4,294,967,295 (or) “I find myself growing fatigued”

Gird your loins, constant reader and prepare for some stream of consciousness style rambling.  As I mentioned in last week’s SUPERHAWK article, when I rediscovered the model in question I was actually searching for the #1 “most popular” model on MOCpages.  The creation that holds the honor is Garry King’s Battlestar Berzerk with a whopping 71,501 views, 2918 likes and 245 comments, an epic showing without a doubt.  While I certainly appreciate the gaudy stats and the accolades of my peers in the comment section, the Berzerk never spoke to me.  I found it too similar in shape and style to the Galactica to be interesting and the differences were not that compelling either.  Consequently, the article’s intended goal of reviewing and critiquing the #1 model on MOCpages morphed into a somewhat nostalgic spotlight of the rediscovered classic SUPERHAWK.  I enjoyed writing the article and it certainly generated more hits and comments than I expected so I went over to the ancestral birthing ground of our kind, Brickshelf, with the very same goal in mind, to find the “most popular” model on the site.  Since the Shelf is older than dirt, it doesn’t track likes/favorites and of course it doesn’t have a commenting feature which leaves us with a single measurable indicator of success, the number of views.  And that leads us to the bloated number featured as the title of this article: 4,294,967,295.  It turns out that every model on the first page of Brickshelf’s “Greatest Hits” function has the same exact number of views: 4,294,967,295.  Since there was no clear indication of which model enjoys the greatest popularity, I decided to discard the first page entirely because it seemed to my untrained eye like some kind of glitch in the system.  And just like my MOCpages experience last week, the creations on the first page were not sufficiently inspiring enough to set me typing.

It isn’t until you click over to the first model on page 2 that the number of views begins to vary and no 2 numbers are the same for at least a dozen pages back.  So I decided to use the top spot on page 2 to determine the most popular model on Brickshelf and therefore the subject of this article.  While 4,038,716,609 is truly an impressive number of views and builder suu’s rendition of the Wii is pretty accurate given the parts palette available a decade ago, at the end of the day I just can’t get excited about this model.  Of course I have some nitpicks (the controller, lack of those little rubber feet) but I’m not going to go into them at length because they bore me as the entire creation bores me, as the Battlestar Berserk bores me.  I have nothing against suu or the Wii, it was a fun platform and obviously quite a few people enjoyed the Lego interpretation you see below, but to quote a superior intellect…“I find myself growing fatigued”…just by looking at it’s blandness, much less trying to write about it in any meaningful way.

Yes, I did just compare myself to Ricardo Montalban.   I So I decided to go the SUPERHAWK route and focus what’s left of this article on a model featured on the same page, with an only slightly less impressive 1,870,316,719 views to it’s name.  It’s called “The Doll” and just like SUPERHAWK, it’s almost a decade old.  Rather impossibly, the hobby as we know is already has a driver’s license and it is fast approaching the legal drinking age.  I’m sure many of you will recognize the builders, the world renown Arvo Brothers,  but I was really only aware of the work they feature on Flickr, which does not include “The Doll“.  I also learned they have a very nice website that features the model in question, but I doubt I’ll return there, because I’m lazy and tend to stick to the usual watering holes for my Lego browsing rather than individual sites.  Although I know they’ve been around for a while,  I had no idea the Bros were active back in the days when Brickshelf was a commonly used site, I always thought of them as being a more modern phenomena.  So “The Doll” was a delightful discovery for me and I fervently hope it is new to at least a few of our constant readers.  Of course the shaping and level of detail on the front of the figure is truly remarkable, but it’s the shot of the upper back that I found the most compelling.  It almost seems like a different model entirely from this angle and it really drives home their almost obsessive quality ethic: everything must look as flawless as possible from top to bottom, back to front.  These guys appear to be ruthlessly intolerant of imperfection and I’d love to be a fly on the wall watching them build and argue over whether or not some obscure detail was good enough.  Most brothers I know would just as likely end a building session with fisticuffs and a broken model as create something this magnificent.  Oh, it’s also kind of fucked up and disturbing, something that’s difficult to do with a children’s building toy.




