Hi there! After five glorious years, I have decided to retire this blog.
Feel free to visit my Flickr or YouTube channels instead.
Or follow my latest blogging exploits over at the Brothers Brick.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Countdown to BrickCon: Part 3

Warning, this is probably the most boring post you'll ever see on this blog!

Brickcon is mere days away - shriek! This evening I dismantled and packed all my work ready for the drive over there for "setup day" on Thursday.

This big cooler contains most of the 'people' figs. Each has had its limbs and head removed, then bagged, then these are arranged in multiple layers sandwiched between plenty of packing peanuts...



I knew all those years ordering crap on eBay would pay off - I have an almost infinite supply of boxes, peanuts, and bubblewrap in my garage now. And quite a bit of the junk that came wrapped in that stuff too, unfortunately!

Sarah Palin is the only really bulky model, so she got the VIP treatment (of course), in the form of a bubblewrap "super coccoon"...



All the really delicate bits get individually wrapped in tissue and put in little leftover gift boxes, alongside the more 'solid' components...



I also whipped up a few nice tabletop "station IDs"...



And here we are, good to go. Oh crap, I forgot to pack the bloody cat!



Total packing time: 3 hours.

This is my first time doing this. I expect to find it all in smitherines when I get there. God knows how long the reverse process is going to take!
 

Royal flush

I have no idea how on earth I missed this one, since Tyler Clites (the Legohaulic) unveiled it almost two months ago now. Obviously I was asleep on the job, or had just chugged too much scrumpy that particular evening.

"Do you play croquet?"


This is yet another installment in Tyler's Alice in Wonderland project. And there is a wealth of devious building techniques to enjoy here, from the queen's billowing dress, the suits on the cards, and the flamingos.

Uh oh, I feel something happening, oh no, its, its...


The maximum possible rating: 5 Golden Hawkings!

Making Tyler the first person to achieve this twice (previously awarded for this).

I'm going to have to rename this blog The Living Hawking or something, its getting ridiculous...
 

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Countdown to BrickCon: Part 2

Since the tag line of this year's BrickCon is "Imagination in Motion", it would be obscene of me not to have some kind of moving display. So to that end, I give you the Tour de Force amazing rotating extravaganza!


It does the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs! And by "Kessel Run" I mean "one full rotation" and by "less than 12 parsecs" I mean "roughly every 50 seconds".

This is the first setup and test run, so the models aren't in their final poses or positions yet. The base is actually a 3ft black glass lazy susan, ripped from its bearings and balanced on top of a commercial shop display turntable. The base weighs 22lbs, but fortunately the turntable is rated at 33lbs! The thing makes a bit of a whirring sound, but I am confident it will run for the requisite 8 hours.

In the video you'll see it both with and without the central 'drum' that was designed to hide models at the rear, so that spectators would focus on models at the front. Kinda makes the whole thing look like a top hat! I'm still on the fence about the drum idea, though. Its kind of an annoyance in its own right. I'd love to hear people's feedback. Drum or no drum?
 

Countdown to BrickCon: Part 1

Just when I think I'm finally done with that Lego Stephen Hawking (oo, is there an echo in here?), some clod creates yet another derivative of it. Oh wait, today that clod is me!

I"m currently beavering away to get everything in a reasonable state for Brickcon, including a couple of never-before-seen MOCs. So for the benefit of those not able to make it to Seattle this year, here's an exclusive peek at "Hawking Radiation"...



Work in progress: This one's a complete nightmare because (a) half of it is delicately counterbalanced on transparent beams to create the illusion of zero gravity, and (b) complicated patterns made of flame bricks, which are notoriously hard to keep stuck together!

As you can see, the original Hawking gets a nice classical plinth to sit on (also Lego), since this will be his first time in public. And possibly his last - after this, I think its time to retire this concept once and for all, I promise!
 

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Move along, nothing to see here

Just when I think I'm finally done with that Lego Stephen Hawking, some nut job goes and puts him on TV. Again. This time it was a webisode edition of "Have I Got News For You", a very excellent satirical UK comedy panel show.



