dinsdag 30 juni 2015

Lego Battlestar Galactica Colonial Viper

My most recent Lego build, and just in time for StarCom Convention the coming sunday.

I went for a movie styled presentation for the vessel on this one, as that just makes it look a little bit more awesome.

Which it deserves, as it is a true icon of my youth and one of the series I was `spoon fed` when just a wee little toddler.

The build itself is based, but not copied from the Ruimterijk book, but the wings assembly, engines, and some bits left and right have been (heavily) modified to accomodate my bricks available, and for the pilot I went for Sheba, she was kinda hot 35 odd years ago ;-)

maandag 29 juni 2015

Prentice Alvin - Orson Scott Card review

Set in an alternate frontier America (where we talk about Hio and Missippi for example), where the people have knacks, comes this novel chronicling Alvin Smith, a boy destined to become a legendary Maker.

The book was a find when a local bookstore was closing doors and it was in their final day lying around.  No loss in costs as I paid like half a euro for it, I never heard of the writer nor if there was any series about this.

But it is a great read.  The tale chronicles the life of Alvin from the moment he arrives in the small village Hattrack Road (where he had been born a decenium ago during a river swilling that cost his eldest brother his life) to take up apprenticeship with the local smith.

But the local innkeeper harbours a secret as he shelters the runaway `mix up boy`, a product from a slaver and the raping of one of his slaves.  With people having knacks in this world, which can be either foresight, or something as simple as making people feel good, Alvin discovers slowly and steadily he is a Maker.  A mythical knack of which only two had existed before him, that can literally make anything, up to an atomic level.  Healing wounds, unbinding wood... it is all in his range of possibilities.

He is guided in his journey by Ms Larner, an elderly schoolteacher who in reality is far younger, the runaway daughter of the innkeeper who is in love with Alvin, but as a torch couldn`t see a good future coming from their being together as a couple.  So she uses disguise hexes to guide Alvin instead.

The slaveboy, Arthur Stuart, is special in his own way, as he was conceived by his father, a cruel slaver that unknowingly works for the devil, as the prodigy and antipode to Alvin.  But as Alvin has taken a liking to the boy and vice versa, this creates a very special bond and a series of events that might carry grave costs...

I`m definilty going to research if their are more books in the series, because I truly enjoyed it.  It`s not a literary great or a genre classic, but for me personally that doesn`t matter.  A good book is something I enjoy reading in the bathtub or while on the bus, and this one caught my attention span.

I honestly think this tale would even make a good script.  Not for those high and mighty cinema movies, but for those lesser budget but not necessarily lesser quality ones they make over on Sci-Fi and the likes.

Just my two cents...

Galavant season 1 - review

Though short at 8 episodes of 22 minutes each, galavant, an ABC production with mostly a british cast, was a suprise hit, and has been confirmed for a second season.

The series is a musical styled adventure, with a humor in the likes of the best british comedy shows around, making for a very enjoyable show, and the theme opening song of `Gaaalaaaavaaaaaaant` sticks in your head for days.

The story is about the hero Galavant, who`s beloved drops him for the riches and life of luxury that King Richard offers her.  Even though Galavant thinks she is being conceived, when the Valencian princess Isabella asks him to save her kingdom, he hatches a plan to do both that and regain his long lost love.

Who actually turns out to be a heartless, materialistic b*tch that doesn`t want an honest life with Galavant but choses the riches a queen has over love.  She has a plan to remove her incompetent husband from power and take it all for her, and Galavant and his merry band find themselves in the middle.

Though the main cast doesn`t really contain any `big guns` of the cinema`s bar Vinnie Jones, a lot of guest actors are big names, like John Stamos, Rutger Hauer and Ricky Gervais amongst others.

And believe me, you haven`t seen anything until you see Vinnie Jones folk dancing...

Minifigures Online is back

The two week downtime for the overhaul of the CMF game Minifigures Online has passed, and the renewed servers and game are back open.

And quite a lot of changes have occured in the interface and the likes.  And the very first you`ll see is that you can now have mutliple character slots...

Changed from a Free to play with microtransactions, it went to a buy to play model and gone are the diamonds (the currency for the transactions).  Existing accounts had them all reimbursed in stars (the skill points).  Together with the fact skills now `open` on a certain level instead of buying first that level for a figure, meant I had over half a million stars at once, and I managed to put all my 75 figures (my free monthly bag gave me one I didn`t have yet, the Galaxy trooper) on Legendary in one go.

