2018-11-19

Undis

This is another model from late Summer, an archer woman inspired by nomad cultures and art of Lyndis character from Fire Emblem Heroes; it seems to be sort of special version of character with all sort of interesting bric-a-brac on her vibrantly coloured costume. Lyn herself is familiar to me as an Assist Trophy character from Super Smash Bros. Brawl, where she delivers one-hit-KO blade swings to unlucky enemies. But the inspiration here was the Heroes sprite with bow - some colours and details are drawn from it, some things are turned more realistic, though the overall historical accuracy might be runny.

I like bright colours in MOCs, and even though is sometimes create something monochrome black of overall greyish, I try usually try to avoid it. LEGO's current colour palette is quite excellent; my well-known favourites are dark red and sand green, former which appears here as a secondary colour, but among others medium azure (check), olive green (check), bright light orange alias keetorange (check) and dark blue (check) are beautiful and inspiring. Especially medium azure feels both modernly snazzy but still fitting for historical garments. Colours and shapes created with them were the main sort of base point of this build, and the process was pleasant.

I began with the upper torso. Female archers use an asymmetrical breast armour as a rule, and the shape of this one, with a wing piece (one of my favourites, as you might have noticed) representing a garment consisting of small, layered metal plates. There is also a single shoulder armour, a pre-made KK2 piece, forming the armour set-up. This detail is taken from the aforementioned Lyndis art.

I'm rather happy with the coat details, dark red lining and a sort belt, with a sword scabbard and a arrow quiver connected naturally with Indiana Jones' whips. Lyndis' coat or dress had a long slit showing the side of the legs, but made the coat closed for realism, protection, warmth and utility. It also saved me from building trousers, which is nice. Embroidered pattern of flowers and sectors circles around the hem; I like details like that, and absence of them in modern men's clothing is sad. The patterns are also seen on the soft belt and boot rims.

There is a plate swivel hinge in the lower torso. It creates a slightly distracting triangular inset, but I think it's worth it in terms of dynamic posing and slight angle of the dark red lining. It also made the structure inside the coat a lot more complicated, but in the end the model turned out to be pleasantly sturdy.

The boots are quite ordinary. Dark bley sockets bug me a bit, but they're better than the light bley ones (the balls on the other ends are hidden behind the curved slopes and tiles); TLG should finally give them in other colours, that'd be good. The toe area is based on styles developed with Radiant-Extert and Grata of Kontrabontempi. The sleeves are asymmetrical, with armour on other. The posing is made possible with bit of "cheating" on the elbow joint: It's ordinary T-bar joint in both, but the right arm uses new-ish 1x1 brick modified with studs on two adjacent sides, while the left arm elbow has older 1x1 brick modified with studs on two opposite sides. Archery poses are challenging, and even with tricks like this the hand doesn't reach a cheek, which would be ideal for taking aim. A pleasant little detail on the arms are the sleeve-ends, 2x2 round petal pieces, which are unfortunately unique in medium azure and which I should get more of because they're splendid.

The head is million-times-used minifig-hands-on-curved-slope-as-eyes variant but it fits if you as me. The first version of hair was more fantasy-esque, with long white ponytail, but it didn't work structurally and didn't feel right aesthetics-wise. So I went with mundane black bun, using an old space wheel, an old trick seen before. A bright light orange 2x2 dish used as a hair band brings a bit of colour to it. Getting the shape right was challenging, especially on the forehead, but in the end it turned out good.

The bow is not completely realistic, as the string can't go straight: It's too long compared to the bow, but the posing of the arms deemed it. Construction itself is simple, dinosaur tails and TECHNIC bits, with ordinary LEGO string tied to ends and adjusted in length by reeling it around the pins. The arrow is a rigid hose with spike on the other end and feathers, connected with a bit of pneumatic hose, on the other.

Next up, a mushroom.

-Eero.      







2018-11-11

Albus Dumbledore


Harry Potter or the Magical World seems to be everywhere now, with LEGO's revenant theme and the new collectible minifigure series. This is alright, Harry Potter is cool. I've read the books plenty of times, they're well-written, lively, imaginative and full of good characters. The movies, in other hand, have never been important to me; I've seen them once per film and don't remember most of them, and try to remember the rest for sake of my book visions. I saw the Fantastic Beasts film just couple of months ago, and didn't like it that much; but that's not a big deal, I can always read the books. They're suberbly well translated into Finnish, too.

