MOC: Tram 60 at Imperial Square

This is one of those creations that are sort of collection of odds and ends brought together. The tram - or a city train locomotive - was built for Palikkatakomo's locomotive contest at HupiCon 2018. It was originally supposed to be part of New Century diorama, but I didn't have parts to include it there. Anyway, I had been interested in building a vintage tram for some time. They are pretty, sign of era of inventions, and commonly present in contemporary photographs of early 1900s architecture that I use as a reference material.

Another main bit here is the statue, somewhat inspired by Franz Joseph I of Austria, the last emperor of Astro-Hungarian Empire and man of notorious moustache. The Statue was built for the display on HupiCon, located between my New Century City Block II and Oskari's old Finnish wooden town to make the promenade there a bit more interesting. It was built during the last evening before the event (and so was the tram) but I was very happy with it. And why not - greatcoat and friendly mutton chops moustache. It's simple but it works.

The tram was always going to be dark blue, even though the original idea of using dark blue 1x6x3 windscreens was shortly abandoned. Fortunately I still had plenty of curved dark blue parts; The colour is very regal, fitting for the age. The golden swirl ornaments on the sides were there from the beginning, too. But there were challenges. I first used very small train wheels used on regular bar-sized axles, but they were too small; luckily I had two actual train wheel bogeys from Pii Poo's tables, and they looked quite right - wheels on old trams are close to each other to enable turning is curves. The base here is mainly stacked plates, and the sides are made entirely with SNOT, 90 degrees on noses and 180 degrees on sides; as you can see, the yellow vintage windows are upside down! This made possible to use the pearl gold fence pieces on the hem. It's complicated but I like it.

The yellow line wasn't part of the original plan. Actually I doubted if both yellow and pearl gold would look bad on the same, moderately sized MOC, but it turned out quite good. The old yellow windows have been collected from Pii Poo's tables during the few past years (the small ones are from my father's childhood collection) and 14 was enough for a tram. The dark blue returns in the roof, which is quite accurate. The conductor might be a bit too modern - trams of the age seemed to simple use a cable - but this one looked good so I settled with it, having those bar-connection joint pieces perfect for this cause.

The tram actually aroused some discussion whether this is a locomotive or not and therefore can it enter the contest. I though it was, being a single rail vehicle with source of power in it. I edited it a bit, too, giving it a magnet buffer and throwing in a driver (the original photos of the entry didn't have any figs). The driver was left, but I restored the old buffers back home. I was allowed to enter and became fourth (no prizes, but got a small raffle prize), beaten by steam locomotives.

The base here was built to show both the tram and the statue. I acquired more light bley 2x2 tiles from LEGO store at Berlin in May to make some more urban scenery. I also added some dark tan, mud or sleet, to make the scene more realistic - historic LEGO creations sometimes tend to be a bit too clean to my opinion. I made also lot bigger base for the statue, using four lamp posts. The base is inspired by some photographs of old Dublin.




MOC: New Century City Block I

Hello readers. I posted New Century City Corner II in May and said that its predecessor would be posted any time soon. Well, here it is now. But as it's rather large block, 128x96 studs, I wasn't able to take photos from all angles in same way than I did with the Block II that is only half of this one's size. Therefore this is photographed and presented mostly in groups of three or four adjacent buildings. The first five were presented in New Century City Corner in April 2016. This is a large project - or was, as it was finished in February 2017, over year ago, to be displayed in Palikat Pinoon - Brilliant Bricks in Vapriikki museum in Tampere. It is still there, so if you can have perfect, all-around-look of this in real life, head to Vapriikki.

As noted elsewhere and before, the grand aim was to build a block of residential city buildings in style of early 20th Century; mostly in Art Nouveau, also called Jugendstil. There are no floors nor dividing walls and definitely no interiors. I wish there would be, but I'll rather spend my limited array of bricks on the stuff that is visible. I will discuss on individual buildings further on.
Left to right: House of Golden Frogs, discussed in post about New Century Corner; House of the Sword of Justice; House of the Firefighter Alliance.

House of the Sword of Justice

Building this one begin almost straight after I had moved to Tampere in summer 2016. I had won half of Brick Bank modular on Palikkatakomo contest and drafted it, and wanted to use the printed windows; they had nicely coloured mosaics and curved lines appropriate for Art Nouveau style. I also wanted to make sort of rounded pillars and an oddly shaped thing over the entrance. I don't know what it is, and why it is, but the building ended up having very eccentric feel and it felt fitting. The first level is also slightly unsymmetrical. The other corner buildings on this one are symmetric, and I wanted to make a difference here. 

