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Team J.A.F.


Lewa and Pohatu Masters Review

Posted by xccj , in Review Dec 27 2014 · 145 views

Target had some more Bionicle... in fact it was one of the few Lego shelves that was fully stocked. So I bought some more. Muhaha. Now time for a quick review.

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First things first, did I either not read the Lewa reviews closely enough or did none of them mention all the new technic goodies that he came with? +oo rods and 1 length rod spacers? First one was from last year and relatively uncommon, and Lewa has four, and the spacers are new, I believe!

Since I already started... Lewa seems fairly well done. I was especially impressed with how they did the shoulder spikes, which I expected to just be another random ball joint connection, since Hero Factory did that a few times. But the proportions, weapons, general colors... all Lewa. Except for the mask, which totally ruins it. I also wish he had longer handles for his axes; I'll probably throw in a rod myself to make them that way, but the official version just seems to have him gripping them too high up. They don't quite look as good as wings as they could, but it's a nice attempt, and the duel swords work. Wish he had more green; it could totally replace the Keetongu orange without issue.

Pohatu's a nice combination of armor and lack of armor for sleekness. While his mask looked like one of the best in promo images, I think it's a little too small. The trans neon green and burnt orange isn't my favorite combo, but I like the pieces in those colors. (I again wish we'd seen more of the primary color. You could've replaced those silver shells with burnt orange.) The Boomerang weapons are fantastic and I'm tempted to buy another Pohatu just for more. (Oh, yes, and in the picture I flipped him upside-down so his hips are wide and have the gear joints.)

Speaking of gears, I generally like how they did it. The big, Boxor gears are used for the direction change of the spins, but the smaller gears do a wonderful job of stabilizing it. Plus, I like that a different technique was used between the two, and I know that some of the other Toa have different designs too, so props for multiple creative uses and not just one-size-fits-all. Although Pohatu should've been allowed to move both his arms. Or, you know, had his motion translated to his legs. But I guess that doesn't work quite as well as it did with the original sets.

Another thing that does bug me; the masks seem to fall off way too easily. I know that's supposed to be a function, but it seems the connection is just really unstable. And I feel this is the same across all the masks; skull spiders, Kakama Mask of Stone, Miru Mask of Jungle, and the Protector masks. And with such a unstable connection on the heads, I don't know if they'd be stable enough for MOCs. Sorry, I'm just not impressed. I wish they could've included axle holes or something so we could attach em if we wanted to, but I guess that takes the challenge out of MOCing with new pieces.

And now that I have four of em, I want to MOC with the dark blue spider masks. I'm more of a fan of the scorpion spiders that came with the stone characters; it's a shame that none of the others seem to have tails. With the tail, they seem a bit imposing, less so with just the legs.

I guess I also got the protectors. Decent characters, I guess, but mostly parts packs. Like the flame pieces in different colors as their weapons. Not a huge fan of the Gatling guns, but they serve their purpose. The masks are nice in the two tones, although that will make MOCing with them a bit harder. Plus, 4 burnt orange shells with the stone protectors. Sadly, the shells are trans green on the jungle protector; could use more shells in bright green. Seriously, if they're going to introduce a new color into constraction, they need to give it more parts! (Technically I guess they're doing that with Lewa since Green Lantern Ultrafig has CCBS parts first... but still, I want more of them if I'm going to MOC in that color.)

I'm aiming next for Onua and Gali, although I'll eventually grab Tahu and Kopaka as well. Maybe also the purple Earth Protector, the other three don't really appeal to me, besides their masks, and currently the sets aren't worth the masks alone.

And that's my ranting about the new Toa. They still have to grow on me some more, but they're not half bad.



The Real Death of Vitruvius

Posted by xccj , in Review Dec 25 2014 · 112 views

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Read set review here. Spoiler: you should buy this set. Also, Vitruvius dies, in case you didn't catch onto that already.