This is not my first Harry Potter themed build; the first was Arthur Weasley Arrives At His Workplace In Ministry Of Magic Via Floo Network, built for Iron Builder against Jonas Kramm. Arthur is such a great character. And so is Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. He is well-rounded, flawed but spledid, and most dear to me when he's bit mad and whimsical and lovable; talking about having a scar of perfect London underground map in his left knee, offereing citrus mints and liking knitting patterns. This is Dumbledore as I see him, mostly based on description on the very beginning of Philosopher's Stone.

I began with the head, as usual. I had tried to built Dumbledore before, but it turned out to be The Lecturer of Recent Runes, a wizard from Unseen University, Ankh-Morpork, Discworld. On that build, I already tried to make Dumbledore's famous half-moon-spectacles. I used minifig handscuffs and cheese slopes, but they didn't look good; this time I settled with trans-clear 1x2 plates sticking from under the eye headlight bricks with 1x1 tile on top of them. They aren't crescent-shaped, but I like how they cover the lower side of the eyehole, as Dumbledore gives one of his stellar looks over them.

Dumbledore also has his nose, broken on at least two places, at least once by his brother Aberforth (Aberforth is cool). I tried to achieve it by using a tooth piece on the end of it, and I'm happy with the result. Dumbledore has, naturally, his beard, that is long enough for him to stick under the belt. In contrast to Hans Langseth's scruffy beard made of plates, Dumbledore's facial hair consists of curved slopes. The moustche uses two Wedge 3x4 Open with Cutouts and 4 studs pieces. Those are cool parts, as they have the bow shape with both concave and convex side. I've used them as a bodice, knee armour and window frame, to mention a few. As they're rather big pieces, large part of them is hidden behind the beard, in the structure of the neck. The 1x4 bow pieces that form the upper front part of the robe are connected directly to them.

The robe uses different shades of purple. The main part is medium lavender, that fits Dumbledore's character and is quite common colour these days with Friends and Elves (except that Elves got chancelled. What a same, it had so cool parts). The hem, as well as the slightly but pleasantly curved lapels (not sure about this word), are old 90s purple, which is cool and energetic. The little what is visible of the waistcoat is medium blue, nice, mundane colour too, and the trousers are dark purple. I don't like dark purple very much, but I had some 2x2x3 convex slopes in it, and the darked shade works well where it is. The boots are tall and heeled as they should be. The arms are quite boring and almost identical to ones of another Discworld wizard, Chair of Indefinite Studies. White sleeves are something like a bitter compromise, but I had no ideas with my purple-shaded pieces.

Dumbledore has a traditional wizard's pointed hat. I don't know if Rowling descibes Albus's hat but I think hat like that fits any wizard. The brim is purple 8x8 tile/plate, and as it's flat as anything, it just saws the top of the head away. It looks surpsingly natural, to my opinion; as the stud above the eyebrow plate is visible, they look a bit bushier. The cone of the hat is made of what was available in fitting colours.

I also built Dumbledore's phoenix Fawkes, named after famous British terrorist. The most curious part of Fawkes is the head, which is a parrot. This is actually an ancient stoled technique from 2007 or so when I see someone using brown parrot piece as a eagle's head. I though it was Barney Main but I couldn't find the creation on his Brickshelf (prehistoric!) so I'm not sure. I think it's a wee bit funny, a complete bird as a bird head.





As a side update, cats have overtaken my build space. I moved to a new apartment with Pinja and the cats Takku and Elsku-Maumau week ago. My building layout it slightly better than before, and I have more space for the creations too. Things are, in all, good.


-Eero.


2018-10-20

Grata of Kontrabontembi

 Grata is a senior exchange student of Kontrabontembi monastery for wizard monks. She masters the green fire of Glum-Murdia and magma-chain-sorcery, but she's most keen of her official monastery school suit with its well-fitting wide-brimmed hat. This amazing backstory was written for the exhibit tag in Pii Poo's Helsinki event a month ago; the creation itself, an another human character build I like fiddling with, is based on some colour and interesting pieces.

The original idea was to make a layered costume of dark blue and dark red areas over a white clothes under them. I had got some of those dark red windscreen wedge pieces, which are nicely shapes for dresses, skirts or lower parts of greatcoats; so the main part of the coat was to be dark red. I also had plenty of those Jedi Starfighter flap pieces, and I think this is the first time I use them on anything at all. I interlaced them to create a frontal armour of interesting pattern; It would be made of leather in real life to shield the upper legs for magical impacts or forge works, bit like blacksmith's apron. This leaves the upper legs somewhat visible, which meant I couldn't cheat on them as I did with Kuohu, elemental incarnation of water a year ago. However, I was never quite happy with Kuohu's leg design, so this wasn't a bad thing really. The stationary sides of the dress naturally limit the sideways leg movement, which makes wider poses impossible, but at least the legs are real here; and they can be angled a little, and that looks a lot more natural than straight 180 degree angle of both legs.

