2016-05-13

MOC: Sergeant Colon & Corporal Nobbs


 Back to the Discworld! Here's two characters that appear in large number of Sir Terry Pratchett's books, the experienced and badly educated watchmen Sergeant Frederick Colon and Corporal Cecil Wormsborough St. John "Nobby" Nobbs. They were part of the "original" Night Watch in the first Watch series books with Captain (later Commander) Sam Vimes and Lance-constable (Later Captain) Carrot.

Nobby is a petty thief, slimy, dirty and smelly, and always has a sad cigarette with him. He's often mistook as a pet monkey or similar, but hold a species certificate signed by Lord Vetinari that states he is an actual human. He's interested in dangerous weaponary and has gone through several identity crises and currently dates a goblin lady.

Colon is old, fat and married; His wife is never seen, as they work on opposite shifts. He is believed to have children, but they are never met, neither. Colon was about to get retired in Feet of Clay but decided to stay in the force. He's a solid jailer, can read the streets and knows all sorts of people, but lacks courage, intelligence and adaptability. He hasn't got real officer material (as seen in The Fifth Elephant where he's temporarily promoted into a captain) but is used to tutor new watchmen, watchwomen, watchdwarves and so on.

With my Discworld characters, building Nobby and Colon would have been obligatory at some point, so I went for them. Nobby was first. I begun with the head, which was quite easy. The torso was harder, as Nobby's a small man and regular techniques couldn't be applied. There's some TECHNIC in there to enable bad posture and thin neck. Notice the stale City Watch badge where metallic copper finish has party worn out.

Nobbs' limbs are also rather different. His arms are thin, as he strongly lacks muscles (pun not intended); old arm joints helped there. The bad posture continues to the legs, where those odd turret pieces I adore are used on the boots. Nobby's footwear are different than on the rest of my Watch builds, as he's described having a pair of big heavy boots useful on kicking helpless victims.

I didn't want to post Nobby without his partner so I built Colon shortly after finishing him. Colon began with his muscular Roman-style chestplate worn over his big stomach. I'm very happy how it turned our. Several of my favorite pieces like boat studs and curved slopes are used here. I'm also happy with the legs. The boot design is similar to Vimes' and Carrot's, but is wider and thicker. Legs on human figures are somehow harder than expected, giving that they usually are just couple of pillars under the torso. But they're not very interesting and therefore not very fun to build.

It took a while to give accessories to these guys. Nobby's halberd was originally on Colon, who was described preferring polearms to keep enemies out of reach. But it felt too war-like to him, so I switched to Nobby who was holding a bell at the time with a baton on his belt; I swapped the bell to the belt and baton to Colon and polearm to Nobby (who loves dangerous objects like Klatchian fire engines, morningstars etc.) and moved bit of the polearm's lenght to the baton to make them look balanced to the characters. I also gave Sarge a doughnut, which felt fitting for the character.

-Eero  



2016-05-04

MOC: Arcane Samurai


 This is one of those builds that had a strong original idea but ended up something rather different. The idea was similar than on Kira; to adapt well-designed minifig torso to a larger build. Accidentally this torso was from same character, Samurai X from Ninjago (this time the 2015 version). I intended the scale to be similar than on Kira, but it ended up being somewhat smaller, around the scale of Mace-bearer and Cyira the Paladin.

The colors were one of the main points here. Samurai armors have often dashing but earthly colors, opposed to (popular culture imaginary of) European knight armors, which usually seem to be silvery or grey. The colors are naturally based on the minifig torso, as is the bird emblem in the breastplate, but it was generally interesting to match the bright red and pearl gold parts with more toned-down ones.

This MOC also had an interesting blend of old typical techniques and some new experiments. The upper torso is pretty basic, with curved wedges on the sides and CBBS armors on the shoulders. The skirt, however, was challenging. I had several different versions, but ended up with this one with 90 degree angles on the side panels. It's very thigh, but allows some movement to the upper legs, which again are very basic type with roborider halves. The bulky upper arms were another part were I tried to create a distinct profile.

