Midsummer Night

Midsummer night, buzz of nightingales and song of mosquitoes! This one is inspired by endless light of northern nights; and this is my last entry for Summer Joust 2021, the category being, of course, Creating an atmosphere. The best category! I wanted again to make a peaceful skene, something different from usual "little men in armour" type of things. But I made a castle (a rather two-dimensional though) so it's clearly a Castle model, right? Medieval to the bone.

Forced perspective is hard with large figures, because the thing on the background has, naturally, to be bigger than the thing in the foreground. With minifigs this is not much an issue, as most things are bigger than minifigs. But large figs are large and... anyway, the background is 52 modules wide. This is my second biggest model this year, after Grand Hotel Kudelma. The background also uses different scales: The spruce is naturally closer than the castle, even though they are both against the sundown and all black; slight gradient from black to green via dark green represents the hills rising towards the larger crags with the castle and the tree; there's even a gradient in the stream, reflecting the blues of the upper sky (atmosphere?) though it's not well visible on this angle. The stream supposedly goes under the bridge, as there is a lake behind it; line of dark brown marks the surface, with the water reflecting the darkest reds of the sky. And the blues of the sky, with the blue and white flowers, sandwhich the red gradient. I'm happy with the effect.

The figure has a re-imagined folk costume, drawing impressions from general aesthetics more than any actual regional specialities; there are connections to Finnish tradition, but on very shallow level. The approach was somewhat similar on my Glassblower model in 2019. With those stockings and skirt it's probably a bit modern - but this also enables more dynamic posing, capturing the atmosphere, which was the point all along! Possibilities with dancing figures came forth with YMPÄRI YMPÄRI YMPÄRI animation about an year ago. This figure is less posable; however, the asymmetrical dress was designed to allow some very specifig posing, left leg up to the side. 

I'm very happy how the hair turned out. Medium nougat works nicely as realistic hair colour, but connectors in this shade are limited. This leans to simples possible method, mostly stacking 1x2 plates. The flowers in the hair enhance the summer night feel, creating a connection to the flowerbed on the ground and adding mundanely festive effect. The baron's got a castle, but she's got the whole world.



Mongolian couple

 The second entry for Summer Joust 2021! This is for Asian setting category, which is a fitting one, as I am not stranger to this theme; my Tea Ceremony scene from 2019 would have made a good entry. And I would glady have made another model with samurai themes. Only history of Japan was already well represented within the entries, and I wanted to seek for something more surprising. I checked several regions and their cultures and ended up seeking pictures of traditional Mongolian clothing. It is of course very diverse culture, not limiting to Genghis Khan and horseman armour. The usual attire is called deel - I made one for the male figure - and impressive hats are essential. Warm clothes are used on the winter, of course. What's not to like? Even the colours seemed to be vibrant and beautiful.

I built the male figure with his deel and tall fur hat. I like dark azure, but hadn't managed to use it in large quantity before. Here my decent array of 2x4 curved slopes made the deel, with pleasanty slight angle with the front flap. Ornamental sleeves and collar above the belt-line bring some colour to it, but overall I wanted to keep it simple and elegant. The boots are traditional curved toe style (similar to lapikas boots in Finland) with ornaments made using pretty printed CCBS shells that matched to colour scheme nicely. The fur rim of the hat covers upper half of the eyes, creating a feel of universal male stubborness. Such details tend to bring character builds to life!

The female figure sports my synthesis of various traditional dresses that vary by tribe and area. It is not supposed to present any specific attire - there weren't simple enough reference material for such. Material I found had plenty of variation, but bright colours were overall very common. This features medium azure overcoat with long, warm sleeves and a black ornamented dress underneath Looking it now, with a black background, the dark green shoulders should probably have been red for the silhouette to read better, bummer... Anyway, I really like the sleeves - they use sausages to make the slight curve on the elbow. This means very limited poseability, but the pattern would have been impossible with an elbow joint! The hat uses inside-out tire for unique, flowing shape; and the blackness of the hair has contrast with the white, connected earrings.



