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About xccj

BioniLUG Members
Year 16
  • Rank
    Senior Staff Mask Maker
  • Birthday 11/04/1988

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Titan, orbiting Saturn
  • Interests
    Aiming heat seeking cruise missiles full of chocolate pudding towards the Neptunium captial...

    And Animorphs, Bionicle, and un-official (totally fake) martial arts... and eating. Can't forget that... and not working...

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  1. I was going to make a joke that all these are just going to link back to Pat's MOC, but then I checked my prepared code and the URLs are all the same... well I guess I somehow did a find and replace...?
  2. I mean, I'm pessimistic, but I'm going to hazard a guess that it's more focused on Rebel Nature, and any relation to Bionicle is to troll us / get our attention and try to direct it to his new project. (Okay, he's probably not trolling us, but I'm sure its a clever marketing move to get fans of the old franchise interested in this new thing. I've already seen advertising for the Rebel Nature show pointing out it's roots to Bionicle, so I can see them trying to use it for all its worth.) But honestly the best bet would be to wait and see.
  3. Another quick set review, picts from Instagram! This set is $49.99 with 604 pieces. I'd been eyeing this Spider-Man set for a while now, but it was a little too spendy and I had my eye on other sets. Besides, I've already got Spider-Man and Venom, and Spider Gwen wasn't super detailed, so I tempted my expectations. But then I got it as a birthday present, so it all worked out in the end! The figs are okay. Spider-Man and Venom are great; super detailed, nice printing. I had versions from the 2013 set, and while the new ones have finer details, I could've gone without. (Plus, you know, Spideys in half the Marvel sets now days anyway.) Aunt May was also a letdown because she's made from previously released pieces, so there's nothing really exciting about her. Spider Gwen / Ghost Spider is the real exclusive here; she's a bit more plain than I was expecting; the torso / arms lack any pink highlights (well, the arms lack it... I didn't realize the body had some printed but that's because it's hidden by the hood.), although they are used on the eyes. She's okay, but knowing the kinds of crazy details they can do on figs nowadays, she's a bit of a letdown still. The first two builds are kinda boring. Gwen has a flying surfboard thing; maybe it's from the comics but I don't recognize it. The Spider Mech is okay for a smallish mech; it's a nice balance between blue and red, but still a little plain. Best part is the webbing bars around the cockpit. But the large Venom mech is very impressive. Although the interior has some bright colors, the outside is mostly black with occasional white highlights... and that amazing red tongue. The head design is awesome, and they even cleverly use the round printed CCBS armor for the eyes. The whole thing has a smooth, muscular look to it, and totally sells that the character is a massive Venom out on a rampage. Biggest problem is that the ankle connections are by a loose pin; I'm sure it was designed that way to properly angle the feet on a flat surface without having to resort to a ball joint, but I feel like he comes with some weak ankles that can make posing difficult. This is a very good Marvel set, and $50 for 600+ pieces is a good value. The Spider-Man, Ghost Spider, and Venom figs are all well designed and worth adding to your collection, and the Venom Mech build is great. (Spider Mech, not so much. Plus, does Spider-Man really need a mech? Following the Lego trend of giving him a vehicle he doesn't really need.) I'm sure it looks even better with all the stickers, but I didn't add them because I'm probably going to reuse the pieces eventually. Anyway, it's a worthwhile set.