4,294,967,295 is apparently a meaningless number, but for a stats guy like me it’s also kind of a drag.  I’m the type of person who likes to know who lead the league in batting average last year, or who had the most shots-on-goal in world cup history and it seems clear the stat-tracking on both MOCpages and Brickshelf is unreliable at best.  Of course, none of these image hosting sites have a comprehensive collection of every model produced so the whole manner of  comparison is a questionable endeavor from the get go, but I don’t care…I still like stats, I still like rankings, I still like lists.  I’ll also grant you that there is no perfect metric for a model and many of you probably don’t like having “art” measured and quantified at all, but it is an interesting way to compare models that can foster both well intentioned discussion and rousing smack talk.   Even as I kid I used to love to argue about Guitar Player Magazine’s ranking of the 10 best rock guitarists, or the Sporting News list of the best baseball players by position or TV shows detailing the top 10 piston driven aircraft from WW2.  Ultimately, my somewhat dubious quest for the #1 most popular model was a failure, but it lead me to a couple of excellent and influential models that at the very least deserve a second viewing 10 years later.

Stay tuned in the coming days, constant reader, for new offerings from regular contributors Ted Andes and our resident foppish dandy, Michael Rutherford.  Please recall that the Manifesto is always accepting submissions for review, so don’t hesitate to send us your rants, no matter how malevolent or benign.


44 thoughts on “4,294,967,295 (or) “I find myself growing fatigued”

  1. The second I saw the screenshot of that page on Brickshelf I was hoping you would feature “The Doll.” I don’t remember how I first came across it because as you said it’s not available in the usual places, but it may be my favorite Arvos MOC.

    Regarding stats, I think a lot of the most popular MOCs out there aren’t particularly interesting or novel subjects. Technical virtuosity is less controversial than artistic expression, so emotionless replicas are gonna get more attention than the truly unique builds like “The Doll.” Yes, “The Doll” was still incredibly popular, but you can attribute a lot of that to how good the techniques used are. If it was the same disturbing idea with a less impressive technical execution, I doubt we’d be talking about it right now. Also note that “The Doll” is just the cover photo for an album that includes the Arvos brothers’ other, more well-known work. I’ve said it here before, but I think the community values technique and part usage far too much and doesn’t value aesthetics and design enough. That may be why you don’t see “The Doll” in the Arvos brothers’ later portfolios.


    1. The Doll is just another “emotionless replica” from the second ghost in the shell movie. It’s about as unique and special as their Iron Man bust. So there. an emotional replica that seemingly impressed you just because you’re unfamiliar with the source. It was less popular because GITS is less popular than alien or iron man. Does this make it less worthy in your eyes now?

      Sorry for being an ass, but I’m so fed up with this “artsy and original is the shit” mindset. Because it doesn’t matter at all. 99% of the “original” Lego aesthetic is just a replica of an aesthetic borrowed from another art style rather than borrowing the subject. That’s all there is to it. And some praise them as novel because they’re unfamiliar with the source.

      Al this extreme focus on novelty does is create a limitation for you. With this I don’t want to imply that novelty is bad, far from it, it’s the mindset of praising it above all else is what I find annoying. There’s no enlightenment, you’ll just end up enjoying less things (and probably feel special while doing it 🙂 ).


      1. That actually does change my reception of it, so thanks for letting me know! My misplaced appreciation for its design now goes to the more rightfully deserving artist for that GitS movie, whoever they are. It’s like finding out a novel I like was written by a ghost writer rather than the author I thought it was. Not a perfect analogy since this is an adaptation into a different medium. And that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the Arvos version for its attention to detail and accuracy, like i do the Iron Man build.

        But yes, it does matter. I don’t disagree with your point that nothing (or very little) is truly novel and everything is built on what came before. But there’s a difference between copying an existing work as closely as possible and making conscious (or subconscious) decisions about what to take influence from and where. Erik’s post from a few years back illustrates that thought process exceptionally well, and is part of why I like to document my own influences in my MOC descriptions. It adds context which I think is healthy for the hobby/art moving forward. Erik by the way takes a lot of influence from Moebius, and I like his work partially because I enjoy Moebius but also because of what else he brings to the party. The result is greater than the sum of its parts and is way more interesting than if he just straight-up replicated Moebius’s paintings or emulated his style without putting his own spin on it.

        I do make the occasional replica myself (in fact, I’m working on a couple right now), but my reason for doing so is because I’m a fan of someone else’s design and I want one for my desk, not because I find the same creative joy as I do in designing something from scratch. So it annoys me that my most popular build on Flickr is a replica because I didn’t have that same level of investment in it. Like Keith, I do care about the numbers on some level. But also what Rowntree said below about artsy stuff being self-satisfactory and ascribing numbers to them being flawed.

