The Universe just got Bigger

Our Expanded Universe Contest has finally come to a close. There were 4 entries in the diorama category, 5 entries in the spaceship category and 2 in the creature category. Maybe the quantity of the entries was a bit on the low side, but the quality was outstanding, making it incredibly hard to vote. In the end, Artizan did it again and won the diorama category with his lovely scene from the Dark Forces Trilogy, featuring impressive architecture, details galore and the perfect mood.

Rahn's Last Stand against the Dark Jedi, by Artizan, on Eurobricks

 

Naugem built the best spaceship. His I-7 Howlrunner is a beautiful, slick ship that combines what’s straight with what’s curved, creating something extremely fast and agile, yet with some power added by the nice greebles that are even prettier when looked at from up close.

I-7 Howlrunner, by naugem, on Eurobricks

 

Naugem also proved he’s a versatile builder by winning the creature category as well with his sweet Ysalamir, known for the ability to repel the Force. The model captures the sneaky look and gives us a nice texture to look at. These incredible builds all show there is still a wealth of amazing creations that have been left unbuilt. Time to change something about that! If you’d like some inspiration, it just so happens I know the perfect address to start: the overview of all the entries.

Ysalamir, by naugem, on Eurobricks

Metallic Silver Builders

Coruscant: Senate District, by One More Brick, on Flickr

 

One of the most prestigious competitions in the AFOL world is the Iron Builder. In each round, two builders face off to create as many awesome creations as possible in a month’s time, all using a particular seed part. In this round, Pepa Quin and One More Brick fight not with guns or swords, but the metallic silver barbell piece. And it so happens they both built a Star Wars creation. One More Brick built an extraordinary micro representation of the Coruscant Senate District. What’s impressive, is that he dealt with the cityscape as if he were building vegetation. You have the most notable features, all of the different trees, all of the unique and diverse skyscrapers. There’s the main focal point, a lonely shed, the Senate building. There’s texturing, the undergrowth, the smaller buildings. And there’s the guidance, the path leading to the shed, the air lane leading to the Senate building. So in every detail and even in composition, One More Brick built a perfectly natural landscape, but only with buildings. That incredible idea makes the scene so appealing and agreeable to look at, and makes it so much more than a random collection of helmets, weapons and seed parts. Yes, that idea and the perfect execution of it makes it hard to see where the build ends and the background starts. You see why One More Brick got invited to participate, if he can come up with this in so little time. So when you’re done drooling over the pictures of this build, be sure to check out what other natural uses he found for the seed part.

 

Star Wars: A New Hip, by Pepa Quin, on Flickr

 

What’s more natural than the ageing of all things? This is what Pepa Quin‘s Star Wars: A New Hip illustrates. He depicted our two heroes Han Solo and Leia Organa a little bit after their glory days. But still, it’s quite a glorious bit of character building. The heroes are perfectly recognizable, still have the character we know, and look exactly as we would imagine them so many years later. I love how our dynamic duo try to look as best as they can despite there weaknesses. Han with his blaster up high, but heavily leaning on his walking stick. Leia with that sneaky pose, clinging to her perfectly built walking rack. Or are they just deceiving you and are they ready to hit anything that looks remotely Imperial (their sight didn’t improve, you know) with their ‘equipment’. The surprisingly elaborate way in which their arms are articulated already suggests they’re still capable of quite a lot. With already 10 destroyed Death Stars behind them, I’m sure they can handle another one! It’s always nice when a creation encourages you to let your imagination go wild. All it took Pepa Quin to achieve this, were a couple of basic bricks, some specialized parts to create the perfect accessories and the seed part to complete the princess’ silver hairdo. So if you’re sight isn’t too good either, just click here for a bigger picture, and see what more builds Pepa Quin has ready to spark your imagination.