The chest area was re-designed many times. The minifig wing pieces were on pretty much every version. Early on the chest was mostly white, but in the end a small chest plate of dark red looked better, as it created a good silhouette of darker sides over the white areas and somehow brought the colour together as a whole. It's slightly angled with a brick joint, which makes it more dynamic, at least to my eye.

The legs are quite ordinary, with upper leg design from Herald of Scales - though the sides are flattened to allow some movement within the borders of coat sides. The boots are brown to add some more mundane shades to the rich colour of the coat. I'm happy with the colour balance here, as well as the shaping of the boots. Small ball sockets are a source of sorrow here once again, as they're only available in greys; they're hidden quite well though, which again means that the movement is limited, but fine enough as it is. Due to limits of colours, there are some black offset enablers visible on the back.

The arms are mostly regular - "Y-joint" ball sockets, round bricks, nice printed CCBS shells and 3x3x3 cones as trumpet sleeves. The sort of cape-things made of Chima wing pieces were a late addition too, and I managed to get even more of those from Pii Poo's tables during the progress. They recall the layered armour on the front of upper legs and fit the overall style of suit; the wing pieces are simply connected with 1x2 thin TECHNIC liftarms. There's also SW constraction figure shoulder pads that bulk up the coat to make it more convincing.

The hair went through few version. Black is quite a usual hair colour for figures like this, but it's plausible, hides unwelcome patterns and is common among needed parts. The old version had a long braid made using those strange finned TECHNIC pieces from Atlantis monsters; it had a white rubber bands as a, well, rubber bands or whatever is used to band braids. It didn't work so well and I ditched it, going for a messy look with lot of spikes on other sides. The hat was there all the time, but changed a lot. First it had the same dark red and blue colour scheme as the coat, but six-wide brim looked puny, like a pie hat of a grandmother. I wanted something more extravagant. I wanted it to be reddish brown at first, to works with the boots, but I only had 8x8 dishes and they were too small; dark bley 10x10 looked much better, actually shadowing the face. I was unsure about it at first, but it grew on me. Ironically, I bought a 10x10 dish in reddish brown from Pii Poo during the recent event, but didn't feel to change the hat; it looked good as it was. 

-Eero


2018-10-10

Hans Langseth

 Hans Langseth had a beard. He was American farmer, originally from Norway, and didn't shave. He lived from 1846 to 1927 and still holds the Guinness World Record of the longest beard, measured being 5,33 meters (17 and half feet). He also spent some time in circus showing his handsome facial hair, but eventually got tired of people checking if the beard was really real. His matted beard shows kind of gradient of his life, from dark brown hair of his young days to silvery beard of an old man. The beard, which is preserved in Smithsonian Institute, still has grains in it from sowing a century ago.

Hans was built to Late Summer contest of my LUG Palikkatakomo Ry. I became fifth. The subject was Record (ennätys; as a world record, national record and so on, not LPs or anything like that). I actually came up with the subject of the contest, as it was already July and nobody had come up with anything - there has to be a summer contest!

I took a month or so to come up with an interesting record enough. Limits were 32x32 studs, no heigh limited. I though about some biggest-ever catfish, as I'd like to build a catfish some day, but it didn't fly (they weren't that big) as "biggest ever" seemed a bit dull. But it dawned to me: Longest beard! I like beards (and have one). Don't know why. They're just good. Simply good.

There was an iconic picture of Hans Langseth sitting in an ornate chair, taken in 1912 or 1913. I took it as a straight reference, as making a sitting figure felt nice anomaly to my masses of standing characters. I began with the head, as usual (there's some odd mathematics in the neck, and the became problematic later on) and then concentrated on the beard. There are no fancy piece uses here, just plates, that capture the feel of beard quite nicely, as well as its natural, tattered shape. There's also shift to dark bley before the beard divides into two thinner streaks (he tried to cut the beard but didn't manage, or dare) that curl around, being simply 1x2 plates connected, in similar way to older build named Agatha of Four Colours. Then there's the gradient, from dark bley to dark grey, then to dark tan, reddish brown, old brown and finally to dark brown.

