Friday, June 9, 2017

"There were a lot of explosions for two people blending in"

Rogue One is the best Star Wars movie of all time,* and one of the best scenes in the film is the battle on the planet Jedha. A mythical city home to ancient secrets of the Jedi and the Force comes under assault from Imperials and rebel insurgents alike, and amidst all the new characters and vehicles, the tried-and-true AT-ST still finds a place in the fight. I'm a fan of the official Jedha AT-ST set, but this midi-scale version by the Rogue Bantha himself, Tim Goddard, is equally fantastic. The use of myriad small elements that comprise the guns, joints, and armor show Tim's renowned skill for sci-fi building. 
*You heard what I said.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

“The lunatic, the lover, and the poet, are of imagination all compact.”

Check out this microscale model of the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, an ancient Greek theater in Athens, built by George Panteleon (ZetoVince). I think Greek architecture is absolutely beautiful, and seeing a classic drama performed in this ancient theater (which has been renovated and is still used today) is something I'd like to experience. Despite its repetition and bland color scheme, this model pops because of the contrast of textures: the smooth SNOTed sections reflect the chiseled rows of seats in the amphitheater, opposing the rough rocks and crumbling ruins on the edges of the build. You can check out this construction shot to see how it's built (although I must confess I'm still not entirely sure!). 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Pink poison

The Brick Bucket's fearless reporting takes us once again into the Iron Builder arena, home now to a peculiarly pink battle between Grant Davis and Kosmas Santosa (kosbrick). The seed part at stake is the 4x4x13 curved panel, more commonly known as the "hot air balloon segment," in any and all of its three existing colors. 

The Brick Bucket's intrepid journalism has now discovered the source of the pink variety of these pieces: they must be harvested from the abdomens of a very rare and beautiful spider deep within the jungles of Iron Builder Land. But there's a risk to be taken for beauty, as this spider is not just pink; it's deadly poisonous. Watch your step...
Follow the Iron Builder action at this link!

The history of the world is at stake!

In 480 BC, King Xerxes of Persia sent a massive army to invade the Greek city-states. A tiny force of Greeks (the subject of the movie 300) stalled the Persian advance at the pass of Thermopylae, giving the Greek general Themistocles just enough time to launch a naval defeat of the Persians in the straits near the island of Salamis. This deterred the Persian invasion, led to the proliferation of ancient Greece, and ultimately shaped the history of the world. 

That's not what's going on in this scene by Micah Beideman (Hacim Bricks), but it could very well be something just as important. Maybe that trade ship is holding the future king of a country? In any event, there's a Greek trireme involved; that was enough to kickstart me into history mode. 
Note the nicely constructed mountainous background, and a pretty cool part use on the trireme: a flaming sticker from a Racers set holds a cheese slope on the front of the ship! 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Arrival at Fornax K7

The good folks at the ABS Builder Challenge have wasted no time cleaning the arena floor from the Season 1 Finale and getting Season 2 all set up. Mark Erickson (Mark of Falworth) is one of the four contestants in Season 2's inaugural round, and he's setting a tough precedent: a lovely, whimsical alien-planet-landing scene that seems straight out of the Pikmin games. 
The minifigures have apparently landed in a human-scaled world, where flowers are tree-sized and pebbles are boulder-sized (but only to the little plastic dudes). The seed part is in fact the red bucket element, put to use very nicely in those flowers. And the whimsically positioned stems, leaves, and tufts of grass? It all looks terrific, as does the spaceship itself, with a Classic Space design and that nice bulbous moon-lander shape. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Cheep cheep!

It's always nice to see new builders on Flickr, and it's even nicer when they're posting MOCs as good as this one. Josephine Monterosso (jigsawjo) just showed up this month, but she's already posted probably 20 different builds ranging from mosaics to mecha. I'm only highlighting one of her builds in this post, but I highly recommend you go give her a follow and check out some more of her work!

