2018-02-02

MOC: Victorious Tiyan

 This character build was a comission work. She is Tiyan Jolkai, a spirited Saayequtai girl from Laura Luotola's book Suoja - Kaupungit ja paluu (The Sphere - The Cities and Return). The creation is based mostly on the book description, with some inspiration from Päivi Hakanen's cover art. Tiyan is here in her rizikesh battle match gear, with the truncheons and light but practical clothes, with muted colours suitable for lower and lesser city-level Kándu.

I began the build with the head, which is somewhat unusual. The character was described having a long, outwards-pointing nose, brown spots on the face and green hair. Inserting the hinge piece nose into the "stylized mark three female" head deemed lot of pedantic SNOT to every direction, but turned out pretty good. The hair took pretty much every kind of small dark green pieces I had around, but I think the angled bangs on the forehead give it the needed elegance. The hair was shorter at first, but I later realized that the ponytail disappearing behind the back gave the creation some depth.

Torso and upper legs came out pleasantly streamlined without losing the mobility. I've always found trousers challenging, and this was not an exception, but inverted 4x6 wedge slopes worked surprisingly well with 2x2 brick modified with ball sockets, and the four-stud-wide hip joint made the connection almost seamless. The almost organic feel of the textiles, a scarf tied over the breasts, is captured with very excessive use of curved slopes; I like them very much, it's good to have plenty of them around. Some of them are angled with plate hinges, again covering some of the shoulder joint without devastating the mobility. The curved slopes continue to the sides and the back. I'm very happy with the little detail of Tiyan's scarf being tuck under the belt and continuing over the trousers.

The arms are based on ideas used on Kuohu, but with ball sockets on the shoulder; good mobility seemed natural to martial arts -using character. Tiyan has also leather wrist bands, which helped to hide some construction bits. Again, curved slopes are used to achieve look of muscles on the upper arms. Hands are basic design, while the batons are slightly modified from those I've been using from City Watch characters from Discworld books. Plain lower legs are again adapted from design used on Lingeán, but with 1x1 1/4 circle tiles bringing some elegance. The boots are short not to slow down the user with their weight, and rather thin-soled to retain agility. The joints are sturdy enough to support one-leg poses.

-Eero









2018-01-11

MOC: Guardian bust

2018. New year, new tricks. 2017 was the most quiet year of this blog so far. This is somewhat unfortunate, but not completely. My projects are bigger, which means that I still build a lot (modular building again right now). I also study, I really do! One and half years through my five-year Architect Degree. It's interesting and inspiring.

There were no posts during December, for several reasons. There were tests, big MOC projects, and I was couple of weeks away from home, unable to build anything. This MOC was built last month, but not posted back then, as it was a present. Christmas present, or a Naming Day present, as we're old Bionicle fans (if you can call "we like MNOG and Bohroks and critize the rest of it" a fan) and have this present-circle thing. This year I received Mikhail Bulgakov's book The Master and Margarita, a book I was interested in but unable to find it in the local library. I delivered Plain Ride's excellent 2014 album Skeleton Kites and this bust of the receiver's Klaanon character Guardian.  

That last version of Guardian is from mid 2012, five and half years ago. That feels quite long. It uses Vezok's head/spine piece. The character, I think, is based on MOC using it, with a telescope eye, so it's quite accurate; but Vezok's face isn't very happy, and even though Guardian isn't always that happy neither, I wanted to make a glorious bust of a heroic skakdi; you don't see those very often. So this ended up being pretty much 100% SYSTEM, with I think two TECHNIC pieces and no Bionicle bits. I was thinking of the head I built for Discworld troll sergeant Detritus couple a years ago: Similar to my human characters in scale, but with heavier jaw and bigger mouth. There is a handsome row of teeth, Guardian being a skakdi, and "stubble" from Vezok's head mold is represented as six studs. I used headlight brick as the natural eye at first, but brightly orange 1x1 round plate looked more natural. Also, the lack of actual nose has always confused me when drawing skakdi characters, but here I think I captured that area nicely with dark blue oddly-shaped roofing slope.

The torso features some light grey armoring, dark blue shoulders and brown battle suspenders, which are important part of the character. I even slapped in a heartlight, thing from Bionicle movies I haven't included on most of my Klaanon characters for a reason I do not know. The spine uses some dark blue flags with two pegs on ends; it again reminds a bit of Vezok's spine but looks original, and is achieved without horrible large rubbery thing. The rigid hose inside the spine is anchored to the simple black base.