A Well-Balanced Walker

AT-ST, by anothergol, on Eurobricks

 

As a MOCcer, there are certain vehicles or locations you have a special connection to. You spent ages studying and recreating them, and know every detail. And when someone else tackles the same subject matter, you immediately spot small differences, with thoughts like “Hmm, he forgot that detail…”, “Wow, that must have been difficult!” or “Why didn’t I think of that?”. I have such a relationship with the AT-ST. Nearly a year ago, I recreated it digitally and was pretty pleased with it. Seeing anothergol‘s rendition lessened my satisfaction. Because it isn’t just a very detailed and faithful recreation of the original. He also managed to cram an interior in it. And this is not a digital creation, but a physical thing, and it stands. That while the model is fully articulated. The builder managed to achieve that with clicky joints and some special high-friction ball-cup connectors. He seamlessly integrated them into the model, even presenting the parts so, that they contribute to the detail of the model. Yes, with every inch of the model is covered in sweet detail, you wonder how there’s even room for structural elements. So this model is not a compromise between detail and functionality, it perfectly caters for both of them. So we have nice panels, great leg detail, sweet cells in the back, a handsome roof, lovely feet, even decorated joints, all combined and held together to form the ideal AT-ST replica. You can already imagine the amount of work and engineering that went into it. In fact, you don’t need to imagine it, because anothergol provided us with an insightful WIP topic. Take your notebooks and start reading, or jump directly to the finished product, to discover all the parts you never thought of. Try not to loose your balance.

The Perfect Voodoo Doll

Jar Jar Binks (Small Size), by umamen, on Flickr

 

Everyone who loves Jar Jar Binks, raise your hand please. Apart from Jar Jar himself above, I think a lot of you kept your hands neatly on your computer mouse or your touchscreen. But do you hate him so badly you wish you had a voodoo doll to end it all and project your pain? Well, then umamen‘s latest creation is right up your alley. If you’re more peace-loving and appreciate a good brick-built character, you’re good too. With a surprisingly small pile of bricks, umamen built an extremely accurate and expressive character. He nailed how long and thin his limbs are, and somehow I like those hips. They perfectly balance the model, and have been built in multiple dimensions to get away from the flatness that hurts quite a few character builds. The way the limbs connect is incredible as well, with a lot of unconventional sideways joints that allow for the perfect posing of the character. A lot of the character comes from the genius face as well. It amazes me how a number of simple pieces perfectly sketches the look of everyone’s favorite gungan. Umamen went through several versions to achieve this, so I think you’d be amazed at the work that went into building such a small model. That’s what makes it one of the best character builds in its size category. It might be the most beautiful figure no-one will ever want to have on his desk. Still, the likeliness is good enough for voodoo-purposes, with the posability allowing for some very uncomfortable situations. So dust of your book full of dark magic and delve into umamen’s pictures to start your practices.

But before you give in to the dark side, continue for a peek at umamen’s insane 8-inch episode VII trooper figure.

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Next-Wing Fighters

It won’t be long before the episode VII sets will be officially revealed by LEGO. It’s already a certainty the successor of the X-wing will be one of the seven. Excited to see how it will look in bricks? We can’t show you set pictures, but we can show you two amazing MOCs that are the first incredible entries in the search to the definitive next X-wing creation. Or have we already found it? Judge for yourself after the jump.

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We’re gonna need a bigger trench

Trench Run, by OliveSeon, on Flickr

 