One of the main inspirations here was Catalan Modernismo. Gaudi is the most famous architect of the movement, but my references here were slightly less extreme. Actually, the right side ended up looking like American steel-supported apartment building from the same era. It's not what I originally aimed to, but I quite liked the combination of Fabuland wrought-iron arches and new-ish ornamental fence pieces. The left side is more eccentric with sort of twisty window areas. I'm especially happy with the square window on the second floor. The middle part is again strange, with a large wound window and a balcony over sort of inset with a patinated statue of Justice in it, somewhat reminding of statues of saints in similar bays in Catholic architecture. Two guards on well, guard near the door enhance the official and legal setting of the building.
Building of the Firefighter Alliance

This one is inspired by two building in my hometown Tampere, both associated with Fire Brigades, hence the name. One is Central Fire Station, by Wivi Lönn, from 1908 and still in its original use, and the another one is the building of Volunteer Fire Department by Heikki Tiitola in 1910. The colour scheme draws itself from them, as well as the design with a tower on one side. The building itself is rather serene and typical compared to its neighbour. The lines are clear and details simple. The tower is rather usual brick- and plate hinge style. It has the egg-shaped dome from Agents set Robo Attack from 2009. The roofs use cheese sloped, which create a shingle-like effect I quite like. The back wall is actually a baseplate.

Buildings left to right: Scala Arcus,Corner of the Honour of the Empire, House of Sunrise.

Corner of the Honour of the Empire

This building has both Neo-Baroque and Art Nouveu details. The overall shape is very Baroque, and it is reflected on the name of the building, which is conservative and nostalgic to international reigns such Hasburg empire that shattered after the First World War in the early 20th century; And Baroque was in a way conservative and pompous. It is also noteworthy that while Jugendstil or Art Nouveu was popular in Finnish and Norway, neighboring countries like Sweden and Denmark preferred Neo-Baroque; those nations actually had more glorious past.

Anyway, the building. It was originally sort of a partner to House of the Secret Society of Aviation on the New Century Corner. The dimensions of the plan are same, 36x36, and the corner part is slid to its 45 degree angle in the same fashion with TECHNIC axles inside. The composition of brick surfaces and vertical pilasters are identical. In this one, the middle part sticks out around five studs, and the dome is compensated with a small turret with Baroque-style roof (it's very fragile). Lots of gold is used overall, as it felt fitting for the pompous agenda. The window design is much simpler than in the HotSSoA; It's almost church-like. However, the detail with two female figures on the facade is based on Art Nouveau design in Prague, originally placed over a doorway. The building was actually made six bricks and one plate higher prior to HupiCon 2018 in April to make it stand around as tall as its neighbours; it used to be a bit dwarfed by them.

Scala Arcus

Scala Arcus is, as indicated by its name, based on the large Scala arch piece on its third floor facade. It is 22 studs wide, which is unusual for a LEGO part. It also has some shapes very hard to achieve with usual pieces. I got it from my friends; thanks! It pretty much defined the whole building, which is Amsterdam-styled on the overall shape. Despite Amsterdam channel houses not being actual Art Nouveay style (they're older - sometimes from 1700th century), I think I managed to fuse the both styles. I also like how the aforementioned Fabuland wrought iron arch piece works as a smaller cousin of the large Scala arch. The ground floor has walls made of natural stone, typical for Finnish Jugendstil. I'm very happy with the ornamental frieze over the doorway.
House of Sunrise

This building was the last one built for the block. It has the overall same shape than Scala Arcus, fitting for rather thin modular building not on a corner of the streets. The colours are heavily based the parts available. I have plenty of those 2x2x2 slopes in dark orange, and I made a rather pleasant-looking bay windows with them. There are also few statues, one with curved dress made with jumper plates, and a mosaic of floral circle made using some very old printed tiles. The third and fourth floor feature large windows, and the white lines, portraying the sun's rays over the middle arch give the house its name. I'm happy with the colour composition of this one, even though it was in a way made of leftover pieces.

Left to right: House of Sunrise, Domus Lupus, House of Two Whistling Geezers, from New Century Corner

Domus Lupus

This one is the oldest of "new" buildings shown here. Most of it was build in Joensuu in summer 2016. At a time it was not going to be a corner modular - it is fully hinged in four points, so it could also have been used as a 48-studs wide building, but eventually was settled for the corner on usual 32x32 footprint. It in inspired by an Art Nouveau building in Turin, Italy, but unfortunately I don't have any reference pictures (that was two years ago). I wanted to make many different windows, including ones using old tyre pieces (third floor) and smaller ones with embedded round awnings. In the end, the building became very graphic and even disorderly mix of reddish brown and white, somewhat reminding of Duomo in Florence. The name deprives from two dogs over the main entrance. There's even some plants in the balconies, which is unusual on my modulars; don't know why.

