Pushing Boundaries – and Cargo

YT-1450 Light Freighter - 'The Nadir', by o0ger, on Eurobricks

If you don’t know Rebrick, you should definitely check it out. Not just to get a chance to enter in fun contests with amazing prizes, but also to see the entries by other participants that are so great that you wouldn’t mind them keeping you from your prize. o0ger’s Nadir is one of those entries in the contest that revolved around making ships in the same family as the Millennium Falcon. I love that his concept doesn’t just give an explanation for the purpose of the prominent mandibles on the Falcon but makes it fit with its identity as a freighter too by inserting cargo in the space between them. Still, the concept isn’t what impresses me the most in this build. No, it’s the fact that o0ger pulls off the concept so convincingly and aesthetically pleasing. It doesn’t look like the cargo was just wedged in there, but snaps satisfyingly together with the rest of the ship. The extra wide mandibles give more support, with robust guiding surfaces at the inside, there is a tractor beam device securing the cargo, there’s a huge deflector shield dish to protect the cargo as well as the ship and you’ll have a better view of the goods from the Nadir‘s cockpit than from the Falcon‘s. To make all of those concepts feel like parts of the same ship, o0ger cleverly reuses certain elements of them throughout the rest of the body. The slope of the mandibles and the shape of the tractor beam unit return in the back half, the shield generator dish has a twin, the gorgeous grills near the tractor beam echo the texture of the cockpit parts and there are truncated cones both in the cockpit and near the guns. And then there’s the consistent level of detailing all over the ship. The mandibles look solid because of the robust details with low profiles (like that reverse cupboard door!. That aesthetic isn’t only followed in the rest of the ship, but also in the containers with a masterful use of a part I’ve never seen used before: a foldable track/box from the racers theme that looks wonderfully utilitarian because it is. Everything is appropriate and everything is consistent without being boring. Yes, o0ger truly excels at picking out a great palette to make his awesome concepts truly push the boundaries.

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No Need to Scavenge For Parts

75178 ALTERNATIVE BUILD JAKKU TANK AMBUSH, by BrickBros UK, on Youtube

With all of the exciting The Last Jedi sets and of course the Falcon, nowadays it’s easy to forget about the sets that came out earlier this year. After all, it was a pretty forgettable wave. So how about we make it a bit more exciting? Thanks to the creative guys guys at BrickBros UK, we can, with their wonderful parade of alternate models to the sets. I especially like their transformation of possibly the best set of the wave into the “Jakku tank ambush”. It’s great how the First Order Hovertank uses the slightly unfinished look characteristic for alternate models to portray the destructive effect Jakku’s climate has had on the vehicle. Moreover, conceptually its design is just right for the First Order: big, grey and blocky shapes, and a towering cockpit that seems to cleverly reference that of the AAL speak of educated familiarity with the source material. They show that you never can have too few parts to come up with a solid concept for a construction. Their builds inspire to just grab a set and see what concepts you can come up with: it can be a great source of inspiration for full-fledged creations even though they probably won’t look as neat as this one. If you’re really lucky though, you find a combination of parts that even looks right at home in an official set, like the buildings in this creation. I never would have thought that that the same parts that make up a Quadjumper could come together to create convincing Jakku-ian architecture and technology. What’s even better is that they perfectly complement the tank to give a compelling play set where even the minifigs are appropriately themed. It makes you wonder if LEGO secretly makes their sets so you can make a great B-model out of them and that you just need to discover it. That’s how good the BrickBros UK are at thinking out of the box with what’s in the box, so definitely check out their treasure trove of videos. I’ll give you two minutes before your hands will start itching to transform your own sets!

Rebels Review: Heroes of Mandalore

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What did you think of the Plot?
BEAVeR: I always look forward to two parters as they offer more time to spend on more nuanced character development or allow for a deeper treatment of a theme. However, this episode is a collection of a lot of action sequences that tend to be a bit cliche, could have been a lot shorter and are connected by a plot that hinges on convenience a tad too often to be truly compelling (Mandalorian reinforcements swooping in at just the right time, the Empire only using the Duchess once and then sending regular troops to do the dirty work, the weapon being so easily reconfigurable or the fact that the Empire doesn’t seem to have backup plans of it…).

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Rebels Review: Twin Suns

What did you think of the Plot?
Oky: Well, this is it. This is the episode where we finally get to see the final confrontation between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul, a battle that fans have been waiting for for years ever since Maul was brought back in The Clone Wars, and one that this show has been building up to since the Season 2 finale. Maul finally tracks Kenobi down on Tatooine, the two stare each other down, Maul charges at his life-long adversary, and what happens? Kenobi kills him in a single blow. Years of hype and build-up are diminished in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment. Never have I seen such an anti-climactic ending to a story arc in this entire saga. Now, don’t get me wrong, I get what they were going for. This is how a sword fight between two old masters of the art would realistically go down and it’s a homage to the samurai films that inspired Star Wars. It was much closer to Kenobi’s slow and short duel with Vader in A New Hope than the over-the-top duels in the prequels which makes sense considering this takes place shortly before ANH, and as short as this duel was, there was some poetry in how Obi-Wan switched to Qui-Gon’s stance, causing Maul to attack him the same way he did when he killed Qui-Gon, which allowed Obi-Wan to preempt Maul’s attack and avenge his old master. However, this doesn’t excuse how anticlimactic and unsatisfying this fight was. The fact that the rest of the episode didn’t have much action either and was just Ezra wandering aimlessly through the desert didn’t help.
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Ultimate Ultimate Collector’s Series Millennium Falcon Reveal!

