2017-04-13

Iron Builder X (And last): Duck Hunt

This was going to be the last build since beginning of the contest. It is of course inspired by the stage in SSB4 more than the original game, and appeared on my original ideas list. I felt that the psychological violence with the annoying snarky dog and the Game Over text fitted the end of the contest. And the grass in the original screen is surprisingly similar to the seed part.

Technique-wise this has lot of boring brick-on-brick work, with the more interesting dog and all the very mathematical lettering boxes. I began with the sky, using most of my blue bricks. The Game Over text was rather easy, and I was particularly happy with the SNOT frame. I had to broaden the sky couple on times, though.

The next part was the dog, which was challenging due to limits of the colour. For example, I had only one 1x2 plate despite buying many from LUGBULK few years ago. Fortunately there were lots of curved slopes and some 2x2 round tiles for paws. The eyes use minifig hands for the annoying smile; incorporating them inside the head wasn't that easy. A boat stud, my favourite part, appears here as the nose. I think the Floo Network one was only build that didn't use any boat studs...

The bush was alright, but the tree was harder. It's probably thee studs deep, quite 2D, but making the trunk narrow naturally deemed some SNOT hidden behind the leaves. It's not very sturdy, but works alright.

The down part was somehow hell. It features lot of loose bits that make the texts and the hit meters; lot of applying of 5/2 rule here. But that was not the worst part. Using so much SNOT built up some serious tension in the structure, and the MOC was about to blow up all the time. It took some serious guts to bundle everything together; longer plates looked like being 2mm too short, and that's lot in terms of LEGO were the measurements should be exact...

But yes, this is the final build. The contest ended six days ago and we are not yet judged. We'll see. Anyway this has been hell of a month and a great honour and so on and I've made ten builds; that was my goal. So thanks to Guy for chairmanning, Jonas for the contest and friends for ideas and support.

-Eero.

Iron Builder IX: Bird of Paradise

 This one has rather different backstory. I was discussing the possible uses of the Dublo grass piece with my friends at school, probably while sculpting plaster (my sculpture ended up being titled "Siperian rata", Siberian railway, and featured a mammoth and a locomotive; most students made something abstract but that's not my way). Ideas that turned up were either colourful bird... or a pineapple, cruel and ambitious fruit (or, at least, painful and delicious). I rather preferred the bird, as it would have been hard to make decent pineapple with leaves four bricks high and eight studs wide (maybe in 2D). But the bird was an excellent idea; Thanks!

The colours were based on wedge slopes that were available. It is not based on any particular species of bird but the colour scheme is rather common and similar to, for example, Olive-headed lorikeet and Fischer's Lovebird. There had to be green, of course, and dark red was an obvious choice as I had plenty of 4x12 wedge slopes (in both right and left versions). Yellow and lime looked rather nice with them, giving some jungle freshness to the bird, plus I had lime green wedges and even some feather-like parts for the tail.

The building process was quite straightforward, divided in three sessions. I began with the wings to get the seed part out of the way, and then advanced into the body, using TECHNIC friction pins to get the wings to the right angle. The head was interesting, featuring life-buoy eyes, white nostril section and big red beak. The shape of the neck is somewhat based on old good LEGO parrot, as I had some nearby. Adding the legs deemed some changes in the inner structure, as they had to be sturdily connected and I had to move weight forward. This made building the support structure challenging, too: It had to bear the parrot without breaking, and I wanted it to look like wood. In the end the shape ended up very finger-like and I wonder if I should have build it in tan. The base features geometric pattern done using reddish brown, old brown and dark brown. The tail feathers were the last part added here - I quite like how the angle of the lime green one gives some sense of gravity to the MOC. This is, I think, my first realistically sized animal build and among my favourite entries for this contest.

-Eero. 


Iron Builder VIII: Palutena

 Build number eight, Lady Palutena, is the third creation based on existing IP and defintely the most challening and time-consuming. I've build Palutena, goddess of light from Nintendo's Kid Icarus game series before, couple of years ago. I was inspired by the character's complex attire and odd elegance. There were some good parts on the old version, but it felt somehow too rigid and lifeless. After that I've played quite a bit of SSB for Wii U and learned to somehow master the character. This was inspired by those matched with them boys. I think I played some with the seed part hiding in my trouser pocket...

