MOC: Admiral Ackbar

 So here I am again! Gap between the builds became longer than expected, despite this fishy fellow being photographed at the same session with Madventures. But there has been lot to do. I was on a LUG event last weekend in Imatra, where I saved the future of Finnish brickfilm with my fellow Vuhvelituotanto founder Esko. We held a workshop and got maybe a minute or two of good-quality stop motion; a compilation will follow. I also had collection of newer builds on display (including this one). Check photos on Mikko Kortelainen's photostream. And in addition to that, I have been getting ready for our two-month exhibit on local museum complex Vapriikki. My modulars are pretty much completed, road pavings, back walls and everything! I'm getting the old bit (New Century Corner) from Joensuu this Friday and then it's showtime.

But yes; Ackbar! Our favourite admiral and definitely my favourite minor character from Star Wars; also the first SW MOC on this blog, despite Original Trilogy (honestly, I didn't like Clones or Menace much even as a kid; Sith is alright) having huge effect on me something like a decade ago. And last November I went to watch Rogue One, and there was this new Mon Calamari admiral Raddus, who was great in his Churchill-like attitude. I wanted to build him, but I thought that hell, I'll build Ackbar first, he's more iconic, having the fantastic and memetic lines like "Our cruisers can't repel firepower of that magnitude!" and "Concentrate all fire on that Super Star Destroyer" and "May the force be with us". Raddus might follow in the future, who knows.

This was going to be full size figure, but I managed to capture the eyes rather nicely on this bigger scale and it ended up being a bust; No chance making a complete Ackbar in this scale, almost all of my white bricks are already on use. At least this scale made it possible to precisely build the bristles of his "beard".

In general, this build was a fast two-day session between bigger and somewhat more important projects. I just grabbed most of my dark red system parts and tried to make Mon Calamari out of them. I'm happy with the result. There should be more session builds like this. Maybe there will be after the New Century City Block.



MOC: Madventures

Hello readers, here I am again. Sorry for lack of inactivity, the reasons remain the same - studies and a modular building project slowly but steady getting done. There's still awful lot of back walls to do, and few roofs, and one facade... but I'm getting there.

Now this is a character build, or perhaps an actual person build. 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of Finland, and as the only (and best) Finnish LUG Palikkatakomo is hosting a Suomi 100 contest with two categories, An Important Finn and Moment from the History or Mythology. This is entry for the former - Madventures, AKA Riku Rantala and Tuomas "Tunna" Milonoff, two traveller-journalists known from several TV-series and books. The original Madventures show is about travelling, mostly in the third world, with just them two guys and some filming equipment. The first two series (2002 and 2005) were made in Finnish while the third (2008) was made in English for international audiences. Madventures is the most widely broadcasted Finnish TV program with 200 countries or territories. They are also awarded with several awards, including National Award of Information Distribution (or something like that anyway).

But above all they're both very entertaining and thought-provoking, diving deeper into the global wonders and issues. I think that qualifies for An Important Finn.

Build-wise this was just another character build, though not without challenges. I built them partly simultaneously, first making some drafts of both heads, them building mots of Riku (left on the photos) and then rest of Tunna (whose head got redesigned few times). Riku was somewhat easier: His style, with distinct beard, stays pretty much same through the series, and as Tunna spends more time behind the camera, there was less reference material of him. Riku's clothes are based on Indochina episode (Bad quality photo, I know), with red bandana, blue utility vest and trekking shoes. Sleeveless undershirt leaves the tattoos, here achieved with couple of tan printed round 2x2 tiles; the PotC one with stylish world map work pretty well, I think.

Tunna's clothes are more casual, with dark green T-shirt that cunningly evaded me from using valuable pieces for tan shoulder joints; the trousers and shoes are similar to Riku's. Tunna's head was challenging, partly due to limits of the colour (dark tan) and lack of coherence of the man himself. After all, they're on the road for months and hair and facial hair grows all the time. Now the moustache might be a bit too bushy, looking like 3/4 of 80's Black Sabbath, but it was the best alternative. I also built a camera for him, based on what I believe are promotional photos of season three.

