Who’s a Cute Little Walking Tank?

The life of AT-Steve, by anothergol, on Eurobricks The life of AT-Steve, by anothergol, on Eurobricks

 

In the MOCcing world, usually bigger is better. So you wouldn’t expect that this small AT-ST by anothergol (yes, the same one from the incredible minifig scale version) would have more details, better proportions and loads more expression than your average bigger version. And yet it does. You could say this creation is awesome just because of its hilarious concept. It does indeed brighten your day just with its irresistibly adorable look. There are those big, expressive and interchangeable eyes, the great poses and the cute but surprisingly accurate proportions. In fact, it’s way more accurate than you’d think at first sight. Details like the guns, the railings around the hatch and the claws are noticeable right away. You’d expect those on an AT-ST of any size. It’s not hard to notice the accurate grills on the head, the “eyebrows” and the hexagonal shape on its booty. A nice and clever bonus, that make it the better small creation. The rounded shape of the legs and the surprisingly accurate details on them are a bit harder do appreciate. Wasn’t expecting those on a creation of this scale. And the square beveled panel on the “nose” or the accurate details on the back of the head created with the undersides of parts? I haven’t seen that on a lot of the bigger creations! All of that for a creation that would have been great just because of its concept. This creation truly puts a smile to your face. Not just because it’s so cute. But also because it shows that you don’t have to be big in the MOCcing world, that you don’t have to have a lot of parts but just some imagination and a good attitude to give the big boys a run for their money. Funny that, we could have said just the same about the Ewoks!

A New Death Star Spin-off

Star Wars Orrery, by nerdsforprez, on Eurobricks

 

While many a wonderful LEGO Star Wars creation captures a whole lot of details and atmosphere of the original, there usually is one thing they don’t capture at all. It’s the movement. The speed of a podrace, the acrobatics of a dogfight, the slow steadiness of a Death Star moving towards it target… essential parts of the scenes, but not at all easy to capture with bricks. Not in the conventional way. nerdsforprez managed to capture the hypnotic magic of movement in a refreshing Technic orrery showcasing the most exciting parts of the movies in their full moving glory. I love how he really designed the movement, with different elements within the same scenes moving at different speeds to create a dynamic story. Anakin is about to overtake Sebulba! Is the TIE shooting at X-wing or is it the other way around? Is the snowspeeder going fast enough to stop the AT-AT? It’s wonderful how a clever assembly of gears can help to tell a story in which you root for mini models. Not just by creating the movement, but also by being an integral part of the scene. I love how they form planets and give the impression of dangerously hurtling asteroids to place the mini models in context. The mini models themselves are great as will. Nice little touches like the accurate shield generators on the Star Destroyer or the rope around the walker’s feet help them to come to life even more. And if it wasn’t enough, the base is the best looking battery box I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t just display some extra awesome micro models like that Death Star with an amazing texture for the scale. It also makes clever scenes with them. The Death Star is breaking through the borders of its frame and the simple but gorgeous scene with the Naboo starfighter puts the Stars back in Star Wars. All of that makes this the perfect wonderful creation to help you dream away… if the sound of the gears doesn’t keep you awake, that is.

If it’s Ugly but it Works, it isn’t Ugly

Alliance Dreadnaught cruiser Stolen Gold, by ProvenceTristram, on Eurobricks

 

The most ubiquitous things in life rarely are the prettiest. That’s no different in a galaxy far, far away. Take the Dreadnaught-class heavy cruiser, for instance. Contrary to that other Dreadnought we talked about earlier, its design isn’t what you’d call aesthetically stunning. It doesn’t look threatening, it doesn’t look fast, it doesn’t look like anything really, but it works. That’s why it could be found all over the galaxy for a long time, at least in Legends. Its versatility made it extremely useful to both Rebels, Imperials and even Hutts. Doesn’t make it prettier though.

