Flight of the Republic Bumblebee

Republic Gunship, by JBB_777, on Eurobricks

I spent many hours staring at the LEGO catalog while I was little, studying every detail of my favorite sets. Actually, I still do to today. In all those years, there’s hardly any page that even gets close to page 73 of the 2002 catalog in terms of time I’ve spent on it. That’s the one with the very first LEGO Republic Gunship on it. I’ve never got to own the 7163, but I love that model to this day. And now I fall in love all over again, with the same ship with updated looks. JBB_777‘s creation is just a beauty. That’s because he understands that the key aspect of the design of the Republic Gunship is its bumblebee-like roundness as that accentuates how “fat” its belly is, full and heavy with troops and ammunition waiting to be unleashed. It’s not just the big shapes. Just look at the incredibly built bulbous rings around the front guns, which have something muscle-like almost. It’s amazing how the builder succeeds in incorporating those rounded features seamlessly with the rest of the shape of the ship. Even the engines are smoothly embedded in the back of the ship. It makes for a solid and smooth appearance which makes sure the ship looks like it can actually handle that heaviness. However, the ship isn’t perfectly smooth, and nor should it be! The creator provided some wonderful texturing with the studs, color variations (that pattern on the engines even almost looks like a sticker!) and a couple of o so subtly different levels in the side of the ship. That’s how you keep a ship visually interesting without ruining its smoothness which results in one terrific build. Just like the 7163, I’ll never own JBB_777’s amazing Republic Gunship, but I’ll always – oh, wait a minute, actually maybe some day I will own this beauty because the topic on Eurobricks points to a Rebrickable page… Now I’m sure I’ll always love this model!

Not All That’s Gold Glitters

BTL-A4 Y-wing, by Inthert, on Flickr

These days you need quite the nerve to try to MOC the classic Star Wars ships. The bar has been set incredibly high by past creations. A smooth and well shaped cockpit, super sleek engines and lovely greebling that’s as close the original as you can possibly get are all standard. It looks impossible to improve on the existing models. That didn’t stop Inthert though, and the result is just mouth watering. The details on the usual places are great, and there are some incredibly accurate details that i haven’t spotted on any model before like the little tab on the cockpit, the impossibly fine controls that match the one reference picture I could find. Even the bit of exposed machinery under the cockpit plates matches the drawing from the cross sections book. And then there are the truly amazing bits in the little corners you wouldn’t even think of looking at that are truly amazing. I love how greebles have been embedded perfectly into the the backside of the cockpit, or the bit between the guns that’s only visible from the bottom and is a great way to hide a connection in plain sight. And while we’re looking at the underside, we also get to appreciate the beautiful shaping of the bottom of the rear part of the ship and the wonderful way the landing gear blends in with the rest of the greebles on the underside. But not everything that makes this creation special has to be sought for in hidden corners or carefully compared to the original. It’s the use of color. Most models just stick with grey and brown for the details, which makes the brown look more like wood than rust actually. Inthert threw some gold and tan into the mix to give everything a more metallic feeling. It are only a couple of parts, but they go a long way in making the ship look more functional than ever, with different materials for different jobs. I love that after all these years, an incredible builder like Inthert can still improve the model by something as simple as a couple of extra colours! And I also love how some things never change: an R5 in the astromech seat even though the movies show mostly R2’s – still it always puts a smile on my face. What also never changes is my desire to look at every single detail. Just my luck Inthert’s photostream contains some gorgeous shots of this beauty!

