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Welcome to BZPower!

Hi there, while we hope you enjoy browsing through the site, there's a lot more you can do if you register. The process is easy and you can use your Google, Facebook, or Twitter account to make it even faster. Some perks of joining include:
  • Create your own topics, participate in existing discussions, and vote in polls
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A Golden-Red Horizon


Life Update 4/6/13

Posted by Aanchir , Apr 06 2013 · 172 views
Life, LEGO, Hero Factory, MOCs and 1 more...
Hey, BZPower. Sorry for not being too active this past month. Life's been kind of crazy for me.

I suppose before I jump into talking about fun things like MOCs, I should get the important stuff out of the way. School has not been going well for me. I'm in my second semester studying Industrial Design, but my classes have really been a huge source of anxiety, which has at times been crippling for me. I have a couple weeks left here in Boston, but after that I'm going to take a semester off to get some counseling and therapy, perhaps try and get a job, and take time to re-evaluate my life goals, which may not be attainable through the path I'm currently on even if I can get my emotions in check.

Now, I've gotten slight relief from various opportunities to visit with family and friends. As I announced in my last entry, I went to Cloudsdale Congress over Spring Break, and it was a phenomenal experience. I definitely plan to attend other My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fan conventions in the future, because it was really fun and eye-opening (giving me the chance to interact with dozens of other bronies as well as to explore areas of the fandom I hadn't yet indulged in, like the fan music). I roomed with some bronies from my hometown, and I look forward to attending some meetups with them over the summer -- they're very fun people!

After the convention I had some time to burn before my mom could pick me up and take me home, so I visited the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. On the way there, I happened to be on the subway with some of the folks from the fan project Double Rainboom, including PKEmi, who voiced Rainbow Dash (A bit of warning, I still haven't seen Double Rainboom, since I'm going to a meetup in Boston to see it tomorrow, so don't spoil it in the comments). We all had a great conversation, and Emi and I have managed to connect via social networks since then, which is great. Always nice to make a lasting connection at an event like this.

I spent just a couple days at home before I had to go down to North Carolina to visit my Nana, who has been in the hospital for a few weeks after having a fall. It was good to visit her, even though I'm worried about her. Then I took a plane from New Bern to Hartford, where my uncle from Connecticut picked me up to stay with him for a few days. My aunt and uncle have a fifteen-month-old baby who's a joy to spend time with, and it was great to spend the next couple days there before getting on the bus to get back to school.

Since then I spent last weekend with my aunt and uncle again to celebrate my birthday (March 29) and Easter, and I got to see them and my baby cousin once more just last night when my aunt came up to Boston for a conference. It's so wonderful watching my baby cousin grow up and learn to explore the world, and I hope even over the summer when I'm not as close by I can still find time to visit them.

Now, as far as LEGO is concerned, I've mostly been working with LEGO Digital Designer lately, since that had a considerable update recently. Most notably, it includes over 600 new decorations, including almost every decoration from Collectible Minifigures series 1-8! However, as is often the case, these were not mapped to the parts that use them in the software's code, meaning that I had to edit them into LXFML files myself. You can download my LXF of Minifigures Series 1-9 here. Note that parts from Series 1-8 which could not be decorated correctly are colored 294 Phosphorescent Green to differentiate them, and that some decoration surfaces like the Small Clown's hat and all decorated minifigure arms distort the decorations placed on them.

Additionally, I recently got some major progress reverse-engineering the stunning Hero Factory MOC by Christoffer Raundahl which I mentioned in this entry. You can see my results here:

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LXF Download

Errors include six parts left off of the arms (two shells due to an illegal connection and four hoses due to being too fiddly and frustrating to connect correctly), four substitutions (the custom head, the square shell detail elements on the heels, and the speaker shell detail element on the chest), four parts within the torso build not connected correctly (the shoulder suspension beams, which were giving me a lot of grief, and the hoses that connect the legs to the torso), and finally some parts potentially missing from the back, including whatever parts are meant to connect the wings to the back -- sadly, I do not have any pics of the back of this MOC.

The final model would probably contain around 225 pieces and cost $50-60 as a retail model. I have managed to build a considerable portion of this model (the torso, one leg, and one upper arm) in real life to ensure that fiddly parts like the arm and leg suspension work correctly, and it's just as brilliant in its design as I imagined. It has, among other things, revealed to me just how narrow-minded I have been in envisioning uses for the 3M double ball cup (98565) introduced in Stormer XL, since despite its few connection points this piece is an invaluable structural element. Truly I would love to see this model, or a similar model derived from its design, as an official set.

Anyway, that's enough rambling for today. Overall, I'm doing my best to maintain a positive outlook and take each week one day at a time. It's been a bit rough but I'm confident that once I'm back home I will have plenty of time to work on putting myself back together and finding a path I'm willing to pursue.


Spring Break Plans

Posted by Aanchir , Mar 03 2013 · 169 views

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Taking the bus down from Boston to D.C., then the Metro to Alexandria. Gonna be hanging out with the brony group from my hometown I recently learned of. It's gonna be tight.

Oh, I'm sorry, is my outdated slang bothering you? Let me reconfigure.

It's gonna be crucial.


Midterm MOC Report

Posted by Aanchir , Mar 01 2013 · 246 views
LEGO, Hero Factory, MOCs, Life and 1 more...
Well, it turns out Kit Martello didn't perform too well in the BBC contest, only getting around seven votes in the first round of polling. I don't feel too bad about not winning, since there was a lot of talent in the contest, but it still bothers me that most of my feedback concerning Kit has been largely negative. Regardless, I think Sparkytron's Eris is due a round of congratulations for emerging victorious in the final poll. There are several things I dislike about this MOC, particularly the stand, but it's still a work of art in the end.

