Two for Tuesday: Carter Baldwin

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Good evening constant reader, its happy hour and our bartender Lloyd is setting them up neat, just the way you like it. Tonight’s V.I.P. in the Manifesto lounge is long time crony and friend of the blog, Carter Baldwin.  Just like last week’s guest, Jordan Schwartz, I feel like I’ve watched him transform from a teenager with no end of raw creative potential to a very polished and talented adult.  These days Carter is pillar of the community who has his own legion of admirers and fanboys who eagerly await his next build.  I got a chance to hang out with Carter for lunch at BrickWorld 2010 and looking back, that table was quite a rouges gallery of LEGO nerds: the Chairman, Jordan, Tiler Clites, Nathan Todd, Iain, Robin and even a Rubino sighting.  I have the feeling I met Carter at an earlier convention but I’m old and some of those memories are more blurry than I’d like.  Back when I was a Brother in 2012, I interviewed him for volume 17 of my “Boilerplate & Beyond” collection.  Frankly, the interview isn’t great, I hadn’t hit my stride yet with finding the right question for the right guest, but it is an interesting time-capsule. When re-reading the interview, one of Carter’s quotes jumped out at me:

“Collaborative displays are immensely fun. I’ve always wanted to build huge displays – you don’t need the ego inflation, but it’s likely a direct result of seeing your megabuilds in my formative years. Of course, I don’t have the budget or the brick to build the massive displays that will make The Goldman feel inadequate, so the next best solution is to steal other people’s collections. Making those people build your vision for you is even better.”

He’s absolutely right you know, “Making those people build your vision for you is even better.”  Over the years Carter has done an admirable job of doing just that, whether it was his often imitated Flickr group World in Conflict 2070 or the collaborative diorama Cyberpocalypse or the various combined efforts of BroLUG.  When Carter raises his banner, great builders assemble to help him realize his vision.  Now look at these two mechano stumble-bums, the latest weapons in Carter’s ever-expanding stable of war machines.  The “Brute” Mobile Frame looks like it jumped off the screen of your favorite anime series, but without the little girls in Catholic school uniforms to make things uncomfortable.  I love it when builders find a way to incorporate minfig backpacks, and Carter uses them perfectly here.  The guns are good enough to be stand-alone models, although the one on the left looks a little to big and unbalanced for the frame.  Constant readers of the Manifesto may know by now that I judge all mecha by their feet and although these seem a little small for my tastes, at least they look good.

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I can’t very well talk about Mr. Baldwin without discussing his key contribution to my recent bloated Diorama, A Bus Stop in Bucharest.  Back in 2008 I recruited Carter to help me with the equally boated Zero Hour on Highway 44 and he came through in spades, producing some of my favorite vehicles of the project.  So 8 years later when I attempted a collaboration on the same scale, he was one of the first builders I turned to.  Once again, Carter was not content with providing a single vehicle and sent a small fleet of beautiful Box trucks along with a pair of his classic Satyr armored cars.  Like a few of the other vehicles in the diorama, the box trucks were swallowed up to some degree by the scenery and obscured by flashier super-trucks. It’s a shame because these beauties were the glue that held the whole thing together.  In fact, it was Carter who came to the rescue late in the game when I simply could not produce a good concept for the toxic spill at the center of the action.  I really dislike like building damaged or “ruined” models and I’m not very good at it either.  So when Carter offered to distress one of the box trucks he pretty much saved the whole tamale.  All I had to do was combine it with some of those weird, soft Bionicle doo-dads and everything worked out just fine.  In the years between our collaborations, Carter refined his model-shipping skills too.  When the models for Highway 44 arrived, they were reduced to the component level from a combination of eggshell technique and lack of sufficient bubble wrap.  For Bucharest I don’t think there was any significant damage at all.

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For this particular feature on the Manifesto I like to conclude the proceedings with a photo of the builder in question. I do this to help you put a face to the name and somtimes with the express intent to take the piss out of the builder.  This is one of those times.  Thanks to builder dasnewten for the enlightening photo below.

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“Dude, for the third time…my name isn’t Nannan.”

Please recall that a precedent has been set in this ongoing series that we will be reviewing the fashion choices of each builder.  Carter is wearing standard issue convention gear for gentlemen of his age, a graphic T-shirt possibly referencing a video game or some such nerd-culture fodder and a cotton blend hoodie that probably smells quite dank.  The ensemble is fashion boilerplate and entirely unremarkable.  Although the focus of this week’s article is not Mr. Liu, his garment demands special commentary.  A Tie-fighter emblazoned tuxedo T-shirt and a suspiciously dangling belt…I’m not sure I have the words to describe the look, but Rupaul does.

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21 thoughts on “Two for Tuesday: Carter Baldwin

    1. What are you even talking about?

      In both pictures Baldwin seems to be looking at a distant possibility… something in the future… fragile yet powerful… something that will rock… and Liu just looks like he is getting angrier and angrier. Like whatever Baldwin is saying is total nonsense.

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      1. What are YOU even talking about?
        Can we focus on the important thing here, free product-placement for the Manifesto, from two of today’s hottest builders.

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  1. Yes! Carter Baldwin. Dan Rubin introduced me to him at Brickfair something or other… 1912? Carters ability to coax unorthodox shapes and angles out of solid brick really captivates me. The glacis from any of his APCs and/or MBTs… they remain some of the best I have ever seen. He was also the first guy I saw who was able to capture that iconic turret shape for the modern MBT. I don’t know what smart people call it, but I always think of it as the floating diamond shape.

    http://youngspacers.blogspot.com/2011/06/bw2011-pt2-and-we-will-crawl_20.html

    All that AND he’s a real cool guy as well!

