zaterdag 31 december 2016

The goals for 2017

The last post of year on the last day of the year, is traditionally the goals I'm setting myself for the Geeky part of 2017.

And while the main focus will be lying on expanding my Middle Earth builds, there are some other things that snuck between in the list.

Of course, the blog will continue with some old and some new "fixed" series and for example I'm aiming again at writing up 50 Build reports minimum during the year.  For 2017, I`m going to try and keep this in the permanent wednesday slot, giving me some leverage for holidays, illnesses or I don`t know what's without screwing the schedule up to much.

On a same note as last year, I've set the same numbers to reduce backlogs: read 25 Books, watch 25 movies (with the first "special" coming in two weeks), and watch 10 series and 10 anime series each at least.  And somewhere in between I'd love to bump up those Dimensions Gold bricks, if I end with about 750 collected out of the current 1068, I`ll be a happy camper.

Lego build wise, I have a bit of a headstart, as Bucklebury Ferry has already been completed.
Now apart from that, I want to expand mainly on my Middle Earth project (which will now get monthly updates every beginning of the month).  For this year, I've planned a further 3 mocs, with the Dwarrowdelf, Shortcut to Mushrooms and Durin's Causeway builds.  Outside those, I'm also going to make one "display" for sets, with The Shire, based around the Unexpected Gathering set (aka Bag's End).
To top that all off, I'm also aiming at building a maxifig to "stand over" my builds, being a build of Frodo based on his cooking corner version.

Apart from all that Tolkien building, I have two projects in the pipeline.  On the one hand, a build from the American Civil War, based on the Irish Brigade and whom I'd love to complete by november. 

On the second hand, and wth a goal for july's Comic Con Ghent, is a scene from Attack of the Clones, and I have settled on Kamino.  And more precisely on the Jango vs Obi-Wan duel.  The reason for this is mainly because for once, that wouldn't eat up a lot of my green plates, being al "watery" for the bottom plate.

 Finally, but I'm not counting on getting that completed, there is the Harry Potter build I want to do around the Philosopher Stone sets, but I can already estimate that goal failing though unfortunatly... unless our LUG would be in the early receivers of their LUGBULK.

All this is of course to exhibit at various conventions, and while I aim at at least 5 for the coming year, I fear I might have to settle on 3, being so far Comic Con Brussels, Brick Mania Antwerp and my main "event goal" for 2017: Elftopia.  Cosplay outfit included!

Well, that's it for the geeky goals of 2017, and now we will just have to see where this boat will strand in the end!

donderdag 29 december 2016

The Goals of 2016

As the year is running to a close with only 2 days left, it's a good time to look back on the goals I wanted to reach in the Geeky hobby this year.

Now, over the big line, it has been a succes, but there have been failures as well, so bear with me.

The blog, which you are reading here, had a good year, and has been "expanded on" with a bit of activity on other social media.  For example, I added a YouTube account at last to attach the occasional moc and review video, as well as using the channel for the BeLUG video's of conventions.  And since about a month, a third blog has been started up, TolWars, which is a flemished languaged blog for "non-club" related group projects.

Which brings us to the first goal I wanted to reach: expose my builds at at least 5 conventions.  I went over this mark big time, as no less then 8 events had builds of mine (3 geeky cons, 4 Lego events and Mechelen Speelstad), while 2 planned ones where cancelled or it would have been even more.  So that resulted in a seriously long brick badge...

I also managed to get my Pirate town, Quinnsville, ready for it's phase one at BM Wetteren, and her phase two for BM Antwerp.  And I also managed to build a 6th Rate ship-of-the-line frigate to go with it, with the historically "correct" number of guns et all.

Other builds I planned and completed where the two "Club Projects" lay-outs, namely the Time Traveller and the Lego: My Hobby.  More info on those particular builds can be found on the BeLUG clubblog, which I also manage when we started this up this year.  First as a member of the board, but I had to step down from that for private and timerestrained issues.  But that doesn`t mean I won`t be doing that little job for the club.

Other builds I wanted to do where for Geeky cons, including my Battlestar and some anime related mosaics.  All those things bar "My Hobby" will eventually (or are already) be taken apart again, but that is for the 2017 goals set post that will come tomorrow or saturday... However, a lot of "half year" ideas I wanted to build never materialised, and probably never will as I`ll truly be focussing.

This did mean I haven`t been building for Age of Mitgardia during 2016, something I definitly will try to pick up again... if I got the time...