  4. I think my new way to do set reviews will be via Instagram. Sure, I'm limited to square photos only, but it's the easiest at the moment. There's not exactly a ton of room for text, but I can elaborate here if I really want to! This set is $59.99 and has 447. I totally got this set for the Triceratops. The coloring of the dino is new, but I believe the mold was reused from the 2012 Dino theme. And we've had three or four waves of dino sets since then, but we haven't had a real herbivore since 2012. (Yes, I realize there was one Jurassic World dino last year that was technically a herbivore, but it basically reused the body of the raptors, so I'm disqualifying it for my argument.) The dino itself is great; posable legs and neck, to a degree. Big, bulky, and expensive, so there is something to be said of cooler brick-built designs... but hey I wanted a triceratops and now I've got one. Desire achieved! The rest of the set is fairly bland. The figs are okay, but nothing stellar. (I mean, half are PoC so I guess that's good. It's based off some new Lego cartoon that ties in with the movies... I don't really care for either so I don't have much to say about them.) It comes with a basic 4-Wheeler for Chris Pratt, but the carrot on a stick feature is funny. It comes with a collapsible fence for the triceratops to break thru. (Seriously, all the Lego Jurassic park fences are terrible, it's like they don't even want to keep the dinos contained!) It comes with a mini Jurassic World gate and some other things like a sign and trash can. Meh. The ride itself looked fairly basic, but I'm spoiled after things like the Roller Coaster and Ferris Wheel. After putting together the spinning ride, I have to say that it is pretty satisfying, and makes good use of the new gear plates. It would fit well in any amusement park, even with the dino egg theme it has going. Is the set worth it? Absolutely not. The price for the big triceratops mold and the licensing fees make this way too expensive for what you get; it feels like a $40 set, not a $60 set. If you can get it for sale, then maybe. If you absolutely want the Triceratops (like me) then it's okay, but honestly I think it might be the weakest of the Jurassic World sets from this wave. I have trouble recommending this set when there are a bunch of others to choose from. It's a $60 Triceratops and parts pack, basically, but the ride is still fun to put together. (And it's not like the concept isn't used elsewhere; I think a Harry Potter has the exact same feature.)
  5. Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) is the Mexican holiday that honors the dead and those that have passed away, but instead of a sorrowful occasion, it is a colorful and joyous celebration. Although I’m traditionally American, I remember learning about the history of it in school, and it’s been featured in some recent popular movies like Book of Life (a great movie I’ve enjoyed) and Coco (a Pixar movie I have yet to see). One of the many traditions is the use of candy skulls (or sugar skulls) which are used as decorations on alters of people who have passed. The candy skulls can be very colorful and intricate, and I thought an excellent way to honor this holiday would be to create a candy skull Lego mosaic. And so here we are. I very much enjoyed putting together all the colors for this mosaic, and hope to get it displayed at a couple of conventions next year. Make sure you take some time today to fondly remember the people in your family who have passed on. I also posted a series of WIP picts showing the progress made on the mosaic over time on Instagram, but those are linked to below
  6. Boo. Stay safe man! (What's funny is I saw a lot of people out burning stuff in their yards today. Even tho it's fairly damp here right now, it still looks risky to me.
  7. xccj