(click images to jump to that spot in the video)

We are clearly riding on the coat tails of James May and his Lego House here. Not that there's anything wrong with that! Except now I imagine the wife will somehow expect to be able to invite Jeremy Clarkson round for tea or something. Not that there's anything wrong with that either.

The webisodes aren't a patch on the real show (lacking stars, an audience, and seemingly half the writing talent). Quoteth he: "...a couple more bricks and you've got your very own Wall-E...". What the bloody Nora is he going on about? I did like the line about James May "quite literally bricking it", though!

And my compensation for this cameo? $40 per still, which the show's production coordinator very kindly allowed me to donate to her fun run for a cancer charity. So at least some good came of this!

This is really not the kind of distraction I need a week before BRICKON 2009 IN SEATTLE NEXT WEEK. Ahem. Did I say that out loud? Carry on...
 

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

FAB-ulous

I don't know why I have such a soft spot for Lego versions of space ships from classic TV shows. But I love these micro scale Thunderbird 1 and 2 models by RogueBantha_1138 [...could you *get* any more George Lucas references into one user name?!]


The essence of both ships is captured very well, thanks in part to excessive use of lovely lovely green cheese slopes (gorgonzola slopes?). And I see that the T2 even has the interchangable pod complete with an itty bitty T4! But hey, where's T3? That was my favorite one: "waaaaaah"!

As a TV show, Thunderbirds was steeped in a wonderfully baroque "60's vision of the 90's", which in retrospect came across about as gay as a cowboy at a wedding dress convention, but it still holds a place in my heart!

"F.A.B.!"


Ochre Challenge: The first person who comes up to me at BrickCon and says "F.A.B." will here what people in my day used to believe it stood for. But the *second* person to do the same will get a $10 Lego store gift certificate, plus an extra surprise. That should create an interesting game of chicken-and-egg, hahaha!
 

Monday, September 21, 2009

Star Wars cluster f**k

...was the first phrase that came into my head when I saw these rather vicious AT-AT variants, by previously featured Taiwanese builder RMingTW...


They just look like the AT-AT equivalent of bored shambling robotic adolsecents on a napalm fuelled tagging spree. Mean little buggers!

Actually the construction at this scale is really neat, as is the particular use of flame bricks to achieve the 'bonfire' effects.
 

Getting ahead in Lego advertising

Never thought I'd be featuring anything from The Lego Company or its minions, but I quite like these latest ads done by German ad agency SERVICEPLAN...



Nice concept and tagline. There was a 3rd one that was supposed to be a plate of spinach but it was shit so I'm not going to bother showing you that one.
 

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Getting ahead in Lego

Combining two recently blogged themes of videogaming and pirates (but in the sense of videogames about pirates, not videogame piracy, ahem), here is a great bust of Guybrush Threepwood from the Monkey Island series, created by Baarten.



Its really great to see someone else working at this scale for a change. Now Sarah Palin finally has a date!
 

Aaargh, me boat it's already sailed, it has...

My very first thought as I awoke this morning was "Hey, its September 19th, Talk Like a Pirate Day, so I'm going to start every sentence today with Aaaargh!". But then shiver me timbers, if the thought didn't totally go out of me head. And I didn't remember what day it was again until gone midnight. Denied!

So me hearties, a tad belatedly, I give you this jolly little pirate figure by polywen, designed with his son as an entry for Lego's September Mini-Build Design Contest.



I hope it wins! Aye, its amazing what ye can do with just a few bricks. Check out the rear view too. Great work all around, matey. Argh!

So having missed the opportunity to legitimately use the phrase "loaded to the gunwales" in conversation today, I am now hoping they bring back Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day this year. Otherwise when else am I supposed to make a fool of myself in public? Oh right, Halloween, of course...

Avast!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Crayola-gate

The great t-shirt fiasco continued this week, with a pretty productive conversation between me and a very nice chap from the Lego company's legal department. Of course, being a legal guy, the details ran a bit on the long side, so I'll give you the long and short of it...

