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!

zondag 21 december 2014

The Year 2014 part 3: the goals of 2014

In the third instalment of looking back on the year, let`s have a look at those goals that where listed in the left corner of this very blog... 

Well, considering the huge gap there is still to be closed, and makes it impossible to do so in the remaining 9 days of the year, I think I can safely assume that those still open can be labelled `Failed`.

Now, after going over them, I can safely scratch them off and replace them with the ones for 2015, whom I`ll be looking into detail more in part 5 of 5 of this yearly review, but I think we can safely assume it has been a year of seriously mixed success.

The first goal we have is the Planeswalker Points for Magic the Gathering.  Just like last year, my card chucking days are divided in three `sequences`.  From january to about april, I occassionally get a game in, then from april to august it`s nearly full time gaming, only to drop stone dead after that.  And just like last year, this has everything to do with my private life like my reschooling schedule.  I had hoped to reach level 32 this year, coming from level 28, but I`m failing with 252 points on this.

Which is the same gap as it was after GP Utrecht, I haven`t gotten in a single game since that first weekend of august...

So yes, that goal would have been obtainable had I just managed to pick up the Khans of Tharkir pre-release and release event weekends, as well as the GPT or such left or right.

But on the contrary to last year, this time I did already manage to score the needed PWP`s to be allowed to participate in the 2015 WMCQ`s.  And grab that first event victory.  So in conclusion on the Magic front I did manage to get specific goals achieved, but failing the overal target.

The other big goal was the Playstation Network ranking.  Here I failed miserably, as I didn`t even get up a single level this year after the impressive ratio of levels and platinums in 2013 with the Challenge back then.  I mostly only played the Telltale games, and did some Lego games, but that is it... This is in part due to the Minifigures Online MMO, and before that the fact I went in hard again on World of Warcraft.

Talking World of Warcraft, I scored both the 1000 achievements and 10.000 achievement points, but once I had to replace my computer after the big holidays... I never re-installed the game, nor did I do that for either EVE or World of Tanks, and those games fizzled away from my attention span.  So no level 10 tank either...

All in all, that means the goals I`ve set myself for the gaming department are failures over the whole line.  And will be FAR more modest for the coming year ;-)

But I did score great on those goals that included the magical words of `funding, trading, exchanging` and the likes.  For this year, I had aimed to get myself a LOT of the bigger sets of Lego, most of the Lord of the Rings range, but also the Black Pearl.  And that I did achieve over the whole line with great success, so great actually I also managed to grab the whole latest wave of Hobbit sets without having to dig into the savings account.

The other Lego goals, building the Blood Elf moc for Guilds of Historica, was achieved as well (and after the recent BM, has been torn down again now), but all realism of course, the Tundra Bull didn`t get nowhere near obtaining the Ideas funding limit. 

So all in all, it was rather okay for the completed goals of 2014, but nothing more then that, no spectacular achievements obtained, no real big goals even approached... I would say on that part that perhaps I have been a bit to lazy and unfocussed with my attention jumping around just a bit to much the past year.

zaterdag 20 december 2014

Building Dol Guldur

My parents are both retired, and like retired persons tend to do, they are doing a lot of small citytrips and the likes.  And so it was that earlier this week, they went to the Rhine area in Germany to do some christmas shopping and wine tasting.

Being the sweet, loving son that I am, and also the opportunistic ass, they do their journeys `armed` with a printed copy of my Bricky Wish List and spend half their holidays scavenging through toy stores on the look out for any of my missing Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit sets...

And they found one in a department store in Bonn past tuesday, set 79014, the Dol Guldur Battle.  In the movie, this is the sequence where Gandalf discovers the truth behind the increasing dark tidings, and learns that the `Necromancer` that resides there is none other then Sauron returned.

The box came with two instruction booklets, 6 polybags of parts and a sticker sheet, and includes a whole bunch of unique to the set minifigures, like Radagast the Brown and the Necromancer.  It also includes another Azog, so those people shelving hard money for the SDCC model two years ago...

The first minifigure we come along is The Necromancer himself, as well as the statue which is rather wanted and often listen as an actual figure due to it`s printed torso and robes.

The first part we start building is the foundation for the statue.  This comes with a hidden compartment where in the set the ring is stored.



A small but efficient looking build if you ask me.

The actual building itself is composed of various smaller `building` sections connected to each other, so we start with the first one, where the Necromancer is hiding out.


The decals are really nice for this set.



As we build up in height, we create and decalise the revolving door.  You can place the Necromancer behind it if you like, and have him revolve in to make his dramatic appearance.

This section is then wholy closed up, and details are added to that part of the building.


As we proceed to the next part of the ruins, we come along the minifigures of both Ishtarii.  Gandalf is one of his unhatted versions, but Radagast is a pure winner.  This is such an awesome figure for someone who in essence is only mentioned 3 or 4 times over the course of all the Middle Earth books, but Sylvester McCoy (that`s the 7th The Doctor for you!) portrays him excellently in his more expanded part in the The Hobbit trilogy.

The parts for the building are the hinges to make the ruin able to be placed angled.  Two times the same building procedure, these are then attached to the sides of the main building.




Next up is the movies main bad guy, Azog the Defiler.

The building gets expanded now with the main gate section of the ruins.



As we build it up, the play feature of this section is a tumbling trog who drops skeletal heads on those who enter the fortress.



After adding some extra detailing, the section is then connected and the fortress keeps growing.


The final minifigures are the two orc warriors in the set, one with and one without shoulder pads.  I kind of like these Gundabad orcs, and I`ll be doing my best over the years to actually expand my minifig collection with regiments of rank and file troops from both movie series for future moc`s, but currently they aren`t on the cheapest of listed figures out there (especially my beloved Rohirrim are darn expensive).

The section they come with is a long unused gangway, see the spider webs.  It also comes with a mean trap of a big sword swinging left to right to cut up any who enter.



This goes to the buildings other side of the main gate.

Now the final part of the actual ruins, the tower of the Dol Guldur ruined fortress.



Consisting of two levels and a roof section, again the decals are very good looking on this set. 


The top features a small catapult, but this is only lightly connected because as you will see later on, it can be interchanged with another part of the set.

The only thing left now to complete the fortress is to build the central stairways.  A mirrored build for the left and right stairway, they are connected to the sides of where the revolving door is.




Now, about that catapult.  The set also includes the cage where Gandalf is held, and can be placed instead of the catapult to have him hanging from the tower. 





I decided though to let the skeleton stay in the cage and put it on the floor, not on the higher up part.


The set stands completed:

And of course comes with extra parts...


In a way, I find it a bit of a shame that there wasn`t a Thrain minifigure, but since these sets are produced before the film, in this case the second, The Desolation of Smaug, and Thrain was a well guarded secret for the Extended Edition of the movie, I understand.  This would have been too much of a spoiler to learn what had happened to Thorin`s father.

I really like the combination of the Dol Guldur sets, the smaller Ambush set btw can connect to the side of the tower, and they are a prime candidate for a display moc soon.  Once I got the whole planned Lake-Town display base done, I think I`ll be turning my attention to this series of sets, which will consist of this one, the Ambush set, the Witch King battle set and the small promo polybag with Gandalf. 

The big issue for it will be the planning out part though, because if (or better, when) I will be trying my hand at them, I`ve got in my mind the idea to go for a high rockside to put the ruin on in part.  Still have a lot to plan out in that respect, and it won`t be for too soonish though... but it will be there eventually ;-)