Njiaaaww! Bleep bleep! (exciting music!) Pew pew! Woosh!┬áBang! We all felt the excitement and intensity of the iconic trench run scene, watching the movie on the edge of our seat. It would seem impossible to replicate that feeling with a single, still image. But OliveSeon‘s diorama leaves us with a pounding heart and gasping for air. It’s quite possibly the most dynamic diorama I’ve ever seen. That might be due to the neat composition. The main action is set apart by how perfectly straight the models fly, indicating the speed and creating a dramatic intensity: you can almost see the motion blur. It’s interesting how what would otherwise be an extremely static setup drives the suspense. It works because there’s the contrast with the crashed fighter, that shows the consequences of the speeds involved. There’s also the chaotic battle in the back, that serves as the perfect setting for the scene, vastly expanding it, and shows once more the concentration of the main action. The explosions going on and the laserbolts whizzing by don’t distract, but help to break things up and sell the flurry of the battle. Once your heart has calmed down from all the action, you might take your time to have a closer look at the trench itself. It features quite a few different modules and shapes, contributing to the authentic Death Star look. The UCS TIE fighter, TIE advanced and X-wing prominently sit in the foreground, yet there’s more to them than meets the eye, as the TIE advanced received an interesting cockpit MOD and the X-wings pilot seat is occupied by a brick-built figure. And they aren’t the only official sets used. You can recognize the AT-AP’s legs among the greebles, and the AT-DP’s cockpit used as cannon is quite ingenious… I suggest we forget about Nice Parts Usage! and turn to Nice Set Usage! for once. So strap yourself in, make the jump through hyperlink space and dive into the action to find out everything about this exciting creation here.

In a Galaxy Far, Far to the East

Two weeks ago, the second round of IdS’s MOC Olympics reached its peak. One of the most exciting standoffs to witness, was that one between Eurobricks members Cecilie and markus1984. The mission they chose to accept, was to let a far Eastern wind blow through the Star Wars universe. What followed was a hurricane of creativity.

 

Petranaki Arena, by Cecilie, on Eurobricks

 

It’s widely known that Star Wars was inspired by among others the samurai movies by Akira Kurosawa. When you think about it, there are indeed various similarities between the two worlds. In her entry, Cecilie fantastically showed how well they blend together as well. She drew inspiration from Japanese mythology to populate her marvelously translated Geonosian Arena with genuine mythological creatures. The setting oddly stunning and serene for such a gruesome purpose. I think we’ve never featured a landscape with such natural, harmonious and peaceful landscape here. And that pagoda is perfectly in place. Still, the high walls remind you of the true purpose. They are severe, prisonlike, yet again, beautiful. Just look at those ingenious roofs! The scen wouldn’t be what it is though, without those awesome creatures. Each one perfectly corresponds to its Geonosian counterpart. Just look how the Nine Tailed fox look so agile, with that amazing set of tails swooping behind it. And I don’t want to see that Qilin storming towards me, no matter how beautiful. And that fast and menacing dragon… it would be worth a blog article on its own. But I’ll leave the discovery to you. Be sure to keep an eye out for familiar faces. The Far East is this way.

 

The Iron Force, by markus1984, on Eurobricks

 

You might not have expected it, but there’s a wide range of possible Eastern creations. That’s demonstrated by how different markus1984‘s entry is. His source material was the martial arts video game Tekken. His entry is much darker but still captures the interesting contrast between peace, balance, harmony and brute power. The idyllic garden on top of the severe cliff looks like the perfect illustration of the idea. It’s mirrored by Luke-san’s peaceful demeanor in the face of a storming might. It might be connected to how the Force works, but this is a blog about LEGO, not philosophy. It’s just that markus1984 gives us such a powerful image, with the haunting, twisted trees, the perfect architecture overlooking the battle and the vast expanse of space water, and the court itself. He used some interesting techniques to set the stone of the court apart from the rocks, and to give the facade of the house an incredibly fine structure. His fancy techniques don’t feel forced however, they just are the perfect way to build what’s necessary. You can see the builder didn’t go overboard with details, but the ones that are present matter, and are utterly beautiful. The creation itself strikes the perfect balance it is trying to tell about. So two contrasting themes have been united flawlessly. To get in touch with your yin and yang, just click here (there’s no dodgy website behind that link, even though it might sound like it). With two such amazing creations, it hardly matters which one made it to the next round, as each of them is already a victory of building. But if your curious, it suffices to say you’ll certainly see more of Cecilie’s delicious creations here in the future. And markus1984’s jaw-dropping creations you’ll see as regularly as usual.