Friday Night Fights [Round 13]

Welcome back fight fans, to Sin City Nevada for another flying-guillotine edition of Friday Night Fights!  This week’s bout will be fought in the cold reaches of space using advanced technology that might be within reach in say…the next 200 years.  Without further preamble, let’s go to the tale of the tape.

Fighting out of the red corner, from the well-appointed boardroom of the Sentec Aerospace Bureau, it’s Nick “Nasty” and his “SAB S-44 Kestrel“.

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And fighting out of the blue corner, from the red sands of Mars Colony, it’s “The Human X-acto Knife” xiei22 and his “BLUE Phobos“.

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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 MOC that best suits your individual taste. I will tally up the votes next Friday and declare a winner before announcing the next bout.

On the last Friday Night Fights….

It was the skirmish of the sky-boats, in all their foppish glory with international fishing rights on the line.    In the end, Felipe “O Touro” Avelar and his “Mestiço“ scored a harrowing 6-5 victory over “Jackhammer” JPascal and his “Ramona“.  Felipe records his first win and improves his record to (1-0) while JPascal falls to (0-1).

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Color Commentary:

For those of you not in the know, this week’s combatants are also competitors in the popular Real World +200 building contest which just concluded on Flickr.  The event brought out some truly impressive starfighters, and what it may have lacked in sheer numbers (33 entries), rarely have I seen a contest with a higher overall level of quality.  There are only a couple of sloppy models, the vast majority are good and several are great.  These happen to be my two favorites, but the match-making was easy this week because I could have selected half a dozen models from the contest.

A few weeks ago when the contest turnout wasn’t looking so good, one of the hosts (and frequent contributor to the Manifesto comments section) went on the Flickr group AFOL 16+ and wondered aloud why that might be.  Of course I had to chime in with my two cents and I came of more harshly than I intended.  The three guys and one gal who ran the contest did a fine job, and I think I let my dislike of the main design inspiration from  TV’s “The Expanse”, and my general attitude towards the 16+ group to cloud my appreciation of the topic. Since the TV show was the primary point of reference mentioned in a pretty vague contest description, the whole thing turned me off and I assumed the same must be true of other builders.  Although I enjoy The Expanse as a show, I think the ship designs are horribly uninspired. However, I also stand by the criticism I mentioned on 16+, concerning one of the first entrants who was allowed to break the rules. As I wrote before, I know the point of the endeavor is inclusion but that kind of shit bothers me. For so many contests, rules are rules…but only until somebody complains.  It should not come as a shock to any constant reader that I’m a grumpy old dick sometimes.

I’ve known the hosts from years of interactions online and in person, and they are all good people who put up some great prizes and clearly inspired some fantastic work.  If you have a chance, check out the other entries, it’s definitely worth your time if you’re at all into sci-fi.  Kudos to Simon, Carter, Kate and Christopher for running a good show.

SHIPrites Vol 4: Play-sets or Display pieces?

The Manifesto is proud to present the fourth installment of a month-long series by friend of the blog and creator of SHIPtember, Simon Liu.

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Hey everyone,

Welcome to volume 4 of SHIPrites, the Super Sunday SHIPtember spectacular!

So far we have talked about the Journey and the path that is SHIPtember, we talked about some of the history of SHIPs and the question of Interiors.

There was some good debate among the commentators last week regarding interiors.  While my original thought was that a lack of interiors meant a significant break from the ‘old school’ style of SHIP building  it was aptly pointed out that many of the SHIPtember era SHIPs have extremely complicated shapes and cladding which necessitated a lot of internal structure, thus preventing the inclusion of an interior. This effectively asked a new question, which is ‘better’: Play-sets or Display pieces?

Let’s take a look back, shall we, to the short history that is SHIPtember?  Here are the first three SHIPs to win SHIPtember:

2013: Nathan Proudlove – Arrested Development

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2014: Tim Schwalfenberg – Hurricane Battlecruiser

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2015: LEGOLIZE IT MAN – muulla – This SHIP also I believe has the notable privilege of the most FAV’d SHIP of all SHIPtembers with 422 (Happy Keith? NUMBERS!)

