Helia Manning


More music-themed builds for 2023! This one continues my "rock'n'roll" scale band member series. She's a singer, so no instruments here; but for sake of posing I added a microphone tripod... and a huge amplifier, inspired by Ralf Langer's Open Air 2053. I wanted to explore how to capture the lifelike and lively stances of a singer, so the figure had to be relative sturdy and flexible. Of course, not having a heavy instrument makes the posing easier.

I had had that dress hem doodle on a tabel for a while, and almost parted it out before realizing it could work here. This character itself started with the sfootwear - black leather boots or military shoes with heavy-duty sole profile and silver buckles. I wanted to something entirely different from the dainty high heels of Lydia Frenckell, the previous character of this series. However, I did not want this character to be overall heavy metal esque - I wanted to to create a contrast between these heavy and more feminine elements of the attire. So to continue upwards from the boots I grabbed the dress hem tablescrap, added the flower belt and made a matching bright light orange bodice (which took plenty of adjustments during the whole process). I'm particularly happy with the magenta dot pattern below the neckline.

Again, the fingerless gloves match the boots, using skeleton warrior -themed minifig chestplates. I've had a small collection of those armour parts around for new uses for years, but haven't managed to use them that often (okay, Lydia's aforementioned shoes had a pair). Their shape is such nice. It's also nice to see that we've got enough reddish brown parts for arm joints now - no black pieces needed! Who would have known ten years ago?

The head and the hair call back to Virva Staccato, the third character of this series - but this time it uses one big balloon tire. This is an older tire from late 90s or early 00s, and it is somehow more round than the newer balloon tires; I actually experimented with a newer and bigger tire, but it wasn't that good; probably due to the profile being larger, it didn't look like fluffy hair. This one stays in place nicely, and actually helps the head to stay in one piece: if the head falls off (as it sometimes does due to being heavy) it tends to hit the floor hair first and bounce a couple of times harmlessly. The zipline braid holding the hair up was suggested by the clever folk on EPLUG - thanks! It works well.

The microphone stand is a simple affair. I made it silver-grey to make it shand out from the black amplifier and the black gloves; candle pieces are of good diameter for this scale. I tried a non-Lego sewing string for the cord, but it wasn't too thick. Now the cord is a bit short, but has enough thickness to look convincing. I think its curve and flow adds some important authenticity to the whole. The amplifier was designed around those big balloon tires turned inside-out, and the red and yellow 6x6 dishes were a late swap to make it fit the colourful aesthetics of the group. The amp has been designed to work both horizonally and vertically - hence it's quite smooth and without visible knobs and switches.




Richard Dawson

 Back in 2018 I finished my large project on Pori-based avant-garde rock band Circle. A year later I displayed it at the Masterpieces Gallery in the Lego House. The display was supposed to last one year, but it was extended into 2021 due to the pandemic. This meant that for a while no-one (except the employees) could see the gallery, and later only mostly the Danish were able to visit it. Nonetheless, I think huge number of people saw it, and it was of course a very nice trip to be there, along with AFOL day and the Skaerbaek Fan Weekend. I got Circle back in late 2021, mummified in plastic wrap. Circle dudes stayed in these cocoons for over a year.

In the past-time, the real Circle band went through changes: they intoduced a new member, UK citizen and folk singer-songwriter Richard Dawson, who had made several acclaimed albums and already featured on one Janne Westerlund's solo album. Dawson made a debut in live line-up in 2019 and during the pandemic they published a small-issue improvisational free-form cassette Hymiö. The grand double-LP Henki, featuring songs about plants (lyrics and lead vocals by Dawson), was released in November 2021 and got a wide publicity (for a Circle album). The toured Europe and had some gigs in Finland - I saw them in Manse Psych Fest in my hometown, Manchester of Finland. Instead of rivets, spikes and colourful spandexes featured on my Circle MOC, they now had black uniforms with green scarves. 