Another change is a new tab at the top of the interface, Assembly`.  Here, you get a list of the figures you DON`T have yet, and how many of the needed parts for each.  Gone are the days you could change 3 for 1 random piece in the hopes collecting a figure, now all the pieces you have from completed figures go in the `Spares Box` and these can be exchanged for 250 stars per 3 pieces.

The game now has voices included, and there should be cinematics and changed and overhauled levels and dungeons, but that is something I`ll be exploring the coming weeks.  What I can say is that the new map style is far more arty then before.

Achievements have remained and for now, no new ones have been added, so on that field, there isn`t much to report.

But the last skill HAS been opened now on every character, so they can be upgraded to their maximum 8th skill set.

It`s basically a new game as such, so I`ll be hopping around in it soonish, first I have to do some more switches and changes in upgrades and skill lists ;-)

Inspirational Lego 24

Welcome to another episode of the best builds I enjoyed on the internet the past week.

Standing before a week of heatwave over here in lil` ol` Belgium, with temperatures going in the higher 30s, I`ll be having a lot of time to enjoy surfing around as I`m not a lover of hot weather at all and will be sheltering almost every day hehe.

Last week BrickWorld was about in Chicago, and a lot of awesome things where on display there, but this definitly caught my eye: Brick Tech.

It`s the classic Battletech miniature game, but with Lego build mecha and scenery.  My old wargamer heart smiled with joy when drooling over the pictures ;-)

Also at BWC, was this incredible buste of `The Pale Man`, creepy in all it`s bricky galore.

And not creepy, but no less awesome, let`s play Vocaloid with this incredible mosaic build.

On different notes, at Eurobricks, the team I was part of and did some limited contributions (though I did manage to conquer two grids in the game) won the challenge C in Kaliphlim, and one of our team`s builders made this flag parade as the Desert King returned victorious.  It`s filled with nifty little details and jokes!

The new Batmobile has been recently revealed as well, and soon the first MOC`s of the machine appeared online, like this excellent rendition:

This is one beautiful river steamer, it was part of a larger layout, but caught my eye immediatly

Queen Amidala in a well known scene from the `prequel trilogy`...

On MOCPages, I came along this gorgeous rendition of a classic Sherlock Holmes image, well executed!

These Chinese workers in a rice field, an entry for the CCC, is just beautifully and realisticly done.

As is this goat that has a chibi feel to it ;-)

And so there we are, another 10 great finds over on the web the past week, hope you enjoyed it, and now to start nagging the Nemesis to get him into Lego and start battling with Bricky Mechs ;-)

zondag 28 juni 2015

Lego Book: Ridderwereld

Though I have the dutch version, this is the third book to grace my Legobrary in this range of buildguide books, after building microscale cities and the space empire book.

And this particular book is a blessing for me.

As you can seen from the contributors, a lot of well known MOC`cers have lend a hand in it`s creation, and the book covers a variety of scales and subjects.

Brick build Gandalf, a big dragon, miniscale figure joustings, the weirwood tree from Game of thrones... that is just a small grab out of all the various builds covered.

But for me personally, the true `winners` where a guide on how to build really huge, sturdy trees and how to go about to build a modular castle where all the towers and the likes can be disconnected for easy storage or transportation.  That certainly had some pointers that I`ll be taking along in some future building endeavours to try and increase the quality and `wow factor` of Age of Mitgardia contributions.

And like in the previous volumes, every build comes with a parts used list, including the codes those parts use on BrickLink and the likes, so that makes for some easier times shopping around.

A true recommendation for any Lego medieval and fantasy fan for sure!

Thunderbirds Are Go season 1 part 1 review

After 13 weeks of returned nostalgia, the broadcast break for the remake of this classic series is upon us unfortunatly.

In 13 weeks, the next 13 episodes of the first season will be aired, so let`s have a look at what this has been all about so far.

The series, produced with the aid of WETA Workshop (Lord of the Rings amongst others) is a CGI remake of the original Thunderbirds series by G. Anderson from the 60s, that back then used `supermarionation` to animate the figures.

But the cool thing abou this whole computer generated series is that it actually looks modern yet vintage at the same time.  Ships shuffle left to right when caught in gales in a style as if they where cord supported, the scenery and cars at times look like actual toy models on a railroad scenery used decor...