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With the exception of Nathan’s first year entry, the collective judges all choose Micro SHIPs, and even the special judges from Homeworld Dev team’s top picks from last year were microscale. Looking back at the first year, there were quite a few minifig scale SHIPs with interiors, and part of me wonders if that was a hold-over from the old Era of SHIP building – the pre-SHIPtember era. But what we saw that first wonderful SHIPtember was a lot of MicroSHIPs, and a definite shift towards crazy and hyper detailed SHIPs.

Even with the behavioral engineering effect of naming a Minifig Scaled Interior SHIP as the inaugural Best SHIP in 2013, the flood of Micro SHIPs seems to be unabated. The gene bottle was smashed opened so to speak, as people saw the amazing Micro SHIPs that came out of that first SHIPtember. Factor in the time constraints and the extra design requirements and structural hotdoggary required for some of the more complex textures and designs, it’s easy to see why MicroSHIPs seem to achieved prominence.

Even old school spacers are getting into the action: zachmoe in the first SHIPtember was in my mind as the one that really pushed me to start thinking of SHIPs more as display pieces and less like play-sets (though I don’t think I realized it at the time). His mundane sounding entry of a Octan Fuel Transport is just simply technically brilliant and makes even the most micro builders giddy with his details:

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But it’s just not the judges that were swayed by the Micro-side, arguably the most important trophy (cause I can win it!) is People’s Choice, the award that the builders and community votes on. This, to me is the real litmus test of how epic your SHIP is. Judges can be swayed to box in SHIPs by this and that, and have potential agendas and soft spots, but the people, they’re brutally honest in voting on the coolest SHIP – which actually isn’t a bad criteria.

In fact, this is so important, that People’s choice comes first. To me, it means more to have the community proclaim their favorite than a secret cabal of judges appointed by a few.  So let’s see what the people liked in terms of SHIPs:

2013: Jacob Unterreiner – Phoenix (with possibly the best SWOOSH! ever.

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2014: Damien Labrousse – untitled

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2015: Tim Schwalfenberg – Vaygr Battlecruiser (Again! – will he three-peat in the best SHIP/People’s choice?)

So let’s take a closer look, again it looks like it’s a Micro-sweep, so not only have the Judges and builders shifted radically away from the Play-sets and into Display pieces, but also the community at large.

But wait! Look closer at Damien’s SHIP  I tricked you! That’s not actually MicroScale, it’s MINIFIG scale – you can see the little red pilot. But it LOOKS like it’s microscale, doesn’t it?

And maybe really that’s the point – scale isn’t the determining factor of cool or not. It’s the so-called micro-detailing that is wide-spread on MicroSHIPs (cause you kinda have to have micro details on microSHIP – duh) that is really the new trend. And microSHIPs tend to be smaller than Minifig Scale equivalents – which means the extra parts required for such detail to be far less than to build with a minifig Scale equivalent – But that’s not to say it can’t be achieve, Damien and Nathan are great examples. Another blast from the past, and one of my all time SHIPtember fav builds from 2014 is [Stijn Oom] with his absolutely drop dead dropship (Keith is totally right, everyone loves a good VTOL dropship…everyone):

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(and I stand corrected, this appears to be the highest Fav count at 722 and counting…. … yeah)

So what now? The super detailing trend will continue and I’m sure we’ll see many amazing minifig and micro scaled SHIPs this year and subsequent years. For me, I think I’m hatching a plan for next year already, after so many hours pondering for SHIPrite fodder, it really kept making me really want to build NEXT year’s SHIP. Not that I don’t like this year’s (I do have serious issues with it) , but I’ve had so many ideas while trying to review the past few SHIPtembers and honestly some realizations I never had till I had to really had to think about it … SHIPtember 2016 … I want to do a micro-scale-detailed-minifig-interior-SHIP.

… tune in next year to see how that goes.

 

Cheers,

Simon

 

 

Digital Death-Machines

Maybe it’s the hangover from the Matt Bace double-shots talking, but for this spotlight post we’re staying in the realm of the digital. It seems like we’ve been trippin’ down memory lane a lot lately so with that in mind, today’s offering is fresh as harvest day.  The builder in question is Sergey Cat, who has only been on Flickr since last month.  MOCpages is predictably down for service so I was unable to find out if he has an account over there.  Don’t ever change, MOCpages, may your unofficial motto always remain “Bonk! Smash! … Thud.”  I don’t think I could bear it if gentrification hit that ghetto…it’s mediocrity shall never tarnish or fade away.

