MOC: Foraois

So, here we are, at the end of "Four Seasons" project, with the summer personification, Foraois (Forest in Irish). Concepts behind this one varied a lot; there's pretty much nothing from the first sketches here (I rarely sketch creations, but here I did few drafts). At the beginning there was sort of a harvest motif, with some crop, sun and possibly a sickle, but didn't fly. There was even a cornucopia idea, something that was at some point going to be on Lingeán, but that was too close to the sprout feet so I ditched the whole harvest thing. Harvest has never been anything I've associated with summer; I've always lived on a countryside, but not near fields; It's forest all around. This is Finland, after all, too northern for proper farming. So I went for long trumpet-style dress and a birch motif. Nationalist art, what?

I wondered the colors for some time. Green would have been logical, but I already used it on Lingeán. Yellow or bright light orange would have been nice too, but somehow too close to the skin color, and I wasn't sure if I could have hoarded the parts in those colors. So I ended up with white, as birch bark. Birch by far is the most common leafy tree species in Finland, and the green leaves on them is probably the most apparent sign that summer is, after all, here after long dark winter.

Not now though, these was slight snowfall when I photographed this.

I build the dress in black at first to see which kind of bricks I need; My white curved part collection isn't too big. So I have (so far headless) WIP with 78% same design (upper torso is different with single strap, and the arms are bare), and it's actually the original. I bought white parts from two Bricklink stores, most from Finland and some from France. The dress has some SNOT, as the lower part is identical on both front and the back. 90s hinged car roof are excellent for this kind of  180 degree plate SNOT!

Black is secondary color here. It's not very summer-y color, I think, but birch branches are black, and hell it's easy color to work with. Naturally there would also be some green. I was thinking of doing a sort of a scarf or a shawl with it, but they developed into something bigger and snazzier. Autumn and Spring girls had rather ordinary clothes, but Forfhuarú had those striking ice wings, and I though it would balance things to give summer one something extraordinary. The leaf snakes were even crazier at first, but gravity pulled them down after a while, so I had to make them sturdier.

Head was (almost) the last part. I knew I'd make black hair (winter had white) and bat wings worked rather nicely. The rest was harder. Ehlek's spikes used in Lady Liberty-like manner saved the case, also being a note to Forfhuarú's icy crown. But it also caused problems: It kept pulling the head halves apart. I actually took a set of photos in same session with Ridcully, but the head looked bad on almost all of them, and I reworked it a bit: I made the structure sturdier, loosened the crown and added some hair, including the bangs. It improved a lot!

I naturally also made a base. This one is similar to Fómhar's leaf base, but more organized, creating a star-like shape. I also added some lever-base-boosted flowers to it, but they too are organized to the corners. But then I felt that it wasn't enough, and the character needed something else, probably an animal friend! I though of a fox or hare, but didn't feel like building another mammal, so I went for a bird to sit on a finger; a little posing aid. It was a White Wagtail at first, but the grey color felt a bit bland, and I went with a magpie instead. Magpie is a very common bird around here, but a beautiful one, with its dark green wing marks and the long tail. They are also very clever and playful animals, definitely worth being in this MOC.

These series, along with dozens of other MOCs, will be on display on "Leiki LEGOilla 2016" event at Imatra, Eastern Finland, during this weekend. So if you happen to be around, take a visit; It's at Imatran Kylpylä (spa). There's sale area and everything!



MOC: Mustrum Ridcully revisited

 I've written numerous times to this blog that I often come back to my MOCs and mod them. Seeing them on a shelf from day to day make you see things on them that could be done better. Sometimes I even end up building the whole character again: I feel like I want to have the MOC on display, but it just seems completely outdated... Last time this happened on Balin, my favorite of The Hobbit's dwarves, and now it happened on Archchancellor Mustrum Ridcully, my favorite Discworld character.

The old version had pretty good face, and I liked the crossbow and hat. But somehow it felt unnaturally stiff, and was too tall compared to my other Discworld builds; that also made the hands feel tiny. I based my approach on clothes, drawing lot from Paul Kidby's art as usual (I didn't have his Discworld art books when building the old version), making Ridcully have elaborate waistcoat, dark red jacket, brown overcoat and wizardy robe. Sir Terry gave us mixed descriptions on Mustrum's clothing, and I think this is quite pleasant compromise.

Probably even more important change was making the character more lively and less stiff. I made the beard hinged, so I could push the head a bit backwards; real beards are flexible. I also tilted the had (almost identical to the old one) a bit backwards using some Technic. The trousers are shorter and the boots aren't ridiculously big any more; I'm actually very happy with their overall shape. 3x3x3 cone is one of the best pieces there is.

The shoulders were hard. The old one used T-bar connection, usually pretty good technique, but I switched it to ball joints to increase mobility. Both 4x4 wedge slopes and frontal bits of the robe are jointed to enable posing the arms.

Ridcully still has his hunting crossbow, but also gave him a Staff with a Knob on the End. He doesn't use very much magic, but usually believes that six-feet oak staff is at least as efficient!



MOC: Fury Road: Max and Furiosa

 V8! Valhalla! Witness me, bloodbag! Mediocre, Morsov!

Mad Max: Fury Road was amazingly breathtaking movie. It was, like, whee, super cool. Flaming guitars and all. I think it's the best film of 2010s, so far, though I naturally haven't seen every film released since 2010; This might also be the best film of 21th century, but comparing it to Lord of the Rings trilogy and Spirited away is a bit problematic (Porco Rosso is still the best film though). 

I think I started to make first version of Furiosa in June or July, month or two after seeing the film; But it didn't somehow work, the legs weren't poseable, they were just stiff like bricks. I knew from the beginning I'm going to build Max too - He's Mad Max, after all. First parts of Max (Head prototype and parts of the jacket) were build a month or two ago, simultaneously rebuilding most of Furiosa, and they were completed in a building fury last weekend.

Legs were overall the biggest challenge here; LEGO bricks doesn't give very good options for building human trousers that are poseable and natural. Fortunately both Max and Furiosa wear tight leather trousers, as baggy shapes are hard. They might be a bit robotic, but at least the posing makes the characters look a lot more natural.

The colors were interesting, too. Max's jacket and trousers look black in earlier films, but in Fury Road everything is covered in lot of dust so dark grey looked more accurate; Black is used only on Furiosa's undershirt and Max's harness. Both bleys and old greys are used together to create dirty look.

The clothing had enough details to make the building interesting. On Furiosa I'm particularly happy with the belts, where different browns add nice variety. The belt accessory with the steering wheel and the chains were nice touch too. Max's harness worn in the last third of the film includes lot of stuff and deemed lot of image browsing to get them right; The shoulder pad was always going to be the round CBBS add-on, a piece I love. Other things I like here is the dark tan minifig bag on the harness and the iconic leg brace on the left leg.

Max and Furiosa naturally needed some firepower to fight Immortan Joe's War Boys. Furiosa's sniper rifle was a obvious choice, but as it's impossible to make natural shooting stances with it, I also equipped her with a revolver (not based on anything particular, but there were lot of guns in the film). Max has a sawed shotgun, not used with the harness, but it was so iconic part of the character I couldn't miss it. And it is seen in the film, after all, just in a different scene.

I wonder if I should build Nux and Immortan Joe, too. I think I could. They both have their iconic look that would be interesting to catch in brick form. We'll see. But, until then, here was Max and Furiosa. I hope they weren't mediocre. What a lovely day!