Monday, 31 December 2007

What Planet is This?

I remember when I was a kid reading a book about future predictions that was written in the early seventies and being amazed by it. Then just last week I rediscovered the same book and was blown away by it once again. For example do you know that by the year 2015 we'll be living in cities on the moon and using magnetic tape to record sound, data and audio? I also discovered Paleo-Future which is a fascinating little blog that specialises in showcasing the future that never was. Simply put, a collection of future predictions from as far back as the 1880's. My fav would have to be Quasar and it's curiously named buddy "Maid Without Tears" M.W.T doesn't look like the kind of robot that would be content with serving tea as snapping spines clean in half looks more like its kind of thing. Quasar is slightly less intimidating due to looking somewhat like a piece from a snakes and ladders game. Don't let that catch you off guard though because rest assured it's probably the brains behind the robot revolution against humanity. Don't drink that tea, lady! This amusing post shows off some Parisian artwork made in 1910 envisioning what life would be like in the year 2000. I love how in the future personal flying machines and drive-by wine waiters co-exisit so happily and how mechanical arms will do everything for us.
Another one of my discoveries was the exceptional which is incredibly useful for dissolving particully stubborn builders block. The concept art ranges from pictures of freaky genetic freaks of nature all the way to intergalactic starships and Mechs. And now it looks like it's time for a word from our sponsor.

Tired of your old cramped Moonrover and the way that it stuggles to accend the sides of even the feeblest craters? Do onlookers laugh at your outdated Starcrusher-battlecruiser that takes hours to disintergrate a single planetoid? Or maybe you're just in the market for a new family starwagon? Here at honest Frank's Intergalactics we've got a huge range, I guarentee it that I've got a good deal for you right here. Just take a step into the lot.
The Y-24 Spiral is quite a dreamy piece of geometry suitable for your next bombing raid, cosmic assault or freighter escort operation and it's only had one previous owner, a Mr Paul Cyberhawk who only used it on Sundays to take it out on planetary assaults. That's not your kinda thing eh? Well if you're looking for something more in a giant arachnid killing machine well I've got just the ticket for you. The Lime-Quad is just what you're looking for with only one previous owner a gentleman by the name of Mr. Shine. It features excellent rear suspension, leather trim and it's one of the easiest Spider Mechs on the market to park thanks to the abdomen mounted rear vision camera.
Now come over and have a look at this here Starfighter, what a beauty we just got this in on Thursday off a bloke by the name of Jeremy. It's called the Avarice and its got an excellent warp-drive that'll take you from here to Jupiter and back in the blink of a Morlocks eye. Some people say those old geared thrusters are a little dodgy on these early models but I wouldn't listen to them. But if you're looking for more of an anti-fleet starfighter I'd suggest the Spiteful Dagger from Alan-Industries which features quite a lovely paint scheme and comes with bonus optional extras such as sunroof and external heavy blaster pods. Just don't put excess weight on the struts as they tend to bend on these older models. I know your type, you're looking for a freighter for heavy hauling aren't ya? I shouldn't be telling you this but out the back we've got some new stock out back that you might be interested in so let's just say it fell off the back of a truck shall we? Well go no further then a genuine Patrick Patwood series Spaceship Parts Freighter which is a quality piece of machinery. Check out the sleek skeletal H-Superframe and the roomy bridge which features an excellent view and for a small extra charge I'll throw in a coat of aero-shine to protect that lovely finish. So how about it, interested in buying anything so far? Well, come back anytime then..

A drum role is required for the introduction of next segment but since we've blown the intire Masoko Tanga budget on elaborate sportscars and labor saving mechanical arms you'll just have to imagine one. Start those drums right now as I announce this weeks Award 'o' Shame winner which was sent in to me via anonymous email. Some person by the name of tomm has decided to grace Brickshelf with pictures in glorious of a weird blue thing which is either some kind of adult toy or a salad eating utensil. After further perusal of his gallery I discovered something that everyone should experience at least once in their lives. Tiny custom Mythbusters Minifigs which are quite accurate and quite creepy. Congratulation tomm, enjoy your award. Feel like getting involved in the spirit 'O' shame? Anything done by the Lego Community or by TLC is elegible for the award, if you wish to dob something in please shoot off an email to me or leave a comment below with the details or url. If you're nomination is chosen you might win an exciting prize like a monogrammed Jpeg image or maybe even an enveolope full of irrelevant newspaper clippings. Wow.

The time has come and we've reached the end of another post, whether you've been a long time reader or if this is your first time I'd like to say thanks. And tonight whether you be with partying with friends and family, drilling for oil on one of our nations many oil-rigs or serving time in one of our nations fine penitentiary's have yourself a happy new year.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Synaptic Circuits De-luxe

As usual, apologies for the lack of updates. This time of year is far too hectic and way too time consuming for everyone as you all no doubt know from personal experience. Rather than building further upon that rant I'd rather just jump right into the Mocs straight away starting out with the entries for Goldman's control the action comp first.

Tukguy's Analyze is best described as a Medical examination that would not be too fun. There 'aint no lolly pop at the end of this ride but it looks as if there may be a one or two during the ride, all-though probably icy-cold, stainless steel and fairly unpleasant. It's got cool hose usage and Minfig cleavage but not nearly enough spinning blades of medical death in my opinion. Note the rows of hoses sitting offside looking rather unsettling. I love the array of lights, bells and whistles arranged above the MRI machine reminding me of a pilot-fish using its natural light to lure the unwary into its maw.
Arpy brings us "Incompetencing the world to its doom"which teaches us valuable life lessons such as that opening up an intergalactic conduit between universes is a bad idea if you're just the janitor. And also that parallel dimensions are not all inhabited by future Dystopian society's and mustachioed evil dopplegangers but sometimes by pan-galactic monkeys with neon hooks. I adore the little greeble pit on the left and the Bionicle parts usage on this Moc is gorgeous. Just check out the way that the orange tubing is weaved through the ball sockets to create a rim around that X-pod middle which then expands outwards into a weird tentacled battering ram tipped with a silver Bohrok hand shield. Lovely.
Yoder satisfies the blood-thirsty side of us all by showing us the titular 'Better Axe Somebody' If you're Friday nights always seem to be terribly dull and passive why not take the family out to the Friday night Axe fights? Enjoy the excellent slanted killing floor, marvel at the cages behind the fighters which no doubt house wild beasts and socialise with hordes of fellow blood crazy spectators. Don't forget to admire the skeletons in the pit too. BYO melee weapon.

