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Enjoy your visit!

Team J.A.F.



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This will be a pain to sort...

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Jan 27 2018 · 83 views

Instagram pict here

I'm trying to prepare for BricksCascade, and I have a couple of models I want to construct. But I inevitably have to go thru the pile from last year, which includes a bunch of partial MOCs and sets that I've been meaning to part out and sort, but never got around to it. And... that pile is intimidating. I wish I could get a full team of AFOLs to come sort it all in an afternoon like I've seen em do at PortLug... but I don't know that many people in the area, and my house is a big enough mess even without the Lego.

For now... I guess see how many partial sets you can identify in that pile? There are a few obvious ones, but a few are more subtle. And then of course there are a couple of MOC remains in there as well...

:music:


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Best Lego Sets of 2017

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts, Review Dec 31 2017 · 108 views
Long-Post, Ninjago, Best-of-2017
Another year has come and gone, and with it I’ve spent a large sum of it on Lego. There were a lot of sets that I wanted to review this year, but alas I have not been able to touch on a lot of them. Some sets were great, others not so much. Some had great figs, some had great builds, and some had great pieces. Instead of doing a comprehensive review, I figured I’d do a quick “Best of 2017” list. So, in no particular order, here are my picks for the best Lego sets of 2017 (based on what I’ve purchased):



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70627 Dragon's Forge

The line of classic Ninjago at the beginning of 2017 was a bit mellow, probably because they were expecting to go big with the movie later in the year. The snake villains felt like another repeat, and the Ninja costumes got Metru-fied (they started using the darker tones) which I didn’t like. I picked up Destiny’s Shadow and Samurai VXL, which were decent sets, but far from the best the theme has to offer. But then you look at Dragon’s Forge, which is easily the gem of the wave. The dragon’s design isn’t exactly revolutionary, but the clever combination of the blues and reds and the two heads work out nicely. (The dragon’s been on display at my work desk since I picked up the set, that’s how good I think it is.) Plus, the blacksmith’s hut is a fairly sizable structure, and it swivels opened for better access to all the play features, while still looking good from the outside. That, and you get Kai and Nya’s parents as figs, so this set was easily a win.



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41184 Aira’s Airship and the Amulet Chase

It’s not that the Elves line for 2017 was bad, it’s just that 2016 was hard to follow, and my budget isn’t endless. (A majority of my money went to the Ninjago theme, which meant I didn’t venture too much into other various themes.) The goblins weren’t particularly interesting IMO, and some of the buildings either felt meh-worthy or just more of the same. I even picked up Rosalyn’s Healing Hideout for the dragon, which is nice in dark blue, but the design isn’t really new. (Never did grab the evil dragon, been meaning to.) But then there’s the airship; while reminiscent of Nadia’s boat from the first year, it has enough clever design features to get me interested. The elegant gold curves on the edges were nicely done, and the action feature with the wings works out too. Plus, purple boomerang! (And I wrote a mini review of it too.) If you only had to pick one Elves set from this year, this would be my recommendation.



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76084 The Ultimate Battle for Asgard

Okay, to be fair, this list is based off what I bought this year (and narrowing it down even further, what I’ve bought and built.) Super Hero sets tend to be pretty far down the list as far as quality is concerned, outside maybe fig designs. That said, Thor: Ragnarok was a good movie and this set did a decent job of showing it off. You get most of the main characters here, including the main baddie Hela, the newbie Valkyrie, a snazzy redesigned Thor, and Bruce Banner as a fig (finally.) All the figs are well done and worth of a collection. The Fenris wolf build is similar to the Legends of Chima Legend Beasts, but the detailing on it works. The design and size make is movie accurate too, I believe. I wasn’t really expecting much from the Commodore spaceship, given that Lego doesn’t always do space vehicles justice. And although they’ve really scaled it down, the shape and colors are all there. It even has the drop bay in the center from the movie (although clearly without the necessary space for the minifigures to properly stand inside it.) The one bit that is off from the movie is the stud shooters, since they made a big deal about how the ship didn’t have any weapons initially. Oh well, I guess Lego needed the action feature. Anyway, the set gets onto the list for exceeding my expectations.



