I Want to Make Free

Scavenger, by Cole Blaq, on Flickr Eclipse, by Cole Blaq, on Flickr

 

They say it’s pretty good, but I must confess I haven’t seen The Freemaker Adventures just yet. What I have seen are the sets of this summer’s wave that are based on LEGO’s own animated Star Wars-based production. In fact, the Star Scavenger and Eclipse Fighter with their interesting designs look like the most interesting sets of the summer to me. Designs I appreciate even more after seeing Cole Blaq‘s stunning pocket-sized replicas of them. He captures every aspect I love about these ships I barely know with just a couple of bricks. The unique fins and bulky head of the Scavenger and the intriguingly aggressive shape and striking paint job of the Eclipse. The cobbled together look of the first and the unsettling alien vibe of the second. The shape is very elaborate for creations of this size, thanks to the use of a variety of larger curved parts that give the ships a solid and pretty big, even a bit intimidating appearance. The apparent size is enlarged as well by giving the ships a lot of disjointed patches of color without interfering with the cohesion of them. It makes these small creations inferior to bigger models only in physical size. In fact, I think these small models may even break free from the source material and have more character than their bigger brothers. The cockpit of the Scavenger looks way more firm with that perfect marriage of unexpected pieces, and the color scheme of the Eclipse is more jagged and pointed thanks to that great use of those slope pieces. And no matter how you turn it, if the images on the boxes of the official sets would only look remotely like the professional presentation of these marvels, the already nice designs would become irresistible like these gems. Yes, irresistible is the word. So do yourself a favor and give in to the urge to take a closer look at these small wonders.

Just Some Missiles Walking Through the Street

Star Wars Commander: Imperial Aggression, by ~Brick, on Flickr

 

With all of the high-stakes action in the movies, it’s often hard to understand what daily galactic life is like under Imperial regime. It’s a life in which you need to be constantly on the lookout, steering clear of where shifty things are happening. It’s a life that can be interrupted any moment by a question of a soldier. It’s a life in which you can easily see the consequences for those who answer those questions wrongly. And it’s a life in which it’s hardly extraordinary to see an intimidating, two-legged missile platform confidently walking and looking around, ready to bring death and destruction when necessary. Or when seemingly necessary.

At least, that’s what I can tell from ~Brick‘s incredible scene. The main attraction is the All Terrain Missile Platform that was reintroduced to canon in the mobile game Star Wars: Commander. It towers over everything else in the scene. At the same time it has to bend through its legs to support the heavy weight of all of the missiles it’s carrying. It looks ready to lighten its aggressively red burden at any moment too, its feet firmly planted in the ground. The walker isn’t about details but about robustness and strength. The shape, pose and accents tell you all you need to know about this AT-MP. Still the environment really adds to the creation, making it about more than a tank. It’s about the Empire using it in an ordinary, recognizable, lovely angled, appealingly layered, tastefully colored but especially universally familiar city. A city with ordinary people that react to what’s happening, or even more frighteningly, don’t react at all… The combination of the awesome but terrifying machine and the otherwise peaceful and recognizable scenery makes for a unique creation that grips you and makes you think. It transports you to that galaxy far far away, even though you don’t necessarily want to… But this creation is such a strong piece of work by an incredibly talented builder, you’ll want to check out his photostream regardless.

Bobble Hett and Friends

Star Wars Bobbleheads, by LegoJalex, on Eurobricks

 

Boing, boing, dzjeng! There is something mesmerizing about bobble heads, isn’t there? I really like those disproportionate and hyperactive statuettes even though (or maybe because?) I don’t own any. I can understand that there are people who can’t stand something constantly bouncing around in their peripheral vision though. Unless, of course… that restless head is made of bricks and represents a Star Wars character, like LegoJalex‘ marvels above. Surely, no one is able to resist those! Just look at them, little more than colorful boxes. Colorful boxes that are lovably plain and instantly recognizable with those hairdos and clothes, capturing the essence of every character with some simple bricks and nice surprises like the grooved ones. The more complicated helmets have been kept simple enough to perfectly fit in with all of the others. That doesn’t prevent them from being pretty clever though: the iconic visor of Fett’s helmet looks as stunning as ever and the angled “cheeks” of the stormtrooper give it a dynamic appearance. LegoJalex brilliantly designed every one of them to be unique despite their simplicity and despite their clearly belonging to the same set: true collector’s items! More genius is his design of the bobble function though. You’d think it’s something with custom springs or maybe a contraption with official rubber bands. Nope, his solution is way more creative, elegant and simple than that: it’s that big, thin antenna piece which I’m sure you have all been plucking on at some point to enjoy the dzjeng. I think LegoJalex is the first one awesome enough to realize this quirk can be used as a function, and judging by the videos the result looks amazing: just bobbly enough! The bonus is that you can position the head however you want. I’ll have that genius invention in my peripheral vision, please! If you’re not sharing my enthusiasm, that won’t take long. Just have a look at the video in LegoJalex’ topic and you’ll be nodding your head in approval.

Suck on this, Pod Engine!