    Sign Off

    So I made this... Yay Instagram embedding.
  8. That catalog certainly looks familiar. I forgot that they explicitly stated that the disc packs were not available in stores. (Also forgot how much they pushed the idea that you could attach the carrying case to your belt and take it with you. I tried that once and it got confiscated at school. Fun times.) The Slizer / Throwbots distribution was so weird, it doesn't surprise me that the disc packs from back then are hard to track down.
  9. Yay screaming blogs! Glad you found a better job!
  10. xccj

    Hello Again

    Nice to see another familiar username. Congrats on getting into your degree program! Robotics sounds really cool!
  11. So I've helped make a bunch of Bionicle mosaics over the last nine years. The first couple we did as a large group, but over time people's interest (and parts collection) waned, while my interest in making cool Lego mosaics has grown. I gave up on trying to do big group projects after I ended up doing over half of the 2016 "group" mosaic, and instead Chocolate Frogs and I have done a couple of smaller size ones that have traveled around the convention circuit. But... We're coming up on the 20th anniversary of Bionicle. (In 2020 or 2021, depending on where you start count.) So I was thinking... what if we made a big mosaic to celebrate the theme on this anniversary. Nothing as complicated at the Lenticular mosaics design wise, but something larger than we've attempted before. I couldn't make this on my own... but if we could get a handful of people in the community to participate, we could turn this into a big project. And if we aim for BrickFair 2020, that should give us plenty of time to plan, order parts, build, cancel, force me to build a replacement, ext. The tentative idea I have at the moment is a collage of different characters arranged in a movie-poster style. In the center would be the likes of Takanuva and Mata Nui (09 Toa form), and then slightly smaller on the sides would be filled out with other Toa from over the years. I'm thinking at the moment of Kopaka Mata, Tahu Nuva, Matau Metru, Nuparu Inika, Hahli Mahri, and Pohatu Phantoka, representing the main six elements and most of the yearly Toa teams. (Nobody cares about the Hordika). But I'd be willing to shift around characters if need be; Vakama and Matoro would also likely fit in well here. Design wise, I would try to create a solid 2x2 baseplate mosaic of each character (slightly larger for Takanuva and Mata Nui) and then merge them all together (with some overlapping, fading, ext) and throw in a Bionicle title for good measure somewhere. (Maybe something like this?) This would be a more complicate image than usual; every other mosaic I've done has been purely based off one picture, and then I tweak the bricks to help fit the style. This would require a lot more additional work, and it would be nice to have feedback for what works and doesn't. The overall size would be maybe 5x6 baseplates (160x192 studs) which would be pretty large and require additional work to get an easel to hold the pieces. But if we could put something like this together... oh it would be epic. But clearly this is just in the idea phase right now, but I'm putting this out to see if there would be any interest. Oh, also I have a bunch of engraved bricks for mosaic contributors too, so feel free to be influenced by that bribe.
  12. From what I recall as a kid from the 90s, the Disc pack for the Throwbots was advertised in the Lego Catalogs in the states, but I never saw any of them on store shelves. (The fun thing about Bionicle was the fact that the collectibles were widely distributed, so I could pick up a Toa and a random mask pack on the same trip.) I don't know how the Catalog distributions were like in the late 90s; I don't recall a big internet presence for ordering sets, so you'd need to make the orders over the phone. It's possible that they just used the European release to fulfill those orders instead of recreating the packaging, ext. (I'd imagine that there was a limited audience for actual catalog phone orders, and don't know if said products would need to meet all the box standards of shelved sets. I never ordered over the phone; mostly used the catalog to help determine what I'd want to pick up the next time I visited the toy store.) When I eventually got on BrickLink and ordered the Slizer / Throwbot discs, I was able to get some of the 4-7 pip discs from US sellers, although the selection was sparse and I did have to wait a couple of months before a couple of rare ones popped up in Europe. I'd assume that there was a modest distribution in the States back in the day, but the audience was probably quite small so there's not a lot on the secondary market twenty years later.
  13. xccj

    Oh No Change on BZP??

