Mangee Primula, the Compedition reporter

Third of the figures displayd with Spire of Tradition is Mangee Primula, the journalist reporting from Speeder Bike race. Idea of media presence was part of the series from the beginning, but it ended up being (so far) the last thing I built. We made a long trip around Finland in July and some principles for this was thought out during it, including the hair and the equipment. Initial idea included lot of dark azure, but it was ultimately stripped out to belt and stockings above boots.

The first part I actually built was the hair, which uses dark green "ski" Bionicle feet from Karzahni, known as great Bionicle parts pack. They are accompanied again with cut-out corner 1x2 curved slopes that form short side bangs. There's also a vibrant pair of earphones, essential part of journalist's gear. The back of the head is somewhat flat, and I used lot of time trying to solve it, but making it bigger made the ponytail point too far to the back. Those Bionicle feet require substantial space for connection, and I wanted to have a heavy band (dark red is used) dividing the hair. Fortunately the earphones hide the flatness on most angles.

Colours are in focus on this series, so I wanted to utilize colours I don't use often. One of them is dark purple, which I'm not usually big fan of - old purple and magenta are just more vibrant - but which subtle elegance has grown on me, at least a bit. So there's a micro jacket in dark purple and its complimentary colour yellow, and dark pink shirt consisting of layered flower pieces around it. The flowers have bar connection, so connecting them in different heighs is possible, if not the sturdiest of connections. But it works fine, as they're very light pieces and are not pulled by any external forces. he pattern is nicely fluffy, contrasting with clean, streamlined jacket. 

The skirt gave me lot of problems - getting the angle with the belt right while leaving enough room for some posing of the upper legs. MANEUVER-STRATAGEM IV was earlier build that used similar structure and its solutions were used here. The final design ended up being quite short on the sides, but I guess it's all right; the CCBS shells on the sides actually connect to the same axle as the hip joint, but it doesn't cause any major issues. The upper legs are very usual, but I finally managed to get my hands to some 3x3x2 cones in dark azure, and white lace trim fitted them, as well as the fluffy shirt. The boots were more challenging. The first iteration were very high heels with crazy bat wing motif and gold buckles, and they used Star Wars Ultrabuild leg armours, but they didn't fit the colourful aesthetics at all. The new version was cheerful lime green and dark teal composition, almost like some rubber boots; CCBS knee armour is not perfect, but hides the joints. The extra layer of brick under the sole was added later, as Mangee turned out being just a bit too short (due to abandoning the bat heels, maybe), and adding baby bows on the caps gave them some nice shape.

Finally, I made a interview gear with small portable recorder and a microphone. They're not super modern, as I enjoyed contrast between somewhat vintage, "proper" electronics and bright, colourful clothing. Having actual wire makes them feel more functional, too, adding another binding element to the composition. The microphone uses one of Parts Festival elements from last autumn

So - is this the end of speeder bike contest? Well, I don't have any new builds for it unpublished, nor under construction, but there's still some group shots to be published, at least. A while ago I had a talk with fellow builder who complained that he had lost of play and fun of building; part of by play of bricks is posing and shooting, posing and shooting these characters. It doesn't necessarily include elaborate backstories, but body language can tell something about them (unknown to me, too, or generated during the photographing) and there's fun in finding out who your characters actually are. Shooting multiple figures emphasized this, though takes more time (it's sometimes tricky to literally balance them!). I know I should also take photos of the whole set-up, figures and speeders and spires and all, but my current "studio" in not big enough. I might try something, who knows. As a complete piece of brick art, this was supposed to be displayed in series of LUG shows, but no one knows when that will be possible. In the meantime, I might build some additional characters - there's something that makes me tick in these bright and radiant characters. It's part of breaking the assumption that it takes a weapon to define an action figure.



Lith Kalix


Lith Kalix is another character displayed with Spire of Tradition. She's not fan of particular speeder bike rider, just a local enjoying the event. The build was based on part usages and colours and there's no deeper intention here. I had got some medium nougat pieces along bow parts needed for New Century City Block III's SNOT corner, and was finally able to make a character with medium nougat skin colour. This required cheese slope variant as 1x2 45 degree double slope doesn't exist in medium nougat (nor, for example, dark tan). This pulls the neck joint further back, which can be a bugger, but not a huge problem.

Another piece I wanted to use was that printed 2x2x2 brick from Creator Modular skate house. With colourful graffiti pattern it looked very fitting for this setting. A dark red short top was uilt around it. Block shape is not easy in such body part, so it is angled with a joint and some tiles are stack inside (illegally) to form a knot of exeeding fabric. Short top is used because I wanted to emphasize the medium nougat, once I finally had enough to use, and 2x4x2 round panel forms the stomach. Both upper and lower torso were bulked up later on, as the scale turned out too small compared to the other figures of this series. The lower torso uses cool purple flame -printed 2x2 curved slopes from unknown source, as they fitting. The hip joint is slightly narrower than usual, and this subtle shaping is continued to the upper legs. Magenta, one of my favourite Lego colours, is used to make a strong contrast with black, and magenta cherries are used as the boot laces. Otherwise, the legs are of the usual type. 

The style of the legs continues to the gloves. There are no medium nougat finger parts, so gloves were the only option. Cherries are again used as laces. The shoulder and upper arm design was very different at first, and stayed that way for couple of months, bugging me badly all the time, until I changed it. It used medium nougat 1x2 plate with two clips, and the rest was very cluttered, fragile and hard to pose. Having joint of skin colour was too small benefit for the price, and more usual (and somewhat blocky) design with 1x1 tiles with clips and 1x2 bricks worked lot better. It was a black spot for me too long and I'm happy I changed it, despite this version isn't the most elegant neither.