It's impossible to tell the actual colour of Hans's suit from the black-and-white photo, but I went with dull black suit to emphasize the beard. There are no interesting tricks there; the legs are based on ones designed for drummer Tomi Leppänen in Circle project, and the shoe type has been used before in Porco Rosso and Terry Pratchett. I have to mention that boat stud kneecaps make me happy, though.

Hans sits on ornate chair, which is made of dark red and reddish brown bricks; dark brown might have looked better, but I might not have had the needed pieces in it. It looks alright to me, I like the red padding on the back rest and reddish brown horn details somewhat hidden behind the head here. It's just a bit fragile, as the legs connect only with one studs and there is no base. It was rather surprising; I though model on six legs would be pleasantly sturdy. Well, not mine.

As a note on another topic, The Brothers Brick recently blogged my previous creation RADIANT EXERT IV and said that I build these humans in inhuman speed. Ha! I have currently six finished characters builds not yet posted. One of them is more like a mushroom, though. But a character all the same.

-Eero.







2018-10-03

RADIANT EXERT IV

 
See, I stopped using "MOC:" in the beginning of a post title? It has been on almost every of them so far and felt bit useless. This is a MOC blog. I post is about something else, I'll notify you.

This is a MOC. This is RADIANT EXERT IV, a person in high-tech tactical battle suit. It is not based on anything particular; basically just a pleasant leisure-build with focus on style, shaping and stark colour contrasts. It began with the legs, with large knee guard rising from the shin armour and some black bird wings on the ankles as a sole detail. I wanted certain level on interesting bulbousness with some elegance; Boat studs work nicely here, as usually. The upper legs are new type of thigh already seen in Herald of Scales and probably in many models in the future.

Above the legs there is a skirt, quite usual hinged wedge plates style. Above there is a black layer done using robot arms and claw pieces, and stickered panel piece from Last Flight of Destiny's Bounty hangs on the front. I'm very happy with it. The stickered piece is a late addition after the first photographs were taken (they weren't very good, somehow; these are taken with by girlfriend's camera, as well as the Circle photos (MOCs, not the actual) on the last post). and it somehow brings everything together, or at least that's what I feel.

The torso is mainly black in contrast to the red skirt. A solar panel piece is used as a chest plate, and four cheese slopes on the sides, being only dark red pieces here, balance the colours a bit; I wondered if I should keep them or not, but I ended up having them there. They didn't look bad. The shoulders are eight-wide with the usual T-bar joint. The arms are quite usual too, with few essential weak points making photographing a posing painful and tough boat studs joints on the elbows to make posing at least possible. 

The head is usual modern type female, with sort of visor lifted on the forehead. There are couple of censor units, small bunny-ear like and long lock-like on the back. I like adding sort of extra dimension-thingies to my characters. There's also a long ponytail and side bangs using those odd spike pieces with rubber ends; I like how the came out, along with the ears visible behind them.

The character is armed with a shield and a sword. Their overall shapes are quite medieval, but their essence is futuristic. The blades of Radon isotope thin ion sword are bands from giveaway Clickits promo packs; Our LUG handed those out couple of years ago and I have a few. The shield was done after the sword. I've used Bellville doors before as a sword and slightly shorted doors as shield before, and this combined those elements. The glittered trans-pink doors were exchanged from a friend to some minifig parts, and a umbrella ices the cake. Or an parasol, as it came from Friends Grand Hotel set, where a parasol would seem more natural. But it's transparent. What use would a transparent parasol have? I do not know!

-Eero.











2018-09-08

MOC: Circle

Year 1991, in Pori, a town in western coast of Finland, Jussi Lehtisalo, Juha Ahtiainen and Marko Taipale set up a band named Circle. Now, 27 years later, Circle has gone through numerous line-up-changes, with only Lehtisalo remaining of the original trio. They have released 52 full-lenght albums. They have experiented dozens of genres from astro-folk to NWOFHM, New Wave of Finnish Heavy Metal.



This is my tribute to the band, brought forth from joy of listening to their albums and experiencing their mind-boggling and humorous live shows (four withing the year so far).

For recommended background music of this post (lot of photos included) here's an intensive live recording of Terminal, a gig staple that combines some of the key features of Circle's music. More recommendations later on.
Circle's current line-up consists of (from left to right) Pekka Jääskeläinen (guitar), Jussi Lehtisalo (bass and vocals), Tomi Leppänen (drums), Mika Rättö (keyboards and vocals), Janne Westerlund (guitar and vocals) and Julius Jääskeläinen (guitar).

