it, I think the shade is beautiful and the whole is decent. It's quite close to the mundane colours on Mucha's original.

-Eero





2019-01-19

Mustrum Ridcully bust

Archchancellor Mustrum Ridcully is my favourite Discworld character. This shouldn't new to people who have been reading this blog a bit longer - there's two character build versions of him, first one posted just days after PTerry's death as the first Discworld character build (There's around 20 so far). I've also built a vignette where Ridcully discovers the bathroom designed by Bloody Mad Johnson in Hogfather. So logical next step was a bust, right? Actually, I've made a ceramic bust of Ridcully in around same size some three years earlier. And this brick version originates from autumn 2016 when I had just moved away from my parents to Tampere. The face and the beard were build at that time, with too small hat brim. Half-completed Ridcully looked down to my two previous apartments from his place on top of a Billy shelf. When I moved together with Pinja in November, one of my new home goals was to get rid of some of my dust-collecting WIP either by breaking them to pieces or, in better alternative, actually finishing them.

Ridcully bust had some bits I was very happy about, especially the eyes and the nose, so giving up didn't feel like an option. I had made some little tweaks on it a year earlier, switching in some 1x1 quarter round tiles with great effect, but otherwise it had been as I left it in 2016. I took it to my building table where it lay for couple of weeks and got pushed over by cats a few times. Then one weekend morning I took it and worked with it couple of days and da-dah, it was finished. It's a large build, and quite heavy, but a very interesting too. I haven't worked in this scale before.

The look of Ridcully is based on Paul Kidby's drawings. He draws very cool beard to Mustrum, a one that is combed away from the face in very round shape, completed with a darker bushy moustache and goatee that reflects his straightforward and non-nonsense personality well. So here the beard itself has no patterns at all - it's just smooth, flat surface with round borders. I think it might wake some controversy. Beards definitely have a patter after all. But in other hand, I didn't have any ideas for rugged and hairy patterns in this scale, and I wanted to avoid sort of visual noise to keep the focus in the facial features and stern expression. The details are concentrated on specific areas - face, waistcoat details and the hand-tied flies stuck in his hat.

The hat is large and heavy, but stays together quite well. Ridcully has his personally designed hat (he doesn't wear the official Archchancellor's hat that keeps talking) with plenty of tricks and gimmicks, and I had to ditch some of them. The hat doesn't turn into a tent, which was always a bit unbelievable; Magic might have been involved. There is neither pistol bow stuck in the band, due to same visual noise issues; I wanted the shape to be clear and simple. But there are the flies, three of them, and they're quite different - one of them looks like a dragonfly and other uses a scorpion as its base. There are two opening drawers though, and they include some stamps, extra hooks and even a very small crystal ball (Ridcully is described having one of those in his hat). The pointy point is somewhat removable to be used as a drinking horn, but I doubt it's waterproof; The edges are just hinged.

There is a slight curve on the brim, as it consists mainly of 1x2 bricks. It's not pure 1x2 bricks curve, as the edged have some longer parts, but it gives some life to the overall build. The organic shape is also used on the shoulders, I'm rather happy with them. The base is black and quite simple, with some girder pieces inside the support the weigh. The waistcoat detail that uses old flag pieces is a nod towards character builds of Ridcully and their red-and-pearl-gold ornamental waistcoats.

This is the first Discworld build for something like one-and-half years. It's quite surprising. I've still big Discworld fan, of course, but somehow I haven't managed to complete any build about it. As a little spoiler, I have a WIP of Death, but I'm an ambitious builder and I'm going to build Binky on the same go, so it might take a while. Before that, I've got three models already photographed. And many more to come.







2019-01-09

The Teeth of Flagrant Pass

 New year, new trimester, new intensive course of urban planning for Bachelor's degree and new MOCs to public. Well, with new I mean it's mostly built in September and finished in early December. This character, a robber baroness called the Teeth of Flagrant Pass, is a LUGBULK experimental creation. Other build of this subtype include Dwarvish Dragonguard from 2016. Here from LUGBULK are the numerous macaroni tube pieces, already seen on SOAR-SWIFT IV, bar-on-1x1 round plates on elbow and ankle joints and several connection points (for example, hip and shoulder armour and kneecap spikes). Lot of black baby bows are from the order, too.

The main idea was just a sleek black armour with a skirt made of macaroni bricks. It was monochrome black at first, but white, tooth-like barbs were added later for contrast and menace. The shoulder armour was almost samurai-like, but the entirety was more inspired by some angel and vampire armours for Magic the Gathering's Innistrad art and it's Gothic fantasy motifs.

the work began with the upper legs, which are the usual current standard variant, and the torso, which interesting, almost octopus-like chest armour is almost hidden. The waistline is quite low, which emphasizes the upper body muscles; the armour is shaped to be very thigh-fitting. I'm very happy how the hip armour completely hides the joints while still retaining some mobility to the hip joint. It's connected via 1x1 round plate with bar on side, which is located just behind the black nexo-shield. The shoulder armour is connected to a ball joint in the end of that same piece, and the ball joint connects to 1x2 plate modified with two vertical clips; old and fairly weak connection but mobile and comes in larger variety in colours that the colour-blocked bley mixel sockets. The shoulder pads have plenty of mobility and don't limit the upper arm posing barely at all. The help to define the silhouette of the character, while the white barbs balance the contrasts with the ones on the hips.