These are my first character builds based on real people (not including fictional characters portrayed by real actors). Time will tell how they'll do in the contest.


PS. Photographed another creation with this, so it shouldn't be so long gap before the next post. And I'm still having loads of WIPs around!


MOC: Robin

No, not the Boy Wonder. Nor the Sherwood vigilante. Nor the small bird. Nor the Sir Not-as-brave-as-Lancelot. This Robin is from Fire Emblem series (which I haven't played, but I'd like to if I I had consoles) and Super Smash Bros. 4, where she (or he, but she on this occasion) is rather fun character to play due interesting Tome and Levin Sword mechanics. So, this creation is rather similar to Samus, Dedede and Zero Suit Samus. SSB is cool.

Building Robin began with the robes. She has rather sensible garments for a video game heroine. I began with the buttoning, using pearl gold cheese slopes for triangular patterns; the first try was too think and heavy, so I ditched a purple line there should be and made it a bit simpler. Fence pieces are used as golden lining. A blade piece is used on the hem for detail. They should go all around the hem, but you can't have everything: They would have been very hard to connect to the TECHNIC panels used at the back, and I only had two!

Under her robe Robin has white shirt, some sort of belt-like garment with couple of buckles and some black-gold leather armoring. The legs use lot of CCBS parts that are sturdy but give some dynamic posability. Black lines of the white trousers are built using T-bars, lightsaber hilts and viking horns. The feet are somewhat unstable, as there are both ball joints and T-bar joints: the T-bar is connected to the underside of the smallest CCBS armor piece working as an ankle boot. The arms are quite basic stuff - CCBS on the upper arms, formula 1 tires to fill them, 3x3x3 cones (lovely pieces) on the lower arms and a big hubs for golden wristbands.

The head was hard. I tried several different designs. Stylished Nausicaä-style head was too small and made the shoulders look too broad and manly, and Batwing-eye-style looked too big. I finally settles with a design using minifig arms as eyes, similar to Red Lady of the Stream. It eventually grew on me, and I quite like it. Longer hair sets Robin apart from her male counterpart, otherwise they're quite identical.

Robin also has some accessories. Most importantly she has her Levin Sword, which is weird zig-zag-blade impossible to fit to a scabbard; but it's a magick sword that breaks down after few uses, after all. Building it wasn't that easy, and it isn't perfect (or symmetrical), but captures the overall look alrighty in my opinion. She also has two of her Tomes, Archfire and Thunder.

So, this was the first MOC and post of 2017. Last year I wasn't as active as before, and I can't promise to post as much stuff this year than in 2015 neither. But I have few tricks up in my sleeves: I've been building modulars for an exhibit beginning next month in Vapriikki, the most important museum in Tampere and one of the biggest museums in Finland. There's still plenty of things to build, but I'm progressing, and I naturally also have lots of other WIPs and ideas.

Time to tip the scales!


MOC: Purifier

 Tillbaka i Klaanon, as a Swede would say. I'll continue with the baddies (I think I've built one good guy (gal) from Klaanon this year). This is Purifier, and he's a Bahrag, or maybe a Vahki-Bahrag. He used to be a Toa. He is a Dark Hunter. He collects strange spheres that grow organic Krana-like substance on him. He has been killed numerous times but the spheres always bring him back more powerful. He's got lot of teeth and not all of them are on his mouth.

In other words, he's not my character. My characters are usually stout and reasonable.

There were two main points behind this build. One was the head, which had to include lots of sharp teeth and no much else. The other was the organic feel; Purifier really differs from average inhabitants of Matoran Universe. He's nowadays something like walking piece of black meat with some teeth. So I naturally used lot of CCBS pieces, though some older sleek parts like "destroyer droid feet" and roborider halves make appearances.

I fortunately was able to restock my CCBS shell collection, as I bough some cheap used HF sets on summer and some extra parts from Pii Poo's shop and event in October. Purifier, of course, used most of my good black CCBS parts, like round armor add-ons, SW armor add-ons and long shells. But it's cool that parts I've bought see use. It's no good keeping them in their sorted bags.

