The strategic battle suit IV series continue here in their red and black world. This is HAVOC-DISSECTION IV, unit for missions with more heavy-set objectives. It is equipped with an ion-axe for havoc and a neon knife for dissections; it's a large knife.

This MOC is around three months old. The hair is also bit different in some photos. The weather was not on my side. (I photograph outdoors. We have a garden. The garden is nice.) First is was very cold, and cold means the joints (brick joints, not mine) don't work properly and limbs fall of rather than bend, so posing is frustrating. On the next two sessions my perish was the wind, which made HD-IV fall of the set-up and get wrecked. On second time one of those balloon panels lost their clip used for the connection with the sausage, and as I don't have a spare, I just redesigned the connection with some plate modifieds. I wonder if people not reading this even notice the difference; some of the earlier photos were good so I'm posting them anyway. I ended up having lot of shots as the weather was quite good during the final shoot; there are some indirect sunlight in some of them, creating dramatic effects. The new hair connection is better, as the sausage one was rather luck-based and fell off a lot. Otherwise this is a surprisingly sturdy creation - I have actually got a bit better on that subject. The feet are just quite small, so the centre of gravity leaves it easily in even slight breeze. But here we are now.

And the MOC? It began with the legs, as things like this usually do. They're quite simple ones, and feature more TECHNIC than the previous ones. I wanted to use those Glatorian ankle guards. They're cool parts, one of my favourite Bionicle parts. They have good shape and useful, mundane connection points; something can be actually built inside them without any interfering pegs or axles (like on those Nuva shoulders). I've used them as dragon's scales, for example. Here they are knee armours, which is sort of inverted original use. I also like how the boat stud joints under them work with the 2x2 dished underneath; similar but not identical shapes. Red handlebar pieces make me happy too. The feet, with their signature raven wings (I've restocked), feature a compromise design due to lack of red 1x2 curved slopes alias the baby bows. At least the spikes make sense on this more aggressive variation.

The skirt was more challenging and too many tries. I think the roof triangle slopes (excellent old pieces) were there quite early on, but the first composition was different. The front was open, and there wasn't any red; they were just some black panels. It didn't work; it lacked the feel. I made couple of those red-rimmed isosceles triangles and connected them to 90 degrees with five fantastic tube pieces. The triangles are nicely graphical; they have sort of retro-futuristic look on them. The tubes are more modern, and give a feeling of stretching leather or some synthetic material connecting the armour plates. I feared they would be impossible to get on the right angle, but new-ish cool "plate, modified 1x1 rounded with handle" saved the day. Such a versatile piece; The same is used on the new hair connection. Front panel consisting of dinosaur tail pieces finishes the skirt; it remind of the tube pieces on the sides by pattern and looks a bit like a tied loincloth. The is quite wide and has obviously feminine feel on it while still leaving plenty of room for movement of the legs.

The torso lower torso uses same wedge slope parts than the two previous creations of this series. The sides are red to continue the colour stripe of those tubes on the skirt sides. The chest armour is quite lot like the first version used here; it had sort of wings that went over the shoulders, but they were bound to be removed to leave more space for the hair. The armour uses the tube pieces again, and has similar look than SOAR-SWIFT IV's. This is bulkier though, and covers more space. It again reflects the battle-ready nature of the character and matches the wider skirt design. 
The arms are further developed from the previous model. They're nicely sturdy, a new thing for me; arms of RADIANT-EXERT IV and, for example, Do-it-yourself-Seraph, were hell to pose with. I'm also very much like the little emblems on the upper arms, made of couple of modern plume pieces. I'm sure I'll use that detail in the future. However, some compromises due to lack of aforementioned red baby bows (and boat studs, too) are done here.  The arms are asymmetrical, which is not a bad thing per se; I though the left right arm would be "battle arm", as it has a bulky armour and a trans-pink Clickits bit to control the energy flow (right?). The fingers were those Exo-Force originating robot arms at first, but their bulkiness and length fought with the overall elegance, and fingerless gloves were utilized in it, too. I hope those skeleton arms would be available in other colours than tan and white more widely; the black ones are such rare and expensive, and there isn't any good substitutes. Bar holder with clip just doesn't do, even if the hole in the end is ignored, it looks too short and stubby.  The right arm is similar to previous model of the series, except for the 1x3 curved slope, which features a sticker; no idea where it from, but it fits the attitude of the character, as a little personal tweak on the suit. There will be more of that in the future.

The idea of using the balloon panel pieces as the hair was there from the beginning. I have four of them, not enough for a balloon, but enough for a wild wide hairdo. Dark orange is such a beautiful colour, too. I though it would be really hard to make the rest of the hair work with this rather limited colour, but it turned out very good; the basic structure is similar to SOAR-SWIFT with those angles side bangs. I wanted to have a some sort of visor; it was two angled baby bows at first, but I ended up using one of those car spoiler parts for a unique shape. There's also high-tech earphones and some antennae for communication.
Then there are the tool of trade, i.e. large, axe-like polearm with ion-thin blade and the neon knife. I said I began with the legs but honestly I think it was the axe. I made some lecture sketches of it and made a version of the blade near after moving here in November; the first version was more pickaxe-like but I tweaked it so that the blades form two squares. The two holes connect to the holster in the back that can also hold the knife, made of a Belville door. Unlike the shield of RADIANT-EXERT IV unit this one doesn't include glitter. Similar swords were used on General Killjoy in 2014 but this one features sturdier connections, using old thinner type of 1x1 plate modified with ring, which is of same width than the door. 



