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Team J.A.F.


Mata Nui Island Project: Day 5

Posted by xccj , in MOCs, News, Lego Conventions Mar 16 2012 · 95 views
Mata Nui Island Project
Swert and I continue to work on our Mata Nui Island model, built at City Blocks Lego Art Studio in Tacoma. (And by 'Swert and I' I mean me because Swert took most of the day off. Okay, to be fair, he helped Dan with an after school program, and he even shot some footage for me since I couldn't be there... but he didn't contribute a full day to the island today. ;) )

Day 5

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Got lots done today. First, what you can't see; Papa Niho Reef got completed behind the mountain, and I also finished the mountain's northern slopes. I also added hills to the Le-Wahi area to give it more depth. Next will be to add some foliage, although we might not finish that this week. (This is because the pieces tend to fall off, so most likely they'll be put on at the location we bring this.) Another big one I did today was finish the Ta-Wahi area along the coast, and had the lava flow reach the sea. (Oh, and I guess I did the volcano's southern slope this morning, which had to be completed before the hills in Le-Wahi.)

Tomorrow will probably be my last day, but it'll be a long one as long as I can wake up early enough... Anyway, the major pieces to make are Ga-Wahi and Po-Wahi. Ga-Wahi will require me to make the Hura Mafu River that flows between the edge of the mountain and volcano, which is the last bit of slopes that needs to be completed. And we still have to make the desert, which we've been putting off for some time. But yeah, one final day to go.

Additionally, I forgot to mention this last night, but I paid for Bricks Cascade registration. So I am so totally going to be there. The whole island that I'm working on here might not make it in full... we might just bring the mountain down, or just the volcano and have a giant red MOC rise out of it. ;) Besides, I have plenty of other cool MOCs to bring in anyway.

So until tomorrow.



Mata Nui Island Project: Day 4

Posted by xccj , in MOCs, News, Lego Conventions Mar 16 2012 · 69 views
Mata Nui Island Project
Swert and I continue to work on our Mata Nui Island model, built at City Blocks Lego Art Studio in Tacoma. (And I'm getting tired of commuting so far. Luckily I have a wonderful aunt and uncle [who now have a link to this very blog] who have let me stay at their place for the week, so at least I'm not in a hotel / tent / under a freeway overpass / commuting 3 hours from home daily.)

Day 4

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So I got the two things I wanted done: I made the Kini Nui area and Ta-Koro. The Kini Nui area is right where the volcano, mountain, and jungle meet, so it was interesting to combine the colors and levels correctly. Sure, it isn't quite the same little crater in the center of the island that the MNOLG portrayed, but that location was one the game really did mess up on anyway, and this was the most workable way. (Now, we discussed the obscure path the Chronicler's Company took to get there, which led them through almost all the environments and was pretty clearly the 'long way round.' Really, they should've just descended from Ko-Koro.) Ta-Koro was also fun to integrate. The biggest issue was just that we were running low on dark grey / bley bricks, so I used a healthy supply of slopes, plates, and cliff elements. It will probably need some tweaking.

(Also, don't get me started on the way they describe bricks at this studio. Baseplates are described in inches rather than studs. They differentiate between the different kind of technic liftarms, and all the cliff elements are called Burps for some strange reason. Why can't we all conform to the Bricklink standard, since that's the one I follow? :P )

Swert had some ideas for the desert today, but I think he was just slacking because not much gone done on that. But then he finally got to it and placed bricks down for the entire jungle portion of the island, so that was awesome.

Tomorrow my goal is to finish working on the sides of the volcano / mountains. I have some cool plans for the Hura Mafu river, which unfortunately won't end in a waterfall. (I'd love to use the small Kaukau mask found on the old pens... but I need to get my hands on one. Anybody willing to sell / trade [at decent prices] let me know!) You can also see an unnamed river running off the mountain on the west side, and I'll do about the same thing but longer for Hura Mafu. I'm also going to add some more hills to Le-Wahi, and hopefully we'll be able to cover large portions of it with foliage too. Still don't know what Swerts gonna do with the desert, so I guess I'll leave that up to him. :)



Mata Nui Island Project: Day 3

Posted by xccj , in MOCs, News, Lego Conventions Mar 15 2012 · 61 views
Mata Nui Island Project
Swert and I continue to work on our Mata Nui Island model, built at City Blocks Lego Art Studio in Tacoma. (Oh yes, my blog entries this week are all gonna be related.)