Inadvisedly Applied Billiard

Summer Joust! I was asked to participate in the team category of Space Jam 2020 by one anonymous builder, and I of course agreed. Unfortunately, he couldn't take part, but I made five entries to the contest anyway - Aiden.Builds was my new team-up - and I got the Jam Master prize, USC A-Wing. Gotcha! Gosh. But that was not all. There was an additional prize for those who participate both on Space Jam and Summer Joust 2021 so... I couldn't resist! 

This is my first entry, for "High Fantasy" category. Naturally I could not resist making a Discworld build for it. And neither could I resist having it feature my favourite character (on fiction, in general, probably) Archchancellor Mustrum Ridcully. You might have guessed; the latest "about miniland-scale" figure was made only few months ago, and I've also made a 1:2 scale bust, two usual-scale-figures, and a vignette featuring a minifig... Now, I'll post more details about the figures on another post, but the main point was to give him some expression (like on recent Rincewind) and made him poseable enough to go fly fishing, bang things with his staff and, indeed, play billiard.

Ridcully uses a full-lenght billiard table as his desk, and files his stuff on "first available surface" method - with logically chaotic results. There's a little scene in Going Postal where 40 % (or something) of think engine Hex's rune-time is used to create little portals that transfer the ball, upon being about to connect into additional stuff, into another pocket-dimension where it retains is speed and drag until it comes out from the other side, enabling the Archchancellor to play snooker without cleaning his table. The system was naturally created by young-ish wizard Ponder Stibbons, who holds most of the imporant posts in the Unseen University. Now you know. And that is what I built!

I've made lot of figures, but I've made scaled furniture to them only few times. Billiard table is overall quite simple item (I like playing billiard, but haven't in couple of years, due to pandemic) with rectangular overall shape, but the pocket geometry posed some challenges! I made the green baize with SNOTed bricks (didn't have enough tiles) circled with usual brick-on-brick, with again SNOT bumbers with sligh baby bow corners. I'm happy with it... but very close look reveals that the balls (original 2001 ball joints) can't fit the corner pockets. Well, they can, but only because they are not full spheres (antistud/axle hole on one side). The 22x36 module sturcture rests on lavender 16x16 and 8x16 plates, with "thick bundle of pipes" underside that would connect it into Hex.

Along the figures and the table there had to be all the stuff that has been piled up along the years. Going Postal mentions paperwork, tankard, pipe ash and a skull with dribbly candle on it; they are included (if pint counts as tankard) along with another candle, pack of hooks, some letters, an open book, a hourglass, Ridcully's pipe, potion, etc... and a fly vise, a device for holding artificial fishing fly, a familiar item from my childhood home. And some balls, of course. Enough chaos for Ridcully to practice cue sports in!

As an additional reference I added the Eater of Socks from The Hogfather. He's hiding under the table, likely preying upon some socks. Who wouldn't want to have the little elephant around, even on the expense of some soft footwear?


Virva Staccato

Hello everyone, it has been summer for a good while now. I haven't been that active here, but no fears - I've been building anyway and there are plenty of upcoming content. I also happened to graduate as an architect in May, so hi ho hey, you can call me architect Okkonen now.
 This model was built for a specific reason - it accompanies my recently published review of 41449 Andrea's Family House on New Elementary. The set has bright colours and a music subtheme and they guided me to build a musician to accompany Zinnia Superfuzz and Doreen Inverardi. This also meant that the scale had be quite large - these musical figures are taller than my usual ones. Drummer was an obvious choice: I wanted to use 9x9 dishes as cymbals now that I had several in pearl gold, and a drum kit made it easier to use house-based parts from the set. And, of course, the band needed a drummer.
New Elementary is a part-spesialising site, so the model uses several of the more interesting pieces in the set. The first idea was those sunglasses. They use transparent brown opal/satin trans-black window glasses, connected with lever bases. The effect is surprisingly cool! The arms of the spectacles are rather weird, as they blend with the hair, but more logical appliances didn't work. I think the 45 degree angle of the glasses fits well the snazzy aesthetics of this character. Other pieces from the set include the stickered magenta 2x4 tiles as the collar and the long macaroni tiles on the belt; the colours are based heavily on the set, and the walls and the columns of the house got new life on the bass drum! 