Raiders of the Lost Studs

Imperial Raider Class Corvette, by insideLego, on Eurobricks

We all love LEGO, right? Isn’t it weird then that ever more MOCs are trying to make us forget they’re made of bricks? Of course those creations are gorgeous and mind blowing and all, but after a while they make it look like it’s forbidden to show that your creation is actually made of bricks. Yet we all grew up loving those weird little blocks with cylinders on them, and I’m sure all of us have lost many hours drooling over LEGO sets that made no attempt at concealing their makeup. That’s why I’m sure insideLego‘s Imperial Raider Class Corvette will prompt a lot of further drooling. It is a love letter to LEGO, a creation that embraces the medium with all of its heart instead of fighting against it with all of its might. It has studs all around, lots of missiles (about which everyone says they hate them, but with which everyone still plays, and I’m no exception!) and just the right size for swooshing. The sand blue on the hull is at the same time a stylish throwback to the earlier TIE fighters and a great way to lay emphasis on the texture of the hull which is a crucial part of the identity of the source material. And to win you tough critics entirely over, there is great greebling all around the edge and some great shaping on the underside of the ship. All of this makes for a model that would fit perfectly next to LEGO’s most iconic sets: beautiful and intimidating, but at the same time begging to be played with, the dream of every grown up child. It’s something different than all of those terrific creation you wouldn’t dare to touch. But this one looks like unabashed fun. So where do I order one? Sadly, I think a closer look at insideLego’s topic is probably the closest I’ll get!

The Bowcastermaster

Chewbacca's Bowcaster, by Lego Admiral, on Flickr

Recently I’ve been really fascinated by movie props. I just love it how pieces of different everyday objects and materials are fused together to create something out-of-this-world. The countless recreations of lightsabers and blasters show that many share this sentiment. Despite that, one of the most unique props of them all seems to have been forgotten. Luckily, Lego Admiral‘s creation does Chewie’s bowcaster more than justice. It’s amazing how the creator managed to capture the power this weapon contains: you feel the tension of the energy waiting to be released. That’s because the creation is under actual tension: the cable struggles to keep the limbs of the bow bent. Lovely how the brickbending technique doesn’t just have an aesthetic function, but is vital to the character of the creation. But there’s more to the character of this bowcaster than its power. There is the charm of this model actually looking more like a movie prop than an actual weapon. You can see how it consists of multiple parts that were brought together instead of created in one piece. This is because the transitions between the different parts aren’t completely perfect. There’s a small gap between the back handle and the gun, and the diameter of various sections of the scope sometimes varies suddenly. In other creations this might be a negative point, but here it gives the impression that someone took the time to look for various parts and put them together creatively and carefully instead of it being a mass produced weapon, something you should handle with the utmost care and respect instead of battling your friends with. With its real power and it’s real imperfections, this is one stunningly authentic creation that only increases my fascination with movie props, so I’ll definitely be casting more than a glance on Lego Admiral’s photostream!

[SoNE XV] Total Eclipse of a Black Heart

Prince Xizor gambled and lost. Even though he called in all possible reinforcements, his band of criminals was no match for the combined effort of the Rebels and the Imperials who instead of fighting each other, cooperated for once. The fifteenth episode of SoNE was Xizor’s last one.

Fire in the Sky, by Commander Beltar, on Eurobricks

 

It was great having people from other role playing games on Eurobricks join in with their fresh take on SoNE. In the end though, they were bested by the more experienced SoNE players, but what a fun fight it was! The ultimate victory went to the Empire that won all around. Commander Beltar‘s Skyhook build above shone the brightest. The central pieces is of course the Falleen Fist, and it has been executed (pun not intended) wonderfully to give a monumental appearance. It stays true to the source material while filling it in with loads of interesting details that look right at home in the colossal construction such that it rivals even the Death Star! You also got to love the turmoil of the space battle going on. The multitude of little ships, with some great parts usages like the Hero Factory tile as the TIE cockpit, was meticulously arranged to give you a real sense of frenzy. Positioning all of the ships in LDD must have been a pain, but the result is a scene that takes your breath away like no other before it! So dive right into the thrilling action in his topic!

