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Thoughts on Altering Bionicle Parts?


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#1 Offline Vishanui

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Posted Jun 19 2013 - 11:07 PM

Personally, I've seen many fantastic custom made Bionicles pieces, ranging from simple repaints to full on cutting and recombining. I've also seen some criticism for the people who decide to make such alterations. My question is, where does this criticism come from exactly? I've just been curious, because personally it seems like another way for Bionicle fans to artistically express themselves, and so I don't know why there is so much backlash for doing so.

 

Sorry if this is the wrong place to post this, it doesn't seem to fit under Bionicle creations or Set discussion, but please move me wherever this needs to be if it shouldn't be here.


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#2 Offline avak5

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Posted Jun 20 2013 - 12:12 AM

On the up side it gives more imagination and pieces, since BIONICLE is dead, on the down side it destroys existing pieces, so thats why there is hate.


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#3 Offline King of Dust

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Posted Jun 20 2013 - 01:16 AM

In my opinion things like custom masks are awesome. Not sure about cutting pieces and things like that. Just looks like you cant work with the pieces given to you.


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#4 Offline Kitania

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Posted Jun 20 2013 - 04:33 AM

Do whatever you want with your toys to have fun, that's the purpose behind them. If people have fun shaping new pieces into new designs, I don't really see the issue (their property, their fun -- telling people how to have fun is kinda dumb, IMO). 

 

When it comes to contests, competitions, official displays and showcasing the possibilities within the Bionicle/Constraction theme... then cutting pieces/reshaping them defeats the purpose, and I, personally, wouldn't condone that sort of use in this type of context. 

 

But if it's for fun, have fun. (Note: Within reason, doing dangerous things is dangerous and not healthy). 


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#5 Offline Taipu1

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Posted Jun 20 2013 - 05:01 AM

Custom masks and tools are cool, because they're just single aesthetic things.  When you start cutting parts to make things fit together better though, its not really what Lego is about. 


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#6 Offline Baltarc

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Posted Jun 20 2013 - 10:19 AM

Part of the challenge of building something out of LEGOs, be it system or technic, is figuring out how to make the sometimes limited range of existing pieces work the way you want them too. There are plenty of times when I'm like, "Oh, this would be so much easier if a piece like x existed." For example, a two-length piece that's half axle and half axle opening (like this) would be extremely useful. Likewise, I often wish a piece existed in a different color that fits with the MOC I'm working on. The challenge, for me anyway, comes from figuring out how to build what I want without that piece, how to get the color scheme right with parts that do exist in that color. Modifying parts to make a new one defeats the purpose, as does painting a part into a new color.


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#7 Offline Arzaki

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Posted Jun 20 2013 - 10:22 AM

Custom stuff usually does look cool, but the thing with Bionicles and Lego in general is doing what you want with the stuff provided.

 

Edit: Ninja'd. Darn it Baltarc D:


Edited by Arzaki, Jun 20 2013 - 10:22 AM.

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#8 Offline gunconvoy

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Posted Jun 20 2013 - 11:19 AM

Most i ever did was just paint a few extra parts i had, just because i didn't want to lose some parts that i actually liked or might use again.


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#9 Offline Vishanui

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Posted Jun 20 2013 - 12:03 PM

I guess I didn't think about how it affected contests. So would the general consensus be that alterations are ok when doing so for yourself, as long as you aren't competing with other people?


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#10 Online Dorek

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Posted Jun 20 2013 - 12:16 PM

I think if you're going to do it, go full on about it. Modifying one piece just to make it work in an MoC is lazy and uncreative. If you're going to modify, make art out of it.


Edited by Dorek, Jun 20 2013 - 12:17 PM.

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#11 Offline Makaru

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Posted Jun 20 2013 - 12:24 PM

I think if you're going to do it, go full on about it. Modifying one piece just to make it work in an MoC is lazy and uncreative. If you're going to modify, make art out of it.

I honestly did not know how quite to put my opinions into words, but I think you managed just fine. Thanks, Dorek!


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#12 Offline Black Six

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Posted Jun 20 2013 - 09:07 PM

I think this would fit better in LEGO Discussion. Moving...
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#13 Offline Vishanui

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Posted Jun 21 2013 - 01:10 AM

That's a good point as well, altering just one piece does look pretty lazy. So it should pretty much be go all in, or don't go in at all?


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#14 Offline ~garnira returns~

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Posted Jun 21 2013 - 04:02 PM

I certainly support the creation of custom pieces. I feel that it helps give characters a unique feel that separates them from the bionicles they are made out of. This works particularly well with masks!

 

EDIT: I don't approve of customizing parts to make the construction easier, just to make the final product look nicer.


Edited by ~garnira returns~, Jun 21 2013 - 04:05 PM.

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#15 Offline Sir Guurahk The Third

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Posted Jun 21 2013 - 04:06 PM

I'd do it if I have more than two of the same mask/four of the same piece.

 

But the thing is not only doing it, but doing it right. For example, if you're gonna cut a TECHNIC... hole... rod... whatever they're called. (:P), you ain't just gonna give a straight-line cut. If you do it, you've reaaaaaly gotta think what else purpose it could serve for.