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70904 Clayface Splat Attack

The beginning of 2017 showered us in Batman sets, showing that Lego likes to bet on black (and very dark gray). There were some sets that certainly had better designs, but most of them were out of my budget. The few that I did get my hands on (Riddler Racer, Killer Croc truck, and the Scuttler) had vehicles that ranged from meh to bleh. (The huge cast of figs was better, and there were definitely some sets that I bought just for the figs, not to mention the entire CMF series.) Clayface was a set that I didn’t have high expectations for; the medium nougat color was nice, but there weren’t enough cool pieces in that shade to make it a worthwhile parts pack. Still, I was interested enough to pick it up on sale, and I found the Clayface character to be quite cleverly designed and fun to pose, quite exceeding my expectations. Sure, there are still improvements that could be made, but I think they did a decent job on this set to make it worthwhile. (Plus, I quickly made use of the Mayor’s darker skin tone female head, which is a bit of a rarity.)



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70362 Battle Suit Clay

The 2017 run of Nexo Knights was another theme that was just a bit out of my budget. I liked the purple and medium blue highlights of the villains this year, but the cooler designs were generally in the expensive models, so I only picked up a few sets to get those cool gargoyle wings. The Knight vehicles look okay-ish, but I’m not a fan of their color scheme, which tried to keep a dark blue and trans orange scheme mixed in with colored highlights of the specific Knight, which offers mixed results. But my favorite designs were actually the smaller Battle Suits released at the beginning on the year. Although there’s little difference between the five mechs, the color schemes are solid and match the characters, and I liked the new system where they utilize the Mixel joints. In the end, you have a Mixel sized character (with some decent weapon designs) but with a fig snugly fitting on the inside. (The unique fig designs are also nice too, better than their standard armor IMO.) I haven’t had a chance to make any custom mini mechs using these pieces, but I know I’ll get to it eventually, and I think these make for nice small purchases. (Just go ahead and pick your favorite Knight.)



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75532 Scout Trooper & Speeder Bike

I wouldn’t say this has been a great year for CCBS, and I actually didn’t buy a single set with this primary building style. (I did, however, win a bunch.) The main reason is that CCBS is now limited entirely to Star Wars characters, and the last few waves have been pretty bland. I’m getting tired of the same humanoid build (there’s only so many ways you can make a “realistic human” shape. At least the Toa could go off in different directions build wise) and the color schemes have been generally pretty dull. (It was nice to get some tans and browns at first… and now that’s all we get, besides black, white, and red. The Boba Fett next year does add a space of new color to the mix.) But the fun bit with this set isn’t the Scout Trooper but the Speeder Bike. Ever since we got Luke and Vader, I wondered what to-scale vehicles would be like (and I would still like to build a CCBS X-Wing and Tie Fighter), so it was nice for Lego to deliver with one of the smaller vehicle designs. That said, the Speeder Bike isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but it conveys the overall shape and looks great with the figure. (Although it’s not very swooshable with the stand, but it looks great on display.) If they’re going to try to unload more boring Storm Trooper characters on us, then at least give us some cool vehicles to go with them!



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60162 Jungle Air Drop Helicopter

The new City Jungle theme this summer looked pretty neat, but I had to forgo purchasing any of the sets due to my budget constraints. Still, I got lucky and got the larger model sent to me free for a review. This set encapsulates most of the coolest parts of them theme in a single model, although it’s a bit pricey so that would put some collectors off. You have a cool assortment of figs in explorer gear, with an almost even gender ratio too. You also get a cool man-eating plant, a new crocodile mold, some spiders, and a tiger, so you’re covered for jungle animals too! You get a couple of cool vehicles (the boat is my favorite, the helicopter my least favorite) as well as a few landscape features (the docks are simplistic, but the bridge bit is very nice.) The helicopter is also designed so it can pick up both the pallets and the truck, and the various pallets also fit beneath the tower and in the boat, so I applaud the design consistencies. The play value is thru the roof and demonstrates the best that the theme has to offer. (That said, putting such a large review together has been time consuming, which is why it’s taken me nearly five months to get it to the front page.)



