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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. Some perks of joining include:
  • Create your own topics, participate in existing discussions, and vote in polls
  • Show off your creations, stories, art, music, and movies
  • Enter contests to win free LEGO sets and other prizes
  • Participate in raffles to win LEGO prizes
  • Organize with other members to attend or send your MOCs to LEGO fan events all over the world
  • Much, much more!
Enjoy your visit!

Team J.A.F.



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Boba Fett and Slave I

Posted by xccj , in MOCs Jul 10 2017 · 133 views

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BBC Topic!

Look at me, I made a MOC!

Since the CCBS characters came out, I've been wanting to build a to-scale ship for some of them. Lego's finally doing it with the speeder bike this summer, but that's a pretty small vehicle; I want a huge TIE Fighter and a massive XWing piloted by Vader and Poe, or something like that. The idea is doable, but a bit out of my price range at the moment.

When this contest rolled around, I thought it would be a good opportunity to do this scaled down. My first thought was to make a TIE fighter. I'd build a frame for the wings out of CCBS bone pieces and then fill it out with HF shells and other black panels. (And I guess try to avoid using too many plates and stuff, 'cause system.) But then I'd have to also design a cockpit that could hold a CCBS character. The only one I have that would fit would be Vader, so I thought I'd shrink him down, but then I didn't have access to the parts I needed and I didn't have enough panels or shells and it looked like this idea was going to flop.

Then on a whim I tried to design a mini Boba Fett, thinking that his ship would be a bit easier to make. It works out because Slave I has a lot of dark green and dark red in it (well, the official sets do) and those are colors that are abundant in Bionicle elements. For Boba, I had good success with a small head made system bricks. Since I didn't have the technic pieces in sand green or sand blue, I decided to stick with gray and green based off the classic minifig design. His body is a condensed block of technic elements that kinda worked out, but overall he didn't exceed the 25/75 system to technic ratio, so I knew if I wanted to enter him, he'd have to come with a ship.

I'm fairly pleased with how Slave 1 turned out. It's stable and can stand on it's own... although the bottom / back is exposed and a bit messy, but that's rarely going to be on the display side. The red section is not quite as solid or shapely as the real thing, but it has a certain "Bionicle" flavor to it IMO, and it's still recognizable. The green hull went together well, and I'm pleased with how the cockpit came together; Boba can sit fairly comfortably inside it. Plus, I made a small "Han in Carbonate" bit... I realize it's not quite to scale, but it does fit inside the hull. (However, there's no opening door... I kind of have to dismantle part of the hull to squeeze the carbonate block inside.) Anyway, it's fairly swooshable (I mean, it's big, and doesn't have the best grip, but it doesn't fall apart when swooshed, so that counts, right?) Plus, the wings and weapons rotate, so it can go from horizontal parked mode to vertical flying mode with ease.

I'm kind of hoping this does well in the contest, if nothing more than "Wow, look, a whole ship!" On the other hand, I have not figured out the logistics of shipping this over to Virginia. It's big and bulky and heavy, so it's going to take space and cost a lot. Plus, some of the connections are finicky at best. (This is also one of the few MOCs I've made where I've been completely frustrated with a connection point. It should've worked... I needed to line up like 8 pins into a long liftarm. But getting them to actually fit into place... more of a nightmare than I anticipated. I ended up changing the whole connection of the red section to the green section because I couldn't get the original idea to work.) Getting this to BrickFair in one piece (or easy to reassemble portions) will be difficult...

But anyway, that's the most custom building I've done since BricksCascade. So yay, entering another BBC Contest.

:music:


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Lego Moana

Posted by xccj , in Lego Conventions, MOCs, Thoughts Mar 22 2017 · 337 views

So I spent 8+ hours yesterday trying to sort my loose Lego pieces post-convention, and I decided to play the new Moana movie in the background. And then thus I was inspired to write this post.

I don't think it was very apparent (because I wasn't blogging much) but I really liked the movie after I saw it last year. I had been working on one of my own stories that involved the Hawaiian goddess Madam Pele, and I was curious to see if she was references in the new movie. (She wasn't, I think they used other inspiration for the lava monster TeKa.) But I found the movie incredibly enjoyable, and the songs were great. Not just one or two of the big ones, but the entire soundtrack. I'd put it up there with my other favorite Disney movie, Aladdin. (As it turns out, both were directed by the same two people.)

