2017-05-11

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...

-Eero. 


2017-05-08

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.

-Eero.

 




2017-04-13

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.

-Eero.

Iron Builder IX: Bird of Paradise

 This one has rather different backstory. I was discussing the possible uses of the Dublo grass piece with my friends at school, probably while sculpting plaster (my sculpture ended up being titled "Siperian rata", Siberian railway, and featured a mammoth and a locomotive; most students made something abstract but that's not my way). Ideas that turned up were either colourful bird... or a pineapple, cruel and ambitious fruit (or, at least, painful and delicious). I rather preferred the bird, as it would have been hard to make decent pineapple with leaves four bricks high and eight studs wide (maybe in 2D). But the bird was an excellent idea; Thanks!

The colours were based on wedge slopes that were available. It is not based on any particular species of bird but the colour scheme is rather common and similar to, for example, Olive-headed lorikeet and Fischer's Lovebird. There had to be green, of course, and dark red was an obvious choice as I had plenty of 4x12 wedge slopes (in both right and left versions). Yellow and lime looked rather nice with them, giving some jungle freshness to the bird, plus I had lime green wedges and even some feather-like parts for the tail.

The building process was quite straightforward, divided in three sessions. I began with the wings to get the seed part out of the way, and then advanced into the body, using TECHNIC friction pins to get the wings to the right angle. The head was interesting, featuring life-buoy eyes, white nostril section and big red beak. The shape of the neck is somewhat based on old good LEGO parrot, as I had some nearby. Adding the legs deemed some changes in the inner structure, as they had to be sturdily connected and I had to move weight forward. This made building the support structure challenging, too: It had to bear the parrot without breaking, and I wanted it to look like wood. In the end the shape ended up very finger-like and I wonder if I should have build it in tan. The base features geometric pattern done using reddish brown, old brown and dark brown. The tail feathers were the last part added here - I quite like how the angle of the lime green one gives some sense of gravity to the MOC. This is, I think, my first realistically sized animal build and among my favourite entries for this contest.

-Eero. 


Iron Builder VIII: Palutena

 Build number eight, Lady Palutena, is the third creation based on existing IP and defintely the most challening and time-consuming. I've build Palutena, goddess of light from Nintendo's Kid Icarus game series before, couple of years ago. I was inspired by the character's complex attire and odd elegance. There were some good parts on the old version, but it felt somehow too rigid and lifeless. After that I've played quite a bit of SSB for Wii U and learned to somehow master the character. This was inspired by those matched with them boys. I think I played some with the seed part hiding in my trouser pocket...

Overall, I wanted to make more elegant version, with better, more flowing shapes without losing the importance on details. I began with the torso. The overall shape came out painlessly, but the brown belts with all the golden accessories were hard. I had two of those pneumatic hoses, one in old brown and one in reddish brown, and they were almost too short. As you can see, they sort of end too soon, but fortunately that isn't too visible. It also took some tinkering to connect them sturdily enough. But it looks pleasantly realistic.

Another challenge was the dark red line representing the layer of the dress. The old version utilized a minifig cape in strange position, but this one uses less interesting tricks with better results. New-ish 1/4 square tiles help here; great pieces. Ninjago daggers (Sais?) present the ornaments of the white underskirt.

The hands were serious pain in the arse. The layers of gold and tan are not easy, especially as the joints had to support the weigh of the shield and staff. They're alright but not that good. The left arm has irritating grey liftarm on the elbow. Neither of them are sturdy. They stay intact, they're not terrible, but they were not fun neither. But nobody has complained so far... At least the shield hides a lot and there are more interesting parts to look at.

The head was challenging, having the wing tiara and a gem on the forehead, but once I got the fringe work, the rest was relatively easy. Use of trans-medium blue tube as the halo is straight from the old version, but this one also uses a pulley. The face is similar to other recent builds - Red Lady of the Stream, Robin and Mistral Nereis. It can be packed on smaller scale than old Batarang variant and has separate eyes, which is a nice plus.

The hair is important part here as it uses the seed part, 2x8 Dublo grass block. It's quite a realistic presentation of the end of Palutena's weird long hair flock which is, for a reason or another, bright green. The hair is connected to the back (it's very heavy) and has a curve to add sense of of motion and portray the use of the seed part better. The uppermost part has a ball joint to make it look more natural with the head.