        The other side of this is that there are the occasional pop culture MOCs that do leave an impression on me because of how transformative they are. This scene from Harry Potter for example does more for me than the film version did: https://www.flickr.com/photos/moriartus/27170308825/


      2. But it’s not the same as finding it’s a different author. Because the entire beauty of it is the fact that they were able to translate it into Lego, not designing something new. That was the goal. It’s a bad analogy because nobody’s trying to deceive you.

        It seems like you’re completely discarding the real achievement – how many people can actually build something like this? A lot less than those who can design such a type of android – if you go to deviantart, you’ll find tons of tons of similarly original designs. It’s nothing special. Everyone adds their little touches, but in the end they’re all based on a rather generic pattern.

        “But there’s a difference between copying an existing work as closely as possible and making conscious (or subconscious) decisions about what to take influence from and where.” This is where the baeauty of it lies for; in adapting (better word than copying in this case) the source into the new medium – you won’t be able to replicate the model exactly and you have to add your own touches in order to achieve a similar result. This is what I like about this hobby, every single build is different because there are so many combinations involved. Take 30 builders that are at the top of their game, have them replicate the exact same thing, and you’ll have 30 different results. This is where the originality lies, each builder will imbue their creation with their own vision and style. And I get the see the things I love translated into a medium I love.

        I don’t need the builder to imbue the model with emotion; my own experience with the source mode will transfer it to the build. Afterall, even in cases where where the artist is purposely trying to convey an emotion, you have to make this effort; how can you comprehend a piece trying to illustrate death, without at least having the knowledge of death if not experience it? Art always requires effort from the builder, no matter have mundane it’s subject is.

        Honestly, the whole thing sounds to me like saying Monet is just a hack copying trains and flowers and Modigliani is copying people. Technique and style? Using the medium’s potential to suit your vision? Bleh, it’s all about new designs.

        In the end all art at it’s core is merely copying nature.

        Erik’s post honestly illustrates everything I hate about this mindset. It proposes originality with a model a 5 year old could build without any research, the result being just a derivative tank. What’s so special about it? The fact that he “copied” this part from design 1, this part from design 2 and so on rather than copying just one? The same process applies when trying to copy a single design – how to translate this bit into the new medium? how to alter it to make it work with the new medium and it’s limitations? and while I’m at it, why not alter this bit I don’t like and add my own touch to it?

        “town is the best theme. if you find that building town is harder than building fantasy steam-powered star rocket submarines, then that means that town is TO REAL for you and you need to get out of imagining yourself into laziness” – I don’t even want to comment… (basically what I’m reading here is fuck imagination, build garbage trucks).


      3. If you made me look at X-Wings from 30 builders at the top of their games, you might get 30 different results but most would be very similar and all would be boring because I’ve seen three times that many X-Wings and no matter how well built they are, they don’t move me in the slightest. And I liked, no loved X-wings as a kid.

        And Monet is a hack.


      4. Art is never passive, it always requires effort from everyone. Likely why people refuse to “get it” or bother with just sitting in front of a piece for any length of time when “drive-bys” (reading the info card next to it rather than looking at the actual piece) are the norm.

        Art has to copy nature as there is nothing other than that. Anything original, imaginative, otherworldly, UNnatural are still derived from a foundation based in reality and interpreted with a physical sensing brain. Abstraction is merely nature altered and any communication created relies on language, actual and/or sensual. We cannot know it otherwise. It’s like playing six degrees of Kevin Bacon, our brains have to deconstruct everything down to familiar elements then make the necessary connections.

        And if you want a site devoted to “fuck imagination, build FIRE trucks”, I think I may know of one.


      5. Art is never passive…you’re a bullshit artist. How do you explain Kenny G? It requires nothing from anyone. If you were not so hot, I’d dump you, my art school girlfriend.


      6. Thanks for that, I’m not very familiar with Ghost in the Shell so that was lost on me. Even if I new the source it would not have changed my position. Don’t ever be sorry for being an ass, it’s part of what makes this dive bar fun to hang out in. I don’t think the hobby needs another echo chamber. I always appreciate your commentary even if I don’t agree with it.