And after watching all the extra commentaries they had on the movie, I am even more impressed by the amount of work and detail that went into it. I've heard a lot of complains that this was just Disney appropriating another culture, and there are a couple of glaring instances of that. But when watching the commentary, I'm realizing that the Polynesian cultures had a big role in making this movie, so it really feels like they not only gave permission but actively helped shape it. And I guess a few groups are still upset about some aspects. But that's probably because "Polynesians" are so diverse, so what was cool with one area might not have been with another. I thought the movie had a distinct Hawaiian feel to it, but they were taking more cues from Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti, and New Zealand, and those are related but distinct cultures. (That's why there's no Pele, who is predominantly Hawaiian, I believe. Maui, however, is a demigod recognized in all these cultures, although with differing stories and origins.) Anyway, I suppose it's easy to be impressed by the making of a movie I already liked, but I still think it's awesome at how much of this culture they integrated in. (And I mean, it turns out there really was a thousand year period where the Polynesians of Samoa weren't voyaging, and then they just started again, and nobody knows why. So they give their fantasy explanation in this movie. I did not realize there was actually any historical significance to that.) And all the voice actors they used were actually of Polynesian descent... well except Alan Tudyk.

Anyway, the movie was great, and so I ordered the Lego Moana set when it came out. But besides the figs, I was unimpressed with the design, so that had to change...

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BrCasc 17-171 by Froggy_Fotos, on Flickr. (I'm using Chocolate Frog's BricksCascade picture cause the ones I took didn't turn out well and I haven't reassembled the MOC yet.)

I didn't like the original canoe, so I redesigned it to be a bit more streamlined, if not more mono-colored. I constructed most of it by memory, since it was really hard to find a decent reference pict of it online. Aaaand it turns out that I actually mirrored it; the float should actually be on the starboard side instead of the port. Whoops. :guilty: But I liked the rigging I was able to add to it, and I think TeKa and the rock scape turned out nicely. (And even the wave action I threw it. You can't see it, but the chicken is also floating in the background.)

I was a little irked when somebody else also brought a Moana canoe MOC in, and it was basically just a revamp of the actual set. (It has a border for the sail and was a tad bit larger, but otherwise it was basically the set.) However, most of the public seemed to recognize my MOC first, because it had the big lava monster. It was nice hearing kids point out my MOC, which is something that doesn't happen often at conventions I display at. (It didn't hurt that it was based off the recent Disney movie that was probably still fresh in their heads.) And I did make one other Moana MOC with the Maui bigfig, but most people didn't get the reference...

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Maui Raising Mata Nui by Jason, on Flickr

These are the two Polynesian inspired stories that I'm fans of, so it was obvious I was going to have to combine them together in a MOC. (Although Lego is totally guilty of appropriating the culture for Bionicle, so that's an example of how not to do it.) And since Moana's home island is called Motunui, which sounds soooo close to Mata-Nui every time I hear it, how could I not make this model? I did want to make a bigger Great Spirit Robot, like with perhaps it's upper torso and arms... but I ran out of time / pieces, so this is it for now. I shipped the head and the Gali minifig boat to BrickFair, so hopefully they'll show up randomly on the Bionicle table?

Anyway, that's it for my gushing about the movie and the sets I made from it. All said, I STILL have a lot of sorting left to do, so I'm going to have to put in a different movie now.

:music:


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Review 41184: Aira’s Airship and the Amulet Chase

Posted by xccj , in Review Feb 23 2017 · 296 views
Elves, Airship, Review
I’ve been sick for the last couple of days, but the highlight has been getting in a Lego order and putting together some of the sets I’ve had sitting around for a while. The new Ninjago stuff has been fun, and the Nexo Knight year 2 sets aren’t too bad either. The BickHeadz are pretty meh outside of being parts packs. But although I was expecting to like the new Elves airship, it still turned out to exceed my expectations.

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The set comes with three figs; Aira, Emily, and a goblin. The goblin is a single mold and kinda bleh. Same style of arms as the Nexo Knight imps (which can be given to regular figs) but otherwise I’m not impressed. Aira and Emily have new outfits, but it’s fairly minor. Emily’s necklace now comes as a separate piece, but it only fits loosely around her neck. Also, I tried to put it on a standard fig; too tight a fit. Still, I expect someone will find a neat way to incorporate it into a small MOC. Aira comes with a new medium lavender boomerang, which is a total plus.

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It only has 343 pieces (plus a fair amount of extras) which may be a bit light for a $40 set, but there’s a lot of good stuff here. Some of the obvious choices are the lavender balloon pieces, white dragon wings, and gold tubing, some of which I think might be new. There are some gold twirely decorative elements that I believe are brand new, so they’ll be highly sought after. The set also comes with a decent amount of medium lavender and dark purple pieces (and some standard tans and browns too.) The goblin also comes with two purple ball joints with mouths printed on them. (Lego is certainly doing a lot of printing on ball joints nowadays.)

