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Enjoy your visit!

Team J.A.F.


Angled Mosaics

Posted by xccj , in MOCs, Lego Conventions Sep 21 2012 · 320 views

Man, this concept is just too cool. I'm not exactly treading new ground here: I only know about this technique because of Arthur Gugick's Anakin/Darth Vader and Batman/Joker mosaics. But although the idea seems basic enough, I haven't seen anybody else do this, but I want to experiment with new methods. So far he's covered the whole two-opposite-people-in-one-mosaic deal, but there are other things you could do. Day/Night. Before and After. Any two images that would juxtapose each other would work well in this method. The possibilities are endless... well, pretty high anyway.

The biggest factor is the construction methods; you need to use cheese slopes. Standard slope bricks probably wouldn't work at all. And since cheese slopes only cover a 1x1 area, you need a lot of them. And although lots of sets come with cheese slopes nowadays, it's still pretty expensive to go buy over a hundred of them for any particular mosaic. (A 32x32 mosaic alone requires 1024 cheese slopes... basic math dictates that as the dimensions double, the area... and thus required cheese slopes... quadruple. And where standard brick mosaics allow you to use different sized bricks and/or stacked plates, there's no way to switch out cheese slopes. I suppose you could utilize the 1x2 cheese slope elements, but those are even more rare and thus more expensive. So the required building material is more restrictive with these types of mosaics. That's why I'm aiming at a smaller mosaic size, just so that I don't max out how many cheese slopes I need.

But enough text; time for some concept pictures. Click on the thumbnails for the full sized images. (Since they're too big individually for a blog, and I don't want to upload resized versions, so you can deal with Bricklinks auto-thumbnails.) First image is the combined one, and the second shows the two distinct images side by side.

Hau - Krana Mosaic

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This is the mosaic I'm hoping to make at BrickCon. (Yes, not for, at... Steven would get me the pieces when I arrive at the convention and I'd build it up before the public convention and take it apart after closing.) I originally wanted a full Hau and a full Xa Krana, but size limitations ruined the quality, so I shrunk it to a half-mask and half-krana. It might be a little obscure to most of the public, but we could always provide an actual Hau mask and Krana for show. (Also, the krana's going to be lime instead of plain green because there are more lime cheese slopes... but that didn't show up in the original pict.) Anyway, this is designed to be a 32x32 mosaic.

Beach Mosaic

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This is a basic change-in-time-of-day image. It's not quite as complicated as the others; mostly the scene is just a recolor, with darker elements showing off the night image and brighter ones showing the day. It would be cool to expand upon the idea; maybe have something going on during the day (beach volleyball?) and then something at night (bonfire?) to add some variety. This one is designed to be a 64x64 mosaic, and I slimmed down the two images a little bit more, because the angled views with expand them out. (Something I didn't quite do with the others.)

Mt. St. Helens Mosaic

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Here's another change-over-time idea, and this one shows off some of the major differences. And when I was thinking of what would be a neat change-over-time idea, Mt. St. Helens came to mind. There's a before image, showing the full mountain, and an after image, showing the remains of the volcano after the eruption. So far I think this is one of my neatest designs, because the two images blend in but are still rather different. This one is designed to be a 96x48 mosaic, which might be too wide for a mosaic, but those dimensions best fit with the mountains. This would be a fun one to make, but many would it cost a lot to get those colors.

Anyway, those are three designs I've worked on. I have a few more ideas that would be cool (including some Bionicle ones), but the process of making the two images and then combining them is rather time consuming, so I haven't done more. So I'll save those for later.



MOCs Sent to BrickFair

Posted by xccj , in MOCs, Lego Conventions Jul 19 2012 · 303 views

I'm really sad that I can't attend BrickFair this year, especially after chatting with Sisen a while ago about Laser Tag plans. The smaller-ish west coast events are fun and all with a closer-knit group of people, but gosh it would be fun to storm the whole laser tag area with BZPers and Lego fans. I'm jealous of everybody who can go, but I also know they'll have a great time.