      7. I’m not discussing tastes here. It doesn’t matter whether you like the x-wing or not, the reason it sucks in this case is that you’re bored of it, not because it’s an emotionless replica instead of an original ship. And this boredom has everything to do with you and is not the builder’s fault. Yes, I know everyone’s building one, but the fact remains a lot of people love the x-wing and want one on their shelf or in their portfolio. So they shouldn’t stop building them because they bore you.

        My point is when you see an x-wing, take a moment and see if there’s something of interest about it and, if there isn’t, move on. Don’t dismiss it outright and mumble something like “x-wings are the reason this hobby’s stagnating. they should build something else. yes. they should, like, build town and shit cos that’s where it’s at. I know what I’m talking about, other popular builders are doing it too. (sorry, that Erik article really got to me :)) )”.

        I’m not preaching love for everything here. I’m not special, there’s plenty of stuff I don’t give a damn about either, x-wing included. And some I do feel inclined to dismiss myself. No matter how impressive a build of a utility truck, I’ll never be interested in one. But that’s all my fault, my limitation, not the artist’s. I just don’t give a rat’s ass about trucks. Or tanks. Or planes. Or that lame ass console from this post. Or… you get the point. Fact remains, people shouldn’t stop building them because I don’t like them or lack the experience to connect to them. And every now and then, a build ends up in my stream from these that I love (Jon Hall’s planes for example). But only on a coolness level, I won’t be able to connect with them on a deeper level – the experience I was talking about (for some it could symbolize the freedom of flight, the achievement of flight, a marvel of engineering, the dream of being a pilot, fear of flight, building model planes with someone, a chance encounter in a plane and so on. For me it’s just a cool looking thing)


      8. I never said people should stop building XWings, people should build whatever it is they want to build. I’ve built my share of questionable replicas so I’m not saying I’m the king of originality. Boilerplate is perfectly fine, the key is to put a new spin on it don’t be so fucking literal about it. I do understand your point, but I think a blog written from that perspective would be…boring. You can find opinion-free “everything is awesome” style blogs everywhere. If you want a smart blog, read New Elementary, if you want snarky blog read Twee Affect, if you want gasbag bullshit artist blog, you come to the Manifesto.


      9. No, no, no, this is what I try so hard to explain and fail: I don’t want to spread the peace and love. No sjw for me, mate. Hate everything for every reason, heck, I’m probably the one that does it the most here. Just don’t be the guy to tell people WHAT to build or what the hobby needs, where it should go. It’s as pointless as going to rainbow blog route.

        the key is to put a new spin on – sure, but my heated reply was related to Chris’s view, not yours. As he said, finding out the doll was not an original piece change his mind about it, just for that very reason. This is what I’m steaming like a moron about here.


      10. Dude, I still dig the GitS model. All I said was my perception of it CHANGED. How is that worthy of outrage? Yes, the ghost writer analogy is terrible–which is why I originally said so myself. Now that I’ve thought about it more, “cover” is a more apt word. The different instrumentation and voice are still cool, but the lyrical genius and underlying structure should be credited where its due.

        My beef has always been with the community’s reaction to replica builds, not what people choose to build. I build replicas for fun too, but they’re overrated. Maybe it’s a matter of what the general AFOL respond to vs. people who build regularly and notice the more subtle things. But most comments you read, even from respectable builders, praise only technique and barely ever mention the viewing experience as a whole. Maybe they’re just lazy, which is a topic we’ve exhaustively explored here before. But I perceive the amount of complicated techniques as the primary factor in how many faves a build gets. I don’t hold up novelty as the only thing that matters; I’m merely pointing out that it seems to me that technique is the only thing the community values. Your dismissal of Erik’s tank as something that could be built by a 5-year-old is indicative of that, and in my eyes that “creates a limitation for you.”


      11. Actually, I should say it’s the relative lack of reaction to non-replica/technique-focused builds that bugs me, rather than the attention replica builds get themselves.