The short and fast Moc round-up starts here with Legoloverman Blue Canary which mixes old-space with new-space with sexy results. The solar panels on Bluetiger7's S2 satellite are constructed with rows of trans-smoke 1x6 slopes which look fantastic . Also from the same guy there's a nifty little space caravan with a compact design to be admired. The Riqueza gas miner shows that Jerac's Microscale stuff just keeps getting better and better. It's got detachable containers, teeny tiny hangers, gas tanks and lots more. Another venture into the world of Microscale is the SORS Romeo 3 by Arpy, the runway and the the docking claw score definite points. And finally from B-shelf user Giters there's an unusual snub nosed work in progress, nice work keeping the shape streamlined and I think the canopy placement looks pretty darn good
Now I present a new regular feature for my posts. It all started when my constant and violent abuse of the random folder button brought me to Rweseloh89's B-shelf gallery. Deep in its murky depths on a dusty and forgotten shelf I discovered the frankly amazing and self explanatory "Award 'O' Shame". I thought it was such a good idea that I decided to steal it. This week the first Award 'O' Shame goes out to Brickshelf user Sheep33177 who was so elated with his Spongebob minifigs that he decided to photograph and post them into and under every single folder category on B-shelf. The runner up is Pepa Quin and his Mouse Droid which was also discovered on B-shelf. Thank you for your contribution Mr. Quin but I'm afraid nine slightly varying pictures of the same three piece droid isn't nearly enough. Also, I was severly disappointed in the lack of instructions. Congrats to our winners. If you've got someone or something in the Lego Community or Company you would like to nominate for the prestigious Award 'O' Shame just shoot of an email to me, leave a comment or perhaps shoot off a flare or two into the air. Groovy..

Now finally here's today's random Brickshelf gallery find of the day is the Lightning hotrod which includes a Lego John Travolta. But don't let that spoil this great little Moc for you, I think this Moc belongs to that fifties movie Grease but I'm not sure. I've never seen the Movie but I feel incredibly dirty for knowing that its features dated teenage rebellion musical numbers and stared Olivia Newton John. Now if you'll excuse me, at twelve I'm booked in for a lobotomy at the Analyze med table in to remove all knowledge of the film "Grease" because I feel terribly dirty. It's either that or the slightly cheaper option of good ol' bleach and steel wool.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

In Rainbows

Good evening everyone. I'm usually apologizing for a lack of updates, and I could continue this trend but beating a dead horse isn't very fun. I'm in that last year of school where you have to decide what the hell you want to do with your life and apparently there is a lot of work to go along with that. Had a nice holiday in the form of a school trip to Italy, it was real nice to be somewhere else for a while. Plenty of shots on flickr from that trip, and there'll probably be more come Christmas when I get a full account. Here are some pretty examples:

So with my mind still in other places and boat loads of work ahead of me, LEGO has essentially been put on the back burner. I haven't even really been keeping up on most everybody else's work. So far be it for me to try and keep you posted and informed on current works, when I myself am not. This would be a post where brickshelf's random feature is highly lucrative and ideal - however the days where said feature would be ideal and the days where said feature actually produce ideal results must run on separate calenders. Instead, I did indeed find a recent piece. A piece, as in one, so I'll try and make this long winded.

I don't really think the Arvo brothers have actually ever made anything that on some level (most often on many) I don't love. I choose the term love over like here because there's a hint of jealously and admiration, as opposed to just general interest. Their recent make of Giger's Alien is creepy, smooth, and organic and inorganic in the same TV dinner. There's a certain feeling in this, and most arvo pieces, that every element put into place on the final model is the only one that would work. Every element flows so well that you stop looking at the model as a collaboration of different shaped ABS blocks and more as something that has been sculpted. Each section moves so seamlessly into the next that the model transcends its own medium - which I believe is a concept I've ushered as one of instant gratification on this blog. Adding to this is the idea that the build itself still isn't enough. If the Arvos had simply built this Alien, posed it in some classical contrapposto with less movement than a mortared brick and taken the photos in a gloomy basement apartment with the flash on - chances are it would still be seen as a high point of building achievement. That, however, is not what we get. What we get is an Alien in some sort of dynamic post-kill contemplating pose (with drool for extra glam) captured with such beautiful photographs that even if I put the Lego builder in me aside, the photographer in me steps forward to give worship. All this knowing how hard black Lego bricks are to photograph.

True to Giger's vision (award for the most phallic head ever), the Arvo's produce another stunning work. And with that I'll probably be silent for sometime again, so if you would mind Laura, get me home tonight.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Fed and Watered

Rather than boring you with boring tales of an ultimately inane and crap-ulouse nature I'd thought I'd strap on my goggles and bathing cap and dive headfirst into today's Moc's straight away.

Introducing the titular Jaguar Force mecha by corebookg7 of Brickshelf. I have no idea if this Moc is an official alternate model or just a fan built alternate but either way it's a pretty fancy looking feline vision of loveliness. The side boosters/ cannons look right out of some fancy anime mecha show and those paw/toe claw wrenches are quite cute as is the sword-tail.
The cockpit on this however is quite crap, pull the minifig out and it'd look about a hundred times better. At top speed, (assuming he hasn't fallen out by then) the poor guy would have a spine similar in appearance and density to that of a large sock filled with lemon jelly.
Having nothing to do with either footwear or sugary desserts is the MaK Fireball SG which is a lovely old fashion diving bell style hardsuit by Tromas. The hatches on this thing are absolutely ace with no pun intended, the ace and bullet hole decals add a lovely layer of personality to an otherwise fairly drab Moc. And I like that little spoiler thing sticking out of the shoulder chillin' on the back there. But's this Mech's suffering an ailment that's seems common to a lot of mechs, the dreaded tiny feet syndrome. Niels Bugge's Railgun spider might have a lame name but it doesn't suffer the small feet disorder most likely due to the fact that it's an awesome phallic spider cannon death machine usefull for defending planets and shooting cans. The big gun of the Spiders namesake is fairly impressive. I love the way the monorail noses form an attractive boomerang/ U shape which sandwiches in the greebles like tasty cream filling. Great use of cockpit domes, the ones behind the gun stacked up in that peculiar vending machine/ can dispensing machine fashion are uniquely awesome. The cockpit placement on this couldn't be more perfect.

Also under the Lame parts contest umbrella we have the Anti Satellite patrol buggy which features a slightly smaller gun but however utilises a Castle Roof and a basketball hoop in an interesting way. It's even got a little control room instead of a back seat which is not really a room as such but more of a control-hole for the techs to sit down in and do some serious controllin' and shootin'. In a minor nitpick it's a shame that those windshields aren't made in a six stud length variety, cause the 4x4 one is adequate but ultimately sucky.
The Accentor by Nic Dean has a crap name that makes it sound more like a brand of escalator than a VTOL killing machine. Any boring and generic name like the 'Predator', 'The Stalker' or the'Phantom Sky Cougar Delux' would be way better. Trivialities aside it has some decent but fragile looking rotors and a really neat flowing tail design. The ramp is cool but I can't help wonder just how much you can fit in the interior which is hopefully practical and not just for looks. Which is precisely what Felix Brun's Spacecrane v2.0 is all about, a beautiful exercise in function over form. A lovely old-school cockpit choice and two big pneumatic cylinders on top which look great but there really is an absence of hoses. Surely a solid and manly industrial craft such as this needs far more hoses to pump around various fluids which are no doubt vital to lifting stuff.

David C's Crimson Angel support craft is pretty cool, what stands out on this for me is the engines that sit neatly tucked in underneath the lame-part cowling. But the rest of it to me seems fairly boring as I feel like I've seen it before. Hippotam has built a handy Space roller which is just dandy for dealing with the pot-holed space-roads and troublesome protesters of the future. I particularly like the sporty stabiliser fins and the knee height doors. Who here hasn't found themselves sitting and thinking to themselves that construction vehicles also need fancy sports versions? Just imagine a star studded movie premier with all glitz, glamour and fancy cars. Rolling up to the red carpet is a sleek cherry red cement mixer with thick black tinted windows. The Gull wings doors elegantly slide upwards open. It's Ferrari's newest model of course, the Concrete Panther. On slightly less insane plane of thought there this Hardsuit by Incayne with is kind of similar to the diving bell hardsuit that was observed earlier but much more jolly and plump. And it gets bonus points because it shares a name after a totally awesome song and because it's also packin' a shoulder mounted spoiler too. Ley Ward/ Whateverly's has presented the Eye in the Sky which is a huge space donut thing that features a cool focusing ring of transparent goodness that shoots lasers. I guess it kind of looks like a gigantic magnifying glass with a broken handle.

