Andrew and Ace

WackLUG founder and long time crony Andrew Lee recently posted the 52’nd episode of his famously unedited, unscripted video blog and you should give it a look if you have the time because I think it’s one of the best entries that doesn’t feature me.  Old school AFOL Ace Kim of FBTB fame, is the latest victim on Brick’s & Beer rotisserie-spit and he’s got a very interesting story to tell that many older AFOL’s can relate to.   Topics include the pros and cons of collecting…Is there ever a time to downsize?…and how to deal with a bloated collection that no longer makes sense.  It’s more focused than Andrew’s typical offerings and the two have a great on-screen rapport, so check it out if you’re a fan of the program or new to it.   There is also a bit concerning one of my favorite builders of all time, Jon Palmer, and the resurfacing of one of his classic creations. Andrew does look oddly bloated, especially in the face. Feel free to speculate on the reason for that in the comments.

Friday Night Fights [Round 14]

Welcome back fight fans, to Sin City Nevada for another meat-grinding edition of Friday Night Fights!  This week’s bout features one of our hobby’s most popular yet…somehow…unappreciated sub-genres, with the international heavyweight clone-on-a-plate championship belt on the line.  Without further preamble, let’s go to the tale of the tape.

Fighting out of the red corner, from somewhere in the garden, it’s Longer “The Lion”  Ludovic and his “détente“.

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And fighting out of the blue corner, from a place where hope still floats, it’s “Killer” Ki Young Lee and his “For your wish“.

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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 before announcing the next bout.

Last week, on Friday Night Fights….

It was the 200 Years War, as near future starfighters dueled for the all important control of the Earth-Mars corridor.    In the end, Nick “Nasty” and his “SAB S-44 Kestrel“ scored a walloping 10-5 victory over  “The Human X-acto Knife” xiei22 and his “BLUE Phobos“.  Nick records his first win and improves his record to (1-0) while xiei22 falls to (0-1).

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The Life Modular, with Paul Hartzog

The Manifesto has featured quite a few O.G. “Spacers” in its brief history and the next builder in the spotlight is no exception.  Unlike many of that first generation of sci-fi builders who ruled the ivy covered halls of LUGNET, Paul Hartzog is still producing thought-provoking work today.  In the past few years Paul has been focusing on modular dioramas that incorporate a flexible design system that can be customized to reflect your favorite Sci-Fi franchises. Paul was one of the unsung developers of the first great community experiment in modularity, Moonbase.  More than just a building standard, Moonbase was a full-blown mania that helped Spacers from around the world connect and collaborate as never before and it became a convention staple. Paul applied some of the same concepts to the interior design of Sci-Fi settings and while not yet as popular, they are no less striking.  Whether you prefer Star Trek or Star Wars, Paul’s system is perfect.27903663283_3891f6d5c8_o

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The builder also has variations based on the video game Star Citizen and his own home-brew designs, but the concept remains the same.  The walls and floors are detachable panels that can be easily swapped out to suit your individual taste.  It allows you to play with combinations to get just the right look and makes it very easy for other builders to replicate the designs to allow for more ambitious layouts.  The design also makes it easy to modify as new parts or techniques become available.

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I’d love to see a big collaborative effort using the standard Paul has developed, an expansive Moonbase-style layout but with a focus on interior spaces.  As you can see in the mosaic of photos below, Paul took a sample diorama to North Carolina’s BrickMagic convention where it hopefully gained a few advocates.  The small accessories that go with these scenes are delightful and worthy of their own post.  Fortunately you can find isolated shots of the furniture and equipment in the builder’s photostream.  Paul is a fascinating guy who I hope to meet in person one of these years and I can’t encourage you enough to check out his website if you’d like to learn more about the multi-talented builder.  One of those talents is music, I’m lucky enough to have one of his CD’s but you can check out his music through the site.  If you’d like more information on Paul’s modular building standard, head over to the Flickr Group dedicated to the topic and talk to the man himself.  That’s one of the great things about this hobby, you can reach out and connect with just about everyone.  More often than not, LEGO nerds are very helpful if you approach them in the right way.

Tyler Clites, one of the most accomplished builders our hobby has to offer, put a very similar idea into play for the interiors of his Magellan Modular Starship from 2014.  The frame dimensions are slightly different but the concept is the same and it opens up a wide variety of possibilities.  Tyler went the extra step of making the entire ship modular and the results were spectacular to say the least.  All of the variations look great.

Modularity is not the sole purview of the Spacer crowd, there is also a castle building standard, a micro-scale city standard, LEGO’s official modular building standard, a landscaping standard and a host of others standards too long to catalogue at this time.  I hope you’ve enjoyed our examination of the life modular with Paul Hartzog, goodnight constant reader.

LEGO Eleganza Realness

And now for something completely different, a couture dress made primarily from LEGO bricks.  Ashley Eckstein is the model and the voice of Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, whose face adorns the striking garment.  I can’t help but wonder what kind of noise the dress makes as she struts the runway.  Ashley participated in the Her Universe fashion show at the famous San Diego Comic Con this weekend, which is apparently now the second largest convention of any kind in the world.   The one of a kind design was created by LEGO Certified Professional Nathan Sawaya, whose work should be familiar to many of you constant readers and it features over ten thousand bricks.  The likeness of Ashoka is impeccable, the dress is form-fitting (especially for LEGO) and the colors really pop under the lights.  Damn, I’ve been watching way too much Project Runway and Drag Race.

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The construction technique is difficult to guess at with just a handful of images currently available online.  In the absence of info, I guess the LEGO elements are glued to the fabric or maybe the builder modified the bricks to allow for them to be woven together.  Even though the dress is lined with some kind of fabric, I can’t imagine it’s very fun to wear for prolonged periods of time or sit down in.  Sometimes great fashion hurts, but any discomfort is a small price to pay for the sheer amount of attention this garment draws, even in an over-saturated environment like Comic Con.  When everyone is an attention whore, how do you get noticed?  A LEGO dress is just the ticket.  Kudos to Mr. Sawaya, I think he’s found his true calling here and I hope he takes another crack at LEGO fashion in the future.  That’s difficult praise for me to dole out because I think he’s a bit of a hack, but damn…this is a cool dress and all of our fellow nerds at SDCC seem to agree.

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