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Team J.A.F.



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Lego Moana

Posted by xccj , in Lego Conventions, MOCs, Thoughts Mar 22 2017 · 130 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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You Have Failed This City

Posted by xccj , in MOCs Feb 12 2017 · 134 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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Team Lightyear

Posted by xccj , in MOCs Jan 29 2016 · 328 views

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Everybody should know Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story. But there was also a cartoon show that ran in 2000 that followed his adventures as a Space Ranger. These designs are based on characters from that show. From left to right: Booster, XR, Buzz Lightyear, Mira Nova.

I like each one well enough on their own, although I'll admit there are some flaws, and their proportions to each other are a bit off. (Mira is a bit too large, Booster is on the small side.) XR's helmet is also too small, but the new Ninjago dome just works too well, and none of the other Lego domes are tall enough.

More detailed photos are here. These should be at BricksCascade next month... and probably every other convention I go to in the next year... What's funny is I have like two other projects that I could be building for, but I got inspiration for this lot and worked on them instead.


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"XR... GUN!"

:music:


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Drop Tables

Posted by xccj , in MOCs Jan 23 2016 · 410 views
get the joke?
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The Cyber Criminal "Terabyte" terrorizing the public. Little Bobby has finally snapped. What would Mrs. Roberts think?

Used up most of my masonry brick here. Of course, the build is more to make the joke and not the design of the building, which I'm going to say is at least acceptable. (I actually want to start designing more shallow buildings, with detailed exteriors that I can display figs in front of, but nothing too deep that would take up space when put on a shelf like the modular buildings.)

:music:


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Bionicle 2016 Mosaic: Ideas?

Posted by xccj , in MOCs Jan 04 2016 · 467 views
mosaic
So, like, for real this time.

Hey folks, I think it's time we start planning for a BZPower Bionicle 2016 Mosaic that can grace the various conventions. To start out with, let's finalize an idea.

I'm thinking that the best idea is to utilize images from the comics that come with the 2016 sets. The best images to use, IMO, would be the Uniter images of the Toa and Creature combinations. Each comic has a straight-on image of the Uniter character, which would be easy to mosaic-fy. Still, we would need to select which one. Gali, Lewa, and Tahu would be some of the more colorful choices, but we could do any of the six, depending on what colors people would want to contribute more of. (FYI, gold would probably be portrayed by yellow.) However, there's also potential to do Umarak the Hunter. He seems to be the best model out of the bunch, and it would be a first for us to show off a villain rather than a Toa. Thoughts?

Size-wise, I would aim for a 3x3 mosaic, so we would need 9 contributors of 32x32 baseplates. I could maybe build half of it, depending on what design we go with, but the more the merrier. If there's enough interest we could attempt a 3x4, which we pulled off last year, even if there were some stability issues at a few conventions.

Speaking of conventions, I would ideally like to have this ready by BricksCascade. But I keep forgetting that cascade is at the end of February instead of mid-March, so that may be pushing it. Otherwise, we could aim for BrickUniverse Raleigh in April. Ideally, I'd like to see this mosaic make the rounds with the BZP MOCs, making it to the BrickFairs and such, but members would have to be willing to contribute for shipping. (I paid entirely last year and it ended up being expensive.)

But of course, I also have incentive to join this year:

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I got a bunch of engraved bricks done this year and handed em out to everybody who participated on the Gali Masters Mosaic. But I have plenty of leftovers to anybody willing to ship in a mosaic baseplate again this year.

So let me know if you'd be interested in participating and what design you would like to use.

To get an idea of what we've done in the past, here is Bionicle Collaborative Mosaics: A History.

:music:


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SHIP It, SHIP It Good

Posted by xccj , in MOCs Sep 23 2015 · 452 views
SHIPtember
SHIP it up, you know you should. So SHIP it!

This is my third year "competing" in SHIPtember, where you build a SHIP (Seriously Huge Investment in Parts Spaceship) which has to be over 100 studs long. So I made not one, not two, but THREE of them. (Sure, they barely reach the limit, are generally narrow, and won't win any competition... but hey they're complete, as far as I'm concerned, so that's a plus.)

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The Jade Spear: Basically an attempt to build a ship around the Ninjago spinner. It's pretty much entirely green, thanks to me buying a bunch of pieces from pic-a-brick. I made nice use of a brick separator tho.

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The Lavender-Freighter: I wanted to build a SHIP in medium lavender, but didn't really have the parts. So I stocked up on the color this summer and finally got to work on this... and still had to make a few last minute orders to get it ready. It's heavy and fragile too. But hopefully it'll stand out.