Also, I saw this on B-shelf and thought it was somewhat kinda cool. May it bring much joy & happiness.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Death is the Road to Awe (dancing with myself)

Sorry for the lack of posts from me, I went on vacation. I didn't build much over the summer, threw out some stuff at the end, but now I'm in school and the building is grinding to a halt. But, I have been working on the website! You may have noticed the header change here to better fit in with the main page. So check out to see the intro page that took me much longer than it should have! Both sections are up, however the extent of both is limited. The galleries all look fine for me, but apparently the font didn't embed because whenever I view a gallery on another computer all the writing is 'off'. Sigh. The Art section of the new website is sauntering along, the galleries there will be similar but different in presentation. Making a website is quite the frustrating project, and unlike the guys at Next-Gen Design I don't have Kepplah to code monkey for me. Also, watch 'The Fountain', buy the soundtrack, and die happy.

This post has been mulled over for a while, so I'm not going to give much of the average variety. No, today's update will run more like The Histories than any sort of review show. Today I'm going to look at my preferred topic, Microspace, in retrospect. A search on Lugnet of 'Micro' and 'Space' comes up with a few topics reaching back 11 years, with MOC topics showing up around 9 years and the first with pictures still accessible at 7 years ago. There's a topic from Jon Palmer talking with Mark Sandlin about what would become Zemi's SHIP Gallery (also 7 years ago), 6 years ago Bryce McGlone talks about a Japanese page of micro-mecha originally link to by a fellow by the name of David Perry - the page has since moved and my amazing ability to not understand the Japanese language leaves me to think said content is long gone.
This seems to be the main problem with looking this far back into the LEGO community's past without any real strategy or tangible sources; links dry up and folders are lost to the ages. However, one sees the names of those who are quite famous in the community today, Mladen talking about some micro-mecha, a link to a page once containing some works from Ken Takeuchi. I guess that is one problem of not being in community back then.
I think microspace has always been at least the hidden passion of some LEGO builders, the more popular solution is to build space ships in scale to Mini-figures, this gives a better sense of realism and allows for a pretty detailed interior - featuring spacemen. But somewhere, someone never has enough pieces to build their dream boat in scale to a mini-figure. What do you do? One way to realise the vision, at least partly, is to build it at a reduced scale. While I wouldn't say microscale was a bastard child of the space community (it was liked) it never garnered any glory or popularity until it's first mention on the Lugnet .Space Timeline: "Paul Baulch takes microfig scale to a whole new level". These are among my favourite all time LEGO creations, and the most inspiring: The Lance of Athena, and The Empyrean Flame. I think any space builder who knows which end of a drill bit to use knows at least one of those names and the creation behind it. Those two ships really gave microscale a name, and started a slow rise in microspace building. They were built a while ago if you judge it against a time-line of the community - against a time-line of LEGO, the revolution of more shaped slopes had come, though not to the extent we enjoy today. As it was, the Lance did something that few had really seen with any larger build (whatever scale it may be): it had shape. This wasn't your everyday box with decorations of Greebs and guns, this was the real deal. Both are huge, representing an enormous investment in parts seen most effectively in the repetition of numerous types of slopes. Both the Lance and the Flame are great milestones in Microspace, and though techniques may have improved you could argue that we've never really seen anything of their stature since.
Things become a little harder to trace in a timeline from here, I turn to the search engine on Classic-Space to see what comes up. There's a few results that talk about micro-gravity and renders, a few small ships by Sastrei, some of my own earlier attempts. Over all there's some interest in mircoscale but nothing monumental.
So the next great piece I found was the micro dioramas of Mark J. Stafford. Great because they were an entire setting of micro, one could see how different pieces interacted with each other and in turn create a better sense of scale between them all. The Octan Refinery does a few things: it shows us the great extent greebles can have on micro, they're not the same as greebs at minifig scale but work to convey more robust industrial workings of a ship (or anything else); it also shows the effective use that simple slopes can be put to to achieve shape. Baulch's big work showed this to some extent, but the size of his two more well known ships defeated this aspect.
The refinery seems to have opened up a new can of Microscale, and the summer of 2006 is filled with wondrous creations from a plethora of builders: Peter Reid, and Justin Vaughn. It was about this time, spring '06, that I began to try and microscale in earnest. I'd been building for a few years now, but it wasn't until Mike Yoder came on the scene that I really wanted to try and be better. I think Mike said once that it was some of my microscale that helped inspire him to build microspace himself, so I felt obliged to try and offer some friendly competition when he floored me with his awesome building skills. The result of this was the Lancaster, the first in a series of three capital ships that were an on-going experiment for me. I feel like sometimes I build in stages, currently I'm trying to design civilian ships and see what space is like from a non-military view. When I built the Lancaster I was trying to build a capital ship - what does a ship need to be a flagship? It must be big, powerful, but must be a multi-role ship. But every ship needs to have some focus to it, otherwise it's slightly good at everything but very good at nothing. After the Lancaster was the Emperius, now with focus on a carrier and long range weaponry. It was still missing something, and I grasped for over half a year to find the right design. I was no longer sure what it was I was looking for however. Mike continued to kick ass, and the building genre was growing (and growing). When I finally pumped out the Eos, after I think seven separate attempted builds, I felt that I reached a milestone. The Eos itself was a pretty shapeless ship, and yet somehow I still admire its beauty - I achieved with it a great advancement in my skills concerning its individual parts, even if as a whole it was visually disengaging. But as I pushed my limits with larger ships, a new builder was experimenting with more manageable sizes: Spook. When I first saw Spook's microscale it was a little chunky and uninteresting, but his skills grew quickly and he soon surpassed me with both style and skill.
Microscale as a building genre was now quite established and diverse. Content that the style had picked up, I turned back to my own progression as a builder. I had achieved what I wanted in terms of technique, so I turned to experimenting with shape. I had quite a few stagnant ideas sitting around from my quest for the Eos, so I knew where to start. I wanted big guns, and classic style. This came together in the Argos, which of all my ships contains the most striking shape - especially for it's size. By now everyone was looking to try their hand at a microscale design, but it wasn't the typical fad bandwagon - it was a much slower build up and obviously is more open-ended than any fad. Lukas, J5N, not to mention Nnenn who had been building the scale for some time now. There was/is even talk about collaborating a microscale space base for conventions, along similar ideals of Moonbase; and rise of a special flickr group, one which breathes on a regular basis.

And there it is, a small history of Microspace. A little bias, and probably missing a lot, but there it is. The interesting thought I'd like to leave you with is this: What will the next generation write on this subject? Who will be remembered as doing what and what models in specific will earn respect as the time goes by. I'm sure there were more microspace builders back in Baulch's fame, but I wasn't there and now we see the things that get remembered.

