MOC: The Warrior of the Shogunate

This is the second samurai from The New Shogunate. At the point I had the first version of bridge done I started to ponder the other warrior, representing the "New" side. How would he differ from the bearded stalwart? I wanted him to be masked, but still use the three-stud-wide model with headlight bricks with the eyes. I also though of just making an unmasker face of a younger man, but that didn't seem interesting. Sure, I could have given him bit of a black moustache and a goatee maybe, but I though that those samurai masks were quite cool, so I give it a few tries. I played around with some white designs with red details. The final version uses some food items, sausages on cheeks and a croissant as the jaw; I really like the shape. The kabuto helm has more aggressive crest with some smaller-scale katanas and crowbars.

The colour scheme for the armor became mostly dark green, as I had nice amount of 1x2 cut-out slopes and 1x3 curved slopes around. They can be seen in big shoulder plates, which created a nice profile. They also made it possible to build somewhat-adaptable plate skirt to achieve stepping pose on the base of the bridge. Like armor skirts always - or any skirts with actual legs underneath - this was challenging. Prototype version used very thin upper legs, but it was impossible to perceive the proportions and physics with them. At early version the skirt was made fixedly posed by sticking 1x1 round plates between the cut-out slopes, but I eventually settled with design that is hinged on the waistline. It's not perfect, as the skirt consists of 5 separate sheets instead of one, flowing plating, but at least it is easy and can be posed differently.

The boots, featuring Japanese divided toes design taken from the first-born samurai, were a late addition (and almost copied from the other samurai here - the pose testing version used regular HF boots), as well as the sashimono banner, with the snake detail that runs through the armor. It can also be seen on the katana scabbard, again rather straight but shape-wise fitting for the blade piece.

Next up some Discworld stuff, and then I do not know what - but I have several projects under way.



MOC: The Samurai Stalwart

This old warrior was the first thing I built for The New Shogunate, my biggest character build diorama so far (there aren't many though). I had been wanting to build some samurais for some time, and Palikkatakomo's summer contest felt like a nice chance. Especially as I wanted to build an elderly bearded one (always a good choice) and the contest was about old  and new.

I was very happy with my Arcane Samurai from last year's May, but this time I wanted to built one with a bit larger scale to use my standard three-wide head. The beard was the starting point, as usual - the first version had silver beard that used Wolverine's claws as thin sensei-style beard, but I wanted something fuller, so I rebuilt it bigger with cool moustache. There are some similarities with Dwarven Runemaster  - the eyebrows use light bluish grey handlebar piece. I think the color difference between it and the beard works well; it keeps his appearance somewhat fierce. The sigil on the kabuto helm hides the middle part, so it doesn't look like one united eyebrow. The head is fixed, which limits the poseablity, but as he was supposed to guard the bridge like a stalwart it didn't matter.

The main idea on the armor was to use loads "Plate, modified with 2 axle holes" pieces. They're very cheap pieces with interesting pattern and I bought hundred or something few years ago for roofs. They look quite nice as plate armor (or, hahaha, plate, modified armor). They have also some nice connection points, so overall they were nice to work with.  Armor skirts like this are usually tricky, but I think I managed to make it look quite realistic; It's also surprisingly stable, given that some parts of it are connected only via bar into thin liftarm's axle hole... It limits the mobility of the upper legs almost to zero, but you can't have everything. Some dark red and pearl gold balance the colour scheme.

The upper arms use the exactly same design than the old Arcane Samurai; It's solid and sturdy design that fits easily under heavy shoulder pads but doesn't look weak on its own right. I'm particularly happy with the gloves. 3x3x3 cone always works, and the aforementioned plate modified unites the look with the armor. The boots use those pieces too, along with some kneepads done with octagonal bar frame and dark red 1x1 round tiles. The boots represent Japanese style footwear with divided toes. They were suprisingly tricky, and feature studs going to pretty much every direction, but I quite like them. The sword is another design recycled from Arcane Samurai. That creation was critized for lack of scabbard, so I made sure this warrior had one. It's quite straight for a katana sheath, but those big katanas from Ninjago sets are pretty straight, and the scabbard should fit one of them. The main ingredien is 2x16 helicopter rotor blade thing, another interesting and very cheap piece.