So how do you turn such an ugly, formless blob into something beautiful? ProvenceTristram‘s genius solution is to use ugly pieces. Those pieces no one ever uses because they’re too big, have a clunky shape and just don’t seem to belong in a detailed creation. It seems hard to use those big windscreen pieces for anything else than windscreens or giant tiles for something else than a quick road or a surface to stick your UCS sticker to. ProvenceTristram realized that those boring parts are ideal in this situation. Not only is their shape the perfect match for the source material, the fact that they are so featureless makes them perfect for a ship that’s all about cheap functionality. As a manufacturer, it’s just more effective to build everything from big pieces instead of assembling a multitude of tiny components. The builder saw that this ship does have personality and that it lies precisely in its unashamedly placing function over form. That insight enabled him to capture it perfectly with bricks. He balanced the amount of additional detailing just right for it to be interesting to look at without compromising its unique character. He accomplished this by having the details look like big, cheap chunks that were repeatedly slotted right in instead of being all unique and well incorporated into the ship. ProvenceTristram excelled in putting his aversion for big pieces aside and resisting the urge to make each detail unique. In this creation, he shows himself the master of cutting corners for the greater good, making the most beautiful ugly ship you’ve seen for a while. And then you haven’t even seen it up close!

The Face of Destruction

Harrower-class Dreadnought, by Swan Dutchman, on Eurobricks

 

The gorgeous shots in Rogue One would convince you it’s impossible to improve on the design of the Star Destroyer. And you’d be almost right. It’s nearly impossible. That’s why it took two years to finalize the design of the Harrower-class Dreadnought from The Old Republic and why it took some more months for Swan Dutchman to build the LEGO version of it to make it absolutely beautiful. He made the Star Destroyer look just right, more massive than ever. He also made sure the saying that a man starts to look like his spaceship after a while is clearer than ever with the sith species face shape of the ship giving it a serene but dead and unstoppable look.

The only problem with the Dreadnought is that its shape is more difficult to recreate than that of his good old younger brother. That didn’t seem to be a problem for Swan Dutchman though: everything comes beautifully together. And if there were any gaps, the builder even used them to his advantage and used them as a place to accommodate details. Just look at the clever antenna down the nose (a term you can take quite literally with such a design!) or the little spikes in the center of the “crown”. All of the complex arrangements of pieces to achieve all of the angles give rise to intriguing patterns on the hull, emphasized by the color variation in the grays. Notches of wedge plates visible at the back don’t look like accidents. When brought together with side views of grill tiles in the same model, they suddenly become windows. You don’t see that kind of clever tricks in the original! They take an already stunning creation with beautiful forms, intricate details and a crisp look to the next level. A level on which it rivals the original Star Destroyer in magnificence. Go right here to have a face-to-face meeting with this excellent ship and read all about how you begin to plan such a marvel with some insightful WIP comments.

Y For Detail

Yet another Y-wing, by dmaclego, on Eurobricks

 

Rogue One is out to make everybody excited for new ships like the U-wing. My heart lies a bit later in the alphabet though. Because it wasn’t the U-wing that I built over and over again in my childhood, into the lovely craft itself, into lightsabers, into battering rams and even into demonstrations of four-bar mechanisms. It was the Y-wing that came packaged with the TIE Advanced. There’s no ship that fills me with fonder memories than that greebly tuning fork. Now more so than ever, because dmaclego‘s beautiful model is one I’ll think of in years from now, and a smile will appear on my face.

That’s because it’s just like the Y-wing I had in my hands so often. It wasn’t built with a “look at all of the creative greebles I can come up with!” mentality. It was built as a love letter to the original. My old Y-wing did that by keeping it simple, dmaclego’s Y-wing does it by not leaving a single thing out and not adding a single detail to the original in a most creative but humble manner. It shows the Y-wing as it truly is, and not how most would imagine it to be. This creation doesn’t have too much detail like many others do, but uses a variety of interesting but especially low profile parts like stretcher wheels or skids to keep if from looking like a mess. Parts were snugly embedded into the body and the engines so they become functionally inseperable from the ship, instead of something that was quickly added later just to look good. dmaclego did astonishing things to make sure everything look like a solid assembly. He has cut flex tubing to exactly the right length and even at an angle to make them fit perfectly flush with other parts so they merge into one. He devised groundbreaking techniques to make the round engines smooth and at exactly the right diameter to allow the nozzles to be recessed a bit and to fit seamlessly with the dome and the exotic but appropriate Ninjago spinner base. He has done the impossible by making the white columns look like they form one part with the engines. And then there is his wonderful attention to detail and his commitment to depict any one of them. He noticed how the astromech peaks out a bit and spared no expense in recreating the taper and the ever so slight inclination of the cockpit. dmaclego’s Y-wing shows that you need three ingredients to create something that even outshines childhood memories: dedication, resourcefulness and a keen eye. An eye to see what others don’t, and not to see what others think they see. Luckily for us, a regular eye will do just fine to admire this wonderful creation in the topic.