Monday, 10 September 2007

Pushing the Sky

Many apologies for the delay, my Internet connection has always been similar to that old couple in the beaten up flintstones-era car dragging a caravan at a whopping speed of 30 in the fast lane. Well that was my Internet, but now imagine that same car but the caravan is full of bricks and that the wheels mysteriously vanished a couple hundred miles ago. In short, 20.0 kbs Dial-up is a curse so terrible and vile that I wouldn't even dare bestow it upon my worst enemy and I miss my 40.kbs. Anywho, just yesterday I got to do something I've always been longing to do, I got into a plane which then climbed to about ten thousand feet and then the door opened and I stepped out of the side of it onto the little platform and jumped. Skydiving's a completely amazing and disorientating experience, nothing like weightlessness but probably as close to it as you can get without spending a few hundred thousand dollars I reckon.

Anyway, onto the Lego, the lame-parts space-defence contest deadline has been extended to the 23rd of September which is good news for both the lazy and those who had a legitimate excuse. (who are also lazy) Be sure to check out the competition as there's some fantastic entries.
Luke's Wipeout inspired Orbit Racer is undeniably blocky but I think that's a main part of its charm. It's been quite a while since I've played Wipeout so I'm assuming the hinged panels on the wings are either Airbrakes or maitience hatches but whatever they are they're a fairly nifty and practical addition. I like the cockpit choice but I feel that the nose could be a little sharper. Peter Morris's Wraith has got a nice nose on it and some neat looking thrusters but the wings look a little uncoordinated. Kind of looks like a Star Wars version of a Wraith Dart from Stargate which makes it a good wing-man or adversary to the Buzzhawk which is also by Peter. The gears as thrusters arrangement looks really good as the gears do a way better job here than any cylinder, axel or wheel could. I love the mowhawk but I'm sure the blasters could do with some fattening up. In a similar vein we have the Jethawk from Adam Nies, it's got a nice colour scheme and I really love those compact winglets and their accompanying blue tipped thrusters. The Grey Gosling by Roy T Cook looks like some kind of bizarre amalgamation, it's a ship with a front like a semi-trailer and a rear end like and grey fluffy cloud, which is actually pretty cool so go check it out.

I've heard plentiful praise awarded to the Pc game Crimson Skies in the Space community so I finally gave in and picked it up. If you haven't heard of it, it's a Flight-Combat Pc game set in an alternate 1937 where nations and continents have been split into warring factions and where sky pirates and lawmen roam the friendly skies in a wide assortment of blimps, zeppelins and bizzaro fighters. I finally buckled and picked it up just yesterday but unfortunately it won't work properly for me as it doesn't get along with Nvidia graphics cards.
Problems regardless the combination home & hanger Zeppelins in Crimson Skies struck me as beautiful things both in design and concept and would be pretty amazing in Lego form if done well. I did some sleuthing and discovered that it doesn't take much research to learn that Lego Zepplins are fairly rare and illusive beasts. There are a handful of smaller ones but there's only one big one out there and that's Ash's rendered Daryabar. My research also confirmed my initial assumption that there are too many words for them, zeppelins, airships, dirigibles or a blimp or whatever you want to call them. Back to the first point, big blimps are in short supply but there's slightly more smaller ones out there thanks to that rare Adventurers balloon peice that's restricted to modest small Zepplins due to it's size. It's fairly obvious why there's a shortage of Airships, one being the obscurity of the aircraft and the second being all in the challenge of tackling the balloon and making it look good. You can't just sweep the problem under a convenient balloon shaped rug, because after all a Zepplin balloon would just look like a strange looking caravan wouldn't it? The midsection or waist of a big balloon could be easily done as with plates and click hinges to produce a big hexagonal cylinder preferably with tiles over its surface to make it nice, smooth and balloon like. That's the easy part done, the hard part lies in capping off the ends off smoothly. Take the Darybar's ends for example, they've been capped but the technique used to cap them doesn't look very balloon like.
Moving onto new ground there's two Mocs that I know of out there that aren't Zeplins but similar to the original Crimson Skies multipurpose Zepplin vein, those being Adrian Drake's Dewy and Nathan Proudlove's Mistral. The thing I like about the Mistral is that it has a ton of great details like the spikes surrounding the gunner the mass of pipes and of course not forgetting the bike sitting on the flight deck and those lovely big steam boilers. (Huzzah for Roborider wheels!)
The Mistral proves it's worth as a lovely steampunk craft but on the more whimsical side of the divide there's the Dewy which serves as the giant roasted chicken fighter-carrier of the skies. Like the Mistral, the Dewy has a great amount of detail both exterior and interior and looks great. The large scale application of the built up plate technique used to build the hull is simply fantastic. Perhaps this same technique would be perfect for the balloon on a big airship?

Now come on people, get your building caps on and let's see some great Lego Airships!

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Wicked and Weird

I recently journeyed to see Transformers, I know it's been out for a while now but my laziness is beside the point. It was allright, some unessacary silly bits mixed in with some really great bits and visual candy and maybe a wee bit too long but very enjoyable none-the-less. Afterwoods I got back home at about two 'o clock and immediately started rummaging around my room for the G1 and G2 transformers I owned as a kid. Unfortunately, Lady time has not been kind to them as they're all missing more than their fair share fair of various guns, limbs and other choking hazards. Regardless, they're still great for swooshing around ones desk with the all important accompanying engine & shooty sound effects even if they look like they've all been mugged.

Speaking of Transformers, Florea Adrian showcases his amazing Decepticon Shellshock Moc. I've always admired Lego Transformers, I think it goes with out saying that a lot of skill and patience must be invested in the model to ensure a balance of quality between the two forms. There's not much I can say about this that hasn't already been said. The Halftruck is a lot better than any Halftruck moc I've ever seen and would look completely at home in a WW2 diorama. The detail is brilliant as the front grill and towbar looks simply outstanding and I love the rear turret gun.The robot mode is quite awesome but it doesn't really have much character to it. Maybe that's just because the aesthetics of the more realistic and sleeker style of movie transformer don't lend themselves to as much character as the old bulky transformers from days of old.

One Moc that is simply not getting near enough love is Kev Levell's Hornet smuggling ship. It's easy to guess where the inspiration for this ship came from but I think there's plenty of variance and original touches in the design to diferententriate it from everyone's favourite Firefly class transport. For example the wedge slope forks on the wing tips are a homage to the Reaver ships in the series which had the same kind of thing going on. Though I think the engines are a little weak as to me they look more like last minute additions rather than a central part of the design. It would have been much better if the booster was incorporated into that lovely round and bulbous bee-rear-end. Despite the lack of thrusters on it I do like the stinger on the end as it adds a tiny bit of character to the ship which is good. The landing pads look really great but unfortunately due to they're size and complexity it doesn't look like they're retractable or fold-up-able which unfortunately means minus minus points in my book. This ship doesn't disappoint with smuggling compartments as it has a fair few. That Golden C-3po that's hiding in one surprised me as I had no idea that TLC had started making them chrome gold plated as opposed to the dull pearl-cream C-3po's of the past.