I think Sergey Cat is a good example of the uphill battle digital builders face in the community at large.  Sure they can rise to prominence pretty easy within their genre (given a stable of good builds) but to get that much coveted wider recognition is more difficult.  I think if Sergey Cat had used brick instead of a program, he’d be enjoying a much higher degree of visibility and statistical success, even when considering the short period of time he’s been around.

We’ll start with the latest effort from Sergey Cat, that I found while stumbling around the usual haunts, looking for something new to blog.  I had two thoughts when I saw the Raider Buggy:”I want one of those” and “I hate those red hex wrenches.”  I’m not sold on the white gem or even the gun when it comes down to it, but the rest of it is money!  I want an RC version too, since I’m thinking about stuff I can’t have, and I want it available in a variety of color schemes to suit my discriminating taste.  That suspension is a monster and I love the doubled-up tires.

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You don’t see too many dioramas from digital builders, and even fewer that have a Sci-Fi theme.  Not surprisingly, I was drawn to this build called “C&C диорама”, which has some rough edges but is really compelling and definitely looks like it’s Command & Conquer RTS inspiration.  In fact, all of Sergey Cat’s models seem to be drawn from the C&C series of games, so it will be interesting to see if he branches out eventually.  I took a quick look at the source material for these models and it looks to me like he nailed the respective designs, and in the case of the Buggy perhaps even improved it a little.  If you’d like to see the individual builds from this diorama, Sergey Cat has most of them documented in his Flickrstream.  My favorite details are the defensive turrets inside the fence, they look wicked and can work as a stand-alone model as well.

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I’ll finish up with this Flame Tank, because how often do you see a good flame tank these days?  Sergey Cat has an arsenal of great war machines from mecha to giant tanks and everybody’s favorite, VTOL gunships!  Let us welcome Sergey Cat to the warm and embracing community, or at least to the ivy covered halls of the Manifesto.

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Two for Tuesday: Dan Rubin

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Good evening constant reader, its happy hour and our bartender Lloyd is setting them up neat, just the way you like it. Tonight’s V.I.P. in the Manifesto lounge is the only lawyer I know who also has an art degree, proving he may be one of the few who posesses a soul.  Of course I’m talking about long-time crony and member of KeithLUG, Dan “Happy Weasel” Rubin. Dan has quite a long and distinguished Lego fan-resume: he’s a senior contributor TBB, he’s been a multi-term Ambassador, he’s run a prominent forum, he’s been a theme coordinator for a major convention, he’s an OG member of WAMALUG and he’s won multiple convention awards for his building prowess.  I’m sure the list is actually much longer, but those are the highlights.  I’ve had the good fortune to hang out with Dan at three conventions and we’ve collaborated a couple of times over the years.  We’ve also experience the kind of bonding that can only be achieved through the low-budget convention experience.  We crashed on basement floors and shared cramped hotel rooms with very weird fellow Lego nerds, to include one dude who thought it was cool to hang out in the hotel wearing nothing but a pair of tight red booty shorts.  I’m no prude but I am a believer in timing, and being able to judge a room.  They were Kodak moments.  Magic moments.  And Dan was there for more than one night of convention shenanigans and when I think about my early convention experiences, Dan always comes to mind.

Mr. Weasel and I came into the online hobby at roughly the same time, when LUGNET was still the community hub, but the end was near.  We both had our own second tier sci-fi factions, which was the trend du jour back then, following the examples of guys like Sandlin and Giddens who popularized the idea with PCS and 3vil.  Dan’s faction was called the Galactic Inquisition and for our first shot we’ll go back to 2004 and this VTOL gunship called Rapier.  I’m pretty sure Dan was the first builder to come up with the rotary cannon design you see on the nose and it was frequently copied.  I still think those antenna bases on the nose are terrible, but the build still holds up quite well after 12 years.  Those big chunky intakes and engines are a hallmark of Rubin’s style, whether it was built for a faction or not.  Dan was also one of the first sci-fi builders to really embrace the color tan, which was only recently available in any usable variety of parts.  If you like this style, Dan has a great stable of Galactic Inquisition builds, and the Emissary series might also be of interest, just follow the links and immerse yourself in some old school grooves.