DUM-series pit droid, by nobu_tary, on Flickr

 

Sometimes a single part can inspire an entire awesome build, even if the part seems cumbersome and useless and the reference material is something rather mundane and clumsy. That seems to be the case for nobu_tary, a big drill piece and the DUM-series pit droid. The builder managed to see potential in a piece most of us will quickly discard, thinking that it can only be used as a drill and as an ice cream cone. He recognized the amazingly detailed underside of the piece as the perfect eye for a pit droid. He succeeded in connecting it to some other pieces, and built an entire head and body around it. I love how nobu_tary kept the way too long and thin limbs and neck pieces and the lumpy fingers that give the droid that clumsy look, yet at the same time gave it a pronounced chest and a pose which make it look ready to take up any task. It’s amazing how he surpassed the source material by making subtle changes you won’t notice at first but do succeed in making it look like a very useful and effective little droid. Just look at the gleaming eye, retracted neck, spread legs and clenched fists attached to determined and detailed arms. It doesn’t look like this guy will be sucked in easily by a pod engine! Just our luck, because it would be a shame to see this creatively conceived, beautifully built and professionally posed guy go. I would even miss his simple but somehow attractive tool. It truly is amazing how nobu_tary created such a character with character using just a drill piece and otherwise fairly common parts. It’s all he needs to build a droid I’d immediately hire if I were the owner of a podracer. Sadly I’m not. Are you? Well then, you can talk to its current owner in his photostream to see if you can make a deal.

Another Rogue One

UCS Rogue Shadow, by markus1984, on Eurobricks

 

Back in 2008 when a strange, black, TIE-like ship called Rogue Shadow appeared in my LEGO catalog, I knew nothing about it except for what the small text in the catalog told me. I was intrigued. Catalogs stopped providing those texts not much later. At the present day a vaguely familiar, grey and TIE-like ship appears on my computer screen. Indeed, it’s still called the Rogue Shadow, and to be honest I still don’t know much more about it than what that catalog told me about it. But markus1984‘s rendition intrigues me way more than the one from 2008.

I don’t need any information to marvel at how this creation succeeds in being both fast, bulky and menacing. I love how the cockpit seems to threateningly peek from the inside of the ship, calmly waiting for its prey. The bold colors in that interesting pattern remind me of warning colors on dangerous animals but with an intriguing geometric twist. It perfectly fits with the asymmetric features of the ship that make you uneasy because you don’t know what to expect. The asymmetry is everywhere from the obviously different wings, off-center engine, greeble sections and even something as subtle as the prongs that have different widths. At the same time, there’s a wonderful associative symmetry in the model. The feeling of the wings is similar with the rounded backs and pointed fronts, some details are repeated on both sides in a variation, and the shape of greebles corresponds on both sides. The result? That black blob at starboard looks very unsettling… It gives the whole ship something shadowy, something otherworldly… This isn’t your usual awesome and huge creation by markus1984. It’s a recreation of a ship that he studied and translated so carefully he captured not just the essence, but every single aspect of its character in a marvelous feat. So if you weren’t intrigued in 2008, I’m sure you are now, and long to see more pictures.

“I have a bad feeling about this….”

10188-1

Way back in 1992, the British Royal Family weren’t having the best of times, and our Queen famously said that it was an ‘Annus horribilis’.  Well, I get the feeling that for many OT fans, 2016 is rapidly approaching that status, as far as UCS sets are concerned.

Before I continue, I really ought to mention that I haven’t had the best of years myself, which partially accounts for the tone of some of my blogs.  I’ve turned 41, and spent the last 4 months recovering from a hip re-build!  The first few weeks of this coincided with the release of the much anticipated (75098) ‘Assault on Hoth’ and even the copious quantities of painkillers I was taking at the time, weren’t sufficient to dull my disappointment with it.

Following this, I assume that most fans will have seen the newly surfaced images, supposedly of the new (75159) Death Star.  These look remarkably similar to 10188, with updated minifigures.  I don’t have anything against the old set; it was obviously very popular based on the 8 year lifespan.  However, in the latter stages it was beginning to look a little ‘tired’ especially compared against the stunning UCS Slave 1, X-Wing, TIE Fighter etc and I was pleased to see it finally gain a well-earned retirement.  Since then I’ve been eagerly awaiting it’s replacement; a new model in the style of 10143, using the latest elements and design techniques.

I really hope that the images are a stunning hoax but, if they’re genuine, I’m more than a little disappointed.  Hopefully 2017 will be a year to remember with the new UCS Snowspeeder, just like 2016 may be one to forget.

Light it up, Boys!

X-wing (Incom T-65), by dmaclego, on Eurobricks

 

So just two articles ago we were talking about bases and hangars. Still looking for an awesome ship to go with it? Well, unless your base is truly stellar, I suggest you pick some other model than dmaclego‘s X-wing. It’s just so perfect that no one will look at anything else. What do you want with those perfect lines? That perfect shaping of the nose in an innovative upside down construction. The seamless way the cockpit meshes with the fuselage. And that near perfect proportioning of the engines, which is notoriously hard to do. Furthermore you have to admire how all of the gaps were filled in, like with those Technic half beams. Yet there’s more that makes this rendition unique. Never before have I seen such perfect texture with those tiles that make up the fuselage and wings. And such details! Who doesn’t relish in those amazingly tightly packed greebles in the back with such extremely fine lines, that are just so accurate? Have you ever seen such details even on the insides of the wings and undersides of the exhausts? Is not every single piece in the lasers a marvel, even using visors? Words hardly describe how well it all comes together. It’s incomprehensible how with all that goodness there’s still room for an amazing set of lights, or phenomenal landing gear like in no other rendition, or such a smoothly executed underside, or such a nicely working wing mechanism, or such a realistic interior where even the spiraling cable of the targeting computer has been represented. This is truly an X-wing suited for every need. You can fly it around under every conceivable angle and still have it look incredible. You can dive in the pilot’s seat. You can have it landed, you can marvel at it by day and by night. It’s a splendid achievement by dmaclego that outshines even the best of hangars. It surely is a pity to risk loosing these guys in battle! Still, even though the crew is chilling with some music, it looks like it’s being made ready to depart. So hurry yourself to the topic right now!

X-wing (Incom T-65), by dmaclego, on Eurobricks