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Rest of the Toa Masters Short Reviews

Posted by xccj , in Review Jan 21 2015 · 75 views

So I’ve completed my collection of the Toa Masters. (Is calling them Toa Masters fine? That’s what I’m going to do anyway, I forget if it’s been used elsewhere.) I would post short reviews with pictures… but Majhost has been down for over a week, so I don’t think that’ll work, since I don’t feel list hosting blog images elsewhere. So text it is. . . if you want to see them, you know where to look. ;)

First off is Gali. My first reaction is that she needs more of that lovely dark azure. I might buy a second just to get more of those armor pieces. The thing that really bugs me about her is her shoulder armor. They attached it to the rotating beam that’s supposed to be her gear function. WHY? Not only does the armor look kinda meh (seriously, what’s the need with shoulder armor that extends above the heads?) but now it also messes up the arm functions. It has since been removed.

I’m also not a big fan of her trident. Sure, it’s a somewhat decent design, but it’s waaaay too big, especially considering she’s one of the smaller Toa. I instead broke it down into hatchets, more similar to what they wanted me to use on Lewa. (But I refused on him.) I think the new axes closer resemble her original hooks, of which I was always a fan of. Plus, their size is more manageable for her. I also took out one of the extra gears that was used in her function. She initially came with two in order to provide the friction to hold the trident, but when I got rid of that, it was a little too much friction, so I took one out to give her a little more room. (As fun as those added friction gears are at keeping things straight, they totally take away the fun of quick arm flailing by spinning the gears on the back, which is something I liked. . . but maybe that’s just nostalgia again.)

Without the bulky shoulder armor or giant weapon, Gali feels more properly slimmed down and looks quite good. Heck, I’m even getting used to the mask, which I guess invoked more of the MoL Kaukau shape. I mean, it’s still a far cry from the Kaukau and Kaukau Nuva, but it feels recognizable. (Lewa’s, however, is still a far cry from any of his previous appearances.)

Next I picked up Kopaka. I was always used to the tall and narrow versions of Kopaka, but I can dig the muscled-up version too. I do like their shoulder design for him, which fills in the gaps nicely but also doesn’t really affect his gear system at all. On some of the other Toa, I was disappointed when there was only a gear function for one of the arms, but for Kopaka this method makes sense. I do wish he had a slightly better sword (or rather a spear, I think) and shield. The pieces are good and all, but I wish his shield was more circular. (It reminds me more of Glatorian Mata Nui’s scarab shield, which is not a bad design, just for me it’s not Kopaka. Again, I think that’s mostly nostalgia.)

The elephant in the room is Kopaka’s legs. They used those 3L beams with a ball joint in the center to position armor on the front and back of Kopaka’s lower legs. I like the attempt, and the pieces are great, but gosh it looks ugly when viewed from the wide. The porportions are just entirely wrong. I quickly just put the front armor on straight to the leg joint. He’s not as armored, but it flows better. Also, his upper leg armor comes with stickers, which I regretfully applied, since armor in that style only appears in white here. But the design looks great on Kopaka, so the stickers stay. Oh, and the mask is great, probably the one that closest resembles the original. (Granted, it doesn’t quite have the circular look of the original Akaku, but looks like the Nuva. And really, if the three lenses are there, it’ll be an Akaku no matter what. Those seem to help make all of Kopaka’s masks recognizable.)

Then I bought Tahu, who is again the Toa who’s hogging all the limelight. He again has his shoulder armor attached to his rotating shoulder, which I dislike. It was easy enough to switch it around a bit so it’s connected to the front body piece, but is still kinda annoying that they designed it that way. The connection for the gold swords on the back is pretty nifty, although I preferred them angled down instead of up. His swords are a great design, resembling Lhikan’s quite a bit. It was always a shame the original Tahu didn’t have his own lava surfboard, and Tahu Nuva’s doesn’t quite compare to this new style. They make for good melee swords too. However, like Kopaka, his lower leg armor is pitiful. Those giant torso armor pieces look good from maybe one angle, but from the side or back they just look too empty. Not a bad Toa, and his mask is clearly based off the Hau, but I guess not quite my favorite.