    So BZP got a revamp, and only went down for a few month. Now it's back and I have to get used to all the changes!! I think the blogs got the worst of it, TBH. Although this does seem more in line with other personal blogs I've seen elsewhere on the internet, so it's probably a modern template that's cool for everybody but those of us (like me) who are so used to the old BZP / Invasion format. This new one looks like it could incorporate pictures better, so that's something I'll have to start thinking more about. So far my photo uploads have just been scenic mountain shots from various trips... but I'm boring and don't do as many of them anymore, so I'm going to need to diversify. The lost of the custom sidebars is also disappointing, but I also noticed that all the various blog tags and groupings have been trashed, so now I have 10+ years of unmarked entries, and at least a few of them were useful and will take a while to find by just scrolling thru. Anyway, as for what I did this summer... go to work and get by. I did manage to make some MOCs and attended BrickFair for the first time in three years. It was a lot of fun to hang out with folks again, although I felt a bit mellow over the weekend and didn't have a big rush rush rush to do everything. (I didn't participate in any of the official games because I was too lazy). Also didn't win anything, but my Mt. St. Helens lenticular mosaic did get nominated, which was awesome. (And also a little odd because it's a repeat MOC, but then again I didn't exactly disqualify it when I entered it in.) Outside of work and some Lego, I've played a lot of Pokémon Go and reached level 40, finally. But gosh darn it, there are still more to collect, so I'm still playing. I'm also playing the Harry Potter Wizards Unite game, but in general it is less compelling than PokeGo. The previous game I was all in on, Ingress, did an upgrade last year that totally broke the gameplay mechanics and I still haven't been able to get back into it. Which is a shame; it was fun to travel to different places and use the game as kind of a tour guide to various local art and scenic spots. I've also looked into working more on my stories, or in particular reposting them. I finally signed onto Fanfiction.net and started posting a few of my Bionicle stories. (Because, honestly BZP is not the hotspot for library posts anymore, sorry.) Not that this site is any better... I haven't looked around really hard, but the quality of the average story is pretty bad. (I mean, we all had to start somewhere, so fair is fair.) But I don't know if there's a readership for lengthy Bionicle novels. But I did start reposting one of my old popular stories, Time Disruption. (I checked on the Wayback machine and I started that story on 10-11-2003. It's also crazy that it was popular enough that I was able to find a Wayback entry for it; the Epic forum was so crowded back in the day and Wayback is spotty about archiving forums.) Anyway, after doing a editing run through, I'm still impressed with my teenage writing, even if the language is a bit more basic than what I write now... and I desperately needed an editor. Man, no wonder half the comments were about spelling and grammar errors, they were bloody everywhere! But I've started reposting that story (all 63+ chapters) and it's been getting a lot of views... so I guess people still like it. (It also doesn't focus on crazy custom characters, so I'm sure that helps.) I've also had readership of my Hero Factory story when I didn't think there was any audience for that! I've written it so far in batches for NaNoWriMo, so maybe I'll work on the final part for it this year. I've also been playing in Voltex's BZPGOT RPG on Discord for months and months now... and the activity there certainly helped when BZP went down. It's fun to play, but the Discord format is a bit easier than the forums, and I managed to get into the lore with only a few weeks (or months) of what-am-I-doing-ness. I can now see why the RPGers are the ones keeping this community alive. I've gotten a few cool Lego sets over the summer, but kind of slacked off in doing reviews and such. Last spring, my camera's charging cord vanished, making said camera unusable, so I haven't had anything to take decent review pictures with besides my phone, which is only so-so. Chocolate Frogs and I were planning to pull off a few more livestreams, but then Youtube changed the system and we haven't been able to figure out an Encoder that works, so that's been put on hold for a while. I have a backlog of sets I want to build, but haven't gotten any truly big ones... except for the Bricklink models, which I ordered back in March and received in August. The Western Saloon is an awesome design, although the instructions make it a bit difficult to distinguish between the various shades of brown. I would like to do some more reviews, either official or just generic blog posts, but I'm a combination of lazy / exhausted most of the time. Maybe I'll put together some just to test the picture capabilities of the new blog system. Anyway, here's to another long and rambling post. Honestly don't know if anybody will bother reading (did they ever?) But the post count now including blogs really upped my count; I went from 6K to 8K, so I'm guessing it was the blogs. I know in the old forums when there was a list of the most comment / most viewed / most posted of the blogs, I was in the top three (or top one, I forget) of the blog with the most entries. Not views or comments, but entries. So I like typing a lot and posting stuff nobody reads. I hope to continue hiding subliminal messages in walls of text as long as BZPower lets me! Thanks for reading, take care y'all! (yay at least the emotes stayed the same, I would be sad without my signoff)
  14. xccj


    Look forward to seeing anything you post!
  15. I went from 6K to 8K. But I'd been at 6K for years; I just wasn't posting in the forums that upped the post count, and I was very active in the blogs. So I'm frankly surprised my count is that high. That said... we never lost any data in the blogs during the datapocalypse, unlike the years and years of posts. So while current post counts only go back a few years, blog activity goes back to the very beginning of the blogs, so those of us who jumped in on that early and stayed active apparently had an advantage. Still sad that so many people had significant reductions.
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