The arms are quite regular, and the lower arms are close to those on RADIANT-EXERT IV. The new tricks are used on the elbow joint, which is asymmetrical and uses the aforementioned round-plate-bar-piece. Basically the movement is those pieces spinning on their studs and antistuds. It works alright on elbow, if the character don't have too heavy things at hand, but it was far too weak to knee, where it was replaced by traditional symmetrical TECHNIC hole on stud joint. It's bit of a bummer, as the long bar is a nice way to connect further, and bars with TECHNIC holes on sides don't really exist, except for the odd but useful two-hole variant, the flick-fire-missile launcher.

The legs underwent a change on the knees, but the ankles were tricky too. Usually such bits are done using ball joints, but as small sockets don't exist in black and large ones would have been too blocky, I tried a different approach: enough rotating joints to make the movement ball-joint-like. So the lowermost joint dips forward, a jarvis between the plates, and the next one goes round horizontal, the 3x3 dish on jarvis's antistud, and the third one dips to sides, the aforementioned round plate in bar (thank gods for its round shape, makes it so much versatile). And therefore the legs can be spread a little for more lively stances and the feet don't look unnatural.

I wanted to make a large helmet that covers most of the head; the green eyes add a bit of colour to otherwise quite monochromatic composition. There is no hair visible, for a change; but there are some headdress gadget, a pair of bat wings and sort of locks with horns on the ends to add another shapes of white. They modify the silhouette a bit, along with the Piraka feet on the back; they were the final addition, actually put there along with the lantern couple of months after rest of the build was finished. They are sort of a reference to much older build, a warrior called Gortrund. A matching sword was made using a dragon or bat wing as the blade - it looks nicely menacing and fittingly bit ridiculous. The bat cross on the pommel is an old trick by Moko, taken from his Brickshelf gallery ten years earlier.

The next two build will be very old projects finished after our moving to get rids of some WIPs. But there are couple of other finished build too, and several under construction.

-Eero.









2018-12-16

SOAR-SWIFT IV

SOAR-SWIFT IV is, despite cool Roman number four, the second part on a trilogy of creations that began with RADIANT-EXTERT IV. This was not intentional, but I was happy with that one and the theme with slick black-and-red colour scheme and Clickits-based energy weapons felt it had still something to offer. This is also the first creation posted here to utilize parts from this year's LUGBULK, specifically those macaroni tube pieces in red and black and red 1x1 rounded corner tiles.

While RE-IV was sort of a knight-themed, sporting a longsword and shield and bulky leg armour, SOAR-SWIFT is more modern and faster hit-and-run type unit. This is reflected in sleeker armour, short-range rocket pack, tactical head-mounted computer system and elegant twin swords. Some details, like hair-embedded sense-enhancing units and bird wings in the boots are preserved, and the colour blocks have similarities. I wanted to make a character of same culture but different task.

The build began with the boots. There are some more dark red, which was limited to some cheese slopes in RE-IV. I didn't have the pieces that made its knee pads so I altered the boots design altogether; the shin part is thinner, as is logical for swifter unit, and the knees have armour shells conneted to the tigh. The knee double joint, a sturdy TECHNIC holes into studs of 2x2 round plate type, is between the 4x4 dishes, and the little wings on armour parts (modified studless slopes, excellent pieces) on both sides of the joint touch in very pleasant way when the legs are straight; this little detail made me very happy.

The skirt uses both very new and old pieces. The part on the front is from my father's childhood collection, it's a part from old freight train wagon, and the sides use new macaroni tubes, straight from LUGBULK. The back of the dress has an another container half with the same measurements but more extending shape. The whole thing is vefy sturdy.

The upper torso uses organically-shaped red pieces that stand out on the black frame; the stomach area uses again "Wedge 4 x 2 Sloped" pieces that are well-shaped for such use; I like these odd parts a lot. The chest has also a printed round tile, probably from Harley Quinn's hammer, and some black sausages (moro) from LUGBULK. The thin shoulder armour is similar (but not exactly) than on RE-IV, but the upper arms itself are a lot sturdier. While RE-IV used a design with central TECHIC axis and tyre pieces around it, these are more logical brick-and-plate connection that, in my opinion, is no less elegant, doesn't fall apart and enables some details work; a wheel hub is used as a sigil. The lower arms are almost identical, except for the use of 1x1 round corner plate that makes it more flowing.

The hair is brown. There is no actual reason for it. I didn't want to use black nor anything too unrealistic, so brown it was. It took some pondering about, and I wanted some side bangs, as RE-IV had (and they are one of my favourite aspects of it). They are angled 1x4 "double-baby-bows" and work nicely angled like that. There was also bound to be some head equipments. I found those Chima ultrabuild axe blades from Pii Poo's tables some months ago and their striking shape made a cool ribbon/fin/weapon. It was accompanied by some red Bionicle blades that are somewhat mobile. To enhance the sci-fi-feel of the character, and its specialization on fast scout missions, I added a red earphones, one with an antenna and one with a little screen. The design of it dates back to May 2012 and Liberta-Multiarm mech, a surprisingly good build for its time.

RE-IV had a longsword and a shield, and I wanted something different for this one. I though some flamethrowers and cannons, but they felt rather brutal. Another idea was a crossbow that used a Clickits cable as the string but it didn't fly. In the end I returned to bladed weapons, this time with a single Clickits blade, and an elegantly organic black frame evolved around it. It went through several phases, and in the end I was so happy with it that I gave it a twin. The posture seems to suggest that the black side it used for hitting, but who knows what sort of mad fencing technique does SOAR-SWIFT IV use.

-Eero.