The Tundra Bull support campaign

The Tundra Bull support campaign
I currently have my Tundra Bull moc running on Lego Ideas, please click on the picture and cast your vote to help it reach the 10.000 mark!

maandag 29 september 2014

Kwik - Spartacus: the Korfball MoC

To `celebrate` my return to the pitch after nearly a decennia of hiatus, I went out and build a small Korfball pitch to celebrate this.

The antagonists?  In the yellow jerseys and black pants, Kwik KC, the team I played for for actually almost all my `career`.  In the red jerseys with the green pants?  Spartacus, where my Nemesis`s GF plays.

zondag 28 september 2014

Sidonia no Kishi anime review

Okay, let`s kick open the door on this one, just listen to the opening theme music and your already halfway hooked.

Sidonia no Kishi, or Knights of Sidonia, is a 12 episode long mecha series, with a very sweet and soft drawn animation style, in the trend of Studio Ghibli style drawings.

Humanity now lives aboard `seed ships` after Earth had been destroyed by a race called the Gauna thousand years ago.  One of these seed ships is the Sidonia, which looks as a large rectangle vessel apparently sculpted right out of our moon.

Almost all people on board are clones, and a third gender has been created over time.  Through genetic modifications, they can now photosynthesize, as such requiring only a single meal a week. 

Enter Tanikaze Nagate, a 14 year old boy that has lived in the deep confines of the ship and is apparently a normal human like me and you.  As such, he has a more natural flair to pilot one of the older generations Gardes (the name the mobile suits are called in the series), as he was trained by his grandfather on a simulator representing the older type 17 compared to the newer, more automated type 18`s.

But there are odd things going on with Tanikaze as well.  During a first mining sortie, the Gauna reappear and a 100 year old peace is broken.  Tanikaze is apparently killed in this engagement... only to suddenly revive and take on the Gauna single handed allowing his copilots bar one to escape.

When Akai and his team of ace pilots are killed by the Gauna, Tanikaze, piloting the legendary type 17 Gardes Tsugomori of an hero of the Defense War 100 years ago (a bare 2 Gauna managed to gain entrance back then to Sidonia and nearly wiped out all the population, starting the genetical manipulation process), Hiroki, are set out to recover the spears able to defeat the Gauna.

Tanikaze snatches up the spear and kills the Gauna single handedly, becoming the hero Sidonia looks for in this heavily Gauna populated region of space.

Slowly it gets revealed that all the clones have memory implants of previous occupants, and Tanikaze was indeed intended to become a new host for Hiroki.  He didn`t want this however and stole the baby to disappear in the depths of the ship.  A first generation `grown` baby, he didn`t have the ability to photosynthesise, but did heal at an increased rate.

Here, Hiroki took upon him the role of grandfather and trained Tanikaze in the conventional ways, passing on his warrior skills while allowing the boy to grow and develop his own personality.  When Tanikaze`s growing love intrest falls in battle, she is copied by the Gauna and a idea comes up that perhaps the two races might be able to communicate with each other, but before this can be exploited a Gauna Hive Ship turns up.

The Knights set out and manage to defeat it, but the captured Gauna apparently has escaped during these trials, setting up the premises for the announced series 2: The Ninth Planet Crusade, set out to be released around the year`s switch.

The series has a big Battlestar Galactica feel to it, with the last remnants of humanity fleeing from an overwhelming alien menance, including the death of characters you expected to never die, in-ship intruiges and politics, hidden agenda`s and a sweet drum style music when the Gardes go out to battle.

A very entertaining and `raw` series, and if I where you: GRAB IT!

vrijdag 26 september 2014

STUDS series one: opening my boxes

This morning the mailman brought a very nice parcel to the door (okay, so I had to pay import duties, but that was expected), as my order of two boxes of the new STUDS trading cards and the binder had arrived.

STUDS is a series that originated from Kickstarter and details the life of (stateside based) AFOLs and their various gorgeous creations.

Now, I bought two Hobby Boxes, and a single box is said to be guaranteed at least a full base set of 96 cards and the 9 card Lowel Spehere inserts.

Every pack also contains a BrickForge custom piece, uniquely made for the series.  Autographed cards (90 out of the 96 card set has an autographed version, this is going to be a pain to collect them all) are inserted at random ratios.