MOC: The New Shogunate

This has been the most unactive summer of Cyclopic Bricks so far - sorry. It's not that I wouldn't have time, inspiration, or bricks. I have all of those, and lots of them, too. It just seems to be that these projects get bigger than they used to, and as I don't really like to post WIP shots (they would just spoil you), time between posts gets larger. Like this one: For years people said, hey, cool figures, make so scenery for them, and I though, hell, that'd be great, but as my figures are more than 30 cm tall (one foot for odd measurement people), the scenery would be large and take lot of time and bricks (and inspiration). Well, it's summer, and my vacation is four months long, so here we go... The Samurai Bridge, or as I call it, The New Shogunate: Showdown between two members of warrior class of feudal Japan. This one is for my LUG Palikkatakomo's summer contest, with interesting subject of "The old meets the new". Samurai of this new rule has come to challenge the last warrior of the old shogunate.

There were several starting points here. I had wanted to build an old, bearded samurai for some time, so I did; there was, however, a problem: The figure was 30 centimeters tall and that meant a large scene for two of these figures. The nature of the encounter was not yet clear. Probably there would be a novice learning from his master, or a training challenge - but I ended up with a real fight, with masked warrior in a bit more modern suit of armor trying to cross a bridge.

The bridge was a tricky thing to build. I wanted one of the samurais stand on it, so it had to be quite sturdy. The design itself is quite close to real Japanese garden bridges. They're usually black or not painted at all, but as I quite like to add some bright colours to my creations, I went with red. The supports took almost all of my 1xX red plates. Fortunately I had recently acquired lot of 1x8 tiles in red and they helped to create a clean, studless look. The ends of the bridge are sturdily connected to the very base with some TECHNIC, which then again is hidden inside the mossed ground. There is naturally lot of rainbow warrior stuff going on inside the base - the water used almost all of my thin blue bricks and everything turns into mess of yellow, orange, lime green and medium lavender under the banks. The main ingredients of the shoreline, 2x3 slopes in olive green, are from LUG event reward packages. There are probably 100 of them here.

After (almost) finishing the younger warrior I returned to work with the bridge. The cherry blossom bush (that would be a tree if I had LUGBULKed more than 50 of those leaves per colour) was always going to be there, and I had fun building those shrines. The ones on the "New Shogunate" side are less mossy, and have Buddhist style using microfigs on the bases. The one on the old side in somewhat angled and covered in moss. That side also uses light bley plates and wedge plates to represent "white" gravel essential on Buddhist gardens, while the new side features stairs of stone.

The measurements of this model are 94x26 studs, just to fit my shelves - it would be painful to be forced to keep this on table, as there isn't too much table space on my apartment. Photographing this was interesting too. I first took photos with white background, but as they were almost impossible to photoshop decently with my skills, I constructed a studio in my balcony using two of my black "wooden" (MDF) tables and my white kitchen table; The other black one was used as the backdrop, supported by the white one. It looked alright but as the model is so long I couldn't take shots on every angle, so there is only six photos. I'll take and upload photos of both samurais and add them as separate posts later on.



MOC: Kuohu

UPDATE: I made some changes on the creation based on feedback I got on Flickr; the two first photos here are of the modified version. Spot the differences.

 This is the second creation of these elemental personifications, of probably goddesses, of old good basic elements; this time water. The series, which is sort of sequel to Four Seasons project, began with Cielan last month. I began building this shortly after it, but there was lot of other stuff to do (moving to from my shared flat to a new apartment, taking trip to Central Europe, visiting a LUG event, spending a week on a summer cottage, to mention a few) so I wasn't able to finish it for a while.

