Gird your loins, constant reader and prepare for some stream of consciousness style rambling. As I mentioned in last week’s SUPERHAWK article, when I rediscovered the model in question I was actually searching for the #1 “most popular” model on MOCpages. The creation that holds the honor is Garry King’s Battlestar Berzerk with a whopping 71,501 views, 2918 likes and 245 comments, an epic showing without a doubt. While I certainly appreciate the gaudy stats and the accolades of my peers in the comment section, the Berzerk never spoke to me. I found it too similar in shape and style to the Galactica to be interesting and the differences were not that compelling either. Consequently, the article’s intended goal of reviewing and critiquing the #1 model on MOCpages morphed into a somewhat nostalgic spotlight of the rediscovered classic SUPERHAWK. I enjoyed writing the article and it certainly generated more hits and comments than I expected so I went over to the ancestral birthing ground of our kind, Brickshelf, with the very same goal in mind, to find the “most popular” model on the site. Since the Shelf is older than dirt, it doesn’t track likes/favorites and of course it doesn’t have a commenting feature which leaves us with a single measurable indicator of success, the number of views. And that leads us to the bloated number featured as the title of this article: 4,294,967,295. It turns out that every model on the first page of Brickshelf’s “Greatest Hits” function has the same exact number of views: 4,294,967,295. Since there was no clear indication of which model enjoys the greatest popularity, I decided to discard the first page entirely because it seemed to my untrained eye like some kind of glitch in the system. And just like my MOCpages experience last week, the creations on the first page were not sufficiently inspiring enough to set me typing.
It isn’t until you click over to the first model on page 2 that the number of views begins to vary and no 2 numbers are the same for at least a dozen pages back. So I decided to use the top spot on page 2 to determine the most popular model on Brickshelf and therefore the subject of this article. While 4,038,716,609 is truly an impressive number of views and builder suu’s rendition of the Wii is pretty accurate given the parts palette available a decade ago, at the end of the day I just can’t get excited about this model. Of course I have some nitpicks (the controller, lack of those little rubber feet) but I’m not going to go into them at length because they bore me as the entire creation bores me, as the Battlestar Berserk bores me. I have nothing against suu or the Wii, it was a fun platform and obviously quite a few people enjoyed the Lego interpretation you see below, but to quote a superior intellect…“I find myself growing fatigued”…just by looking at it’s blandness, much less trying to write about it in any meaningful way.
Yes, I did just compare myself to Ricardo Montalban. I So I decided to go the SUPERHAWK route and focus what’s left of this article on a model featured on the same page, with an only slightly less impressive 1,870,316,719 views to it’s name. It’s called “The Doll” and just like SUPERHAWK, it’s almost a decade old. Rather impossibly, the hobby as we know is already has a driver’s license and it is fast approaching the legal drinking age. I’m sure many of you will recognize the builders, the world renown Arvo Brothers, but I was really only aware of the work they feature on Flickr, which does not include “The Doll“. I also learned they have a very nice website that features the model in question, but I doubt I’ll return there, because I’m lazy and tend to stick to the usual watering holes for my Lego browsing rather than individual sites. Although I know they’ve been around for a while, I had no idea the Bros were active back in the days when Brickshelf was a commonly used site, I always thought of them as being a more modern phenomena. So “The Doll” was a delightful discovery for me and I fervently hope it is new to at least a few of our constant readers. Of course the shaping and level of detail on the front of the figure is truly remarkable, but it’s the shot of the upper back that I found the most compelling. It almost seems like a different model entirely from this angle and it really drives home their almost obsessive quality ethic: everything must look as flawless as possible from top to bottom, back to front. These guys appear to be ruthlessly intolerant of imperfection and I’d love to be a fly on the wall watching them build and argue over whether or not some obscure detail was good enough. Most brothers I know would just as likely end a building session with fisticuffs and a broken model as create something this magnificent. Oh, it’s also kind of fucked up and disturbing, something that’s difficult to do with a children’s building toy.
4,294,967,295 is apparently a meaningless number, but for a stats guy like me it’s also kind of a drag. I’m the type of person who likes to know who lead the league in batting average last year, or who had the most shots-on-goal in world cup history and it seems clear the stat-tracking on both MOCpages and Brickshelf is unreliable at best. Of course, none of these image hosting sites have a comprehensive collection of every model produced so the whole manner of comparison is a questionable endeavor from the get go, but I don’t care…I still like stats, I still like rankings, I still like lists. I’ll also grant you that there is no perfect metric for a model and many of you probably don’t like having “art” measured and quantified at all, but it is an interesting way to compare models that can foster both well intentioned discussion and rousing smack talk. Even as I kid I used to love to argue about Guitar Player Magazine’s ranking of the 10 best rock guitarists, or the Sporting News list of the best baseball players by position or TV shows detailing the top 10 piston driven aircraft from WW2. Ultimately, my somewhat dubious quest for the #1 most popular model was a failure, but it lead me to a couple of excellent and influential models that at the very least deserve a second viewing 10 years later.
Stay tuned in the coming days, constant reader, for new offerings from regular contributors Ted Andes and our resident foppish dandy, Michael Rutherford. Please recall that the Manifesto is always accepting submissions for review, so don’t hesitate to send us your rants, no matter how malevolent or benign.