And although I have no doubt that the Bionicle display will be awesome, I sent in a few of my MOCs too. Gosh, it's pricey to ship stuff to DC, and my box was still smaller than others I've seen sent in. Craziness.

Anyway, the stuff I sent in:

Fire Dragon + Rider: Basically my losing BBC Contest entry, but hey it can still help flesh out the Bionicle Ta-Koro diorama.

Fire Bird: A mini dragon thing that I threw together after building the larger one. hey, it was easy to fit into the package.

Lava Tarakava: I had this on display at Cascade, but I thought it would be appropriate for the display too.

Green Moose: Totally not for the Ta-Koro diorama, but it was one of my favorite Rahi designs.

My whole Toa Mata Team: Yeah, my remakes that I showed off at Cascade. I had to take apart all their limbs for shipping, so have fun rebuilding them guys! (It shouldn't be that difficult.)

Also, two Matoran: Nuparu and Kapura. Because Matoran are awesome, and I liked the gun I gave Nuparu.

Plus, I contributed a hot-air-balloon for Ben's Steampunk display. It'll probably look pathetic next to everything else, but hey it's something. ;)

Of course, there was a bunch of stuff I wanted to do last year that I wasn't able to send in. No xkcd MOCs this year from me. And we were also planning on building Warehouse 13... not like a scene, but the actual warehouse! Plans for that kinda fell thru. Also, no Bionicle Mosaic this year that I'm aware of... maybe they're gonna make it a surprise?



Bad Rpg Player

Posted by xccj , in Lego Conventions Jun 24 2012 · 170 views

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I Got Accepted!

Posted by xccj , in News, Lego Conventions Jun 13 2012 · 195 views

Well, not really accepted, but more like I’m qualified for it.

No, not a job. A surgery.

See, I had this acid reflux problem, and they stuck a tube down my throat and left it there for 24 hours to see just how bad it was. Turns out, it was very bad. (Either that, or I accidentally drank battery acid last night…) So, yay, I qualify for a surgery. Maybe.

In other news… I moved my Lego collection into our unfinished basement tonight. That means more room to spread out down there, and plus my bedroom remains less messy! (The downside… less lighting, dusty conditions, and my cat likes to hang down there too.) Now I’m taking apart most of my creations from Bricks Cascade (because I can’t ship all of them to BrickFair or BrickCon, so no need to keep all of them intact.) Hopefully, I can also come up with some sort of fire-Rahi in time for the BBC Contest.

Oh, yeah, also… still no job. I guess lying on your applications is still a bad thing, but you’re supposed to leave out lots of little details, like when you have to return to school. So that’s apparently how half my friends got these seasonal positions and I didn’t… because they didn’t say when they had to leave and I did, so automatically that makes them better candidates.



Fixes To The Mata Nui Island Model

Posted by xccj , in MOCs, Lego Conventions Jun 08 2012 · 1,523 views

So last weekend, we finally got to show our giant Mata Nui Island Model off at Bricks Cascade. In general, we recieved some nice comments about it. Well, except from the BZPower Staff, where the general consesus was that they felt sick every time they saw the island. (Does that count as constructive critisism?) And, as I kind of expected, it didn't win any awards. But it was there, people got to see it, and overall I'm glad I got to show it off. :)

But there were a few things to fix. Porportions, blandness of color, lack of a giant robot head underneith it. Since the island was up at Swert's place for the last few months, I was unable to help make any changes. (And so was Steven, apparently.) But there was one thing I could correct, based off the many, many complaints we recieved.

I could add in the Ga-Koro Kaukau Waterfall.

(Oh, and the Quarry while I'm at it.)