Minifigures Online in the meantime has closed down in september, so I`ll never get all the achievements.  Never the less, I ended the game with about 75% of everything unlocked that could be unlocked.  In other news, I spend most of my PS3 time on Dimensions, so not that many Lego games have been platinummed besides that.  I`m currently clearing the new expansions levels and story packs for the trophies, before hunting down more gold bricks in 2017.

Other things I wanted to do was work on my backlog of books, movies and series.  And most of them went more then perfect.
Of the 10 books I wanted to read, I ended up this year with 21, which means I finished a book every 3 weeks on average, not bad for usually only reading on the bus.
Movie wise, I wanted to down the tally by at least 25, but with a few specials like the B-Movie marathon tossed in, I ended up with a number of 43.  Same with the series, I wanted to be able to watch a full 10 of them, and in the end I saw 27 complete series during the year.  Anime was a closer call, ending at 12 out of 10 I wanted to see...
Finally, there where the build reports.  I`m so far behind in writing them up, I have material until the second half of 2018 already.  I did 72 this year, out of the 50 I aimed for.  I`ll start with that same number for 2017, and a "planned" 1 a week ratio so I`ll have leverage again for some additional things coming in between.

All in all, that means quite a lot of goals actually got done, and I already have a headstart on 2017 as thanks to some unforseen free time, I completed one moc sooner then expected. But that is a story for another time...

So what did I win in 2016?

Somewhere around this time last year, I said I would be following all those give aways and draws and whotnot's on YouTube, Facebook, etc etc... to see if I could get some free bricks my way.

Well, I started slacking after a month or three, so there haven`t been any winnings from that part.

Well, that`s not entirely true.  I did win a build Poe Dameron set on a YouTube speedbuild channel, but before it ever got posted, the channel went down and Poe never came my way.  Pity but heck, it didn't cost me anything at least.

What I did manage to do is some raffles at our club and outside, and get some stuff from there.

The first was at the LCC reunion last january, where my free raffle ticket yielded this Chima lot. The keychain, polybag et all are either build or in my collection, the holosticker is on my carry case, the DVD was handed out to the kid, and I parted with the playmat as that was like the only thing I didn`t have any real use for.

Next came Brick Mania Wetteren, and I took home a Carbon Freeze Chamber set.  I already had that one (build report coming in 2017... backlog...) and parted it out for the parts, while trading the figures for some Tolkien figs.

Brick Mania Liege was a total winner.  During an evening event game, I ended second and won this Wall-E Ideas set.  Now, not my cup of tea though, I wanted to build it for a review when one of my friends found a Bag's End complete set and traded it with this one.

I also entered the raffle there, and won this box of parts.  These are the sorts of things I like, as they went all directly into the relevant element boxes for my moccing efforts.

At the BeLUG clubday, I actually won a Lance's Mecha Horse, but a buddy of mine's kid had won a Star Wars set he already had, and we traded around.  The set is currently on my shelf to build in the near future, as I need C-3PO and R2-D2 for a small group lay out project in 2017.

Same story goes for this Elves set at Brick Mania Antwerp.  I had won that Technic go-kart, the purple orange one.  A Technic fan however won this, and I proposed to trade as I love the Elves for the parts.  It's still on my desk as we speak, as I can`t stop having the slide go while saying "whiiii".

The final winning came with the Eurobricks christmas raffle.  I build the small Caradhras vignette for entering, as the theme was snow, and I came out with a C price.  No idea what it will be as that will be after the new year.

Oh well, for 2017 I`m going to try and surf over YouTube and the likes a bit more dedicated, who knows what free bricks and figs I can add to my collection!

woensdag 28 december 2016


Callboys is a flemish series, produced by Jan Eelen (of Het eiland fame) for television.

Numbering 7 episodes, it follows the in and out's of a group of male escorts, and while it got the 16+ label overhere for the moderate nudity, it`s a comical series with some whiffs of drama.

The four stereotypes are present: the dumb macho, the know-it-all, the goodhearted softie and the insecure manager that falls in love with the wrong woman.

When the callboys try to expand their marketvalue, to have dildo`s made of their "tools", but of course they order them in a way to huge amount, and as such are on the edge of financial bankrupcy due to the bill for their manufacturing.  Add to that some (absurd humour) website issues, a raging drone vendor (the best episode of the series), betrayal and a tragic accident, and your set for a nice evening of benchwatching.  The humour is great, especially when Jay and Devon are at each other again.