Hit Right on Target

Posted by xccj , in News Dec 21 2014 · 280 views

I'd been hearing some reports about Bionicle showing up in Target, so I decided to swing by my local one... and found some.

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For Bionicle, they only had the two protectors, so I grabbed both. Oddly enough, the cashier was really excited to see they had them in and was bummer when I said there were only a few left. (And then seemed reluctant to sell me the ones I picked up... I assume it was all part of an act.) In addition to Bionicle, they had some other 2015 stuff from other themes, including Disney Princesses, the battle packs (Lions and Bears) from Chima, the Double Decker Couch from the Lego Movie (pictured above), and a bunch of Friends sets, some of which I don't even remember seeing online.

Well, I could just brag about my find... or I could help you with your search!

Yesterday, The Brick Fan posted a bit on how you could track Target's inventory if you had their DCPI number. It wasn't 100% accurate, but it would show you the stock stores nearby had. Unfortunately, the article only gave the DCPI number for the Frozen Princess set, and I couldn't find one for Bionicle... until I went to the store.

The DCPI number for the Protectors is 204 00 1009. This number seemed to be shared between both protectors, so Target doesn't seem to currently be distinguishing between color for them... yet.

And just for grins, the DCPI number for the Lego Movie set is 204 00 1476. In general, if they have one of the new sets in stock, they probably have the rest, given the inventory described above. I know I selected my specific Target cause it had the Frozen castle (had, it was sold out by the time I showed up) but it seemed to be a good indicator.

Happy toy hunting. And if you can't find it... well, wait a few weeks and I'm sure they'll be everywhere. Besides, NYCC goers have already had these for months, so there's not much to brag about getting them early, now is there.



Last Korra Episode

Posted by xccj , in TV Dec 19 2014 · 116 views

Was great. I was worried they wouldn't be able to pull off something awesome, but I shouldn't have. Also:




Unnecessary Helpful Ads

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Dec 18 2014 · 117 views

The other day I was researching on a couple of sites to see who had the best deal on a product. (Korra Season 3, ended up picking it up from Target.) But despite having made the purchase, I keep getting ads from the various places I searched (Amazon, BestBuy, and Target) telling me they have the product I was searching for. Ya, that's right you do, cause I specifically searched for it on your site, and in Target's instance, I actually bought it there. So why are you still showing me the ad for it?

Oh, I bought the BluRay and you're advertising the DVD. Oh that makes much more sense now.

Here's to complaining about Target's targeting ads. Remember to eat delete your cookies, kids!



Hobbit III: They Shoulda Stopped at Two

Posted by xccj , in TV Dec 17 2014 · 142 views

Spoilers below Smaug burns and eats everybody and then goes to sleep on his gold pillow. He also burns Sauron too, just cause.


And that is the story of how Bilbo and Smaug moved into 22B Baker Street together and now solve crimes.



