73 Questions (Blog or Die! Entry #21)

Accepted entry for the “Interview” category.

Author: Cameron (-Primus-)

Word Count: 3,218

Judge’s Notes:

* This entry was submitted before the deadline (Mon, Jan 15, 2018 8:41 pm), but I didn’t have a chance to post it until today.  In fact, I somehow lost it and had to be reminded by the author himself earlier today.  My apologies good sir, I was asleep at the wheel!  The entry is valid and accepted for final consideration.

** This is the last official entry, the deadline has come and gone.  Formal reviews of each submission will follow throughout the week and final results will be posted no later than (Sun, Jan 21), in a dedicated article that will include every review for easy comparison.

*** To all the intrepid writers, interviewees and comic designers of the Blog or Die! contest I thank you for your participation, effort, skill, entertainment and patience. The Manifesto salutes you!

It’s en Vogue

 

Because I haven’t seen many (if any) entrants into the interview category, I figured I’d give it a go, constant reader. And what’s a better way to structure an interview than to parrot the style of a popular magazine (Vogue)? Or at least, I think it’s a popular magazine? IDK, my girlfriend reads it. As a forewarning, this is gonna be a long (but hopefully enjoyable) article, constant reader. It may even give Rutherford a run for his money.

Anyway, here’s 73 QUESTIONS, featuring the illustrious Jayfa.

  1. What’s your online handle? Jayfa
  2. What’s your IRL handle? Joss F. Woodyard
  3. What’s your age? 20
  4. What’s your location? Newcastle, Australia
  5. Are you in school/college right now? University Conservatorium of Music, Newcastle (University of Newcastle)
  6. What do you study? Bachelor of Music
  7. If I wanted to find your works, where would I look? @jayfa_mocs on Instagram; Jayfa on Flickr
  8. How long have you been building with LEGO? Probably since I was 5 years old or so. My parents tried getting me into Lego even earlier but I wasn’t interested until my older brother got a Bionicle for his birthday and I was like “I need that.” And from that point onward I’ve kinda been consistently into it.
  9. What’s your secret to taking Instagram by storm? Probably just posting frequently, responding to critiques, getting consistently better over the course of the year. There’s probably a bit more to it than that.
  10. What’s your favorite LEGO theme currently? Probably Elves, honestly. Like, I don’t buy it for the sets but the parts they come with are so, so good.
  11. What was your favorite Lego theme previously? I mean, that’s pretty obvious. It’s always been Bionicle whenever it’s out. I was so stoked when Bionicle came back in 2015. I bought ever single set over the course of the two years. That includes ones that weren’t even released in Australia.
  12. What’s your favorite MOC of yours? Um, it’s probably a tossup between Dagon & Dragonfly

 

  1. Why are they your favorite? Dagon it’s kind of just been my golden goose and everyone seems to have liked it. Dragonfly I feel like is one of my most solid and well-built MOCs in a long time. because it seems
  2. What’s your favorite MOC of someone else’s? One of my favorite MOCs I’ve ever seen is Kulgai by Brickthing. I thought that was so cool when I first saw it:

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  1. Why is it your favorite? It was like before I seriously got into MOCing that I saw it. Seeing his MOCs is what really pushed me to do more MOCing (I only just started posting to the Internet in 2016). What really impressed me was his parts usage, I thought it was cool that he used mermaid tails as leaves. Just really clever parts usage.
  2. What your favorite MOC of mine? Easily the Midnight Dragon

image007.jpg

  1. Why is it your favorite? It’s one that I remember seeing a very long time ago and I always thought it was so goddamn cool and I’ve always been a sucker for parts-spam MOCs. Like, before I knew Bricklink existed it was such a weird, foreign concept to me and like seeing someone do it was like really surreal. Also I just really love that old gold color.
  2. What’s one thing you’re looking to improve in 2018, MOC-wise? Mostly polish on my MOCs because a lot of the time this year I kinda rolled them out without sitting back, looking at it and thinking “OK, are there any last things I want to do this?” Which is why I’ve updated so many MOCs throughout the year as I wasn’t happy with their build.
  3. What’s one thing you’re looking to improve in 2018, not MOC-wise? Probably just being more committed at University.
  4. What’s one thing you’re looking to do less of in 2018? I can’t really think of anything for that, can’t think of any one thing I’m looking to do less of. Being lazy? Do less of being lazy?
  5. What’s one thing you’re looking to do more of in 2018? MOCing, honestly. I’m just going to be doing that all the time. It’s just so much fun. It’s a great escape from everything.
  6. What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten about building? Honestly, COLOR BLOCKING. It was pretty late in the year that the concept of color blocking was made apparent to me and since then I feel like my builds have gotten incrementally substantially better.
  7. What’s the best advice you’ve ever given about building? Personally, it’s to be open to criticism and be receptive to it, even if you don’t listen to it to a T.
  8. How do you feel when people criticize your MOCS? I LOVE IT. I will take a really in-depth, harsh criticism any day over a “WOW, nice MOC!” I live for those critical comments so if you got them, please give them to me.
  9. Do you think criticism is helpful when it comes to MOCing? Without a doubt, yes.
  10. Why? There are just some things that you don’t pick up yourself, ya know? Like, there are some things that you overlook when you look at a MOC long enough, you just kinda get used to the way it is in front of you. It can be really really helpful when someone points out that the arms are too short or there is a gap that you might have missed.
  11. Do you often criticize other people’s MOCs? Hell yeah, ratblasting for the win.
  12. Do you think they appreciate it? Most people actually do, and I really like that about this community, especially the small community we have on Master Piece because a lot of the people there are really really open to criticism and are aware of how much it helps them, which I think is really good.
  13. Do you think criticism is healthy for the Bionicle community? I do, yes. I feel like more people should be open to it.
  14. Do you think that the best builders are ones who can take and give criticism? I don’t necessarily think you have to be good at giving criticism to be a good builder but definitely you need to be able to take it.
  15. Do you think that builders that actively ignore constructive criticism are shooting themselves in the foot?
  16. Why? Because it just hinders you as a MOCist. IT’s a barrier, if you will.
  17. Do you think I’m asking a lot of targeted questions? No comment
  18. It’s almost like I have an agenda, isn’t it? No comment,
  19. Do you think that the Bionicle community is more critical than the overall Lego community? Well, I can’t really say so because I’m not really that in with the overall Lego community. Most of the time though I only see the “WOW, Nice MOC!” comments that I talked about earlier, but I’m sure there are a lot of niche subsections where people can get good criticism.
  20. Why? I can’t really judge as I’m not that involved yet.
  21. As a relative newcomer to the community, what do you think has been the biggest boon on your building and why is it criticism? I remember when I first posted a MOC to the TTV message boards, which was the first place I had ever posted anything, it was my self-MOC, and I was like “This is the best thing I’ve ever made and probably ever will make, it’s so good” and when I posted it half the comments were about how certain parts of it looked like ass. At first I was pretty salty, but then I kept posting more and more MOCs and got more and more criticism and decided to finally start listening to some of it and I got better. I got better fast.
  22. Can you name a recent MOC of yours that I can feature it in this blog? I’m probably going to have my Queen Phosperantidae [note: I hope I didn’t butcher that spelling] posted by the time you post this entry so might as well plug that one. [additional note: at the time of this article’s writing he still has not posted the MOC, so the Keithlug audience is getting an exclusive sneak-peak]

image009.jpg

(Image credit: Jayfa)