But really, don`t think of this series of a real life experience...

Rating: 7.5 / 10

dinsdag 27 december 2016

Is Lego worth more then Gold? The Test part 3

First of all, let me all wish you a happy new year as 2016 wraps up, and many trading fun in 2017.

Now, let's kick in an open door: the christmas season, according to the "professionals" if you follow sites like BrickPicker have been terrible.

Rampant complaining about bursting bubbles, big drops in end of year sales, "it's all Amazon's fault" and more of those things are spreading like wildfire.  And in a way, it is true, as even for this test, it was clear that what is said in those forums do holds a bit of merit.  And then again, it doesn`t either in some other ways.

If you took a look at the various Facebook pages that go about selling, the amount of Black Friday Amazon deals, and the discounted Kruidvat (a local chain of stores) sets have been abundant.  Everyone thought they could pick a big grain, and in the end, a lot where left with full stocks that didn`t move.  Personally, I barely bothered in december as everything was being saturated with boxed sets, and as such had only a modest movement of 200.57 USD, a measly 10 dollars more then it was in november. That means 569.29 USD to go to break even... or a more manageable 63.25 USD a month.

Now, what did move a LOT where again loose parts, and they "broke" into the green this month.  On the other hand, the used sets remain a disaster, with only two small Jurassic World sets moving for an "amazing" 28.24 USD.

For the rest, it was a calm month, as I got 84.11 USD worth of sets in, which I flipped again within a day for 99.39 USD.  While 15 dollars doesn`t seem that much, it was a quick, roughly 12% profit with minimal effort.  That is a decent margin for small stuff in the end, considering I had to do next to nothing, the profit almost can be seen just as a commission.

But as I said, the constant sources remain loose parts, and loose (franchise) minifigures, as they really made my month.  While I`ve spend 9.92 USD on some small part and fig lot at a fleamarket, I came in with 32.04 USD of loose parts, but also a staggering 108.25 USD in used figures.

Yes, this has made the decision final, as I`m going to be parting out the used sets, still counting for a huge 237.40 USD to recuperate.  If I tally those instead into the used parts department, which is now sitting on a comfortable 59.82 USD profit since the beginning (out of an initial investment of 200 USD), that would delete the whole used sets from my numbers and make the loose parts and figures department now an investment of 500 USD, of which 177.78 still has to be recuperated.  This actually looks far better then having to put hopes up with used complete sets to be honest, and more feasible.

So what direction to take?

Well, after one quarter of the test being completed now, a pattern for myself personally is being formed.  I'm going to aim for the remainder of the test on the loose parts and figures.
Sets, both new and old, are indeed saturated at the moment, and to that end I`m going to try and liquidate them over the coming months, probably at some event left or right.  And if they don`t go, I`ll just be opening them after the test, and part them out in pieces for my mocs. The things I can`t use for my Tolkien builds will be figures and pieces for trading.
Used Sets, I ain`t touching those ever again...
Exclusives is a dangerous and very volatile market, and then I`m not only talking things like the Fountain or other give away sets.  One day they go for a lot, the other it's all about pennies.  It has a too high risk factor in my opinion.
So yes, I`ll be focussing on loose elements (still a lot to sort) and figures of all kinds for supplementing my hobby budget in 2017, clearly these aren`t the high winners, but they are a far more constant source of turn over.

I`ll hopefully see you all back in a month, with more opinions on this little excursion in the trading of Lego around...

maandag 26 december 2016

Doctor Who Christmas Special: The Return of Doctor Mysterio

It has become a time-honoured tradition that our favorite Time Lord graces the screen on Christmas Day in a television special.

Somethimes it hints at new companions, sometimes he gets a one time one (like Kylie Minogue in the Tennant era), but it is always a good fun and christmas story combination.

And this year, we find ourselves in New York, and the culture of comics and secret identities.  The Doctor meets an 8 year old named Grant, and the kid accidentally swallows a gemstone.  This imbues him with the power that he wished for, being in his case the power palette of Superman himself.

When Harmony Shoals, a secret cover for a brain-like alien species, is starting to secretly invade Earth, the Doctor, his new companion Nardole (cut free from Hydroflax and great performance by Matt Lucas) and a reporter named Lucy investigate.  But it is the interference of a masked hero named The Ghost that turns the tables.