Day 3

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The first part of the day involved tracing out the rest of the island in red. In doing this I made a few tweaks. Le-Wahi now seems so much smaller than originally planned... mostly due to the volcano and mountain turning out to be bigger than planned, and thus the jungle gets squeezed down. And for whatever ungodly reason we thought Ga-Wahi would be a large enough region to include a Kaukau waterfall... but it's far too small, so not gonna happen.

We did some other stuff. I worked on more of the western coast next to the mountain. Swert started working on the Leva Bay peninsula, and also started on some of the Papa Niho Reef islands. (We hid a few Easter eggs in these. ;) ) Unfortunately, those are all on the north end and mostly obscured by the mountain, so you can't quite see all the progress. We did rearrange some of the baseplates so that we could move the blue ones out to the ocean. So thus instead of needing like 15 more blue baseplates, we don't need any. Yay.

What also cut on our productivity today was that we hung out with the boss, Dan. I got to interview him for a school video documentary project, and I hope to get a few more shots in the next few days.

For tomorrow, I want to finish two things. 1: I want to work on the area where the mountain, jungle, and volcano all meet... where coincidentally I'll be placing the Kini Nui. I also want to work on the lava flow from the mountain, where I'll include a lava lake with Ta-Koro in the middle. Steven's working on the Po-Wahi desert, because he has an idea that he can't seem to describe well enough for me to understand, so he'll just have to demonstrate by example. :P

So shout out to BZP peeps in the Seattle - Tacoma area. Come down to City Blocks in Freighthouse Square and help us out! :D I think I'll be working there until at least Saturday. So expect more blog entries until that point in time. ;)



Mata Nui Island Project: Day 2

Posted by xccj , in MOCs, News, Lego Conventions Mar 13 2012 · 69 views
Mata Nui Island Project
Swert and I continue to work on our Mata Nui Island model, built at City Blocks Lego Art Studio in Tacoma.

Day 2

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What we spent the most time on was the mountain and volcano (again.) I managed to add a peak to the mountain in white. While you can't see it from this angle, the Ko-Koro Sanctum is included. ;) Dan, the guy who runs the studio, didn't like the mountain and forced me to revamp it twice, but I think it's finally looking good and natural. Swert finally finished the volcano, although I helped tweak it to add in a lava falls. Ta-Koro is the next thing to add. (You can see a preview of it on the side, along with the Kini Nui.)

The next part of the project to work on is the coast line. You can't see it, but I got one portion behind the mountain finished. I also started outlining the west coast in red bricks, but we got kicked out before I could finish. That will be tomorrow's thing to do, and then we can start building them up.

Most of our problems so far include making organic landscape shapes, having enough time and stamina to build everything, and having enough bricks. Sure, it seems like Dan has a ton of amazing bricks in every color, but we don't have access to most of them. I believe I've already used up everything larger than a 2x4 brick in light grey...



Mata Nui Island Project: Day 1

Posted by xccj , in MOCs, News, Lego Conventions Mar 13 2012 · 84 views
Mata Nui Island Project
So I'm spending my spring break up in Tacoma at City Blocks, helping build a giant system model of Mata Nui the island. As one of the main designers (I guess Swert can take some credit too) I am trying to remain extremely faithful to the MNOLGs and the famous maps. However, there's a lot of inconsistencies, so some of it will be custom designed based on how I view the geography of the island in my head. Hate or love the idea, we're going to be working on it all week and will be showing it off at BrickCon and maybe Bricks Cascade. (Transportation issues may be a problem for the latter.) And no, this will not be to figure scale... in fact, I'm hesitant to even add in any villages for fear of messing with the scale.

For now, progress pictures.

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Yesterday, the only real thing we did was lay out the base plates for the different sections of the island. We require a lot of blue, and for reference the grey baseplates are just stand ins for blue ones that won't have anything built on top of them.

Today, we worked on the two major landmarks, the Magania volcano and Mt. Ihu. I designed the top section of the volcano, but Swert took over trying to create a round base. Thus I then worked on the mountain, which is going to end up taller than the volcano (as per our plan.) We've left room inside the volcano to put stuff, like lights and trans red elements. Both landmarks are on a raised section of Duplo bricks, and the adjacent baseplates will have slopes reaching up to them.

Tomorrow, we hope to finish the mountain and volcano, and begin to plot out the coastlines.