Construction-wise this is quite simple. Surpringly few SYSTEM parts are used, mainly on the head. At last those black insect legs from LUGBULK couple of years back see some use. Interesting parts but somehow limited. The torso and the arms are almost pure CCBS, legs are more traditional Bionicle/TECHNIC construction. Colour scheme is not very interesting, but hey that's the point, and at least it's not red.

Next up, I don't know what. Christmas Holidays are soon here, but I have two tests to go (only tests this year, Human and Environment (essays) and History of (Western) Architecture (mostly drawings). I might or might not be able to post more during the holiday. Anything might happen.



MOC: Dwarvish Runemaster

Hur hur hur, the Red Era of my career as a LEGO builder is over! Well, temporarily; I'm not saying I wouldn't use red any more (I will. I've got WIPs an' everything). But last six of my published creations included red, usually as their primary colour, and I was beginning to get fed up with that. And naturally my collection of essential red pieces (small plates, cheese slopes... you know) was getting sparse. So here's Dwarvish Runemaster, straight from The Battle for Wesnoth, open-source fantasy strategy game. My previous Wesnoth-themed creation was Dwarvish Dragonguard.

Runesmiths are rare units that don't appear on the mainline multiplayer game but are still "official" core units and present in many campaigns. Their rune hammers deliver strong blows with magically high change of hitting (Wesnoth is sometimes rather luck-based).

As with the Dragonguard, this one is mostly based in on-game sprite. Shapes of the armor, helmet and weapons are taken there, but I also made up a lot. Colours of you units depend on the colour of you side (I usually use orange), so I had plenty of freedom there. I went with sand blue, sand green and pearl gold with some light greys and reddish brown. I think it's very pleasant, somewhat regal and nicely different for usual dark and earthy tones seen on characters like this.

The skirt was the beginning here. I wanted to use the masonry brick pattern on the attire, and got some shapes with sand blue slopes that originate from 2004's awesome mecha set Titan XP. The same patterns continue to upper torso. I'm particularly happy with the shoulder pads. They're rather faithful to the sprite, and managed to hide the shoulder joint rather nicely. Sand blue Nexo shields from drafted Brick Bank are used here.

The arms were a bit problematic, due to the basic issue of all character builders: Small ball sockets only come in grays. I wanted to but some brown on the less-important parts of the suit, and upper arms seemed logical. But now as the joint is not in the middle, the posing isn't completely natural; hence the lack of more diverse posing.

I'm also happy with the head. It was challenging, but the eyebrows saved the day, gave the dwarf lot of age and sort of "I'm too old for this shit" vibes. He has also quite a moustache. The sprite had a full beard, but those new inverted baby bows worked so well with other curved parts that I had to go with that. The helmet took also many tries, and was very samurai-esque at some point, but finally settled on this version that is not very far-fetched and even uses one of those new-ish pyramid slopes.

The hammer is quite usual, and uses same techniques than my hammers in the past (I've built quite a few hammer-using creations). The old tires are used to give it some pattern and age. The shield is probably a bit more interesting and utilized 1x6x2 bow pieces form aforementioned Titan XP. It also rounds up the colours of the creation overall.



MOC: Red Lady of the Stream

 Good time of day, good reader fellows. I present you a MOC which is a good example on "part-based creation"; I bargained some used and minifigless Ninjago sets recently, including Final Flight of Destiny's Bounty, and its remarkable orient-themed pieces pleaded to be used!

I had tried building large, Japanese-style sleeves previously on Kirika Towa Alma, but it was very hard to make them look natural on bricks, and the weigh made the figure very hard to display (I already dissected it for parts.) Those plastic (well, that's what Bricklink call them, even though most LEGO bricks are plastic) sail pieces seemed to be perfect for that use, even though pressing them between undersides of 2x6 SNOT plate things was somewhat tricky and is probably a little bit illegal. The smaller sail pieces were used on the dress.

While the costume here is a bit kimono-esque, anyone familiar with the subject could point out that it's far from it; Barely any reference material was used and the costume, as well as the character, are both results of my imagination. I went for one-shoulder strap, for example, as it presented an interesting challenge.