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Bulk's Silver Blade Ship: Every time I've done this contest, I thought it would be neat to make a purely Bionicle SHIP, especially since I have so many long, silver pieces. So this year I finally went through with this. (I mean, it turns out that while I have a LOT of silver weapons, I only have a few in bulk, most are just two-offs.) The final form is still a bit messy, but I streamlined it a bit compared to earlier. This thing is also fairly sturdy, made up of Bionicle and technic bits primarily. So obviously my first thought is that this thing could survive a throw, which I plan to do at least once at BrickCon. (Most SHIP builders seem to cringe at even moving their ships for fear of wrecking them. Ima gonna throw this one to show that Bionicle builds can be DURABLE! Unless it really snaps when it hits the ground, then I'll be all sadface.)

Anyway, that's it for MOCs. I might make a few more small ones, but now I need to sort my collection back into the various bins, because it's looking like I'll be moving next month... again. Cursed rent increases. :glare:

:music:

:music:


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Who Has Cheese Slopes?

Posted by xccj , in MOCs Sep 02 2015 · 488 views
mosaic
Oh look, I'm talking about lenticular cheese slope mosaics again.

These mosaics are hard to design, hard to make, and also quite hard on the pocket book. That's because filling up a huge baseplate with cheese slopes really adds up, and when each one costs ten cents but you need thousands... yeah, not cheap. But what if you only had to fill out a smaller section, like say a 16x16 plate?

Would anybody be interested in a collaborative lenticular mosaic design? People would only have to make smallish sections... I'm thinking 16x16 would be manageable. (Although we would need to design if the plate was a baseplate or a standard plate... I have a lot of the latter but not many of the former, and a combination of the two wouldn't work on this style of mosaic.) I'm thinking we could do some neat G1 / G2 Bionicle designs. But before I start any of this, I'm just curious to know if anybody would even be interested. Even a 16x16 plate would require 256 cheese slopes. (I mean, you can occasionally sneak in a 1x2, but only in certain situations.)

So yeah, if there's any interest, this could be something we do for conventions next year. Plus, smaller sections like that would totally be easier to transport. :sly:

Also, I found the Series 14 Monster Minifigures today / yesterday. (I mean, all my Target stores have had them for the last two weeks, but they've also refused to sell them before September 1st.) It was a 5 mile hike to get there, but I managed to get 15 and guess them all correctly. (Still short a Zombie Cheerleader, will have to continue searching for that one.) Review forthcoming.

:music:


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System Bionicle 2015 Mask Connection Method

Posted by xccj , in MOCs, News Aug 26 2015 · 555 views
Still-Kanohi-to-me
I just came across a new method for connection Bionicle 2015 masks to 2x2 round bricks.

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The new style of Bionicle masks that came out this year had an odd connection that allowed for them to be flipped off the head as part of an action feature, but this made their connection point rather loose. The heads were less than ideal to squeeze them on, and while you could fit them on technic axle or rod holes, they were often weak or loose.

This new method uses a 2x2 round bricls, which slides in between the two prongs on the back of the mask. And the fit is quite snug, like they were made for each other. The little bumps on the prongs align with the curved edges of the round bring just right. Works with both a smooth round brick and one with ridges. (The one with ridges kind of does a better job locking it radially, so it won't rotate as easily.) On some of the masks, you can also use standard plates to "lock" it in, so it won't slide up or down.

So far, this method works on all the masks, including the six Toa masks, the protector masks, the three villain masks (Skull Spider, Scorpio, and Grinder), as well as the Mask of Creation. The round brick will fit in to all of them, although some have less room to fit in the locking standard plates that I used in the picture above, so some modifications have to be made.

Still, this new method is quite strong, and allows now for easy integration into system. (Plus, the round bricks have axle holes through them, so they can be integrated into CCBS models too.) And when you use transparent round bricks, they shine through as eyes quite well, almost better than the original heads. Plus, there's a larger selection of trans colors to choose from. I have a basic mask stand that relies on socket pieces, but I may need to redesign it to utilize this new method with system bricks.

Anyway, that's what I've got to share for now. (Or maybe I'm just really late to the game on this. I haven't seen this method before, but I'm not following Bionicle MOCs that closely, so maybe I just missed it?)

:music:


Photo

Bionicle Collaborative Mosaics: A History

Posted by xccj , in Lego Conventions, MOCs Aug 24 2015 · 533 views
Mosaics
I’ve been involved with a lot of awesome Bionicle Collaborative Mosaic projects that’s wowed the public at various conventions. (Or so I’d like to hope.) So I’ve decided to compile a list of em, with their size, where they showed up, and who helped make them. (I’m seeing a lot of repeated names too.) I've included some images, where I can find them. The first is the final design image that I got from the Mosaic Makers. (I still use Pic-to-Brick.) The second image is the finish mosaic at the convention. I’ll try to keep this post updated for future projects as well.