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Okay, so they're not perfectly porportioned. The Quary is alongside a cliff, and not inside its own special carved out mesa. The waterfall appears out of a small cliffside randomly. And the details were gained through a cheat; decals. Tough luck. :P

The decals, as I've mentioned before, were created by Nuju Metru, and they were awesome! Maybe most of the public and other AFOLs didn't appreciate this little detail, but I'm sure Bionicle fans do. I know I do.

And as always, the convention was a blast, and was over too soon. But this is not the last you've seen of the Mata Nui Island! It will appear again at BrickCon 2012, so if you're attending that, you'll get a chance to check this out!



Bricks Cascade: The Big Post

Posted by xccj , in Lego Conventions Jun 06 2012 · 346 views
Very Long Entry
Wow, like, seriously, I was going to do a day-by-day post, but things just happened so quickly that I hardly had time to just glance through my email, much less post a full blog entry! It was fun and awesome and I hope we can do it again.

I had a great group of people who stayed at my place. It was hectic scheduling all their arrivals / departures and everything (not to mention the process of threatening asking them to show up in the first place.) Steven (Swert) came down from Tacoma with our Mata Nui Island. (And it was cool to have them at the show, but the drive for me was killer both ways and I am not doing that again!) Micah (Kakaru) and his brother Russell were driven up from Colorado. Micah was awesome as usual, but I also got to meet Russell, who I didn’t know to well. He’s quiet (especially compared to the rest of us) but man is he good at building! Finally, we had Androx (Velox, who’s name is Andrew, but since we already have too many Andrews, he needed a nick-name… and he hasn’t fully come to accept that one yet. :P ) fly in from California.

I also got to see a bunch of other cool BZPower staffies at the convention. Pat (DV) and Madison (Nukaya) were there of course, since they were the theme coordinators for Bionicle and Art. Andrew the Bossman (Black Six) also graced us with his presence (and he only banned me once!) Becca (Hahli Husky) and Rob (Janus) also drove down from Canada. We even got to meet Thomas (Sumiki) on Saturday, and he hung out with all of us for a while. Plus, the famous Kelly (You know, Bink) showed up for a bit on Saturday, and we even got a group picture! :D I think there were a few other BZPers who showed up, but I didn’t meet all of them, sadly. :(

Thursday was mostly a set-up day at the convention. I put up the Mata Nui island (with some help from Swert and Micah) my many Bionicle MOCs (set into a huge fight scene) and then my mocs in the other themes like Space, Mecha, Steampunk, and Art. It turns out that I had a LOT of models on display, and I made MOC cards for 30+ of them. This seems standard at other conventions like BrickFair and BrickCon, where there can be over a thousand models registered a week before the convention… but at Bricks Cascade, they only had 300 preregistered, which means I had about 10% of the printed MOC cards. (When I picked them up, they were like “Oh, you’re this Jason character who wrote up so many cards.) Additionally, I filled up almost 2 and a half tables with just my Bionicle characters in a fight scene. (But we had plenty of room for everything else.) Sadly, the Steampunk theme only had a few models, and Technic had nothing, so on Friday night, Micah, Russell, and I built a couple of cool creations to add to those themes (using my collection). And it paid off… Micah won a trophy for his last minute Steampunk model, because it was the only one that fit the category. Russell also constructed this amazing Technic car, but it lost out to this lame-o thing with a lot of gears in it. (AKA, mine.)

Friday is when the events started to pick up. Micah and I both signed up for the Blind Minifig Bag competition, which was basically to try and identify a bunch of collectible minifig bags, but the catch was that you were completely blindfolded, so you couldn’t even tell which series you were looking for. The first round was just series 6 and 7, so it was easier, but the second round was series 1-5, which got really complex. We each felt through 15 bags, and I guessed all of mine correctly! However, while accuracy was the first determining factor for selecting the winner, time was the second, and I was too slow to make it to the final round. (Micah, on the other hand, did make it to the second round… but he guessed a few wrong and didn’t end up winning the trophy.) Some of the other BZPers participated in some other competitions. Becca, Rob, Pat, and Madison went to the combo build event, where they had to make something using a Friends and Ninjago set. (And Madison won that, I believe.) The four of them and Andrew Bossman also were teamed up in the speed build of the Tower Bridge set the next day, but didn’t win. Russell really swept the floor in the competitions, winning the Build-in-a-Bag and Brick Hunt competitions, and being on the winning speed build team.