  1. Please describe this MOC to me: That’s not really a question? Anyway, I bought Nocturn [At this point just assume all of the bracketed bits are notes: Nocturn is an old Bionicle set] about a year ago and it finally arrived before Christmas [shout out to the Australian Post] and when it got here I realized how much I fuckin love glow-in-the-dark pieces. So I decided I was going to order as many of them as I could find from one Bricklink seller. And then I decided I was going to build something with them and this was the result.
  2. What meaning do you derive from this MOC? That’s a weird question. What meaning do I derive from it? It’s a fun build using more old parts than usual.
  3. Do you think this was a successful MOC? I posted it in Master Piece and people seemed to like it there and I’ve posted it on Facebook and they absolutely adored it there, so I’m gonna say it’s been pretty successful so far. We’ll see how it goes when I post it to Instagram and Flickr.
  4. How do you define successful MOCs? Well, honestly, the amount of attention it gets on social media is kinda secondary to me as to what the people I respect as builders think of it. That’s like the biggest thing for me. If I can get someone that I really look up to and take lots of inspiration from to leave a comment on a MOC and say they really like how it turned out, that’s like, that’s what really means a lot to me.
  5. So then you think success is gained via respect of your peers and not through self-awarded accolades? Respect of your peers, easily. I don’t need other people to validate my success, but it sure helps.
  6. Who do you think are the 3 most successful Bionicle Builders in the past year (you can include yourself)? For starters, I suppose I wanna say Alex Park because he’s been whipping the last couple of months of 2017. He’s really starting to pull himself together and I really love the style of his builds recently. He’s been listening to a lot of good criticism, which is really important. I mean, obviously DJOKSON is up there as well, because like, he’s been around for a long time but he still posts so consistently and builds at such a consistent quality, which I really admire. And I can say the same about Red as well. I have been loving what Red has been putting out.
  7. Name a MOC of one of theirs that you’d like to discuss? Kinda leading off of that last question, I’d like to talk about Red’s Chaz Chokkuthruz the Greatspear of the Lizardfolk

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  1. Why did you pick this MOC? Just because it really embodies the use of retro parts. And it’s not even just Bionicle retro parts, there’s like a few really groovy System parts put in there. Like, all of the parts used are from the same era, and it feels so wholesomely representative of that time and yet it is so, so well done.
  2. Do you derive any worth from this MOC? I mean, yeah, I think it’s an inspiration. It’s very well done in concept and execution.
  3. Does it matter to you if this MOC has a storyline? Not really, honestly.
  4. Why? It’s kinda neat to see some kind of background to a MOC every now and then. I’ll be like “Oh that’s cool that they thought that out,” but it’s definitely not necessary for a good MOC. I consider it like two separate hobbies really. By all means if you like to write and you like to MOC then go for it, but I don’t think you need to have one to do the other.
  5. Does it matter to you if this MOC has more than one picture shown? Not really, I don’t mind if MOCs only have one photo as long as it’s a good photo.
  6. Why? I personally suck at doing that because I feel like I want to show off my MOC’s poseability, but if it is meant to be a statue, which is totally fine if it is, then it’s totally fine to have just one photo.
  7. Do you think that you have a distinct MOCing style? Not really, honestly. I can vary in styles a lot, mostly because when I build I tend not to mix System, CCBS, and Bioncle all at once. I kinda just pick two of them at a time, which I think can lead to very varied looking stuff. That’s just my opinion though, to others I might have a very distinct style.
  8. In 3 words or less, describe your MOCing style? I can’t say this without sounding like a pretentious asshole, but “Varied and Unique.”
  9. Do you think I have a distinct MOCing style? I think back in the day you kinda did, like if I look at your older stuff from the early 2010’s and older, it’s very clear you did. It’s really interesting to see how much your style has changed and you’ve been branching out with your past few MOCs, but I really like that. Nice to see more color usage too haha.
  10. In 3 words or less, describe my MOCing syle? Builds Black Robots
  11. Can you name a MOC of mine that you’d like to discuss? I’m just gonna say the teal TechnicFig dude with wheel feet

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(Image link)

  1. Why did you pick that MOC? I just thought it was so cool because it was the first time I’d seen TechnicFigs used in a Bionicle MOC and I just thought it was done really well.
  2. What stands out to you the most about that MOC? The proportions of it, the way you posed it is really dynamic, and I’m also a sucker for the teal pieces. Thank god that’s coming back.
  3. Do you think constructive criticism from my peers helped me while I made that MOC? I can’t speak for you but I’m guessing so, yes.
  4. Do you have any constructive criticism to give me for that MOC? It would have been good if you had edited out the technic cams you used to hold it up or used a clear piece instead.
  5. These are a lot of questions, aren’t they? YES, it certainly is.
  6. Why do you make so many serpent MOCs? I built the first one, it was successful and it was a lot of fun. And I feel like the elves pieces really helped it out. The second one I made was originally going to be a different creature but then the head worked out really well so I was like “yea, I’m going to make another one of these.” I’m probably going to make an orange one that’s a lot bigger at some point if I have the time and money.
  7. And when you’re not making serpents, why did you start doing the Plague Mech series? For the first Plague Mech, I took inspiration from Astorix’s Mizaka. It was an older MOC but the way the cheese slope pieces were used was really really cool and I wanted to try it out myself. I just started making a torso and it looked really cool and then I made some really gangly-ass robot limbs for it. I struggled with the head but eventually settled for this bug like head. And people really liked it. The second one kinda happened by accident and then I was like “You know what, I might as well start making more of these things because people tend to like them.”
  8. You wouldn’t happen to have a collage of the Plague Mechs would you? I do, I will send it you after the interview is done

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(Image Credit: Jayfa)

  1. Do you think you’ll be able to complete the whole series? I really hope so, and if I don’t do it myself I’m probably gonna do it with help from other people who will make contributions and stuff. Which I really like the idea of because a lot of people seem to be keen to givin it a shot for themselves.
  2. Do you think constructive criticism has helped you with the making of these MOCs? Abso-fuckin-loutely. Like, if you look at Dragonfly V1 versus his most recent interation, the difference is ridiculous, all because I listened to the criticism people gave me.

