Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Toa of Rock... Raiders

Name of Model: The Toa of Rock... Raiders
Created by: Unijob Lindo
Found at:
Details: Why yes, I'm actually using the name of a model as a post title. This hits the perfect sweet spot for me - it uses great techniques and rare colors to combine two now-classic official LEGO themes. Perhaps you have to had been young in the 1990's to appreciate this; people much older than that tend to think of both Bionicle and Rock Raiders as childish and overly-juniorized themes (on a related note, we really need to have a better summary of what "juniorization" is). A quick check of Ryan's color chart shows that most of the important colors in the Rock Raiders theme's color scheme have been discontinued - teal (Bright Bluish Green [TLG]/Dark Turquoise [BL]) was last in a new set in 2005, and the "great color change" means that we haven't seen old brown (Earth Orange [TLG]/Brown [BL]), old dark grey (Dark Grey [TLG]/Dark Gray [BL]), or old light grey (Grey [TLG]/Light Gray [BL]) in a new set since 2006. Metalized Silver [TLG]/Chrome silver [BL] hasn't exactly been a common color over the years, either, even if it hasn't been discontinued yet.

The colors aren't the only thing to love here - there are also some clever joints and details. Bionicle ball joints are used on the knees to allow two sockets to form a joint together. The same joints are also used in a more traditional (although non-geared) way on the standard Toa torso element (which I'm just now realizing hasn't actually been in a set since 2004) and with a rare black Technic axle towball connected to a Mixel socket to create a very flexible wrist on one hand. Some extra color and body is given to areas that otherwise might look spindly, thanks to the Transparent Fluorescent Green [TLG]/Trans-Neon Green [BL] 1 x 1 round plates pushed into Technic pinholes. The best detail, though, may just be the chainsaw blades coming out of the feet.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

A Clever Dragon

Name of Model: Dragon
Created by: takamichi irie (legomichiiiiii)
Found at:
Details: takamichi irie (legomichiiiiii) recently built this awesome little dragon - it's short enough for a minifig to pet, but definitely fearsome enough to terrorize a microscale kingdom. The head may look a little familiar - it seems to take after an awesome build of Nessie that Sean and Steph Mayo built last year (which I probably should have blogged at the time), but that horns and binoculars technique still works very well. The torso really speaks to me - it's a brilliant use of the thick-pin skeleton torso, with a lightsaber hilt for the neck, four skeleton legs for the legs, and the gargoyle collectible minifigure wings as the dragon's wings. The wings don't look to be swooshable to me (minifig neck accessories tend to have looser connections), but that'd be easy enough to fix with a 1x1 round brick (that's how I'd do it, anyway, but it probably looks better the way it is).

The head and tail demonstrate another technique - using clips in askew connections that are sturdy, but wouldn't be considered "legal" in an official set or LEGO Digital Designer. I think I spy a minifig hand holding that tail in place, with the end that normally connects to a minifig's arm crammed into the skeleton torso (another "illegal" but very useful connection).

The builder recently started a blog in English and Japanese:

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Motorized Super Mario Bros. Piranha Plant

Name of Model: Super Mario Bros. Piranha Plant
Created by: Daniel Pikora (yours truly)
Found at: for now
Details: While I (Dan) continue to be largely absent due to personal issues (I'm now moving to a new state again), I have still kept building and kept attending events. At one such recent event (this year's BrickFair Alabama), I was interviewed by our friends at Beyond the Brick about my Super Mario Bros. Piranha Plant. While the mechanism still doesn't run smoothly enough for me to be completely happy with it, it's worked well enough to take to shows - but I've been avoiding documenting it online until I've had a chance to make it work better (in this clip, it's already lurching along at a slower speed and sticking a little). I'd like to revise it further to fix the motion problems and to try to capture more of a world from Super Mario Bros. - perhaps with a few more moving characters.

This model debuted at last year's Maker Faire Orlando, which coincided with the 30th anniversary of the original release of Super Mario Bros. It also works out nicely that Piranha Plants were actually green back then (as compared to the red that's currently more common). Not that colors showed up on my classic Game Boy, anyway...

I had originally planned on building this for BZPower's "Lights and Action"-themed convention circuit last year, but this took too long to get together and then still didn't work reliably enough to send off with someone else. You may still have seen it at last year's Maker Faire Orlando, Brickworld Tampa, BrickCon, BrickFair New Jersey, BrickUniverse Dallas, and/or the Orange County Public Library System LEGO Contest (in addition to this year's BrickFair Alabama, seen in the featured clip). Later this year, I plan on displaying it (at least) at BrickUniverse Raleigh, BrickNation West Friendship, Scouting For Bricks, BrickFair New England, and BrickFair Virginia.