From Jerac a strange looking mechanical beasty known simply as Mechos or the Biterer. I don't know weather it's supposed to be organic or man-made but to me it looks vaguely like somekind of Alien Hybrid from the Alien fims that happens to be packing a pretty wicked pair of dentures that could easily fit around an elephant. Not forgetting the simple but effective red eyes that perfectly add alot of menace. I really like the design of those flat feet too, they're neato.
Zach brings us his unusual and interesting Microscale siege ship, The Oktober. All around it's a nice simple working design but maybe a bit too plain. I really like the orange on this but it's more of random splodges rather than a focused coulorscheme. I think a large scale ship would be great with an orange paintjob like this. As it's a colour that's usually confined to small creations and not given large scale application due to to uncommon nature of bulk orange bits I think. The slopes look nice on this but the bridge sticks out like a sore thumb and really needs a bit of trimming down and sleeking up. The engine design is really boring, dead boring. Much could be done to improve it, even a few bits of pipe and tube running alongside the axles would do visual wonders.
Yet another Slam variant, this one by Sir Bugge is shrunken down to pocketsize.Excellent use of that Dino midsection, it fits in quite smoothly. I really like the big nose mounted minigun on this, the little dog in the corner with the nasty bark. I can just imagine these things flying in formation a big swarm, like big metallic piloted space locusts.

The widespread occurrence of a global Lego building phenomena hit me the other day, one of which to my knowledge, shockingly goes without community acronym or title. (Gasp..) There it is, somekind of mind bogglingly complex part that you've been working on to perfect for the last few hours. One more piece and it's finished, the tiniest bit of excess pressure results in profanity when the Moc flings itself into multiple corners of the room. Usually the Profanity and shattering are a few seconds apart, the common builder will sit in dead stillness with whats left of the shattered remains lieing in his or her hands. It takes a few seconds of realisation and eyebrow twitching before the profanity kicks in. There is also another variant of this that has the same end result but occurs when one tries to alter something on an allready perfectly good finished model. There is no name for this global occurance and there is no cure, we're in the dark here people..

Friday, 20 July 2007

There's a Starman in the sky

You could say this has been a turbulent week for the LEGO community, the ebb and flow of Brickshelf and the colourful opinions of the users who - used - it. The current outlook is that brickshelf will be available again at a price of $5/month. While I'm not one to object to the site wanting money - I don't want to imagine the bandwidth it sucks up! - I think the price is a little steep, especially if the site is to stay much the same way it is now, i.e.: without any real features. Suffice to say, though my opinion of that site and realization of its importance to the LEGO community, I don't think I continue to use it.

However, either way we must go on. So here's some LEGO courtesy of flickr galleries. First up here is some microspace by user J5N, some glorious dark grey and green ship and a robust looking space station. The space station was a response to Mike Yoder's own Space station, however is probably a little less suitable for any sort of standard than Mike's. I'll again emphasize the robustness of the station, it looks like some sort of piece you might find in an engine. Aside from the station, J5N has a small micro Strikeforce, an Advance Frigate, and the beginnings of a light carrier. It was actually the small ship that sits along side the space station that inspired my own current freighter project. It's funny how certain builders will build with specific colours, even if just for a few projects, and then those colours become something of a symbol for their building. If you see any microscale ships in yellow, most people would probably guess Yoder is behind them. Likewise, whenever I see dark grey and green I think of those industrial and somewhat gothic angles of J5N's microspace.

Next up is a ship from Moyblik blogger Lukas. Not particularly known for microscale, he proves that he has a wicked skill for the scaled building and a nigh topped colour blocking and coordination skill. The Asclepius is essentially an ambulance for space ships, named after the Greek and Latin demigod of healing and medicine. Definitely an interesting concept and something quite original. On to the construction, I think it's one of Lukas' best builds. The pointy shaping of the stripes is by far my favourite feature and really gives the ship a better sense of third-dimension. Carefully placed antennae and greebles add to the realism without becoming messy, and the lobster claw front bay is simply wicked.

Now we have Mike Yoder's microscale capital ship the Empire Son. Measuring in a 98 studs the Empire Son is nearly SHIP classification. The long and slender yellow body is decorated with white stripes and many docking arms and turrets, a few stickers, and an emblem from the good ol' 1999 Naboo Starfighter. It's pretty well armed too, it actually made me think if any of my ship's would stand up in a fight! I should mention that the thumbnail picture on the right here is actually of an earlier WIP version, but does however link to the finished MAJ gallery, I'm just a little sceptical of brickshelf and maj at the moment, probably without reason, so I'm just going to keep all the thumbnail's from elsewhere. Mike borrows from a number of sources with this ship, a small gunboat from Nnenn, and a turret from Simon Tzidik. Over all an interesting build, taught me a few things I have or will be sure to steal in the future.

Last is a bit of microscale from Tony Barth. Built in that Ken Tucky, Soren style. There's only one picture of this so far, so there isn't a whole lot to comment on, but this has wonderful shaping and colour blocking, and that greebley section near the aft end is love at first sight. It's a wonderful example of the angled brick hull technique, which I never have been able to use quite right. Excellent model, I hope for more.

Peace out, and remember to wait out the storm before jumping ship!

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Something Blue

Today on Brickshelf just one thing, one single and solitary message declaring the site discontinued. This isn't really a surprise to me, it's an event that I'm sure many of us have been expecting to occur at some unknown dark date for a long time now. Considering that B-shelf has been operating for at many years now as a free service with up only, advertisement, donations and upgraded member accounts to supplement massive running costs. Considering all that lot, I think it had a fairly good run. However, it was quite an rude and unfair move nuking the site without prior warning. A lot of history has been lost, the work of the many builders who have come and gone over the years turned into mere digital dust. This whole dilemma is going to have huge ramifications on the community, Brickshelf was at the dead centre of the vast Lego community web. What happens next is totally uncertain and unpredictable. Who knows, it might be down for good or might only be temporary the details are unknown. Best not to brood over unfortunate news or the probervial spilt milk, time for this weeks Moc sightings.

Peter Reid has built quite an interesting bot, powerful and intimidating yet also thin and frail and vunerable to the slighest breeze but oh-so gracefull. There's some awesome parts useage going on, the joint-tech is wonderful and I love the droid bodies on the forearms and you've just gotta love those deadly dexterous razor-tipped hands. Great hips too. Shame about the scrawny exposed ankles though, or the Achilles ankles in this bot's case. Not forgetting the the show off Red Vader helmets which are extremely cool and as one would guess as factory mistakes, also extremely rare.
This cargo carrying hover-skiff by Lego Kid strongly reminds me of the classic Rockraiders, albeit Rockraiders matured slightly with a greater focus on a streamlined and industrialised form. I really like the inclusion of the tail lights and the plentiful cargo storage on this but I feel that the front windscreen could be better implemented, either by removing it, refining it or removing at all together. Now that's something cool I'd like to see, Rockraiders reborn and as built by the fan community.
Be sure to check out Spook's newest Microscale creation, the Spinal Fury. It's a fantastic Alien-like microscale model that boasts a ton of character combined with a wonderful asymmetrical shape with great colouration. Not forgetting the name which is in its self is quite awesome. I particularly like the quad-pronged antenna setup. Quite unusual and attractive. Thought has even gone into the stand, it looks very sleek and elegant.