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(Image Link, latest version on the left)

  1. Do you plan to continue to listen to constructive criticism? Certainly do.
  2. Do you plan on still giving constructive criticism? Yeah, it’s fun, and very rewarding if you like come up with something someone else hadn’t seen in a MOC and they take it to heart and it makes their MOC a million times better, I’m all for that.
  3. What would you criticize about this interview? That it was early in the morning and I stayed up til a ridiculous hour last night so I’m a bit drowsy.
  4. What would you praise about this interview? Some good questions here, lots of thought provoking ones. And I’m enjoying the dig in on criticism.
  5. Do you think I’ll hit my minimum word count halfway through this interview? Probably. I hope so.
  6. Do you think you still need to prove yourself as a builder? Yes, honestly. There are a couple of “big dogs” in the community, if you will, that I feel like aren’t totally on board with me yet, which I totally understand. A lot of the people that are like, more well known in the community have been around for a very long time and it’s a very tight-knit community, so I think that will come with time.
  7. And finally, is there anything you want to say to the fans or friends out there reading this? To my friends, I just wanna say that I thank you all so much for the support that you’ve given me throughout this past year and just for being on board with this hobby of mine. As for the fans, thank you so much for actually liking my stuff and getting me to where I am now. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without all of you. I love you all very much.

So, there you have it, constant reader. Assuming you’ve made it this far (holy shit that word count), thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I have. Also I have done my best to parse through his amazing accent in order to transcribe Joss faithfully.

 

 

Bionicle and System (Blog or Die! Entry #20)

Accepted entry for the “Interview” category.

Author: Ballom Nom Nom

Word Count: 1,630

Judge’s Notes:

* This entry was submitted before the deadline (Mon, Jan 15, 2018 10:15 pm), but I didn’t have a chance to post it until today.  The entry is valid and accepted for final consideration.

Bionicle and System

 

…Oh yes, another dogged entry bleating about Bionicle, I can already hear the prospective reader saying. Egad! And yes, I do not deny this claim, other than seeking the indulgence of the noble reader and entreating them to persevere, in the hope that what follows will be worth their while. Should discussion of Bionicle not play this role, I note that the paragraphs below, somewhere, contain a pony.

And now, onward!

Long denigrated as the ugly sibling of the beautiful swan of System, the style of building collectively described under the umbrella of Bionicle (alternatively known as Barnacle, Bonkle, Bonko, Bonk, etc. among aficionados) is in fact greatly underappreciated in the wider Lego community. However, its adherents rightfully know it to be a dazzling and wonderful medium, whose expression can be used for constructing the breathtaking profusion of forms such as armored humanoid robots and slightly different armored humanoid robots. And, indeed, such expression of the art of Lego building, while clearly not of an identical nature to construction centered about System, nevertheless has its own captivating charm. One sufficiently enlightened in its nuances and subtlety can even recognize it as the superior to System.

bionicle_v_system.jpg

(image credit: the author)

The intrepid reader who is still with me after the preceding sentence may doubt the veracity of the last bold claim — perhaps even shocked! However, I hope to subsequently show the foundation for these ambitious claims, and moreover seek to inform the esteemed reader who may be heretofore tragically unaware of Bionicle and its wondrous superiority to System.

Let’s begin by turning our attention to the basic characteristics of the parts associated with the medium of Bionicle. The quadrilaterally-formed, right-angle-dominated elements of System (whether studly or smooth) these are not — our first category of parts is derived from the Bionicle line of sets produced by the Lego Group from 2001 to 2010. In their unique constituents are a variety of oddly studless parts.

bionicle.jpg

(image credit: the author)

Several ways of subdividing these Bionicle parts manifest: first, those featuring balls and sockets for the limbs and joints of the robotic Bionicle creature. Extending from the foundation laid by Technic ball-and-socket creature constructions, the parts have specialization and into parts to be used for limbs, necks, and areas built with a range of motion. Typical uses range across the panoply of limbs, from gorilla-like arms to gorilla-like legs, and in exceptional cases orangutan-like arms.

bionicle_leg

(image credit: Bricklink)

Second, parts used for providing armor, bulk, and details to the Bionicle sets. Clawed feet, ornate breastplates, wide paneling, rows of spines, and an array of weapons and swords. Here one sees the greatest breadth of Bionicle parts — which the astute reader notes still pales in comparison to the number of System elements — but this is no matter. As a matter of fact, it is a point of advantage.

bionicle_weapon.jpg

(image credit: Bricklink)

Third, masks: parts central to the complex Bionicle mythos (the details of which may be exhaustively perused throughout million-paged Bionicle wikis, should drying paint be unavailable for amusement). Other than each featuring a face of some sort, the informed reader may generally regard these as similar to the second category.

bionicle_mask.jpg

(image credit: Bricklink)

There are two further-defining characteristics of the parts described above. The first is more incidental: an association with the Technic part system, with connections for Technic pins and axles in lieu of studs and antistuds. The second is more fundamental to what I claim is the aesthetic of Bionicle: parts with complex shapes, which deviate from System bricks in having curved and rounded shapes throughout as opposed to having at most one or two faces of the part, as System slopes and other elements tend to. Parts which vary significantly in thickness and texture, such as for accommodating a ball or socket, or spikes, or various other greebles and decorations — for, as was conventional wisdom for The Lego Group during the turn of the millennium, the Bionicle-constructed character must be riddled with greebles! Parts which could be described with terms such as non-Euclidean, and others shared by mathematicians and Lovecraft alike, which I will forbear from using at length. Parts which, in a word, are interesting in ways that the humble brick of rectilinear shape is not. (Dare I even use the appellation unique? I dare not, good reader).

Let’s continue on to the other category of parts associated with Bionicle builds — pieces under the umbrella of the Character and Creature Building System (hereinafter CCBS), which appeared in themes such as Hero Factory (the spiritual successor to Bionicle), the Ultrabuilds created for themes such as Legends of Chima and Star Wars, and Bionicle’s fleeting resurrection. This system retains ball-and-socket parts, with sets built around a core of parts similar to technic beams with incorporated ball joints and sockets. Atop this skeleton, smooth, symmetric shells attach by sockets. Extensions attach to these shells by their sole other connection point of paired rod holes.

bionicle_ccbs

(image credit: Bricklink)

Our long-suffering reader — for whom I salute the fortitude of, to persist even this far in a discussion of Bionicle — may perchance be curious how such parts are related to those addressed before, other than the superficial similarity of appearing in the Bionicle theme. And it is true that the general aesthetic differs significantly from the greebled, complicated designs of older Bionicle. However, the pleasingly varied shapes of the curved shells, and the skeletal elements intended for ball-and-socket connections allowing movement and varied angles remain. And so, with this core intact, both can be categorized under the inclusive umbrella of Bionicle.