And here's some photos to remind you what the New Century Corner looked like:



MOC: Sram, Senior Edificer

 Here's my second MTG creation, my Commander Sram, Senior Edificer (I'm planning to make another Commander deck with Slimefoot, The Stoaway). Sram is popular white commander due his great draw potential. I play him with less cheap equipments and more cool vehicles, because, well, I'll rather ride some trains than burn my deck. You can see a larger image of the card art here.

I like to use beautiful and rich colours in my creations and Sram offered great possibilities with them. Plane of Kaladesh has India-style feel on its clothing and culture, and it seemed delightful to re-create with bricks. As usual, I began with the head. The skin colour was a tough choice; art of Sram shows him in gloomy light, and skin colour of Kaladeshian dwarves seem to differ quite a bit. I felt that medium dark flesh could have been ideal, but I didn't have pretty much any of the needed pieces on that colour. I also considered reddish brown, but I wouldn't have had good fingers on it, and tan was closer to the original art anyway. I hope this doesn't seem much whitewashed, which is sometimes problem on fantasy settings adopted from variety of cultures. Then again, dwarves are Norse folklore, and Scottish by popular culture, so who knows?

Sram doesn't have beard, which is a bit sad, but then again I understand why they didn't make him stereotypical fantasy dwarf. He has a cool mutton chops though, and I felt I was building the Wolverine; fortunately the goggles differ him from Logan, who's also short and has sideburns. Sram also has his tool for picking teeth in his mouth, as noted in the flavour text of Sram's Expertise, another bit of source material for this creation.

The big pauldrons are good tool to define a character's silhouette. These are a bit adapted detail-wise but hopefully have the correct feel on them. The purple scarf is clearly seen on the card art, bit it was hard to detect exact colours of the coat or shirt, not to mention the trousers, which were completely out of pictures. I used dark orange, dark tan, sand green, dark green and dark blue as I like those colours and they worked nicely together. With the legs I ended up in baggy trousers suitable to Kaladesh's style, seen on creatures like dwarf warrior Deadeye Harpooner. Sram's right arm is bare, while the left one features sort of bracer with variety of tools in it. One belongs to one particular Time Lord.



MOC: Herald of Scales

 Hello readers, and happy July. I haven't been able to post as often as I hoped - I've got plenty of builds finished and some even photographed, but hey it's summer, I haven't been that much on computer anyway.

This was a fast, pleasant build, beginning with the idea of using Friends dress pieces as skirt segments for bigger character. Why? I got some of them free from LUG event, they have cool, mundane gold ornamentation and somewhat organic, round shape. They don't connect to anything very well, but I was able to connect them to clips.

The nature of the character wasn't defined from the start. I fiddled around with large Ninjago katana pieces to make angel-like wings for the start, but eventually settled with reddish brown skinned, ancient Egyptian-styled character. I think brown looks good with the simple, white dress, and I liked the idea of having some Egypt-ish jewellery, using some sand green with gold and trans blue. I wondered if the upper legs would look better in reddish brown, giving the supposedly warm environment for this character, but I settled for dark blue as it looked great with white and transparent blue.

The arms are new version of style used in my "Four Seasons" characters, scale being somewhat same than on those. The shoulders seemed too broad for a while but the hair balanced them to look natural enough. I didn't have any good finger pieces in reddish brown, so she wears white gloves. They likely didn't exist in real, ancient Egypt, but that's not the point, right? I was able to make some gold patterns to the gloves, I'm happy with them. They recall the ornamentation on the skirt.

The hair was fun. The idea of using chains on a braided bowl cut came with the Egyptian idea, and I had had those black chains around for a while from LUGBULK. There are two layers on them on two rigid tubes. Atlantis gate key with a squid pattern is used as a sort of headdress; nice piece but rarely seen on MOCs. They eyes are similar to aforementioned Four Seasons, with batarang eyes.

The legs have suitable sandals and sort of gaiters to make them interesting. Subtle patterns are done using pearl gold bars, sais and printed Elves tiles. Boat studs joints allow some movement and mandatory CCBS shells are used on the knees. The upper legs design was originally done for another build, but this one was finished faster; It's sturdy, has organic shaping on most sides and hides the ball socket almost completely.

She also has a staff with scales; one cup with a sword, another with bread. Profound, right? Basic stuff, scales of life and death. It was going to be a wizard's staff, or a shepherd's, but I liked the scales idea. It took a while to get it work! Elephant tails are used here - one of those cool pieces I can't get enough. What a great shape they have. Another Atlantis gate key associates the staff with the headdress, and the chain wrapping the handle is metaphor for something important or deep, probably.

- Eero.