Sunday, 25 March 2007

Black Wave/Bad Vibrations

I'm happy Tom got his dose of classics. I myself downloaded the NES Legend of Zelda on the Wii, its really damn hard and one day I'll get through it, then its on to Link to the Past. Ocarina = my first Zelda game. So life goes on much as it once did, school is busy, attempts to get a job are unsuccessful. I haven't built in a long while, but I am trying to scrap together a microscale gunboat. I think however, I'll make this a long project and keep the model smaller - in an effort to perfect.

I've got a few features today, in hopes to elongate this belated post. The first is done by Spook, he came in recently to the microscale scene and has really progressed the genre. This makes me feel like crap, because quite frankly I don't think I've progressed my own skills in some time, I still haven't mastered the angled brick hull plating technique - a combination of my lack of building time and laziness. I really like the concept for this Lanceship, seems like one of those romantic sci-fi fantasies. Of course, it doesn't joust in the typical sense - its really just a big gun. But it gives me ideas about creating a Lanceship of my own. The colour usage in this is great, there really is something about light blue and grey that catches the eye.

Next up is the Minerva, quite obviously at the very least inspired by Gundam. There is something about this, although I've seen better techniques used, and there's some block patches in this creation, it still looks good - and coherent. The slight curve of the back, the angling of the wings. It all comes together in this oddly beautiful ship. Each part seems to do a great job in helping another come to its apex of form (i.e.: they compliment each other). I just look at this and think that it could really to some serious reentry action or something. And despite the larger blocky nature of the piece, smaller aspects come together in a very complex way - the small designs on the back fins are a testament to the power of the brick, whereas someone like myself probably would have printed off a decal, this builder shows that the brick can be used by itself to great effect.

Lastly, here's a WIP that keeps surfacing on brickshelf. Normally I stray from Star Wars creations, the general census among spacers being that most everything has been done too much - this caught my eye. Its going to be a rather large scale build of the Invisible Hand, the Separatist flagship seen at the beginning of Ep3. There's already a few builds of it hanging around brickshelf - but what really caught my eye on this one was the use of bley and grey and the raised panel effect. The raised panel specifically makes the ship look like its been clobbered together from various sheets of metal and not just carved out of a single piece. So keep an eye on this, should prove to be pretty cool in the end.

Thats all the time we have for you today folks, tune it next week, same time. Same place. Well, scratch the time thing, no schedule will hold its reigns on me.

Warm Lonely Planet

I've also been absorbed in my own tasty slice of retro-nostalgia gaming goodness. Three years ago I was promised that a bunch of ex-rental N64 games would go on sale in "just a week or two from now". And just last week, they did! Zelda Ocarina of Time and Vigilante V8 for me. What's not to love, Ocarina of Time one the best games ever made and Vigilante V8 which is an automotive destruction derby where various over the top 70's stereotypes battle to the death. Awesome.

A follow up from my last post of sorts, in the last few days there seems to have been a mini-revival of the Sea Monkeys in which some new creations have emerged from the depths belonging to none other than Felix Greco and Joe Meno. So go and check them out already, the Stingray Forsaken and an assorted bunch of Sea Monkey goodness. The armoured crab mecha is my favourite of the bunch. It's packing a nicely built crustacean exo-skeleton and some very tasty looking spindly crab legs. The new look evil sea-monkey battle-suits are pretty nice too. I'm looking forward to seeing some new sea monkey Mocs and hopefully adding one or two of my own into the mix.
Also in the cards this week we have a little Steampunky-ish floatplane, the Spyglass Reconnaissance Craft by Scotty. Very cool, a little sketchy in places but still very cool none the less. There's some nice boat usage in this one, the Indian canoes as pontoons and the rowboat for the nose. Nice! Not really a fan of the engines though, they just kinda sit there supported by sticks with only a thin bit of hose connecting them to the body. Speaking of Steam-Aviation, on Flickr this week I saw a really cool new propeller design but unfortunately I’ve lost the link. Basically a ship’s wheel with clips on the pegs, and on those clips wedge plates are stuck and angled. Anyone know what I’m rambling on about? There’s plenty of uses for a big propellor design like that, I reckon by fitting in a few more blades it would make a really nice jet turbine. While we’re on the subject on Steampunk flyers check out Darktide's Stirling-Flyer which is really quite cool because of its unique backwards design and nifty cockpit design and also Jerrac's Flying Machine which boasts an agreeable and tasty engine design combined with a pair of very lovely looking floaty wings.

