2016-07-23

MOC: Lu-Tze

 Aaand we're back to the Discworld. This time our destination is the valley of Oi-Dong at the Ramtop mountains where the secret monastery of The Fighting Order of Wen - also known as History Monks - is located. Lu-tze is the most legendary of these monks, though he probably isn't a monk after all. He's a Sweeper, because no-one notices a sweeper, and therefore he can go where he likes. Lu-Tze is several thousands years old and an incredibly skilled martial artist - Always remember the Rule One!

As a small wrinkled old man Lu-Tze is one of my favourite Discworld character. Well, to be fair, I have dozens of favourite Discworld character anyway. As a MOC, he wasn't a particularly hard one: Around two hours, I'd say. I began with the head. I had some strong visuals and it took couple of versions to get it right. There had to be smile, and way to get his rollup inserted into it (see the last picture). Making a bald head of a old bearded man reminded of building Cohen the Barbarian: But Lu-Tze didn't have to look angry so it was rather easier. I'm particularly happy with the beard. The third horn is attached between the clips and stays there surprisingly well.

Lu-Tze is other portrayed having a orange or saffron robe; After all, the monks are referred as Men In Saffron, and remind of Buddhist monks clad in orange. But Lu-Tze is just a sweeper, and Thief of Time clearly states that he has a dirty white robe tied with a string, so I went with it. I even managed to use those basketball player arms without moving hands as the ends of the knot!

Lu-Tze also has some of his accessories: The broom, rollup and couple of Bonsai mountains. The other one had even developed a glacier! The bush as the broom bristles and the snake as a smoke are both old tricks stolen from other builders; But both of them are widely used, and who knows who came up with the first.

And least but not last: Do not act incautiously when confronting little bald wrinkly smiling men!

-Eero


2016-07-19

MOC: Agatha of Four Colours

This is an another old WIP finished. You might recognize the overall shape from another creation, Foraois from February. I mentioned back then that I built a black version as a prototype to see what pieces I had to bricklink in white. I didn't know what to do with it, and I didn't really want to finish or publish it very soon due to similarity.

The dress developed arms rather quickly, but stopped there. I tried several patterns, finally setting on black-and-white whirly design, but it took several attempts to make it right. The defining touch was the white ornament on the right shoulder; I was developing a natural feather/bone ornaments for a Zyglak character in Klaanon (Coming soon!!) but it turned out too big; But it looked good there! Another one was put on the elegant handbag.

The hair had been another problem. I ended up with a slightly dreadlock-like thing utilizing mostly only 1x2 plates in dark red. I don't think they are actually dreadlocks, as they would be rather strange choice for a character like this; But who knows? I like how the hair pattern is very different from the swirls on the dress - as those tail pieces are often used in hair.

There's also a glass of red wine to go with the red hair - I'm happy with the simple four-colour scheme.

-Eero





2016-07-15

MOC: Arrogant Lieutenant-at-Arms 955

It's time for some Klaanon. This character, Arrogant Nazorak Lieutenant-at-Arms 955 is from 2010, when Klaanon was pretty much only an another text-based RPG and 955 was its first "Enemy boss". He fought Suga and Matoro, destroyed Manfred's armor, wounded Kepe and Snowie and was ultimately killed by Ämkoo. 955 has earned a nickname "Ass" among the readers. It's partly due to his idiotic nature, but origins from edition 1.0 hand-written SALSA (Klaanon card game) card, where "955" looked unmistakeably "ass".

The starting point was the head. 955 had been describer wearing a round helmet remind a German helmet from WW2, but with some sci-fi flavours. I though Thornraxx/Black Phantom spider launcher's head piece was just perfect. It has organic looking occiput and insect-looking jaws, so it fitted the insect theme these roach-like warriors have. Couple of lime green viking horns looked nice as the eyes, and I fought to get two reddish brown minifig heads under them as a circles to create badass and arrogant feel. I'm also very happy with the skate teeth that pair nicely with the small teeth on the helmet piece.

The torso is quite ordinary CBBS build. There is standard torso bone there, though the hip joint is separate to add more height and make the stance more interesting. I really liked the Stormer XL attachment piece as the chest plate, and the extra arms (Nazoraks have 4 arms) clustered nicely under it. There's one interesting connection though: This odd 4Juniors winch seems to snap tightly around double ball cup piece. 955 was described having a wire weapon on his wrist (among chain weapons, missiles, guns and blades) but I moved it to a belt in sake of rationality.

The legs have chicken-style ankles, like on my other nazorak creations, 001 and Hands of Blue, but they are somewhat bulkier. 955 had rocket boosters in his legs, as Nazorak wings aren't strong enough for decent flight, especially with an armor. I though that the bulky upper legs could hold gasoline for the boosters on lower legs. The toes are Skull Spider legs - an another piece I like a lot.