      12. The cover analogy doesn’t work either. Here’s why – it involve no change in the medium. Sure, it can be changed into a different genre of music, but it’s still music. It’s still the same lyric and notes with change in tempo, instrument, style, whatever. A fitting analogy would be translating a book into a film. You can take a fantastic novel, go word for word and end up with a terrible movie. Because the book was written with the medium in mind. A proper way of adapting is to alter the source to fit the new medium while keeping it’s soul. An example here would be Schindler’s List – I find the movie infinitely superior to the novel, because it made all the right changes and used the new medium to effect. The book on the other hand was an exercise in tediousness with no heart and soul whatsoever for me. Should I praise the original idea (which itself is inspired from something else) that I disliked, or the movie that presented it in a very creative and emotional manner? Sure, I’ll throw a nod towards the original, as it made the movie happen, but that’s about it.

        I feel the same way about the doll; I did not dislike the source, loved it in fact, but it’s the build that floored me. As a movie, it’s nothing unique. As a build, it’s something you see once a couple of years. Hence why technique is so important – they could have done a miniland replica of it that anyone could have done, but they didn’t; they did this. They deserve all the praise and attention they can get. As far as the medium goes, they’ve done something more relevant for it than gits ever did for cinema.

        As for the attention part, I explained it in my previous posts – it’s all about experience and connection. 99% of the community knows batman so they instantly connect to a batman build. But when it comes to an original idea, you’ll only touch the few like-minded individuals that can connect to/understand/give a damn about your idea. And if you’re unwilling to make an effort to present it in an attractive fashion, why should the audience make the effort to understand it? Afterall, that’s what makes an artist what it is – the ability to transfer something intro a piece that talks to people, that makes people want to listen. Anyone can have a relevant story to tell and can write it on a piece of paper, but that doesn’t make everyone a writer (looking at you Andy Weir!!!).

        The fact that a big part of the audience are children also serves to balance things that way.

        As for Erik’s tank, I’d really be interested to know what makes it special for you. If it were to pop in your stream without giving you a window in the creative process (which is always fascinating, even in case of a subpar model), what would make it pop for you from the sea of mediocrity?


      13. Schindler’s List, the feel good hit of the summer! Good analogy, couldn’t get through the book because I kept falling asleep faster than I did reading Tom Clancy. Blade Runner and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep have almost no connection to each other and they each stand well on their own as individual expressions executed to near perfection. Neither is better or worse, good or bad, as they cannot really be compared in spite of being distantly related. Not even residing in the same genre or medium just simply opens up the possibilities for every viewer/reader to explore something previously unexplored.

        But I think that Lego carries a ton of baggage with it being a toy first. Everyone links to it through nostalgia, it’s a given. Those sensibilities make that novelty of the link formed by mimicry of something recognizable. Then the grey filter goes to work dissecting it into constituent components and thus we get “great technique!”, “NPU”, and “Clever!” The web isn’t shattered (shadooby) by it, but I think we take notice for merely our own stores to be used later. And also to keep the blood out of the water in case someone goes apeshit over some technique “stolen” by someone else as it seems to be the only thing that some people latch onto as “their” Lowell Sphere.

        But this is the rabbit hole of Art. You’re welcome to explore as deep as you want, but you can only blame yourself for what you find. Not everyone wants to go in and those that do may not want to venture beyond the light. Then there are those that prefer the chaos and the dark. But it certainly is not for everyone. And what comes out of that hole is rarely understood, even by the one bringing it out. And most people don’t know how to verbalize what they DO understand or relate to regarding it, more so with Lego’s extra baggage. And sometimes it just doesn’t even need to, or simply cannot, be reduced to language.

        Awsum! -liked-


      14. The reason I went with a cover analogy is because both versions of the song are sonic experiences, just like the Arvos Doll and the GitS design are both solely visual experiences. I’m not talking about GitS as a movie, but that specific design as a stand-alone (see what I did there?) work of visual art. What’s the difference between a different genre of music and a different medium of visual art? There’s rules, edge cases, and blending in both situations. Books and film similarly both rely on language, but film is an entirely different beast because it’s a truly mixed media of language, visuals, and sound all coming together, not to mention the difference in participation required from the audience. That’s a huge part of what makes books and films so vastly different. But I’m not really comparing films to books as much as I’m comparing films to plays. There’s a greater degree of overlap (hell, any adaptation would be impossible if there wasn’t some amount of overlap). Returning to the cover analogy, in the case of this specific song, the most powerful thing to me is the lyrics and both versions do everything else about equally well. So my attention is gonna skew more toward the songwriter, as much as I appreciate the virtuosity of both performances. That’s not to say I feel the same way about all covers.