Making the patterns of the costume was interesting. Pearl gold sprout pieces, one of my favorite parts, is used here, too; The piece has great shape and interesting connection points. I also used one of those elaborate Ninjago dragon swords and a few shurikens. I seem to have been making lot of red-gold creations lately, and my red is running low again...

I'm happy with the head. It took lot of time, and at the beginning had old good batarang eyes, but they felt too big, and I managed to make better one using minifig hand connected to the sides of a tile. The neck was an another buggerer, and making the hair three-dimensional enough was another challenge. More Ninjago pieces (medium-sized katanas) are used as hairpins, and old weird space feel as a bun.

It felt a good idea to build a base. I don't do much bases for figures, usually only when it's required for staying upright, and they tend to be very simple. There are exceptions, like Lingeán, but they are few and far between. Here I went with similar idea than on Gale Serpent Arises, even though the scale is very different; Rocky terrain covered in lichen and a stream. The colors are different, though. On the Gale Serpent MOC the stream was black, maybe raw oil, and the lichen (or moss) was murkier olive green. Here the water is pleasant medium azure covered in trans-clear and the lichen is brisker sand green. I also added a reddish brown frame (LUGBULKed those cheese slopes, as you might have guessed) and made the stream flow over it; here goes the fourth wall (literally). I also liked the idea of figure standing on the stream with tall wooden Geta shoes.

The cool printed 9x9 dish piece from the aforementioned Ninjago set was another I wanted to use. It was used as an actual shield on the figure at the beginning, when I didn't have enough pieces to build the sleeves in red, an the other had to be different; so I plugged the shield on it and made it black, as a strap for the shield. But it didn't look good, as I didn't want the figure to be war-like. Fortunately I managed to get the needed red pieces from Dean's robes (don't worry, he's fine) when I visited Joensuu during my hardcore excursion with our architecture student guild TamArk.

I pondered the alternative uses for the shield. I tried it as a parasol, but it was too small and heavy looking, so I ended up with sort of a pole. It is again not based on anything real. I also pegged on couple of printed Japanese-style wall element I bought from Pii Poo's used part tables recently. They connect nicely to lever bases.

What else? My first half-year term at the university is soon coming to and end, and it couple of weeks I'll be knee-deep in deadlines. But don't worry, I still build a lot. Some modular building are under construction, and are indented to be published in January.



MOC: Bursar

"Good so be would you if, duff plum of helping second A."
-Bursar (by Sir Terry Pratchett)

Bursar is an another wizard of the Unseen University. He has been on his post for quite long. Bursar's job includes doing all the math needed to run an University; Financial things, mostly. Bursar is also plain nuts. He firstly suffered a nervous breakdown by his Archchancellor Mustrum Ridcully and was tried to be cured by feeding him dried frogs pills; however, their effect is uncertain. Bursar also suffers from planets and an uncertainty principle (which means he can't know where he is and what he is at the same time, much like all-defining quantum). But, after all, he sometimes feels quite happy and flies around. Nobody knows why.

Bursar is quite well-known Discworld character despite his average "screen time" and rather minor effect on the plots of the books. But he's funny and therefore easy to remember. You don't forget him in a hurry.

I had to build Bursar. I'm making the Senior Faculty, and Bursar is one of the members that have at least some character, in contrary to ones like The Lecturer on Recent Runes, The Chair of Indefinite Studies and The Senior Wrangler. Bursar's mad face was fun to construct; I'm particularly happy with the Mixel teeth as a moustache. I managed to include details from several books: Crossbow bolt in the hat from Moving Pictures, bare feet as in Reaper Man and new jar for dried frog pills from Hogfather.  

Technically this is quite a simple creation. There are some SNOT, and the overall construction is similar to Balin; I even used the same cheese slope pattern on the robe. Another interesting part use is those stickered 2x4 wedge slopes from The Last Flight of Destiny's bounty that I recently bough used with several other last year's Ninjago sets (expect more MOCs with parts from them soon).

By the way, I currently feel I'm using too much red! My very basic red pieces like 1x2 plates and cheese slopes are running very low, which is odd as it's so common colour. But sometimes it has to be odd, especially with Bursar.