2019-09-07

Zinnia Superfuzz


This is another built finished during the summer months. It's a part-based build that evolved during the process; no plan, no concept, just some colours, patterns and combinations that together formed a bassist with rad flower-themed attire. The most important factor was the parts I got from LEGO stores in London and Glasgow in May. The most notable of those were plant pieces - new grass stalks with bar connections, 1x1 modified round plate flowers in various colours, and as used on this creation, medium azure 2x2 flowers (great pieces I only used to have 4) and dark pink friends trumpet-like flowers. Those were used to build the long gloves in early summer; but I had no idea who'd end up using them. Another starting point was Hero Factory ammo belts with dark pink flowers stuck into them, to be used as braids.

The character evolved first with the arms (I'm particularly happy with the "wanted" tattoo in the left arm) and upper torso. It formed a neck strapped dress that was going to be a long dress but ended up much shorter and less formal instead. I developed the diagonal pattern of flowers and medium azure stripe to fit the gloves. The dress widens using Wedge 8x3x2 opens. Their connection is quite complex, as the hip joint of the legs is crammed within. There's bit "cheating" there, as the upper legs are too short; or, in other words, the hip joint is lower than it should be, as there is no room for it higher on. Fitting the hip joints and upper legs inside dresses is always challenging, but having some movement for them give some needed dynamics to the character. So there's double joint under the large wedges, with homemaker figure hands. The round plate swivels a bit, giving it extra mobility when needed.

Tall, heeled boots felt fitting to this character. They feature some experimental piece uses, such as integrating SW buildable figure shin armour to SYSTEM-based leg. It's a bit wobbly and leaves a small gap, but I like the shape. Between it and the knee joint there is a pattern using medium azure 1x1 plates and the flowers; it turned out rather nicely. Making the build on larger scale than usual - it's quite close to characters like Fómhar in size - made it possible to add more details. One of those 2x2 flowers is used as a trim of the boot opening. The feet sections are based on "Persian" arch piece, which gives a nice form to the heeled boot; They're monochrome and free of detail except for showy, dark pink ribbon-like add-ons. I believe that within them came the idea that the character would be a musician, as that, if something, is cool.

The hair is unique and had some fresh challenges. I wanted the use the ammo belt thing that I tablescrapped on the early phase; but long flocks didn't feel fitting here. The final design ended up being an elaborate mess suspended to the back; it uses four of those ammo belt, two on both sides and bent symmetrically; between them there is a sort of mohawk of big flowers. I think that the result is not very LEGO-like and thus works. A lone bang over the right eye, as well as the yellow rubber band, were late additions that felt essential.

A bass ended up being the character's instrument of choice. It's a showy instrument in means of stance, but not as stereotypical cool element as a guitar (nothing against guitars mind you mind you). I've built instruments before, mostly in the Circle project (posted almost exactly one year ago), and this used similar shapes. However, the bass design is not based on anything. It has these holes to make it lighter, and uses some printed pieces to give it character. I'm particularly pleased with Pythagorean slope piece used as the headstock; it's not that common in yellow, and the light blue neck under the flat silver strings. There is also an amplifier that uses plenty of medium azure 4x3 slopes; I've got a lot of them and they're not the easiest to use. The colours of the amplifier are chosen to fit the character. She also has a fuzz pedal, as the name suggest. Superuzz Bigmuff! As the build is very tall and has plenty of joints, some of them redundant, the posing was quite challenging, but I managed to take some pedal poses too. Enjoy!

Next up, a speeder and a rider.

-Eero.





























2019-09-02

Munburr, the proud father

 Hi readers! Today's build includes some classic Cyclopic Bricks content a.k.a a member of dwarven race. This was a fast build, completed in couple of days sometime in June. I wanted to experiment with some beard designs and use some dark brown parts, originally released in Chima sets.

The figure began with the head. Crowbar beard and barb moustache were some early installments. I also wanted to make a mohawk, as something inspired by Dwalin's flashback appearance in The Hobbit movies. Even with it the head looked tad generic, so I added the dark red war paint streak over the right eye. I liked the contrast it created, and it enhanced the berserk look. Spiky shoulder pads were natural follow-up of this motif. They're premade pieces from KK2 line, but their colour is very cool. I wondered if I should give the fellow a bare chest, but armoured tank look was an iconic dwarf trait, and more interesting to build in this case, so I made a chest armour with silvery grille pieces. I wanted to use several different metallic shades to represent different types of metal used on the armour.