The helmet was a challenge, but also a joy to build. I definitely wanted to have a mask to hide the samurai's true identity and gender. I googled for samurai armors and was fascinated by cool yet scary mask which often had facial hair (carved or actual) on them. Somehow I ended up using CMF Winged Warrior's shoulder armor. I tried using it both two and one stud sides on front, but eventually ended up with the side with the neck guard as lower jaw. The helmet actually got remade just before photographing: the joint was actually on the back of the helmet, as I couldn't fit it into the middle of it. It looked awfully bad on most angles, so I fiddled with for an hour or something, until I made it fit; Used some of those new-ish 1x1 round tiles with bar and plume hole. There's even four TECHNIC cams in it to connect the CBBS armor pieces. 

 The katana is a basic one, with Ninjago blade and a simple handle. The flagpole was a late addition: I had thought about it, but wasn't sure if it needed one or not. I ended up building it anyway. Those masts are just pretty cool overall, and the flags from Orient Expedition's Dragon Fortress were just perfect.

-Eero

2016-04-30

MOC: New Century Corner

Hullo, folks! Here's what I've been building for last few months (since November, actually, but intermittently). These five early 1900s style modulars were on display on our LUGs 600-module (one is 32x32 studs, no baseplates used) collaborative town on Model Expo 2016 in Helsinki Fair Centre couple of weeks ago. I packed them in a cardboard box and travelled 1000 km by train with them! Fortunately I made some of the buildings (unnaturally) thin, otherwise I couldn't have made it... Anyway, these buildings are based on my love of old, grand architecture. There are some strong Jugend/Art Nouveau influences, though most of these can't be labelled as AN in its pure form. Inspiration is drawn mostly from buildings in Prague, a beautiful city definitely worth visiting. 
Buildings from left to right are:

House of Two Whistling Geezers: I'm very happy with the roof. It is based on a building located in Czech spa town Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad). I indented to use it on my long-time Unseen University WIP but it was too robust and turned out in to a modular house. The roof has some Gothic elements, but the elephant tail detail and the arch above the gateway are hints of Art Nouveau design. The faces of Two Whistling Geezers are reference to somewhat humorous faces typical in Finnish Jugend/National Romanticism style.

House of Two Sisters: The first house built in this display. Hoarded some nice old light yellow bricks in a LUG event and this was a natural way to put them in use. Is loosely based on Art Nouveau houses on the Central Square of Prague. I was surprised that I was able to photograph white-on-white so nicely.

House of the Bat-Lord and Three Sinners: Probably the most Art Nouveau-heavy building here. I wanted to use strong and dramatic colors, and the themes of the building evolved around them. I'm especially happy with the top part of the facade. The elephant tails are super sweet AN parts. This building doesn't have any particular real-life counterparts.

The House of Secret Society of Aviation: The main building. The wall on 45 degree angle is connected with TECHNIC axles that allow free slip; Therefore no challenging mathematics are needed. The 18-stud-wide wall is slid between the side walls with axles and piston connectors. It's surprisingly sturdy, as it's connected like that on two places, on the top and the bottom.


Designing this started with a large, lone window. The black inner arch uses some heavy SNOT and looked nice, so I Bricklinked pieces for two more of them (building with two large windows side by side almost always reminds of a face. Only human things). The shape of the building evolved around them. I wanted to use them on the second floor, so I had to invent something for the street level; I settled with a grandiose, almost church-like doorway and couple of elegant windows often seen on Art Nouveau Houses. I also went with strong geometric shapes with black, light grey and medium dark flesh. They created a nice contrast with the round shapes.

The dome, based on design of Castor-Troy and developed further with some dinosaur-tail iron arches, was going to used on one of the building, and this was the natural choice, being the grandest. I also had ideas of a globe, similar to one used on Tietz Store in Berlin before WW2, using Dagobah and clip-bar-rails as meridians (the Equator was tricky!) attached to a roof. Well, I thought that heck, better put all the grandiose elements in one place, and slapped the globe, finished with golden winged warrior, on the top of the dome, and connected the dome to the top of the biggest building... It's quite cool, if you don't mind me saying, and combined many elements I love in late 19th - early 20th architecture.

This is the only building here featuring a bit of interior: As the windows are rather big, there's a 7-stud-wide tile stove on the angled back wall, and a portrait of Fat Lady above it. The dome illuminated is somehow. The rest of the details include sand green SNOT cheese roof to balance the color of the globe and some Angel statues continuing the wing motif; Don't blink!