-Eero






2016-07-12

MOC: Kirika Towa Alma


 I haven't been your most active blogger recently, sorry, but here's smoething for now! Usually summer is the best time for writing a blog about a hobby, but it feels that I've just been running around the whole summer... I visited Norway, took part in a LUG exhibit, spent a week on our family cottage talking about Klaanon and participated in 9 university entrance exams. But they paid off: I got into Architecture studies in the Technical University of Tampere (TTY).  It's something like 400 km away so I'll be moving soon; I've never moved in my life (and I don't have an apartment yet, neither). But no worries. I won't abadon LEGO hobby, even though it might be... interesting to make everything fit in smaller space. Bricks, alright. But the completed models... That might be challenging.

Life updates aside, the most important (well, technically) thing on this post is the creation, Kirika Towa Alma from video game Shining Resonance which seems to be only released in Japan. I've never played it, but I stumbled into some cool character designs when cruising around the seas of World-Wide-Web. In a way, the process reminds of Palutena from the last autumn. No deep meaning, just cool thing seemingly never done before in bricks.

Kirika Towa Alma seems to be an elf. I generally prefer dwarves, but as I've already built 20 of them I though some diversity would be fitting. There were some extraordinary shapes challenging to represent in brick form, but then again, challenges aren't that bad. The costume had also really beautiful colours, and features quite lot of snazzy medium azure I had collected but never properly used on anything.

I began with the large, detached sleeves. They're really heavy and balance each other. Luckily I had decent amount of medium azure plates from 40107 Winter Skating Scenes given away at LUG events to make the ruffs. The sleeves went through 2-3 versions. They had to be smooth and sleek, not too blocky nor heavy, and preferrably in different positions. The left arm ended up being almost straight on side, which made the sleeve easy to build; the right arm was on around 50 degree angle and deemed some hinges and wedge plates, but ended up being lighter. The upper arms needed to be sturdy enough to support the sleeves, so they don't look perfect. I didn't want them to look too muscular, given that the sleeves are supposed to be only cloth.

The torso was more pleasant, if not easy, to build. White square pattern on the skirt ended up looking quite good, as this the ruffs above and under the dark blue area. The middle torso provoked some challenges; I needed to connect the ribbons both in front and the back of it. Fortunately I had got some 2x2 macaroni bricks in medium azure from a flea market lot fewa years ago; they saved the day. The upper torso displayed some interesting shaping, but with help of my favourite piece, the boat stud, I succeeded decently. It's a bit loose and required some tweaking during the photographing, though. The shoulder connection is usual t-bar-in-bar-hole, but seems to be strong enough to support the heavy arms.

Heads are never easy. The reference material was anime-inspired, which is visible here. The eyes use Water symbol tokens from Elves sets specifically bricklinked from this use. It originally used just printless trans-blue or trans-medium-blue 1x1 round tiles, but the stud behind them created a rather disturbing glare; this is not perfect neither, but at least it's an interesting piece use and of my own design.

The hair was a lot funnier. I knew from the beginning that I'd use katanas from Dragon Bolt, very cool pieces, but my lack of yellow TECHNIC made connecting them hard. Boat stud is used here, too; naturally. The bangs are made of pneumatic hose. This was the first time I cut it for a MOC, but it's still a purist technique: They come uncut in sets. At least some sets. Well, anyway. I'm very happy with the butterfly ornament. Transparent colours are challenging to use, but the create a nice effect.

The legs were mostly stolen from another WIP; The design is very similar to Adela and Lingeán but white colour of the sock made it possible to use the smallest CCBS shell as a kneecaps. The legs bend on the knees, but the model pretty much impossible to pose, so I left out the poseable ankles; They would have never worked! Minifig arms are used as straps on the upper legs and the cool platform sandals. You can usually rely on minifig arms when it comes to rarer colours. The shoe straps are actually dark azure, though; sorry! I only had one pair of medium azure ones. The shoes are connected to the base that uses two boat weights to balance the figure. I think I should get more of those. But damn they are expensive...

Next up, an idiot roach warrior in a power armor. For diversity.

-Eero.







2016-07-03

Stuff from Palikkapamaus 2016

Two weeks ago in Harjavalta, Satakunta ("About Hundred"), southwest Finland there was a LEGO exhibit where our LUG had a MOC show. I had several MOCs of mine and some special builds too. We had this Action Figure building table for visitors, and I couldn't resist making something there, so I built a rather muscular she-devil with a machine leg. There were apparently pieces of three Raw-Jaws here, so it helped to build the big red torso; But there weren't enough pieces for two identical legs so I went with a machine legs using dark pearl grey pieces. It's far from perfect, and it was pain to make the shape even somewhat alright with random bits on the table. I don't really like the arms very much either, but I had to finish it quickly to be able to present my models to the audience. I'm happy with the hair though, and overall it was a nice experience.

The bricks are not mine, so I don't own the model, but the owner of the bricks, Ismo "Awis" Aavaharju, who has a permanent exhibition in Citymarker store in Imatra had an idea to display it there. I also made a lot more simpler samurai-like figure but alas there are no photos of it.

Another model where I contributed were our Minecraft collaboration. I've never played Minecraft nor bought any Minecraft sets, but earlier this year TLG send us an Activity Box full of Minecraft bricks via LUG Ambassador program (I'm our ambassador) and the deal was that we have to do something with it and give at least three good quality photos to TLG to use of it. These five are the photos I took of our display. The aqueduct was designed by me. Other builders were Antti, Arttu and Susanna Aavaharju.