And so, with a hurricane overview of the tools a… ahem… Bionicle builder may employ — which I note are essential to the style and when used in abundance can clearly characterize a creation with the label Bionicle — I may now more successfully contrast with System. As hinted at before, the collective whole of parts deemed indisputably “Bionicle” is a quantity much smaller than the bafflingly large array of System parts. Even if I ignore in the comparison the rarely used parts in each category, putting aside even favorites such as the beloved System camel head and the adorable Bionicle rubber squid ammunition, System still dominates by an enormous margin. (I leave the exact counting for this comparison as an exercise to the discerning reader.) This difference may be claimed by some to be a weakness of the Bionicle-based system, but I assert it to be in fact a strength!

In building with Bionicle, there exists the true struggle of the artist against an unyielding and uncompromising medium, the likes of which are not found in using System. The Sisyphean struggle with odd angles and parts make the success of a completed build all the sweeter, the qualities of the result appreciated all the more keenly, while there is less joy to be found in a more easily accomplished System build. What artistry is there to be had in immediately having available System parts for whatever is desired to be constructed? What character in a sterile build of System that all too easily presents a near-perfect facsimile of the intended design? Compare this to one of Bionicle, which demands ingenuity from the observer, to look past the greebled parts, the textures and gaps to glimpse the true intention of the builder shining through. To be sure, there is beauty in verisimilitudinous System constructions. But the System creation presents all the weaknesses of perfection, while the Bionicle creation wields the might of its deformities — especially given the handicaps it reflects.

Too, there is also how the fewer-dimensional System elements, interlocking as they do, are static and immutable, unlike the malleable forms resulting from ball-and-socket connections. This is a notable dereliction on the part of System, but owing to the age of the venerable brick, from a time where such mobility was not so prized, I ignore this fault with a passing mention, to keep this comparison sporting.

However, this digression does lead inexorably to discussion of the quintessential Bionicle work — the Toa (a foreign word meaning “man who stands yonder”). A treatment of Bionicle without be remiss without such a mention of the fundamental object of study. These armored, humanoid, robotic and certainly not coat-wearing warrior figures touch the very core of the medium. Detractors may insinuate that a strong focus on the same works does not show flexibility. But a fixation with a particular muse is not inflexible or smallminded at all. A Bionicle creator’s enchantment with the nuances of Toa is akin to the reverence past master artists had for favorite works – think of Monet and the haystacks, or Renoir and the lily.

Which leads to my final point, about character. By enshrining humanoids, robots, and Toa, as well as other popular Bionicle forms such as creatures and animals, there is a wealth of character demonstrated, from the builds’ expressiveness to their articulation. Is such character exhibited by System builds? Not in the basic and uninspiring grey castle, nor in the drab two tones of Classic Space, nor in faceless armies of soldiers, nor in porcupine-studded aircraft – No! It is in builds defined by a system where character as become foundational. Builds steeped in the Character and Creature Building System.

And so, patient reader, as this comes to a close, I trust that the agreement on the conclusion is unanimous. Bionicle is, of course, the clear superior of System – there is no contest. In fact, in comparison System may sometimes seem to barely be Lego, with its sea of parts that often resemble third-party components. Only the glorious Bionicle, crafted from its slender selection of parts, may truly ascend to the pinnacle of the Lego art.

bionicle_victory.jpg

(image credit: the author)

Author’s note: I regret to say there is not a pony, due to budget constraints.

Not My LEGO® (Blog or Die! Entry #11)

Accepted entry for the “Article” category.

Author: Cameron (-Primus-)

Word Count: 1,737

Not MY LEGO®

 

My therapist says that it’s good to talk about things that upset me, and Keith is still running his contest so I figured I’d take this opportunity, constant reader, to tackle a beloved topic: Whether BIONICLE is LEGO? And, given that answer, what even makes something BIONICLE? I intend to address these questions throughout this piece, and hopefully in a manner that Rutherford finds “structural” 😉

Now, the obvious answer to the first question is “OF FUCKIN’ COURSE IT’S LEGO, IT’S RIGHT THERE ON THE BOX.”

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(Image courtesy of The LEGO® Group, somewhere)

However, this is apparently not enough to distinguish the line as “LEGO” to at least a handful of AFOLs. I guess they can justify that stance by the fact that it doesn’t exactly match the patent that LEGO had originally filed for their interlocking brick system?

(images courtesy of US Patent US3005282 A)

I do not think that’s a very strong foot to stand on; however, as most of the “LEGO” produced today doesn’t match this exact interlocking brick system, especially the clip & bar system or the Technic systems (let’s not talk about ZNAP. I’m sure we can all agree on that one). Additionally, a lot of actual “not LEGO” mimics this interlocking system, so it’s possible to have a collection (let’s say, bought in bulk) that has parts that truly are not LEGO, yet look like the traditional interlocking bricks. Therefore, the interlocking brick system argument seems pretty weak, unless said AFOL thinks that pretty much all LEGO today is not actually LEGO. In which case, they’re letting nostalgia cloud their opinion on what is truly LEGO, which is also not a good foot to stand on when the argument comes up. Get with the times, gramps!

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(ACTUALLY NOT FUCKIN LEGO, image courtesy of Mega Construx)

Do note all of the INTERLOCKING BRICKS in the set I posted above, made by an actual competitor to LEGO and not LEGO. Again, being made of bricks doesn’t make something LEGO, especially in today’s day and age. Therefore, not a solid argument. Welcome to the era of mixel joints and curved slopes and clips and bars, actual LEGO®. To ignore that LEGO has changed since your childhood is a great way to be intentionally obtuse.