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70615 Fire Mech

The Ninjago Movie may have been a bit lackluster, but the sets based on it have been amazing and a joy to build. I’m quite a sucker and have already picked up four of the Ninja’s mechs, including the Water Strider (which I felt was a repeat design with too dark of a color scheme), the Lightning Jet (the build was more solid than I was expecting, but there are just too many bits shooting out everywhere, feels like too much of a mess), and the Ice Tank (which has a cool shell design, but in the end feels just a bit too simple.) I’ve yet to pick up the Green Dragon Mech (the design doesn’t speak to me, but I found one on sale so it’s in the mail) or the Quake Mech (haven’t been able to order it yet, waiting until the New Year deals to go live), but these will eventually be added to my collection.

But so far, my favorite is the Fire Mech, which is surprising because I thought it would be just “another Ninjago mech.” But I didn’t realize how large it is; it’s probably the largest humanoid Lego mech I’ve ever purchased. (Not counting Bionicle, but I don’t think any of the Bionicle characters I have can match it in size either.) (I’m also not sure there are a lot of other mechs that are larger? Only one that pops to mind is Emmet’s mech from TLM, but there might’ve been some others in Exo Force too.) With its size comes a lot of neat details, and some decent action features. It is a bit disappointing that it doesn’t have knees (I bet that would’ve made it too unstable for its size) but otherwise its articulation is decent. For the scale, it’s also fairly similar to its movie version, and it a great model to display. That said, all the Ninjago Movie vehicles so far have been fun to build, and I can’t wait to get the rest to complete my collection. (The Quake Mech looks like it might become my favorite, but since I haven’t picked it up yet, it doesn’t make the list.)



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70620 Ninjago City

It might go without saying that I’m a huge fan of this set, since I dedicated four separate blog entries to describing my thoughts while building it. The designs are excellent, from the little details to the large architectural designs, and it really conveys the idea that the lower levels are from a different generation in this city. And there are also a couple of nifty action features, as well as plenty of display space for figs on the walkways and within the buildings. And the parts; lots and lots of great colors and designs, and a few brand new molds were introduced here too. (It would make for a great parts pack, except that I’m not taking it apart for pieces. Ever.) Heck, I’ve even added a custom level to it to build it up higher, although my designs aren’t nearly as fancy as the official model, but it gives me more space to display figs from across the Ninjago theme, and then some. The biggest issue is that it’s massively expensive; you totally get the bang for your buck, but not everybody can afford that. (I definitely had to curb my summer spending this year because I knew I wanted to purchase this one, hence my numerous “not in my budget” comments.) The set is like a mixture of a large modular design with all the cool features of a fun Ninjago set, and while I still dislike modulars I loved this set. If price weren’t an issue, I’d recommend this to everyone. (Which is a bit annoying, when these lists are people just saying “the most expensive sets of the year are the best.” Like how everybody’s recommending the new Millennium Falcon despite the near impossibility of being able to purchase it anytime soon. Still, if I had to choose between the Falcon and this set, I would go for this one easily.)



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Collectible Minifigures

I am a big collector of Collectible Minifigures, and I did snag full sets from the three waves released this year, so I’ll share my favorites. The first wave of Batman figs had some cool Batman suits, secondary forms for the main characters, and some rarer villain designs. My favorites are Glam Metal Batman, Pink Power Batgirl, and The Eraser. That said, it felt like a bit of a mellow theme, and next year’s second series of Batman figs will be one of the few where I DON’T collect all of them. Series 17 was a return to classic CMFs, and its looking like we’re only getting one of these mixed batch waves every year in the future, since they’re starting to enjoy more licensed waves instead. (The rumors next year say we’re getting Batman V2, Series 18, and then a wave of Harry Potter figs.) For Series 17, my favorites were the Butterfly Girl, Rocketship Boy (man, that one was a hard one to find, given its popularity), and the Battle Elf Girl. The Ninjago Movie wave was another licensed wave, and there were a couple of designs that I was less interested in. However, it did offer a chance to get civilian outfits for Zane, Cole, and Jay, as well as a few alternate colored fish heads for the Octopus and Angler soldiers, not to mention a cheaper way to pick up Koko. Still, some were a bit too repetitive, like the two Lloyds, Kai, Nya, and Sensei Wu, and they could’ve used a few more civilians to go along with the UniKitty Fan, Sushi Chef, and Punk Rocker. My favorites were General #1, Hipster Jay, and Misako.