Back to me and spring-winter 2023. There was about to be Pii Poo's Lego event in Pori, and I knew I had to display Circle there. But I wanted to have the complete current line-up, so I built Richard Dawson. It took a few days before the event (that was three weeks ago). It was made easy due to black colour scheme; it's painless to make all the joints in black, and I didn't have to worry about details because there wasn't many in the black costume! The hardest part was thus the face and the hair - Dawson has a long hair and relatively round facial features with high forehead. I wanted the style to be similar to my other Circle figures, so I didn't went far with more modern adjustable eyebrows - partly also because Dawson's eyebrows are not that dominant. So while this creation does not have anything revolutionary technique-wise, I think it fills it part in the broader MOC.

I built the guitar after completing the figure. According to the gig photos I found, Dawson used two guitars in Circle, a black or dark blue Fidelity and red Stratocaster (or similar). I ended up building the Stratocaster for two reasons: First, the Fidelity's colour would have been hard to tell apart from the black clothes, and I wanted to see colour on this MOC (as I always do). Secondly, its head was very small and slender, and it would have been very hard to build it! When making the original MOC, I chose to make the guitars rather bulky, with two-stud-wide necks and correct number of tuning pegs. Not entirely realistic and somewhat funny - but still probably more fitting than thin and dainty ones. So Dawson's instrument is likely too large too, and I'm not that happy with its head, but I hope that's ok. It uses some parts from official Ideas Stratocaster set I reviewed for New Elementary.

And what about the event? Dawson aside, I opened the rest from their plastic wrap cocoons and official Lego ziplock packs during the set-up - and those packing materials were's reusable at all! Most Pori inhabitants didn't recognize the cultural treasure of their city, but a couple of visitors were smitted by it; I think both of them knew Lehtisalo personally.





This post is late, late for about 40 days. I built Morak for Prisoners of the Pit collab in January and posted it on Flickr and IG a month ago, but didn't have time for this blog post... and forgot about it. These first months of the year were quiet here last year, and this seems to be the case now too. I've been building just as before, though; working on both big and small projects. I have two other finished and photographed models, so it won't take long until the next post.

Now, Morak. Morak is a 2007 Bionicle set and Prisoners of the Pit was a 2007 Bionicle collab. Now, 2007 was a very good Bionicle year - it and 2001 were the best. I was 12 years old and joined several sites like Brickshelf and Eurobricks in 2007 (we had just got the Internet). Bionicle sets were cool aquatic ones, and the basic canister sets were different and unique - this was something new after years of colour-change clones and semi-clones! Thus '07 is a great root for re-imaging the sets. But instead cool beasts like Carapar and Mantax and Nocturn (well we had a Nocturn collab earlier too, as Nocturn is so popular) I ended up with Morak. Morak! I didn't even have Morak, at least didn't back in 2007. Morak doesn't even appear in the Bionicle story and is dull set with mediocre design; at least the colours are decent (except dark bley). I was so called late in the collab, and I was asked to make Sarda or Morak. Lache nailed Sarda, so I ended up Morak - which is good, because I had no idea for a dude like Sarda. I also though for a long that Sarda was the red one; luckily I was corrected in time (thanks Ari). 


I was suggested to make something akin to a snapping turtle. I mixed it with a pink salmon's big, hooked lower jaw, and constructed the head using opal pieces from a storybook set I reviewed for New Elementary a couple of years ago. Round staring eyes seem to be a continuing motif in my collab builds... Morak's shell continues into its back, hence the turtle inspiration. The legs use dark blue tongue windscreens, a great part that fitted well as a re-imagined visorak foot. The legs itself have more mechanic look. The biomechanic contrast is also presented in the cannon. Morak has a zamok launcher tail - a natural form of protection that inspired Mahri Nui matorans' mechanic (but identical) launchers. This was silly. I wanted Morak to be an animal with completely mechanical cannon in its arse, a real Bionicle of war. Its silvery colour enhances the colour contrast with the rest. The cannon part is a Dublo fuel canister I acquired recently, and the trans-orange air storage pumps up the colour scheme nicely. This is Morak.

Loafbuilds made the edit on the main image. He photoshopped me into a Bionicle in the foot reflection.