  • Most of the hoo-har revolves around how exactly you use the term "Lego" when labelling or describing your Lego-themed product. I think the guidelines were already on their web site and easily followed. My alternative advice: Don't use the word at all if you don't need to!

  • Lego has no problem that a product features images of original works created using Lego blocks. Even if you can see the word "Lego" on the bricks themselves. My contact even very kindly agreed to straighten Zazzle.com out on this (kudos!).

  • Now the bad news (for some of you, but not me, heh heh). Lego owns the copyright on the Mini-fig. This means if you create a product featuring anything vaguely recognizable as a Lego Mini-Fig, they have the right to unleash the hounds. Bricks ok, mini-figs not.
This only applies to products offered commerically for sale, not to blogs or photo sharing sites or whatever. Just stuff where $$$ are involved.

So with luck, I hope to have the Hawking t-shirt back up soon! And thus the gradual flow of loose change can resume.

Chewbacca Defence by akama1_lego

 

When two starships love eachother very much...

...one of them ends up giving birth!



Well, that was my reaction when I first saw this picture. In actual fact, the NCC-542 by Samuel Roberts is actually a Trekkie's wet dream: The sheer size of the thing is explained when the lid comes off to reveal a completely furnished deck with a bridge, mess, sick bay, and so on!



The only flaw is an apparent shortage of crew members to man the thing. Someone please turn me into a minifig so I sign up!
 

Oh p-lease. Like, what-ever. Yah, as if...

I love loud clothing and Lego as much as the next nerd, but I think you'd have to be a flipping idiot to dress like this.


Jean-Charles de Castelbajac Spring/Summer 2009 collection

Spaztastic! The model looks like he can't wait to get offstage so he can go shoot himself.

I suppose its too much to hope that the catwalk just ended in a giant incinerator and the models just hurled themselves into it.

This could only have been topped by the entire costume actually being made out of Lego. Now that would have been entertaining!
 

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lego does a 180°

A Portugese language AFOL group cleverly named the 0937 Community (link) is currently running an event called LusOlympics, basically their version of MocOlympics, and the theme of one round was classic videogames. A couple of the entries have surfaced on the net and are quite interesting...

"Sonic" by Catarino


"Zelda's Link" by LBaixinho

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lego Legal Leviathan

So online apparel site Zazzle.com have started taking down the majority of my t-shirt offerings (...including the Stephen Hawking one - so any of you that already owned one are now part of a very special club!).

They tell me that the Lego company "requested the removal of products that violated their trademarks, copyrights, trade dress or intellectual property rights". I asked them if the issue was the inclusion of a trademarked term such as "Lego", since they had previously yanked my "Yoda" t-shirt for the same reason. But nooooo, apparently merely showing images of Lego bricks is now some kind of IP violation!

I pointed out that these were original artistic works that just happened to use Lego bricks as their medium, and suggested this would be like the Crayola company complaining about t-shirts featuring pictures drawn in crayon. But they're not blessed with much of a GSOH over there so that didn't go down too well! After all, this is the same company that took down a t-shirt featuring the slogan "Colbert is God". Apparently God has good lawyers (who knew?!). But I guess at the end of the day, they're just the middle men trying to make an honest buck and avoid trouble.

I also leveled the same criticism at the Lego company, but am still awaiting a reply. I'm expecting men in suits (red classic space suits) to knock on my door at any minute.

So I wonder who Big Brother will come after next? Brick conventions? MOC sites? Lego blogs? If they come after you, make sure to exert your constitutional rights to free speech and freedom of expression through Lego!


"Apple 1984" by WookieByte

Title omitted due to lack of creative energy

I don't normally feature pose-able MOCs but I'm willing to make an exception several times over for Far Eastern builder TKH, whose Fuwa (F**ked Up Wierd Animals) were featured in my previous posting.

Today's TKH special is a this excellent Gurren-Lagann figure, shown here in some rather entertaining poses...




And any curiosity you might have about who this character is, or the wierd subcultures that revolve around such things, is easily satisfied by a quick Flickr search!

Well, I guess that's my Halloween costume decision sorted out!
 