Collectible Minifigures Series 13

Posted by xccj , in News Dec 15 2014 · 78 views

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Fred Meyers has let again released a series of collectible minifigures earlier than anybody else. They did it with Series 3, they did it with the Lego Movie batch, and they're doing it again with Series 13. Granted, I had to go through three stores to find one that had em in stock (and now I'm kicking myself for not just buying the whole crew). If I can make a future trip and secure the rest, I might do another full review, but for now, some quick notes!
  • Unicorn Girl: Eh, kinda bland, at least from the front. Although most images don't show it, the back of the neck and the tail have some nice lavender fur. But with the positioning of the horn, she's gotta be one of the tallest figs around. The tail is nice, ala Rocket Raccoon.
  • Hot Dog Guy: Wow, that hot dog suit is ridiculously easy to feel for. He's supposedly very rare, so being easy to feel for and probably popular will likely make him hard to find at all. (I did feel two, but I think I was going through a new box.)
  • Disc Gal: Wow, psychedelic printing on her arms and legs. Plus, puffy hair in dark brown!
  • Goblin: Not bad. Better than some of the LotR/Hobbit ones IMO.
  • Egyptian: Nice design, like the shield printing.
  • Samurai: Hey, it's like Nya grown up! It's an interesting choice to make a female samurai, but no complaining from me. Descent female robe printing on the torso too!
  • Carpenter: Like the new saw piece. His hat is the same as Emmet's (hard hat with hair) but each in new colors, so that's a plus.
  • Paleontologist: Really digging the fossil tile! The helmet comes with an oddly shaped ponytail that kind of forces it to be a little off center, and also means that mold won't work well for a male variant. Oh well. Still, she's miles ahead of the other paleontologist in the Research Institution, and she's totally going to replace her too!
  • Alien Squid: Very cool new head design. Also nice dark azure color scheme, he'll fit right in with some of the latest space themes. (I assume since he's in blue, he's a good guy.) (I'm also still waiting for non-printed dark azure legs.)
  • Lady Cyclops: Pretty much a female version of the old Cyclops, only in sand blue. She has lipstick on her head piece, but I think that piece is ugly anyway, and really like the expressions printed on the minifig head. I also like they they gave her a more roundish belly, to show that not all bloodthirsty female monsters have to maintain an unnatural thin waistline!

Some other notes from feeling around for other figs
  • I was 9 out of 10 in my first round of feeling. I did initially mistake the goblin's sword for that of the king's. I was able to figure it out before I opened the pack, but that was after I'd already bought it.
  • The fencer seemed to be super common in the box I went through, because I seemed to keep coming across it and the pointy foil sword. Then it turns out it's actually one of the rare ones! I guess it's probably the least appealing of this batch.
  • I noticed the artwork on the checklist has changed a bit. Instead of each character printed above a background, the rows are lined up with a shelf, almost like they're on display in the printout. Plus, the numbered checkboxes moved from the top of the figs to the bottom.
  • Also, the instructions all comes with a code that we can enter online to win. Guess I'm keeping all of them now instead of keeping a few and tossing the rest.
I'll have to see if I can get the last six soon and post a decent review. It might help, cause I already got most of the rares... but then again, while the store had three boxes out today, those might be gone soon, especially with all the holiday shoppers.




Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Dec 11 2014 · 146 views
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BOOM! Let's make it cannon!



Collectibles Displays

Posted by xccj , in MOCs Dec 06 2014 · 149 views

I've been working on some displays to spice up my apartment, specifically of some of my Bionicle / Lego collectibles. (Side note, I am clearly not a normal person.) I got two finished up and wanted to share pictures. Yay!

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Kanohi-Collection by Xccj, on Flickr

This is a full set of the original 72 Kanohi, plus the gold and silver great masks. It doesn't include room for rare masks or misprints or Matoran masks or Rahi masks... I wanted the colors to match. I originally made a similar design and hung it up... and it lasted ten minutes before falling apart. I didn't know a way to reinforce it strength-wise without having to go through a lot of pieces, so instead I went a different route and used a bunch of points to hold it up, rather than just one. So yes, that is pretty much nailed to the wall. But so far it's held together!

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Slizer-Disc-Collection by Xccj, on Flickr

These are all the Slizer collectible discs. This one took some more effort.

I know I've posted about collecting these before, but I'll reiterate a little bit. The bottom four rows (not counting the Millennial column to the far right) were never released in sets and only came in limited availability disk packs, an idea which they later improved upon with Bionicle. I ended up BrickLinking most of these in the last couple of months. It was mildly easy; the disks are overpriced like Kanohi masks, so they were relatively cheap to get, but some were only available internationally. I think I made four orders from Germany to complete my collection. (In fact, I bought all the ones I needed from one store, and a few days later he restocked with the last disc I needed, so I made a second purchase!)

But when I got them all, I had to figure out the best way to display them. The problem is, the disc design never really fit securely into anything. The best fit would be Kanoka disc launchers (and even they're not super secure because, really, their point was to launch the discs). But I didn't want to buy 48+ Kanoka launchers and attach them to some technic framework. So I experimented around and found a system approach.