Now that we’ve established that, I’ll touch on the next big reason why BIONICLE is LEGO: without Bionicle, Lego probably would not still be a company, or, at the bare minimum, definitely would not be the company it is today. Back in the early Aughts (that’s what people are calling that decade, right?) LEGO was in pretty dire financial straits. Sales were on the decline, and it was becoming increasingly more difficult to compete in a market that catered more to action figures than castles and spaceships. So in 2001, Lego introduced something groundbreaking: Buildable action-figures. And, as far as I can tell, that shit sold like hot cakes. Licensed themes also contributed to the revival of the brand, but to ignore the integral part Bionicle played in tapping into a market Lego was struggling with would be asinine. Maybe the distaste for Bionicle comes from jealousy over the fact that it was the bestselling brand Lego had in its stable for a number of years? That’s a Wikipedia link but there’s a bunch of sources there that back up that claim. Hell, I’ll even save you a click and include a screencap from that article:

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(source: Wikipedia, link above. Probably other more reputable sources too)

No Bionicle, No Lego (or at least, no Lego as we know it right now). Also, people are probably jealous of how successful it was and how it took focus off of their themes for a while, which is understandable. However, being jealous doesn’t make something not LEGO, it just makes you crotchety 😉

Finally, maybe people consider Bionicle “NOT LEGO” because of the fanbase? A weird conclusion to leap to, but I can understand it. We are definitely our own little microcosm in the overall community, with different portions of the community liking different aspects of Bionicle. A lot of the fans are very much into the story line, and some even make their own. Some take it further and build MOCs that fit into their storyline, and if I’ve learned anything from Werewolff’s article, most people can’t be assed to look into a storyline. So I can understand the lack of appeal there. It seems to be that the most popular Bionicle builders in the system community are ones that eschew story and focus on build (which can be said as well for the most successful System builders). Finally, and probably the biggest issue, is that most of the fans are teenagers or young adults, which gives the theme a “kiddie table” type stigma. As an older member of the Bionicle Community, I can definitely see why other AFOLs would want to avoid that. But there are plenty of younger and annoying members in other segments of the community (don’t get me started on the “clone-kiddies”), yet you don’t see anyone calling Space or Post-Apoc themes “NOT LEGO.”

I think I’ve beat that horse into the ground by now, constant reader. I think it takes a great amount of leaps to come to the conclusion that the theme is not Lego, and a majority of those leaps are emotional at best. I can understand not liking the theme as it does not appeal to you, but to say it isn’t Lego is inaccurate and a bit rude to the people who are fans of the theme.

So, the next question is, what even makes something Bionicle? Is it something that uses Bionicle parts (and by Bionicle, I mean Bionicle/CCBS/Hero Factory/Ben10 parts)? Is it something that sticks to the themes of the storyline? Is it the fact that its built by someone who’s known as a Bionicle Builder? I think that it can be a combination of the above. This is probably the question I will struggle with the most, as it is the most esoteric one for me. So, I figured I would use MOC examples and describe whether I think they are Bionicle MOCs or not.

First, Enstau, Toa of the Photo-Effect by Deus Otiosus:

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(image credit: Deus Otiosus)

My verdict on this MOC? NOT BIONICLE. I’ll explain. I think without the name and the mask, this MOC could be perfectly fine as a classic space mecha. Sure, Deus made care to mimic certain aspects of the original Toa in this MOC, which is commendable. The main point to me is that it doesn’t use the system that was established by Bionicle at all. It is not a “Constraction” MOC. 1 Bionicle piece and some naming does not a Bionicle MOC make. Plenty of “regular” AFOLs use 1-2 Bionicle pieces in their MOCS and that doesn’t make them Bionicle MOCs or MOCists, so why should Deus’ inclusion of the blue Hau make this a Bionicle MOC? Sure, it tries to maintain the shapes of the original sets, which is nice. But it doesn’t use the building system, and it’s constructed like one would construct a regular Lego Mecha. Had he used ball and socket connections for at least some of the joints, I would consider it a Bionicle MOC. To me, Bionicle has grown past the story of the “Toa” and all of that and become more about utilizing the actual pieces to make MOCS, so I think that heavily influences my verdict here. It’s a neat MOC that tries to tap into the nostalgia of the Bionicle Storyline, but it is not a BIONICLE MOC.

Next, Alpha Core by Jayfa:

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(image credit: Jayfa)

My verdict on this MOC? DEFINITELY BIONICLE. I felt that I had to include a “gimme” MOC if I was going to discuss Bionicle MOCs. This is very clearly a Bionicle MOC. It’s built by a “Bionicle” builder. The majority of it utilizes the Bionicle/CCBS system. It’s an “action-figure.” It basically checks all of the boxes of “BIONICLE MOC.” It’s also well-built and well photographed, and I’ve really been liking the stuff that Jayfa has been putting out this year so I figured I’d give him a shout out. Do note that he also manages to incorporate System pieces into the build to add extra detail and fill out shapes, which is something a lot of Bionicle builders do in order to really flesh out a MOC. Speaking personally, I’ve probably bought way more system parts in the last yeah than Bionicle, and yet I am a predominately Bionicle Builder.

Finally, Arcanine by Mike Nieves (aka Retinence)

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(image credit: Retinence)

My verdict on this MOC? DEFINITELY BIONICLE. When this MOC first debuted or was displayed at BVA (I forget), there was some controversy over this MOC as to whether it was Bionicle or not (I wasn’t active at the time, so I don’t know all of the details). This is most certainly a Bionicle MOC. It heavily uses Technic, Hero Factory, and Bionicle elements to create quite a creation. It may not be a purist MOC, as it uses cut tubes (to my knowledge), but it is clearly impressive and is most definitly a Bionicle MOC.

As to not inundate you with Bionicle MOCs, constant reader, I think I should call it good with three examples (hell, I may have even lost some of you at this point). It seems to me that I define a Bionicle MOC as something that actually uses the Bionicle/Hero Factory/CCBS system to create MOCs, and that the best Bionicle MOCs are ones that incorporate multiple Systems (HF/CCBS/Technic/System).

I’ve rambled a bit here, but guess that’s what happens when my “thesis isn’t clear.” So, really, to conclude, BIONICLE IS LEGO, and I’m apparently an authority on what is Bionicle and what is not Bionicle, at least in comparison to you, constant reader ;). I hope you can see the value in my INCREDIBLY DIRECT reasons for why BIONICLE IS LEGO, and can at least appreciate it in that regard. I don’t think that you need to like the MOCs or the theme, as that’s asking a bit much, but I do hope that when you go to conventions and post on forums you take a moment to consider that us Bionicle Fans are also AFOLS. You’d be surprised how many people very openly ignore that last bit.

Talking to Myself (Blog or Die! Entry #6)

Accepted entry for the “Article” category.

Author: Primus (Cameron)

Word Count: 1,782

 

Talking to Myself

 

Hello again, constant reader. Remarkably, I’m still allowed to submit articles to this blog, so I’ve returned to write about a topic that I know fairly well. Inspired by some recent articles at our sister blog, the Brothers’ Brick, I feel compelled to write about an increasingly important part of this very community: Myself.

But before we get to that rousing topic, I’d like to provide some back story. I used to think that writing for a blog was about bringing attention to fantastic builds, highlighting a collaborative display, or inspiring discussion within our community. Apparently, however, I was wrong. I’ve found out that the biggest reason to write for a blog is to make sure people see my own MOCs! To make sure that my builds, especially ones that I thought were poorly received, can get more views and faves. To increase my follower count, as that apparently helps establish my “worth” as a builder. I’ve learned that the best part about writing for a blog is getting to ignore the fantastic builds other people are making and instead focus on my own!

