Brickfilm: Vanhan Ukon Humppa (Old Geezer's Humppa)

 Behold! Vanhan Ukon humppa by Vuhvelituontanto/Eläkeläiset!

(No old people were harmed during the production.)

(I would have embedded it but that was impossible; see Karaoke version here.)

Now, this isn't the most common type of a LEGO creation you see on this page! This stop motion Brickfilm was filmed in, if I remember correctly, on November of the last year by Vuhvelituotanto, an independent film production consisting of me and my friend, sometimes known as Humppakeksi. We were asked to do the video for the band Eläkeläiset (an finnish folk-ish oompah group that makes excellent humppa covers on classic songs, mostly) after the release of their newest CD/LP Humppakalmisto.

We had done a music video of their song Jukolan Humppa earlier for LUG Palikkatakomo RY's video contest. That was not released by the band officially, though, and it didn't have to whole song. This time we had a bit shorter song and more experience. Division of work was same as earlier: I built the MOCs (a cottage with old/new modes; a gloomy nursing home room; a piece of a street; part of Finnish House of Parliament's facade with stairs. Humppa Pub was used for playing sections as before.) and he edited the video. The "script" was mostly done by me while building the props, though I have to say it's mostly on the lyrics. You likely won't understand a bit of them, but I'll add a translation later when I have more time. It's about the bad situation of the eldery, terrible state of affairs and questionable political activities. Until then... Humppa or die!




MOC: Exo-Dwarfsuit 3.0

The steam technology of Dwarven Low Kingdom has taken a new step. Borgan Hammerhock's Exo-Dwarfsuit features a new furious weapon: A Dragon flamepipe. Dwarven alchemists spent decades to solve the secrets of articfically creating dragon-flame, and now the guardsdwarves can shoot fiery death into anyone who tries to take down their mines. The suit naturally has also a old good warhammer for close-combat situations.

This is an entry for Eurobricks' Dress my Exo-Suit Mini Challenge. Some of you probably already noticed that it is built on Exo-Suit frame. The theme is Fantasy Era Castle. I wanted to build steampunk (so surprises here) so I went back into dwarfpunk business. If Fantasy Era dwarves had exo-suits, they definitely would work on steam. I tried Rock Raiders and Monster Fighters, and even had some ideas for The Hobbit suits, but went with this design. It is sort of a succesor of Aulëthur dwarfsuit from 2012 and the Dwarfsuit from 2010. These things seem to turn up every other year, it seems. I had to ditch the barrel halves on the shoulders due to the limits of the frame, but I used three of them around the MOC instead.
The build was quite straightforward after I had chosen the theme. There are some dwarven elements visible, like the axe armoring. I also wanted to use the cloth piece (car roof from Indiana Jones set) to add some contrast. Piping on the back adds steampunk feel and so on. I wish I could have made the upper arms better, but the frame isn't very friendly to customizer around there. Most of the armor add-ons killed the mobilty, and I had to use three-long axles to deactivate the best connection points. But a man can't always win, and probably not even on the every other time.



MOC: Womba the Stalwart

 My educational period is over and my job starts on Monday, so I'm back in the usual evenings-and-weekends building business. This is Womba the Stalwart, a little MOC a threw together yesterday evening/today morning. It was not based on any WIP nor tablescrap, I had just some pieces laying around on the Bionicle table and they turned out to be this guy - firstly the legs, then the torso, arm, head and the weapons.

To be honest, I have no sense who Womba is. At least he's stalwart and seems to guard something, and his wardrobe doesn't seem to be that cheap either. His leg guards have seen some battle and he has done something to earn his title. But what he is? Wombat, frog, turtle or what? No sense. But I guess he is related to some of Djorkson's MOCs. Those weren't source of inspiration at first, but when I though about the Mixel eyes for this, I knew instantly to whose style I would owe to. He's a jolly good builder.

This MOC is relatively simple (Because it's rather small) but has naturally a trick or two. I'm very happy with the chest armor, even though I think it has been use before. It's very sturdy as it's supported by clip plates and a bar. Boat stud joints are used on the the arms. Boat studs are awesome, got 20 black from Bricklink a month ago. Don't know what I would be doing without them.
 And I finally got an use for Fire Laval's cool flame shield. I had been waiting for a good reason to use it for a while.



Hobbitsplosion part IV: The Company of Thorin Oakenshield

 Behold (I've always wanted to say that)!

The Company of Thorin Oakenshield project is now finally completed.

Alright, it was completed last Sunday, but due to my educational period of civil service, I didn't have time to post it until now... There was lot to photograpth, lot to photo edit and finally, lot to write in the previous three posts.