The legs are mainly hidden by the dress, but bits of them are visible. These were among the weakest part of the old version, and have been improved here. Rubber bands still function as the straps around the stocked leg. I was afraid that the legs couldn't bear the build, so I ended up making a floating pose which shows the shaping of the legs better. The pole of astral energy is sort-of reference to Palutena's cool and very nicely ranged Up Smash. The trans-medium blue colour also looks good with the halo and astral wings, build using Wonder Woman's invisible jet wings and some Atlantis portal slopes. The halo is visible for example in Up Aerial, which is, combined with down thrown, Palutena's most reliable KO option. There is a 32 studs long axle inside 2x2 round bricks. It gives them a nice glow. The base has two boat weights for extra stability.

Photographing this was interesting. The first session was cut short due to the weather: It was too dark and too windy. I took the photos on my balcony, fourth floor, and had to use so long shutter time (almost half a second) that the wind rocketed the goddes, making the photos blurry. Next day was better, but I took pictures both with black and white backdrop. The black was better, but I had to extend the cardboard all the way up to make the tall MOC fit it, and the stressmarks and folds on it looked too distracting. So I ended up cutting the MOC to another layer with polygonal lasso tool and adding some heavy gaussian blur to the backdrop. It looks interesting. I hope you like it.

And, of course, extra thanks to them boys for giving me that Zamor sphere, I've got plenty but they're currently in Joensuu. Big hand!

-Eero.






2017-04-12

Iron Builder VII: Go green!

This was the fastest, easiest and most popular build on my Iron Builder. The shape of the piece is around perfect for realistically sized paint brush; I've used them things countless times. Add metal guard and nicely shaped wooden handle and some paint drops and that's it.

But it's too perfect use. Sean and Steph Mayo already used it on their April Fools IB round back in 2014. 

Now it's quite embarrassing. Sean and Steph are very talented and prolific builders, and I'm sure I saw their brush in 2014. But that's 3 years ago, and I've seen lot of builds since then, and I couldn't remember it. I feel I should have checked; But then again, I didn't want anything to mess up with my thoughts. There is lot of suggestions for the uses of the piece on their creations Flickr comments, and I'd rather not read them (I believe no one come up with the Floo Network though). But S&S and Guy were cool on this; Thanks to them! You can't think too much during Iron Builder. Just build.

-Eero.

Iron Builder VI: Arthur Weasley Arrives at his workplace in Ministry of Magic via Floo Network

 This blog has plenty of Discworld characters, and many creations from worlds of Tolkien, but here's the first Harry Potter themed build I've ever published. And what a trivial one!

Idea of using the seed part as a green fire of Floo Network originates from the "Master list" written on lecture of history of architecture right after opening Guy's mystery packet. I had forgotten about this idea, and found the list one day, and read the word: Hormiverkko, the floo network.

I like Rowling's HP books, I've read them maybe six times; they're fast to read, well-written, both humorous and serious, and have excellent Finnish translations. I've seen the films once or twice and don't remember that much about them; my visions originate mostly from the books. There are plenty of interesting characters, and I've thought of building some of them; Albus Dubledore and Alastor Moody especially. But the first character ended up being Arthur Weasley, Ron's dad. The person emerging from the Floo could have been someone else - Cornelius Fudge maybe, or even Harry or Dumbledore, but I quite liked Arthur, and I though that building such marginal yet likable character would have good humorous attitude; Arthut felt right for this situation. And even though I don't remember much of the films, he is played by Mark Williams who also plays Father Brown in BBC's excellent series I used to watch at the police station, and Brian Williams in Doctor Who (on which Rory is pretty much my favorite character).

Now, the build. This was intensive Saturday build that took almost the whole day. I thought it would be smaller, but given that the character has my original three-stud-wide design, it couldn't have been much smaller. The head was the starting point, as usual, having the friendly face, reddish hair and eyeglasses. I knew I'd use some green shades, and the coat was shaped after the parts available in sand green. The olive green vest has wooden buttons - Weasleys aren't that rich. Arthur has his wand on other hand and a briefcase on other; The trousers are pretty basic stuff, but making the stepping stance took some tries. Most of my characters like this are in static pose and have longer coats.

Then there's the fireplace. It's one of those in the Ministry of Magic used as communication by the wizarding folk. It's number eight (Discworld reference, perhaps) and looks rather grand, as ministry should. It's mostly constructed on pieces I had plenty of. Those dark green cut-out slopes are from TLG's LUG support packages and the masonry bricks, fences and goldes cheese slopes are from LUGBULK. Fortunately I had enough black bricks to fill the back correctly to create sense of snug space. Some oddly-shaped spike pieces give some life to the flames. Overall, the fireplace is quite grand and reminds me of Alphonso Mucha's art - maybe I should make something similar to character build in the future. But they take lot of bricks...

-Eero.