So, after this revelation, I’ve decided that the best course of action is to follow their lead. I mean, they are the premier blog in the Lego community, they probably know what they are doing (and who they’re asking to write for them). I’m sure they understand how that looks to others (and hell, maybe it’s only me that really has noticed). Given the open nature of this platform (especially when Keith insists on not editing articles), this seems like my best opportunity, constant reader, to latch on to this bandwagon.

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(Banner credit: The Brothers Brick, est 2005-ish)

To begin, I’ll start with my background. Born in 1992 to my mother and father, I got involved in Lego at the ripe old age of 3. Probably. My dad gave me his Lego at some point during my childhood. Thinking about it, pretty sure my dad could be considered an FOL, as I remember him getting Technic sets at Christmas while I got Aquashark sets (as an aside, Lego, if you’re reading this, please bring back Aquazone). I continued to get Lego sets for Christmas and my birthday throughout my childhood until 2001. And in 2001, everything changed. I stopped getting Lego, and instead started to get Lego BIONICLE (which is apparently entirely different than regular Lego according to some people). As I amassed a collection of parts, I started to build my own Bionicle dudes, and I wanted to show people these sweet dudes I was building. I ended up joining BZPower (a Bionicle forum) and started to become pretty active at the end of 2007, thus beginning my perilous journey into the online community. By 2010, I had become one of the most prominent Bionicle builders (there weren’t that many of us), getting blogged multiple times at The Brothers Brick (important!) as well as many other things that somehow corroborate that claim (trust me, I was there). And by 2012 I had totally disappeared (college and moving a lot will do that to a man) and the community continued along unabated. At some point near the end of 2016 I got pulled back in, through a variety of factors which I’m not certain of (though I am certain alcohol was involved at some point). Now that you know all of that, I will continue with the really important part: my (underappreciated) MOCS!

First, let’s will start with HERAKLES. Yes, it’s supposed to be in all caps. It’s important to the character of the build. This build was my first in literal years, marking my return to the community and the end of my dark age. Pretty important stuff! And nobody blogged about it. How rude! I thought it was a very cool build, utilizing techniques and pieces in manners I hadn’t seen before to create a very bulky warrior robot.

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(Photo credit: myself)

I mean, look at those shapes! Look at how powerful he appears, ready to strike down a foe with those massive mitts. Not to mention the quality of the photography. Absolutely outstanding presentation, if I do say so myself. Pretty difficult to do with a MOC that’s practically 100% black. I mean, I’m impressed. Or at least, I was when I originally posted it. The lack of blogging made me reconsider that position, because obviously that’s what really matters when posting creations in this community.

Moving on! I’ll skip over the MOCs that have been blogged (by myself, I might add), and move on to KRUSHER. Again, the caps are really what sets this MOC apart. Aside from all of its other excellent qualities, clearly.

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(Photo credit: MYSELF)

KRUSHER is a hard-suit built around a TechnicFig, which is not something you see every day. People do still build hard-suits, right? Because if not, I guess it definitely wouldn’t be something you’d see very often. By any stretch, it’s pretty rare, and usually only happens when I do it (I think. I mean, I guess Sparkytron has made some too, but we’re not talking about him right now, are we?). I particularly like how the yellow and blue bits break up the black bits and also make it look more mechanical. I thought that was cool, but apparently no one at the Brothers Brick thought so. They probably weren’t impressed at my *ahem* seamless integration of multiple building systems in this MOC. I don’t blame them, it is a Bionicle MOC, after all. Maybe if I wrote for their blog or included a Star Wars minifig they would have blogged it…

MOVING ON, my next underappreciated MOC is a chummy little fellow named Vern Vermillious. I had to bust out the dictionary for that last name, a play on the word “vermillion.” Fitting for a red robot.

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(Photo credit: myself, again)

I thought, maybe, giving him a relatable name might improve his reception. I mean, hell, I made his legs out of train wheels, the contrast between him and the background is dynamic, the photo is very clear, and he’s got a very weird and disproportionate shape. And he’s pretty reminiscent of some of my older works. A home run, I thought! And again, I was wrong! I think that my first mistake was that it wasn’t built by someone at The Brothers Brick. My second mistake was making it out of Bionicle parts, and my third mistake was that silly glow around the edges. Turns out I’m a bit rusty with Photoshop. I’m sure I could have looked past that if I was a prestigious blogger who also happened to build the MOC, however.

At this point I’m sure you’re wondering how many more underappreciated MOCs I have, constant reader. And I’d like to tell you that I have a lot. But that’d be a lie! And it would be uncouth of me to lie to you. The real answer is two. “Two?!” you say. Yes, two. Two more woefully un-blogged MOCs. That being said, I’ll move on to the next MOC, one which I thought would definitely get blogged. Meet Lich Lord Gvar Zhogvol (sweet name, right?).

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(Photo credit: Me, Myself, & I)

I made sure to reference something from pop-culture in the description (even though it was really an afterthought), I alluded to the style of another popular builder (Pat Biggs, btw. Nice guy.), and I even made sure to post it at a time when there wasn’t a lot of activity. All things I’ve been told help get MOCs blogged on the Brothers Brick. All things that were apparently WRONG. I think instead of “Build a great MOC” and “Take great photos” and “Have great ideas,” the best advice I could give to an aspiring builder to get featured is “Write for the Brothers Brick!”

Finally, there is my most recent MOC, which I probably can’t consider underappreciated yet, as I did just publish it a few days ago. However, I have a minimum word count that I have to hit and it would be a waste of this opportunity to not showcase it, so I present to you, constant reader, the friendly alien Ch’mm Tg’lk.

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(Photo credit: I think you know at this point)

Ch’mm is a decent departure from the other stuff I’ve built this year. First and foremost, he’s not made out of black pieces, while pretty much everything else I’ve made this year is (it’s a bit of a crutch, I’ve got a lot of sweet black bits). He’s also 80% face, while the rest has been faceless or had a pretty simplistic face. He was also a pretty quick build, being completed in under 24hrs, while all of the others stretched out over multiple weeks (as opposed to singular weeks). Again, a MOC I thought worthy of blogitude, full of character and great piece usage, presented in an easy to grok manner. But alas, as of this writing (approx. 9:09PM EST 12/13/17), the MOC had not yet been blogged at the Brothers Brick. Which I get. They’re pretty busy after all, having to dig through their own photostreams to find things to talk about as opposed to Flickr group pools and other places where people post photos (forums? Do people still use those?).