All of the original Tracy`s return, except father Jeff who is assumed to have been killed in a plain crash engineered by The Hood.  But the voice actor, the late Peter Dyneley, is still heard as they use the countdown sequence from the original during the opening or when the Thunderbirds launch.

The ships themselves closely resemble the original, though TB2 does have the biggest update perhaps (okay, except TB5, which is now a far more advanced space station) and all the gimmicks of the vessels launching are still there: the retracting swimmingpool, the flipping to the side palm trees...

And so far, only one episode of the original series has actually been remade, Firefly, all the others are `new` adventures for International Rescue, even though they all follow the style of the old series.  Perhaps that the resues themselves might be a bit more high paced, as episodes run now for 22 minutes instead of the original series 45 minutes.  But the epic music and sequence of the Tracy`s gliding down tubes to get ready and into their vessels are goosebump moments for all us old series fans still.

Definitly one of the better series this past half year, I even came to the point sometime ago that I was anticipating the newest episode of Thunderbirds Are Go MORE the another episode of Game of Thrones... so yes, I really do like it and can definitly recommend it to anyone not looking for just another `pew pew boom bang blast` series to follow...

zaterdag 27 juni 2015

My current Lego WIP projects

As I`m slowly finalising what I`m going to want and build in the next year (as I should start saving up on bricks for them), I`m also in the process of slowly and steadily completing some projects.

Well, some where planned for this year, and of course a heap of them is from ideas coming during the year...

The first is one of those from the second part: the Super Sentai Machine Buffalo.  I grew up with those sorts of series, and when I got the toy of the vehicle from an auctioneer lot, I just knew I wanted to use it as inspiration one day.

So when Andromeda's Gates came along, I started building my AFV, with compartments for minifigs instead of loading bays, and used the Machine Buffalo as a starting point.  And hence why the white needed to be changed to gray.

The second thing I`m currently working on isn`t a MOC at all, but a straight build from the `Bouw je eigen Ruimte-rijk` book, the Battlestar Galactica Colonial Viper, another icon from I was just a wee little bloke.

Finally I`ve also started work on the Rivendell display, the third I want to get compelted this year after Lake-Town and Weathertop.  The idea is that the existing set goes on a cliff where the grey area of plates is marked out, and on the right side there will be a waterfall.

The back would be build up with rocks as well, and perhaps I`ll be adding a small, high, bridge over the water as well on the left, not entirely sure about that yet...

The plan is generally to get them finished in the presented order above, so I keep you posted when they are!

vrijdag 26 juni 2015

Eureka Seven Ao review

Following up on the highly acclaimed anime Eureka Seven, this sequel from 2012 numbers a list of 24 episodes.

AO is both short for Astral Ocean, as for the titular character, Ao Fukai, son of the human Renton and Coralian being Eureka from the original series, and takes place about 10 years from the events in the original series finale.

Spinning off precisely from the events in episode 50 of the original, the series has the same strong visual appeal as the original, with vibrant colours, high speed action and sky surfing mecha`s...

... but unfortunatly, it is left lacking in the strength of the storyline.

While the first half of the season centers mostly about Ao discovering a bit of his origins and destiny while fighting of the Secrets (the G-Monsters from the original) to protect Scub Corals, this whole Generation Bleu arc is slow, lame and basically a `Secret of the week` sort of tale.

The second half has more to it, as Eureka appears, as he meets his mom in her future from his past from alternate timelines, resulting in a time-altering gun that when used changes the past due to damage in the future.

Sounds confusing?  That`s because it is.  The series suffers from the shortness, as the moment the alien being Truth, who wants to seriously alter the past and the future, and the Quartz Gun come into the equasion, the remaining 11 episodes is jsut to short to explain it all without coming over hotch-potched and chaotic, not to mention rushed.

This combined with the fact that one barely knows at the end who the `good` and who the `bad` actually are in the Secrets vs Scub Coral conflict in which humanity gets entangled, and a rather intense BUT complicated final half of the final episode, really makes it fall short of the original.

It is nice to watch, but you`ll never have that urge to watch `just one more episode` as you will have with the original series, it`s just, well, plain.

At least there are some funny moments by also time-displaced (or not... it`s another complicated matter) Elena Peoples, an anime addicted IFO pilot who constantly quotes anime lines and build up styles, even going as far as an `You know what is in a basement` imitation of Evangelion...