The House of Golden Frogs: I wanted to something different with the general shape of this building, and it turned out having white baroque-esque first floor and red second floor with some Art Nouveau elements. With glass doors and large clock this might be a public building rather than an apartment building, probably a club or a music hall. But there's no interior (it's not deep enough) so I'm not sure.

Again, the build started with the windows, which are similar to ones in the previous house but some elaborate and heavy. Some Bionicle parts are used alongside frogs and decorative elements from Friends Grand Hotel. The other key parts were the columns on the first floor using white wing elements for more interesting shape. Arranging the columns was tricky, but I'm happy with the result.



After finishing the buildings I had to populate the layout. There isn't much figures inside the buildings (okay, I confess, none, except in the gateways) as there isn't interiors nor always even floors, but there's plenty of fuss in the street. I wanted the characters to be from late 1800s or early 1900s, and there's some figs seen before in my steampunk dioramas or minifig barfs. But there are also some odd references. There's somebody up to exterminate a drunkard in the first portcullis. At the corner roof, the famous detective, his doctor friend and the (clone) folks of Scotland Yard are up to make an arrest. Johnny Thunder is visiting the city between his numerous adventures. Several nobs have gathered at the doors of the House of the Golden Frogs.

Now I've had enough of modular house building for a while, but I'm planning to eventually return to this layout and make a whole block, maybe sized 4x3 modules (128x96 studs), with four corner houses. But next up some character builds - I promise!

-Eero





2016-04-28

MOC: Nux-Imitation Terror Rod

 "Okay guys, this is a cool ride, you can let me down now. Guys? Guys? Goddammit, let me down! Guys! Ernie! Goddammit!"
 You know I'm not much of a car builder, but there was a vehicle category in our LUGs Model Expo contests and I decided to go full Fury Road. Of course it didn't have to be a car, the winner was a big grand cruiser by Legorides, but somehow I ended up with this. I also though of making early 1900s style tram, but didn't have enough time (wait for the next post for reasons). I came fourth with a tie.

This is of course sort of a mock-up of Nux car from Mad Max Fury Road. It ended up being more similar to the original; I though of making it a bit more civilized but it didn't work. I though that a gang of automobile enthusiasts saw the film a wanted to build something similar, and the two stronger fellows ended up tieing their butt monkey in the front. The rest is history. Or actually, this MOC.

There isn't too much to say there. The exhaust piping is probably the main attraction, pneumatic tubing proved its worth once again and I think those odd chima two-colored flame pieces bring life to otherwise rather monochromatic build. I'm also happy with the explosive spears angled using the tiny ball joints at the ends of those antennas (antennae?) I had to hunt a pair from Pii Poo 's brick sale tables as the spears in the front were dark bley and dark grey at the beginning of our exhibit.

-Eero

2016-04-21

MOC: Dragon Dance

 Here's another of my contest entries from Model Expo 2016! And, on top of that, this was a winning entry on the city happening category! I got 45 points (LUG member voting). The second got 16 points so it seems that victory was clearly my destiny, as Meta Knight would put it.

The original entry had a different base. The size of the entry had to be 32x32 studs (this one is a bit longer and narrower and I displayed it on black SNOT road module, just next to my modular houses (coming to this blog very very soon). It was on the edge of our modular collaborative city (600x 32x32, no baseplates!) so it was well visible to the audiences.

I have no idea why I built this group of Chinese new year celebrators with their paper dragon. Of course those Chinese dragons are cool, and somehow I wanted to blend some Bionicle stuff on my minifig-scale SYSTEM display (which was so heavy I could take any character builds with me. 1000 km by train). I actually had built the road module for the happening entry before knowing what to build. Ideas included street theatre, tapirs on the loose (but there already was a cattle on the loose -themed entry) and movie filming setting, but I ended up winning with an oriental dragon; I don't complain.

I began building our papery salmon-snake by selecting some cool odd dragon pieces. Medium orange elephant tails were natural choice for whiskers, and I had had urge to use those Chima ultrabuild wings - very beautifully shaped pieces - for something since I got few in probably February. I went with a design reminding of Pokemon Gyarados; Though I think my dragon is a bit manlier (tougher moustache). This doesn't have any legs, but has couple of fins instead. I'm also rather happy with the central body using Bionicle ankle guards on rigid tube to create scale-like effect.