        I agree with you on almost all accounts regarding adaptation. There’s a fuzzy spectrum of how many liberties are taken with the source, and when I talk about “replicas” I mean the ones that choose to stick to the source material as closely as possible. Unless there’s a monumental change in style or presentation (there’s always a little bit in Lego), those replicas feel more like “studies” in technique to me or displays of virtuosity than full-blown original works. This is how I’ve always viewed my own replica work. It’s something I do when I don’t feel particularly inspired and just feel like polishing my skills. And there’s nothing wrong with that and it can still be impressive to the viewer.

        My gut reaction from the general AFOL crowd is that they see something from pop culture and think, “I like this because I’m a fan of Lego and the thing it’s based on,” not because it makes them reevaluate the material on a meaningful level. That’s usually how I feel with a lot of those models. If it’s more than that for you in the case of the Doll, then more power to you. I understand how simply seeing something in a new way, in well-executed Lego form can change how you think about it and it suddenly transcends from replica to adaptation. But that’s not how I feel in this specific example. There are other cases where I do feel that way, like the Harry Potter scene I linked above (I don’t even like Harry Potter, btw).

        Anyway, the talk of commonalities across different media is a good segue into what draws me to Erik’s work. He comes from a visual art background and it shows, in his use of color and the way his simple shapes draw and guide the eye. It’s hard to get at specifically what clicks for me through language (just as it’s been hard to get this far in this discussion), but I feel Erik integrates his knowledge from other mediums beyond just subject matter and technical details. They’re things that aren’t unique to the Lego medium that I see in his paintings too, and they’re things I wish people appreciated more. There’s more to it than connections, integration, and part usage. As it stands I feel like many of us are scale modelers and engineers who are often blind to the non-technical. We’re a bunch of construction workers judging a metal sculptor’s work primarily by the cleanness of his welds and the strength of his solders. I’d like to see the discussion go deeper than that. So far I’m pretty satisfied with where this one has gone, which gives me hope that I’m wrong.


      15. “the most powerful thing to me is the lyrics” – further proof how different we see things; for me the lyrics are the null part of a song, their only value is phonetic – for the words to harmonize with the rest of the sounds. I see them as inferior poetry (well, you know, the ones that try to say something, not the party/money/hoes/hammer smashed face ones), and the only poetry I can digest is epic and late romantics. Sure, there are a few songs where the lyrics draw my attention, but they’re few and far between and will never make me enjoy a song solely from that angle.

        As for Erik, that article is the first time I’m hearing about him; I’m not familiar with any of his work, so maybe I’m missing some info to see what you’re seeing. But as far as that tank goes, it’s nothing I haven’t seen done before and there’s nothing to draw my eye.


      16. Eh, the lyric thing was just to illustrate a point. In general lyrics don’t do much for me either and a vast majority of what I listen to is wordless video game music. What little vocal stuff that’s in my library primarily drew me in because of the lyrics though (namely Tom Waits, Nick Cave, and Murder By Death).

        If you want a primer on Erik’s work, Keith wrote a nice piece on him last year: https://keithlug.com/2016/07/20/the-artist-formerly-known-as-lemon_boy/

        He’s one of the reasons I’m not in favor of a Lego-centric hub like Brickly because I like to see the other mediums people work in and how they influence each other.


      17. I’ve most likely seen that article, vaguely remember the blue tank, but it didn’t capture my interest. His art is quite similar to Foss and I can definitely see what you mean in the first ship. Still won’t change my mind about the tank. :))

        I agree, I too enjoy seeing what other pursuits people have. It’s even a chance to discover something new I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to see otherwise. I haven’t checked brickly out, and I’ve no interest to as long as it stays an app (not to mention I don’t even have an ios device, or planning to for that matter).


  2. Good call Christopher, It completely slipped past me that the Bros Arvo dumped all their Brickshelf offerings into a single folder, that does add yet another wrinkle into the process of comparison. I’d pretty much abandoned the initial goal of the article at that point and I was more focused on finding something that I did like, and wanted to write about. The bit about The Doll being about the same age as SUPERHAWK was also really attractive to me, and the whole tangled process ended up in a good place I think.

    After scouring the greatest hits of MOCpages and Flickr, I agree with you that most of the uber-popular models are not really that engaging. Some them rely on pop-culture references and some are just inexplicable in their appeal. And I think its safe to say that some of those numbers have been hacked. As I said in the article, I recognize that many of the numerical valuations are absolute crap, but I can’t help but still check them out and make comparison.

