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.