My task was to bring Circle's psychedelic, colourful and intensive live set-up to life with bricks. I've built dozens if not hundreds (I haven't count) human or vaguely human-shaped characters, so embarking this project of six men with their instruments and other stage accessories was mainly interesting. Of course, most people have never heard of Circle: They are a marginal group, despite getting some media coverage lately with their latest album Terminal, released by U.S. based label Southern Lord; most of their numerous albums have been released by Lehtisalo's own label Ektro. Releasing their work despite relatively small audience (most pressings are around 350-500 copies) is one of those things that makes Circle (along with dozens of other projects of the members) so admirable. In a way, spending hundreds (I dare to guess) of hours building a large-scale LEGO replica of this Finnish Avant-Garde rock group adapts this philosophy; I've build Circle for sheer love of the things - character building and Circle's music.


The project began in Autumn 2017. I went to their special album-release gig in late September in Korjaamo (an interesting venue in old tram halls in Helsinki; the album was released several months earlier) with my old friend Esko and took several photographs (some of them later on). Those worked as my main reference material, along with the official promotional pictures released few months earlier. I had actually tried to build Rättö earlier in bright blue Adidas gear used during the tour in 2015, but it didn't fly; some parts of the head and stud harness remain from that prototype version.
 
Rättö, Lehtisalo, Leppänen and Westerlund were completed during the winter, and the identical Jääskeläinen twins (no relation) were built (rather quickly and with gathered knowledge) in April, just before our LUG's show at HupiCon; I also had to complete New Century City Block II, Villa Great Agano and Tram 60 for it. The amplifiers, drum microphones and large name plaque, designed after semi-official logo, were built for Palikkapamaus event in Harjavalta in June, and Leppänen's drum podium was built a couple of weeks ago to complete the whole set. Of course, there are still some shortages; The amps don't have microphones, the drum mics don't have wires and the vocal mics aren't wired to anything. But some degree of stage junk adds, in opinion, needed layer of realism and depth to the set-up.

The Musicians



 Jussi Lehtisalo is the founder and leader of the band. He's the only member that has been on every line-up of Circle. He plays bass and occasionally sings; either in his made-up onomatopoethic language Meronia, or sometimes in Finnish or English. For example songs, see Ed-Visio, the first song of their debut Meronia, or Fish Reflection, from 2007's Katapult, weird Black Metal-ish album with Lehtisalo on guitar and vocals. Jussi also played guitar on the earlier line-ups, until 1998's Andexelt. He plays also in Circle's sister band Pharaoh Overlord, Rättö&Lehtisalo, Ektroverde, Split Cranium, Motorspandex, Kirvasto, Steel Mammoth, Doktor Kettu, Pakasteet, Lehtisalofamily and Tractor Pulling, to mention a few, has released four solo albums and graduated from Aalto University with a Master's Thesis concerning destroying Circle's brand - few years ago they "leased" their name to a death metal group, changed their own name to Falcon (later Falcon (Ex-Circle) and Circle (Ex-Falcon)) and released a cheesy album full of adult-oriented rock (it's alright). That's the spirit. And as mentioned earlier, he has his own label Ektro Records, with sister labels Full Contact Records for vinyls and Ruton Music for cassettes. He says that among his favourite bands are Jesters of Destiny, Led Zeppelin and Magma.

Lehtisalo is a large man, and his brick version is easily heaviest of the bunch. Surprisingly, he seems to be one of the sturdies and easiest to handle, too. There was, after all, lot of room to make all the needed structures for joints. The white patterns on the hem of the skirt add some life to the creation, and the poseability is quite wide (squat in their gig-ending human pyramid is sadly not possible). Stud gauntlets made making the arms easier, and making the white swirls on the rounded skirt was an interesting challenge. Jussi also has a wide stud belt on his back and dark blue trainers; I'm particularly happy with the rubber band stripes on them. The black bass is one seen in the promotional images, my photos from Korjaamo gig feature a different instrument. The neck is definitely too wide for a bass, but one-stud-wide neck looked puny, so I settled with this one. It's a bit clumsy but somehow more convincing.


If Jussi Lehtisalo is Circle's frontman and leader, Mika Rättö is something like a figurehead and a mascot. He is the band's eccentric and furious keyboardist and main vocalist. He sings usually in fierce roars or limpid howlings, probably inspired by Judas Priest's Rob Halford. Rättö's vocals are in Finnish or imaginary French, and even though he signs in Finnish, the lyrics make no sense at all; they are randomly generated with a computer software or improvised at the spot. For example, the refrain in their hit song Vaellus goes "pesi mahtava vaeltaa, rautakorokkeet lapsesi, lämpötila, veli jesaja, halukas tappava!" which could be translated as "washed mighty wanders, iron elevations your children, temperature, brother jesajah, willing fatal!".