There’s no Replacing the Falcon…

UCS Eravana, by Forgotten Days, on Flickr

 

… but the Eravana is still a really nice ship in its own right. The design of the ship is not a bit about aesthetics and all about functionality. It’s just there to move cargo and doesn’t need fancy engines, decent protection or even a real cockpit. Just forget about magnetic shielding of the hangar bay, and don’t worry about covering up all of the pipes. All the Eravana needs is a lot of space and a rough frame to handle the wonderfully structured mess of cargo.

Forgotten Days‘ creation above captures the ship’s identity remarkably well. It definitely looks huge. The creation is already a SHIP to begin with, and the creator made sure to draw your eye to the cargo that comes in clear chunks and gives you something to compare the size of the ship to. If you’re paying close attention, the lovely tiny red ship about to make an unannounced visit to the vessel makes it look even bigger. There are big flat sections with way less detailing than others emphasizing that the size of that volume is the only thing that matters. Building something big and bulky is something most of us can if we can get our hands on enough bricks. What makes this creation unique though, is how it looks o so fragile at the same time. None of the greebles seem securely attached: they are only attached by one clip or so and almost seem as if they could float away at any moment. There are spindly pieces sticking out, waiting to break off. There are twisted tubes. There are gaps here and there and bricks that don’t sit entirely flat like the black grills on the side. Some corners are beautifully rounded, others might have had an accident. There are exposed studs everywhere. They seem to suggest there was something there that is long gone. Even the two big frames of cargo seem dislodged and don’t sit perfectly on top of eachother. Most of us can build something big and bulky, but Forgotten Days manages to let every piece say something about the identity of the ship so that we get to know and love it almost as much as the Falcon. I’ll leave you two on your own in the photostream

Death on two legs

AS-ST Version 2, by Anothergol, on Eurobricks

 

To each of us as Star Wars fans there will be vehicles that have some kind of a special meaning, something that makes it stand out from the myriad of other ships and vessels for a variety of reasons or maybe even just one. The AT-ST is one such vehicle for me. Memories of ‘chicken-walking’ my original Kenner AT-ST through the weeds and overgrown grass at my mum and dad’s garden when I was a kid still live long and happily in the memory.

Lego has helped me bring a lot of those Star Wars memories back, and the fantastic AT-ST MOC by Anothergol has captured that gangly vessel of destruction and Ewok-bait better than most. The shape of the AT-ST’s cabin has been the bane of many a MOCcer, as has the angles of the Snowspeeder’s wings, but this updated model does everything right. The angled side plates connect with the front area superbly well and the eye sockets and canopies are captured wonderfully. The side mounted canons and lasers are also well detailed and scaled.

The legs of the AT-ST are also something of a problem for Lego builders and the balance of rigidity and bulkiness is a difficult one to find. Anothergol has sacrificed articulation to achieve this but I for one will happily forego that motion for the delicacy of some of those joints and greebling especially around the ‘ankle’ area. The hydraulics and cooling at the rear of the head cabin are simple but effective and the top hatch area opts for accuracy rather than the inclusion of an opening roof hatch, which isn’t needed as the whole roof section is hinged.

To finish things off the MOC is presented in a Hoth vignette in the topic and the footstep detailing of the mischievous rebel trooper in the smooth snow is delicious.

This MOC makes we want to head to my parent’s house again and scout the boundaries of the garden in search of small bear like creatures to squash. Just a shame they’ve got false grass now.