    As for the community valuing technique over aesthetics I’m not so sure, I think it depends on who you ask and although the Manifesto is obviously a ridiculously small sample size, I’d be willing to bet that the opposite would be true for most of the constant readers. Rutherford would probably remind us that we are neither unique, nor special so maybe it’s not as skewed as you think, at least not for builders. And I could give a crap about what collectors or general “fans of lego” think about this topic.


    1. No spamming going on there at all. 😛 Holy shit, that’s hilarious to think that someone put THAT much effort into those examples. Such a complete life worth living right there. XD


      1. Yeah that’s the kind of livin’ that you just can’t replicate…unless you’re Tom Vu, in which case… maybe you can? because YOU can be just like ME!


      2. I preferred Tom in his role in Missing in Action 2. When he said, “If you do not sign da confession, you will stay in mah prison camp fohevaaaah!” I got chills.


  3. Brickshelf precedes my introduction to the Lego interwebs community, and it actually looks painfully slow and low res more than even Mocpages. I’ve only ventured over to the site through various links dropped here and there and have to admit that I find it bland. The fact that magnificent models like The Doll seem to find their sole residence there is a sad reality of attitudes like mine. Flickr is just so much easier, but it lacks any depth. Mocpages has the opportunity to be greater than the sum, but it is run like Animal Farm. Brickshelf looks so archaic and the definition of a photo dump. It seems like Lugnet was essentially all blather and little photo proof.

    I can totally see how metrics of any gauge can drive curiosity here as there’s absolutely no basic standard or quintessential exemplary to define this, that, or the other. Only our tastes. Friday Night Fights is proof there. I would contend that the aesthetic focus isn’t necessarily second fiddle but rather again taste. I would say that most of the builders out there are engineer/architect/reproduction oriented, that has a beauty all to its own. Going in for the kill with a straight up art piece is really only self satisfactory in the end. The more expressive works done in Lego fall easily to the wayside with the audience at large. Metrics of any kind won’t help because they are irrelevant in that light. Yes, I’m going to say that they start the conversation; and yes, they also beg to know what’s next. As for the here and now, does that Halo Warthog look awsum or not is the only thing that matters to those that don’t see this as an art medium. The Arvos are the rare breed that do both.

    I always love those top ten lists, of anything. I find that my choices are not only way off base but they also change dependent on my current mood. The best ones are of an artistic nature. Music, TV, movies, or just plain art in general, they’re all liquid and should be. I don’t ask what the best movie made is, I ask what movie have you seen the most. That is more indicative of the person and certainly more reliable for an honest answer. Would I say that Showgirls is the best movie ever made? Nope. However, would I say that I’ve watched it dozens of times because it’s one of the most brilliantly dumb movies that I will always go to watch if given the chance. Fuck yeah. Metrics fail every time when you introduce other individuals to the equation. Stats end up interfering at best with just simply enjoying what’s in front of you at any given time.

    Fucking hippy.


  4. Oh it’s bland alright, like an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond or a Sting solo album. Brickshelf was indeed a pain in the ass to use but like so much of life, we didn’t know any better at the time so we put up with it, like mullets and acid washed jeans. It wasn’t quite as annoying as LUGnet’s multi-step posting verification ritual which was intended to prevent angry exchanges but often had quite the opposite effect. It was odd having to use two unrelated sites to make everything work but it was all new back then and most of us were just happy that somebody could be bothered to build and support those sites. At least they had the benefit of being Lego pure and not a generic photo hosting platform like Flickr.

    I freely admit that my borderline obsession with the numbers is not terribly meaningful to a wide swath of my peers, but I can’t be the only one who has been conditioned over the years to enjoy examining them. I know it’s common to hear people say a variation of “oh I don’t care about the numbers” and for some of them I’m sure that’s true but for many of them I think it’s some self aggrandizing crap. I do care about the numbers, if I’m in a contest, for instance, I always check my numbers against those of my competitors. If I put out a diorama like Bucharest, I always compare it to the big collabos I’ve done in the past like Highway44.