But Rättö is a marvelous artist - he has written three books, several plays, directed and starred in an acclaimed film Samurai Rauni Reposaarelainen (which combines Pori's Reposaari district with elements of medieval Japan) and is (or has been) active in several bands, including Kuusumun Profeetta (Moon Fog Prophet), Rättö&Lehtisalo, Ektroverde, Bensiini and Eleanoora Rosenholm. His instrument in Circle is Roland Juno Di keyboard. He also sometimes plays drums and percussion. In this creation, Tomi Leppänen's drum kit includes an additional tom for him, as seen in the Korjaamo gig my material was based on.

As Rättö is probably the most striking band member, he was the first one to be built. I wanted to achieve the furious look so I used similar furrowed brow as with Riku Rantala in my Madventures creation. However, this one is fixed to be sturdier, using 1x2 curved slope that is actually connected with a stud. The neck joint was problematic: Good poseability was important, so I wanted to use a ball joint, but unfortunately they still do those small ones only in greys and it's irritatingly visible. I also wanted to have somewhat hunched posture over the keyboard, which means that the neck joint is near the chest and not over the shoulders; this makes it possible to tilt the head on most directions and turn it to sides.

The legs are sadly almost fixed, as Mika is a very forward and brisk, almost animalistic performer. However, I think they capture the main stance quite well, given the limits of Magenta bricks (making his spandexes magenta felt very important). The kneecaps are connected with 1x1 round plates and pony ear technique; A bit sad tuning but at least the shape works and they look good from the front.

Rättö also wears a hideous dark red faux-leather jacket with stud harness, adapting Rob Halford's style. Dark red is a cool colour and looks nice with the magenta "trousers"; Unfortunately, my design here is somewhat fragile and tends to fall apart. It also features the only CCBS parts in the whole creation, and I think they look good, creating organic shaping and enhancing the bulkiness of the jacket. I don't have any dark red boat studs yet (a tragic shortage, favourite part, favourite colour) so there are black ones in the sleeves, but given that the actual jacket is patched and rather full of holes, it seems alright. Mika wears a spike gauntlet in his left arm, too; his feet are bare.

 Circle's third vocalist is Janne Westerlund, who also plays a Flying V guitar. His voice is raspy and full of charisma; lyrics are either in English and Finnish and in contast to Jussi's and Mika's singing they usually make sense. Westerlund has released three acclaimed solo albums and leads Plain Ride, band quite equal to Circle in quality iof music, if not higher (but they're only released five albums, which is hard to compare to Circle's fifty-two). As some song-name-drops, listen to It takes a strong Jesus to carry me home from his second solo album Marshland or Skeleton Kites, the title song from Plain Ride's latest album. He is (or has been) also part of groups Sweetheart, Chainsmoker, Bensiini, Pharaoh Overlord and Arto Muna & Millenium. Janne's input on Circle recordings can be witnessed on songs like Protectorate from the excellent Leviatan astro-folk album or on stoner-heavy Sick Child from the newest album Terminal; this song also appears on Westerlund's third solo album as a different version.

The first challenge here was the guitar. It's a bit oversized, but as explained above, two-studs-wide neck looked better and the proportions evolved around it. I'm happy with the shapes and colour areas of the body; It came together rather easily. The shade of the instrument is actually bit off - Westerlund's guitar is actually more brownish in colour and has a sort of dark, varnished wood look. However, in my photographs and some official promo shoots it looked stark black-and-white and I went with that; It wouldn't have had pieces to make it in dark brown, as there are quite lot of joints and hinges in there.

Westerlund is skinnier than some other band members, and a ball joint is hidden in his midriff to achieve rather defining hunched posture. His clothes are very simple, birght red spandex leggings and a long-sleeved, orange shirt. He has no shoes, but a woolen stockings. He sometimes wears a spiked collar, but it has been absent in recent gigs.

Orange wasn't the easiest colour to deal with on the shirt, but I had gathered enough pieces to make it work alright, albeit bit blocky. T-bars are used on both elbow and shoulder joints; mudguard works as a neckline. The shoulders fall of a bit, as T-bar connects to minifig flipper piece connected to the anti-stud of a red headlight hidden behind it (orange options were unavailable). The legs are quite basic: tight boat stud joints on knees and ball joints on ankles (small) and hips (large). It's handy to keep small collection of TECHNIC parts in various colours for instances like this. The legs have enough stability for some rock'n'roll posing.