-Eero.


 


2017-11-27

MOC: The Champion of the Plains


This build is, once again, a relatively fast departure from larger ongoing projects. I haven't built constraction-heavy MOCs for some time - the mechanical dragon was quite close with its limbs, tail and neck, but relied still largely on SYSTEM with its defining features. This polearm warrior is more than 60% Bionicle and etc. and that's lot these days. It's just so much easier to make specific shapes with SYSTEM, with all the curved slopes and SNOT bricks and things; Bionicle parts tend to be more flow-oriented, it's more about layout and composition; sort of ready-made art, remix of some very odd things. It's not easy and it's very interesting, but I sometimes feel I'm losing the touch.

This also re-uses plenty of old tricks. The legs are inherited from Cyira the Paladin, thematically similar but more primitive creation. The new shin and knee armoring, save the shining 3x3 dishes, was done years ago, and they were stored in one of the random WIP boxes. The thighs were silver at the beginning, old stuff too, but I replaced them with black ones of the same design when the colour scheme started to feel too silvery dull like Christmas dinner in Cybermen factory. The inner upper legs are dark blue as I only had three black visorak feet (surprising) but it's not too bad, giving that there are some medium azure at the upper torso. I wanted to keep to colour splash rather local. On other areas the silver and black hopefully balance each other out.

As the legs were of old design, and partially old build, the torso was the part to define the build. I wanted somewhat but not too realistic armour. There is the lower torso, where Stormer XL armour add-on covers the hip area; dynamic and good piece. The abdomen is covered of more flexible-looking armour. The combination of parts built around Travis brick above it it few months old but didn't find use before this. Another one was used in the helm. A pair of silver eagle wings was natural choice for the chest plate. These pieces are pleasantly curved and easy to use; I'd like to see those in various colours. The middle torso is four studs wide, which produced some challenges with Bionicle pieces, and therefore the back is plated with silver curved slopes. My creation's backs sometimes suffer from lack of interest, but this one has quite a developed one. The medium azure beast jaws complete the torso. They were a stud lower at first, but that caused too steep angle, with looked somewhat disappointed. It didn't have the attitude.

Arms are somewhat boring, as they use to be. The longest traditional CCBS shell is used there, might be good, might be bad, but at least it destroys the movement of the wrist (They were the only silver CCBS shells left. I need to re-stock when I get to Pii Poo). The 3x3x3 cones on the upper arms were a late addition, replacing some 2x2 round bricks; that cone is one of my favourite parts, it's dimensions are simply pleasant.

The idea of the head stayed quite similar through the build. Basic "modern" stylish female head with black hair and some sort of appropriate headress. It was going to be another Stormer XL add-on at first, but it was quite large and replaced by the aforementioned construction built around a Travis brick. KK2 visor on the back gives the helmet some bulk, though it's still far from realistic. The hair is pleasantly wind-swept. The champion also has a polearm, as polearms are effective and useful weapons. Those boat studs fall of a lot, but hey, you got to have boat studs somewhere.

-Eero







2017-11-19

MOC: Ideal Christmas Tree


Eurobricks has a long (well, not long, but eight years at least with some gaps) tradition of Advent Calendar Raffles. I've taken part every year available and won something every time, too - usually a bunch of minifigs, and not cheap ones. It's such cool, especially as chances of winning tends to be something like 85%.

This year's theme was Ideal Christmas Tree, which is recycled from 2015. Back then I built a very large spruce, I like very large spruces, there used to be lot of them around my childhood home before the bastards cut them off. But the tree was green, which means that the weathers have been too warm for a while and all the snow has become too heavy and fell of. Reason behind this was of course buying lot of green baby bows from LEGO store in London or Glasgow or elsewhere London last summer (last summer back then, not last summer now, baby bows, despite being fantastic and wonderful and terrific, don't travel in time as far as I know). But as I got some white baby bows from LUGBULK last year, I could make a perfectly snowy tree now, wahoo.

As the quality of the build has nothing to do with the chances of winning, these raffle entries have usually been very fast builds and somehow not worth posting here or Flickr. But today, by incident, there happened to be this charity campaign about Christmas decoration MOCs. British Charity group FairyBricks got their hospital giveaway LEGO stolen by scoundrels who also crippled their van. TLG came to aid, and promised to donate a set for every decoration MOC posted on social media with hashtag #BuildToGive. Now I hope Flickr counts as a social media, as I don't have Facebook or Twitter account.

