Two for Tuesday: Kyle Vrieze

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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 checks in from exotic Bermuda, where the triangles will wreck you and so will the Goslings Black Seal Rum.  I’m speaking, of course, of the indomitable Kyle Vrieze, whose remarkable builds you’ve been enjoying since 2004 when he made his first post on LUGNET.  If you’ve ever been to the BrickWorld convention in the last decade, the chances are good that you’ve seen one of his signature mecha and assorted Sci-Fi boilerplate in person.  You would remember Kyle because he looks like an action figure and stands out in stark contrast to his fellow Lego nerds because we tend to run pudgy or gangly, without much in between.  I’m not saying all Lego nerds are fat, that would be a cruel stereotype.  Many of us are in shape so don’t start yelling about how much you can bench in the comment section or how you run marathons.  Or maybe you should?  In my experience there are a lot of fatties in the hobby (myself included) and my point is that Kyle makes us look good when he poses in our group photos.  And dude loves to pose.  He’s got tickets to the gun-show and he’s not above firing off those guns in public.  More about the raging biceps and fashion later, let’s stick to the brick for now.

Kyle hasn’t posted anything yet this year so I had to reach back to December of 2015 to find his most recent model, the simply titled “Fighter 14“.  The silhouette is one that Kyle has revisited over the years, but each version get more refined and interesting.  There are almost too many angles to count but he somehow wrangles them into a cohesive and striking design.  Kyle manages to reign in the chaos just enough without taking off the edge and the result is a very aggressive looking war machine.  Naturally, it also sports some ‘roided out missile-pods, which is Kyle’s signature feature whether the platform is a spaceship or mecha.  In fact, the more I think about it, the missile-pods are just an extension of his ripped biceps.  This is the point in every Two for Tuesday posting when I urge you to take a trip through Kyle’s back catalogue if you’re not familiar with his work.

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For tonight’s second shot I’m inserting myself into the mix, as usual.  I met Kyle at the 2010 edition of BrickWorld Chicago, where he was generous enough to contribute a kick-ass Vic Vic Viper to the nnenn memorial formation.  He is definitely one of the nicest people you can meet in the hobby and I don’t mean “nice” in that Disney-cult, Landru, early days of LUGNET sort of way.  Kyle is always ready to talk Lego or talk smack, he’s equally skilled at both and he’s always ready to grab a sandwich if you are.  If you need any more convincing, you should know that Kyle is also endorsed by the righteous bros of Bro-LUG.  Those talented but feral youths don’t typically accept bro’s over the age of 25 or so but even they couldn’t deny Kyle membership, especially after his performance at an arm-wrestling initiation ritual that I’m not at liberty to speak of.  So if you find yourself at BrickWorld Chicago, seek out Mr. Vrieze and tell him “Keith sent me for a sandwich“.

I had the pleasure of dining with Kyle at the Mirage Hotel and Casino here in Vegas some time later and we hatched a plan for a collaboration, which brings us at last to the second shot.  The photo you see below is nothing like the idea I pitched to him over steaks and beer, I had some vague notion of an underground launch-base in mind and I asked him to build a VTOL fighter or three as the focal point.  In the end I had to shit-can the entire concept, I just couldn’t translate the idea into the brick.  So instead, I said something like “just send me what you can and I’ll figure it out”.  Four months later I finished this diorama, which features three of Kyle’s designs, including the epic mecha you see below along with a robot and a futuristic scout car.

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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 sometimes with the express intent to take the piss out of the builder. This is one of those times.  The photo is entitled “Sandwich Buddies” and let me tell you brother, you have not lived the BrickWorld convention experience until you’ve had a sandwich with Kyle. Traditions matter, people, they matter.  You can’t just have lunch with any random AFOL, or you may get stuck with an Aspy paste-eater or Rutherford, so choose your dining companions carefully. Meals are the rarely spoken about highlight of spending a weekend with your fellow Lego nerds.  Booze, good eats, shit-talking, shenanigans…meal time really is fun time.  Whether it’s Thai food in Seattle or Sandwiches in Chicago, it’s important to make the right choice when dining out.14715664850_cddf63e5aa_o.jpg

Please note that Simon is wearing Chairman Zhang’s brick-badge in the photo…did he just give up trying to correct people calling him Nannan?  Did he murder Nannan and abscond with his badge?  Was it a mundane trade or some kind of friendship bracelet kind of thing?  All I know is that the Chairman used to be Kyle’s official Sandwich Buddy and now it’s Simon.

Please recall that a precedent has been set in this ongoing series that we will be reviewing the fashion choices of each builder.  Kyle, as I pointed out earlier, looks like a generic action figure…of a wrestler, or a commando, or a biker.  Since you can’t go wrong with a basic black T, the verdict is an easy one.

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And Simon is here because he’s Simon and he’s ubiquitous.  At least he’s got Fry on his chest this time as opposed to that horrible Tie-Fighter tuxedo shirt.

23 thoughts on “Two for Tuesday: Kyle Vrieze

  1. So I’ll take the “maybe you should” route. 😉
    I actually did run a marathon, 23 days ago to be exact.

    But whatever about that.
    I haven’t met Kyle before, but now that I’ve read this post I really want too!
    He’s a great builder who never fails to impress.

    I also really like his distinctive style, especially when it comes to spaceships and starfighters.

    Your fashion critiquing skills as always are on point.

    Great post Keith!

    -Josiah

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    1. Thanks Josiah, It’s always good to see you drop-in with a comment. Congrats on the marathon, it’s something worth boasting about. I listened to the song “marathon” within the last 23 days, if that counts for anything.