Overall, I wanted to make more elegant version, with better, more flowing shapes without losing the importance on details. I began with the torso. The overall shape came out painlessly, but the brown belts with all the golden accessories were hard. I had two of those pneumatic hoses, one in old brown and one in reddish brown, and they were almost too short. As you can see, they sort of end too soon, but fortunately that isn't too visible. It also took some tinkering to connect them sturdily enough. But it looks pleasantly realistic.

Another challenge was the dark red line representing the layer of the dress. The old version utilized a minifig cape in strange position, but this one uses less interesting tricks with better results. New-ish 1/4 square tiles help here; great pieces. Ninjago daggers (Sais?) present the ornaments of the white underskirt.

The hands were serious pain in the arse. The layers of gold and tan are not easy, especially as the joints had to support the weigh of the shield and staff. They're alright but not that good. The left arm has irritating grey liftarm on the elbow. Neither of them are sturdy. They stay intact, they're not terrible, but they were not fun neither. But nobody has complained so far... At least the shield hides a lot and there are more interesting parts to look at.

The head was challenging, having the wing tiara and a gem on the forehead, but once I got the fringe work, the rest was relatively easy. Use of trans-medium blue tube as the halo is straight from the old version, but this one also uses a pulley. The face is similar to other recent builds - Red Lady of the Stream, Robin and Mistral Nereis. It can be packed on smaller scale than old Batarang variant and has separate eyes, which is a nice plus.

The hair is important part here as it uses the seed part, 2x8 Dublo grass block. It's quite a realistic presentation of the end of Palutena's weird long hair flock which is, for a reason or another, bright green. The hair is connected to the back (it's very heavy) and has a curve to add sense of of motion and portray the use of the seed part better. The uppermost part has a ball joint to make it look more natural with the head.

The legs are mainly hidden by the dress, but bits of them are visible. These were among the weakest part of the old version, and have been improved here. Rubber bands still function as the straps around the stocked leg. I was afraid that the legs couldn't bear the build, so I ended up making a floating pose which shows the shaping of the legs better. The pole of astral energy is sort-of reference to Palutena's cool and very nicely ranged Up Smash. The trans-medium blue colour also looks good with the halo and astral wings, build using Wonder Woman's invisible jet wings and some Atlantis portal slopes. The halo is visible for example in Up Aerial, which is, combined with down thrown, Palutena's most reliable KO option. There is a 32 studs long axle inside 2x2 round bricks. It gives them a nice glow. The base has two boat weights for extra stability.

Photographing this was interesting. The first session was cut short due to the weather: It was too dark and too windy. I took the photos on my balcony, fourth floor, and had to use so long shutter time (almost half a second) that the wind rocketed the goddes, making the photos blurry. Next day was better, but I took pictures both with black and white backdrop. The black was better, but I had to extend the cardboard all the way up to make the tall MOC fit it, and the stressmarks and folds on it looked too distracting. So I ended up cutting the MOC to another layer with polygonal lasso tool and adding some heavy gaussian blur to the backdrop. It looks interesting. I hope you like it.

And, of course, extra thanks to them boys for giving me that Zamor sphere, I've got plenty but they're currently in Joensuu. Big hand!

-Eero.






2017-04-12

Iron Builder VII: Go green!

This was the fastest, easiest and most popular build on my Iron Builder. The shape of the piece is around perfect for realistically sized paint brush; I've used them things countless times. Add metal guard and nicely shaped wooden handle and some paint drops and that's it.

But it's too perfect use. Sean and Steph Mayo already used it on their April Fools IB round back in 2014. 

Now it's quite embarrassing. Sean and Steph are very talented and prolific builders, and I'm sure I saw their brush in 2014. But that's 3 years ago, and I've seen lot of builds since then, and I couldn't remember it. I feel I should have checked; But then again, I didn't want anything to mess up with my thoughts. There is lot of suggestions for the uses of the piece on their creations Flickr comments, and I'd rather not read them (I believe no one come up with the Floo Network though). But S&S and Guy were cool on this; Thanks to them! You can't think too much during Iron Builder. Just build.

-Eero.

Iron Builder VI: Arthur Weasley Arrives at his workplace in Ministry of Magic via Floo Network

 This blog has plenty of Discworld characters, and many creations from worlds of Tolkien, but here's the first Harry Potter themed build I've ever published. And what a trivial one!

Idea of using the seed part as a green fire of Floo Network originates from the "Master list" written on lecture of history of architecture right after opening Guy's mystery packet. I had forgotten about this idea, and found the list one day, and read the word: Hormiverkko, the floo network.