This was, of course, a fast build, but I sort of like it. I still have several bigger projects under construction. And hey, white snake as a trail of smoke is not my original idea. But it's used quite widely and I have no idea who came up with it first.

-Eero
12th of November 2015. Even a small car. And ugly studded snow.

2017-11-12

Thrugont Thunderthroat's Mechanical Dragon

 This is a surprise build, and it was one for me, too. A friend asked if I was interested in taking part in a Brikwars game, and I was naturally in. So I needed an army. I first tried to make a very odd one mixing some Atlastis monsters with Pirates gear, but as my pirate figure things seemed to be unavailable by being located in another part of the country, I went with dwarves, the little hairy people, very easy to identify with.

I have plenty of dwarf minifigs. I have several of those Fantasy era sets, couple of Battle Packs and some Bricklinked stuff. I have 50 Dain II Ironfoot torsos from LUGBLK. But I wanted some heavy gear, some hardware, to mess up with. The first idea was an assault wagon with maybe some artillery and a dragon's head on the helm, maybe some TECHIC threads to roll on, but hell, I though, why not a whole mechanical dragon. So I made one.

I wanted to make it something between European and Asian folklore dragons. Some legs, but not very long ones, and no wings; Ninjago Movie's Green Ninja Mech Dragon was one source of inspiration, as well as Glaurung the Golden, the first dragon on Middle-Earth. Finnish folk epic Kalevala also offered some ideas with Smith Ilmarinen's Brass Eagle built to catch the great Scale-Pike.

Otherwise there was lot of improvisation. I began with the head and the horn crown. CCBS armor add-ons were on the cheeks from the beginning, as well as the macaroni pipe exhaust moustache. Those pearl dark grey pipes were one of the main elements here - they are delightful pieces and look great alongside brighter pearl gold. The eyes were different in the version used in the game, but I redesigned them to be round to look, hmm, somehow friendlier. There is a light brick on the mouth, to illustrate the flamethrower that burned down lot of cavalry. On the version used in the game there were another one for they eyes, but I removed it to fit in the more essential stuff.

The neck is pretty basic CCBS, and strong enough the keep the head up. It's connected to a torso with brick-built swivel joint to enhance poseability. The torso and the cockpit grew around two dark brown train side parts, whatever they are called, and two car hood pieces in same colour. Pilot Thrugont Thunderthroat can see all around under the trans-clear bubble windshield, or would if he could turn his head without the hair and beard blocking the vision. Some Bionicle generation II pieces add some mechanical matter to the sides. There is also a waist joint, an important technical bit - as the back part is modulary connected, I was able to abandon it to make quick escape from pirate ship/sea serpent combination about to explode very soon and also killed my nemesis Majisto the Wizard on the go.

The tail is also rather basic CCBS but at least it has a giant machine gun in the tip. I have had that gun lying around for years - it was originally used in very strange Kongu Mahri Revamp back in 2013; four years ago. Seems longer. I never used the machine gun in the war; the flamethrower felt more effective.

The legs are boring, I know, but they are still sort of what I wanted, small limbs on rather serpentine body. I didn't have small armour shells to cover the lower parts, but I quite like them that way, reminding of a lizard or one of those ancient, crocodile-like land beasts from Triassic period.

Game shots below taken by Matoro TBS who also hosted the game. No winner was announced, The Blue Danger was released and spread terror around His World.

-Eero





The Blue Danger standing on a brick of Finnish tobacco.

Mass of your author and artist getting ready for the cavalry charge.



2017-10-25

MOC: Susan Sto Helit revisited

 I'm still here! Sorry for lack of MOCs lately. There have been two months of no builds at all. It's not that I wouldn't have built anything. I've built quite a lot, actually, despite being somewhat busy with studies and attending number of various rock music gigs (from Italian doom metal to Finnish noise rock) lately. It's just that my projects are big, and as I don't want to spoil surprises with WIP photos, I don't have much to show you yet. I'm working on a block of early 20th century modular houses and a big character build project with six figures and plenty of hardware. In addition to these I have also some random smaller WIPs as always. So there's plenty to do, and especially last weekend was very fruitful on aspect of MOCing. Stay tuned, even though it might still take some time, and I can't promise to be very active on the following months. Projects are ambitious! I am an ambitious man.