    Carter, your dio with the patrol passing by the dried out harbor knocks my eyes out every time I see it! An ambitious project, executed with obvious commitment to the original vision. I mean… you guys obviously had to “Build the hell” of that thing. Its impressive. In scale, in detail, in overall composition, and in the fact that you guys hunkered down and DID it.

    You frequently put the blood, sweat, and tears into a team effort in order to pull of the classic, full sized, visually integrated, collaborative dio. Frankly, there is not much of that out there. I think because it is simply too hard for most builders to do. But you and the rest of the BroLUG team are definitely top echelon in that field.

    Good on you Mr. Baldwin! I hope we see more of your individual and your collaborative work around The Manifesto. It ALMOST makes up for having to deal with Goldman.

    Attack!

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    1. Who else would post your inane ramblings? Bricknerd, TBB, the Twee Affect? You can sell it in the rain, roundy ain’t nobody want to hear your complaints ’round here.

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  2. Thumbs up, one of my favourite builders around 🙂
    He seems a decent guy, the modesty is probably the source from which his building genius spawns.
    He’s also one of those builders I’d love to meet in person one day!

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    1. He does seem decent, but he’s quite the degenerate when you spend more than an hour with him. He tore up that restaurant bathroom, I can promise you that. I think KeithLUG needs to fund your trip to the states for a convention next year, that’s what I think. I’m gonna go look into the whole Kickstarter thing, or maybe we’ll just do it on the Manifesto.

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  3. Man, hanging out with Carter at BrickCon the past couple years has been an awesome experience. He’s a fantastic builder, modest, and just a laid back cool bro…someone easy to get along with and kick it with. He’s got skillz for days and is a true nerd at heart, like the majority of us.

    Also, +1 to fund the Cole trip to a UScon.

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    1. We’ve got to make it happen, I know at least a half dozen people who would throw in some dough to get Cole to the States and I bet we could double that without trying very hard. Also, Carter puts the Bro in BroLUG.

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  4. Thanks for the reminder of cyberpocalypse, Keith. Looking back, that has to be the peak of my Lego life, and I have Carter to thank for that. Awesome builder, awesome guy!

    Also, that’s the same Akira t-shirt in both pictures, I’d recognize it anywhere.

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    1. That diorama blew me away and I was instantly bummed out that I wasn’t able to see it or contribute in some way. It’s one of my favorite collaborations of all time, it did that neat trick where it’s difficult to tell where one builder’s work ends and another begins. That was true collaboration rather than just cooperation. Damn, I couldn’t see the Akira thing in the old pic, but it’s pretty damn clear in the new. I was right though, it’s graphic nerd boilerplate.

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  5. Being fairly new to the wider audiences out there, I have to say that I have even more respect for Carter’s work having to rebuild a bunch of the box trucks for the Bus Stop in Bucharest collaboration. It is truly a unique insight into a builder’s mind and how it ticks when you have to rebuild something of their own creation. His trucks were fantastically solid and brilliantly logical in their construction. After putting only a couple pieces back together on one, I grabbed the next one thinking that these were genius. And there it sat fully together. Okay, maybe the next one needs some reassembly. Nope. Next? Nope. Next one? Okay, one piece. Next? Nope. And to top it off, they were so damn cool. And then there was the one that was exploded. Just pure sweet! And only two pieces that fell off. It was fun to put them back and play around with them on the dio. Yes, I did! They held together well and were just so awesomely mundane. They were perfect. I need to go through his feed and explore his simplistically genius techniques more. Thank god he doesn’t make me feel old and useless, I got dat goin’ for me. jerk.

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    1. Yeah, the bawx truck design was really excellent, I appreciated how easy it was to swap out the cargo boxes. I think they only connect on 4 studs making both sturdy and easy to detach. Just good shit. I think you put it best, awesomely mundane.

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  6. Like you Keith, I remember Carter from way back in the when and it’s been great to see young builder cask his early skills and distill them into a distinct and refined style. I think one of the things I like best about his stuff is that he doesn’t pump out a lot of volume, but rather releases stuff into the wild when it’s polished and ready to be properly consumed. Good stuff.

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    1. The same thing occurred to me when I perused his photostream before writing the article. I could have sworn he had more stuff but what he has posted is uniformly great. Can’t emphasize enough how many younger builders he’s inspired. Good stuff indeed.

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  7. Yup, Carter rocks. I dig his designs — polished, nice color-work, elegant construction, and character! His recent trucks for Bucharest and his latest APC rebuild were exquisite examples… Thanks for the trip back through his portfolio!

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  8. He is a frak’n rock star.
    I love Sunder’s work. I mean Carter.

    We don’t need words to describe how great his builds are, just look. So I’ll praise Carter the man:

    He is actually super modest despite his ego 😉
    I got to crash Carter’s LEGOtory last Tuesday and was totally awesome doing a last minute 24 hr build prior to BFVA. Though we took a break to take the above picture – for the record Carter was ACTUALLY wearing that shirt.

    But yeah, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know and work with Carter for multiple years and really appreciate his efforts and his style of leadership (Benevolent Dictator FTW).

    But he really is modest and anti-awards – “BroLUG doesn’t need awards, awards are for chumps.”
    So when our 24 hour build won an award, Carter (who justifiably built most of the build) gave me the trophy for our ‘collab’ build … how many people can say they’ve given away an award*?

    (*haha sorry Zach)

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    1. Carter is one of the nicest guys I’ve met in real life. The first time we met in person it felt like we’d been friends for years. Solid Bro!

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