Honorable Mentions

There were a few sets that I got that certainly don’t quality as “Best of 2017” but are still worth mentioning. 41591 Black Widow BrickHeadz had the best head design from an otherwise fairly basic and generic theme that’s really only good for the piece count. 60153 Fun at the Beach was a nice pack of summer and beach figs, with plenty of nice fig parts for collectors to mix and match. 40172 Brick Calendar is a fairly basic set, but served as a great way to get a lot of those SNOT corner bricks. (Brick with studs on two adjacent sides, which simplifies the connections for some SNOT designs.) 41150 Moana’s Ocean Voyage almost doesn’t count, since I bought the set in December 2016, but it was a great set for the characters, and I had fun recreating the boat design. 21312 Women of NASA is also a pretty stellar small set, but I have yet to open my copy, so I can’t really speak to the build…



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Worst Set of 2017: 76078 Hulk vs. Red Hulk

Generally I don’t pick up sets that don’t appeal to me. But I picked up this set early in the year. (Or in particular, Chocolate Frogs got it on a steep discount and gave me a further price drop as payment for driving him around at BricksCascade last year. I think there might’ve been a requirement that I had to review it too, but that never happen on the front page, so I guess this has to count.) Anyway, the set looks like it has some cool characters with some awful builds. . . and that’s pretty much what it is. She-Hulk and Red-She Hulk (real original names, Marvel) are okay, and the Red Hulk bigfig is a nice recolor. The Hulk is fine too, I guess, but I prefer some other color combinations to his lime and magenta. Their vehicles are supposed to be some sort of Cyber Slammers; they smash into each other’s bumpers, which trigger the catapults to launch the Hulks out of their seats and at each other. Well, I found that the functions don’t work quite that well; they mostly cause the Hulks to pitch forward slightly into the middle of their vehicles. (The mechanism might work better for standard figs, but not the heavy bigfigs.) The overall vehicle designs are meh, and outside the big wheels and large panels, there’s not a whole lot of unique pieces or colors in use here. And then you consider that there are only 375 parts for a $60 set, and it becomes clear this is quite the rip-off. At this point, I’d only recommend it if you REALLY want those characters, and even then I’d suggest waiting for a clearance sale or something. (As is, I think I made CF overpay for this.)

Anyway, that's my last bit of mini reviews for the year. See ya on the flip side!

:music:


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A Glitchy Convention Colab Idea

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts, Lego Conventions Nov 16 2017 · 81 views

Make Bionicle / CCBS / System builds of the Galidor characters.

Who's in?

(It'll be like recreating the original Toa using newer styles and pieces, only without the happy nostalgia.)

:music:


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Ninjago Mosaic?

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Nov 01 2017 · 91 views

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This might be my next mosaic project, based on one of my favorite scenes from the skybound season. I'm not 100% behind the background design... I may need to add subtle details to the buildings and maybe a few more clouds. But I think it could be a fun mosaic.

:music:


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Who Would Want Custom Printed Toa Minifigures?

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Oct 30 2017 · 121 views

I've been trying to work out a deal for some custom printed minifigure torsos for another project, and then I got thinking about how cool it would be to have printed torsos for the Toa, and then perhaps even printed heads too! Custom Lego fig prints are more common nowadays, so in theory it wouldn't be too difficult to pull it off. But it would still be pricey... but one way to bring down the price is to order in bulk. And it occurred to me that there might be other fans out there also interested in Toa figs.

Alas, this is not the first time I've considered minifigure Toa. Years ago (gosh, it's been nearly a decade) I came across the Toa pens from 2001, and they had these mini mask molds that could fit on the beads that you stacked on your Lego pens. (That was their concept back in the day for pens. I'm guessing it didn't quite catch on, but they continued making them for a while.) Anyway, the beads could then be attached to a mini fig torso... kinda sorta. The Toa pens were rare and hard to track down, but they appear occasionally on BrickLink and at Lego conventions, so I eventually gathered all six...

