2015-07-01

MOC: Porco Rosso's Savoia S-21


Here's my newest big project finished, Savoia S-21 flying boat from my favorite movie ever, Hayao Miyazaki's Porco Rosso, in miniland scale.

I saw Porco Rosso for the first time in around 9 years ago when our local cinema featured old Ghibli films on their smallest screen. I instantly loved it, like every other Miyazaki film (expect Howl's Moving Castle. Never liked that one much.), but with time it grew better and better. It's undoublty one of Miyazaki's lighter movies, compared to Mononoke or Nausicaä for example, but also one aimed more to mature audiences; it worked perfectly on me when I was 11 or 12, with air pirates and dogfights and all the humour, but it clearly has references to facism, The Great Recession on so on. And every character is just so natural, they have clear sense of who they are. At least on the Finnish translation; English dub keeps explaining obvious things a bit too much for my liking, haven't seen it but there's the screenplay on Art of Porco Rosso book which I used as a reference material here.

    I've built Porco's seaplane two times before. The first version was built immendiately after seeing the movie and there is no photos taken. The second version was built in 2009 and the photos can be found in the Brickshelf folder if old good 'shelf isn't down. Those were somewhere between minifig and miniland scale. This one was built in Miniland scale because the engine worked the best on it and it made it possible to build an accurate fig of Porco to the cockpit. Accurate pig minifigs do not exist.

A word or two must be said of Porco's plane here. It is Savoia S-21, though the name doesn't appear in the film. The plane model is not real, but Savoia is actual Italian plane manufacturer. The design of Porco's seaplane, despite looking a bit odd, isn't that far from the reality; Miyazaki based it on Macchi M.33, which lost to American Curtiss R3C-2 in 1925 Schneider Trophy race, as referred by Porco at Hotel Adriano's club. Donald Curtis, Porco's rival, flies modified Curtiss R3C-2 in the film. Savoia S-21 has water-cooled 12V 12 600 hp Isotta-Fraschini Asso engine, its maximum speed is 330 km/h and it is armed with two 7.92 mm Spandau machine guns. My MOC represents the plane as it is at the beginning of the movie. It get a major overhaul at Piccolo's in Milano.
 I began working on this last summer. I whipped up the engine, most of the fuselage and a prototype of the wings in rather short time, and then the project halted. A few moths later I made a Bricklink order and bough the curved sloped for the wings. The project halted again. It was announced that Finnish LUG Palikkatakomo would have an exhibit on an anime convention in Kuopion, medium-sized Finnish city 150 kilometers from me. I would naturally take part. Our theme was "popular culture overall" (con's theme, "Sport in anime" was a bit too small...) but I though it would be nice to have some anime stuff too, especially when Miyazaki's art has always had so huge influence on me. So I decided to finish Porco's flying boat. It took two Bricklink orders more and painly designing with pontoons, which are a bit offset to put them on line with the fuselage; The support cords were tricky too. This is not super sturdy, but stays on one piece with some swooshing and basic handling. The angled wings were challenging. The rest on two 4x4 plates with four studs.
 I had worked on things based on reference photos before with my Hobbit project, but this was quite different. It was more shape and measure-based model than those dwarves. Fortunately Art of Porco Rosso book had plenty of photos, including the blueprints of the plane. I managed to make it rather polished and aerodynamic. There are some studs on the sides, but I'm not bothered by them as there isn't much substitutes for those 12x3 wedges. The wings and the rudder took lot of curved sloped, but it was totally worth it. The details populate the engine, which was a pleasing bit to build. The propellor was a tricky bit: Two minifig hammer go inside the 2x2x3 cone, 1x1 cones are connected to them. There weren't any proper yellow propellor pieces so I had to built it. It doesn't spin freely.

I also built the pilot himself, Marco Pagotti, the Crimson Pig. I have been fiddling with character builds a lot lately so it was just natural. Not easy though, as it was challenging to make aviation goggles, snout and the handlebar moustache in such a small space. It came out quite well. It's also fun that the handlebar moustache is actually a handlebar...
 Savoia S-21 also needed a base. It needed to be slightly angled to make the display dynamic. I first tried to build it in white, but didn't have enough TECHIC bricks of liftarms, so I made it black and tiled it nicely. The plane was just small enough to fit in my photo studio and the pictured turned out nice.

It's better to be a pig than a facist pig. Remember that, boys and girls all over the world.

-Eero















2015-06-20

MOC: Toa Kyberi

 I play no blues, I play po'n'roll!

