The Original 12

The Original 12 Figures, by Robianco, on Flickr

Many moons ago when I was just a youngster desperate to head off to the Imperial Academy, I had to make do with spending day after day playing with my Star Wars figures. And not a minute of that time do I consider wasted. For years I hounded my parents wherever we went to pick up Star Wars figures and help my complete my collection. I remember David Prowse visiting Lewis’s department store in Liverpool and the clamour for Vader figs to get them signed. I remember getting Boba Fett at TJ Hughes and I still recall very clearly finally finding Bespin Fatigues Luke Skywalker at a small store that sold occasional toys just up the road from there.

In the beginning of this figure fixation was the original 12. These probably came out a year or two before I started collecting them but they still hold so many fond memories of so much of my childhood. Since getting back into Lego, I’ve always wanted to complete the Kenner figure lineup with their Lego counterparts and with the new Death Star a new slot was filled, so I decided to start getting some group shots to show the comparisons and where better than this photo? The noticeable figure here is the Death Squad Commander which has been created from a mix of a couple of figures to give me something close to that original design.

With figures such as Ithorian Jedi we’re able to create characters such as Hammerhead (Momaw Nadon) as well as the protocol droid in the same set being a dead ringer for the Imperial Protocol Droid. Here’s hoping that in the next few years we’ll get to see things such as the Cloud Car Pilot or even, dare I say it a Blue Snaggletooth.

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Many Bytes Died To Render Us These Plans

Lego Super Star Destroyer rendered from Mecabricks, by zanna, on Eurobricks

 

Wondering how zanna succeeded in taking those pictures? He’ll be happy to hear that, because it means his work paid of. You see, these beauties aren’t actual photographs, they’re renders, photo realistic pictures calculated from a digital 3D-model. In the past, it was hard to fully appreciate a digital creation because no matter how great the creation was, the image just didn’t look right. But in just a few year’s time, things have radically changed. You might have seen some POV-Ray renders here already, which look good but are still obviously computer generated. More recently, Bluerenderer appeared, which is easy to use and shows a lot of promise. But what’s really setting the bar, are renders created with the Cycles engine in the open source and free 3D-platform Blender. It’s a bit of a steep learning curve, but it allows you to go way further than just tricking people to think they’re watching a real photograph. Zanna is one of these people that show how the possibilities can truly enhance the model presented. His render of the UCS Super Star Destroyer above is absolute wallpaper gold! His enhancements don’t conceal the model, but lift it to the next level. The lighting of the model makes it stand out by ominously highlighting the edges of the ‘city’. And we experience the roaring power of the engines that give character to a model we’ve all seen already. His Imperial Shuttle comparison is both informative and beautiful, with the great atmospheric effects that lend it an eerie power. Zanna opens our eyes to how beautiful a LEGO model can look without overloading it. Just imagine how great a catalog with such pictures would look like, just like a high-end luxury car catalog. Got the picture in your head? Don’t worry if you don’t: you can go ahead an waste your time drooling over all of the amazing pictures in the Mecabricks rendering topic.

 

Nerdly Mousedroid, by CMaddison, on Flickr

Small Scenes From A Big Galaxy

 Small Scenes From A Big Galaxy, by Vesa Lehtimäki, on flickr

 

Newer readers of this blog may not be aware that I’m just a little obsessed by Star Wars photography, and during the last couple of years I’ve written a series of blogs which have attempted to showcase the very best examples from across the web.  One of my all time favourite photographers is Avanaut, aka Vesa Lehtimäki, who has continually pushed at the boundaries of this genre, and set the standard for others to follow.  According to flickr, he currently has over 15,000 followers, and I’ll readily admit that I’ve productively wasted many hours looking through his photo stream!

Well, the great news for fans is that  Dorling Kindersley has recently published a 176 page book which includes examples of Avanaut’s most stunning work, plus an insight into the methods used to create them.  DK’s website states:

‘…this beautiful art book features hilarious new takes on classic Star Wars characters and themes. Breathtaking photography combines quirky LEGO art with the drama of the Star Wars universe, with stunning results. Plus Vesa Lehtimäki shares his secrets in behind-the-scenes insights which will inspire any photographer or LEGO builder.

I’m really pleased that he’s achieved such recognition, which is totally deserved, congratulations Vesa!

