Friday Night Fights [Round 8]

Welcome back fight fans, to Sin City Nevada for another Punch and Judy edition of Friday Night Fights!  Gotham City isn’t big enough for both of this week’s adversaries, when the dust has settled there will be only one Clown Prince of Crime left standing.  Without further preamble, let’s go to the tale of the tape.

Fighting out of the red corner, from beautiful Bainbridge Island, it’s Taylor “The Tornado” Walker and “The Joker”.

29234362202_bb63a01f03_o

And fighting out of the blue corner, from “Lando System”, it’s Kevin “The Rhino” Ryhal and  “The Joker’s Wild”.

27580953584_f500fe0bb0_o

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 before announcing the next bout.

Last Week, on Friday Night Fights….

It was the battle of La Grange, and after a tightly scored bout, only one Texas trio won the pink slip and the keys to the Eliminator.  In the end, -derjoe- and his “Eliminator” scored a 6-4 victory over j-p-30 and his “Eliminator”.  -derjoe- records his first win and improves his record to (1-0) while j-p-30 falls to (0-1).

9537017819_e5c68e0451_o

“I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people.”

Yes, yes!  A thousand times yes.  We thank you VAkkron, for this video delight, starring the disembodied head of Isaac Newton.  I have not laughed so hard at a Lego related clip in a very long time.  Not only is the bust a great build, but there is something wonderfully low-budget about the presentation, it reminded me of the old music video for Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer” or the opening sequence of MST3K.  I was one of the lucky ones to see this build take shape and I must congratulate the builder on his ability to embrace constructive criticism, even in the face of a catastrophic drop and the necessity to completely re-work the entire facial structure.  After all the talk on the blog about the value of criticism, it was nice to see a builder really embrace it with a trusted crew of homies who had no other interest but seeing the builder succeed.  It was fun to be a tiny part of that process and watch the model develop.

Isaac Newton

Although I had some early access to the model, there was no indication that a video presentation was in the works.    I think I’ve played it a half a dozen times already and I keep imagining it with other songs; it must have been difficult to settle on just one.  Don’t get me wrong, VAkkron made a fine selection, but indulge me for a moment, and try it with a little Sledgehammer in the background, you won’t regret it.  It’s just the video for now, but photos of the build will be posted soon to the usual haunts.  Isaac Newton is far and away VAkkron’s most challenging work to date and it’s always great to see a builder really lean in and take on a challenge. I hope the metrics ultimately reflect the quailty of this effort.  I’m all about the numbers…I’m shallow like that.

“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

The Art of Impersonation

Our next featured builder on the Manifesto should be no stranger to anyone who’s been observing the hobby for the last three or four years, Letranger Absurde, which is French for “Absurd abroad”.  Both highly skilled and prolific, monsieur Absurde has been the subject of some speculation as to whether he (or she) is in fact a pseudonym for another high profile builder.  Most of the evidence is shaky at best and centers around the fact that Absurde seemed to spring fully formed into the world in late 2013, like a Greek god, with no awkward initial models and a tool box full of advanced techniques.  Some claim to recognize personality traits and writing tendencies as well as parts preferences (like Absurde’s predilection for Mixel googly-eyes for many of his models).  I’m not sure I buy into it, but it does add to the builder’s mystique.

The subject of monsieur Absurde’s latest effort is the musician, actor and all around genius David Bowie.  The bust is striking for many different reasons: the angle of the eyebrows, the inner curve of the ear and the swept back hair are the most obvious, but a close inspection will reveal twice as many details to get excited about.  I also really enjoyed the shirt collar, which seems kind of strange but there it is.

28129689075_2da12cc055_o

My only problem with the model, and it’s a big one, is that it looks almost nothing like David Bowie.  A David Bowie impersonator maybe, but not Ziggy Stardust or the Thin White Duke.  When I first saw the thumbnail  I assumed it was Benedict Cumberbatch or perhaps a young, red-lipped Tommy Cruise and the cheeks recall Edward James Olmos.  Until I saw the mis-matched eyes and read the description I had no idea it was Bowie.  So as harsh as it sounds, constant reader, the bust is a failure on a purely conceptual level if the goal was to make the model look like David Bowie.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t a wonderful piece of art and I could not do better on my best day…but it’s not Bowie.