Next up two Moc cover versions or tribute versions, where the individual builder builds their versions of Moc's that have been previously built by another builder. A fantastic but rarely executed idea, it's always interesting to see the variations in individual style and technique manifested in the end result. Peter Morris has manifested this fairly nippy looking white ship which was based on Jamie Neufeld's Gunraven. It's a nice ship overall, but I'm not familiar with the original and I'm not overly sold on this remake. In both the original and the cover version I feel that in some small areas the slope work has been slightly overdone. Slopes are your friend most of the time, they can smooth things out a hundred percent or they'll just provide a poor mask for the blockyness. However on the remake, I'm quite partial to the simple but very effective rows of 1x1 slopes as heatsinks on the sides which look really good. Speaking of engines, I also like the the cones posing as maneuvering thrusters just behind the thuster. A quad thruster arrangement instead of the twin would look great, shame the Travis-brick doesn't have an inverted-stud brother so four thruster-cones could be accommodated instead.
Also from Peter Morris we have the Bat-Slam, of course based on Chris Giddens original classic model but as pimped out by Batman in his spare time. Very cool. I really like the way the wings fold down, makes me think of a dark and lofty barn in the middle of a dark and stormy night, inside; rows upon rows of these Bat-Slams hanging from the ceiling racks like bizarre Vampire-tie fighters ready for the taste of blood. (perhaps oil instead?)

Last but not least Mirandir, aka Johan Karlsson has built this fun and fast little Classic-Space style one-seater hovercraft or buzzcraft as I prefer. I like the ladder as an engine grill on this one and the landing rig on it is strangely quite cute. Nice work!

Friday, 6 July 2007

Life On Mars

Hah, just completed the in-class portion of my Driver Ed class, wow was that boring. Hopefully the in-car lessons will make up for it, though perhaps it was just the idea of attending full day classes the 2 weeks into my vacation for a whole week tinted my opinion. A great TV show finished up it's first season just last saturday and it was one of the best shows I've seen, the name for those who've not made the connection is Life On Mars a British show with the basic premise of a modern cop waking up one day in 1973, he believes he is in a coma. I also recorded and watched Das Boot the other day, I would rather have seen a subtitled version - I hate dubs. Aside from that it was an awesome movie, really depicting the harsh life aboard a U-boat. To complete this intro: I also yesterday downloaded a Turbofax16 game called 'World Championship' and man is that a riot, nothing beats retro sports games.

First up is another Neo-Classic Space model! I can just hear your joy. Of course, me and Tom would never present you with the same things over and over - and this Neo-CS model is definitely a different one. Built by none other than our skilled friend Nnenn, the Ula-kit 319 takes conventional CS shapes and throws them out the window without a thought. At first glance I thought this was some Microscale creation, but upon further inspection found that it's only Nnenn being creative with Canopy pieces - there is a classic looking pilot tucked away in there. With a distinct Japanese feel to it, the Ula-kit looks as much deadly as fragile. I'm absolutely in love with the cockpit and all it's knobbly shapes and SNOT construction. A work to be studied and admired. A warning to purists though, if you're still unaware Nnenn is famous (even infamous) for his use of clone brands and what some may consider crimes against the brick. While not a lot of this bothers me, I would hate to unintentionally offend my readers. This will however be the only warning I will give.

Next is some microscale from a builder fairly new to the CSF circuit: Martin (or is it Marcin?). At first glance, you can just tell what this is - and that's probably why I love it. Clearly from one picture I can see a hanger, a bridge with a plethora of sensors, and overall more greebs than you can shake a stick at. But as with most LEGO models, and most especially larger microspace creations, getting into the small details is where the magic is. My favourite details on the Terrestrial are the sunken gun emplacements, this is something that has never occurred to me while building and I don't really know why, it's genius! This model features excellent colour blocking and greebs to make anyone envious - and Martin doesn't stop with just sunken greeb pits, grey greebs hang off the side of the cruiser and keep it from looking even a little too plain. Bravo, and keep a watch on this one.

To finish off I've got not another model but a new flickr group (sorry tom!). Now I know what you're saying, "oh dear god(s) and all that is holy, not another flickr group" and I was a little sceptical at first about it as well, thinking that it would fade into a stale floater like the majority of Lego flickr groups do - but I think we're all making a concentrated effort to keep this fish swimming: Microspacetopia. It's name gives away a few things about the group, it's about microscale space, and everyone (except those who chose not) is an admin. The idea being that giving everyone an equal share in power would motivate them to be an active part of the group. So far the group is rolling along at a steady pace, though it is still early. Check the place out and be sure to contribute if you build microspace yourself, or if you don't - don't be afraid to leave an outside opinion.

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Bone Broke

School is over. Those last couple weeks were a pain in the arse, but it's done. So what does this mean? Well, hopefully it means I'll be back on the building circuit - I thought I might go the way of Tom there for a while (jokes). Of course, I give Tom a pat on the back for that interview, maybe I'll top it one day. Getting out of school also means I'll have time to renovate Masoko Tanga, again! I've been wanting to try and separate the Art from the Lego, because I think the Art deserves a larger and more devoted section. So I'm going to work on some flash galleries very akin to those on my sister's new site: Unicorn Break, easier browsing and I'll still leave links to brickshelf for those larger images. In the end I think it'll be much more streamlined and organized (as far as the coding/design goes!), really the idea is to make the site more of a gallery layout as opposed to the news like layout it has now. The design involves this lovely piece of Space Art I did: [link].

Onto today's features. We'll start with a quick glance at some Neo-Classic Space by Peter Reid (legoloverman). It definitely leaves behind most CS conventions, yet still conveys the theme - it's that instantly recognizable colour scheme, pulled off with much excellence here by Peter. The modernization continued even to the figs, which feature newer faces and the modern style helmet. One thing I must add, there's no elegance to this model, I might go far enough to suggest the concept is actually quite ugly - one betrayal of the original theme, while boxy and rigid it still carried a sense of elegance that this misses.

Peter Morris built some mircoscale, one of which near rivals Baulch in shear size: The Asteroid Processor/Harvester. So wow. That's pretty damn big. Peter's messy building style comes in handy with this one, giving a true slapped together industrial spacecraft look. Adding to it's grace is a series of pictures that show the ship processing an asteroid, this ship was built with it's intended purpose in mind and that wins some bonus points. Numerous secondary details, like the pumps and hoses that enable the ship to link up with Peter's Bulk Transport really help in giving the ship a blanket of support. It's not enough to be believable on your own, providing a working backdrop really heightens the realism.

Lastly we have a microscale sci-fi city design by brickshelf user Sly420. It makes use of the abstract shapes of many well known pieces to achieve a believable city scape. Yes, that is a rocket tail - but what if I use it like this? Using pieces to this effect always generates praise, perhaps this isn't the most ground breaking example but it fits the general theme. There's not too much to say about this one, but take a good look at it and make use of the various techniques they employ throughout it's construction.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

How We Operate

An article or two back I did a spotlight on an amazing Lego sculpturer who goes by the name of Arvo. Arvo, aka building brothers Ramón and Amador recently agreed to an interview for Masoko Tanga.

Well first of all, Ramón & Amador thanks for your time and the interview. I've heard that you two guys are brothers, joint building partnerships like that are fairly uncommon in the Lego community as far as I know. How does that work out? Do you both work on the same model or do you both work on individual projects?

