maandag 31 oktober 2016

Video: Fog on the Barrow Downs

Happy Halloween everybody!

In this short video, I`m giving a small look at a MOC I did for a Halloween contest last year.  

It didn`t win any prices by a long shot, but as a Tolkien LEGO lover, I couldn`t resist building something from Middle Earth for it.

So what better then the spooky Barrow Downs, where our brave Hobbits are ultimately saved by Tom Bombadil.

Sounds weird?  Then read the books instead of believing only what the movies told you ;-)

The Tales of Beedle the Bard - J. K. Rowling

The girlfriend bought the Hogwarts Library bookset, which contains 3 small books, so I've set out to read them.

The first one is The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a small 100 page book, which was featured in the movies as containing the Tale of Three Brothers... which explained The Deathly Hallows origins.


The book is the collected "fairy tale" stories written by 15th century bard Beedle.  During the course of 5 short stories parents tell their children before going to bed, as we muggles tend to do with our Cinderella's and relevant tales.  Ranging over a wizard not wanting to help the villagers where he lives until he gets nearly driven mad by his magic cauldron, over the tale of a Warlock that wanted to feel love and the story of the Three Brothers, we learn more about magic through the ages.  Every tale is accompanied by notes by Professor Dumbledore to give some more perspective on the morals and the settings of the tales.


It's a fun little read, even though I teared through it in just two hours.  It's light-hearted, and those wizards certainly know how to make children stories.
But all in all, it's just that, some light reading before bedtime, and not one that will make a lasting impression over the years.

Rating: 5.5 / 10

Inspirational Lego # 94 : The Halloween Special

A spooky morning to all of you, as today it`s the 31st of october, and that means Halloween is upon us!

So what better way for the weekly selection of builds I saw on the internet, then to present all kinds of spooky and paranormal moc's...

The first one this week is the The Ghost Bride, based on a chinese festival.  The build is filled with all sorts of spooky details, including "hovering" participants.

The mausoleum takes a look at some scary encounters you can have walking the graveyards at night...

All things evil can be found in the legendary Necronomicon book, so read at your own risk!

Ringetsu, or The Ring, was a creepy horror movie, greatly represented in this build.

In the Carribean, the art of Voodoo bestowed all kinds of misfortunes upon the victims.

This alchemist's lab looks like all sorts of evil potions are being concocted for this special evening.

Of course, every witch has to learn her favorite manner of transportation...

Cerebus is the devilish three-headed hound that guards the gate to the Underworld, so you don`t want to come across this particular canine.

Dracula, one of the most iconic figures in the spooky stories, can`t be left out of course in a Halloween special.

Everyone loves the Gingerbread Man, but what if he turned evil?

And that`s the selection for this week again, hope you liked it and enjoy your Halloween night.  And don`t worry about the monster on the attic, it has been eaten by the clown under your bed.

zondag 30 oktober 2016

Is Lego worth more than Gold? The Test part 1

And so the first half month, or start, of this big test has begun, and it was a "special observation".

I actually did very good on the barely 2 weeks time, but in all honesty, I should say that this is all very preliminary, and it isn`t said at all this will go on for the coming 12 months.

While I`m going to run this oversight on a monthly basis, I am going to close off / publish the results every last sunday of the month unless I`m at a convention, as that gives me the time to do the maths every time without having to rush for free time.

The first half month has gone by in a craze, and if I drew the line right here, the test would be a straight "yes".  But that is not how it works, as I had a few special factors this time, in that

1. I went out the gate and opened my portfolio
2. I had one very good mover as someone came by and took along a serious pile.

Now the real hard part of the test is going to begin, to make smart choices, look for good finds, and hopefully move everything around in the coming 12 months.

One thing that did of course more then decent have been the sealed sets, but this is mainly due to part 2 of the points listed above.  Someone came along to pick up a single set and went home with two bags full of boxes and polybags, so I would say it`s more due to my charming personality.

Of the  sets that have left my portfolio, I already reinvested a large part and then some again in fresh sets.
Another big winner in my test have been the losse parts and elements tub I bought.  I`m just 1.10th into the box of sorting them out, identifying the parts and trying to move them, yet I already recuperated 135.90 USD out of the 200 USD.  Yet, I`m going to use that budget to buy-in on cheap franchise minifigures though, that`s a far easier job in the future for listing and pick and pack.  So far, a measly 36.55 USD has went back to that purpose.
The used sets... those are a bummer so far.  I picked up one for 4.80 and it went out again for 5.00, making a horrible 20 cents... but at least I didn`t loose anything on it, so that`s nice.  But for the rest it is quiet on that front... very very quiet.