This was a fun project, rather original one if you don't mind me saying. It took 656 days counting from Balin Bust posted before the premiere of An Unexpected Journey, or 580 days if counting from the posting date of Balin & Dwalin. That is around 10% of my current life, and that sound quite lot if you ask me! Naturally all the positive feedback I got during the project on Flickr, Eurobricks and Palikkatakomo plus from friends from Bio-Klaani and surrondings gave me heaps of inspiration. This wasn't a project at the beginning. I just threw together Balin and Dwalin and Oin and Bifur and Thorin and there I went... And then somebody asked if I'll build Gandalf and Bilbo and I said that yes, why not? And I'm glad I did, as they are iconic characters and turned out decent.

Photographing this lot was interesting and deemed some DIY skills. I found some plywood plates from our garage and taped some black cardboard on it for the platform and then did the same thing for the backdrop. I used garden table for support and spend a couple hour in crispy late August weather. The wind caused the backdrop to fall about three times killing some of the dwarves - At least Dori and Fili exploded once. I rebuilt them, of course, but that was slightly irritating to say at least. The sunlight was another thing - I can't take photos with direct light, and had to use big sheets of cardboard as a shade... But I overcome with those problems and here we are, with some group shots, shots of every "family" and even portraits of all the MOCs with black blackdrop. Now I'll just wait for a convention to get these fellows on round!


Hobbitsplosion Part II: Gandalf the Grey

Ladies and gentlemen, I think there is no need for introduction for this man. I mean, everyone knows Gandalf, especially the one in grey robes, as a wizard still-on-business. Those were some seriously good fireworks on Old Took's birthday as well as on the old Bagging's party. But let's not talk about that stuff. Heck, I've said something nice about the actors portraying dwarves, but on Gandalf's case it's different... Everybody knows that Sir Ian McKellen IS Gandalf, more that anybody ever. Jolly good man I'd say!

Hmm. The MOC. This was rather straightforward build, took one weekend and a bit during this educational period of civil service (Where I am right now, we just got some extra free time instead of lessons). The bottom part is just random mass of dark bley bricks and slopes and could be used as a rockwork; However, I had to extend it from the bottom as Gandalf was about to turn out to be too short at first. I measured his height to be correct compared to Thorin using the height cart that came with the second book of WETA's Hobbit Chronicles books. Thorin MOC was 22 centimetres tall as the character's height was 149 cm, so Gandalf being 180 cm ought to be 26.3 cm. The difference is surprisingly small on numbers, but on the real life it looks bigger, especially when Gandalf has his hat on.

Well, back to the process. Noldor king Turgon's old sword Glamdring with its dark blue scabbard was the first challenge. Thorin had his Orcrist, but not its scabbard, as it would have been hard to build around his coat and cloak. But with Gandalf simple clothes is was quite possible. It also stands out from the grey mass with the SNOTed brown main belt, and their overlapping creates a very nice effect in my opinion.

I always sort of knew I'd use inverted and normal 1x2x3 slopes on Gandalf's upper torso and light bley 1x1 round bricks as his beard. The upper torso was wider on one point with some wedges on the sides, but it looked way too muscular for this wiry old wizard so I ditched them and put there a couple of long tiles instead.The arms are very simply built using the very same technique that the half of the dwarves, for example Bifur, Bofur and Nori.

Gandalf has also his silvery scarf, which is actually (mostly) built using four 2x2 pearl silver plates I got from LEGOLAND Windsor's "big box" PaB in 2009. I heard those were manufactured for a set that never got released. Bricklink has 11 lots and they are not very expensive, but a little piece of trivia anyway; Gandalf's scarf is a little bit exclusive.

The beard is simple but effective, round bricks, sloped for shape and old good odd offset space part for, well, offset. The minifig arm moustache is similar to Dori's but inverted, and the face is a bit wider that those on dwarves (Except Bombur who's fat). Hair is simple, wedge plates like on Thorin and Kili, with slope-built back. No wonders but I'd call it recognizable.

Gandalf also has some of his important wizardy accessories: a pointy had, wooden staff and, of course, a pipe to smoke some Old Tobo. The hat felt quite challenging at first, and I was going to use sand blue, but on the end I went with medium blue for several reasons: Firstly, there were better pieces available in that color: Surprisingly wide array of slopes and wedges and even that X-pod lid which turned out to be a perfect rim. The another thing was that the lighter color stood out better and gave a nice contrast (using that word a lot, ain't I?) with all the greyness.

Staff came out rather quickly. It's the Hobbit version with somewhat spiral-like shaping. I used both TECHNIC connectors and round bricks to create the rough pattern. It couldn't have looked too polished. The pipe is extremely simple, as it has only three pieces, but setting it on the right angle in wizard's hand was always horrendous - but it ended up being one of my favorite parts of this MOC.

And now we have all the bearded folk (...and Kili) gathered, so it's time to fing the burglar, who is just an ordinary Baggings of Bag End... Check him out, right on the top of this post!