Resistance is Futile

Star Wars Battlefront diorama, by Rollokster, on Eurobricks

 

AT-AT MOCs are always a delight to watch. But we’ve seen so many excellent renditions, only a few create a lasting impression. That said, be prepared to let Rollokster‘s minifig-scale walker join that select list. It stands out from the myriad of impressive but similar minifig-scale AT-AT’s we’ve seen so far by it’s baffling presentation. The composition, carefully recreated from the cover of the new Star Wars Battlefront game, is already really imposing with the walker dwarfing our hero, with a look that seems to say resistance is futile. The ominous red lighting from below helps to sell the tank’s immense scale, and the troopers in the background add that little bit extra to it. Then there’s the silhouette of the figure that seems to say it’s taking it’s chances to resist anyway… the entire atmosphere of the build is just so tense and epic, unlike any other LEGO image I’ve ever seen before. The undetectable picture editing only enhances it more: it makes me wish every MOC was presented this way!

Of course there’s more to success then a good presentation. If you look past the initial wow! (incredibly hard to do, but try anyway), you’re immediately wow!-ed again by the quality of the walker itself. Look at how effortless all of the angles match up perfectly. And the ‘coat’ of beast features a balanced texture with studs, tiles, seems and grills, that makes the walker look like a complete and effective walking fortress. The legs especially look incredible with some cutting-edge detailing. I thought the perfect combination of parts for the cockpit had already been found, but Rollokster whips up another variant that beats them all. It’s simple (maybe not so), effective and gorgeous. That walker is one mighty and beautiful sight to behold from back here. Still we feel the absolute terror of that unbeatable monster looking down at that feeble little Rebel: a combination that makes for an irresistible experience. Here you can experience the wonder, the horror and your new wallpaper to the fullest.

“Welcome, young Skywalker”

 Welcome, young Skywalker, by Nilsøn Lewiński, on flickr

“Welcome, young Skywalker,” the Evil One smiled graciously. ”I have been expecting you.”

Following the release of the new ‘Death Star Final Duel’ set (75093) I’ve seen several great re-creations of this classic scene, and I thought it was about time to blog one of them.  For those of you who haven’t seen it, Luke finally meets the Evil Emperor, and without any provocation his Dad throws the defenceless Emperor into a bottom-less chasm, which I always felt was a little unfair!

Anyway, I was looking around flickr today and found this image by the highly talented Nilsøn Lewiński, and he’s managed to create another masterpiece.  Somehow, Nilsøn has managed to capture both the look and ‘feel’ of the scene perfectly and I cannot fault it.  The lighting is excellent, and he’s even managed to add just the right amount of shadow the Emperor’s face to make him suitably menacing!  Head over to flickr and take a look at this stunning piece of LEGO artwork, and while you’re there browse through the rest of Nilsøn’s photostream, you won’t be disappointed.

Year of the Gungan

Day 001 of 365: Welcome 2015

It’s a new year and you know what that means – time to torture Jar Jar again! There are more than 365 ways to kill a Gungan and dr_spock has set out to prove it by starting a new photography series where he will be trying to inflict as much pain as possible on everyone’s least favorite Gungan each day of the year. Other members have joined his noble quest and submitted pictures of their own. You can see them all and join the fun in the Star Wars LEGO Photography thread.

Escape from Cloud City

 Cloud City, by fullnilson, on flickr

Classic Photography

With the constant stream of high quality MOCs being posted on Eurobricks during the last few months, I haven’t had many opportunities to continue my long-term series of blogs where I try to showcase the very best of Star Wars inspired photography.  Anyway, it’s time to make amends, and what better way to re-launch it than with this beautiful image by Nilsøn Lewiński, otherwise known as fullnilson.  I saw this when it was first posted on flickr and was immediately impressed by the stunning colours which replicate the original scene to perfection.  Here we see R2-D2, Chewie, and what’s left of C-3PO, heading toward the Falcon, pursued by the ever-reliably incompetent Stormtroopers.  I’m in awe of the soft-pink afterglow that Nilsøn has managed to produce, it’s just perfect.  I’ve always been fascinated by the weather, and have probably spent far too much time watching sunsets, and that probably accounts for my ongoing obsession with all things Cloud City.  All I need now is the long-awaited UCS Slave 1 and my life will be complete!