    Where we really agree was the way your rankings might change with your mood, or simply over time. Where we really don’t agree is your methodology to determine a persons favorite film. The best movie made is clearly Escape From New York, and the movie I’ve seen most is also Escape From New York. Surely even a free-wheeling hippy like yourself will bow to this immutable, self evident truth? Have you gone completely savage on me?

    Also, stop dodging the repeated requests of your contemporaries and write a damn article on MOCpages. Do it, rountRee, I’ll even spell your name correctly when I publish it. I’ll even give you a Manifesto T-Shirt.

    Do it for the little people, like Bacca, Topsy and Sasso.


    1. From the top:
      1. Yes, stats are crucial. Factual data. Back bone of science. Western world view FTW!
      2. Yes, stats are flawed like a mo-fo. Most of the stats we have access to are totally NON-SCIENTIFIC.
      3. Yes, corrupted stats are all we have.
      4. Yes, even if not corrupted, statistical info as a basis for comparing art is usually pretty thin shit!
      5. Yes, use them for comparison, but recognize the limitations of their utility.
      6. Yes, most people who say they are disinterested in the stats are actually saying something that they think makes them look better in the eyes of others (a very human thing to do) when if fact they totally care about the stats.
      7. Yes. rowntRee. Write the dam article about MOCpages… you ninny!


      Escape From New York… is in fact… the finest film ever made. You can debate this if you like, but… who can one put it… you will be wrong. The film is the zenith of human artistic endeavor. All efforts before it, an all efforts to follow are subordinate to in in terms of artistic, scientific, market, religious, or sociological value. Plus… I want to be Bob Hauk.

      Hauk teaches us three immutable truths about life. Three unchanging principals that we must all constantly strive to remember, and to apply in all situations… not only to ourselves, but to our brothers and sisters as we hurtle through an indifferent universe on this fragile damp rock we call home.

      You flew the Gullfire over Leningrad.
      You know how to get in quiet.
      Your all I’ve got.


    2. Oh, this video… I’m a better man for having watched it. Best vid since that cut up vid of Spock watching Nemoy singing the balled of Bilbo Baggins!

      Thank you Keith!

      Thank you!


      1. Warrrrrriorrrrs, come out to playyyyyyyaaay! I used to work at Toys-r-us decades ago and we would quote that flick over the PA system after hours.


  5. flickr has its problems for sure, but whenever I see MOCpages or brickshelf, I’m somewhat forced to think that it’s a good thing that flickr has a larger user base than just us Lego nerds. At least flickr does get updates to its code.

    Also, 4,294,967,295 is the largest number that fits in a 32 bit integer, which is probably why that view counter stops there… though it would be funnier if it rolled back around to 0, as in “you have so many views they’re actually irrelevant again”.

    The Avro brothers make awesome models, but I have to admit when they published that book about their version of Kaneda’s bike and then later about their Alien model, I started to think they’re milking each individual MOC a bit too much for my taste.


    1. Thanks for pointing out the issue with the Brickshelf counter, I knew there had to be an answer to the riddle of 4,294,967,295. I agree with you that it would be funnier if it reset to zero, I’m sure some people would flip out.

      After many years of pondering the question, I still can’t decide whether or not Flickr is better or worse for having the larger non-lego user base. Even though I was never a fan of the site’s mechanics, I do still have a nostalgic place in my heart for the Lugnet era when everyone was literally on the same page. I suppose there is value to both but I hate how fragmented we have become and that eventually everything will be based on a phone app.

      Yeah, I’m not a big fan of the Arvo bro’s literary attempts. The book about the Kaneda bike is useless because it’s all but impossible to find those X-Pod lids in red and at the end of the day, it’s just a bike that that they didn’t design to being with. Like so many high visibility builders, they do milk it way too much.


  6. Mocpages has potential, but a lot of problems. Flickr doesn’t have many problems, but not a lot of potential. That’s why i’m active on both. Meet in the middle.

    Also, the Doll is going to give me nightmare’s for weeks. So thanks for the Keith 😛


    1. I think there are quite a few people who share that sort of dual-citizenship status. I did for a very long time. I just can’t invest anymore in MOCpages when the guy on the throne just doesn’t care about the site beyond it’s ability to generate revenue. It’s his right to run it whatever way he thinks best, but I don’t want to be a part of that scene anymore.

      I’m glad “The Doll” was new to somebody besides me, I was beginning to feel alone in my crowd. Cheers Wolff!


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