This is Toa Kyberi, Toa of Sonic, tetriary member and Po musician of safehaven organization Bio-Klaani. He's adored ans squeee'd by most of the citizens because he can rock so freaking hard. And he has frigging rocking hairstyle helmet and gorram cool bare chest and leather jacket interesting armor design. His natural choice of weapon is an Axe-Guitar plugged into Marshall Barraki amp. I think it is more of a guitar than an axe, because it's easier to beat people with a guitar than play power chords with an axe.

Kyberi is a tertiary character and has couple of appearances. In 2011 or something he beat the hell out of two Zyglak pillagers with his heavenly beats. And on last December in my posts he was part of a ruse of distraction where a few not-that-important characters played some Po-Music to Nazorak invaders on a boat BKS Hildemar to keep their focus out of their Air Force's support station to allow Clan's spies to get in.

Kyberi was never described except for the Axe-Guitar. I got some pieces from Bricklink (AFOL Supply, excellent store for CCBS parts) on Friday and looked at Queen Beast upper jaw (didn't have any of those beast heads before, they were sooo expensive) and though that hell, add some wedge plates and some good mask and that would make great Elvis Presley/Rockabilly/Teddy- style hair. Bionicle character doesn't have much hair though (except facial hair on Klaanon, of course, facial hair!), so it is freaking rocking cool helmet. The rest of the MOC was built around that idea. The mask was chrome silver Hau (Rua) at the beginning, but I though there was already too many Hau characters and Miru's emotion was just perfect. Rock'n'roll! The golden streaks iced the cake.

I was firstly going for rather basic grey Toa-of-Sonic color scemed armor, but didn't got any good ideas. Grey and silver are so dull... So I separated the shades and went for strong black-and-white contrast and a leather jacket. The jacket was dark pearl grey at first, but didn't have enough pieces on it. The black was a lot better, and allowed buffed up rock'n'roll shoulders. The arms are basic-CCBS with some Technic cams. The legs are not that exciting, but they use dark pearl grey parts as I just had to include the super cool amplifier armor add-ons from Breakout Stringer (Breakout was great) to this MOC. They were on shoulders, they were on gauntlets, they were as a belt buckle (Didn't work, trust me), but they eded up on the knees.

Then there was the Guitar-Axe. I tried several blade designs (There are WAY TOO MUCH Bionicle blade pieces, but most of them are buried deep in the cupboard), including Mata Nui shield half Flying V and Axonn's mega-axe basic models, but those Antroz blades had just sweet profiles and I went for them, connecting them via three-axle-connector and adding the SYSTEM-build simple fretboard. I knew I had to build an amp too. Making one using those 8x8 grate plates had been on my mind for some while and there was a perfect chance. I also added the iconic protective covers to the corners and some controls to the top. The amp was also excellent accessory while photographing the creation. Kyber turned out hell of a cover boy.

Rock on.

-Eero






2015-06-19

MOC: Brez II

 Hey! This is not Hero Factory MOC. Definitely not a revamp of Breakout Breez (which is the best Hero set there was). Nope, this is a Klaanon MOC. Breez (second) is one of four three Selakhian (Pridak and Same's species) sisters, known as Breznikova Triplets (Formerly Breznikova Quartet; Kova is plural suffix on Selakhian language). They were Xian bounty hunters until the eldest one died at the hands of Purifier. Now they are part of organization called Nascosto working for Killjoy and the seek avenge on Purifier.

Their real backstory is different. Last summer me and this guy called Jörbäle (whose Klaanon characters this and Killjoy and Purifier) were wandering around the horrible city of Kajaani. We were about to buy ice cream (why not) but found some 2€ Brain Attack Breezes and 5€ Bruizers (terrible set). So we ended up having three Breezes and two Bruizers, and it turned out like this.

Some eleven months later I was just reading Klaanon, no big deal. And suddenly, three bounty hunters named Brez.

Some ten moths later I was reading Klaanon again, no big deal. And suddenly, Dance battle between Breznikova triplets and Vatuka "Bruiser" Brothers hired by Roodaka on Xian nighclub yatch XMS Donovan. Yeaaaah. And it didn't stop there, I tell you.

This is the second oldest of Breznikova. I drew some inspiration from these Matobro's drawings, but took also some heavy liberties concerning colors and the mask especially. I began working with the legs and they turned out well quite quickly; The kneepads were already ordered from Bricklink. I really like the dark red color splashes on the inner thigh. The armoring of the boots looks quite neat too.