We also visited the Lego Store on Friday morning. They had all sorts of cool sets, including the new ones from Marvel, Ninjago, City, and even Lord of the Rings. (They had some of the larger sets on display, like 4-Headed Dragon Battle and Helms Deep, but not for sale.) I got the Avengers Truck set, the Ninjago Bite Cycle set, a Ninjago Snake booster pack, and the Brick Calendar that comes with the S1 Cheerleader and S1 Skateboarder. We had some credit card issues with our combined purchase, but we ended up being able to pool all our cash together to make the buy. Fun times.

Saturday was when the public showed up. Additionally, it was Androx’s first day. We were a little late picking him up from the airport because I had to finish writing a story for his contest. :P (Sadly, I wasn’t able to enter all the ones this weekend cause the convention took up too much time.) Public hour began and we met with Thomas, and we started playing the old Bionicle Quest for Makuta Board Game behind the Bionicle table. The others kept ignoring me as I tried to explain the rules, and as such I had to keep explaining them over and over. (At one point, I was so busy explaining to Swert that I didn’t notice the others taking my wallet and looking through it… yeah.) Micah got some decent power ups and started sweeping the board by fighting all the Rahi, but he never got a chance to defeat Makuta because Kelly showed up and we abandoned the game to talk to him. After Kelly left, we decided to go to lunch (and inadvertently followed Kelly part-way out of the convention center, and when we realized this, we decided not to be so stalkery and changed directions.) We went to the Lloyd Center Mall and ate Subway sandwiches and Cinabon cinnamon rolls while overlooking the ice skating rink. (Yes, the mall has an ice skating rink.) Then Micah, Andrew (Velox), and Thomas went to the Dentist Office in the mall and asked for toothbrushes… and got some!

We also got to ask the Lego representative Kevin Hinkle some questions Saturday night before the Award Ceremony. (I’m pretty sure that’s his name, but I know some of the other Bionicle guys got to chat with him a lot, so they can correct me if I misspelled it.) He told us some very interesting things. One of the topics I was interested in was the bit about more flesh tones for minifigs. Basically, for traditional themes, they’re sticking with yellow, and the colors for licensed figs depend on the characters in each licensed theme. But at least he knows the public want more variety in skin tones… and also that Portland wants more man-dolls in the Friends style. (Yay, keep Portland Weird!) Ninjago came up… it’s apparently the second best selling theme after Star Wars. Hinkle said it’s actually ending this year, but that something cool will be coming to replace it. (But apparently his data was wrong… it’ll end next year instead, so we still have more new Ninjago to look forward too.) Hero Factory, however, is expected to be around for a bit longer! And we did get an official announcement for the return of Bionicle… just after classic Monorail comes back! Yay!

On Saturday evening, we did have another fancy dinner. Andrews Bossman, Pat, Madison, Becca, and Rob all dressed up early, and were thus the snazziest people at Award Ceremonies. The rest of us dressed up later on. (Velox went all out with a suit and everything… I just did a button-up shirt with a tie, which is fancy for me.) We went to this cool Italian place about a mile away from the convention center… and unlike BrickFair, we did not get horrible lost on the way there! (Okay, granted, I had to navigate through a mall parking lot that I accidentally turned into, but I still managed to get there in a timely-ish manner.) The food was good (I liked it at least) and it was a nice little restaurant. We would’ve swamped it if we’d have the full Brick Fair crowd, but for 9 of us, it worked out. It was also my first chance to really chat with Rob and Becca (even though they mostly went on about Homestruck with Micah, a topic that I was mostly lost upon.) But it was fun.