This is none other then the now 24 years older Grant, the kid the Doctor met years ago.  He is in love with Lucy, and is her Nanny.  He becomes a primary target for the Harmony Shoals, but as the Doctor unravels the plan of the aliens, including dropping a derelict spaceship on New York to stage an alien invasion, Grant reveals his identity.

All ends well of course, as this is a Christmas special, but we learn also from the trailer for the spring 2017 series that not only will the Doctor get a new companion, but Nardole remains on the team as well in what is said to become Capaldi's final season.  For producer / writer Steven Moffat this was the wave off, and it was a nice and exiting episode to end his cycle with!

Rating: 6.5 / 10

The Best of 2016 Awards

As 2016 runs to a close, it's time for me to look back at the "Geeky Side" of the year and consider what I found the best the things I watched, heard, build etc etc... during the past 12 months.

So in a yearly tradition, the "week of closure" has begun on this little corner of the internet, as well as looking forward to 2017.

And in today's post, it is time for the "awards" of the memorable things of 2016, without any celebrity deaths in this overview of the year.

Best Movie

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, hands down.  This movie takes us back to the magical world of J.K. Rowling, but it doesn`t center around some meddling kids / pubering teenagers stories, but instead on some more adult setting.  It was a visual spectacle, had good humour, and generally was just great fun to watch with the whole family.

Best Series

War and Peace, the miniseries produced by BBC, based on the famous book by Leo Tolstoy.  It aired in the beginning of the year, and for me personally, it wasn`t topped over the year.  Even though Westworld did get close, it just didn`t have the grandeur and the drama of this work.

Best Performance

Again one from early in the year that wasn`t topped for my part, this goes to Ray Stevenson for his role as Blackbeard Edward Teach in the Black Sails series.  He brings a lot of charisma to this vicious sea-dog, and the moment he was introduced into the series with the three brothers entering his cabin is a classic for me.  Oddly enough, Travis Fimmel, of whom I ain`t much a fan comes a good runner up.  But dis is mainly due to his fantastic "Who wants to be King" scene in the second half of the Vikings season 4 start a few weeks ago.

Best Book

A true classic for this one I fear, with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.  Being about 150 years old, I finally read this masterpiece of Victorian horror, and was amazed by the immense differences of the book versus about every way we see and "know" the story... or thought we did.

Best Lego set

A big suprise here perhaps, but I actually have a Lego Star Wars build on this one.  The tiny Millenium Falcon that came with a Lego Magazine, as I was really amazed by the techniques they used to represent the vessel in such a small scale.

Best Toy

Pacific Rim's Cherno Alpha from NECA, which was actually one of only two toys I bought in the year, the other being a Matchbox Thunderbird 3.  And the fact I could grab this at Comic Con Gent for 10 euro was a big huzzaah moment.

Best Anime

Schwarzesmarken, a spin-off from the Muv-Luv mecha series.  It handles with some very "adult" themes for a mecha, including underage prostitution, brainwashing, and some serious political "fucked up-ness".  The series takes place behind the Iron Curtain in 1983, with the Stasi controlling and trying to influencing an east german government from the inside, while being threatened by alien annihilation on the outside.  Add in a child assassin, and you know this isn`t for the young ones amongst us.

Best Game

Until yesterday, I had Lego Jurassic World listed here for it's humour and fun.  Then I got my Mini NES for christmas which has amongst others the old 8-bit versions of Final Fantasy, Zelda, etc etc on it, so yeah, that truly is a great thing for an old geezer like me.  I grew up on those games, and now I`m old and experienced enough to actually play them decently hehehe.

Best Music

What else could this be then the return of the Pokemon song!

Best Trade

I managed to exchange my Marvel Helicarrier, who was I admit a bit of a mis buy for myself, with the Queen Anne's Revenge.  They both go about the same value as used complete on BrickLink, but the sailing ship looks far better (for me) on my shelves, paired with my Pearl.

Best Convention

I did a LOT of events the past year, both pure Lego related as well as the comic conventions, so I had a lot to choose from.  But in the end, I`m going with Comic Con Gent.  We have been present from the start with BeLUG, it has a great and relaxed atmosphere, and this year, it even had a burlesque Vulcan dancer ;-)

Greatest Disappointment

I wanted to put Killjoys second season here initially, but I guess I`m going to go with the Lego Marvel Avengers videogame on the PS Vita.  It just isn`t that much fun, and in order to platinum it (which I still need to do), you`re more busy playing racing minigames then something else.