Kopaka Mosaic

Convention: BrickFair 2010

Size: 96 x 96 studs

Posted Image*Posted Image

This is the first BZPower Bionicle Mosaic, organized by Chocolate Frogs and Nukaya. (Well, I did some of the initial design work.) Kopaka was selected because of his neutral color scheme, which was easy to convert into a mosaic. Arpy made the largest contribution to this one, with the 64x64 upper right corner all being his.

Contributors:
Letagi
Xccj
Arpy
Kohila Piraka*
Jedi Master J
Black Six


Onua Mosaic

Convention: BrickFair 2010

Size: 96 x 96 studs

Posted Image*Posted Image

When the Kopaka mosaic got filled up, we pushed harder and came up with a second mosaic. Onua was selected because he also had a neutral color scheme with blacks and grays. This was again organized by Chocolate Frogs and Nukaya, and I provided the initial design.

Contributors:
Nukaya
Jedi Master J
Chocolate Frogs
Xccj
Black Six
Toa of Dancing*
Mr. Fibbles*
Sisen


Toa Mata Mosaic

Convention: BrickFair 2011

Size: 192 x 64 studs

Posted Image* Posted Image

The following year, Chocolate Frogs and Nukaya went all out and organized a brilliant mosaic with all six Toa Mata. (This time, I did nearly all the design work.) Even with all the awesome Bionicle creations that year, this mosaic was the highlight, IMO. Plus, this had most contributors so far!

Contributors:
Arpy
Letagi
Xccj
Jedi Master J
Black Six
Sisen
Chocolate Frogs
Kakaru
Razlak*
Nukaya
Disky

Kaukau Waterfall Mosaic

Convention: BrickCon 2012

Size: 96 x 96 studs

Posted Image*Posted Image

This year I helped put together a mosaic based off a classic scene from the MNOLG. This one was a bit more challenging with the dithering pattern on the cliffs. Although for some reason I never got a full shot of the mosaic on its own, but luckily we did take a group shot.

Contributors:
Kopakanui
Xccj
Kakaru
Razlak*
Swert
Letagi


Lewa Protodermis Mosaic

Convention: BrickCon 2013

Size: 128 x 96 studs

Posted Image*Posted Image*Posted Image

This year I designed a mosaic based off a classic Lewa promotional image from 2002.

Contributors:
Xccj
Chocolate Frogs
Kakaru
Brickthing
Swert
Razlak*
Kopakanui
55555 (I think... otherwise why'd we let him in the group picture?)


Gali Masters Mosaic

Convention: Bricks Cascade 2015, BrickUniverse 2015, BrickFair 2015, BrickCon 2015

Size: 96x128 studs

Posted Image*Posted Image
I put together a new mosaic to celebrate the reboot of Bionicle, featuring the new Gali design taken from the animations. This one was interesting because I tried to include the dark azure color, which is still fairly rare. I did end up building nearly half of this mosaic myself, but it is also the first of our collaborative mosaics to show up at multiple conventions.

Contributors:
Xccj
Chocolate Frogs
Black Six
Kayru
Razlak*
Danny316

Pohatu Masters Mosaic

Conventions: BrickUniverse Dallas 2015, TBD

Size: 64x64 studs

Posted Image*Posted Image

This was a leftover design that got voted out against the above Gali design for the main mosaic of the year. But then Danny316 and I decided to throw this together at the last minute. The biggest change here is the use of side brick design for the mask, as opposed to the studs-out view of the rest of the mosaic, which gave it extra detail at a smaller scale.

Contributors:
Xccj
Danny316


*Names have changed since then, but this is what I had listed in my blog entries.


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Gali Masters Mosaic: Final

Posted by xccj , in MOCs, Lego Conventions Mar 18 2015 · 488 views

This past weekend at Bricks Cascade, the collaborative Gali Masters Mosaic finally came together. (A little last minute too, with the ones being sent in arriving just in the nick of time and another one requiring some last minute updates.) I haven't got pictures for everything else yet, but time to present this mosaic in its full glory!

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And it wouldn't be a BZPower mosaic without a group pict of all the builders. (Yes, ALL of them, even the ones that weren't physically there.)

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From left to right: Trisha, Andrew*, Jason, Ben, Dan*, Riley.

Thanks again to everybody who contributed. And fret not if you weren't able to see this one; it's on the BZPower Convention MOC circuit, so it'll be showing up at a few east coast conventions, including BrickFair!

:music:

*photoshopped into pict :P






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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:

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I now control your mind.

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