Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Brick Bucket 2015 recap

Hello! Somewhat amazingly, it's time for me to write the second post of this kind: a look back at The Brick Bucket's past year. 2016 will mark this humble blog's third year of operation, and I have plenty of changes planned going forward - but of course The Brick Bucket will remain fundamentally the same as it has been for the last two years: a blog dedicated to the LEGO hobby and the beautiful creations built by the hobbyists. 

Let's start off the 2015 recap with a look at the top 10 most popular posts, by pageview count, on the blog this year. 

Most popular posts
  1. Nexo Knights set images and analysis!
  2. Iron Maiden
  3. Summer 2015 set reveal masterpost
  4. This in-depth review of terrible LEGO clone brands is the funniest thing you'll read all week
  5. The Force Awakens set images and analysis
  6. Brick Bucket Review #6: 75099 Rey's Speeder
  7. A slick spacetruck
  8. The faceless mecha
  9. Bad things come in threes
  10. Come closer to the light...
The top posts were dominated by set previews, in which we examined freshly revealed sets to look at interesting new pieces and techniques. The Nexo Knights preview, analyzing LEGO's big and brand new theme (just barely out now!) was a no-contest for the most-viewed post: three times as popular as #2 and responsible for almost 4% of The Brick Bucket's total pageviews all-time!

Hype for The Force Awakens also featured strongly, with the top 10 containing both a preview of the sets and a review of 75099 Rey's Speeder by Dead Frog Inc. 

...which brings me to my next point, and one of the blog's most important developments in 2015: the addition of three new bloggers!

A new crew
In 2015, The Brick Bucket was transformed from a one-man operation to a four-man blog team. First, in June, we welcomed Dead Frog Inc., formerly of The Brick Tavern. (He's also responsible for our flashy new logo!) Then, not even a month later, Aaron Van Cleave, aka A Plastic Infinity, joined us, bringing zany commentary and plenty of emoticons. Finally, September saw the arrival of Thomas of Tortuga

Having a team - small as it is - has helped our output. You may notice that we have fewer posts in 2015 than in 2014, even though the blog wasn't even created until May 2014! I haven't been able to post as much due to all the normal teenager reasons - school, sports, etc., and I imagine the same is true for my co-bloggers. But we went for quality over quantity, and as any look through the year's posts will show you, the MOCing community had a hell of a year, making it a joy to blog all the amazing builds that were produced. 

Most popular MOCs and builders
In terms of pageviews, the most popular MOC we featured this year was the microscale ship "Iron Maiden" by Sean and Steph Mayo (Siercon and Coral), made for Iron Builder. View the post here

Sean and Steph were part of a three-way tie for our third-most blogged builder, along with vitroleum and Kosmas Santosa (KOS brick), all of whom had 4 posts each. Second place was another three-way tie, between 6kyubi6, Rancorbait, and Tyler Clites (Legohaulic), with 5 posts each. 

But our single most-blogged builder this year was the unstoppable nobu_tary, whose excellent and prolific work garnered him 6 Brick Bucket posts this year! Use the search bar in the sidebar over there ---> to see them all. 

Traffic sources and audiences
The top 10 most popular visiting countries were much the same as last year's:
  1. United States
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Germany
  4. France
  5. Canada
  6. Australia
  7. Russia
  8. the Netherlands
  9. Italy
  10. Poland
Canada moved up considerably in the rankings, while Portugal and Turkey dropped out entirely, replaced by the Netherlands and Italy. The top four countries remain unchanged from 2014. 

More info
- Average posts per month this year: 14
- Total posts this year: 167
- Pins on our Pinterest board this year: 201
- Most popular Pin: once again, Tuna the Phelfie Dog

(Don't forget to follow our aforementioned Pinterest board as well as our Twitter!)

Ads (and building contests?)
Another important development for us in 2015 was that we started running ads in the sidebar. They don't generate much revenue, since I designed them to be as unobtrusive as possible, but any money we make will go towards site maintenance or towards prizes for contests! Yes, the idea has been put forth many times in our group chat, and we would like to host at least one building contest here in 2016. But more on that as it develops...

In conclusion...
If you read this blog regularly, you've heard all this from me before, but here's a big thank you not just to my readers, but to all members of the LEGO community, who build such creative and amazing models and make browsing Flickr for MOCs to blog so enjoyable. All of us here at The Brick Bucket wish all of you the best of luck in your building. Happy New Year and Leg Godt

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Stocking stuffers

I've been saving some smaller MOCs in my "stuff to blog" folder for a while, looking for a good opportunity to make a compilation post. Since it's Christmas Eve, the concept of stocking stuffers - small but enjoyable gifts - popped into my head. So Happy Holidays from the Brick Bucket, and enjoy this grab bag of builds that prove size doesn't matter. 