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sporty spice

So its been a bit of an underwhelming week or two for me out in the Legosphere. Not really seen much that floats my boat. You slackers! And if I have to look at another homemade Bionicle creation my head may quite likely probably actually implode. At this point even a MOC of some tumbleweed would be satisfactory.

I assume this is partly down to feverish preparations for BrickCon 2009 in Seattle from October 1st through 4th? Well, that's my excuse anyways!

When the creative recession hits the Lego West, I know I can always look East for oodles of MOC amusement. Its a different world out there, folks. And not very much of it makes one scrap of sense to me, but I love it anyway.

So to get the ball rolling, here are some cutesy renditions of the Fuwa, by TKH...



And if like me you are wondering what the Fuwa are, they were the official mascots of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. No, I watched it and didn't notice them once either! Money well spent there then, hey? ;-)

Anyway, the most important thing you need to know about the Fuwa, other than the fact that each one probably has some special power I don't know, is that they are cute and must absolutely be pounded into chuck meat with your fists the minute you get near one. Kill kill kill! The Lego versions are very good, though. I like all the work on the hats or hair or tumors that these creatures have coming out of their skulls.



If anyone knows any Fuwa recipes, please send them to me at once.

The only saving grace of the Fuwa is that at least that's one Olympic standard that doesn't look like the 80's threw up. I'm talking to you, 2012 London Olympics!

The great outdoors

Apologies for not posting the past few days! I was attending (and am now recovering from) a camping trip with a bunch of 5th graders. Actually, it was a lot of fun, and also my first experience camping in the US! One of my kids stepped on a bees nest, which was highly entertaining (...where's a camcorder when you need one?). I was also introduced to something called "Smores". So now I'll have to do double time on the treadmill to work off those extra pounds! Thanks a lot Colonel Smore, or whoever you are! And why does my hair still smell of camp fire after like five showers, argh!? Is this what it feels like to be a Lapsang Souchong tea bag?


It was nothing like the scene above,
except maybe for the giant chipmunks

Anyway, this isn't frakkin' FaceBook so I'll get back to the Lego stuff right now...
 

Monday, September 14, 2009

Viya con Dios, Brah...


"The Surfer" by tiberium_blue (originally created for the "Go Miniman Go!" contest)
 

Thursday, September 10, 2009

And you're little dog Toto, too!

Paltry poultry sculptor Daiman Mardon created this nice representation of the family dog...



I found the caption simultaneously amusing and disturbing...

"This is our Terrier May-Ling. She is old energetic and her sister is dead."

...!? Thank you Roger Irrelevant. Oo, oo, let me try...

This is Ochre Jelly. He is foreign, likes Lego and does not have a spider crawling across his face at the moment.

:-)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bok bok bok - BUCKAW!

Bok bok bok bok bwaaaaark, bok bok bok. Bok bok Daiman Mardon bok bok BUCKAW! Bok, bok "bwaark" bok bok...



Bok bok BUCKAW bok Captain Underpants! Bok bok bok dirty little mind, bok bok bok bwaaaark. Bwaaaark... Bwaaaaaaaaaark... BUCKAW BUCKAW BUCKAW! Bok bok bok, bok bok bok bok Robot Chicken sketch, bok bocking bok bok!

Bok.
 

Monday, September 7, 2009

Cor blimey, strike a light!

Please check out the new poll down at the bottom right of this blog. Its a really very important poll and you absolutely must complete it. This is information we need to know! The future of the universe depends on it. Thankyou for listening.

OJ

Here critty, critty...

These young dragons by uber-Gothic builder >jovian<* look adorably lethal. You just know its not the chicken leg they're salivating over!



I love that while from afar these two models might appear to be simply color-clones, if you look a bit closer, you'll see they have all kinds of interesting differences (check out the detailed pics). But I suspect their taste for human flesh is about the same.

*I love it when people include funny symbols in their handles, because it allows me to invoke the Victor Borge rules of 'phonetic punctuation'. Accordingly, ">jovian<" shall hereafter be pronounced "wooooOOP-jovian-FAaaaaaa".
 

