MOC: Nausicaä

 After building Yupa and Kushana from Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind manga, it was just natural to build the hero herself, Nausicaä.

There were a lot of reference material as Nausicaä appears on every cover art except volume 3 and on six watercolor posters included in the books. I chose to build her in the modified Dorok costume dyed blue by Ohmu's blood on volume 2. The chest with white and red ornament was the beginning point along with the bullet pockets similar to Yupa's (common on Eftalian costumes). Shaping was a bit challening here, but TECHNIC pin with 90 degree hole helped here - such a great piece, I'll get 100 from LUGBULK soon. That connects the upper part to 4x4 round brick and enables the 45 degree angle of the upper torso.

The skirt was another hard point. It took three times to get it right; The first one was too loose and the legs were unnaturally close to each other and the second one was too boxy. The final result is sturdy and solid and mixel joint connected legs have some poseability.

Limbs were pretty painless; the feet were not that simple but came out nicely. Some CBBS shells are used there, as they were perfect for Nausicaä's gaiters and I had plenty of them in blue. The arms are not that poseable, and rather blocky anyway, but I think the work well on this MOC. The shoulder connection was bit of a compromise, as I didn't have any 1x1 tiles with clip. The right arm has a bandage tied by Asbel (and re-tied by Mito).

As her accessories, Nausicaä has his ceramic knife with a little bag, Eftalian rifle (last minute addition) and of course her fox-squirrel friend Teto.

I photographed Nausicaä using only one backdrop sheet, as Bricknerd's Tommy noted that the old studio wasn't perfect on his blogging on Kushana (Thanks Tommy). It looks rather nice now, right?


Poster of volume 3 by Hayao Miyazaki, scan by Minitokyo.net


MOC: Princess Kushana

 Here's the second character on my Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind series. This is Kushana, the princess of Torukmenia. My MOC is based solely on the manga, as she is entirely different character on the movie adaption (and has a golden armor, orange hair and white cape). In the comic Kushana is definitely one of the best characters, being a great example of Miyazaki's character that is neither entirely good or bad; Though she's a bit more on the protagonist side, at least in the last volumes.

I built Kushana before Yupa and she took a lot more time. I tried to build her a few months ago, using 1x1 plates with tooth as the scale main, but that turned out impossible. Now some weeks ago I though that cheese slopes could do the same trick easily, and I had hundreds of them in light bley from LUGBULK. The scale mail consist of simple SNOT. The upper torso area was more challenging, with the half-circle shaped chest plate and the neck guard. I reworked the shoulders a few times.

 The limbs came out rather nicely. The are full clad in plate armor, so they look rather natural. The boat stud joints are quite stiff but allow some movement. The posing is based on the cover art of issue 3 (see below), a gorgeous watercolor by the master himself. I tried to make the flag pole, but abandoned it due technical difficulties and ended up with a different posture with the sword. This one is a bit more realistic.

The head was challenging, as they usually are, but 2x2 curved slope with some cheese slopes worked rather nicely. 1x4 double curved slopes (wonderful pieces) made a nice headress. The hair is dark tan to work with the tan skin; Kushana cut her braids upon witnessing her soldiers dying.

The cape was a nightmare. Kushana needed a flowing cape like in the reference material. I wasn't sure about the color, as the manga is in black and white, but the cover art it looked dark red or dark purple. I don't have much purple so I went for the dark red, which is definitely one of the best LEGO colors. I had some dark red wedge plates, but arranging them correctly and in the correct layers wasn't easy; I had to build it two or three times. Those 4x18 or something wedges added some bulk and shape to it, and they are such stupid pieces anyway that I'm glad to have them on a MOC somewhere rather than consuming space on their box...

I also built a small deserted base, as Kushana's legs are not very stable and the cape deems some balancing.

Volume 3 cover art by Hayao Miyazaki, scan by minitokyo.net


MOC: Lord Yupa

Here's another Bricks of Character with a facial hair of huge magnitude, but this is not from The Hobbit films. This manly man is Lord Yupa from Hayao Miyazaki's over thousand-page long Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind comic (or manga, if you like, and also in the film adaption, but I prefer the manga for it's a lot more powerful). He's the mightiest swordman of Fukai, the Sea of Corruption, protagonist Nausicaä's mentor and overall very very cool man who either kicks ass or (more often) prevents others from kicking each other's ass.