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For the second shot, I could have gone with one of the annual BrickFest layouts Dan produces along with his partner in Lego crime, Nick Kappatos.  They collaborate on a large sci-fi diorama each year, with names like “Total Eclipse of the Xenogenetic Heart”, “Faded Giant”, and “Days of Plunder”, while operating under the guise of 3LUG.  There are only two builders in 3LUG, it may seem confusing but the 3 is actually a sideways nut-sack, so it should, in fact, read as “BallsLUG“.  Ultimate I could not choose between 3LUG’s many award-winning dioramas, so instead I went with the bold colors and shapes of the Mephistopheles Courier Service – S36 Lapin.  I think it provides a nice contrast with the Rapier and shows how Dan has developed as a builder.

Once I rediscovered this gem from 2009 in Dan’s photo-stream, I couldn’t resist it.  Again you see the chunky intakes, but it’s the color scheme that gets me every time I look at it.  It’s times like this where Dan’s art background shines through, most people would not combine these colors and they are perfectly blocked.  Dan says the colors were inspired by a pair of sneakers, which is the kind of thing you don’t hear every day.  There are 5 years between the two featured models and you can see that Dan was committed to keep improving right along with the parts selection available to us. That cockpit is so very….Matango!3946350668_fdeee6eca6_o

Mea Culpa, constant reader, I have a nasty habit of fucking with my friends at conventions by hiding their models during public day, and Dan is no exception.  Most builders, understandably, don’t like interacting with the public and they tend to wander off during public hours for meals, conferences, local attractions and the like.  This makes for the perfect time to hide a model and it seems to plant the notion in the builder’s head that the responsible party must be a member of the unwashed masses and not another AFOL…and certainly not Goldman.   In fact, Dan provided the best reaction I’ve ever seen in nearly a decade of pulling the same boilerplate prank, and it really cemented a tradition. So Dan is out to lunch on one of the public day’s for BrickCon 05′ and I swipe a starfighter he was quite proud of and put it in an empty box under the table where my stuff was displayed.  When Dan comes back from lunch he immediately spots the theft and starts looking around in surprise.  That surprise slowly turns to irritation, then sadness and finally anger as he starts pulling over everyone in arms-reach to tell them about the theft.  It was like watching somebody go through the grief process at an accelerated rate.  Then I watch as he goes to convention management to report the theft, and at this point I’m feeling a little bad because I really didn’t set out to waste the time of the convention organizers whose event I was so greatly enjoying, but the guilt didn’t last long.

I let Dan stew for a while, then I borrowed a local builder’s phone and called Rubin, while crouching under my display table.  In my best disguised voice I told him; “If you ever want to see your spaceship again, you better meet me in stall number 3 at 2 o’clock.  Be ready to pay.”  So Rubin rounds up a posse of his buddies (including me) to go and confront the thief in the bathroom.  Rubin’s AFOL sidekick Fradel even kicked in the door for dramatic effect, to find the stall empty.  Originally I planned to leave the ship inside the stall, but too many standard issue Seattle homeless dudes with obvious mental health issues used the main bathroom for a variety of reasons, including eating bread and painting the stall with fecal matter, so I couldn’t bring myself to risk it actually being stolen…or violated.  Instead I produced the ship from my pocket and waited for him to notice.  Fortunately for me, Dan reacted well to the joke and everyone had a good laugh.  While not every case has been as hilarious, it never fails to entertain and I finally got Rutherford this year in Utah.  With his typical focus on his own ego, Rutherford was actually proud that someone took his model, that it indicated a certain level of quality.

You may be asking why I’m divulging my secret and won’t it be more difficult to pull it off nest time?  I wanted to tell the Rubin story and doubt I’ll ever get caught with or without this admission.  In a way, it’s a tribute to our hobby that people just don’t expect their models to be stolen at a convention.  It happens occasionally with small builds and minifigs but they are very much the exception.  And when it does happen, they blame the public, never their fellow builders.

Now…just between us girls, I would never do this kind of thing to a random convention attendee or someone I just met, but anyone else is fair game…especially dudes who dress like this…it’s your legal counsel, Dan Rubin!