Why were Bowie’s eyes two different colors you ask?  Complete heterochromia is a fairly rare condition (in humans) whereby each iris is a distinctly different color, such as having one blue iris and the other brown.  But this isn’t why Bowie’s eyes looked different.  Instead, the unusual appearance of Bowie’s eyes were due to a condition called Anisocoria. Anisocoria is characterized by an unequal size in a person’s pupils. In Bowie’s case, his left pupil was permanently dilated due to a trauma received to the eye during a childhood fist-fight.  This can create the illusion of having different colored eyes because the fixed pupil does not respond to changes in light, while the right pupil does. So Bowie’s left eye often appeared to be quite dark, due to the blackness of his dilated pupil, when compared to the blue of his right iris.  The dilated pupil of his left eye was also potentially more prone to the effect of “red eye”. This sometimes adds to the appearance of a different color when contrasted to his right eye.

Omnibus: Captain ‘Murica

The 4th of July is in the rear-view mirror but I still hear jack-wagons (read great Americans) in my neighborhood setting off fireworks every night.  You just can’t celebrate the defeat of the British empire enough, there is no wrong time to do it.  With that in mind, let’s explore the many models inspired by the most jingoistic hero of all, Captain America.  These models should be all the more inspiring because none were built by actual ‘Muricans.

We begin our star-spangled celebration with one of Chris McVeigh’s masterful, and now famous series of Brick Sketches.  This entry expertly captures the good Captain’s lantern jaw and determined eyes with a bare minimum of pieces.  This style is deceptively difficult, I once tried my hand at a brick sketch and the results were less than blog-worthy.  It is very challenging to capture the essence of a character in 50 parts or less.  I can’t recommend the process enough though, it is not only a fun experiment but it can tweak the way you look at building.

3767bdf50e8a0f95d7d3be6d8752eecf

For our second entry, we turn to Canadian builder Ken Robichaud, who built Cap’s iconic shield in 2012.  LEGO does a reasonable job standing in for Vibranium and you should check out the builder’s photo-stream if cosplay is your thing.  I would love to see someone throw the shield across a convention room for dramatic effect, or I’d be willing to do it in a pinch.  I’ve seen a LEGO star destroyer dropped from a staircase, to the delight of the crowd, but it is an awkward, unbalanced thing to throw.  I have the feeling that Cap’s shield would make for a much better projectile and certainly more colorful.  Sure, it’s easy to say that about another builder’s time and effort, but you can’t really argue that such a thing would be cool.

6996547944_d2a7d33544_o

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a more natural mash-up than Captain America and monster trucks.  The only mistakes builder Peter Blackert made were in his choice of brands.  Steve is driving a jacked-up Toyota Tacoma when it should be a Ford or at the very least a Chevy.  Likewise, the truck should be crushing a Volkswagen Beetle for maximum impact, since Hitler himself contracted Ferdinand Porsche in 1934 to design and build the commuter car. Nitpicks aside, this image is just so very… ‘Murica!8641690786_b71c240c86_o

 

We close out our celebration of national pride and comic book heroes with the famous “Captain America” chopper from the classic 1969 film Easy Rider.  The movie explores the societal landscape and tensions in the United States during the 1960s and it also included one of the most bad ass motorcycles to ever grace the silver screen.  Fred Ottens did a spectacular job of recreating the chrome-heavy Harley Davidson panhead, ridden by actor Peter Fonda.

1341180630m_DISPLAY

At the beginning of this omnibus posting I said there would be four takes on Captain America but I find that I cannot allow one of my favorite builders (or artists for that matter), Fredoichi, to be left out of the mix.  You just don’t see enough busty action in the hobby and Fredo’s interpretation of Cap makes me yearn for more: minifig hands just make everything better.

8216750163_ded8e95361_o

A late edition comes from Rod Gilles , a piece of political commentary on the election of our idiot in chief, Donal Drumpf.  The image speaks for itself.30756737366_bfe5e5c67e_o.jpg

Go ‘Murica!