Now, this MOC was completed a month ago or so, but I just kept thinking about whether it was finished or not. This is a Discworld character, Susan Sto Helit, the daughter of Mort and Ysabel and the granddaughter of Death. I've built her before, in September 2015, around two years ago. I was quite happy with the previous version, but it didn't fit the style of my other Discworld models, as it featured super-simplified facial features akin to my Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind characters. This received some legitimate feedback on Worldcon 75 (which was great as most people actually recognized the characters) so I knew I had to do something. Now Susan is a young woman, and facial featured in style of my Discworld characters (three-wide heads and headlights as the eyes) tend to look somewhat antic or humorous. I pondered a lot how I could make Susan look convincing while sticking with the style; after all, people are not that different looking, despite of age or sex. Segregation by design principles felt unnecessary. This isn't Susan's face exactly as I imagine it, but given that these are some building blocks and it's not such a big model, I think it's alright.

The face aside, this is the first creation that uses pieces from this year's LUGBULK order, precisely Art Nouveau style fences in black (as "some" lace) and tan 1x1 quarter tiles (which are wonderful) and tan 1x2 baby bows to model bare skin areas. I also got some basic bricks (tan, dark blue and medium azure) but those are naturally not used here.

I began with the bodice, featuring some lacing using minifig hands connected to odd wedge slope; the previous used grill tiles. Otherwise I kept the design similar to the old one, just improved. The hands use now the usual design, which means they're poseable and sturdy if a bit too large. Ornamental fence pieces give some air to the dress. The left leg is visible, as inspired by Paul Kidby's art. I'm rather happy with their shapes. There's bit of movement here, too, to enable more natural stance. Death of Rats has stayed exactly the same.

The scythe was a louse of sorrow*. It is the exact same scythe made a bit longer. I would have wanted to make it bigger, as it's Death's scythe and Death is a seven-feet-tall skeleton who would need a big scythe. But I didn't have needed pieces, and I quite liked the free-flowing shape of this one. And, honestly, as I hadn't posted anything in two months, I wanted to just post this to show you that hey, I'm still here. I'm alive and kicking.

-Eero


* Louse of Sorrow = Murheenkryyni. Kryyni is a old pseudonym for a louse; they believed that if you don't use thing's own name, it doesn't cause harm. Murhe is Sorrow in Finnish, and afterwards phrase Murheenkryyni has extended to mean anything that causes sorrow to one.

2017-08-23

MOC: Chair of Indefinite Studies

 Still on Discworld! This is another built finished before Worldcon. Chair of Indefinite studies, another of these "thin character" wizards, whose comedy I enjoy a lot. I have also some quite ambitious plans of this-scale Hex the thinking engine, which would need some wizards around it. Plus these give me changes to build interesting beards and detailed clothes, so not bad at all.

Main trick here is of course the waistcoat built with printed Chima phoenix skirts. These make great wizard robes for minifigs, too (used on Lecturer on Recent Runes minifig) but sticking several next to each other... that makes it even more interesting! Our LUG got those from event support package and they were on "Free for all" bin on our Model Expo "exhibitor closet" and I grabbed a handful for this particular use. The beard is another base trick, using Hero Factory/Chima Ultrabuild fur add-on parts, and probably more importantly constructing a long moustache using taps, tooth tiles, viking horns and stuff... I've always wanted to build a stache like that.

Otherwise it's quite usual wizard outfit. Couple of Bionicle parts on shoulders for the sake of interestingness, curly wizard shoes, pointy hat and white stockings. I particularly like the dark orange trousers, as they balance the bright colour scheme, and the robes built using red aeroplane bottom sections, as they're not the most versalite pieces.

I didn't give Chair staff because 1. I'm short on staff pieces 2. he really doesn't use staff that much, except probably in Reaper Man. The Senior Faculty doesn't really do magic. They bicker, wonder, argue and eat huge dinners. So I gave him plate of food and a pint or amber beer instead. Felt fitting, and in a way, more interesting.

On side notes, my second year on architecture studies starts on monday, ending my 4-month holiday. On other hand, I'll receive my LUGBULK 2017 order tomorrow, so you can still expect some builds in near future. Something experimental, I dare to say.

-Eero.