The head was hard, vey hard. There weren't any easily identified facial hair to work with. The eyebrows needed to be quite thin. The hair was mid-lenght and rather messy, so mere volume wouldn't have achieved it; fortunately the dark brown battle droid arms saved the day. Overall it's a very complicates structure and has several types of SNOT and offset (SNIR, but nobody says SNIR any more; it's a 2008 thing). I also though of building the eyes closed, but that would have been less universal, so I settled with this more neutral expression. He shows his teeth, though.  

 Tomi "Leppästick" Leppänen is Circle's precise drummer. When other band members pose, dance and jump around, Leppänen keeps drumming face blank, only occassionally throwing a drumstick. He uses always very minimalistic drum kit; bass drum, one floor tom, snare drum, hi-hat and crash cymbal; this set also features additional tom played by Rättö. Despite small number of instruments, he can play heavy metal - or any other -  comping just perfectly. Leppänen is known from his nano-second-accuracy; He is often compared to a human drum machine, and he reminds bit of early 1900s futurism or dada man. Tomi Leppänen makes banging the drum look like the most civilized thing ever.

In addition to Circle, Tomi is probably best known from awesome Siilinjärvi-based synth muysic trio Aavikko. He also plays in numerous groups, including Pharaoh Overlord, Rättö&Lehtisalo, Cityman, K-X-P, Sakset, Kirvasto, Iron Magazine and Motorspandex. His comping varies a lot from band to band, but usually keeps it metronomic quality. Example songs here include Lokki, 15-minute long drone track from Circle's first NWOFHM album Sunrise, and as an example of rather different style of drumming, Suddenly from 2008's Hollywood, with Jesters of Destiny frontman Bruce Duff on vocals. I also have to note an Aavikko song Computopia from its fantastic, mathematic comping here.

Building a drum kit was another type of challenge, and nice variation from character builds. I started with the bass drum, which felt hard, giving the challenges of round shapes. But, rather fortunately, it was easily solved with simple rubber band construction. Unortodox? Maybe. But it's purist, and look good, if you don't mind me saying. I had a lot of 1x8 tiles in red from an LUG event support bag, and yellow rubber bands fitted nicely around a 8x8 cylinder; Leppänen's bass drum was quite small in the Korjaamo gig reference photos. The floor tom is very similar, but I have to confess that the perimeter doesn't quite match the tiles and there's a half-stud gap on the bagside. Grill tiles crown the rim on the top, and are frustrating to put back once they fall of.

The hi-hat and crash cymbals are quite simple - 9x9 dish shield piece could have been bettter as the crash, but current solution works just well; my sole pearl gold 9x9 dish is still Palutena's shield. 6x6 is perfectly sized for a hi-hat, and dark orange works alright as the piece doesn't appear in pearl gold. It might be copper. The small drums were harder, but stretching pneumatic hose around round plates worked pretty nicely. The studded drum heads may not be liked by everyone, but they definitely looked better than dishes. The white one could have been tiled with 2x2 macaroni and 1x1 1/4 round tiles, if aforementioned even exist, but I didn't have those.

Tomi itself is tall, or at least looks tall due his lean shape; hence the name Leppästick. He was easy to capture in a brick form; The higly ornamented hippie shirt was an interesting build, too, and I like the results. Hardest parts were the head and arms; arms because there are not that many tan parts suitable for hinges, and the head because, again, there are no easily identified facial hair, only some stubble achieved with dark tan parts. The nose and full lower part are different than usually; the nose is not quite the same shape, being too flat on the tip, but I'm happy with the jaw area. Tomi's blank expression made making the head easier, too.

The drum podium was the last part I built for the whole creation. It uses mostly TECHNIC liftarms; I have far less use for those than for black bricks or tiles. Leppänen rarely uses podium in real life, but it makes him more visible in this LEGO version, so it felt fitting.

Julius Jääskeläinen has played in Circle since 2009. His musical portfolio includes bands like Plain Ride, Pharaoh Overlord, Sweetheart, Hollow Core/Ydinontelo, Heavy Breathers and Obfuscation. He is an architect by profession and an active Twitter user. He usually plays unusual headless guitar. While it's hard to tell who plays what on Circle's current three-guitars-line-up, the sound wall is fantastic - just listen the wonderful (and wonderfully named) Rakkautta Al Dente from Terminal. NWOFHM!