For public hours on Sunday, we again sat around and chatted with Rob, who told us how he would’ve written the Bionicle storyline. At one point, Micah and I also went to play a new Mecha strategy game one of the AFOLs had designed, where each vehicle had different abilities and weapons and we tried to blow each other up each turn. We never got to finish it, but it was fun, and it sounds like he’ll have a bigger game set-up at BrickCon, so that’s something to look forward too. The end of the day came too soon, and then it was Closing Ceremonies. Then it was back to packing all the MOCs away. (Taking down my Bionicle display was easy; I just had everybody shove them off a table and into my large container. No delicate storage for me!) BZPower members had group pictures taken, and then we said our goodbyes.

It wasn’t quite over for my group tho. First we went to the movie theater and watch Avengers. We kind of got lost trying to get out of the mall after the movie, and then Steven accidentally knocked half my brick badge down the elevator shaft. :( When night fell, we returned to my house and pulled out the Nerf weaponry and had a major battle in my yard in the dark. I was supposed to have the advantage of knowing where everything was, but Micah and Russell were in much better shape. Plus, the grass was wet, so twice I slipped while I was running and ended up rolling down the hill, where I was then tagged. (Not as fun as laser tag, tho.) Then Micah, Andrew/Velox, and I tried to video review the Ghost Train Monster Fighter set, but we spent most of it making jokes, and now it’ll be a pain for me to edit out. We stayed up until 4 AM, but then eventually crashed.

On Monday, Micah and Russell’s parents picked them back up. Then I drove Steven back to Tacoma (with Andrew.) We visited Dan Parker’s shop and showed Andrew around, and then took Steven home. On the way back, we stopped at the Lego Store again, so Andrew could take advantage of the Bricks Cascade sale and get some LotR sets. (And on the drive back from the Lego Store, we got caught in a torrential downpour that forced me and everybody else to drive 35 MPG on the freeway.) On Tuesday, Andrew and I went outside and threw the ball for my dog, who now loves Andrew. Then we went on a tour through Portland, which included riding the Max train, visiting Powell’s Bookstore (I think Andrew spent more on books there than he did on Lego this weekend), eating VooDoo Doughnuts, and walking around the Portland Waterfront. Although it was a little windy and sometimes cloudy, it was the nicest day of the weekend. The I helped Andrew shoved the rest of his books and Lego sets into his suitcase, and dropped him off at the airport.

So now it’s Wednesday, and I’m going through pictures and looking at the sets I get to build and thinking about cleaning up the garage and ordering my Lego collection again. But I’m also sad that everybody’s gone. It was a super fun weekend with lots of great people, and it’s the one time of the year where I really get to socialize with friends, since I don’t have many close ones living nearby. (And seriously, I talked so much that my throat was sore every night… not to mention I almost laughed myself to death Sunday night. :P ) And I’m already getting excited for future conventions, pending on if I can find a way to pay for them. (I am kinda completely out of money now.) We totally need to do this again, and some other cool people need to join us, like Rene (Emperor Whenua), Ben (Chocolate Frogs), Jon (Fivey), and a bunch of other people who we’ve met at BrickFair who weren’t able to make it out here.

So yep, there’s my experience at Bricks Cascade this weekend! Official news reports will be coming up soon, when I get around to working on all the pictures I have and posting them. We had a lot of cool model sent in to the Bionicle table, and we’re expected to have even more cool ones showing up at BrickFair this year too! So yeah, pictures coming soon!



Longer Entry To Come

Posted by xccj , in Lego Conventions Jun 06 2012 · 161 views

Well, Bricks Cascade is officially over. All the BZPers have left, and it's kinda sad too, since I won't be seeing all these cool people for a long time. (Especially since I'm unsure about BrickCon, since my parents made a big deal about how much I spent here and I still don't have a paying job.) On the other hand, there's still more to do, like cleaning up (so many plastic bags and Lego boxes laying around!!) posting pictures (I must have over 300) working on reviews (the footage from the video review is going to be a nightmare to edit!) and being able to sleep more than 6 hours.