The wide leather belt uses four dark brown car bonnet pieces. Letranger Absurde used them on his Doc Ock build in last December, and it made an excellent gut shape, so I shamelessly stole it. The pieces have some stickers, but they work nicely as rivets or something; however, they're not well visible on the pictures. Under the belt there are some skirt flaps protecting the legs. Chima Ice Age printed flag piece felt fitting for the overall aesthetics. Using printed and stickered pieces is something I've gotten engaged with lately. Triangular (or actually pentagonal) wedge slopes in the sides have nicely similar shape. The back side has less elaborate but equally protective flap. The legs recycle some ideas used on Dwarvish Dragonguard from Battle for Wesnoth and Nobby Nobbs from Discworld books. They created a bit crouching, down-to-earth-pose associated with dwarves. Even the boots have some metal fins for tight spots.

After finishing the figure itself, I though about its equipment and setting. Weapons felt natural; an axe or a warhammer or something, like previously. But then I though: Where's the challenge, where's the idea? It felt obvious, and thus not bit, but very dull. Another blood-crazy little warrior dude. I though about the over-masculine dwarven tropes (which are well processed on Sir Terry Pratchett's Discworld books, of course) and habit of seeing fantasy races based on their warriors in general, and ended up making something completely different. Farming maybe, or making a fence or something. But I went even further and made him (or her, who knows with dwarves anyway?) holding a baby. It felt quirky and original, and I managed to add some humour to the build with the baby dwarf's tight light aqua swaddle, little cap and brown beard with a pacifier stuck in middle; it has a golden chain, as it's a dwarf, after all. Gold gold gold.

-Eero.






2019-08-23

The Wanderer

This is the Wanderer, a planeswalker from card game Magic the Gathering. She is a mysterious individual with a habit of planeswalking from world to world slaying monsters and enemies with her decently-sized sword. She's a new and currently quite minor character, appearing only in War of the Spark expansion with 31 other planeswalkers; I do not know much about her character; but hers is a pleasant and exciting visual design, with light turquoise cape and elegant light pink dress and large brimmed hat and everything, so once I saw the first I though I just might end up building this character... Inevitable or not, here's the Wanderer.

The Wanderer appears in three card arts, so my reference material was very exact; They are the planeswalker card, the alt-art Japanese card and the signature spell card, decent common removal Wanderer's Strike. I naturally took some liberties, as I usually do. The most challenging and probably also defining aspect of the build were the colours. I have plenty of sand green, one of my favourite LEGO colours, and it worked nicely on the robe and the hat, especially with some light blue mixed in; they're flowers from my North Sea trip in May, likely from Glasgow's LEGO Store. Even pearl gold is somewhat common these days, even though it comes in rather specific variety of pieces.

The bright pink was actual challenge. I try to buy all oddly-coloured pieces from Pii Poo's used stock when I browse them, and I grab some from PaB walls when I have a chance. But I don't have many Friends sets, so my inventory consisted mostly of 1x2 plates and tiles and 1x1 round plates, reinforced with some odd slopes, plates, SNOT bricks and few more special pieces. Could be worse, honestly - there's lot you can do with a bunch of 1x2 plates - but then again, a dress with three cheese slopes and no usual curved slopes, that was tricky. In the end, I focused the interesting parts on visible places. Gothic arches (I have two) form the loose fabric at the chest. 4x4 "wide" curved slopes angled behind them add some organic, life-like shapes to the torso behind them. The hem of the dress is made with old good 1x2 plate/1x1 round plate curve technique, allowing some, if limited, organic flow. The technique forms an interesting pattern - not exactly like the pattern on card art, but not bad nevertheless. The sides of the hem are frankly quite stepped, like a on a pixelated video game character.