I began with the dress, trying to use beautiful colour combinations (medium azure and dark blue) with some interesting patterns, utilizing new moulds like 1x1 pizza slice tiles and triangular Nexo Knights wedges; Both of these parts are welcome addition to my inventory. It uses lots of SNOT and was pleasing build. I'm very happy with the shapes. With the colour scheme the dress reminds of a creation from a year ago, Kirika Towa Alma, but I went with largely different clothing styles to make them different enough.

The rest was build during last few weeks. I wanted to use Elves dragon egg piece somehow, and felt that a hat would be a nice idea. Cielan had a very striking hair and a golden headdress, but I wanted to avoid gold here and go with something fresher, and I remembered succeeding with a stylish hat on Fómhar. The hair was always going to be aqua, as I had recently acquired a pair of aqua pieces in nice quantities from event reward packages (2x2 curved slopes and 1x3x3 bows). I also had those smaller dragon wings from an Elves set in that colour and the made the bulk of the hair. However, due to lack of very basic parts, the connections of the hair were random and weak, and that limited the hat a bit. But I managed to stuff it with all sorts of water-related parts - the egg as a bubble, some hoses as foam, fire as waves and white spheres as steam. I like how its randomness created a contrast with the well-refined dress.

The arm technique is partly taken from another build of mine, Red Lady of the Stream, and shares the detached sleeve idea with it and before-mentioned Kirika Towa Alma. Here the are smaller, though, and use some interestingly shaped parts with some Friends ribbons bought from unofficial LEGO museum in Prague. The ribbons are also used on legs. They were challenging: It's hard to give them needed mobility for natural posing as actual legs can't fit inside the sturdy dress. They were redesigned several times. I also shot the creation twice because of them: after the first shoot, during the photoshop phase, I realized that the shoes didn't work at all - they were like slalom boots, and I redesigned them to be more elegant wedge heels. Luckily I managed to preserve the ribbons and solar panel parts used as ankle guards. I also like the medium azure details on otherwise white shoes.

This is also the first MOC finished and photographed on my new apartment, where new interior design inventions include a comfortable sofa that can be opened and used as brick storage, a real storage room and a big partly glassed balcony where wind shouldn't be a problem while photographing. Life is sweet!




MOC: Mini House of Secret Society of Aviation

 TLG:s very own ReBrick is holding a Mini Modular contest that ends tomorrow. The interesting part of the contest is the magnificent prize: ALL Modular Building sets, some of which have sold out years ago and cost fortunes these days. The contest is also only open to TFOLs and AFOLs and only promoted via LUG Ambassador Network, which makes it even cooler, so I just had to enter...

The idea was to build a mini version of a full-size modular. I doubt most of the entries aren't, but this one is, being based on the corner building and the flagship of my New Century Corner (currently part of a whole block a displayed in Vapriikki).

This was a challenging build. The problem is that the original one is not regular modular sized, 32x32: It's on a 36x36 module, so simple divide-by-four didn't work. The colours was another challenge. I don't have much medium dark nougat, mostly only bricks and tiles - and no plates at all. The there is lot of tile-on-tile anti-connections here, which means there's lot of going on behind the outer walls to keep everything connected. You can probably just see the travis brick behind the main window. Also, check those arched windows on the sides: They're connected via minifig neck brackets to fit under the roof. And the globe, featuring swamp planet Dagobah in the original, might have the face on Frankenstein's monster on the other side. But old building like this are designed to be seen only from the front...



MOC: Cielan

Iron Builder has been over for almost a month now and I'm slowly recovering. Well, honestly, I've been rather busy still, with all the Tampere May Day fun (9 hour long board game marathon on local club Telakka, receiving the Teekkari caps, dipping into the ice-cold river - you know), LUG exhibit on Model Expo and last of this year's school work. But these are over now and I'm on holidays.

Jonas Kramm beat me on IB, but it was a fair fight - congratulations to him and thanks for the judges and Chairman Guy. I will return. But for now I'll enjoy freedom of building without the god-forbidden Dublo grass block. This creation here is rather traditional one, and an another good example of idea developing during the process.