The guitar was the first bit built here. I'm happy with the overall shape; it's again a little bit oversized, for the reasons mentioned above. Julius himself was a fast build before HupiCon exhibit. I began with the legs, this time purple spandex; Dark purple is not among my favourite LEGO colours, but works well here, on the overall compilation. I had pretty nice variety of curved slopes in dark purple, so the legs came out alright; only the knee hinge is a bit weak, it's just a travis brick between plates. As the joint doesn't spin around, the poseability of the legs is more limited than on more TECHNIC-heavy boat stud joints. The hips and ankles have ball joints, and Julius wears silverly trainers. 
In my reference photos, Julius wears a black Jesters of Destiny shirt, but more often he dons a white sleeveless shirt that has a "Criminalize business" printed in it, reflecting wearer's often splendid political views. As I was working on a five-stud-wide model, it was shortened to CRMLZ BSN55, using old white printed 1x1 bricks with letters; I have quite a few from Pii Poo's tables and some of them are made of older material and don't really stick to anything; they're just held between bricks. Anyway, it's a detail I'm happy with. The right arm is bare, which means I had to do with limits of tan hinges (TECHNIC and boat studs). It's quite muscular, but hopefully not disturbingly so. The other arm has a long black fingerless glove, again absent from my gig pictures, and both wrists have a spiked bracelet.
Neither Julius has any prominent facial hair, but he has a long heavy metal hairdo that covers a lot. Hair isn't always easy, especially a straight and long hair like this. It's bit blocky and limits the movement of the head almost completely, but works fine for me. I managed to make one strand go over the eye, too.



Pekka Jääskeläinen plays also the guitar, though a bit more usual sort. Despite the name, he doesn't seem to be related to Julius (Jääskeläinen is quite a common name.) In addition to his input on Circle, Pekka plays bass in Plain Ride. He also plays (or played) in Pharaoh Overlord, Sweetheart, Chainsmoker, Ektroverde, Kirvasto and Ydinontelo/Hollow Core. He also sometimes plays the saxophone and has performed on profilic albums like Aavikko's classic debut Derek! and Radiopuhelimet's Tänään!.

Pekka was also built just before HupiCon; the guitar was done earlier with the other instruments (I'm particularly happy with the use 1x3 thin liftarm in this and other guitars). Pekka's clothing were brightly coloured, with orange DAMN I'M GOOD t-shirt, dark blue spandex leggings and dark red sneakers; he also uses a pair of fluffy gaiters that are white, or probably very pale pink. One of the main goals here was to make Pekka be able to pose with his other leg on the amplifier, as such posing is common in Circle gigs but hard to balance on these models. This meant I had to have bit more poseablility on the legs, which was hard as dark blue boat studs don't exist at all, and they're used on the most sturdiest yet mobile joints there are (for example, see Jussi's knees). There were those better type of ball joint (sometimes called y-joint) from 2004 Bionicle titans in dark blue though, and they give the needed mobility to the knee, but alas they aren't that sturdy, and Pekka falls apart, big time. The problem is not solved by the gaiters being fragile, as they are built around TECHNIC, axle connector with 4 bars, and ankle just falling about suspiciously and without clear reason (it's two TECHNIC holes to studs, which should be sturdy, but ain't). I think I should solve these issues before it drives me mad. I might do.



As mentioned earlier, the shirt has Damn I'm Good written on it, challenging the sometimes depressing Finnish over-modesty, probably. It's also orange, which was a challenging aspect, as I already had used lot of orange in Janne's shirt and Samus is still intact. Well, it turned alright anyway. I don't get offended if you don't make up the text (the A sticking out bugs me a bit) as the SNOT options were rather limited, and I didn't have too much time. But it's hardly the main point of the creation; that's the head. And fortunately Pekka has sort of hero-looking moustache and goatee and even longer heavy metal hair than Julius. The moustache is a brand new design, with simply 1x2 reddish brown plate sticking out and couple of ininifig hands connected to it; The goatee is made with some basic parts. I like the shape of the lower head; it makes the head a bit more natural. The hair follows the same principles than Julius's hair. It might be a bit too short, but I like the overall feel.

While the other amplifiers are usual black boxes, mostly based on Vox models, Pekka's amp is Orange. I think they tend to use gig venue's hardware, and one of those, excellent Olympia block, has one of those Orange amplifiers. A year ago I was experiencing an another intresting Finnish band Saimaa and eavesdropped a discussion about how awesome the Orange amps are and how a band that uses them can't be bad. They also look interesting and unique, and fitted the overall colours of this creation, so I gave it a try. I like it.

-Eero