So that brings us to the numbers part so far:

The split:

200 USD in used parts - This went great, already gaining me 135.90, and 36.55 has been spend again.  So now this is standing at 100.65 to get break even
300 USD in used sets The recipe for disaster is seems, as I spend an additional 4.80 on this section, and only got 5.00 in return, meaning I need to obtain 299.80 to break even...
500 USD in old and new sealed sets, divided as followed As stated above, these blew out of the gate from the go, but due to a special factor.  I already reinvested a certain amount, and as such the numbers now are as followes...
 * 100 USD of current small sets I added 35.13 USD to the total, but I already moved 49.43 USD, so it`s currently at 85.70 USD
 * 150 USD in older, retired, sets Didn`t do bad at all, as I moved 210.84 USD and put in a fresh 16.47 USD, for a result of 44.37 USD.  These sets have actually already payed themselves back, and can now start compensating my numbers in the future for the things that don`t do well.  I`m looking at you, used sets...
 * 250 USD in Exclusives as expected, I got 93.37 USD for a couple of it, and bought sets worth 257.27 USD.  The result as such is 413.90 USD, and I`m fairly certain I`ll be flipping those bigtime over the coming year, so this one part I won`t be having stress about as the longer they remain, the better they`ll perform.

So for the following month, the score is as follows:

-100.65 USD in Used Parts
-299.80 USD in Used Sets
-455.23 USD in old and new sealed Sets, divided as followed:
- 85.70 USD in current small sets
+ 44.37 USD in older, retired sets
- 413.90 USD in Exclusives

So that brings us to an oversight on how I actually performed this month.  Judging by all the red numbers above, you might think it looks grave, but actually it`s going fine.  My BrickPicker Portfolio has lowered a bit due to the lower number of sets currently in my possession, but the end of the line numbers are rather well.  You`ll notice a small discrepancy in the numbers above and those below, but that is due to the fact some sets have already been payed for, but haven`t arrived yet.  So they aren`t taken up in the "present stock" value yet.

The Numbers

Start: 1000 USD
Portfolio Value: 1790.80 USD - A slight lowering in projected value of remaining sets compared to last month, mostly due to the volume of sets having been significantly lowered.
Goal: 2000 USD
The Wet Dream: 3500 USD
Current: - 972.12 USD

So looking at the hard numbers, this means that this month I made a shift of an amazing... 27.88 USD, which is mainly due to the heavy buy in in Exclusive sets near the end of october (Minecraft, airline exclusives, that sort of things) and the fact the used sets aren't moving for the moment.

Time to panic?  Of course not, we are only two weeks down the line for a year long experiment and the fact "sale season" is nearing for EOL sets, I even expect the numbers to dip into the red far further the coming month or two.  After that, the real job begins in trying to bring the numbers back up, and go towards the greens...

For my personal feeling, I think I`m easily going to break even at the end of the year, but doubling... while I first thought that it would be sets that are going to break the bank, I`m more and more convinded that actual loose parts are going to be the tie-breaker... unless the used sets start performing, something I clearly overinvested in apparently.

The Haul Report # 53

Here we are again with the sunday episode of the stuff I managed to acquire this week.

It`s been a good week, with a nice collection of little items added for the collection, for the kid, and a little bit for the investing test as well this time round.

The first things I obtained where two Fun Packs for Dimensions, making use of the "end of line" on certain packs at the Bart Smit toystore chain.  This meant they only cost 8 euro, the pity part is that's it only Chima and the Lego Movie packs that they are clearing out, but as I still lacked these two...

At FACTS I had some people pass by with whom I had done some trades over on Facebook.  The first thing was this BB-8 minifigure I bought of someone for the kid.  He can just have this one for his good grades at school.

Secondly was this pile of CMF's and a small Star Wars part of a set.  I traded these for some old GI Joe's and a pile of Pokemon cards.

I also did some regular buying over on Facebook.  These two are from the advent calendar, but I paid only 0.50 cents per figure for reinvesting in the test.

The bigger lot is a bit of a split up.  The event bricks are for me, the Ashajj is to exchange with the kid in the future (I ordered her lightsaber handles seperatly this week, and they are underway), while the regular "non basic clone" troopers are for putting in the test.  Including postage, they came to 1.72 euro per figure, a fantastic price!

And that's it once again for the week, not to shabby and some great finds in local groups to "dabble in peanuts" in the current weeks.

zaterdag 29 oktober 2016

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins

The story of the Hunger Games is coming to a close, in the final volume of the trilogy from Suzanne Collins.

While I made the mistake of reading the first books before the movies, I waited with this one way past the movie release of movies 3 and 4.