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For this particular feature on the Manifesto I like to conclude the proceedings with a photo of the builder in question. I do this to help you put a face to the name and sometimes with the express intent to take the piss out of the builder. This is one of those times. Please recall that a precedent has been set in this ongoing series that we will be reviewing the fashion choices of each builder.

Dan has a large collection of cool nerd T-shirts I could have picked but I deliberately went for this one.  The reasons should be obvious, it’s a polo shirt…a polo shirt.  The standard uniform of shitty service jobs and golf courses.  I’d rather wear a bowling shirt or a sports jersey than a polo shirt, and that’s saying a lot.  Polo shirts should be collected and destroyed in a polyester fueled bonfire.  I know pink is a perfectly acceptable color for men’s clothing, and it went through a brief fashion trend when it was considered “gangsta”, but this particular porcine hue isn’t doing Dan any favors, it makes his skin look pink.  Dan’s skin isn’t crayon pink, but it looks like it here.  Also, I like a stylish watch, but I can’ really evaluate it fairly from this angle, so no points for that.  Dan looks like he’s dressed for a company lunch at El Torito, on a special “team building” day when the “home office” stooges come in and make everyone nervous.

Dan, burn that shirt, it’s stealing your soul…even when you’re not wearing it.  Do it now!  Even if you decide to keep it, I’m afraid your fate is sealed…now…

th

 

 

“In an age of things that hover, you and I will still be lovers”

I like small models as much as the next builder and I can be captivated by a compact design with a low part-count.  I know that bigger doesn’t always mean better…I just hate it when snarky wannabe-architect dickheads who couldn’t build big if they had an entire Merlin model shop at their disposal, feel the need to point it out.  Good building is good building, regardless of the scale.  So let’s take a hard look at a model that could easily fit in the palm of your hand and slip past your radar in the sea of crap we see on Flickr each day.

First and foremost, it’s got a backpack!  It’s a widely held belief that backpacks make every model at least 42% better, and Atahlus even manages to make the oversized pack look great.  My only complaint is that it should have some kind of tool or accessory sticking through one of the side-loops.  I can imagine this thing in a setting inspired by everything from Futurama to Akira, The 5th Element to Firefly.

What I like best about the design is that it practically begs for variants and different color schemes.  I can imagine work versions, sport versions and two-seat extended cabs.  I’ve got to fight the urge to make one of these, because Matango is a harsh mistress and she will not be ignored for the sake of this “Hoverbikethingy“, as the builder so sadly calls it.  Come on dude, your baby deserves a better name.  May I humbly suggest “The Jacobin”?  Too esoteric?  How about “Hover-Dingus”?

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In case you’re wondering about the quote in the title, it comes from an episode of Futurama, written and sung by Seth Macfarlane.

SHIPrites Vol 1: The Journey

The Manifesto is proud to present the first installment of a month-long series by friend of the blog and creator of SHIPtember, Simon Liu.

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Hello!

Keith asked me to jump in and write some commentary during this rite of passage for Space builders. I might not be the best SHIPwright, but I know a few things about building ships right.

I already had a series of articles prepared for this month, a semi useful series of guides and discussions on tackling the SHIPBUILDING conundrum, especially in the tight confines that is SHIPtember, so I was very willing to join. But Keith pointed out, that an article about SHIP building is kinda obvious, the standard blog fodder, and he wanted to hear about me, and my stories. The Manifesto , in my eyes, is about story telling, commentary,criticism, and most importantly: meaningful  discussion between builders.

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Next week, I don’t know what I’m going to talk about, you tell me in the comment section. You control the action. History of SHIPtember? Trends and current happenings? My favorite SHIPtember success/failures? How I probably fucked up SHIPs for the whole community? The lunacy that was battleSHIP?

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The reason why I choose the story of the FK Antrotta is because it’s the truest to what I intended SHIPtember to be.  It’s not my favorite SHIP, nor the one I think is my best. But I followed the purest form of SHIPtember: Fly by the seat of your pants, zero planning building action as controlled by you: the commentators.

I actually feel less that it was ‘my‘ SHIP, but ‘OUR‘ SHIP. I may have physically put the pieces together, but it was a bit of a community effort to lead me to where it ended up to.

