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 clich├ęs 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.