I like Rowling's HP books, I've read them maybe six times; they're fast to read, well-written, both humorous and serious, and have excellent Finnish translations. I've seen the films once or twice and don't remember that much about them; my visions originate mostly from the books. There are plenty of interesting characters, and I've thought of building some of them; Albus Dubledore and Alastor Moody especially. But the first character ended up being Arthur Weasley, Ron's dad. The person emerging from the Floo could have been someone else - Cornelius Fudge maybe, or even Harry or Dumbledore, but I quite liked Arthur, and I though that building such marginal yet likable character would have good humorous attitude; Arthut felt right for this situation. And even though I don't remember much of the films, he is played by Mark Williams who also plays Father Brown in BBC's excellent series I used to watch at the police station, and Brian Williams in Doctor Who (on which Rory is pretty much my favorite character).

Now, the build. This was intensive Saturday build that took almost the whole day. I thought it would be smaller, but given that the character has my original three-stud-wide design, it couldn't have been much smaller. The head was the starting point, as usual, having the friendly face, reddish hair and eyeglasses. I knew I'd use some green shades, and the coat was shaped after the parts available in sand green. The olive green vest has wooden buttons - Weasleys aren't that rich. Arthur has his wand on other hand and a briefcase on other; The trousers are pretty basic stuff, but making the stepping stance took some tries. Most of my characters like this are in static pose and have longer coats.

Then there's the fireplace. It's one of those in the Ministry of Magic used as communication by the wizarding folk. It's number eight (Discworld reference, perhaps) and looks rather grand, as ministry should. It's mostly constructed on pieces I had plenty of. Those dark green cut-out slopes are from TLG's LUG support packages and the masonry bricks, fences and goldes cheese slopes are from LUGBULK. Fortunately I had enough black bricks to fill the back correctly to create sense of snug space. Some oddly-shaped spike pieces give some life to the flames. Overall, the fireplace is quite grand and reminds me of Alphonso Mucha's art - maybe I should make something similar to character build in the future. But they take lot of bricks...

-Eero.

Iron Builder V: CMT-Rex

 Iron Builder is now finished but not yet judged, but there's still plenty of MOCs to be posted here with some extra photos and background information. This is the fifth build, a Cyborg-Mutant-Tyrannosaurus Rex. I think the coolness factor is quite high here.

There were some very different prototypes on this. It began with a dragon, a forest drake maybe, with the seed parts as a beard, then as a cheek pads of some sort. Somehow the head evolved into a theropod-like one and the seed part became into a spine. Now Tyrannosaurus didn't have a pretentious spine, but this is a mutant one, right?

This is also my only IB creation to use Bionicle parts. I wanted to use them on at least one, but that big Dublo block is damned hard to incorporate into a constaction figure. This one is probably 30-40% SYSTEM, mainly in the head, upper torso and the arms. The legs and the tail are very Bionicle-heavy, using same techniques as Guechex few months back. The colour scheme is rather mundane and mechanical to create contrast with the organic green parts.

I'm particularly happy with the head and continuation with the spine on the neck.

-Eero


2017-04-02

Iron Builder IV: Very Old Friends

This fourth build was the most ambitious up to date. I began with this fantastic scene on the Fellowship of the Ring - but surprisingly in the film; In the book the discussion takes place inside Bag End and doesn't involve smoking pipeweed. It's a nice scene either way, and somehow evening in Hobbiton enhances it.

The basic idea is quite simple, grass blocks as hobbit hole's turf walls and roof; Two are used as a regular long grass uncut by old Hamfast. Jonas used the seed part as a mini-scale turf roof in his first build, so it isn't the most original idea, but at least I combined it with an iconic location that is dear to me.

The figures are the key part here. Bilbo was built first, and was quite simple expect for the legs: Palm pieces made nice trousers, but connecting them on interesting angle wasn't that simple, since mixel joints are still only available on dull colours. In the end I just hid them from sight. I'm quite happy with his relaxed half-sitting pose. Gandalf was overall very challenging. The head and hat were easy, all right, and I know how to build beards well enough: but the posing was hard. I wanted to make him look thoughtful. Another embuggerance was the size of the bench: If Gandalf looked natural on it, it would have been too high for a hobbit. In ended up hiding Bilbo's end with some flowers. Maybe it's a little bit metaphorical giving the natures of these classic characters.

There was originally a light brick behind the window, but I decided to photograph this on full light and it didn't have any effect.

-Eero.