Ramón & Amador: Exactly, we are two brothers and we imagine that it is not a very usual case. But overall we are friends and we always have had the same interests, VideoGames, Films, LEGO, music. All our MOCS are done by both, we take the initiative from a suggestion, an idea or a recollection so that we both contribute ideas. For example; while my brother tries some technic in a certain part of a MOC I can suggest some modification or even to construct the modification, or construct in another zone. In the Ford GT each one constructed a different part, but always together in permanent communication. This is the most important aspect; communication. Even in the small MOCs this is our way. I remember when we did the "Headphones", four hands are too many hands in this cases but it is the only way of constructing that we know, to construct together is very fun.

Tom: Your models quite often have very intricate and complex designs. Before you guys start work on a Moc, do you plan the design out before-hand in anyway such as L-Draw or just quick pencil and pen sketchbook sketches?

Ramón & Amador: Each MOC has its own beginning, sometimes we begin with some sketches in LDraw. In this program we put parts together like a "puzzle". This program serves us to know if it is possible to obtain certain forms. We do not worry about joining the pieces inside the program, we are only interested in obtaining the form. Obtaining the form is the most difficult thing, to join these pieces it is only a problem of technic that is normally relatively easy to resolve. However, almost always we start by constructing directly with bricks.. on the bed!, the most comfortable place of the world to construct.. you can rest and play without moving of this place.. incredible! To construct directly with bricks is the fastest way, and the best way of knowing what pieces we will need. Anyway, before this, we obtain all the possible pics of the object that we want, we take measurements and concentrate on those more important details. This step is very important for us, although it is not always possible.

Tom: A lot of people have commented that your work looks like that of an engineer. Do you guys have any background in engineering or arts or similar fields?

Ramón & Amador: In fact we are engineers, we work in different companies but every day we join for a few hours to speak or to play LEGO. We suppose that this is related to our technic of constructing but not so much with our conception of the forms. Since our childhood we have been acquainted with the plastic arts thanks to the studio of painting and sculpture that our mother has always had. We were growing up and discovered music, the music is a perfect complement to the image. We dedicated years to make music for advertising which allowed us to accede to software design. Our first videoclips were made with LDraw. LEGO + Electronic music is a perfect combination.

Tom: Looking at your B-Shelf gallery I see a lot of cars and a wide variety of creations from varying themes like Akira, video games and Alien. What kind of Mocs do you most enjoy building and is there anything in particular that you guys tend to draw a lot of inspiration from?

Ramón & Amador:
Yes, it's true. Although we feel very comfortable constructing vehicles (the references are in the street!) every time we feel the need to construct other things. All our references come from our childhood and adolescence. The Seat 131 of our mother, the Vespa P200 of our father, the typewriter of our sisters, all the 80 and 90's videogames, even some animation films and comics. Nowadays there are two projects in our mind, the first one is to continue the Alien theme with a sculpture of the adult Alien and the second one is to do a sculpture of Ironman, our favourite superhero. We are also studying to translate the human musculature into the LEGO-language to emulate it.. and we’ll probably start in a few weeks.
Meanwhile we continue making little MOCs. Really, smaller MOCs are more fun to construct!

Many thanks to Amador and Ramón for their time and for a very insightful interview! You can check out all of their creations right here on B-Shelf. Also thanks goes out to Mike who was the original owner of the Lego blog interview idea before I blatantly stole it for my own deviouse ends.

Saturday, 9 June 2007

Music When The Lights Go Out

Sincerest apologies for the drought, this last week of school is hectic. School, friends, and a recent addiction to Empire At War (in that order) have taken up large amounts of time. I'm really all written out at the moment, so this post won't be very long, as is the usual custom here.

If you're not privy to my love of Neo-CS then you should have someone throw rocks at you, however, if that doesn't tickle your fancy then you can take a gander b-shelf user DrClark1's au courant Classic Space Cruiser LL924. Featuring two toned grey hull with blue secondary colour, complete range of 'accessories' [read as: weapons], room for two persons, dual analogue controls w/ 22 character type pad, and personal mechanic.

CS member Carterbaldwin built a Homeworld-esque fighter craft. Featuring a beautifully crafted silhouette, modern and stylish colour patterning, adequate warning labels, and a choice between a main colour theme of grey or red. Well done.
Lastly, here's a polychrome Roman temple done in an relatively Ionic style. BTW: I'm a sucker for classical architecture.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Riders on the Storm

Apologies for the recent updates drought lately, it seems it's been a fairly busy and hectic part of the year for a lot of us recently. Anywho just a quick post today, a short wrap up of the last week or so's recent Mocs and the usual ramblings you've come to expect from me.

With the sheer overabundance of fighters doing the rounds pretty much everywhere these days it's always pleasing to see variation in the standard fighter-formula rear it's head every now and then. Bernard Wiseman's Jet Trainer is one of those, it's not one of those all-too-common armed to the proverbial teeth starfighters you’ve seen a million times before, just a simple jet for learning the basics. All those budding ace pilots had to learn in the first place didn't they? All those young and starry eyed Starbuck's, Skywalker’s and Yeager's all had their training wings firmly affixed at some point. If you can't tell all ready, I really like this little trainer. I love the way the fins are arranged around the central thruster, simply beautiful! Nice wings too, that ugly clunky nose could do with a little cosmetic surgery though. And notice the neat pop-out landing gear and the simple but effective double-seating pill canopy. It even has a ground crew and a refuelling station, such detail is a definite plus in my book. The ladder is great, I must remember that design for my own devious usage. We defiantly need more Mocs like this, how about some more Trainers and perhaps even some support craft like re-fuelers and ECW craft? Where are the top-secret and horribly unstable test aircraft piloted by handsome dare devils with a devil-may-care attitude and an overpowering stink of dollar-store hair gel?

Remember that scene from Aliens with the oblivious Jordan family cruising onwards towards certain doom in their trusty family surface rover that looked like the bastard off-spring of a moon-rover an armoured car a big-rig and the family sedan? Yeah, that's the first thing that came to mind when I first set my eyes on Yoder' lunar Pick-Em-up Truck. It's packed with some very nice features, for example check out the extremely cushy interior. And as a plus there's plenty of room in the back to store stuff, not just stuff but a lot of stuff; boxes ,toxic chemical waste, Alien eggs. You name it, it can carry it. (Maybe..) Excellent sticker use there with the familiar yellow and black caution markings on the steps and the exo-force ident-numbers stuck on the roof. Excellent!