Finally, I come to Onua. Man, Onua’s been hulked up. Like, seriously, that chest piece was originally used on the Hulk. I like their method for extending the arm functions, and adding function to it with the socket piece on the back. It slows down the motion considerably, but when he’s holding onto his massive hammer, that helps, and makes it feel like there’s some force behind his swings. I do like the design of his hammer, with the Ben 10 foot piece fitting in quite well. Meanwhile, his weapons are very versatile. I like how they act as claws and armor individually, but their combination into the hammer is very awesome. Onua does come with four, but I could definitely use more. Speaking of the shoulder armor, its design allows it to cover the shoulders and gear function quite well without actually disrupting it.

Onua’s color scheme is a little out there. I love the inclusion of purple, although it would’ve been nice to see more of the trans purple limb elements included, since they appeared on the legs but not the arms, where the gray version of the piece was used. The gold armor is supposed to fit with Onua’s gold, powered up form, but I still think those pieces would look better in silver. As soon as I can get some extras, I’ll be switching them out. His torso piece also uses a sticker, unlike any of the other Toa’s torso designs, but in this case I’m fine with it, since I don’t see myself repurposing that torso armor anytime soon anyway. His mask also closely resembles a Pakari is design, but seems way too small for such a large character, especially since the original Pakari was a sizeable mask.

So all these Toa definitely have their ups and downs. The colors are all great, including a fair amount of rare shades, even if that does make MOCing in that color very difficult. The gear functions work on all of them, pending some shoulder armor redesigns. I think I have made slight modifications to all of my Toa, some more than others, because each one tended to have something about their design that I didn’t like, and also making it really hard to pick a favorite, because I have issues with them all. Still, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of collecting and building a Toa team again, which I haven’t really done since Tahu and the gang last appeared in 2008. So worthwhile sets, and now I have all six Toa on display, guarding my apartment.

I should also mention that the Skull Spiders are nice. I kind of wish the green ones had been in a more common shade, or that made of them had included stinger tails like the ones that came with Pohatu. They’re kinda meh on their own, but now I’ve got my own small swarm collection, and they’re trying to take over Benny’s Spaceship now. See, fun! I’ve also built a simple display stand for the gold masks, although having seen better ones posted online, I might redesign it.

I’m still considering purchasing the Lord of Skull Spiders and the Protector of Earth, and then maybe an extra Pohatu and Gali for their pieces. And then I need to think of some cool ways to MOC with these new pieces. (Maybe, my Toa might not come apart for a while.)



Okoto Socket Mosaic

Posted by xccj , in MOCs Jan 20 2015 · 62 views

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Okoto Socket Mosaic by Xccj, on Flickr

Not going to talk much about this; it's a concept idea I had, a mix between a sculpture and a mosaic of the new Okoto island. Maybe it's just me, but the shape just doesn't seem iconic or anything, so it's kinda hard to tell if I matched it well enough? Now I want to do the Mata Nui island in the same style... but all my sockets got used here, for the most part.

I tried some new things here. I flipped every other column to mix things up, although this made it a huge pain when I tried to take sections apart to adjust coloring. I also have it fully secured in the back using liftarms, so this one won't just be held together by duct tape. (It's still slightly warped. I dunno how these socket mosaics get so warped, must be some design aspect of the piece.) Finally, I added some layering effects, where the sockets are stacked two or three high, in the mountainous regions. This also allowed for the creation of some pits in the earth region and some trans orange parts with an orange backing in the fire region.

Anyway, yeah, here it is.



Final Gali Masters Mosaic Design

Posted by xccj , in Lego Conventions, MOCs Jan 18 2015 · 139 views
So I made some changes based on suggestions by some members (ironically ones who probably won't participate) and now we have this design:

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People who've remarked interest:

Xccj: Pieces 05, 08, and 09
Chocolate Frogs: 10
Black Six: 01, 02
Letagi: 03, 06
Kayru: 07
Based Goomy: 12

List of sections with difficulty and color requirements:

Piece 01: (Medium) Black Six Claimed. Requires dark green, lime, black, lgt gray, white
Piece 02: (Easy) Black Six Claimed. Little bit of dark green and green, then black, white, lgt gray.
Piece 03: (Medium) Letagi Claimed. Blue, Dark Blue, dk gray, lgt Gray, Tan, lots of White
Piece 04: (Easy) Dark green, Lime, Green, lots of white and lgt gray, Pending B6 Claim
Piece 05: (Hard) Xccj Claimed. (Yellow, orange, dk tan, sand blue, dk azure, dk blue)
Piece 06: (Medium) Letagi Claimed. A few medium blue, one purple, some tan, redish-brown, dark blue, blue, black, both grays, white
Piece 07: (Medium) Kayr Claimed. A few dark azure and medium blue, some dark blue, blue, black, dk gray, lots of white and lgt gray
Piece 8: (Hard) Xccj Claimed. (Dk Azure, Dk Blue, Med. Blue, Sand Blue, Purple, Blue, Black)
Piece 9: (Hard) Xccj Claimed. (Dk Azure, Dk Blue, Blue, Med Blue, Yellow)
Piece 10: (Easy) CF Claimed. (Dk Blue, blue, Dk Gray, Lgt Gray, White)
Piece 11: (Hard) Dk Azure, Medium Blue, Blue, Dark Blue, Tan, Black, Dk Gray, Lgt Gray, White, Pending Xccj Claim
Piece 12: (Easy) Based Goomy Claimed. Some medium blue, dark blue, tan, dk gray, black, then lgt gray, blue, lots of white.

Claim your piece now and bring it to Bricks Cascade!

(And if we can't make it to twelve baseplates, we might need to tweak this down to a 96x96 stud mosaic. But hopefully we can pull it off!)

We would have some standards. This is going to be a studs up mosaic, with a brick's depth. (This means you can stack three plates and only the top one has to be the right color!) We want solid studs on top, so any regular plate or brick will work, but bricks with hollow studs, like technic bricks, are out. Let me know if you have any questions about colors or whatnot; I'm not against making small tweaks here and there. I also claimed most of the pieces with rare colors, which I'm pretty sure I can cover with my collection. If you feel you can cover one of the pieces I've claimed, I'll be happy to give it up, but I figured most people who'd want to participate might not have been collecting as much dark azure, dark purple, or sand blue as me. :P

This is meant for Bricks Cascade, but since that convention is on the official BZP MOC Convention Circuit, pieces could theoretically be sent in too.

Thanks again, and claim your piece(s) today!



Oh Hey, It's The 17th

Posted by xccj , in News Jan 18 2015 · 62 views

What is that now, Furno's spinning head?

Anyway, this is my... (2015-2003) ... twelfth BZP anniversary. You can try to get rid of me, but I just won't leave.

And since I might as well update something... in regards to my BZP story, no I have not forgotten about it, I've just been focusing on a bunch of other projects (some voluntarily, others not so much.) But it will continue!

Anybody care? No. Oh well. Also, Gali mosaic for Bricks Cascade! I'll do a quick update of it (eventually) and then piece claiming can begin! And with this rush, we'll see if it does get done in time!



Gali Masters Mosaic?

Posted by xccj , in Lego Conventions Jan 13 2015 · 129 views
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So, what do you think? This has been recolored to better fit a selection of colors that are easy to utilize. )The red is just outlining the 32x32 sections.) The blue on the shoulders / thighs is dark azure, because I have a lot of that color in bricks. I expect to do at least one of those sections to use my supply, and I can probably cover all of them it nobody else has enough of the bricks in that color. I also made the skull spider green and lime... which is technically not set accurate, but some of the spiders in the comics / animations haven't been exact color matches either. I had to do the color change because the "silver" blended in too much with my white and light gray background. Also, an interesting thing I'd like to try for the heads (well, Gali's, at least) is use trans colored plates for the eyes. In Gali's case, maybe trans neon green over blue plates? Trans red over green for the skull spider?

There are a few sections that are kinda boring swaths of mono-color, but what can you do?

So, any interest? Or should I try one of the other Toa instead? (If there is interest, I can post higher-res picts of the individual pieces later.)



Potential Natural Disasters

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Jan 12 2015 · 121 views

In the latest xkcd comic, he said he would want to live on the example map in geography books where all the geographical features are labeled. However, I believe there are a lot of risks he's overlooking, and I shall list them here.