Special Mention

Sometimes, you just have that thing that stays with you for some reason, and for me in 2016 it`s a celebrity, being Paul McGann.  A great actor, who also played Doctor Who in the movie from the 80s (he was the 8th Doctor), he was a guest at FACTS Autumn.  I had a custom minifigure ordered especially for signing, and he was truly amazed he existed in Lego.  He muttered something tongue in cheekish about "ha, see Capaldi"  and wanted a Selfie with his minifig alter ego :-D

Well, that`s my totally personal selection for the past year.  I hope there might be one or two hidden gems in there you didn`t think off, or wanted to watch but weren`t sure if you should. 

Inspirational Lego # 102 : Winter Special

It`s "that week" between the end of year holidays where everything seems like being lived on the one hand at 500mph, while relaxed on the outside.

You know, go there, prepare for party over there, and then have a nice time afterwards, typical holiday season stress.

And it wasn`t a white, nor even a 'mildly cold' Christmas here in Belgium, so I looked around for wintery and icy builds this week, to have some snow, albeit of the brick variety, around.

Starting off, there is this fantastic elfin boot, which opens up to a fully functional playhouse.

The Fortress of Solitude, Superman's hideout on the pole, is a great example of how icy effects can be achieved with transclear parts.

Watch out to jump on fronzen lakes, this can hurt a lot ;-)

The Wall from A Song of Ice and Fire is a massive structure to keep the wildlings out of the Seven Kingdoms, guarded by old fortresses like Castle Black.

This ice dragon has a great contrast between it`s white upperside and his light blueish belly.

This ice palace makes fantastic use of transclear to make the windows within the white frames of the walls.

I think my level of ice skating talents are about on par with Emmett here...

This Micro build of an AT-AT "Rudolph" is both well executed and highly amusing.

A Rolls Royce vehicle of the first World War, these where created to transport high ranking officers in snowy landscapes.

And we end this week with a hilariously funny, and worldwide true, situation when it DOES start to snow...

That's it for this week and this year, enjoy the end of the year and seen you again in 2017 for more inspirational builds found on the internet!

zondag 25 december 2016

The Haul Report # 61

Merry christmas everybody this morning, and welcome to another round-up of the thingies I acquired the past week.

Now, the christmas haul will be featured next week, but the past week was "all about Tolkien" as I obtained some sealed sets and polybags for my beloved franchise in Lego.

First, I received this duo of polybags, with the videogame Elrond and another Lake Guard for my ever expanding legion of that most awesome minifigure.

The second catch of the week was a lot of two sealed boxes, being the Mirkwood one and the Beorn set from The Hobbit, together with the Legolas polybag.

While I have (multiple) copies already of all those sets and polybags, it`s another nice pile of additional figures and some good elements for building!

Hope you all enjoy your time with the family, and until next week for the first episode of the new year :-)

zaterdag 24 december 2016

Build Report: NanoBlocks NBC-41 Santa Claus

A Merry Christmas to all of you that follow my little corner of the internet, and welcome to the christmas spirited build report today.

Now, for this year, I went for something completely different, in that I build the nanoblocks tiny santa claus set.

When I was with BeLUG in Billund this year, we did a Dirty Brickster, and one of the gifts had this one added as a joke part.  And it worked on me like a red flag on an enraged bull, I just HAD to have that particular gift, and ended up with it.

Now, Nanoblocks are about 1/3th as big as a Lego element, and has far less variations in their brick selection, in a way making the result look like a "classic" Lego build, all bricky and cornery.

Opening the polybag package, we get three bags of elements, the instruction leaflet and the white baseplate for the build.

We start by laying down the base of the feet, to get an idea where on the plate we are going to be building.

These are then build up to form the smaller underlegs, and more puffed out toplegs of the model.

Next, using white elements, we build santa's bag of goods, which is attached to the back of the model.

A layer of black and gold pieces is then placed, to represent his belt and beltbuckle.

While we create the tip of his beard, red elements go to the sides to become the base of his arms.

And it is a LOT of beard that Santa has, topped off with black and gold to recreate the eyes and the nose of the model.

Next, we add the cap to his head.

The only thing left to do now is build up his other arm, and a parcel he is holding.

And the full model stands completed, all 7 cms height of it:

We also get a heap of additional parts with this little set:

It`s a fun little build for christmas, and one like Lego's last year mini train that will go in a box as annual decorations.

And now, it's time to spend some time with the family :-)