So many MOCs of mine and so little blogging. What a shame. I mean, I’m not entirely surprised truth be told. There are a lot of factors that affect the “blog-worthiness” of a MOC, after all, and I’m not sure that all of these MOCs hit all of the criterion. I would say that they hit a lot of them, though I think I’ve missed the most important one: you have to make sure the right people are seeing it, which is significantly easier when you right person to see it happens to be yourself.

To conclude, after reading this diatribe, you may be asking “Primus, aren’t you worried about the repercussions of taking the piss out of The Brothers Brick?” To which I say, “What repercussions?” The worse they can do is not blog about my stuff; which, if you’ve learned anything from this article, they aren’t doing anyway. And, being the institution that they are, you’d expect them to be able to take a light ribbing. Especially since my griping really only applies to one of the bloggers there (tho, I’ll leave the speculation up to the comment section). The rest of them at least seem to be trying to blog about others as much as they do themselves.

Oh, and since Rutherford thought it would improve my article last time, a parting video for your thoughts.

 

Friday Night Fights [Round 28]

Welcome back fight fans, to Sin City Nevada for another pear of anguish edition of Friday Night Fights! This week’s bout is the battle of intercessor, with veneration and beatification on the line.  Without further preamble, let’s go to the tale of the tape.

Fighting out of the red corner, from the mean streets of Moscow, it’s “Ravager” Red and his “ST. 5065746572“.

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And fighting out of the blue corner, from the far shores of Aqua Magna, it’s “El CarniceroCameron  and his “ST. 4142524148414D.

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As usual, constant reader, you are tasked with deciding the outcome of this pugilistic endeavor and determine who will receive a week’s worth of bragging rights.  Simply leave a comment below and vote for the model that best suits your individual taste. I will tally up the votes next Friday and declare a winner.

Last time, on Friday Night Fights….

It was the battle of The Bard, with casting autonomy and posh theatre bookings on the line.  In the end, with the help of a last minute vote, “CatastrophicCampistron  and his “Rebuildable Theatre Stage” scored a narrow 5-4 victory over James “Pile Driver”  Pegrum and his “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar“.  Capistron scores his first victory (1-0) while Pegrum runs his record to (0-1).

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Stop, Collaborate & Listen (Blog or Die! Entry #1)

Accepted entry for the “Article” category.

Author: Primus (Cameron)

Word Count: 1,522

Stop, Collaborate & Listen

 

At this very moment you may be thinking to yourself things like “Wow, they really will let anyone write for the Manifesto,” “I have no clue who this guy is,” and “I’m probably not going to care for what he’s writing about.” And, constant reader, you may very well be right, as I’m going to talk about something near and dear to my heart: Bionicle™ Collaborative Builds. Yes, you read that right, BIONICLE™ Collaborative Builds.

Basically, this past year a bunch of prominent Bionicle™ builders (or, as prominent as you can get for a Bionicle™ builder) have been posting creations based on a common theme.  You may have heard about these builds (unlikely) or you may have seen these as they flooded your Flickr stream (more likely, but still unlikely). At the very least, you may have read the Brothers Brick article about one of the collaborations, which (given the fact that you’ve stumbled onto this article) I think is a safe bet. I’ve had the pleasure of partaking in a few of these collaborations; therefore, I am a leading authority on them. At least, more of an authority than most people. Either way, let’s move on to the interesting stuff.

As far as I can tell, the first of these collaborations (or collabs as the cool kids call them) revolved around reimagining the Lego™ Bionicle™ Vahki™ sets in the styles of different Bionicle™ builders. Since that probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to you, I’ll clarify slightly. The Vahki™ were a line of Bionicle™ sets (basically evil robot police) and apparently all prominent Bionicle™ builders have a style (bit of an assumption). As I’m sure you all know, there were 6 Vahki™ sets released in 2004. Thus, 6 builders were contacted by an anonymous person, given the prompt for the collaboration and a date when to post the MOCs. And that’s it. Pretty clandestine. Seriously. I don’t actually know who reached out to us. I thought it was pretty weird at first, but also a pretty interesting proposal, so I decided to partake in the experience.

The builders contacted were Djokson, Red, Cezium, Lord Oblivion, Felix the Cat, and myself (Primus). Definitely an eclectic assortment of Bionicle builders (all of whom I’m certain you’ve heard of).

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Even with this rather open-ended theme, the builders all managed to build MOCs that, once put side-by-side in an easier to understand picture, were all somewhat recognizable as reinventions of the original sets. My personal favorite of this collaboration was Red’s Bordahk (the blue one). If it makes you feel better, I had to Google that name, and I actually build with Bionicle parts.

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I think that he did an excellent job of recreating the shape of the original set while also making a very dynamic and menacing-looking MOC. It exudes power and looks like it could take on a tank. I sure wouldn’t want to be caught in an alleyway with that staring me down! To top it off, his parts usage was outstanding and he really demonstrated a mastery of color. Truly an impressive MOC from an impressive builder. All-in-all, I would deem this collaboration a success, as 6 builders were contacted and 6 people built something, and usually when something like this happens at least 1 person can’t make it.

The next collaboration had a similar theme. This time, as far as I can tell, the builders were tasked with reimagining the Bionicle Rahkshi sets (spooky robot suits for evil slugs). More builders were contacted (by the same person, I’d bet) and, given that they all posted on the same day, I assume a deadline was set.  For this build, Djokson, Cezium, and Red were contacted again, as well as The Chosen One, Sparkytron, Rhymes Shelter, and Gamma-Raay. To my knowledge, this is everyone that posted. From the looks of it, the direction given was a little clearer than last time as they even had a common naming scheme, “The Sons of Makuta.”

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Again, I feel that the builders really knocked this one out, showcasing a wide range of styles and techniques in the builds. I also think that these were a bit more cohesive visually than the previous build, as these are all pretty recognizable as Rahkshi, even before I put them side-by-side. Of these builds, Gamma-Raay’s Panrahk was my favorite (the brown one).

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In this build, he managed to recreate the look of the Rahkshi from the official Bionicle Mask of Light movie (another thing I’m certain you’re familiar with). However, what really made this build the standout to me was the construction of the spine and System integration in the torso. Really excellent shaping in those areas. His posing and photography isn’t too shabby, either, and added an air of menace to the creation. This collaboration was enough of a “success” that The Brothers Brick blogged about (most of) it, which I guess means something. Don’t really know many metrics for success when it comes to collaborative builds.

Assuming that you’re still with me at this point, constant reader, I’ll move onto the next collaboration. This is another one that I participated in and the theme was to build robot saints.  Well, Orthodox robot saints, to be specific. A bit of a departure from the last two collaborations. This time around, the directions were a bit more detailed. The builders were instructed that the saints should be obviously robotic, that there should be a brick-built background that incorporates a nimbus, and finally that the saints should be wearing robes (as saints tend to do). The date, time to post, and naming scheme were also provided and the builders were left to their own devices. The builders chosen this time were Red, Sparkytron, Cezium, myself, and The Chosen One. Red must have really liked this theme, as he ended up building a second saint.