The discs would fit about a 5x5 stud area. So I took a 7x7 stud area and put round bricks on the corners, and the discs fit snugly in the middle. Then, to keep them from falling out the top, I put grilles on the round bricks, and right corner was enough to keep it in. Granted, the discs can rotate, but they won't pop out. So then I started to build rows and columns. I didn't have a spare baseplate, so I used 16x16 light azure plates I had gotten in a draft to build it out. I even had some space for the Millennial discs on the far right, where I'm displaying 6 of the 7 they came out with.

It's not exactly the ideal set up. The light azure background isn't the best neutral color, but I guess it fits with all the trans light blue round bricks I used. (Those were the only color they had of that mold on the pick-a-brick wall). But I did go out of my way to make sure the grille colors matched. I might eventually move it to an actual baseplate. The design is currently 32x48, so I could theoretically transition it to a 48x48 baseplate, and have some more empty space. (I couldn't do two smaller baseplates next to each other because they couldn't connect on the back.) As is, a 6x6 display would fit perfectly on a 32x32, but there are more Slizer discs than that. Potentially, if I enlarge it, I might try to add the Bionicle Tonhunga disks as well. (Would need to collect some more of those too.) Not so much with the Kanoka; their collectability aspect isn't exactly the best for display.

Maybe eventually I'll do a krana one... despite giving away a sizable portion of my krana collection years ago, I'm starting to build it back up again, and I'm a little over half way there. (Not including the Krana Kal at this point.) Not even going to think about the kraana... just, no.



Built Pet Shop

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Dec 03 2014 · 119 views

As per the recommendation of some blog readers, I recently purchased the Pet Shop modular building during one of those Lego.com sales... I think it was the VIP one. See, I'm currently working on displays for my apartment, and I thought a big building would be fairly awesome.

Well, today I got it in the mail (a day early actually.) So instead of sorting my collection, I went and built the building... and it only took three and a half hours. But yay.

Unfortunately, I'm slightly disappointed.

There is a TON of detail in a lot of things. The interior has all sorts of nifty designs, especially that spiral staircase. But you can hardly see any of it when it's on display, you only get the front. And while you can take the floors apart to access it, that doesn't exactly work for a display. (And for role-playing or whatevs, it's a little too cramped IMO.) Don't get me wrong, it's a great model... but now I just feel less inclined to spend $150+ on these things.

That said, it's a treasure trove of pieces, or at least has a lot of bricks. I can't say how long this will last as a display before I break it down and still the parts for a mosaic.

So good set, but for my purposes, maybe not the best. Might still get the Detective's Office... but that's just a might.

The train set I got, on the other hand... awesome! In my order today also came some track extensions. Now I know why this hobby is so addictive for Lego train enthusiasts... and still not sure if I can afford it, but why let monetary responsibility stop me? (Besides, I have convention plans in mind for this one...)


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Aaron Is Awesome

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He Totally Is.



Blog Subtitles

Is that the light at the far end of the tunnel, or just the train.
~ Owl City

Lisztomania, think less but see it grow. Like a riot, like a riot, Oh.
~ Phoenix

I took a sip of something poison but I'll hold on tight.
~ Foster the People

Birds sing for you, you can make this blue sky blush
~ Oh Land

On the other side of the street I knew, stood a girl that looked like you.
I guess that's Déjà vu, but I thought this can't be true
~ Train

But even the sun sets in paradise
~ Maroon 5

Crazy how that shipwreck meant my ship was coming in
~ Train (Again?)

So make now your ally, and leap before you look
~ Nothing's Carved In Stone

I'm just too much a coward to admit when I'm in need.
~ Passion Pit

Just believe in far away, ikiru tame ni sore wa
~ Song Rider

Everything that drowns me makes me want to fly.
~ One Republic

I live my life in shackles, but I'm borderline-free.
~ Tove Styrke


Ha Ha

You scrolled to the bottom.

I now control your mind.