Yupa was a rather easy build. I had already built another Nausicaä character (coming soon) and I had to make Yupa on the same scale (something between miniland and dwarves). The head ended up two studs and two plates wide with the hood. I was going with a plank face but added a cheese slope nose as it looked perfect. The moustache is as huge as it should be (though it seems to transform froma moustache to a full beard during the comic; compare book 1, page 17, 10th panel (original right-to-left print) and book 7, page 68, panel 4. Well, there's 12 years between drawing these panels) and covers most of the head. Yupa also has his brimmed hat. I first tried to build it using dark orange 6x6 dish, but it was too small. The barrel was a last-minute mod and I'm very happy with it. It's slightly angled. The dark flesh band adds some color to the MOC.

The torso is very basic stuff, similar to the dwarves. The binoculars represent the bullet pockets. I decided to cover the arms with the cape to achieve a dramatic effect; that's how Yupa usually appears, after all. This made building a lot easier. The trousers use a neat technique combining 2x4 curved slopes with Travis bricks. Boots are pretty basic stuff, with a little trick of using a very old car tyres that look almost dark tan. They have a nice old beat-up feel on them, which works rather nicely on this character. I also made a little base with some toxic spores of Fukai.

Also as I said, I have built an another Nausicaä character and I'm possibly (likely, definitely?) doing more. Stay tuned.



MOC: Toa Sheelika

 Here's another MOC from Klaanon universe, the original "Femme Fatale" from 2010, Sheelika. She is a Toa of electricity with some apparent shadow powers. She was a friend of Tawa before the founding of Bio-Klaani and later followed her there. Desperate incidents led him to murder some matorans and Guardian ordered her to be executed; However, Tawa's mercy changed the sentence into exile. Sheelika was driven into Destral where some nasty stuff happened; That is unknown by the time, but something formed Sheelika into the dark and hateful person she currently is. She tried to eliminate Tawa earlier, but was beaten by the yellow admin. She escaped from Clan's cells with help from Zorak von Maxtrillian VIII Arstein's Avhrak Feterra.

It is a bit surprising that I haven't built Sheelika before as she is rather old Klaanon character. One reason is that there is already a MOC built by character's creator. An another reason is that Sheelika hasn't dome much lately due to inactivity of some authors. However, playing Sheelika on Salsa (Official Klaanon strategy card game) got me interested on the character (there were plenty of interesting artwork on the game (including several of my MOCs and drawings as well), as every character has three different cards (basic, good temper, bad temper)) and I decided to whip up my own version.

The scale here is quite large, probably biggest of my current Klaanon figures. I needed enough scale to work with right parts and shapes here; I had rather strong visions from the beginning. The torso is very similar to Tawa's, with CBBS chest armor and roborider face under it. The Inika shoulder pads make the flank shaping once again, a trick I use rather often. The shape achieves humanoid muscles rather nicely, leaving a cutting for the shoulder axle.

I happened to ditch most of dark blue. The stark contrast between black and white looked cool and worked well with Sheelika's backstory. I think the curved line between the sides looks rather slick, while white hands and shoes balance the scheme. Dark blue is used on the inner upper arms, inner thighs and the mask for the same reason.

There are nothing special on the legs; they use my standard female leg design seen on Karmenna and Belsa with a high heel modification (Sheelika is the femme fatale of the story so pardon the impractical footwear choice). The feet design originates from Japanese builder TAN, but I've modified it using these cool toothed TECHINC connectors. Still not sure how the original design with 90 degree connection works, probably stressing the brick; I never figured it out. 3L CBBS bone (best CBBS piece) enables the connection between bohrok feet and rahkshi leg and creates a nice profile.

I wanted the arms to have radically different designs. The black one ended up with the spiky KK2 armor as in the reference material, and the spiky feel continued through the limb. The white side is more aerodynamic and stylised. This motif is used on the weaponry, too; the brutal shield consists of the black spiky underside and odd, curved white area. This is not  a piece of protective equipment, it's going to hurt people. Sheelika also has a spear, as she was a Toa Hagah, Guardian-Toa. I'm quite happy with the white tail, piece circling around the bright blue blade.

Weapons aside, Sheelika needed some extra equipment to catch the femme fatale noir feel. The wide-brim hat appeared on the card game, and while it isn't exactly canon, it was just a perfect posing tool. The reference material had a noble trans-blue Ruru (I think I originally suggested it) but I didn't want to went for it for several reasons; It was way too small, overused, and the mask isn't even Ruru in the story but a mask of hypnosis (though this has been discussed about; Most think that Sheelika doesn't need a mask of hypnosis to lure people.) I also gave her a dark blue short cape (KK2, King Mathias I think) and a vampire-esque collar to go with it to add some masquerade.