I've built a set of drums before. They were Tomi Leppänen's drums on my Circle project, and were based on a real-life kit. This one is a figment of my imagination, and not completely realistic: the cymbals are same size, for example. The bass drum construction uses the usual "round tower" technique of 1x2 bricks and 1x1 round bricks. Dark turquoise and light aqua are from the set's colours scheme, but I had to add vibrant coral as it was the only colour I had enough 1x1 quarter tiles to fill the macaroni tiles! I really like the pattern though, as well as the "mess" of metal tubes and their contrast with the bright, cool apparel of the figure. I omitted the drum mics as they didn't feel that essential, and would have taken lot of precious, useful pieces! 
 The model has also some results of my 4,3 kg wheel haul from the spring. The divided hair uses some balloon tires, and refers to microdoll Liz's hairpiece in the set. The other ends of the larger tyres are inverted to fit the smaller tire half in snugly, and the rubber bands work as (rather thin) bobbles. Large, cool 90s hubs are also used as the floor tom; their shaping is beautiful!

Next up more historical models - the deadline of Summer Joust is already closing in!



Chandra Nalaar

 I play simple casual tabletop MTG almost daily with Pinja and I've made several characters from Magic universe in the past, beginning with Do-It-Yourself Seraph in 2018. Chandra here is the sixth build of this theme, after Sram, Slimefoot, Nissa and the Wanderer. I had had idea of building Chandra at some point since finishing Nissa two years ago, and she finally materialized early summer.

Chandra has quite iconic look with some alterations. She has a suit of armour consisting of chain mail (sometimes scale mail), metal plates and dark red leather bits; I achieved the chain mail with - surprise - chain pieces, that are connected to the back (the back is far from accurate, but I'm not bothered by it). The metal plates are done with CCBS armour add-ons for smooth texture and stability, and the leather bits are usual rounded dark red pieces, this and that; I couldn't resist using "tongue" windscreen part on the skirt loincloth thing. It's not super accurate, but flows well with the rest. As a curiosity, the bust is built in 45 degree angle.

Chandra has some sort of dieselpunk-ish mechanical bits, with a cool tube going from her chest to her back and then to her arm. The chest tube is made with macaroni piece and a short ribbed hose, fitting the metal panels well. The arm tube is just some pneumatic hose; it's not that pretty, but came in fitting lenght and was flexible enough to allow some posing. The lower arm is an astromech droid torso.

Chandra got also two different heads, as I wanted to build both fire-up hair version and a normal one (I'd always like to see more non-burning Chandra art, but the flame head look gorgeous on a model!). The normal version has a mid-lenght hair built with the surprisingly vast array of dark orange curved slopes, and usual black eyes. The fired-up supercharged version consist of many different flame pieces - Speedorz wings, Chima fire wave flame wings, big flames... and several usual trans-(neon)-orange pieces like headlight bricks and boat studs. It looks very nice on natural light, and transparent hair captures something of the happy polychrome of actual human hair! This version also features orange eyes.

I of course wanted to take pair shots with Nissa - with some embarrasing results. I didn't bother to check their scale, and Nissa was just way too big and tall compared to new Chandra! I first gave Chandra three studs of extra lenght on the legs and took couple of dozen of pictures; they looked ridiculous. You simply can't make a person taller just by stretching the legs! During the shoot, I also got irritated by two-year-old structural solutions of Nissa's upper torso, and ended up reworking quite a bit of her, though most of the changes are not obvious. She's still taller than Chandra, but that's ok, Nissa's a green character. There are pictures of her at the end of the post.