"Yoshi" by Cecilie Fritzvold (cecilihf):
"Viro-blaster" by Karf Oohlu:
"Aang" and "Zuko" by John Moffatt:
"Prototype" by (my fellow blogger) Dead Frog Inc.:
And finally, "Run crab, run!" by Devid VII:

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Star Wars AND Bionicle? Oh my!

So, earlier this year LEGO released a series of big-build-Star Wars figures, which turned out rather disappointing in my eyes.

Now BZPower has started a contest to recreate Star Wars characters mostly using Bionicle elements. And boy, the results are outstanding.

First of all, Sparks brings us an amazing recreation of Ahsoka Tano from TCW, making some sweet use of the new pieces introduced in the official sets.
Ahsoka Tano
Then there is thisisnothingatall, who brings us not only a Battle Droid, but also a STAP for it to fly on. I especially like the really greebly limbs, and the upper part of the STAP.
Another iconic droid was build by Onuku, who brings us a small, but not less brilliant recreation of R2-D2. This MOC has NPU all around, I especially love the use of rubber bands.
BBCC 72 - R2D2 Entry
We even get to see a moc from the new Star Wars Episode VII. Tremah brings us a beautiful recreation of Kylo Ren. The shape of the helmet fits perfectly, and the overall shape looks fitting.
Kylo Ren | Main pic

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Cocktail party

I really don't envy the judges of the current Iron Builder round. It's impossible to predict which of the expert competitors - Jimmy Fortel (6kyubi6) or David Hensel (Legonardo Davidy) - will win in this round of the musketeer sword seed part.

Many of the builds from the round have been featured here on The Brick Bucket; now, continuing our coverage, here's perhaps the most elegant build of the round - indeed, one of the most stylish MOCs I've ever seen - a cocktail glass and dish of olives, built by Jimmy:
Jimmy gets points not just for great use of the seed part (drink umbrella and pick for the olives), but for other nice part usages as well, most noticeably the giant clam shell piece used as the dish. All together with the jet-black background and impeccable photography, this is one well-presented MOC.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Simple architecture

I think I've mentioned my architectural style preferences in previous posts on here. In case you don't know, I'm very much of the modern/minimalist mindset, and maybe that's why I like this simple build from LEGO Will so much. There's not a whole lot going on - basic construction, blocks of color, not much detail - yet it's presented so nicely. I think this is a great example of "LEGO as art."

Riding in style

One of Legonardo Davidy's latest builds in his current musketeer sword-fueled Iron Builder battle with 6kyubi6 is this flashy red motorbike. The use of the slender sword pieces in the handlebars and kickstand gives this model an elegant appearance, and I think the decision to not use actual wheel elements was a smart one in this case. 
You can keep following this round of IB here

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Sinister spider 'bot

And now back to the Iron Builder arena...

Between us and the other big LEGO blogs, I wouldn't be surprised if every single MOC out of the current IB round gets blogged by someone. I just featured 6kyubi6's flower and vase; now we head to the realm of the robotic to take a look at competitor Legonardo Davidy's mecha-spider.
I think this build has been overlooked by some of David's more impressively presented ones, but I for one really like the way the seed part (the musketeer sword) makes this thing look so spidery and mechanical. For some reason the first thing that came to my mind was Ray Bradbury's description of the Mechanical Hound in Fahrenheit 451 - a pretty respectable work to evoke in a LEGO model, I think. I'm really enjoying this IB round so far...

New vehicle unlocked!

We featured the V-Galactic Racing "video game" imagined by Markus Rollbuhler ('rolli) a few months ago, but now the builder has another space-racer available to be unlocked: the Midnight Bolt X. 
This one's got a really nice color scheme - gotta love those azure pieces - and the overall presentation is absolutely amazing. I hope this series continues!

Red scent

There's another round of Iron Builder raging... Iron Builder Jimmy Fortel (6kyubi6) vs. challlenger David Hensel (Legonardo Davidy). Both builders are among my favorites and this is becoming one of the most build-heavy rounds of IB I can remember - and also one of the best. Many of the builds have been covered on The Brothers Brick, BrickNerd, and other sites, but this one from Jimmy caught my eye the other day. There are so many nice part uses and although there aren't many pieces in total, they all come together and create a surprisingly complex, beautiful model. 
Can you tell what the seed part is? I'll give you a hint: it's sharp and pointy. Yeah, it's those musketeer swords. Check out the Flickr stream to see how they've been used in the other builds so far... there's some really neat stuff going on in this round.