      I appreciate your support of the fashion critique. Together we can improve! Cheers!

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      1. You’re welcome, and thank you! 🙂
        Like I’ve said in the past, this blog has got to be one of my favorite place on the internet.
        Its so well put together, humorous, and thought provoking at the same time.

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  2. On the sports aspect: I’m building while sitting on the floor, all our bricks are stored in shelfs at up to about 6ft. So I’ve to stand to get the bricks. It’s a good training at least for the lower body.
    I entered the scene about the time Kyle did. Seeing his builds in comparison to mine made me think he’d been building for decades. I still hope to meet him in person one day, but there is so much water to cross.

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    1. Another excellent choice of builders and builds!

      I feel compelled to point out two things:

      First, although it pains me to admit it, Keith is correct. Kyle’s arms are super death cannons. Look at the pic for god’s sake! There is NO slack in the sleeves of his T-shirt. Crazy! He could punch you to death with one good blow to the chest! It’d be like WHAMMO! Bits of shattered sternum all up in your chest cavity.

      Second, if you can pull your eyes away from his leathal piston death punch arms… look at his face and tell me he doesn’t look just like Kane from Tiberian Sun! (I had to cut a link to the pic because it kept making the blog site spaz out!)

      What? I know right? I don’t really think Kyle looks like Kane from Tiberian Sun… I think he IS Kane! I know, it seems odd, because Kane is this total nut jobber who freaks out and is prone to killing subordinates right? And Kyle is this really cool dude who builds great MOCs and is totally grooven at fests… Then again, NOD is a “brotherhood” right? And who accepts Kyle despite his age? Or should we say… “Bro-therhood of NOD LUG”?
      I have always been amazed at both the level of detail, and the apparent speed with which Kyle builds. This particular MOC has always held a special place in my heart:

      https://m.flickr.com/#/photos/30715255@N04/5719369752/

      Ah… MLRC. Good times.

      Kyle, Kane, glad to see you both on the site! Kill Keith now!

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  3. Kyle is one of the genuine joys of the community.

    And Keith is right, the meals are such a treasured pleasure to break bread, or tables with people. And it was an honour to step up and continue the sandwich buddies… but alas! will the streak be broken? With Kyle taking a year off, who shall fill in? Carter?

    I don’t need to praise or criticize Kyle, it’s been done in person already…

    But did you guys know that Kyle’s an actual super hero, and has the looks to boot?

    He probably actually saved my life. Seriously. First BFVA I went to I was going to drive back on the Sunday. Monday was a holiday so I was like well I’ll just make it back wee early on morning and sleep during the day.

    Kyle was flying out Monday morning and had a double room in DC and offered to let me just spend the night. It was that simple kindness that saves me – cause I was totally doozing off just driving the 20 odd minutes into D.C. I probably wouldn’t have made it the 9 hrs home…

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    1. You owe Kyle a life-debt now Simon, be prepared to murder someone for him or commit some kind of tax fraud. Don’t confuse kindness with asset acquisition. Be prepared for the 2am phone call from Bermuda.

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  4. Love his style, bulky without being massive. His ships and mecha always seem to have an agility to them with a massive amount of firepower. I always classify his work as medium, not as any sort of insult but more of that there is no way to classify the war machines as heavy or light. His are always brilliantly balanced and certainly encapsulate the best of both worlds.

    And you had me at sandwich.

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    1. Yeah, I think medium-sized/powered ships are right in his wheelhouse. Big enough to be interesting, small enough be manageable and transportable from Bermuda to Chi-town. Got to rope Kyle into another collaboration one of these years.

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  5. Keith, I hadn’t seen that collab before and I like it a lot. I’m not normally into those types of large displays unless I can examine all the little details in person at a convention, but that one has a certain minimalism to it that presents well in an online context. Also the shaping and stripe through the cliff is money. It may not have been what you envisioned, but it turned out damn well anyway.

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    1. Thanks Christopher! Of course looking back there are things that bug me about it (I wish I’d dug out some footprints for the mech) but it was a lot of fun to be inspired by Kyle’s stuff. One of my biggest struggles with big dioramas is how much detail is enough. I tend to prefer the background to be a little more stark and simple to allow the vehicles to shine, but there is a risk of being so simple as to be bland. Thanks again!

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  6. Nice! Kyle is definitely one the pillars of the old space community…both literally and figuratively. As mentioned, he may be recognized superficially for phonebook-ripping potential, but what really stands out is what a ridiculously nice and socially generous guy he is in addition to being an equally imaginative and innovative builder.

    BTW, I fully expect the next time I have my driver’s license photo done, upon inspection I’ll see Liu doing a goddamned floatie arm pose beside me. I’m surprised he’s not the prima donna of my wedding album from 20 years ago…

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  7. Cheers Keith, I’m honored to have been the subject of a Two-for-Tuesday post! Your blog and the comments from my cronies really put a smile on my face today.

    I’m really enjoying the Manifesto, and I hope you’re finding it rewarding as well. Also, if you run into D-town Cracka at a convention, do NOT accept his arm wrestling challenge. My shoulder is still sore…

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    1. Kyle! Good to see you made it over here, I thought maybe you’d been lost in the triangle, you’ve been so quiet lately. I’ve heard that Andy the D-town Cracka will break your spine if given the chance. A great guy by all accounts but he’ll deliver your package for you if you get on his bad side. I’m stoked your down with the blog, I hope you stick around and comment from time to time, when you’re not crunching numbers or abs.

      Also, build something already!

      Like

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