On the spacey side of things we have a fun new concept from Tim Gould, ships shrunken down and turned into ride-on variants ideal for placement outside the local corner shop or old-school coin arcade. Presenting the ride-on Viper, Don Escargot and White Base. There's a lot of potential in this idea, Mini ride-on Serenity anyone? Or how bout a Mini Cowboy Bebop Swordfish ridden by none other than the legendary dog walker and bounty hunter, Spike Speigal?
Andrew Lee's Space Limo is not getting the attention that is deserves, probably because of the photography which is a little dark but advert your gaze past it and feast your eyes on one very sexy hover Limo. This particular Limo boasts a lovely organic flowing shape topped off by cool Matrix-ish hover pods with slick tubing that runs down the sides and leads into a nice beefy greebeled engine. Oh yeah, and look at that lovely interior, in my big book of moccing criteria that means bonus points. And when you're done looking at that be sure to check out the rest of Andrew's hover cars.
I'm not normally one for over exaggeration and hyperbole so you'll have to trust me when I say that Nannan Z's Voidfighter is absolutely magnificent. At first I didn't even realise it was Lego, it's so sleek, smooth and pleasing to the eye, all the individual components just flow so well. It's also got some nice sticker usage going on. But just don't go looking at the belly, keep your eyes focused on the topside. Actually I take that back, the belly does look pretty nice compared to the bellies of a lot of moc's out there today. It's the wing undersides that look a bit ugly but that can't really be helped, a nice underside mid-section that has got it where it counts.

Lastly, a cute little number by Nelson Yrizarry that goes by the name of 'Catching the Elusive Drumstick.' Dream on you crazy dreamer-fig, one day you'll catch your dreams.. one day.. someday..

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Wandering past the mirrors gaze

You might remember the battle to the death between me and my computer? Well three weeks ago my motherboard, hard-drive and modem decided to sign a group suicide pact and explode in unison with a tremendous bang. The parts took ages to arrive but just last week they managed to show up. Sure the bill's a bit steep but it's great to start a fresh with a computer that doesn't overheat every five minutes. Everything backed up except three years of accumulated bookmarks, bugger..

Anywho just yesterday I finally got around to picking up one of the new Aquaraiders sets, the 7770 Deep Sea Treasure Hunter in this case. (And Josh Pyke’s new album Memories and Dust, yay for me!) Anywho It’s a nice little cheap set with a sharp lookin’ mini-fig, the sets not perfect but there’s defiantly some handy pieces such as yellow technic half brushings, black wedges and robot arms for example. Looking at all the sets in the line I’m not really impressed, the old school clunky 97 Aquaraiders could totally quick the arses of these newbie Aquaraiders any day in my honest personal opinion. All though I must admit Tiger Shark Attack looks allright, I might scrape up some funds from in-between the couch cushions and grab myself a copy. I like that little turret dealy a little bit too much me thinks.
It’s funny, it felt almost nostalgic to hold the box in my hands because it’s been so long since I last bought a set. Years ago I used to spend every penny on tons and tons of new sets every year and then came the bley invasion and I lost interest in new sets all of a sudden. Last year all I bought was two small Exo-Force sets and one creator set, Bricklink suddenly became the sole provider for all my Lego needs.