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Above are four examples of the Toa I was able to make. Kopaka utilizes a Ninjago sword and dish for a shield, Gali uses semi-rare Ogel hook hands, Onua grasps some Wolverine claws, and Tahu is holding a flame piece. (I have Lewa and Pohatu, but their "weapons" are not as easily made.) They're using colored beads from the pens to partially fit atop the torsos, and then the masks snap onto the beads. (Those pieces are weak tho... Kopaka's bead has broken on me, and sadly Gali's mask also chipped off.) I was able to bribe Nuju Metru to make me some torsos stickers, but time has not been nice to them.

But what about a concept that uses printed pieces and doesn't rely on hard-to-find pen masks?

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This is a VERY rough sketch of what the Toa could look like. I am fairly confident that the torso designs can be pulled off without issue. The heads are a different beast, because the unique outlines don't translate well to the minifig head shape. I am okay with the designs for the Gali and Pohatu heads, although some color contrast will need to be used to make them stand out a bit more. The Tahu and Onua heads could use some more work, and Kopaka's needs an overhaul because his eye line doesn't match the other's at all. I am surprisingly fine with how Lewa's head turned out; the "cheeks" of the mask translate onto the minifig head well.

There are other possibilities too for the heads. They could be printed on larger elements (like the round racing helmets) to give them a bigger size. You could even create custom molds with 3D printing... which is more complicated and expensive than what I'm willing to work with. But they managed to make the Toy Fair Iron Man look good with just a head printing before they introduced custom molds, so I'm optimistic.

In general, what I'm looking for is to see if other people have any interest in getting some of these, since it would be cheaper to make them in bulk. I think the general idea is $10 per printed element, so each Toa fig would be at least $20, maybe more so if you include rare colored legs or weapons. (Getting authentic trans blue Gali hooks would be the worst.) (Even more if we considered leg and arm prints... which I haven't.) If enough folks would like to invest, I'm sure we could get a bulk order together. If not... well, no big deal. Anyway, yeah, this post is to mostly test interest on the concept. Let me know what you think.

:music:


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Ninja Concede

Posted by xccj , in TV, Thoughts Sep 24 2017 · 545 views

A true Ninja knows when to admit defeat, and alas I must too.

The Lego Ninjago Movie was kinda meh.

There, I said it.

I mean, it was a good movie and stuff, but it is definitely the lesser of the three Lego movies. In fact, there were some of the TV show seasons that I think would outshine it in terms of story and characters. (Tournament of Elements and Skybound, to be precise.) I thought there was potential that it didn't quite live up to, so yes I was kind of disappointed.

So what follows is a semi-spoilery review. I mean, I won't say anything too serious. Like, I'll tell you WHO the Green Ninja is, but not WHY the Green Ninja is...

Spoiler


So it was still a good movie, but still a bit of a let down... and I very much went into it hoping for the best. Honestly, now I'm more excited for the next season of the television show. Yes, the animation will be less impressive and it's not like the fight sequences are any better, but the continuing story probably will be. (At the very least, it won't have to work as hard to establish all the characters.) I probably will get the Lego Ninjago Movie when it comes out on disc, simply for the ability to pause and marvel at the scenery and background characters, because soooo much zooms by on the theater screen that I know I missed out on a lot. But still... mixed feelings about this movie, and that averages below my lofty expectations. :mellow:

Anyway, those be my ramblings. Now, the Ninjago video game... THAT looks like it might be fun!

:music:


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Pre Ninja

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts, TV Sep 22 2017 · 84 views

So the Ninjago movie comes out this week... or rather, tomorrow. I had been planning to see it Thursday night, only to check and see that, actually, they don't have any showings for it Thursday. And the showings on Friday are either too early in the day (AKA when I'm at work) or too late (AKA going to bed cause I have work on Saturday too.) So alas, I won't be able to catch the movie until Saturday afternoon, making me jealous of everyone who got a chance to see it early.

