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.
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
2014: Tim Schwalfenberg – Hurricane Battlecruiser
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!)
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:
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.
2014: Damien Labrousse – untitled
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):
(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.