The goblin’s flying postbox is forgettable, so I’m going to forget about it for the rest of the review. The airship itself is fabulous, and reminds me of the Elves ship from the first year as well as the Ninjago pirate airship from last year. And yet it turns out to be so much better. The hull is built around the wing mechanism. They hang loosely down in a rest position, but when you pull the lever on the back, they snap up alongside the edge of the ship. It’s quite a cool technic design, and I very much approve. The use of the curved gold elements really provide the ship with its shape, and the air balloon is just the right size for the craft. (Aesthetically, now sure if it would actually be large enough to realistically float the craft.) There’s not quite room for the whole gang of elves to climb aboard it; you might be able to squeeze them all on, but it would be a tight fit. And Aira’s position by the wheel is quite exposed; one step backwards and she’s falling overboard. They should really install guardrails back there.

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Overall, I’ve personally been less than impressed with the third year of Elves. It’s either more of the same or just straight up bland for my tastes. (Not saying it’s bad, just that last year’s selection was amazing so I personally don’t favor these new models as much.) But this airship is epic. I mean, it's taking design cues from two other great sets and then surpassing them. I might go as far to say it’s my favorite set of the year so far. (Although the Ninjago Dragon’s Forge and Samurai VXL have been quite epic too.) Anyway, the Airship is a great design and comes with some decent pieces too, so win-win there. I’d totally recommend it. (And I’d do a front page review, but that is way more effort than I can put in at the moment.)

(Also, no posting about how I'm wrong and Elves Year 3 is great and I should like it. You know who you are.)

:music:


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You Have Failed This City

Posted by xccj , in MOCs Feb 12 2017 · 222 views

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You have failed this city. by Jason, on Flickr

Lookie at me, I made a Bionicle MOC! It's been a while.

So this will fit with the BZPower colab of Super Hero characters, and I got it finished in time for BricksCascade next month. The system to technic ratio would probably put it over the limit for any BBC contests, but that's not an issue at conventions. :P Plus, the simple building façade makes use of most of my dark red masonry bricks, so yay that.

:music:


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Hey Look I Posted A Story!

Posted by xccj , in Stories Jan 25 2017 · 154 views

Setting expectations for 100+ views (not counting my own) before I finish posting all the chapter. Yay for setting low expectations!

So I just posted a new epic, A Shadow's Contrivance (review topic). It's a sequel to my story Kulagi's Kanoka, featuring the same Onu-Matoran Kanoka Maker, but this time he and his friends are in the middle of the Toa and Dark Hunter war in Metru Nui.

I wrote the original story for these characters in 2006, and posted in 2007. Sometime later, I started writing a sequel, Kanoka Makers of Metru Nui, which features the characters in the Morbuzakh era... but the concept wasn't well received and I never finished the story, despite having a fairly detailed outline for it. Then, in 2014, I got inspired to start writing anther story, but this time set during the Toa and Dark Hunter war. It was originally supposed to be a short story, but then the plot lengthened and content was added and suddenly it's twice as long as the original. Whoops.

Anyway, I now have it in a decent state of completion. The chapters are *mostly* written, and I have brand new artwork for all the chapter headers. (I revamped my design for the Metru Matoran, and ended up tracing the set images for a bunch of Dark Hunters. It took some effort, but I'm pleased with the results.) So now I'm going to start posting it and see what people think. Given that I haven't had any luck getting reviews in the last decade (despite having posted some awesome stories, IMO) I'm hopeful that someone will read and enjoy this. (It's helpful if you know the characters beforehand, but not necessary.)

Also, I'm about to post a legit set review. It helps that I have a review table again; I was previously set up on a makeshift table a foot off the floor... it was far from ideal. It'll make reviewing easier, although I'm probably going to be preoccupied until March as I prepare for BricksCascade.

:music:


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14 Years

Posted by xccj , in News Jan 17 2017 · 277 views

That's how long I've been on BZPower now. I can't think of anything significant about 14 years... although I guess this does mean I've been on BZPower for about half my life. Yay. (That spinny mask of water should appear any time now...)

In other news, I was gonna mail out some prizes the other day... then the region I live in got hit with the worst snow storm in 30 years. Sooooo... yeah, maybe later.

:music:


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A March Conundrum

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Jan 12 2017 · 200 views

They're doing a local showing of the new Sword Art Online movie in Portland, and I'm interested. But it also happens to be on the first day of BricksCascade. :o

Decisions decisions...

:music:


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WIP Art

Posted by xccj , in Stories Jan 04 2017 · 175 views

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This is for a story project I've been working on on-and-off since at least 2015. The writing is almost done, but I always meant to include some artwork for it, so finally got that bit started today. I'm somewhat happy with how the gradients turned out.