The hair uses several purple shades. Hair is constantly exciting building subject, as in its flowing and polychrome nature it's as far as it gets from building blocks. Making multicoloured hair works best with transparent parts, but using several shades close to each other is viable too. However, here the different shades form their own "colour blocks" to keep the shapes coherent and noise low. Inverted curved slopes make lot of work again, as with Birgey Raiseel's magenta hair.

As an accessory, I gave Lith a skateboard, using same magenta colour but this time fading into white. It's quite simple SNOT structure with gradient and oddly constructed axle. It uses pins asymmetrically, which make the wheels bit wobbly and balancing very hard, but as seen on the pictures, possible nevertheless.



Takomo Magante, Sushi Chef


This is Takomo Magente, sushi chef from Spire of Tradition published yesterday. I experimented on using minifig hands as eyes on male character, here on the first time; the speeder bike race series features mostly female characters, with this stylised and streamlined face technique; as I already have noted, this comments on masculine atmosphere on some sports events in real life. Another reason is, to be honest, that I find making those female characters on their trendy apparel more interesting than corresponding male characters. My male characters tend to be more humorous and brusque, almost every time bearded, and somewhat short (two latter match here, too). Maybe they're all self-portraits

I began this one with the head. Most interesting bit is the hair, with its tall black man-bun. It uses tentacles leg pieces from Disney CMF Hades, which I traded from local LEGO seller Pii Poo's minifig swap point (maybe for one Series II surfing high school bully figure). It is topped with ring made of new macaroni tubes and a 3x3 dish. I like the overall rounded feel. Rubber band bobble is there just for the looks, and to bring bit colour around. Moustache uses black sausages ("Tapola") and beard one of those nice and versaitile rock pieces.

The costume is traditional simple kimono with some modern additions. White, bright light orange and dark green made a great combination, and among original ideas was usage of cut-out corner baby bows in dark green to make the 45 degree angle collar. It turned out to be more ch

allenging than excepted, and they don't quite meet the shoulder parts, but maybe it's close enough. Rest of the shaping is subtle, with flowers used as toggles. "LOVE" printed tiles from Beatles submarine bring the modern touch, along with blue and red element-themed sleeves, fitting the cyberpunk world. Bare legs and wooden Geta sandals, on other hand, refer back to tradition. With dark red colour scheme, picked due to having needed parts available, they turned out quite fancy. I'm particularly happy with the feet design. Lack of leg articulation, which is often only option with characters with long robes, makes the shaping easy. 



Spire of Tradition

 The third and last spire, the Spire of Tradition, was actually the first one finished. It has the same basic principle and structure as the two previous ones, only the aesthetics and colour scheme are different; as name suggest, they draw from wonders of the past rather than the new bright present (future to us). This is seen on traditional subjects of ornamentation and more mundane colour scheme. However, the spire also serves a purpose on busy life of speeder bike race grounds, as it hosts a sushi stall. People's need for food hasn't gone anywhere, and some things last.

The idea behind this grew from one Japanese-styled lantern on a side of another spire. However, its design was very clunky and simple, and I redesigned it completely into something more elegant and bigger, well fitting to be the top of a spire. The translucent window panels are chosen placing small light (led candle, probably) inside in mind. The shape is based on wooden Törö lanterns with upwards-widening sturcture and folded roof.

The sushi stall consists of large yet simple sign and elegantly shaped table for preparing and serving food. The big sushis are recycled from an assortment I made for MOC Wars in March; this was the intention from the beginning. The sign was originally lime green, but that clashed too severely with red and was redesigned; the other spires have enough vibrant combinations, and more mundane colours here balance the whole. Ornamental fence friezes were a last-minute addition; 1x1 trans-red tiles are placed on white plates and suspended into the square holes of the fences. The little paper lantern hanging from the sign was around from the beginning but found its place only later. On the side of the spire, there is also a small attachment advertising included seaweed, wasabi and ginger strips.

The table has a free form with rounded bay for the chef. Various accessories are placed here, including bowls and bottles of ingredients. There's a dark green fish under gutting, using mermaid tail (I have few, and this is the first time I use one), and a mat for rolling the sushi. On the public side there's a little display of chopsticks and soy sauce bottles and bowls with a folding screen made of printed Ninjago glass panels, connected with lever bases. Finished pieces are also displayed here. Behind the pillar, on  the private side, there is a fridge and a small safe box for money. The fridge is decorated with magnets and postcards, as usual - also referring to more snazzy nature of the overall setting of the speeder bike contest.

On the another side there is a big attachment, featuring a red serpent-like dragon winding around the sign. Its design is based on older Chinese-inspired dragon models, Dragon Dance and Gale Serpent Arises from 2016. However, I aimed for more cheerful appearance. I finally managed to use a special flame piece from Power Miner's magma monster's back as a beard; it is connected with thin 1x3 liftarm. The dragon refers to carp seen on Spire of Zeal and Chinese myth of carps turning into dragons by leaping the Dragon Gate at the Yellow River; most recognize this tradition from evolution of Pokemon Magicarp into Gyarados.

This display also features three new character builds. The sushi chef is only male character in this series so far (subtly commenting masculine atmosphere of many real-life sports events) and an experiment of minifig hand eyes technique on a male character. Purple-haired character was just build without clear aim to populate the setting and use some colour combinations - she is not fan of any particular contestant. Finally, there is a new reporter presenting media, a fitting addition to the scene. These characters will get their own posts during the following days.


Collage of all the attachments from Spires of Zeal, Fancy and Tradition.