Cielan here is a spirit or a goddess of skies; something like the Four Seasons project I had a couple of years ago. The idea began with four elements -based parts I got from Elves sets (which I got from LUG activities). So one of the main objectives behind this creation was to utilize as many cool parts as possible. The final result become diverse, to say the least, but Iäm quite happy with it.

The dress was the first thing I built. It's high fantasy -esque with golden details and armour platings; more serious part of the build. I wanted to have long sleeves with ruffed cuffs; the first version was bulkier and used 3x3x3 cones, but I went with this more elegant version. The hip details survived unchanged from the beginning, but the upper torso was remade few times to achieve more feminine shape. Most of the dress was built before IB.

After IB I returned to the project and it somehow took completely new rails. The legs were a complete mystery to me; I though either bare tan legs or white stockings but they felt a bit dull (and I was short on white boat studs) so I went with something more radical; partly cloudy sky pattern with some seriously high heels. I wanted to use those cool blended wing pieces from Chima Ultrabuild sets and they seemed to fit in, something like old winged sandals but more striking.

I had had those vahki-light rainbows around for couple of years and had never used them on anything, so with this air-themed character it seemed to be around time. They were short wings at first, but as I didn't have any ideas for the hair, they turned into one long flock and with them and the boots the creation became a lot snazzier, almost like glam pop or Eurovision song contest esque. It felt silly, but not in bad way, so I went with it. I also constructed the headdress, again more high fantasy-like, with golden eagle wings bought from Bricks&Pieces; They fit nicely with that golden HF armour add-on part. The headress also helped to hide the ugly intersections of the transparent hair, thus emphasizing the rainbow flocks.

To enhance the sky theme, she balances the sun and a stormcloud on her hands. The sun, which design is stolen from Barney Main, was recycled from IB creation Very Old Friends.

Next up, I don't know what. I have one triumphant creation from Model Expo photographed, but it might be a bit hard to present. I'm also currently in Joensuu, will have an eight-day trip to Central Europe (Vienna, Ljubljana, Prague) from 18th May onwards and then I'll move to a new apartment, but as I'm holiday, I might be able to post something. I'll try.




Iron Builder X (And last): Duck Hunt

This was going to be the last build since beginning of the contest. It is of course inspired by the stage in SSB4 more than the original game, and appeared on my original ideas list. I felt that the psychological violence with the annoying snarky dog and the Game Over text fitted the end of the contest. And the grass in the original screen is surprisingly similar to the seed part.

Technique-wise this has lot of boring brick-on-brick work, with the more interesting dog and all the very mathematical lettering boxes. I began with the sky, using most of my blue bricks. The Game Over text was rather easy, and I was particularly happy with the SNOT frame. I had to broaden the sky couple on times, though.

The next part was the dog, which was challenging due to limits of the colour. For example, I had only one 1x2 plate despite buying many from LUGBULK few years ago. Fortunately there were lots of curved slopes and some 2x2 round tiles for paws. The eyes use minifig hands for the annoying smile; incorporating them inside the head wasn't that easy. A boat stud, my favourite part, appears here as the nose. I think the Floo Network one was only build that didn't use any boat studs...

The bush was alright, but the tree was harder. It's probably thee studs deep, quite 2D, but making the trunk narrow naturally deemed some SNOT hidden behind the leaves. It's not very sturdy, but works alright.

The down part was somehow hell. It features lot of loose bits that make the texts and the hit meters; lot of applying of 5/2 rule here. But that was not the worst part. Using so much SNOT built up some serious tension in the structure, and the MOC was about to blow up all the time. It took some serious guts to bundle everything together; longer plates looked like being 2mm too short, and that's lot in terms of LEGO were the measurements should be exact...

But yes, this is the final build. The contest ended six days ago and we are not yet judged. We'll see. Anyway this has been hell of a month and a great honour and so on and I've made ten builds; that was my goal. So thanks to Guy for chairmanning, Jonas for the contest and friends for ideas and support.