The robe and the hat use similar curve technique, so there are contrasts between the flowing and jagged forms. A pre-made KK2 piece is used a lone shoulder pad. It was bit unclear if the Wanderer had one or two shoulder pads - the other might be hidden behind the hair on the main card image - but I though one looked better, as part of the robe covers the other shoulder. The shoulders use usual T-bar-joint, as does the right sleeveless elbow. The left arm has a loose-fitting sleeve, so I had to compose the elbow with bright pink parts. It doesn't have very much friction, but it allows some posing, even with the big, heavy sword. A 2x2 metallic gold dish is used as a bracelet.

The Wanderer's boots are never shown completely, so that left some room for imagination. I wanted to build the character on the pose seen in the main card -descending some stairs. This was different from anything I've build before. It is also more interesting than statically standing figure, as a dress built with bright pink would have limited the dynamic poseability to zero! Thus I built the stairs, dark bley with some dark red as in the art, and made two completely different legs. The right leg is essentially a pillar; there's a joint in the ankle, but is it not really needed; a TECHNIC axle runs through the leg, supporting the build. The other joint has a double joint behind the knee armour. The armour itself is boringly square, as I didn't have any good round opinions in sand green. The boots are mostly improvised - I wanted to use sand green to balance the colours a bit - and the left leg has a joint even at the ball of the feet, forming the stepping posture.

The head is probably the most important part of the character and the Wanderer's posses an identity-hiding white hair and cool brimmed hat with feathers and everything. I though about using some large dish as a hat, but I didn't have any in good colours, and they wouldn't have been the right shape that helps hiding the face. I ended up using the aforementioned curve technique, and light blue flowers made the colours nicely fresh, even though it created a pattern not appearing on the actual art. I wanted to use a 4x4 dish in pearl gold in the top, but found out I didn't have one (at least not here). A backup option was cast-iron ornamental cart well. It diverges again from the original, but doesn't look bad. Some minifig katanas form the feathers.

I wanted to make something special with the hair, and TECHNIC figure scuba flippers were the way. Their angular shape formed the medium-lenght flatly cut hair-do well, and their thinness helped to hide the face. The face is of usual female character type, but without the minifig hand eyes to enhance to feel of anonymousness. The wind blows the locks to the right, as it flows the robe. The sword is not-that-sharp stud-thin one, with a spiky crossguard and curved black handle. I made it white, as it seems to be white-hot with power on the card arts.

Next build will be a dwarf with a twist. My fourth university year starts on Monday, so the pace might slow down a bit. But this has been a good summer, and an active one, too.

-Eero.










2019-08-18

Glassblower

Since the last post, that wasn't even that far ago (last week) I've taken part on one LUG event, bought eight bags of parts, built two new character builds and half of a two-module-modular. I've still got exactly one week of four-month summer holiday left, so my pace with the hobby will slow down soon. Fortunately, my studies should be interesting, too.

Glassblower is a design professional, or an artist, who makes glassware using traditional methods. This built wasn't going to be a glassblower; just something similar. You never know where you'll end up in life, or possibly in building. I was simply inspired by Alphonso Mucha's self-portrait with national costume and was inspired by such dress designs, colours and patterns. At the same time, I wanted to experiment with some beard designs, as beards are inspiring. I ended up with a long white shirt with pattern using dark red, sand green, dark tan, tan and medium blue pieces. The bushy, wide moustache formed a mouth that was whistling or surprised. It was somewhat sufficient, if odd. I also built sand green trousers. They're a bit stiff ones, but slight angle at the hips makes the posture a bit more realistic. I'm now bit unsure about the cones near the knees, but maybe that isn't such important. The shoes are basic and sensible.

After finishing the legs and some versions of the arms, I left the model stewing for couple of months. It didn't have a theme, or a purpose - it was just a bearded, surprises fellow with traditional clothes (they are not specifically national; just stylized so). After some time, I remembered the existence of glass-blowing in general, and though it was cool. And the fellow, who looked like an artist, became a glassblower, with fitting pipe and a cool trans-purple vase in its end. The mouth was perfect for this setting!

There might be bit of an self-portrait here. Not exactly - I don't have that wide moustache, nor my hair's not parted on the middle, and I have some hair on the back of my head, and I've never blown glass in my life. But hair and beard colours are quite close, and I wear glasses. Probably it could be said that a builder puts a part of themselves in every build they make. Among the various other pieces. 

-Eero