So off we go, and ritually open the very first pack of the series:

Great looking, solid artwork cards, and a blue transparant Tomahawk element. The cards are of a good quality like all the current day trading cards, this is going to be the set I`ll be drooling over A LOT.  I did decide though to get a second binder from my own stacks to include the alternate Autograph series and any promo cards I might still be able to get, as the `official` binder is a bit thin for that.  The basic checklist contains the base set, the Lowell inserts and the 5 piece smaller minifig series, so that`s what I`m putting in the official binder, and all the rest (IF I can get them) in the other one.

Slowly I start filling up the base set.

He, cool, I just reviewed that book last week!

My first autograph!  The great thing is these come in a seperate `penny sleeve` for additional protection.

This is probably the most touching MoC for myself.  I so hope to get the creator, Ian Heath, his autograph card somewhere.

More cards get added, including the awesome EXO suit that caused such a ruckus on Ideas lately as sales soar for that set.  And yes, that is indeed the Serenity in Lego bricks...

The Lowell Sphere insert completed.  At the front a MOC of a billiard table, at the back an instruction leaflet on how to make a sphere.

Inserting card number 36, from the penultimate pack of the first box, and indeed, I now have a FULL base set, FULL Lowell Sphere and indeed also the full series of 5 smaller Minifig cards.  I did carefully taped the opening of the sheets for them, to avoid the small cards from slipping out.

I can`t say every box has a full set in all honesty.  Box 2 was ripped through for any possible autographs and the BrickForge elements.  In the end I scored 6 autographs (3 per box, but I can`t say if that is meant to be), including ironically and awesomely the Cult of Lego card signed by Joe Meno.

This also results of course in `some` doubles, which I can hopefully get traded away.

And a large number of custom elements.  Now, the scifi guns and medieval suitable weaponry I`m keeping, but those with `modern day` appliances and weapons will end in the for trade maps, as I have zilch use for those in my MoC`s and intrest areas.

All in all, I LOVE these cards, and will be scouring the net over my regular sources often in the hopes of finding all those missing autograph and promo cards.

And in the meantime, I`ll be looking out for series 2, rumoured for 2015, as I`ll definitly will be getting those as well!

Mirkwood Army Builder unexpected bargain

I strolled into a Bart Smit store today when going out to get fingertape, and found this nice gem hidden in their racks.

Labelled on the shelf as `Confidential Name` - 35.00 euros, they had one single Mirkwood set in their racks, odd because online they normally only carry the smaller Dol Guldur set for the moment.

At 35 euros, it costs just as much as the cheapest set within Europe on BrickLink, but on top of that I save the shipping costs, so yes, I snatched the box up.

At the register though, the salesguy tossed in a Goodmorning Bilbo polybag as well.  These promos only came with the Vita / PS3 game past spring, and go online at around 15 euros and are becoming rarer and rarer, so I should be easily able to trade it during the 4th Quarter.  Apparently, he had that one bag still in his drawer, and since LotR / The Hobbit isn`t the top seller at the moment in awaiting of the final wave, he gave it to me `because he had just lying it around and didn`t sell any Hobbit sets lately`.

He clearly didn`t know for what it was an actual promo... but you don`t hear me complaining, because in essence, I got a 45 euros catalogue price set for a virtual 20 euros which can drop even lower depending how Bilbo goes during december, NICE.

Planning my 2015 MoCs

Quarter 4 is upon us, and that also means BrickMania is not to far away anymore.  This year I will be participating in the club lay out with a heap of my medieval builds, but after that, some are going to the dissassembly line to free up bricks for 2015 builds.

So that also means I`m slowly starting to plan out what things I *really* would like to build in the next year, ranging from various `storyline settings` I`m participating in, over totally other directions.

The `big one` for 2015 I`m wanting to build is another franchise model like the WoW inspired Blood Elf building I made this year.  I`m going the space route on this, and it will either be a Stiletto from the Freelancer game, or a Banshee from the Wing Commander game.  Yeah, that Space book really had an influence on me...

I`m only still in doubt wether to build them in their `original` colors, or to go for a more blue and grey colour scheme to reflect Classic Space.

The big mainstay for 2015, or red line, will of course remain Guilds of Historica.  I`m really going to aim for that badge on the forum, and to gain that one, I still need to complete 18 different builds + updating any that shouldn`t have made the pass by then to complete it all.  This will be a slow and steady process, and it might be some might already get sorted before the year turns, but who can tell.

One of those I already hope to complete is a sports pitch of a korfbal game, though honestly I can only say I haven`t gotten further at the moment then drwing a pole on the LDD to get an idea of the needed height, and to order some bricks already to start building...