I’ve always imagined SHIPtember as a kind of community collab, posting WIPs for feedback and direction of where to go. The first year I had a general plan. Year three I based my SHIP off an image, but year two I had zero planning.

The only thing I did prior to SHIPtember was settle on a colour scheme. Skip back to 2014, and easily my favorite build I saw that year, was Forest King’sKingfisher“.

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Here was a SHIP like none other. Forget the sleek ships of Star Trek, the colourful ships of Homeworld, and the greeble-ladened ships of Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars.

Kingfisher was a beast, it came out of the Bro-LUG cyberpoc ethos in a cacophony of dilapidated paneling. I was actually fortunate enough to witness the primordial sketch that lead to this monstrosity, in a little hotel room on Seattle (now there’s a whole new topic worthy of discussion: the crazy creative concepts that gets thrown around and conceived during or immediately after a convention.)

Suffice it to say the KingFisher left an impression on me, specifically the patches of old gray. I came into to the community with this new bley beauty as the norm, and hoarded the pretty new colour like Nutella. But when I saw how the grey-bleyadients played, I was hooked and vowed my next SHIP would follow suit and I’d order a bunch of old gray.

In fact, I partially named the SHIP after it’s builder, FK = Forest King

But you might be calling bullshit: how could I order parts in a specific colour if I didn’t know what I was building? Half points! I had no clue of what pieces I needed or how much…. so I overcompensated and just ordered a cap ton of plates in 1×4, 1×2 and 1x1s.  It should be noted that this decision on what to order (plates) dictated the final design of the ship to some degree: a lot of different paneling and flat surfaces.

So how to start building a SHIP?

I’ve seen several different approaches to this over the years, and each as their own merits.  For me though, it’ll always be like how the pros do it: start with framing and build out.  It wasn’t until I started writing this article that I realized there actually is a standard methodology of SHIPbuilding: the design spiral:

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For a LEGO SHIP the process boils down quickly to: concept, structure, functions and details. There are lots of great resources in the main SHIPyard group on Flickr, just pursue each year’s SHIPtember WIP photos for inspiration and technique. Though this is probably the most useful infomatic on strong frames and here’s a great group with examples of how to add some greeble detail to your ships.

But for the purpose of this diatribe, I’m going to focus on Concept.

Most builders have a concept in mind before SHIPtember, and even post their intended builds in a tantalizing appetizer for what is to come. Some don’t post their concepts at all, instead leaving a breadcrumb of how is that even a SHIP?!?  which ultimately leads to a Hitchcockian twist. For year two, I started with no concept in mind. I treated SHIPtember as a pure month-long free flow’n jam session with my buds. Looking back, I realize it’s the most horrific example of the Agile Software design methodology:Short sprints of work, followed by user feedback and testing, then start another round of development.

I basically did this. Every day was a sprint. I did my building, I posted it and you, the clients, provided invaluable feedback on what worked and what didn’t, some even helping solve technical problems (best clients! ) and I took the feedback and iterated the design.

And that was one of my main goals of this SHIP, to go and iterate. In most cases, my builds are basically a first draft, rarely do I refine the build unless it’s going to be mass-produced or handled by others. The year prior to this build I met the great TardisBlue (Nick Trotta) and just like Forest and the Kingfisher, it had a lasting impact on me. His approach could not have been more diametrically opposed to mine: his typical starfighter building method involved hours spent finding the perfect connection and angle. Then he would iterate and try to build it better. I normally try one thing if it works, great! Move on to the next element. But Nick’s constant refinement is what makes his models so immaculate. While some might think he doesn’t really build fast, or much, I think the opposite is true.  In terms of the number of iterative sprints he must go through, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a monster of productivity.

So based on Nick’s build style, I knew that SHIPtember was probably never going to be something he would be comfortable partaking of, due to the time constraints.  So I stepped in and basically tried to build a SHIP like Nick would… and actively tried to iterate and rebuild sections over and over again incorporating feedback and experimentation.

This cycle of feedback to drive the concept and design worked amazingly well. Yeah I know, I was surprised too.

A good example was this:

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It was pointed that I should add something to balance it out, and the black part was neat and I should expand on it. They weren’t sure where, but they suggested more black. As

well the lines were a bit disjointed and pointless …. Okay then!  next update:

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The power of feedback and criticism.