75192 Official press release, on Eurobricks

No, you’re not dreaming: the new UCS Millennium Falcon actually looks that good! It defies all expectations by outperforming the previous incarnation from twelve years ago with a less dull color scheme, a great mix between studded and studless areas, smoother curves, more details (loving the use of the tank tread pieces!), better proportions, more play features, more minifigures… The rumors that it could represent both the original trilogy as the sequel trilogy version were happily confirmed: not only are there minifigs from both trilogies – two Hans, Leia, Chewie, Threepio, Finn, Rey, BB-8, two porgs and LEGO’s first ever Mynock – but the sensor array is indeed swapable and you can add a part I didn’t even know was exclusive to the newer incarnation. Some people were hoping for a full interior and others feared that any interior at all would be impossible to pull off, but LEGO comes with the happy surprise that some sections open to reveal the most important sections with the cockpit, the holochess table and the hyperdrive room: the perfect compromise. The cockpit windscreen, the sensor dish and other crucial parts are printed, with only a couple of stickers for less important details. The size was kept the same as the previous incarnation to make for a more or less accurately scaled model with a high level of detail. And have you seen how gorgeous that box art is? Sure, the price will be high (800 USD, 800 EUR (DE), 650 GBP), but it sure seems like you will get a legendary set in return that will be the crown jewel of your collection for years to come. The set will be available on October 1st or already in two weeks if you’re a member of the (free!) VIP program. I’ll wait a bit longer saving up my money, but I’m quite confident this flagship set will be available for many more years to come, the benchmark for all future UCS sets, the envy of ten year old you, the 75192. In the meantime, head over to the official press release and discussion on Eurobricks to find out all information, watch and rewatch the designer video and study each and every of the 7541 pieces that make up this biggest LEGO set ever that’s so massive the box doesn’t comes in a plastic bag but in a custom trolley… No, you’re not dreaming, but you will do so happily tonight and for many days to come!

More than Cool

Echo Base, by lostcarpark, on Eurobricks

There’s just something about seeing creations with your own eyes on a convention that you don’t quite get when you’re looking at your screen. You can walk around models, choose your own perspective and discover hidden details instead of looking at the same few pictures everybody else gets to see. And you get to take your time, gazing at the models for minutes on end instead of flicking to just another picture after some seconds without real investment. All of this is especially true for those big dioramas that you see so often at conventions but rarely online. Luckily, lostcarpark‘s Hoth diorama made the jump to our screens and still looks extremely cool.

His creation has something to love for everyone, making his Echo Base very fun to explore even online. Wonderfully detailed rooms that capture the atmosphere of the movie perfectly sit right next to rooms we’ve never seen before but that have some fun stuff going on, showcasing that even in such a dire situation, people need to go to the restroom or need to take a break. There is an exciting battle going on outside with pre-existing models that are cleverly arranged for forced perspective when looking from the Rebel standpoint. There are incredible custom builds for this diorama like the shield generator, the turrets and the service gantry over the X-wing which could be respectable MOCs all on their own. And there’s some brilliant landscaping going on with a wonderfully meandering trench and a snowy landscape with wedge plates in a more or less consistent direction to give some structure to the snow, which is nicely broken in some busy areas to showcase the variety in the terrain. All of those factors coming together makes for a multi faceted yet coherent creation that just invites you to look closer, linger and have fun: you connect with it. And not just now, because this creation is a work in progress, so much more joy is ahead of us. Thank you, lostcarpark, for bringing the joy of conventions to us without us even having to leave our hangar door!

New UCS Millennium Falcon Teaser!

LEGO has been teasing a huge new set the past couple of weeks. Fans with some clever photo editing skills were able to confirm the rumors that this set would be a new UCS Millennium Falcon. But now you can see it with your own eyes, without the need for any special skills and no fancy software other than your browser, on the teaser video released by LEGO. You should be able to see the radar dish piece that will most likely be used for the windows as in the previous iteration, an assembly that looks suspiciously like the beginning of the cockpit or one for the docking rings and a lost BB-8 floating around, confirming that there will be Sequel Trilogy figures included in the humongous set. Some sources also suggest that there will be original trilogy figures as well. But let’s stick to what we know: 1) This will be the biggest LEGO Star Wars set ever, surpassing the already legendary 10179, one of the few sets everybody knows the set number of by heart. 2) It will be released on October first, and the Store Calendar makes it pretty clear that there will be early access for LEGO VIP members (sign up now, it’s free!) starting from September 15th. 3) Even from the few glimpses we’ve been able to catch, it looks like a phenomenal set people will dream about for years to come. So you better start saving right now!

Are you as excited as I am, who only found out about the 10179 after it was retired, and do you want to analyze every single frame of the twenty second long teaser? Then head over to the 2017 Pictures and Rumors thread to join the party and the examination!