Flooding: He is located in the drainage area of a fairly large mountain range, and the primary drainage seems to be just north of his location, so he would likely be prone to seasonal flooding, particularly since he's on a fairly flat section.

Cold Climate: Considering how far that glacier is reaching in this day-and-age with global warming and all, his location must expect pretty cold temperatures.

Volcanic Eruption: He's located fairly close to a volcano, and seemingly an active one too. (It has a red caldera, that probably signifies something.) Since it's a Stratovolcano, with steep sides, it is likely prone to explosive Plinian eruptions, which can be widely devastating over a long range. He might be far enough away to avoid pyroclastic flows, but eruption-triggered lahars (huge floods with ash and mud and everything else they pick up along the way) could reach him. Furthermore, if a collapse were to fall into the lake, it could trigger a tsunami wave. (Mt. St. Helens did this in Spirit Lake.) Not to mention he's well within range of an ash cloud, though that could depend on the wind.

Earthquakes: Granted, earthquakes can happen anywhere, but his location would likely have strong ones. The volcano so close to the coast is probably caused by a seduction zone in the tectonic plates, similar to Japan or the Pacific Northwest. These areas are prone to strong earthquakes, like the big ones that hit Japan, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Chile. (California's earthquakes are caused by a slip-zone tectonic plate boundary, which is different.) Besides the shaking, such earthquakes triggered off coast could cause tsunamis. Which brings us to...

Tsunami: His location is right next to the lagoon, which means that he would be right in the path of a tsunami. Also, since the water area is constricted by the bay, this might cause a tsunami wave to grow in size. So technically he could get wiped out from a landslide-triggered tsunami from the lake in the west OR an earthquake-trigger tsunami from the sea in the east.

Hurricanes: This depends more on the exact latitude / longitude of his location, as well as the directions of the Gulf Stream-equivalent air and ocean currents. But if a hurricane blew from the southeast, as in the Eastern US, then he would still be in trouble. Unless the hills on the peninsula are significantly large to block the winds, the storm would push through it, and the storm surge in the water would push through the bay and into the lagoon, adding more potential flooding. But there are plenty of other factors here that could make-or-break the hurricane threat. Additionally, I don’t think he’s at a great threat for tornados, which seem to rely on as collision between warm and cold air systems. Potentially, cold air could flow from the mountains while warm tropical air could blow up from the forest, creating a thunderstorm mix that could spawn tornadoes, but there’s nothing absolutely indicating that.

Meteor Impact: Okay, I guess anywhere that's above ground is prone to meteor impacts. I forget if longitude has anything to do with where they'd strike, but I don't think it does.

Dinosaur Invasion: C'mon, there's a giant mesa in the forest. Odds are, there are bound to be dinosaurs there who survived the extinction.

Granted, any location has it’s own set of risks for natural disasters, but he’s just asking for it with this location. So he just needs to be aware of the warning signs, prepare for emergencies, and have good home-owners insurance.



Potential Toa Masters Mosaics?

Posted by xccj , in MOCs, Lego Conventions Jan 12 2015 · 90 views
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These are, of course, raw versions that I just threw through Pic-to-Brick's mosaic generator once. (Oh, I got that to work for me again, turns out I didn't have Java installed. Huh.) Anyway, things would definitely get tweaked to stay with more consistent coloring. Particularly, the backgrounds would probably get changed to grayscale, although I'd probably keep the styling instead of making it a solid background. Adds some extra flair, if just for shades of gray.

I myself am partial to the Gali pose (which is 96x128 studs, the other two being 96x96) however Pohatu's did turn out to be the sharpest. I looked at Kopaka and Lewa and didn't really see any nice action scenes that would translate to mosaics well. Tahu might have some, yes, but he moves too fast and I don't like the video device they have on Bionicle.com, makes it hard to go frame-by-frame. :shrugs:

Opinions? I'd consider other suggestions too.



Bricks Cascade Bionicle Colab Mosaic?

Posted by xccj , in Lego Conventions Jan 10 2015 · 107 views

The convention is only a couple of months away, so this may be a little too late for some of y'all who apparently need 6 months to build stuff, but I'm going to suggest it anyway. (I think we have a similar turnaround once for BrickCon, so it's not impossible.)