Top of the Class, by Cody Startale, on Eurobricks

 

While Commander Beltar’s entry was great, it only managed to defeat Cody Startale‘s entry above by a fraction of a point. It’s extremely difficult to do justice to his entry with just one picture. Sure, you see his excellent miniatures off all kinds of ships anyone would be happy to swoosh around, you see his more modest but equally striking model of the skyhook and you see the close up section with all of the fun greebles. But you don’t witness all of the work that went into crafting a great story, awesome photography and even a small movie. His entry goes beyond just building with bricks, it’s about storytelling at its best. Definitely check it out, because until the next Star Wars movie comes out, this is the closest you’ll get to a great cinematic experience!

This episode might have been the end of prince Xizor, but Shadows of Nar Eurbrikka is far from over! So if you feel inspired by these builds, want to be part of this community of awesome builders, great storytellers and just swell people, don’t hesitate and join here! Will you help the Rebellion that has suffered many losses in the past couple of episodes, or will you help the Empire to maintain order in the galaxy? Either way, your decision counts, because I’ve heard something big is about to happen…

Simply ATSTending!

AT-ST, by Rogue Bantha, on Flickr

Surprisingly, probably the most iconic characteristic of an AT-ST is not the contour of the viewports or the design of the cannons or even the shape of the head or the spindliness of the legs, but the way it walks. That might explain why a lot of recreations in bricks, even though they get every detail and shape right, still feel a bit off compared to the original: they show a stander, not a walker. Rogue Bantha’s midi AT-ST, on the other foot, looks like it’s in the middle of some stop motion action. It’s wonderful how you can instantly picture the other frames in your head: the walker was patrolling the area until suddenly it spots something on its left; it puts its weight on its right foot and starts lifting its left foot to walk towards the trouble (you don’t want to know how much trouble it took me to get left and right correct on this one!). It almost feels as if the builder actually did some stop motion to arrive at just the right angle for every joint. The o so subtle angle of the hips and the lean of the legs really sell it, bringing the swaying hips of the original to mind, a feature you didn’t realize was so iconic and makes it feel so alive. Just look at any picture of an AT-ST that doesn’t look off, and you’ll spot those same features. Most builders would only look at reference pictures for the details and the shapes. But Rogue Bantha goes further. Yes, he succeeds in doing an awesome job on the shapes and details, with his impossible construction of the legs which is detailed, posable and structurally sound all at the same time, or with his expert mixing of new and old greys. But most importantly, he also looks at the reference pictures for the pose even though it’s a lifeless piece of metal we’re talking about here. That’s why his midi AT-ST is feet down the best of its kind.

An A+ For Miniatures

Micro A-wing, by foxprimus101, on Flickr

It always blows my mind that in Return of the Jedi the Executor, the biggest ship of them all, is in the end destroyed by a single A-wing, the smallest ship of them all. But I don’t remember it being this small! Judging by the results of FBTB’s Micro/Midis contest though, it appears that foxprimus101‘s tiny build still has what it takes to defeat the biggest of foes. It’s not very hard to see why. Because most microfighters, while being cute and chubby and all, also end up looking blocky and not very engaging. This fella on the other hand looks smoother than most of his System counterparts. The shapes of the original didn’t get lost in blockiness, but instead were exaggerated. And it’s not just the big shapes like the curve of the main body. The shape of the back fins gets blown up as well thanks to that glorious part usage, and you could even say that the details of the guns were enlarged too. That way you get a super cute chibi creation that at the same time actually has more character than the original instead of being another colored block with some guns on it. Exaggerating shapes is key, but if you’re really good, you can go a step further and exaggerate by just the right amount. I know foxprimus101 understands this when I look at the tilting angle of the back fins. This angle has also been increased, but not to an arbitrary amount. The angle is such that the sides of the cheese slopes become vertical which flows perfectly with the vertical face of the side bows and also makes the engines look more round than in the case with the fins being vertical. It shows that even for something as small and cartoonish as a microfighter, you can have something like attention for detail. Yes, big lessons can come from small creations if they’re made by a great mind like foxprimus101.