Designing minifigures for the parade was fun. I haven't posted that much minifig barfs lately, but believe me, I've been doing some combos now and then. Most of pieces are from Ninjago or Orient Expedition (excellent Adventurers subtheme - I collected every set as a 9-year-old). Of course there are some bits from collectable minifigs and various sources, too.

I was wondering what sort of accessories they have in Chinese dragon dace parades, and ended up with four paper-lamps built around Mistika air pumps. I've used them before on my Shanghai K8000 vignette, an another Palikkatakomo contest entry from 2013. This time those aren't light up, though. They connect nice and firmly to Bohrok eyes.

My victory earned me 31038 Changing Seasons, but also, and more importantly, a glorious DUBLO snail trophy. Tops!

-Eero  

 


2016-04-19

MOC: Atelier


 This atelier, or an artist commune's workshop, was built for Collaboration building contest, building category, on our Finnish LUG Palikkatakomo's large exhibit on Model Expo 2016. The requirements were 32x32, 32x48 or 32x64 on modular base with minimum 25 cm (a bit less than one foot) of height. As I had built several modular townhouses for our modular city, I wanted to do something completely different; Last year my entry on the very same category was Ambrose Street 23. I got the fourth place on both audience and LUG member voting (tied in the latter) and got Basic brick box set and a Creator loc cabin (the one with a moose).

Building this started with probably the most striking feature, the tower with boats as (fake) window frames. I've seen boats used in similar fashion before, but never with those half-circle windows I got from Friends Grand Hotel won from Eurobricks' Winter Village Contest. They looked such nice together, despite the studded floor of the boat showing through. The also created a nice wooden color scheme which seemed fitting for the thue nature of the building.

 Sand green is another color I used here along the brown shades. It looked nice and bleached, which helped to emphasize the nostalgic athmospehre of the atelier. I also had hundreds of sand green cheese slopes from LUGBULK and this seemed like a perfect chance to use them. Cheese slope pattern on roof looks always great!
 
This is obviously inspired by Pekkala Mansion in my hometown, which hosts a public art school. I've studied there as a hobby (three hours a week) for nine years and recently worked there as a trainee for three months, so artist life in not completely alien to me, no...

As this is an atelier, there is no need for sleeping facilities. There's however a small stove and sink for occasional snack and whatever, and naturally an outhouse or a privy on the backyard. The main room has large windows, as good lighting is natural for artistic work. The veranda is large and confortable, and as you can see, most of my artisting minifigs (including great wizard Vitruvius who looks like a great artist in his bathrobe and hippie shirt) are enjoying the fresh air.  

-Eero




2016-03-28

MOC: Toa Ruki

Toa Ruki is a semi-important Klaanon character, but she hasn't appeared in the story lately, because she got imprisoned on the Nazorak Empire's battleship SS Ironwing in 2011 or something and has been in captive even since. She is a Toa of Water with little or no battle experience, as she has trained to use her elemental powers for healing purposes; A classic fantasy class healer clerk chick here. She used to work as the reception of Bio-Klaani before the roaches but her behind the bars. Now you know that.

I've build Ruki before, in 2011. The MOC wasn't perfect, of course, but it was quite good back then. The upper leg design used here have been in continual use ever since, last used in Mace-Bearer. The old Ruki remained built for years and outlived most my creations, until I got tired of it few months ago. The shaping was just outdated and odd. So started to mod and build an entirely new torso using LUGBULKed Space Kitty tails to create wave-like shapes similar to movie version of Hahli.

The torso came out pretty nicely, and I left the rest of the MOC unchanged, photographed it and show it to some other Klaanon writers. I got some honest and essential feedback: The old legs were way too thick for the new torso, making the proportions very odd, and I myself highly disliked the old arms. I left Ruki standing (lying) on my WIP table until today. I worked the whole morning/midday on this, remaking the limbs entirely and redoing most of the already reworked torso. I also gave Ruki a little writing pad as she's the reception worked who likes well-done paperwork.

Technical details? The shoe design is altered from Japanese builder TAN, used on several of my creations. The lower legs are purely SYSTEM now (except for ball joints) as the old design was too thick. The Kiina armor skirt was always there, but I buffed it up with two more pieces (bricklinked a few, I like those a lot). The black battle droid fingers are not the best option, but I still haven't got any dark blue or blue ones and black skeletons arms are still quite rare. That's it, pretty much.

-Eero