We've done Bionicle mosaics before at conventions. CF and Nukaya have made Kopaka, Onua, and the full team of Toa Mata at BrickFair, and we've done the Kaukau Waterfall and Lewa-in-Protodermis at BrickCon. But so far none at Cascade, despite a fairly good BZP turnout. And with Bionicle's return, we could even design something that is maybe not ten years old!

One idea I have is to do an image of the island of Okoto. This would require a substantial amount of blue for the ocean, but for the most part the other colors aren't rare. (Although rarity varies by collection, I guess.) Another option would just be to focus on a single character's headshot, which is possible, although we might have to substitute gold for yellow if we do Tahu, Kopaka, or Onua. But the new style of animation allows for pretty definite color zones, so it would be relatively easy to generate something compared to other styles that have actual shading on the characters (which requires more brick colors in mosaics.)

The general idea would be to make a 96x96-ish stud mosaic, large enough to capture the eye of passer-bys. That's a hefty amount for a single individual, but when if you split it up into 32x32 baseplate sections, it's more manageable. Then we would need 5-9 builders to contribute. (I can always do multiple plates, since my basic brick collection has expanded since I started practicing with mosaics.) But we need interest and at least a low level of commitment. That's failed to materialize in the past few years so that's why I'm kinda pessimistic about this happening. But if you are interested, post here saying what picture you'd like (as well as maybe what colors you would work best with.) If we can get enough people interested in a single idea, I'll draft it up, provide pieces to claim, and hopefully give y'all enough time to build it and/or Bricklink any parts you might need.

And since I'm talking collaborations... I'll be putting up a black light display at Cascade, but I only have one decent Toa-sized model to put in. If somebody else has a similar Toa-sized design that would look good in black light, perhaps we can make a scene. Granted, the display is probably only big enough for 3-4 Toa, and it would be cool to have multiple colors. Mine's in medium trans blue, but trans neon green and trans neon orange also work well. (Granted, for masks you'd probably want either the TNGM or the trans orange Kaukau. I'm using the misprint light blue kaukau. I don't know of many other masks that glow, unless you happen to have the trans orange Hau new Tahu mask.) I'd like to make my own, but I don't have the inspiration to pull that off at the moment.

So what'll it be? Any takers?



Bird of a Feather... er, Brick

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Jan 02 2015 · 107 views

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Lego Store visit paid off. (Just in case this goes the way of other Cuusoo / Ideas sets and disappears quickly.)

Also FYI although there are like 3 polybag deals you can get with Lego right now, my store would only give my one bag even tho I qualified for all of em. But I went online and was able to get all three deals. So that's a better option really... except I didn't want to risk not getting the Birds and I wanted Gali in hand... so yeah. (BTW, I got Gali, and Onua has been ordered. I'll find some time to pick up Tahu and Kopaka eventually.)

I also went for a hike on a nature trail today, and slipped on ice and skinned my knee. CURSE YOU KOPAKA, I KNOW THIS IS YOUR FAULT BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO GET YOUR SET FIRST.

Now I have to go back to work tomorrow. :( I liked sleeping in.



What I Haven't Done in 2014

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Dec 31 2014 · 122 views

I'm seeing some people writing about accomplishments and such they've made this past year. I considered it, but since I'm an eternal pessimist, I'm going to look at what I didn't accomplish this year, albeit with a slightly positive outlook.
  • I didn't die.
  • I didn't lose my job.
  • I didn't get booted off BZP.
  • I didn't go broke or get kicked out of my apartment. (Those two kinda go hand in hand)
  • I didn't start the apocalypse.
  • I didn't get robbed.
  • I didn't get swept out into the ocean via a tsunami.
  • I didn't get in a car accident.
  • I didn't have to deal with the Big Earthquake.
  • I didn't have to flee from the Yellowstone Super Volcano.
  • I didn't get obliterated by a meteorite.
  • I didn't lose any of the files on my computer.
  • I didn't run out of room to store more LEGO.
  • I also didn't work on any of my stories, save the BZP one, and this one does make me sad.
*Clearly each of these could be appended with a "yet."

Anyway, I'm hoping to not do all that same stuff in 2015. Wish me luck!


January 2015

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