In other MOCing news, I've posted a topic of my various tablescraps over the past few months. Now, I don't mean "tablescraps" in a negative sense. I'm quite proud of these, and none of them are bare-bones Heromods. But compared to Kit Martello these were all fairly simple endeavors. I anticipate bringing Kit Martello and some of these MOCs (particularly my good buddy Bogwaddle) to Brickfair Virginia this year. I'm hoping to continue modding some of these in the meantime, and perhaps scrapping some of the more basic ones to open those pieces back up for experimentation.

One set I've been hoping to get lately, both for its MOCing potential and for its brilliance as a model, is 70500 Kai's Fire Mech from the Ninjago line. But frustratingly, none of the stores around where I'm attending college seem to have it. Still, I'm keeping a sharp lookout for it, and will not be afraid to get it online if double VIP points happen before I find it in a brick-and-mortar store.

So that's what's up on the LEGO/MOCing side of things. Schoolwork and other obligations have been keeping me from dedicating long stretches of time to MOCing or building, but I've recently started making progress on my drawing assignments again so hopefully I can get caught up fairly soon.



Posted by Aanchir , Feb 22 2013 · 131 views
A topic about Matoran forms in S&T inspired me to try making some Matoran on LDD.

Then I remembered that the most consistent post-2003 Matoran forms (i.e. the ones I tend to consider standard or near-standard in my headcanon) have extremely restrictive proportions. Very unrealistic, though in an almost comical way.

Then I decided I'd try making some Toa. But Toa don't even get the "comical" excuse. Any post-2004 Toa proportions tend to be quite unrealistic.

It's funny; I always quite liked the consistency post-2004 Toa designs tended to have in many respects (shoulders about 11 modules wide, with some wiggle room; torsos between 10 and 12 modules tall from neck joint to hip joint, legs between 11 and 14 modules long). And in retrospect, I still like a lot of Toa designs like the Toa Metru, the Toa Inika, the Toa Mahri, the Phantoka, and even the Mistika. But this is no longer the kind of model I really enjoy building.

Today I prefer more realistic, human-like proportions when possible, and thankfully the Hero Factory "character and creature building system" helps facilitate that. Ironically, the 2.0 Hero sets were almost identical in proportions to the Toa Mata, albeit with lots more articulation and nowhere near the same limitations imposed by their parts palette. It's not totally realistic, but it's a bit refreshing after the chaotic proportions of some later BIONICLE sets.

I don't know what this change in preferences signifies. Growing up, and seeking to express my creative impulses in a less cartoony fashion? Growing as an artist, and learning to recognize when proportions are "off"? Growing more creative, and not feeling constrained to rules put in place by sets? Wanting to move on to a different sort of challenge? Or just adapting to what's available?

In any case, I get a lot more fun out of Hero Factory building than BIONICLE building today, regardless of the parts I'm using. On that note, be sure to check out one of my latest MOCs, Kit Martello, and consider supporting her in BBCC63! (Link to poll) I have some other MOCs I've built this semester photographed and just need to unload them from my phone before I share them... they'll probably end up sharing a topic since a lot of them are basically tablescraps, but I still used some creative building techniques I think people might appreciate.


The Hero Factory Building System is Amazing and Here's Why

Posted by Aanchir , Feb 17 2013 · 596 views
LEGO, Hero Factory, MOCs, Robots
Before we proceed, let me say that this model is NOT MINE. It was created by LEGO Group designers (EDIT: The designer was Christoffer Raundahl, one of the inventors of this building system whose BIONICLE design credits include the original Tahu and Kopaka sets), though it is most likely a MOC and not a set design (if it is an unannounced set design, though, you are free to celebrate at your leisure). The painted variant was detailed by Søren Westborg, a Danish artist who seems to specialize in painting tabletop gaming figurines, as a commission for LEGO Systems A/S.

Original model (photo taken by Flickr user Teabox at LEGO World in Copenhagen)
Another pic of the original model
A pic of the painted version
Gallery of Westborg's commissioned work (also includes a lovely painted Raw-Jaw)

I've built the leg and foot of the model on LDD (minus the heel piece, which is not available on LDD) and it's quite brilliant how they go together. I hope that some of these techniques wind up in sets eventually. These models have all the complexity of Witch Doctor and then some, and yet it comes together into a model that is far more refined and cohesive in design. Truly this model demonstrates that the Hero Factory building system is far from infeasible for "titan-sized" models. It just takes some very clever use of parts and a custom skeleton to create something every bit as incredible as many of BIONICLE's greatest titan models. And of course, as far as set design is concerned, a sufficient price point and age range for such a large, complex model.


BBCC64 Entry

Posted by Aanchir , Feb 06 2013 · 106 views

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Visit the topic


Matau and Nokama finally got together

Posted by Aanchir , Feb 04 2013 · 274 views

...In another show altogether.

Turns out they are voiced by Brian Drummond and Tabitha St. Germain. You might know them better as Mr. and Mrs. Cake from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

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Of course it's already well-known that voice acting can be a tightly-knit community, but it's still fun to find amusing little coincidences like this.

P.S.: I am not at all suggesting any sort of relationship between the actual voice actors. That would be a little bit weird.

P.P.S.: Feel free to substitute Onewa and Nokama, if that's your OTP for some reason


Minifigures Series 10 and Beyond?

Posted by Aanchir , Nov 23 2012 · 181 views
LEGO, Minifigures, Series 10 and 1 more...
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Discovered some pictures, element IDs, and design IDs for forthcoming minifigure parts through Brickset and service.LEGO.com. Click here for a list.

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