 

For example, you might have said "This will do!" and then "Aww. It crashes against other piece". And cutting it because of that would be silly.

 

Now, if it is a recurrent problem with the same piece, it might be time to get some tools (or order something from Bricklink :P).

 

 

 This works particularly well with masks!

 

That's pretty much the logic of it. XD


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#16 Offline ~garnira returns~

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Posted Jun 21 2013 - 04:15 PM

That's a good point as well, altering just one piece does look pretty lazy. So it should pretty much be go all in, or don't go in at all?

Assuming you don't alter it well, or make it fit in with the rest of the moc. 

 

for example:

this is a one piece modification.

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He went a little too far with the gloss, but looks pretty good, still.

 

this is a full customization: http://www.flickr.co...n-apf12b-amgFpd


Edited by ~garnira returns~, Jun 21 2013 - 04:16 PM.

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#17 Offline Arzaki

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Posted Jun 21 2013 - 04:34 PM

 

That's a good point as well, altering just one piece does look pretty lazy. So it should pretty much be go all in, or don't go in at all?

 

this is a full customization: http://www.flickr.co...n-apf12b-amgFpd

 

Or a prototype.


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#18 Offline Toa Zaz

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Posted Jun 21 2013 - 05:26 PM

MOCing is more impressive when done solely with existing pieces. If they're all custom then it seems too easy. Anybody could make anything, regardless of talent.


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#19 Offline gunconvoy

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Posted Jun 22 2013 - 01:08 PM

 

 

EDIT: I don't approve of customizing parts to make the construction easier, just to make the final product look nicer.

 I agree, its not a lazy or easy way of doing it. it really helps make the product look good, or how you want it to look, mostly if the part is not in the color you want.


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#20 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Jun 22 2013 - 07:05 PM

That's a good point as well, altering just one piece does look pretty lazy. So it should pretty much be go all in, or don't go in at all?

 this is a full customization: http://www.flickr.co...n-apf12b-amgFpd

Or a prototype.

No, it's a custom-painted version of the set. I know the guy who did it. There are some others of his customizations in his Flickr photostream.Here are some other customizations I'm quite fond of by another artist, who was commissioned by LEGO Systems A/S. The one that is a MOC is just as impressive in its painted and unpainted forms (both were on display at LEGO World in Copenhagen earlier this year).Personally, I don't have any problem with any level of customization. But everything has to be judged according to what it is. If a model is based strictly on the constraints of existing pieces, then you have to keep that in mind while judging it (you can't say "that mask would be cooler if you altered it in such-and-such a way" because that goes against what the MOCist was seeking to achieve). If a model has certain parts customized for visual effect, then it should be judged according to those terms (with emphasis on the art/craft of the customization as well as on the construction). If a model has parts customized for functional reasons, then it should be judged according to those terms (with emphasis on the structural and functional effectiveness of the finished model).I feel this is why models with alterations should not be eligible to enter contests unless that permission is laid out in the contest guidelines. It's not that any alterations, even functional ones, are inherently "uncreative" or "unimaginative". After all, even the official set designers alter parts when constructing prototypes, and create entirely custom parts for the finished models. But models with alterations and models without alterations cannot be judged according to the same terms. They demand entirely different types of creative thought and experience, and furthermore some methods of part alteration are not as accessible to everyone. Prohibiting non-official parts evens the playing field for contest entrants as much as possible without dictating specific parts builders are allowed to use.

Edited by Aanchir: Rachira of Time, Jun 22 2013 - 07:10 PM.

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#21 Offline Doorman

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Posted Jun 22 2013 - 08:53 PM

if you want to modify a piece, my two cents is that you can if it pleases you. I, personally, have only spray-painted an Ackar helmet.


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#22 Offline Vishanui

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Posted Jun 22 2013 - 11:08 PM

I agree with your guys's opinions. Personally, the only modification I have done is painting a Kraahkan golden, because I can't seem to find a Voya gold one anyone, and also painted a few armor pieces that same shade of gold, as I could not get a right mix to match either Voya gold or Dull gold. I made him just this week, though, so my modifications don't interfere with any contests :P On another note, pertaining to alterations in contests, how would a judge know if you glued any parts together? Just curious, it seems like that would be an easy way to cheat, especially if you covered it up with other pieces or just did it well. Or is gluing allowed?


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#23 Offline Fairy Paladin

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Posted Jun 24 2013 - 12:55 PM

If you know what you're doing, altering pieces can lead to absolutely fantastic results.

 

I guess I prefer aesthetic modifications over functional ones, though. Changing the look of a mask, or certain armour parts (for example to make them look semi-destroyed, corroded or similar) changes the general atmosphere of a MoC, and can really help you get your point across or make the character more believeable; it's an art from in itself.

 

Modifying parts so that you can achieve a certain build more easily, though... IMO it's a bit like cheating, because as others said, it's part of the challenge of building with Lego. :shrugs: Also, it's far more impressive to see what people can do with the "limited" options given by the building components (although IMO particularly Technic-pieces are surprisingly versatile...)