Anyway, despite my earlier reservations, I'm excited for the movie. It looks like it will have some nice comedy and action, and I've come to terms that it won't be the same as the TV show. (Which is continuing on its own anyway.) But I've already read for other AFOL reviews, and they seem to be of the opinion that it's good, but not as good as the other movies, and it exceeded their expectations because they expected it to be a flop. Because, like Bionicle, a lot of AFOLs on certain sites seem to dislike the theme because... I dunno, because it has a story aimed at kids? The Ninjago TV show is a fun cartoon, but it's no Star Wars, and adults who don't like the Power Rangers / Ninja Turtle / Super Hero vibe don't like it. That's fine, but it always seems like some assume that since they don't like it, it should (and will) fail. (Disregarding that it's the one Lego theme that consumers did successfully revive after a cancelation and continues to be a best seller.) Even if some of them like the sets, they only "get it for the pieces" and assume the show and story is worthless.

Anyway, that's probably an exaggeration, but that kinda feels like the gist I was getting from the reviews. The "This theme is awful, no way a movie based on it will work" that turned into "Okay, it's good but not AS good as the other movies." And there's legitimate reason's for it; the original Lego Movie was so awesome that it'll be hard to top or even match. (I think the Lego Batman Movie fell quite short of that.) And maybe it's too soon for another Lego movie to be coming out, because I guess people do start getting bored of more of the same and stuff. But I'm going to ignore that for now. I've read plenty of reviews where people who already disliked the genre ended up disliking the film, and I have high hopes, especially given that every new sequence I've seen clips for brings something new and cool to the table, so I'm optimistic that it'll be good. But the negativity right out of the door is a bit off-putting, even if that negativity is "good, but not as good."

(Although one spoiler that the reviews seemed to have confirmed is that the movie is very Lloyd centric. The original show was like that, where the first year focused primarily on Kai's journey. Further seasons have focused on the other ninjas, which is fine when you start getting a long running show, but that doesn't bode well for a movie, which made have started with too large of a cast of characters as is. If your favorite ninja isn't Lloyd, then you might get disappointed.) (Wait, must remain optimistic!!!!)

Anyway, I'll probably post more of my rambling thoughts this weekend after I see it. So far, I've kept myself from buying ALL the sets, only have two of the smaller ones... I'll see if I can continue to maintain that willpower...

:music:


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Ninjago Movie Theory

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Sep 02 2017 · 142 views

Based on the promotional material, we've seen a lot of human Jackie Chan making ninja jokes.

So my theory is that the LEGO Ninjago Movie is merely Jackie Chan playing with his Lego collection and making up a story for it.

:music:


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Ninjago Fig Collection

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Aug 17 2017 · 126 views

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I may like collecting these figs a little too much.

So these are most of the figs from 2011's introduction of the theme through 2017's Hands of Time series. It's fairly complete, with a few tweaks, mostly in terms of Nya's row. I mean, I could display these on my various Ninjago buildings, but I like this setup better.

My favorite costume design is definitely the Skybound costumes. I also like the Kimono costumes, the Elemental Tournament (full color) costumes, and the pure energy Airjitzu costumes. Least favorite would probably be the Techno Blade costumes and the Possession (Ghost) costumes. Which ones are your favorites?

As far as characters are concerned, that's a little tougher. My favorite characters from the show are definitely Jay and Nya, and I like their figs a lot too. (Nya mostly because she was harder to get in the earlier years, so more value added to the design.) Zane also got a lot of neat looks after he became a fully metallic Nindroid. Skybound Ghost Cole is also my favorite; I kind of wish he had stayed as a ghost for longer, that seemed like a neat character trait for him until the story decided he was going to disappear otherwise. Plus, green is my favorite color, so lots of Lloyd's designs appeal to me. I guess Kai is okay too, but unfortunately he's never at the top of my list. Sorry Kai.

:music:


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Lego Moana

Posted by xccj , in Lego Conventions, MOCs, Thoughts Mar 22 2017 · 480 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.

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February 2018

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NaNoWriMo 2017

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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

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