Polymer Samurai

I've build several samurai characters in the past. There's something good in the silhouette, with the usual large pauldrons, helmets with wide neck guards and horns, contrast between the hard and soft parts... so samurais it is. This one is more futuristic and was built for my New Elementary review of Monkie Kid's Galactic Explorer; you can see many unique recolours from the set here. The set has many bright, lovely colours, something I constantly enjoy using in my models.

The first seed parts, however, didn't end up in this model at all. It was not a samurai, even, and I wanted to use the big trans-red windscreens as a hair. They were too big, blocking the shoulders, so I adjusted the angle to make a samurai helmet; and that worked sort-of, but was still quite janky. I ended up ditching the piece completely, but kept the samurai idea - using some macaroni pieces (not for the set) to make the helmet sides. They are angled with dark turquoise tipper ends, which are from the set, though. Tipper ends are great! One is also used on the chest plate. 

Other pieces form the sets include the 3x3x2 round bricks on the limbs; an another pleasant part that helped to establish a certain toy-like feel. The set has 12 in dark turquoise, which is nice. The knee armour windscreens survived here despite ditching the larger ones. I continued the trans-red into the bent katana and threw in couple of Hero Factory Breakout hexagon shields; they're cool pieces and I want to use them from time to time. The floating effect looks much better on lighter blue background than on a black one. The opaque dark turquoise windscreens were another exciting pieces from the set; they have thin surfaces with plenty of room inside, so they ended up being the armour's skirt. No problems with stuffing in the upper legs this time! The metallic gold details running through the MOC are from the set too, though I used them more on my second character on the article. More of it later on.



Palutena (3)

A new version of Palutena was on my short list for 2022 and Palikkatakomo's digital scene contest was a good opportunity to build her. I've made two version in the past, the first in 2015 and the second as a part of Iron Builder in 2017. After five years, the previous version felt mostly decent - except for some messy arms, silly staff end and dried-out rubber bands on the sock. What I wanted for a new version was larger scale - specifically rock'n'roll scale of Zinnia Superfuzz and such - and actual posing possibilies; both of the old ones were static statues with some arm posability. I knew it would not be a easy feat: Palutena has a long hair and a long, asymmetrical dress. 

Brick-built dresses are static and hard, and don't allow much movement for legs. On more static dress-wearing characters I tend to build only the ankles sticking out under the hem; or when aiming for movement, I build thin upper legs unseen under the skirt. On Palutena, the left leg was visible and had to be complete, white the other leg was visible only from the ankle downwards. In this case, both of the legs are "real legs" on usual five-stud wide hip joint, but the right leg is much thinner to fit there. The skirt itself is a bold construction, as it had to look natural and flowing, while being thin enough to fit the legs inside. The second layer with its red trim didn't help. My solution was to make it study enough with some Z brackets and SNOT pieces, make the side panel angled with an old car roof joint, and make the whole dress thing swivel like a pendulum on a two-sided pin joint above the hips. You can observe this on the photos - the 1x2 wedge curved slopes under the bust are hardly ever on line. The upper torso (one stud under the bust and upwards) has a turning joint too. I think this combination works quite well, giving the torso sculpture-like aesthetics, varying on different poses. In the end it's not as fragile as I feared. It took a lot of engineering.

The belts on the dress were another embuggerance. The 2015 version had rather unsatisfactory solution of brown bricks on a string. The pneumatic hoses of 2017 looked better, and I tried them here, but they were too thin for this bigger scale - and also way too short. The original plan was to use the zipline pieces (one is used on the sock), but they were even thinner, more like a string than a leather belt. I ended up going with bow/arch pieces on reddish brown. Definitely a more Lego-like solution than any of the others, but the scale is pretty good. I had to use 1x2 round plates to get the measures flexible enough, and there the golden... things are denser than they should be - the open studs looked too severe. I took plenty of liberties with the knick-knack, again including a saxophone.

The dress and the belts wasn't the biggest challenge here; that trophy goes to the shoes. The shoes! The first version had Mixel ball joint ankles, that enabled one-stud-wide feet. The shoes were bulging as the sides were 1x4 double curved slopes... and the were fragile as hell. The model got destoyed several times while standing on them, and thus I had enough and replaced them with sensible sturdy ones based on 2x2 ball socket bricks. I was afraid that I didn't have the right pieces in dark brown, but it worked out in the end, with some caveman 1-1/3 pin SNOT to connect the heels. I also discovered that a joint of old style ball joint + old type 1x2x3 slope with open stud + bar inside for reinforcement is very strong. This makes a 1x2x3 slope a viable lower leg option, as long as the stud is open! The shoe design is not as faithful as the first thinner one, but at least it keeps together. And doesn't bulge.

The rest wasn't actually a piece of cake, but got easier after the shoes. The arms are nothing revolutionary, but I did in fact redesign the right arm after the Smash Bros scene shoot, so they appear a bit different; this added some much-needed friction to the elbow while also making the wrist sturdier. I'm rather proud with the neck connection - a golden round shield piece is embedded there, with the handle hidden inside the upper torso. The hair is combination of brigh green (on the head) and green (the... ponytail, or whatever) pieces. Bright green is closer to the SSBU model, and I had some sweet pieces like Ninjago blades and clip-claws for the bangs, but I didn not have pieces to make all of it in bright. I think the result looks pretty good, the big lick of hair being clearly on the background. The hair was also reworked after the scene shoot, as it kept falling apart and I got enough of that. I also included the round part of the halo, as the model looked incomplete without it; the wing parts of halo were omitted for being too heavy.