So yeah, nap time now, and I'll get to that other stuff done later, including writing a detailed entry about all the cool stuff we did and all the cool people we met. Also, a news story shall be posted soonish (and hopefully I'll get a say in it, since like half the reporting team was at the convention!). But for now, sleeeeeep.



Rob Is Awesome

Posted by xccj , in Lego Conventions Jun 04 2012 · 285 views
Canadians only come in when stuff gets tough!



Now I See Bees I Won

Posted by xccj , in Lego Conventions Jun 03 2012 · 264 views

Palendrone from weird al's song Bob.

But anyway, I did surprisingly well at Bricks Cascade. Like, OMG-this-can't-be-right-well. I've only won a few trophies in previous conventions, and none of them were ever that spectacular. This time, I won four! :o

Bionicle: Best Toa "Moderator" for my Toa Pohatu. This was really cool, cause I worked really hard on Pohatu and I loved the way he turned out. Also, Pat's trophy for this one is completely epic! (We'll reveal other Bionicle winners soon me-thinks.)

Mecha: Best Supporting Role for my Collectible Minifig Daredevil Mech. Basically, this was for non-combat mechs, and again I don't think there were many... and I'm surprised it did well because it included a bunch of HF stuff.

Steampunk: Like A Sir for my Minifigure. Basically, best customized steampunk minifig. I made this one evil guy who won, but granted, there were only like a couple of MOCs for the whole theme, and some of them didn't even include custom figs! Lack of competition, really.

Technic: Best Technic Vehicle for my Gearbox moc. Okay, so it was supposed to be a Rahi thing, but technic didn't have any mocs in it, and this was mine that had a ton of gears in it, so I moved it over, and hey it won. Kakaru and I also made some last-minute technic models for this, but they weren't chosen. :(

Oh, and one of my MOCs won for a random prize draw. This isn't entirely surprising, because I entered 30+ mocs, which made up for about 10% of all the moc cards entered... yeah, I brought too much stuff this time. :P I was hoping for a random win here or there, but not this many. And it's not like any of my lackluster projects did well... I'm proud of all the ones that made it. But still, I like to see throphies spread to as many people as possible, and then I went and won four... so yeah, craziness.

Also, Velox + Kakaru + Russell + Swert + HH + Janus + B6 + Bink + Sumiki + Everybody Else = Really cool! It's been lots of fun, and it's not over yet. :D



Cascade Day 1

Posted by xccj , in Lego Conventions Jun 01 2012 · 238 views

Day 0: I picked up Swert and the Island.

Day 1: Kakaru and his brother Russell arrived in the morning. Some goofing off took place, so we didn't get to the convention super early, but we were the first Bionicle group there. Got the Mata Nui Island model set up. It's not perfect; besides the flaws I've already pointed out (one word: porportions) but Steven also wasn't able to bring down all the plant elements, so the forest isn't as wide-spread as it was last time. :( But we have masks for the Quarry (kinda) and the Kaukau waterfall added, not to mention the volcanoes interior. Plus, the island is on it's own set of tables in the center of the hall so everybody can walk around it and see it...it's pretty cool. We've already got a few good comments on it, so that's nice. (See, the AFOLs aren't big Bionicle fans and aren't as nit-picky about all the details... but see I am, and although I can't change it now, I am making plans for a revision in the future)

When we left, the hall seemed sadly empty... hopefully a ton of stuff will show up tomorrow. We have a ton of room at the Bionicle table... enough that I was able to spread out all my Thirty-Six Mask Rahi, Toa, and Matoran. It looks epic, and while they're not the best MOCs ever, I hope a few of the Rahi are in the running for a throphy. (But I've also seen some of the stuff people sent in, so I might not make it.)

Hopefully more cool stuff and more cool people will show up tomorrow. Also, Lego Store visit!


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