Slalom Probemaster

This MOC is based on simple need to build something completely different, in other words not character builds nor Art Nouveu architecture related projects. I also wanted to use some new pieces and develop some tablescraps further.

Slalom Probemaster is an unarmed robot unit designed for icy landscapes. It is likely related to Clam-type heavy diving suit from a diorama named Novo Atlantis from summer 2015. Same lamp/eye sensor is used here, and the both have bulbous, even mushroom-like shape I find pleasant in subjects like this. It's probably inspired by the numerous Ma.K creations around in every October. I also wanted to be the bot to be unarmed. Violence seems to be very common in sci-fi creations compared to its fortunately low presence in everyday life (at least my everyday life) and trying to give a robot personality and function without "weapon of choice" was in a way a challenge, and a differentiation from the norm. This is an interesting phenomena. And definitely includes a pacifistic message.

The built itself began with the cylinders leading to eye sockets and the 10x10 dish above it. These are the areas most similar to Clam-type diving suit. The eye tubes were different on the earlier version. They rose above the dish in somewhat slug-like fashion. The legs were also part of the original idea. I wanted to use those angled TECHNIC frame pieces, sort of simplified thin liftarms. They look uninteresting parts at the first sight, but they work nicely with the boat stud joint connection and have simple and even elegant form. I had tablescrapped some pincer arms with them and those larger ski pieces, but here the skis ended up being just skis. The pincher arm ended up in another creation, which is finished except for the scenery of it. I also wanted to use the shock absorber pieces. I've had those since I was a kid, but despite their overall coolness I have never used them, or at least I can't remember any times. They're here mostly for aesthetics, but they actually absorb shock a bit; they're of slightly different length in the pictures, but it's hard to notice.

The large nose using those Bionicle parts was a late addition. I wanted to use some Bionicle stuff here. I haven't used in much during the last few years, which is a shame. Bionicle building is challenging, hard, strange and takes lot of skill. Never overlook a Bionicle builder. But I'm drifted away from that form of building a bit, as SYSTEM is so much easier. With curved sloped you don't have to compromise that much. Here using the Bionicle pieces is just a slight trick to make the thing weirder. It gives the bot a sort of snout.

There is also a some scenery. It's simple and I'm not sure if the tan bars sticking from the snow appear as straws as they're supposed to, but I didn't have much inspiration from winter landscape in minifigure scale. The bot is accompanied by sole explorer to give it scale. There was two minifigs at first, but arranging them on the base didn't work. It can be questioned why the figure has to walk, as there's a massive bot skiing next to it. I do not know the answer, but I rather enjoy the oddity of the setting.



Visual Arts

This MOC is based on an existing piece of art, Czech Art Nouveu artist Alphonso Mucha's Study on Visual Arts, which is a sketch for one of four decorative panels depicting arts forms (visual arts, poetry, dance and music) from 1898. Like the previous creation, bust of Archchancellor Ridcully, this is an old WIP rescued and finished after moving. This is not that ancient though, I began building it around one of a half years ago, perhaps.         

The goal was to achieve a likely pose unlike those I've done before; Mucha's line is very lively, especially on these studies, and it felt something like a building from a live model (I don't know if anyone has ever done it). Actually, it began with a pair of arms, but they were too big: Too long, too thick, completely off the scale... But I proceeded with them for a while, made most of the torsoa and the legs, and experimented with a cloth made of those tail pieces, and had a head similar to the finished version, but due to overscaled arms it didn't work out, and was abandoned. 

The early version had one large difference and it was the setting. I had experimented with 1x3 bow pieces and built some cool lattice-like tablescraps that looked a bit like sliced mushrooms. With couple of those I built a chair that consisted of swirly yellow curves; it was a beautiful piece of furniture, but after all it didn't work. The back rest looked awkward with the figure's forward-leaning pose, and the style was more akin to cast-iron neorenaissance designs from 1800s than swan-neck-lined Art Nouveau objects. I tried to remodel it with more elegant legs, but it didn't have the knack. I must use those tablescraps on an another build, because this figure went outside, to a riverside, where admiring a flower made more sense and gave the creation new fresh atmosphere. Round rainbow is a call-back to Mucha's round ornamentation motifs in his work.

The new arms have a unique design that works only on a models with specific posing; this enables natural width as complicated joints are not needed; making them on this scale would be very hard on monochrome tan. I like how the curved slopes add some shape to the elbow. A tan tap is used on the shoulder, and 1x1 quarter round tile hides it nicely without making the joint too blocky. Another large challenge when finishing the build was the hair. Realistic hair colours, especially on lighter tones, are quite hard - as the skin here is tan, it can't be used on the hair. I was skeptic how medium dark flesh would work - I didn't have too much trust in my collection of it. But in other hand, the "persian arch" pieces created very nice texture, and even though the hair has bit of thrown-together look on it, I think the shade is beautiful and the whole is decent. It's quite close to the mundane colours on Mucha's original.