Hobbitsplosion Part III: Bilbo Baggins

The hobbit. The burglar. Like Gandalf, Bilbo son of Bungo of Bag End needs no introducing. Neither needs Martin Freeman, who should be known to everyone from his roles as Watson, that guy from World's End and that guy from The Office. He's Bilbo and Bilbo is one of the most loved Tolkien characters (though sometimes I feel there's not enough of this hobbit in The Hobbit films, damn Legolas, but won't talk more about that now). Bilbo felt like natural choice for the last one to be built, and despite his interesting and not-that-common color scheme I finished him in, let's say, four or something hours on the last Saturday.

Bilbo needed to be a bit more lightly built than the dwarves, so I made him 7-wide (as Ori, but he's a babyface dwarf anyway). The odd width made it possible to create three-wide olive green vest with symmetrical buttons.  The rest of the torso built itself around it. Fortunately I had bought lot of dark red slopes within some Bricklink orders and such. The sides of the torso are built mostly with 2x2 inverted slopes as I didn't have many bricks in that color; I think Dori and Balin stole all of them already.

I had some trouble with the arms, as there isn't many (if any!) dark red brick hinges. Fortunately I had spare dark red minifg legs which were quite good; I wondered I should have mod some of the dwarfs with the same trick, but their color schemes looked alright enough. I quite feel that Bilbo's arms and especially hands look a bit too big, as they are exactly the same size than the dwarves' and Gandalf's hands. I didn't have any alternative designs so I went with this for the sake of continuity.

Bilbo's legs were a pleasant deviation from the dwarves (Gandalf is legless) as he didn't have boots but his iconic hairy hobbit feet. Minifig legs create the shape of the toes. I was going with two legs sticking out on both of the feet tips, but it would have looked too much like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and I was quite sure that Bilbo was not teenage, mutant or ninja, and probably neither a turtle.

The head was the last part I built, as it was beardless and therefore less interesting than the dwarf heads. It turned out rather nice in the end. Bilbo's got a dark orange hair. Medium dark nougat would probably have been better, they used it on the minifigs and everything, but I couldn't have managed to build it with my medium dark nougat collection, mostly used on Fili's hair. The hair consist of 1x2 plates (and one 2x2 corner plate) and has that nice, messy, hobbit-ty look.

Bilbo has also his elven knife Sting. I admit that it's not so authentic, but a curved, sharp and elegant piece of weaponary is rather horrendous to build with highly-developed interlocking brick system! It's round all right, like a baton, but looks alright if you don't think it too much. I probably should have added a bar inside it to fill the hole in the end. The One Ring is in the right scale for this figure, but it doesn't appear in the photos because it would make Mr. Baggins invisible!

This is the last character post of The Hobbit project. A grand big group shot post will follow, immindiately, on the top of this one. Hallelujah.



Hobbitsplosion Part I: Ori

And here we go, the first part of this world-changing Hobbitsplosion (though you might be reading these posts on wrong order, you dog! No, that was too bad; You cat!), the last of the dwarves, Ori, brother of Dori and Nori. In the films, Ori is a young and soft dwarf, well portrayed by British actor Adam Brown. Ori was the last dwarf I built because his color scheme was definitely one of the hardest and well, he doesn't have much of a beard and the beards are usually the most interesting parts to build and start with.

There were few alternative color options for Ori's lavenderish coat. Old sand purple or new lavender from Friends line could have been best-looking shade-wise, but there isn't many good parts available in those colors and man they are expensive. So I went with the regular dark purple, color that TLG used in their Ori minifig. I bought some stuff from Bricklink, grill tiles, 2x3 slopes and 2x2 round bricks and threw together a working torso for the head I had built already (wasn't hard as there isn't much detail, pot hair, a couple of braids and that's it) and attached a pair of arms with ball joints on elbows (funny thing that they make those in dark purple) and traditional T-bar shoulders. It's not extraordinarily ingenious, but I like the way how the rough grey scarf, angled belt and knife and the bag's strap add some contrast to the basic brick-built base. The back is done with 180 degree SNOT and a car hood piece. Bag's strap uses fisherman's cord piece in similar way that Bofur's hair and Fili's belt did, and the bag features some writing accessories as Ori is something like the company's scribe.

Ori's weaponry is simple as he has only a small knife and a slingshot, but the latter was not that simple to build with the bricks. The wooden part was easy alright, but the the rubber cord thing... damn. I went with a two clip-bars holding a thin pneumatic hose holding minifig hands. It has a bit too much black in my opinion, but I think it's alright and of course am pleased to hear any improvement ideas.

And then... All the small hairy men are finished, but just above there should be one tall hairy man and an even shorter small feet-hairy man! And loads of group shots that deemed some improvisation on the topic of backdrop and photographing!