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I found this to be a very peculiar theme to build for, and a pretty challenging one at that, as I had only ever worked with Lego cloth elements once before. However, it looks like some of the other guys had used them before, as they really did a great job with them. Of the builds, my favorite one was from The Chosen One (the one on the far right).

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The subtle texture of the background, the shape of the head, and the inclusion of the “wiring” in the neck area were all great details that made this my favorite of the builds. I also liked how he was able to give the build more volume through the use of the second cape. I thought his execution was very clean and that it was a very well thought out concept. Really, this theme was a very thought out concept, if a bit odd.

To my knowledge, there’s only been one more collaboration this year, so we are nearing the end of this diatribe, constant reader, and I commend you for making it this far. Moving on, this most recent collaborative build, as far as I can tell, revolved around using older Bionicle/Technic parts to make up the bulk of the MOC. Given how they were posted, I would assume the directions were the same (whoever is organizing these is at least very consistent). There were fewer builders in this collab, though I assume that’s because higher education is a thing and there are a lot of final projects and exams occurring around this time. Unless I’ve missed someone, the builders contacted for this build were Djokson, The Secret Walrus, The Chosen One, Red, and Optimus Convoy (who has recently returned to the community from a dark age).

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I really liked the different directions the builders took with this theme. I especially liked how Djokson used the Technic blasters in the legs of his model and how Red used the Toa feet to create the neck for his lizard knight, but my favorite out of all of them had to be Optimus Convoy’s robot.

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For an old-school collaborative build, Optimus Convoy really hammered it home in my eyes. He built a robot that not only used old parts but also old techniques and styling. The teal/grey/trans-neon-green color scheme was very reflective of the time period, and the integration of Throwbot parts was a smart choice. This build might have been a little bit rougher around the edges, but I think that adds even more to its old school charm. Another interesting theme with some pretty intriguing results.

We have finally reached the end of this post, constant reader. I’m glad you’ve stuck with me this far and I hope you now know significantly more about the recent spate of BIONICLE™ Collaborative Builds than you did at the start of the article. Maybe you’ve even found a new builder or two to follow. Maybe you think you’ve wasted your time. Maybe you have questions like “Who is this anonymous person that organizes all of these builds” and “Why haven’t they asked me to partake” and “Why does Primus use so many questions?” But, perhaps most importantly, maybe you’ve really enjoyed reading about Bionicle MOCs for a change.

-Cam

“Big fan of fiery whips and eternal suffering.”

These are the words used by Russian builder Leonid An to describe his latest diabolical effort, “Lungorthin the devil“.  There is much to appreciate in Leonid’s design that fuses Bionicle and System parts seamlessly to create a dynamic figure that threatens to leap off the monitor and drag you straight to hell…where you belong frankly.  The Bionicle elements allow for the typically interesting range of motion and the system parts are used perfectly to shape the monstrous head that drew my attention immediately.  There is some pretty complex technique going on in that cranium, packed in a very small space.  The minifig arms and spiky black claws form a very effective eye-orbit to house the trans-orange spheres.  I do think the trans-orange breast is a little odd (especially so close to the same saucer piece used on the left bicep), but you need a little strangeness to make a demon worth his salt.  The trans-orange chain around Lungorthin’s midsection is a difficult part to integrate into most models but it’s just the right answer here.

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Leonid has tried his hand with demonic action before, like 2014’s “Cepheus“, which came complete with one of the scariest Bionicle based weapons I’ve ever seen.  The photo really enhances the model and I love how the builder was willing to sacrifice half of his work to get this killer image.  It looks like a Norwegian death metal CD cover.  Many builders wouldn’t consider using an image that omitted half of the model but I wish they would, the results can be stunning.  I also happen to think the legs were the biggest weakness  of this hulking figure and maybe the builder was trying to get a photograph that obscured them.  Whatever the motivation I love this menacing, off-center shot.  15296042814_9a5ce95a7b_o

Gloom doesn’t always have to be demonic with Leonid, I’ve included the charming “EmOgirl” at no extra charge to you, the viewing public.  The figure reminds me of Tina from Bob’s Burgers, mostly because of that ingenious technique for the hair and the open-mouthed expression.  I can almost hear that groaning sound Tina frequently makes.  The purse is spot-on as well, which is not something I thought I’d be saying in a post about the devil and the rubber-band laces on the shoes are a great touch. Rubber bands are a difficult part to use effectively because they are just so very un-LEGO-like.26868146902_f9e08579c4_o

While we’re chatting about all things satanic, I would be remiss if I didn’t offer up another anecdote from Bricks West 03′.  Not only did I meet the great Dan Jassim at the rinky-dink gathering of LEGO nerds, I also had the chance to talk with Bryce McGlone, who is one of the early innovators of Bionicle and occasional purveyor of the demonic.  I was lucky enough to be displaying my pathetic gray wall wall next to Mr. McGlone’s masterpiece entitled “Beelzebub”, a ground breaking model during it’s time that elicited one of the single greatest reactions I’ve ever seen on public day.  You’ll have to excuse the wrinkled sheet for a backdrop, as I’ve said before, 2003 was a simpler time when people didn’t care as much about presentation.  It was more important to share the art in some ways, than optimizing the image with custom watermark logos and Photoshoppery.  So I’m watching the crowd on public day, fielding the same 3 eternal questions (how long? how many? how did you do it?) when a single mom and her rotund son stopped dead in their tracks when confronted with mighty Beelzebub.  The kid’s mouth dropped to the floor, a perfectly normal reaction that I had succumbed to earlier in the day, but the mother uttered a sentence that has stuck with me for 13 years: “Look away Daniel it’s Satanic!”.  She had a look of pure, unadulterated revulsion on her face as she physically put her hand over her sons wide eyes and ushered him towards the exit.  Up until then I didn’t think it was possible for a model to elicit that kind of visceral reaction from the viewing audience, it was kind of an eye-opener as were so many things at my first convention.  Way to go Bryce and way to go Satan!

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Finally, constant reader, I can’t discuss the topic of Old Scratch without mentioning my favorite depiction of the dark one in LEGO, Jordan Schwartz’s classic from 2010 with over 40k views to its name: “The Devil Went Down to Georgia“.  If you don’t understand why this model is superb, you just don’t get it and you likely never will.  While it can’t compete with McGlone’s Beelzebub in crazy technique or texture, it does show the fun side of Satan, which is important in understanding his appeal.  5245690990_01a6855146_o