I wanted to have an armor coat with long tails to give some "officer quality" to this MOC as this Brez is the oldest one alive. Use of those Technic panels and wing pieces were there from the beginning. Rocket heel shoes with breakout armor created quite heavily armored upper torso, and not using those road armor add-ons was out of question. Piraka flipper on the back is connected via Cordak bullets to create similar pattern than on the chest plate.

The arms are rather simple, basic bone on the upper arm (it doesn't move very freely) and axle with ball joints on the lower part (The best technique with CCBS). My basic hand design, presenting heavy glove, is used hre connected to a shell with T-bar.

The head is custom-build as any Breez heads were too small. I'm happy with it. The white patterns were a bit forced as I didn't have any lime brackets, but I quite like them. The mask looks a bit less flat with them.

Brez's weapons are combination of Brain Attack and Breakout Breezes. The holo shield and sword pieces from the Breakout version are seriously underused but cool parts. The blade weapon has similar construction to Brain Attack version, being bendable and agile yet hard to use. Every one of the Breznikova has that sort of weapon with different blades.

-Eero












2015-06-04

MOC: Dain II Ironfoot

 Good mornings. What we have here today is Dain II Ironfoot, Lord of the Iron Hills, King under the Mountain of Erebor and that Billy Connoly dwarf boss who rode the pig. Yes, pig included. Couldn't resist, always liked them pigs.

Dain has been the hardest dwarf to build because the riding stance with the pig. I began with the head, as usual, and helmet, as unusual, as Dain is the only dwarf so far with one. It came out rather nicely, even though my pearl silver collection is limited. I'm especially happy with the gold details around the face slit.

After the head I built the upper torso and the arms, though I had to rebuild it few times as it was too wide. The big dark brown fur cape (I'd like to think it's bear skin, just because) covers most of the armor and upper arms anyway, so it wasn't that hard. I had fortunately quite good array of dark brown plates (1x2 and 2x6 mostly) from last years LUGBULK so it wasn't a problem.

The lower arms had similar grey and pearl gold color scheme than the helmet (which was dark bley at the beginning). The fingers of Dain's leather gloves should actually be dark red, but they have big knuckle armors, so I just simply made them pearl silver; Sole dark red thumb wouldn't have looked that good. The arms have pretty good poseability, the hammer arm having a small ball joint and the harness arm having a t-bar joint. The hammer is similar to Thrain's but has two edges instead. The beard didn't have any surprised, it came out just as planned, if probably bit shorter in the end. Clip-bars made a nice, edgy beard jewellery.

Before finishing the dwarf itself, I built the pig armor. At first I didn't think 1x4 plate hinges could work on the nape plates, but I was wrong; The angled armor looked a lot better than a flat one. The there was the T-piece, what ever it is called, knob or something, some spike-like armor to slice orcs with, and the saddle; Basic stuff. Getting Dain to sit there was harder, as all of my dwarves have been standing still before this. The armor skirt with grey plates,dark red leather and some chain mail took few tries, as it turned out too big at first. The cape saved me again as I didn't have to bother the back of the skirt. The legs are very thing to go between the saddle and the skirt and they have two small ball joints. Dain can stand but looks ridiculous, as the skirt is rather stiff. The pig, however, work fine on it's own, as you can see at the end of this post.

The pig caused some problems as I had already built the armor and I had to fit it under it. Well, I always used to build most of the houses and other building from roof to floor so had some experiences... Well, I made the face first, despite having a little reference material; the pig design changed a lot from the concept art on Weta's Chronicles books. The face come out rather expressive. There are some crazy SNOT inside as the whole pig had to be odd studs wide due to the armor, which had one-stud wide base. There were some illegal connections at some point, caused by 1/4 plate offset or something, but I fixed it. Otherwise the shaping was quite fun. I used dark bley and old dark grey pieces mixed carelessly, as the pig definitely isn't very clean fellow. Then there had to be the pigtail, curvy as it should be, and as the animal had some nasty tusks I though it as male.

So, this is Dain and the pig. Now I have a few WIPs left waiting to be finished. Of course there are some, or several, but it somehow feels like starting fresh on new projects. We'll see for that, I'm not promising anything. I'm still having two moths of work on the civilian service, but after that, plenty of time for building (and less money).

-Eero




Let's give these bastards a good hammering!