Apart from Guilds of Historica, I recently gotten involved in two similar albeit smaller groups of the same appeal over on MOCPages.  Eras of War and Chronicles of Old work along similar lines, so I`ll be hopefully adding a creation to them left or right.  I also chose sides deliberatly far away from the viking style of Mitgardia in GoH to be able to build in other styles and settings hopefully.  In EoW I chose the `Pirates` faction, in order to build with the Islander minifigs and the likes, while in CoO I`m going for the desert dwellers, but aiming at a sort of `mummy necromancy` line of builds.  I got a lot of suitable minifigures for Egypt based builds after all from my Pharaoh`s Quest and Prince of Persia sets.

I do hope by the end of 2015, or otherwise as the `big one` even for 2016, to build a full medieval hamlet on a 48 by 48 base plate, with the working title for now "Hagen`s Secret", which should represent the homestead of my GoH sig-fig.  The plans for it are sketched in what I want to build and include, but it will all depend on available bricks and skills to transfer the ideas from the paper to the brick.  It *might* cause a bit of a stir if it works all out, but the keyword will be fusion in that build.

Apart from those big ones, I`m still planning on building into certain other directions, like DC heroes for sure.  There is at last going to be a readily available Green Lantern minifig next year, and I`m definitly going to 1) get it and 2) do something with it.  I always had an affinity for the hero (though like many, Hal Jordan remains my favorite Lantern, and I am probably one of the few that didn`t find the movie horrible.  Then again, I thought Ben Affleck was a good Daredevil as well...).

That is about it for the moment of ideas raging through the mailstrom of my brain, and of course, I can`t say for sure how life will be looking like in a few months time, but a man can only do as much as plan and hope they get to come fruition...

But first...

donderdag 25 september 2014

Building Weathertop

The most recent build for my Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit collection, Attack on Weathertop, set 9472, is a box from the very first wave or releases.  Now pretty hard to find in the stores, I managed to get my copy from BrickLink and sat down to build this iconic setting of both the movies and the books.

I do apologise for the pictures, the fake lighting was not clear enough and I was happily snapping away forgetting to put my flash on.

Weathertop plays a pivotal role in the trilogy, as this is where Frodo discovers what exactly is hunting him, and that Aragorn is willing to go to great lengths protecting the Ring-Bearer.  The resulting wound will hunt Frodo for all his days, but it also sets in motion the journey to Rivendell and the formation of the Fellowship.  In the movie, the Hobbits get their weapons here as well, but in the books this was granted by Tom Bombadil on the Barrow Downs though...

The box contains four bags, of course also including the mandatory brick seperator ;-)

Bag 1 grants not only both of the Nazgul, whom you can mount or let on foot, but also the small piece of foliage that goes with the set`s main build, but nothing spectacular bar that.

The other bags all amount to the main build though.  In bag 2 we find Aragron (back then still known just as Strider the Ranger), with the torch he uses to fend of the Ringwraiths.

The rest of the bag are one side of the Weathertop hill, including a trap door on the top (okay, it`s in essence still a toy, so it needs some playability things on it).

Bag 3, containing no figures, is the other half of the hill.  The hill, when assembled, can be opened for easy play access inside.  In the hill is a weapons chamber to accomodate how the Hobits got their weapons in the movies.

It also features the turning stairs leading up to the top of the hill.

Bag 4 has our two brave Hobbits.  I went for a `haunted` look on Frodo as he is wearing the One Ring, and an angry `I will defend my friend` look on Merry, ready to jump between Frodo and danger.

The bag for the rest contains the few pieces to make the ruined archways on the hilltop to show the ruins of the old watchtower.

As well as everything a Hobbit needs for yet another meal...

And thus completes the build.  Here it is shown at first in it`s opened state:

But I display it of course in it`s closed up state, with the adventurers fighting off one of the Nazgul as the other one approaches closer on his horse.

And this is the left overs of pieces:

All in all, Weathertop isn`t the most challenging of builds in the line, but it is definitly a great looking model to have on display on your shelf, as it has taken it`s place alongside Lakeside, Bag`s End and Orthanc at my desk at my girlfriends!

Now normally the next one I will be building as it has arrived today is the small Helm`s Deep expansion set, Uruk-hai Army, but after that, I`m waiting not so patiently for the final wave to come out.

The budget is put aside, and since they are apparently coming out already in October, I can as well score double VIP points on them when I order the whole wave of 4 sets in one go... and enjoy a very big dragon!!!!