Eventually I'll get around to posting it on BZP. I'm proud of it, but I doubt it'll get any views, given the levels of activity on this site nowadays. :P

:music:


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Last Blog Entry for 2016 (for me anyway)

Posted by xccj , in News Dec 31 2016 · 161 views
Ha Ha Im Back!
Well, so I really just kinda stopped blogging this summer. I mean, I've totally been lurking on BZPower this whole time (and played in the occasional mafia game) but I haven't really posted all that much. Primarily I've been crazy busy with work this year (between having my weekend position move from 3 people to 1 person with an increase in actual work, and having almost all our workflows change. Like seriously! :o ). But I've been busy with other things, like getting up to level 14 in Ingress (and level 28 in Pokémon Go, which is pretty much the same game but with a different skin.) Anyway, some things that I wanted to blog about for these last six months... but just didn't until now.

BrickFair VA 2016: I returned to the DC area this year for my third BrickFair, and had a blast. Got to hang out with some old friends, meet some new ones, and drive Chocolate Frogs crazy the first day when trying to play Ingress in downtown DC. :P Convention was great, and I think I had 9 mosaics on display. (Not all exclusively mine. The Onua collaboration was a success, and then there were the four lenticular Toa mosaics which I designed and got to help build too. Really pleased with how those came out.) Anyway, it was fun and I'd like to do it again, but I haven't made plans that far out yet.

Denver: Less than a month later, I flew to Denver, CO to participate in an Ingress Anomaly. Basically spent two and a half days wandering around the city staring at my phone. :P But got to know Denver pretty well, and was more impressed than I was on my last visit. Also drove down to Colorado Springs, where I had grown up in the 90s, and wandered around that town... although that walk got cut short by a thunderstorm that absolutely drenched us! It was a fun trip, but utterly exhausting, and it took me a long time to recover, both physically and mentally. (Exercising a lot on little sleep at a high altitude is apparently not the best idea.)

Of course, with two big trips in a row, I couldn't afford to make it to BrickCon this year. First one I've missed since I started attending. :(

NaNoWriMo: In November, I participated in the writing event, and got 70K+ on my story. (And it's still in progress.) It was actually about volcanologists traveling to different volcanoes around the world... but to spice it up, I threw in some gods that were trying to make the volcanoes erupt, and the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele is trying to stop them. As such, I was researching a lot of Hawaiian mythology, and so I found the movie Moana to be all the more interesting. Speaking of movies, Dr. Strange was also decent, and Fantastic Beasts, while a meh story, had stunning effects, and is one of the few movies I'd ever recommend seeing in 3D.

I also had a lot of Lego sets that I wanted to review... but just didn't have the energy to make it happen for most. :( I've prepared a few write ups on the sets I've bought this year, so maybe I'll get around to actually posting them. In short, I think Ninjago totally delivered this year; the Pirate storyline was one of my favorites, and some of the set designs have been stellar, including the Skybound Ninja figs. Elves also had a decent selection of sets, and I had to go out of my way to collect all the dragons. that said, my favorite Elves set was definitely the evil castle. I might go as far to say it was the best set of the year that I bought, but some of the Ninjago models, like the small airship or the Tiger Widow Island, are also stellar.

I also got into Lego Dimensions this last month, when stuff started going on ridicules sales for the holiday. (One of those sales was for a PS4, my first real gaming system.) The Portal, Dr. Who, and Fantastic Beasts level packs turned out to be quite fun, and I liked being able to play as the Ninja characters for once. Nya is one of my favorites for sure, but I also like flying around as Super Girl. I was hesitant to get Cragger, but it turns out he's the best swimmer, so not a bad purchase. Of course, this is turning into a huge money drain, but I think I can get by without having to purchase any more characters for abilities for a while now.

Now my main personal projects involve preparing for BrickCascade in Portland, OR this March. I'm the coordinator for Pop Culture... but that's such a wide spectrum that I'm starting to draw a blank on just how I should design the trophies. (I know what I consider pop culture, but don't have an idea of what people are going to build for it yet. Maybe my trophies should all be Dr. Who based?) The collaborative theme I'm putting together is Dimensions, with one of the ideas being that people can create vehicles like from the game and put them on a raceway. Well, I'm currently designing that raceway, making different scenery sections based on various Lego City subthemes (Arctic, volcano, underwater, ext) so hopefully it'll be interesting enough for folks. Hopefully I can get some pictures up soonish.

Anyway, thanks for reading another dusty blog entry. Happy New Year. (Although if you think 2017 will be better, then I think you're delusionally optimistic. All your favorite actors and actresses are only getting older, and the Grim Reaper needs to finalize his collections.) [/dark humor] Although some neat Lego sets coming out next year, so there's always a bright side.

:music:


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Really?

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Nov 09 2016 · 605 views

Really? America... just really. Really??

On the other hand, the local initiative to ban the sale of items made from rare animals passed. I mean, I'm kind of disappointed that it wasn't already a thing, but it's official now. Stop killing Rhinos, kay.

:crying:

:music:






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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

Silver Lake, Mercury Mining, This Mistake, No Silver Lining.
~ Alkaline Trio

:music:

Ha Ha

You scrolled to the bottom.

I now control your mind.

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