Toured Portland Today

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts, Lego Conventions Mar 03 2012 · 57 views
So I had a class field trip to downtown Portland. (For the record, while I've been to Portland I don't go down there all the time like I know some people do... hey, you see how much I blog, where do you think I spend my time??) I was running low on time, so I ended up parking in a lot next to the Oregonian building, where my class was going to tour. (They're a local news-paper, but also have an extensive online news site, and we talked to people about video journalism. It was cool.) Anyway, I know the class thing would take a while, and parking was either for 1 hour, 2 hours, or all day. I just went for all day to be safe (and I now realize that I probably could've found cheaper places now, but whatev the past is the past.) So thus after our class trip, I decided to just walk around Down Town Portland, which is something I've never really done on my own.

I started out by getting down to the waterfront. I don't know about the east side, but the west side has quite an amazing waterfront, and it's even nicer when it's not crowded from some public event. Then I made my way down to the Steel Bridge and crossed over to the convention center, where Bricks Cascade is going to be. I walked around a little trying to see what good restaurants are nearby, and realized that the Lloyd Center Mall is within walking distance. (Somehow never made that connection before... remember, I said I don't go to DT Portland often, much less walk the streets for hours.) Lots of good restaurants there... and a Chipotle. I'll have to stop by there at least once during the convention. ;) Sadly, the local Lego Store is quite a ways away, and the TRU in the mall appears to be gone. It would've been really cool if the mall had a Lego Store within walking distance from the convention... I'm sure that would've helped business. ;)

Then I crossed the bridge again, wandered around the Pearl, and went to VooDoo Doughnuts. I guess it's like the famous Portland doughnut place. It was fancy, and I could see lots of cool doughnuts they had in there. The one I got was decent. IMO a fun little place but not exactly what I would define Portland by. (My definition of the city would probably be all the cool bridges.) But I could tell it was popular... there was a fairly long line in the shot itself, and I could see where the line would go when it extends outside... they had it all the way down the block, which means they must get busy sometimes! Another fun note; I was trying to find the exact location, and then a few blocks away I could smell the doughnuts in the air before I even saw the shop. Crazy.

Then I went back to my car, and drove home, and got stuck in stop-and-go traffic on I-5 North. Standard stuff.

One of my main goals for this little excursion is to see what we can do in Portland for Bricks Cascade. I know a few people who are coming down to our area for the convention who might stay an extra day, so I'm thinking of all the cool stuff we could do. Walking across all the bridges would be neat, if we're up for the exercise. We could also go to Lloyd Center and go ice skating on their rink... for all of us who want to embarrass ourselves in public. :D Another idea is to go to OMSI, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Sure, it's not the Smithsonian, but it's still pretty awesome, depending on what exibits they have up in June. (I looked at their website... they don't seem to plan that far ahead.) We could also visit the Oregon Zoo, which is awesome even though I've been there many a times as a kid. My other ideas also involved driving through the Gorge and going on some of the nasty vertical hikes that are offered there... but dunno how others would appreciate that idea. ;) (Also, Velox suggested Laser Tag again, but there aren't any places quite as close as the one was in DC. :( )

A few other notes of my little trip today; I walked far. My legs are sore now. I must've covered a couple of miles at least. Also, I'm impressed with the public transit in DT Portland. I didn't take it (because I was walking ;) ) but it was all very high tech and nice. But the crosswalk things would speak to me, like really say "Do not cross yet." Or worst, "The light is already green, you didn't need to press this button loser." But the light was red just before I pressed it!! Um, anyway, yeah, interesting day.



Need Opinions On Convention Mosaics

Posted by xccj , in Lego Conventions Feb 25 2012 · 80 views

So a month ago I posted a blog asking for opinions on Bionicle mosaic projects for the two Northwest conventions I’ll be attending, Bricks Cascade and BrickCon. Hahli Husky, Black Six, and Kakaru all said they’d be willing to send a piece in, but I didn’t get much else besides that. (Swert commented too but I know he can’t send a piece in… :P It’s okay, we’re working on our Mata Nui Island project that’s gonna be epic.) The conventions are edging closer, so I would like some more opinions.