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Going loco'

Well look at me, I'm posting a model of a train! What next: Fire and brimstone?Plagues of locusts? Cats and dogs living together?

Ah, but this is no ordinary train. Following on from recent themes here of Disney characters and the use of Sharpies to draw eyes, here is a very lively rendition of Casey Jr from the movie "Dumbo", brought to us by Lego train enthusiast Caleb.



Dagnabbit, now I've got that tune stuck in my head, thanks to the Dumbo 45rpm sing-along record I had as a kid. Actually, that was a pretty repetitive song. I think I prefered the one featuring those racially-stereotyped-barbershop-quartet crows...

"I saw a skid row,
Heard a graveyard shift,
Watched a blackberry tweet "FYI",
But I think I will have seen everything
When I see an elephant fly."

 

Saturday, September 5, 2009

If it quacks, its a duck

A couple of "cinematic aquatic bird" creations today.

First up, a cleverly crafted miniature Donald Duck by Erik Eti Smit...



...I think his ducky butt has been excellently captured here. It really defines the model! By the way, is it just me, or does Donald have just about the most annoying voice of any cartoon character ever? Growing up, I just wanted to reach into the TV and throttle that bastard. Alvin and the Chipkunks sound like Frank Sinatra by comparison.

Next up, Robert VH brings us a penguin that bears a striking resemblence to the penguins from the movie Madagascar (although thankfully without the signature Dreamworks facial expression!)...

Friday, September 4, 2009

BrickCon: T-minus 4w

Wow, BrickCon 2009 is only 4 weeks away now! And it looks like its gonna be a big one this year. This will be my first time as an actual registered attendee and model exhibitor.

That isn't much time to start any new projects, so I'm focusing on completion and final presentation of everything I've got lying around the house. The MOC cards are all filled in on the BrickCon site, for your amusement. Here's a quick summary of what I'll be bringing along...

- Sarah Palin (with newly added backdrop)
- The Soup (enhanced version of the original model)
- Women of Battlestar Galactica (be still your beating heart, Mr Becraft!)
- Nibbler
- Tour de Force (giant rotating display with all 10 models!)
- Stephen Hawking
- Hawking Radiation (new - never before seen!)
- Raccoon
- Spock and Uhura (hoping to augment with a big Trek logo)
- Mighty Boosh: "Ice Flow" (never before seen, part of a new series!)

...looks like I'm gonna have to get busy with a few final BrickLink orders this weekend.

If I get the chance next week, I'll try an initial setup of the rotating Star Wars display, and post a video of it for y'all. It's a scene, man!

Pretty (difficult) in pink

Thank the maker that Lego comes in 82 different colors these days. I mean, when I first started getting the stuff, how did I cope? There were six colors, and only basic bricks. Which was all fine and dandy, if your artistic goals were limited to creating models of refridgerators and people with jaundice.

Now fast forward a few decades (and several profitable Movie franchises) later, and we are awash in a veritable sea of colors and interesting brick designs that make your average Lego collection look like a fire sale from the Cambrian Explosion. Like this little gem I found in my own collection recently.

And don't even get me started on the whole old/new brown thing: the Lego company clearly believes we're all trying to build models that accurately capture the subtle nuances of our daily bowel movements, or something.

So when I saw this delightful collection of zoo animals by monsterbrick, all done in shades of pink, it put a smile on my face. Not because magenta is absolutely my favorite color, but because I appreciated just how challenging this project must have been (even for a builder like monsterbrick, who I expect could have just as easily fashioned these from pasta shapes if he'd wanted to).




You see, the choice of bricks in some colors is rather more limited than in others. The selection of bricks in pink is about as rich as the selection of offal at a vegan buffet. It seems to consist primarily of furniture items and doors, as far as I can tell. Presumably this is because Lego is run by a bunch of mesogynists who believe pink is an inferior girly color and only worthly of sets about fairy tale boudoirs.

I'm looking at my collection of pinks right now (a measly couple of zip-locs worth). And I can't actually find any flat bricks in there. Useless!