Johnny Thunder and the Cave of Uku-Li

This is my second MOC Wars entry. The category is 22, SYSTEM Crash: "Create a SYSTEM style build interacting with a real-world object that has somehow crossed the boundary between the realities. How are the brick-men taking it? Are they weaponizing the Kraggle, running from the Sharp-I or studying the mysterious ‘Instructions’?". So, a SYSTEM MOC with real-work object woven in. The "object" here is a cat-tree with cat in. The cat in this case is Ukuli, our youngest and newest cat. She's named after old Finnish word for Huuhkaja, Eurasian Eagle Owl. She looks like one with hairy ears, grim glare and tendency to dwell in burrows.  She's very shy.

In scale with minifigures, Ukuli made a perfect cryptid, so I made an addition to the cat tree  - A cave mouth installed on the hole of its box. First I planned to hang it from above, but I ended up making it structurally simpler and just setting it on a stack of boxes. The basic structure has its quirks anyway, and is very sturdy. It's basically a 32x32 square made of TECHNIC bricks. Each side has TECHNIC brick, two plates and another TECHNIC brick; and with 2/5 rule, this makes rigid 90 degrees connections to each corner. That means the cave mouth consists of four panels built in three different directions. These rock layers overlap each other, hiding the gaps. I quite like the effect: It's stable, and shape of the cliff is more interesting than it would have been if I built it only upwards, traditionally.

As usual for Adventurers scenes not taking place on desert, the whole thing is furbished with vegetation. I started with 2000s palm leafs, which are connected to black sausages. Stacks of new grass stalks - from Pick-a-Brick - function as add-ons to classic bush pieces, and stacks with dark pink flowers hanging from the cliff bring colour to the composition. They are balances with one blossom on the right wall. The ground is more overgrown. There's small thicket there, where the little stream of water falls, made with piraka minifig spines and green cattle horns; the forest floor on the other side has those "micro palm tree" stems, hiding some bones of previous victims of Uku-Li. The vegetation felt somehow mediterranean, as I didn't add any big trees to prevent the model from becoming too crowded; honestly, big trees are quite challenging to build anyway, and are not that common in creations. There's a small round bush though, made of five-point stems and bright green flowers. And yes, there's the Dublo grass piece from my Iron Builder in 2017 - the last part that I added to this!

The MOC also features minifigs, which is relatively uncommon for me. They're classic characters from Adventurers subtheme Orient Expedition. I loved that theme as a kid! I get every set, or at least every real set, not counting Kabaya polybags with minifigures that came in the sets anyway. But it's 30s or 20s feel, combined with oriental themes, is something that can be seen on my creations even today. These are updates versions of classic minifigs. The heads are original, but Johnny and Pippin got dual-moulded boots from LEGO House PaB, Pippin has new pith helmet with hair from CMF line, and Doctor Killroy has a new fabulous hairpiece. There's also couple of classic skeletons, one sporting Tiki mask from CMFs that I finally got to use somewhere.



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