I thought I'd do something different for a change, this old crusty nineties Aquazone lover has always had a nostalgic soft spot for underwater stuff. So from the past few years here’s some of my favourite undersea Mocs.
Let’s start the party with one of the main staples of Aquatic moccing, the Sea Monkeys of course! Who or what are the Seamonkey's you may ask? The Seamonkeys are a fan created subtheme centered in the Aquazone world. Sea Monkeys are normally LoM Aliens with big flippy floppy tails commuting about the place in organic ships shaped like undersea critters. Be sure to check out the Attack Crab, Lionfish Command Vehicle and the Hammerhead fast attack vehicle. I really like the Lionfish as I just love the sheer organic-ness of the design and the unique parts usage.

On the more realistic side of undersea exploration we have Little Davey’s Abyss inspired ROV Explorer Research Sub. The Abyss is a great movie by the way, be sure to check it out if you haven’t already. The attention to detail is great, my favourite bit would have to be the manoeuvring prop mounted on the arm. I love the detail in the boom mounted spotlights, how a visible bit of cable runs from the sub to the spot-light. Nice! If there’s one thing it needs though is a few more spotlights and a better design for those grabber arms.

Next up on the agenda some brick built undersea wildlife. Fishing boats, snorkelers and deep sea divers beware, Quint and the Orca aint going to be around to protect you! PepaQuin’s Opee Sea Killer is brilliant, what’s not to love about this bloated and aggrivated oversized piece of tuna? Just look at all those fabulous rows of sharp white teeth with bonus lethal Alien-esque spring-loaded tongue. The bright yellow eyes are simple yet extremely effective.
Also in the undersea wildlife category we have a nice Giant squid by Little Davey. Simple construction techniques used to good effect and that beak looks pretty darn cute.

Something I’ve always wanted to try my hand at is a cramped and aging Undersea utilitarian outpost of sorts. Doctor Device beat me to it and produced his own vision of such an installation. Sure you may look at it and call it boring and featureless but in reality, what’s an underwater base going to look like? It’s not like all the pretty decorative things and bright paintjobs are going to be useful yet alone seen in the murky depths anyway. Sure the big colourful bases associated with Aquazone are pretty awesome in their own right but it’s this kinda base that I prefer. I particularly like the defence turrets and the tank storage rooms, it’s also apparent that in this particular vision of a utilitarian undersea future that hats and hair have been outlawed.
Check out this Jellyfish vehicle from builder Azumu, or if you wish to be technical about the name ‘the underwater type inquiry machine’ hmmmm.. It’s a kind of a weird Jellyfish shaped exploration rig that can split up into two halves, one half is a cool hovering transparent can type thing with a large spotlight and inclosed pilot. I’m not sure what the other half is so I’ll let you work that out for yourself. This thing is built using some pretty nice techniques and there’s no denying the fact that it’s strangely awesome.

I know I’ve missed quite a few good ones, life without all those bookmarks is hard you know!

Friday, 2 March 2007

The Past Is A Grotesque Animal

I apologize for the lack of posts. I got the Wii, and pretty much haven't stopped playing it. The NES Zelda is very, very hard. I'm also trying to find time to squeeze in building my interior for Nightowl's contest. Well, not so much time, but space - my room is a mess thanks to moving some uncompleted furniture, so my desk is covered with books and other stuffs. I hope I can get it done, I really do. I can't let Yoder go without a fight.

Today's feature is by another of my favourite microscale builders. Known as BrickCommander on B-shelf, also goes by Primus. He has a lot of Star Wars ISD scaled ships, and even for a person who usually steers away from SW, his stuff is nice. His work for today is from the ALIENS movie. At first look it appeared much larger then it actually is, and it took a study of the engines for me to realize how compact this really was. It's always a goal with microscale to make the model appear larger then it actually is, it means that your execution of build has wonderfully fit to the shape and concept, i.e.: you can see a ship in there, not a lump of bricks. I'm not one for renders, and I would rather this be real, but I stuffed my pride for today. I've also just come to the realization that the ventral turret is of a near identical design that Jeff Dostie came up with, minus a pair of binocs to cap the barrels.

Definitely take a look at this if you build Microscale yourself, good inspiration and a great example of a small scale ship that appears larger. Now, if you'll excuse me there is some NES Super Mario calling my name.