2015-06-01

MOC reboot: Balin

 The story behind this MOC ei rather unfortunate. It was going to be Balin in his battle costume from Battle of the Five Armies to go with Dwalin posted a few weeks ago. I it looked quite good with the studded leather armor and all, but was way too fragile for my standards; The arms kept falling of all the time and there were some mathematical problems. So I got rather irritated by it and quited, but had already reworked a rather nice new Balin head. The old version from 2012 had been seriously outdated with the more recent dwarves on my Hobbitsplosion project, so I decided to give old Balin the new head. It turned out rather challenging, as the torso built two and a half years ago wasn't very sturdy, so I ended up reworking the whole dwarf.


There were a lot problems on the older version. There were too much straight lines, some of the cloak details didn't exist, and somehow it lacked the puffiness of the character. Balin's coat is my favourite piece of clothing in the Hobbit movies; It looks so comfortable (though it wasn't according to the actor Ken Stott; Which is understandable with all the prosthetics, beard, nose, fat suit and all).

The angle of the arms was another thing that looked unnatural, even though it is somehing expected for LEGO bricks. It was hard to get the angle right without making the shoulders too wide or too thin and allow some trimmings to the sleeve. There are also some dark bley details on the overcoat. The gloves are redone. Boot toes are new too (though the studs look a bit out-of-place) but the cheese-slopes-in-trans-black-panel detail is the same than in the original. The inner construction is a lot more solid than on the old MOC. That's it, basically.

I think I'll be able to post Dain II Ironfoot later this week, as reguested by many. Stay tuned for that, the guv's missing only a few parts now; He has a lot. But for then, enjoy Balin. He's a nice guy. My favourite dwarf from the Hobbit.

-Eero



2015-05-23

MOC: I Am A Mole


I turned the loo's taps to puke sewage!
I set Volmar's toupee to fire, sank his Corvette to the canal!
That's right: I am the postman of Job!
The prophet of the doctrine of unpositive attidude, yes!

I am the mole, scumbags!
Earthmover! Terminator!
Under your dwellings I shall dig my catacombs!
And I shall not wait for your invitations but I'll invite myself;
For your guest, for your blight, and your home is my castle!

Your kitchen into a Turkish sauna and customer in there!
So I sit on a freezer, ladling water to the stoves! Yes:
I nest in shallow waters!
I nest in shallow waters!

Ch.:

And now I'm having a Polaroid hidden in the ceiling...
A recorder behind a painting...
And harm watch will be harm catch!

And in those days one fellow raved the whole month about mammals...


After a hurricane snatches the furniture I shall eat the chosen bits 
of your lawn and the small feet groove all night...
And when "ring ring" says the phone inside the head
The ambulancemen don't say even that!
Buy this:

Ch.: 



And your mole goes:
And nests in shallow waters!
Rises out from your hot tub...
Now!


2015-05-21

MOC: Superintendent Harkel

Here's another important Klaanon character after The Marionette, though this one does only have two Bionicle parts (matoran feet) and two TECHNIC pieces (Hole with a pin and a blue axle-pin). But yes, Superintendent Harkel of the Blue Cloaks Nui-Koro, the greatest village on the Island of Bio-Klaani, after the city grown around the Clan's fortress. Harkel's the cop of the village. Not the chief, no, and he once was suspended because his inquiries about the Mayor Tahae's tax avoidance crimes. Harkel's veteran cop, he has seen crime and knows his city (which is, by the way, already invaded by the Nazorak Empire).

But in reality, Harkel is a police moustache connected into a matoran. The moustache is important. The narrator loves it.

Harkel is a Po-Matoran and a large one. He has a black Faxon, Hahli Mahri's mask, which I built using SYSTEM pieces as Faxon is not available in black and Harkel's version differs from the underwater Mahri version. I'm very happy with the result. Harkel has a bit sad stare, almost beagle-like. He also has a cop helmet.

The main gimmick here - aside the moustache - is the blue cloack, Nui-Koro's Police Department's main symbol. It also has the crab badge, Hahnah crab being the signature animal of the village (in contrast to Bio-Klaani's silver ussal on blue background). I built the cloak very dramatically on one shoulder, covering the left arm. I'm very happy with it - I fortunately gathered some dark blue curved slopes from Bricklink a few months ago.

I also gave Harkel some police accessories. He has a stick, a badge (compass), and a "Wanted" poster of a mayor's mook. Alright, the mook looks quite a bit like a minifig, and those are not really bionicle letters, but anywhy... The handcuffs are too small for Bionicle figs so let's say it's pocket watch's chain.

In addition, here's a photos of two another Klaanon creations, built by friend "Snobie" using my parts - Blue Cloak's secretary Suflerly (Or Sulfrey?) and Gahlok Va (Some sort of a librarian gnome; Definitely not a half-bohrok).

-Eero