1: Can you bring a mosaic piece for one of the Northwest conventions, and if you can, WHAT COLORS WOULD YOU WANT TO USE? I know people have a limited amount of bricks they can use, so I could either work towards a black, white, and grey mosaic again, or if people have enough blues or reds, we could try something in a specific color. I would particularly like responses to this question. ;)

2: BrickFair’s Bionicle Mosaic is also a WIP, and I know CF and Nukaya are making some plans for it. But, having read DeVee’s blog, I know he’s willing to take MOCs sent to Bricks Cascade and bring them to BrickFair. So potentially he could do the same for mosaic pieces. A single mosaic could premier at Cascade and then travel across the country to show up at the Fair on the other coast. I’ve thrown this idea out a few times, but I haven’t gotten any feedback on it, so what do people think? Not happening, I guess.

In that case, let's focus on BrickCon. Letagi, Razlak, Kakaru, KopakaNui, EW, and I have all contributed mosaic pieces before, and other Bionicle peeps at BrickCon are willing to contribute too. I think out Bionicle mosaics in the past have been just too cool, and we should try to get them to show up at more conventions!

Answers to these questions can help me determine specifics for designing the mosaics, based on colors and size (how many people are interested, ext). So if you have any interest, please respond. :)



Follow Up On Thornatus Wheel Tower Idea

Posted by xccj , in Lego Conventions Feb 11 2012 · 73 views

I brought up this idea in a previous blog post; the idea would be to use the giant wheels that came with the Thornatus set and build a tower with them at BrickFair. Maybe it's not the most original idea ever, but it would be a cool yet simple group project, if everybody who has a wheel can just bring it in.

And now I have an LDD image to show how we'd make this:

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The only extra pieces we'd need are the three 2 length connector pieces and 6 +o rods. Additionally, I could create a more elaborate top of the tower out of system bricks, but the big wheels are still the main draw. So I'm pushing to see if we can get more people to bring some in! :D

People Interested in Participating:

Nuju Metru



Hey Look, A Bionicle Based Creation Topic

Posted by xccj , in Lego Conventions, MOCs Feb 11 2012 · 93 views
Thirty-Six Masks Project
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Gosh, that was hectic to write up. Not to mention all the pictures I had to go through.

Okay, so I have this new project. Back in 2001, the Toa Kanohi all came in six different colors. I finally completed my collection of the original 36 Toa Mata masks a while back, but what to do with them? Well, I plan to make a MOC for each of the 36 masks. And to give it a theme, I'm going to use the original six masks to recreate the Toa and use the rest to build various Rahi. This is my Thirty-Six Masks Project.

The above topic shows off my Toa remakes. I also have about 19 Rahi built too, as well as a plethora of Matoran villagers. My idea is to use all these models to stage a massive battle scene at Bricks Cascade. DV, make sure you leave room for me. ;) Some of the MOCs are good, some are a little less than that, but each and every one will have a mask included in its build.

I still have roughly 10 more MOCs to make, and I haven't taken pictures of any of the Rahi, so there'll be more to come from me. Until then, have a look at my Toa. Comments appreciated, but it's unlikely that I'm going to radically alter then before the convention. (Because I'm starting to run low on useful pieces. :P )

Also, this topic was my 6,000th post. Yay me.



Another Convention Idea

Posted by xccj , in Lego Conventions Jan 31 2012 · 46 views

Do you own a Thornatus (2009 Tan Battle Vehicle) and plan on attending / sending stuff to a convention? If so, this blog post is for you. :D

So the Thornatus has this one GIANT black, spikey, plastic wheel. IMO, it's kinda a lame piece; it doesn't make for a good wheel, and it's too large to really fit on anything else nicely. For me, it mostly takes up room in my Lego containers. I'm not going to assume that this is the same for everybody who owns that piece, but I'll guess that it's not on your star MOC.

So we need to make it into a MOC.

You see, I was thinking, what if I had multiples of these wheels? And what if I... stacked them? Using only a couple of technic connectors, the wheels should fit on top of each other snugly. And if we could do this for multiple and multiple wheels, we could make one rad looking tower. (I'd upload an LDD image, but that'll have to wait for when Majhost comes back.)

To do this tho, we'd need lots of these wheels. I checked online, and they're hard and expensive to come by, so this can't be an individual project. But then I thought to myself "Where would I find a bunch of teenage to adult people who would've probably bought a Thornatus set back in the day? Maybe on a Bionicle fansite!!"

So what do you think? Send in a big Thornatus wheel, help make a giant tower? (We could even use the 4 smaller-but-still-big-and-spikey wheels that came with the Thornatus to build smaller side towers.) Thoughts?


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