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 in the wasteland of MOCPages, 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 (Cam)

Word Count: 1522

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