As I mentioned, I had a few MOCs of mine on display. Most of them were new creations of 2016 (Porco Rosso, Arcane Samurai, Adela, General 001, Toa Ruki and Mustrum Ridcully) but there were also some older creations, including some of my personal favorites (Lady Liberty 3001, Samus, Savoia S-21 and Doktor Viktor Von Nebula).

More photos of the exhibit can be found on Hovinet Gallery.  











2016-06-12

MOC: Porco Rosso


A wise man once said: I'll rather be a pig than a fascist pig.

Porco Rosso is my favorite Ghibli movie. It's also my favorite animated movie. Hell, it's my favorite movie ever. Beautiful, not too complicated, original, great music, old water planes. The best, ever.

I built Porco's iconic Savoia S-21 last summer, and now it was time for the pig himself. The plane was miniland scale and included a miniature Porco in the cockpit. This Porco is made in same scale than the figures from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. The old and more angular version of the face dates back to last summer, and today I got my shit together and finished it. It took around three hours total; quite fast and relatively easy.

The colour scheme was the challenge factor here. Dark tan isn't the most common color, but I luckily had lot of "key parts": 1x2, 1x1 and 1x4 plates, 1x2 and 1x1 slopes, 4x4 wedge slopes, 2x2x3 slopes and both 1x2 and 2x2 jumpers. There is naturally lot of SNOT here. The helmet was the hard part, I'd say; Getting the flying goggles angled properly wasn't so simple (1x1 plate with bar proved it prowess) and those earmuffs required some pondering.

I had my architecture entrance exams (seven of them) last week, and now my real summer holiday finally began. It's damned cold here! But there'll be a LUG exhibit next weekend, by the way, and I'll go and see some relatives in the north, so I probably won't be that active anyway. But I might get something else out before leaving in Thursday; who knows. It seems that my blog has got lot of readers lately, around 1200 a day, which is ten times more than before. Cool! Keep it up, I'm glad to entertain you, of course. It's my hobby.

2016-06-02

MOC: Sergeant Detritus

Check dat sarge! Now when I've completed the "original" night watch of Ankh-Morpork City Watch, I must move to the "minority group" recruits. Sergeant Detritus is great and sympathetic character. He's the most important troll character on Discworld and gives us the best example of troll biology and culture. Pratchett's trolls don't turn into stone in sunlight, they are stone all along. But as their brain is silicon-based, their thinking slows down as their brains get warmer, just like a computer chip. They're quite clever back in their homelands on the mountains, but warm air of Sto Plains makes them often somewhat dump in the City of Ankh-Morpork. Detritus seems like a clumsy idiot at first (he appears in several books before his wife Ruby makes him join the Watch in Men at Arms), but after his former dwarf colleague Constable Cuddy makes him a clockwork-powered cooling helmet he becomes surprisingly clever, in a troll way. He gets promoted into a sergeant before the next watch book and eventually becomes the chief of recruit division. He also was the Cultural Attacheé of Ankh-Morpork in the Coronation of the Low King of dwarves. 

I began building with the head. It come out nicely and quite easily. The diamond teeth were a must, as well as the rotor on his helmet. I also wanted the eyebrows be adjustable to show different moods. I looked at Paul Kidby's art for inspiration, but there's less similarities than on Colon or Ridcully, for example. I had quite a clear image of Detritus on my head.

The scale was also interesting. As Detritus is a bit hunched, he's shorter than Carrot, but naturally much wider and larger. I haven't built this big SYSTEM characters before. But it wasn't that hard, after all. Poseable legs are the big difference here. They have those odd clickety KK2/Exo-force joints on the hip, click joints on the knees and ball joints on the ankles; plus additional pin-hole-to-studs hinges on the lower ankle. These help to balance the figure; that was rather challenging, especially with his siege crossbow The Piecemaker, which weights rather much. 

Watch sergeants traditionally wear a Roman-esque muscular breastplates. I had already build one for Colon. There are some similarities, like the abs (boat stud, great piece all over again) and the inner structure, but the pecs are more dominant and hinged. The badge is almost hidden behind Detritus's impressive lower jaw. Otherwise the uniform follows the basic Watch uniform, with some leather flaps, bits of chain main, short trousers and open-toe boots, but he doesn't really wear shirt under the armor. I felt he didn't needed, as his skin is rock and he prefers to be cool, if you know what I mean (silicon brain).

Detritus also has his Piecemaker, a siege crossbow. He replaced the big blunt bolt with a stack of wooden arrows, which splinter and catch fire in the air, forming a big flaming ball; Handy when breaking into the castle of evil werewolves, as long as you remember that When Mister Safety Catch Is Off, Mister Crossbow Is Not Your Friend. The design is loosely based on Roman ballista,with two hinged bows; The gears add some friction, and the string is a basic LEGO string gracefully tied on 1x2 thin handle plates.







And remember, kids, never try slab - Jus' say 'Aarrghaarrghpleeasennononough!