This bird's nest must use just about every flexible brown part that's been produced - flex-tubes, bullwhips (thanks Indy Jones), and vines, as well as a few rigid parts. It has a very nice natural aesthetic and looks just like a real bird nest, complete with a couple of eggs that hopefully will soon reveal a couple of baby birds, mouths agape to receive a fresh worm or two from mama bird. While actual egg pieces technically exist (from the Angry Birds sets), I like the use of the light-blue minifig heads here, presumably as robin eggs. 

Into the jungle

This jungle temple by Jonas Wide is chock full of creative building techniques and part uses. The structure has a really nice decaying feel that blends well with the mayhem of the jungle - vines growing everywhere, monkeys scurrying about, birds chirping loudly... it reminds me of a quote from the author Orson Scott Card: "The natural world is beautiful, and it is beautiful again when it reclaims the ruins of humans who are gone." 
Something that works really well here is the blend of different shades of green - there's the olive-green grass, dark green of the vines, and medium shades used for the trees. It offers a nice contrast and adds that natural touch to the build. Also noteworthy are the microfigure "statues" set a half-stud into the walls of the temple, and the incredible multi-layered, intricate construction of that tree nudged up against the ruins. (I'm also a fan of that spindlier tree on the other side of the build, but I don't know what the pieces used for the leaves are!)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Prisma and LEGO

Sometimes it's not just the construction of a MOC that catches my attention, but the presentation of it too. That's the case with this "Bug Smasher Mech" from Marco Marozzi. Marco built a pretty sweet mecha, but he took it to the next level by using the photo-editing program Prisma on one of the pictures. The result is this artsy-swirly-not-quite-right-but-still-recognizably-LEGO work of art: 
This is a really interesting (and creative) concept, and one I might like to apply to some of my future builds, given my own fascination with Prisma. 

For reference, here's the unedited photo:
The color scheme is flashy; I love yellow paired with a duller color or set of colors, and the black and light grey here work perfectly. There are also some fantastic greebles. I particularly love the construction of the legs. It's clear that Marco isn't just a good photographer - he's got building chops too!

Cute characters from a galaxy far, far away

A few Star Wars character builds have sprung up in my Flickr feed over the past few days, so I decided to compile them all in one post. 

The first is this Admiral Ackbar figure by Djokson, whose signature CCBS-pieces style lends itself to some fantastic part usage: 
The next two figures are both by Miro Dudas (Miro78), and both feature Princess Leia. First, here's Leia's disguise as the bounty hunter "Boushh" from Return of the Jedi: 
There's some excellent part use on this figure too, notably the "letter E" tiles on the mask, Technic pins to form the staff, and various ball joints, binoculars, and the like for greebles. The textured 1x2 bricks work great to provide texture to the pants. 

Also featuring this pants technique is Leia in her Hoth outfit from Empire Strikes Back
The rounded, smooth elements and lack of facial features give this figure a charming, inquisitive demeanor, almost non-LEGO. Character builds are always stunning when pulled off correctly, and these three are certainly well done. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A sight to sea

Several months ago I built a coral reef for the ABS Builder Challenge, and it's still my most-faved Flickr photo to this day. I was intrigued by the opportunities presented by the vast array of corals and other denizens of the reef environment; combined with the opportunity for some Nice Part Use, it seemed like a perfect build. Unfortunately I was never quite happy with the way I incorporated the seed part. 

Now Drazard has built his own reef model for an ABS competition, this time for the Season 1 Finale (which I also competed in). And I've gotta say I think I like it better than my own...
The seed part (dark red elbow brick) features quite nicely, used for both the dark red coral and the shiny treasure chest, but that's not nearly all. The array of different pieces and colors here is spectacular! There's not a coral I don't like - each one features smart part usage and impeccable color combinations. The rockwork and stacked seaweed is a great frame for the photo. Feel free to compare to my own reef model and report back in the comments - and be sure to check out the rest of the fantastic builds from the Season 1 Finale of ABS!