Also in the Rover category we have Legohaulic’s Moon Jalopy. I was expecting a run down crank driven rover when I read the title, but instead I was greeted with quite a sleek and sporty looking moon cruiser. Jolly good show old chap!Be sure to check out Jerac’s very swish devolved X-Wing. I love the idea of this one, literal reverse engineering of the original X-Wing to make it look like it flew out of something steam-punk related. Gotta love those nifty flippy flappety wings. Also in the Moc cards this week Nathaniel Mollen’s extremely nifty PCS L.A.M.P made an apearance, great rounded wings there and a nice unusual shape.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Twin Layers of Lightning

I have to agree with Brenden's sentiments on Children of Men, it's quite an amazing movie and if you haven't seen it already or are planning to, get your hands on a copy immediately in any way shape or form. Some brilliant ideas and concepts combined with awesome visuals and a hero that's as far detached from the gun-ho Rambo stereotype as can be. Without spoiling anything, I can safely say that I really thought that the open-ended ending was quite wonderful and unique. Want it to be a happy ending with smiles, chocolates and roses? Or would you rather an ending on the opposite end of the spectrum? It's open ended, make up your own mind about what happens next, that's what I really liked. On a whole, the detachment from the usual Hollywood clichés was quite refreshing
Also in cinema news this week, Terminator 4 and the possibility of the subsequent spin-off Sarah Connor chronicles have been announced. Two camps have developed on this, those who have already started lining up outside the cinemas and the grumpy old farts like me who think the series should have ended after the second. I loved the first two movies; the second one's my favourite film of all time. The third was a fun movie but I don't really consider it part of the Terminator mythos. But hey, I have the power of human choice and my disposal. I'll always have the first two films to worship, I can just plug my fingers into my ears count loudly to myself and ignore subsequent (and blasphemous) instalments. They can butcher the series but the originals will always remain! Who knows, they might even do a good job on this proposed forth instalment.

Enough of my ranting, onto the building blocks. Mysterious B-shelf sculpturer Arvo shows us all a thing or two about sculpture with an amazing baby Chestburster model. Just look at that awesome tail, the various tubes running down the sides and into the head are extremely well done and visually effective. And just take a look at those teeth, sharp and deadly, excellent parts placement and usage there. Not forgetting of course, the blood dripping off the side of the platform which is totally gorgeous in every way. H.R. Gieger himself would be proud. Not stopping there, check out his super street bikes which are apparently based from designs from the movie Akira. They come in three flavours, the red streamlined and street-savvy Kaneda design.
If that's not your thing, there's the slightly more rugged looking Tetsuo model available in either tan or white, the colour scheme's not the only difference, all-though similar, both have slight physical variations in their designs. I like how the detail includes the throttles on the handle bars and even extending to visible gages and switches on the tan variant. Everything flows so well, there's an absence in rough and blocky edges as these things are so amazingly sexy and streamlined.

Jamie Neufeld brings us the newest addition to the grandiose Vance Quatam's garage, the Quantum Super Thunder Galactic Robo Fighter: Atomictron 7. Very cool, I love the use of the X-pod for the head and that combination Punk/ galactic-crimefighter mohawk atop it looks marvellous. By the looks of it, those white cylinders on the back suggest that this Bot's even packing a jetpack. Gotta love those rugged and tough ribbed boots too.
The tiny pitter-patter of multiple feet on metal grating is becoming an all too familiar sound these days with the sudden rise and popularity of multiped spider-mechs in the community. There are quite a few noteable examples out there but Onosendai's one really stands out for me, as opposed to the usual scrawny and delicate design favoured by most Spider-Mech builders, Onesendi has decided to go against the flow. In this current WIP, the metallic arachnid in question is beefy and well armed and yet maintains quite an attractive and slim figure. I really love that turret, great use of Bionicle parts on that. Nifty use of life on mars canopies as leg armour too. Can't wait to see it finished.

Jerac brings us a nifty idea with his good and evil fighters. If I had a choice, I think I'd rather have these guys hovering above my shoulders than a boring old devil & angel combo any day. The sense of scale is great, I like them but I feel that the evil fighter looks more like some kind Mech or weapons platform. But then again, maybe that’s a good thing. Going against the grain and challenging the usual fighter design and all that. It would be interesting to see this idea applied to other styles of Mocs; Mechs, Capital ships etc, etc.. Town fire-stations? Who would dark Firefighters be anyway? An organised gang of tax-funded arsonists? The mind truly does boggle.

On an ending note, here's a quick little Moc from Chuck, The Gi Templar Hardsuit. The gun is a bit oversized, looks like it wouldn't take much for the poor fellow to loose his balence and topple over. I like the mace, it's pretty cute but purely decorative. Is it just me, or am I the only person in the world who was taught at a young age to refer to maces as 'Bommy Knockers'? Weird..

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Life in a Glasshouse

Bit of a busy weekend, but I was beginning to notice that my 'to blog' bookmarks folder was starting to hit double digits, so I have to clear house. Still haven't dismantled and sorted the Delian, so no actually work yet so far on my Astropolis theme idea. I have however been writing aimless columns of text in my sketchbook trying to come up with some backstory. I was happy because I was able to include the 'legends' of my past faction sort of as an unclear past - almost like the epic poetry of the real Greek archaic period. I think that was a vital part, because the character of that old backstory has been with me for a long, long, long time, and I feel that he at least deserves some tribute/mention as I move on. Recent film I've seen: Children of Men. I believe Nick posted a review on review'd when it first came out, and I've wanted to see it for a long time but only got to recently. Damn, that was good. It seems that there are fewer and fewer 'classic' films these days, i.e.: those that will outlive their release period; but this is definitely classic, the almost optimistically depressing feeling left in you is quite amazing. Now, I will try and run through as many of those bookmarked creations as possible:

First up is a Battlestar themed microspace cruiser, the Colonial One. Simple techniques and a little messy and unruly in areas, but startlingly accurate. It is kind of nice when you find some one's creation online, who you've never seen before, and it's simple yet wonderful. When I go on building streaks during vacations I feel that each model gets progressively more over complicated until I hit a breaking point and can't satisfyingly finish the model I'm working on. It's most noticeable in the fact that each one gets progressively bigger and bigger. Back on topic, System-man's Colonial One is simple, small, but accurate and effective.

Next up is some stuff by brickshelf user Xulm. I caught wind first of his Formula A hover car, and then a few days later added his odd looking microscale to the list. The hover car is neat because it takes a very simple existing idea and spaceyfies it. Everything in the model flows nicely, the colour blocking is great, and the details look proper. It's another thing to add to my 'try this' list, which is now overwhelmingly longer then my 'done this' list. His microscale certainly made me think for a minute or two, he definitely takes a different view on the future and all of his models feature flat featureless 'shields', and then the other side springs up like a city. I find something interesting and realistic about this approach, the shield seems to block radiation and other energies - as told by his interesting looking Illustration. Of course, then one of the microscale ships appears to not be for space, but underwater! This left me completely confused, and I decided to stop trying and just enjoy the aesthetics. Though, admittedly, his ramming frigate Illustration is great.

Moving right along, I featured brickshelf user Towel's Wolfen last time, and since then his similarly built Arwing caught my eye. Now the design of the Arwing as a ship itself is a little more simple and robust then the Wolfen, so that taken in you notice that Towel's Awring is also a little more simpler and robust. The colour is a little less on the numerous side, but blocked just as well. I think this is an interesting model for its clunky shaping, which is usually met with disappointment, here it seems to work out.

Jerac made a little microscale ship inspired by Mike Yoder's work. The building seems to make it look much smaller than it really is, I suppose a combination of the studless nature and the clearly defined shape (which can sometimes be lost in larger models). I like the use of trans-yellow for the bridge, creates a subtle and streamlined look, less obnoxious. The blocky engine section is also pretty cool, looks like a mass of machinery barely holding itself together. Plus, teeth/spikes = luv.

As a side note, seeing as the last halfish part of this post was written over a week later then the beginning, I recently was able to get myself a dvd copy of Fritz Lang's Metropolis. I've been looking for one for a few years now, finally watched it last night - wow. You have to take certain things for what they are, and understand the times they were made in, but it was beautiful.