This may not be arguably my best SHIP, but certainly the most refined. The collaborative nature of this build and the multiple cycles of (Build. Present. Gather Feedback. Repeat)  paid off time and time again, as the critical feedback or sometimes even crowd sourcing solutions kept making each iteration that much better.

Which was really one of the tenants of SHIPtember in the first place! I didn’t want another month where people hid and built and unveiled their masterpiece in 30 days. The real drive behind SHIPtember wasn’t the SHIPs.

But the journey.

As we all set upon this journey  (or some have already finished and it’s day 3?!?) I implore you not to forget to live in the moment. This collective creative process is what makes SHIPtember special. So post those WIPs, comment on others, take criticism  to heart and don’t be afraid to change it up.

Because after the journey all you’re left with is just a pile of LEGO pieces: HINKLE SMASH!

Oh, and Antrotta –  Named after Adelle and Nick Trotta, who not only did I try to impersonate, but also had the clutch answer to my striping problem.

Cheers,

S

The Siren Song of SHIPtember 2016 [Volume 1 of 4]

Today is September 1st and the starting gun has fired for Simon Liu’s annual community building challenge, SHIPtember.  Well, for some paste-eaters it started weeks or even months ago, because some people simply will not follow the rules…it literally hurts them to do so.  “But I have school!” “But I have type-2 Diabetes!” “But my booty is bleedin’!”…the excuses are legion and the excuse makers don’t seem to understand that building together, under the same restrictions, is the whole point of the exercise.  Everyone has a good reason not to build, everyone is busy with “real life”, but most people don’t complain about it and ask for exemption from the rules.  In my experience the worst part about running an event like SHIPtember or any other AFOL endeavor involving deadlines and rules is that people immediately start whining about the hard edges and plead for exceptions to be made.  Inclusion is a noble goal and kudos to Simon for being so patient, but fuck me Freddy!  If you can’t make it happen this year, how about you just keep it to yourself, or build a SHIP on your own schedule and not reference SHIPtember.  Most of the people who complain and beg for the rules not to be applied to them, rarely come up with interesting results anyway.

For those of you not in the know, the premise of SHIPtember is pretty simple: to create a spaceship out of Lego that is a minimum of 100 studs long.  If you’re interested in a more detailed explanation, Adrian Drake put together an informative article about SHIP-building a few years ago that covers everything from how to begin, internal structures and detailing.  Building a SHIP is a rite of passage for many sci-fi builders, and SHIPtember provides a good incentive to take your best shot with a group of like-minded souls who are typically willing to give advice and encouragement.  This will be the 5th SHIP I’ve attempted over the years, and the 2nd for SHIPtember.  Two years ago I decided, in my arrogance, to not only build a 100 stud spaceship in a month, but also a 4x8ft diorama to go along with it.  In the end, neither one was very good, but I had a great deal of fun along the way. I’m hoping that by sticking to just the spacecraft this year, I’ll have better results.

The photo below represents my progress on Day-1.  As you can see I have my SHIPtember ruler ready, so I know when I hit the magic number and I’ve also pulled some concept art (courtesy of Ben Mauro), minifigs and my bin of random orange parts.  I’ve also selected the wheels for the landing gear, although that is subject to change as I actually get into the building process this weekend.  I’ll probably start with the landing gear and see how it goes, but I don’t have a plan in place yet for how to approach the model.  Having a structured plan is always preferable, but I typically just jump in and start building.  I’ve set a budget for this project at $60 and I’ll keep you updated as to how I spend the cash.  People don’t typically talk financial numbers with a project, but every large model I undertake gets a set budget that I’m pretty good about sticking to.  So this is what day-1 looks like, stay tuned to this feature for more SHIPtember action, I will be updating my progress at least once a week.  If we’re lucky, we might even hear from Mr. Liu himself on the topic.  Simon’s got a full plate with running the show and building an entry himself though, so we’ll have to hope for the best on that one.

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I just figured out I have polling options here on the Manifesto and I can think of no better time or place to put it to the test.  So please, constant reader, won’t you indulge me and take part in this first survey to determine the official song of SHIPtember?