“Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility.”

Of course there is no way of knowing if this “Alien”  bust by Mihai Marius Mihu is hostile or not, but as the Captain of this starship,  I’m not taking any chances.  We will not be violating Manifesto quarantine protocols to bring this thing on board the ship.  No sir, we will not.  There is also no doubt that the model is “structural perfection“, its curves and textures are worthy of your favorite superlative.  What we are seeing here is a builder just entering his prime with a toolbox full of techniques and the artistic vision to use them.  It’s very exciting to look at Mihai’s powerful work today and know that the best is yet to come.  I was going to catalogue all the amazing details of the model, but to do so seems ridiculous, one look should sell you on its greatness.  It’s time like these that I wonder if the generic Lego-blog boilerplate is best: introduce the model, say something complementary but forgettable and get out of the way.  Instead, I’ve worked very hard to find one nitpick.  The section just above the bridge of the nose seems off to me, you can see a field of studs behind the trans-blue and trans-red bars and I find it distracting.  This isn’t an anti-stud rant, I absolutely love the way Mihai incorporated studs on the collar (and there are a lot of them), I wouldn’t change those studs for anything.  But the area in question looks unfinished to me because the rest of the build is indeed so purposeful and so dense with clever detail. While I like the blue bars near the top of the head, I don’t think they are as effective right above the nose.  There is also a small field of studs just below the trans-blue of the nose that seems a little rough as well.

Forget the nitpicking though, it’s all about those spooky eyes and the trans-blue elements underneath them.  “Alien” is a breathtaking model that stopped me in my tracks and had me immediately opening a new tab for WordPress.  Usually I leave the shiny A-list stuff to the big blogs, but this time I couldn’t resist.  Well done, Mihai, this thing looks alien indeed and I thank you in advance for all the great models to come.

28932734200_6cf15914a4_o.png

Behold a Dark Pyramid

As a resident of the Nevada wasteland, it isn’t too often that I run across a model that reminds me of my less than beloved home town.  When I look at the next model in the Manifesto spotlight I’m not transported to a bleak and foreboding Martian landscape, I stay right at home in bleak and foreboding Las Vegas.  To my admittedly heat-addled brain, “Dark Pyramid” is an apocalyptic vision of a possible future, with Sin City’s alien-infested Luxor hotel at the center of the action.  Builder of great renown, Paddy Bricksplitter, does an admirable job of framing the shot  and the result is one of the best forced perspective treatments I’ve seen in a long time.  The modest scene suggests a much larger story, accomplishing that difficult trick of making the viewer want to see more of everything.  This image would have been right at home on a pulp Sci-Fi novel cover from the 1970’s, even the title Dark Pyramid is perfect for the time period.  In his write-up, Paddy says the build was inspired by pre-production art for the films Alien and Galaxy of Terror, its lesser known clone that traded Sigourney Weaver for Joanie from Happy Days.  I never thought I’d see a model influenced by Galaxy of Terror in any way, but I’m delighted with the obscurity of the reference.  The bones of this diorama are so good that you could easily swap out the astronauts for a couple of iron age beef-cakes and you’d have a Conan book cover, in which he explores the black pyramids of Stygia with his swarthy companion Juma.  I can imagine any number of minifigs substituted for the two guys below, such is the power of the image.  This model is also a good example of how you don’t have to reinvent the wheel in terms of technique to achieve great results.28529667762_303128ddbf_o

For those of you not acquainted with Galaxy of Terror it has a quite a cast, including Freddy Krueger, My favorite Martian and Captain Spaulding.  What more could you ask for, constant reader?  It is difficult to believe this film came out 4 years after Star Wars and featured special effects sequences from pre-Star Wars Roger Corman films. If you’re staying in tonight you could do worse than a tall glass of your favorite adult beverage and this B movie delight from 1981.  Scream Freddy, Scream!

Two for Tuesday: Jordan Schwartz

tuesday

Good evening constant reader, its happy hour and our bartender Lloyd is setting them up neat, just the way you like it.  Since it’s jacket and tie only tonight, I’ve invited a sophisticated cat and swingin’ builder to class up the joint, one Mr. Jordan Jordan Schwartz.  The models are not exactly new, but they are new to the blog and to me.  I pretty much took last year off from building and even looking at models, so both of these builds slipped past my radar.  I was lucky enough to meet Jordan at BrickWorld 2010 in the outskirts of Chicago.  At the time he was 16, already a valedictorian and mature beyond his years.  Possessing a keen wit and the outlook of an artist, he made quite an impression on me in a short period of time.  As a teenager I saw Jordan put up with a lot of shit online from some high-vis “adult” builders and he handled it with complete class.  He also outlasted his detractors which is some sweet chicken indeed.  I only regret we didn’t get a chance to hang out more at the convention, but those overwhelming environments can be the enemy of meaningful dialogue.  Jordan has been a little on the reclusive side lately but at least he’s still gifting us with his genius from time to time.  Our first offering tonight is smooth operator Nick Wilde from Zootopia.  My daughter was looking over my shoulder while I was scrolling through Jordan’s photos and she insisted I include the wily fox in the post.  I couldn’t really argue against it, the build is pretty amazing and the pose captures the essence of the character perfectly.  The shirt is a nice study by itself.

23785539609_710f2da5a8_o

I didn’t have to look much further for the second build, I’m such a huge fan of 1979’s Alien  that I used to pause the VHS tape every time the The Narcissus lifeboat made an appearance.  It was so unlike the lumbering Nostromo that it was a striking contrast and a really neat model.  I think the nose on Jordan’s version could be refined a little but I give him extra points for subject matter and it’s instantly recognizable.

I mentioned earlier that  Jordan is a sophisticated cat, right?  We’ll he’s got no time for your scuffed sneakers, skinny jeans and stained Marvel T-Shirt so why don’t you just show yourself out before you embarrass yourself any further.  Also, he might have a derringer in that jacket pocket and I know he’s shot people for dress code violations before.  ISeriously, you should just leave now…

20984181133_038f131527_o