MOC: Porco Rosso's Savoia S-21

Here's my newest big project finished, Savoia S-21 flying boat from my favorite movie ever, Hayao Miyazaki's Porco Rosso, in miniland scale.

I saw Porco Rosso for the first time in around 9 years ago when our local cinema featured old Ghibli films on their smallest screen. I instantly loved it, like every other Miyazaki film (expect Howl's Moving Castle. Never liked that one much.), but with time it grew better and better. It's undoublty one of Miyazaki's lighter movies, compared to Mononoke or Nausicaä for example, but also one aimed more to mature audiences; it worked perfectly on me when I was 11 or 12, with air pirates and dogfights and all the humour, but it clearly has references to facism, The Great Recession on so on. And every character is just so natural, they have clear sense of who they are. At least on the Finnish translation; English dub keeps explaining obvious things a bit too much for my liking, haven't seen it but there's the screenplay on Art of Porco Rosso book which I used as a reference material here.

    I've built Porco's seaplane two times before. The first version was built immendiately after seeing the movie and there is no photos taken. The second version was built in 2009 and the photos can be found in the Brickshelf folder if old good 'shelf isn't down. Those were somewhere between minifig and miniland scale. This one was built in Miniland scale because the engine worked the best on it and it made it possible to build an accurate fig of Porco to the cockpit. Accurate pig minifigs do not exist.

A word or two must be said of Porco's plane here. It is Savoia S-21, though the name doesn't appear in the film. The plane model is not real, but Savoia is actual Italian plane manufacturer. The design of Porco's seaplane, despite looking a bit odd, isn't that far from the reality; Miyazaki based it on Macchi M.33, which lost to American Curtiss R3C-2 in 1925 Schneider Trophy race, as referred by Porco at Hotel Adriano's club. Donald Curtis, Porco's rival, flies modified Curtiss R3C-2 in the film. Savoia S-21 has water-cooled 12V 12 600 hp Isotta-Fraschini Asso engine, its maximum speed is 330 km/h and it is armed with two 7.92 mm Spandau machine guns. My MOC represents the plane as it is at the beginning of the movie. It get a major overhaul at Piccolo's in Milano.
 I began working on this last summer. I whipped up the engine, most of the fuselage and a prototype of the wings in rather short time, and then the project halted. A few moths later I made a Bricklink order and bough the curved sloped for the wings. The project halted again. It was announced that Finnish LUG Palikkatakomo would have an exhibit on an anime convention in Kuopion, medium-sized Finnish city 150 kilometers from me. I would naturally take part. Our theme was "popular culture overall" (con's theme, "Sport in anime" was a bit too small...) but I though it would be nice to have some anime stuff too, especially when Miyazaki's art has always had so huge influence on me. So I decided to finish Porco's flying boat. It took two Bricklink orders more and painly designing with pontoons, which are a bit offset to put them on line with the fuselage; The support cords were tricky too. This is not super sturdy, but stays on one piece with some swooshing and basic handling. The angled wings were challenging. The rest on two 4x4 plates with four studs.
 I had worked on things based on reference photos before with my Hobbit project, but this was quite different. It was more shape and measure-based model than those dwarves. Fortunately Art of Porco Rosso book had plenty of photos, including the blueprints of the plane. I managed to make it rather polished and aerodynamic. There are some studs on the sides, but I'm not bothered by them as there isn't much substitutes for those 12x3 wedges. The wings and the rudder took lot of curved sloped, but it was totally worth it. The details populate the engine, which was a pleasing bit to build. The propellor was a tricky bit: Two minifig hammer go inside the 2x2x3 cone, 1x1 cones are connected to them. There weren't any proper yellow propellor pieces so I had to built it. It doesn't spin freely.

I also built the pilot himself, Marco Pagotti, the Crimson Pig. I have been fiddling with character builds a lot lately so it was just natural. Not easy though, as it was challenging to make aviation goggles, snout and the handlebar moustache in such a small space. It came out quite well. It's also fun that the handlebar moustache is actually a handlebar...
 Savoia S-21 also needed a base. It needed to be slightly angled to make the display dynamic. I first tried to build it in white, but didn't have enough TECHIC bricks of liftarms, so I made it black and tiled it nicely. The plane was just small enough to fit in my photo studio and the pictured turned out nice.

It's better to be a pig than a facist pig. Remember that, boys and girls all over the world.