Using Katniss as a figurehead, District 13 is starting the uprising against President Snow and the Capitol.  While she and the survivors of the now bombed down District 12 try to get their bearings and adapt to their new life, the plotters of the Quarter Quell make plans to this end. 
When Peeta, freshly rescued from the Capitol, arrives and turns out to be heavily tortured, Katniss decides to cooperate.  Together with a "star team" of former victors, a television crew and crack shots she is send to the frontlines... where she risks losing everything she had remaining.


The book gave prodigy to two movies instead of one.  While the first was a boring, slow affair only remembered for the Hanging Tree song storming the charts, the second one was a high speed action movie...
And I liked neither of them.  The book itself is only 450 pages, and the second movie is basically the final 100 pages stringed into a visual effect affair... but this also tells a lot about the speed of the final book. While I love the conspiracy theories both in the beginning and in the end of the book, both which overturn your whole perception of the bigger story, I kind of feel like this was the weakest of the trilogy, with a lot of "useless" dialogue or not deepened-out arcs.

Rating: 6 / 10

donderdag 27 oktober 2016

Classic Lego Build: 6503 Sprint Racer

While we had a lot of Castle sets in the previous weeks in this series, I`m now starting a heap of City (or as it was called back then, Town) builds.

Still part of a huge lot I got a few years ago, I`m finally getting round to uploading the builds, and the first one is the Sprint racer.

This little single seat racecar is from 1988, and still resembles a F1 car pretty nicely... for an almost 30 year old set.

At just under 30 parts, it comes with a single minifigure, being the driver.  Nothing special about him, as he wears a plain blue overall and white helmet.

The car is based on the small chassis element, and a 2x4 plate for the front wing.

Red plates are used for the lining and to give some more colour in the finished model.

The numbered slope is printed, and the white sides complement the Shell colourscheme of the car.

The parts of the rear wing, with it`s titular sponsor (this set heads from far before the "licensed" Shell sets) elements all printed as well.

All we have to do then is add the wheels to the chassis

And the full set stands completed:

A true oldie, I think this is one of those sets that every 10 year old or so had back near the end of the 80s.  A great toy to recreate the epic Senna vs Prost duels for sure, I loved this little car for every brick of it!

woensdag 26 oktober 2016

Ice Fishing MOC video

This short video is of a small moc I made two years ago or such.

Based around a CMF figure, I just wanted a small scenery piece and try my hand at a brickbuild penguin.

I can`t really put my finger on it, but for some reason the build just *works* in one way or another, and that is the reason that, compared to quite a lot of the other ones, I haven`t teared it down yet.

Hope you like it!

dinsdag 25 oktober 2016

Achievement Reached: Exposition at 5 LEGO related conventions

With FACTS the past weekend, I obtained my goal this year to exposition at at least 5 different events with my loved bricks.

Even though the brick badge for this year is becoming quite long, and it ain`t done yet, finally the 5th one where I expositioned some of my mocs has been added.

So for this year, this gives me:

Brick Mania Wetteren (Pirate Collab, club Time Traveller collab builds)

Mechelen Speelstad 2016 (some spaceships)

Brick Mania Liege (club Time Traveller collab)

Comiccon Gent (spaceships)

FACTS Autumn (spaceships and mosaics)

Coming up still this year are Skillzcon in two weeks where I`ll be bringing my small mosaics and Brick Mania Antwerpen where I`ll be joining in the pirate layout with my now enlarged town (whom will be torn down afterwards) and the club collaboration layouts of Time Traveller and My Hobby modules.

It`s been a stellar year, but I`ll be glad when it`ll be over in all honesty!  And starting next year, I`m only bringing out my beloved J.R.R. Tolkien works, as the rest will be slowly and one by one be teared down over time.

Build Report: 40153 Birthday Cake

So, backlog hmmmm.  I`ve build this set for the kid when he turned 10... and a few weeks ago he already turned 11.

Now, the set forms a small cake, with enough yellow pieces to add any number from 1 to 99 at the front.

Opening the box, we get the instructions, a large brown dish, and three bags of elements.

It all begins on large green curved plates, to which a red slope is attached.

More curves are then added to the frontside, and kept in place by basic bricks for connecting them together.

As we place the edge of the cake, the hinge part for the popping up jester is installed.

The edges are then build up, and the top is closed off with brown plates, curved and straight, leaving an opening for the figure.

This is only a half figure though (I gave the kid a set of legs to go with the model), and is placed on a large plate and then inserted in the open area.

A white layer is placed around the figure, as we make the second level of the cake to house the body.

Decorations are added around the cake next.

Next, we build the top of the cake and install it, well, at the top.  This pops open when you push the lever at the back, causing the jester to appear from the cake.

And the full set completed:

The set had a lot of extra pieces, mainly yellow bricks for the numbers at the front, but I forgot to take a picture of that. 

It`s a nice little gift for a birthday, and even a great thing to part out with all the curved elements in it, definitly worth the money.