 

Then again, in the end it's always up to the MoCists how far they want to go and what they want to achieve with it. I'm just not sure whether it would be fair to enter heavily-modified MoCs in contests.

 

[...]       But models with alterations and models without alterations cannot be judged according to the same terms. They demand entirely different types of creative thought and experience, and furthermore some methods of part alteration are not as accessible to everyone. Prohibiting non-official parts evens the playing field for contest entrants as much as possible without dictating specific parts builders are allowed to use.

 

I could imagine that adding an extra category for modified MoCs might work, though; the only problem with that is that I don't know what their quantity would be like - a special category for, say, 2 MoCs wouldn't make that much sense... :lol:


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#24 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Jun 24 2013 - 01:32 PM

[...]       But models with alterations and models without alterations cannot be judged according to the same terms. They demand entirely different types of creative thought and experience, and furthermore some methods of part alteration are not as accessible to everyone. Prohibiting non-official parts evens the playing field for contest entrants as much as possible without dictating specific parts builders are allowed to use.

I could imagine that adding an extra category for modified MoCs might work, though; the only problem with that is that I don't know what their quantity would be like - a special category for, say, 2 MoCs wouldn't make that much sense... :lol:

One of the websites I use is sort of experimenting with that very notion currently. They're holding a Hero Factory building contest with three categories, and one of the categories is to build a hero using digital tools like LEGO Digital Designer or LDraw. Now, the reason it applies to this conversation is that as part of that category they're allowing custom parts (like unique masks, for anyone who has the patience to render them), as long as the final model still resembles something that could be built out of LEGO pieces.It'd be interesting to see a similar idea explored with physical MOCs. It might lead to more such entries, in fact, since more people can understand how to use physical media to modify pieces than how to render parts from scratch.

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#25 Offline Madara: Mangekyou Master

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Posted Jun 24 2013 - 03:29 PM

Part of the challenge of building something out of LEGOs, be it system or technic, is figuring out how to make the sometimes limited range of existing pieces work the way you want them too. There are plenty of times when I'm like, "Oh, this would be so much easier if a piece like x existed." For example, a two-length piece that's half axle and half axle opening (like this) would be extremely useful. Likewise, I often wish a piece existed in a different color that fits with the MOC I'm working on. The challenge, for me anyway, comes from figuring out how to build what I want without that piece, how to get the color scheme right with parts that do exist in that color. Modifying parts to make a new one defeats the purpose, as does painting a part into a new color.

I agree with Baltarc on this. Painting a piece or breaking it to fit one's mental mould doesn't quite work with my MOC mentality.


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#26 Offline Kopekemaster

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Posted Jun 26 2013 - 04:24 PM

Personally, I wouldn't do it unless I had a ton of the same piece.

 

I'm usually fine with it, and I've seen some pretty amazing Kanohi modifications (that I wouldn't mind having).


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#27 Online ~T1S~

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Posted Jun 28 2013 - 05:23 PM

I've never liked the idea of altering any parts. Sure, I've painted parts before, but the paint was easily removable just in case I didn't like it later on. I've never cut pieces, though, unless they were damaged already and I was able to get a replacement. 

My reason for it is that cutting or painting the parts is that it takes away from the point of it all: being creative enough to make even the limitations of the parts look good on whatever you've made. Altering them is just the short, easy route, I say. It's more fun to test your creative limits to see what you can do with what has been given to you. Creative problem solving, that's what it should be. Although I will admit I've considered cutting off parts of the Mahri masks that I've used on various MOCs so that the "breathing apparatuses" don't look out of place. That sort of thing makes sense. Otherwise it just feels like a waste of a potentially good piece.

 

My take on it.

 

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#28 Offline Erebus Toa of Darkness

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Posted Jul 05 2013 - 08:23 PM

That's a good point as well, altering just one piece does look pretty lazy. So it should pretty much be go all in, or don't go in at all?

Assuming you don't alter it well, or make it fit in with the rest of the moc.  for example:this is a one piece modification.Posted ImageHe went a little too far with the gloss, but looks pretty good, still. this is a full customization: http://www.flickr.co...n-apf12b-amgFpd
For those of you nubs who don't know that's Heir of the Chroniclers work. Anyways I have no problem with customization. I have cut some parts up, usually duplicates to get the desired effect. I even have HotC working on customizing some stuff right now. Why? To make my creations more aesthetically pleasing not only to myself but to other ppl. Ex. http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/74957i made this guy years ago. Heir made the swords and customized the Avohkii.Also the topic for this mic got eaten awhile ago :(

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#29 Offline Dralcax

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Posted Jul 07 2013 - 10:42 PM

I personally don't do it. I suppose altering a mask is acceptable, with Lego's rather limited mask pallette ever since they stopped making mask packs. But, IMO, carving up your parts so they fit together better? No. Part of the challenge is finding solutions to problems. If you just take the easy way out by cutting off the bit that gets in the way or gluing parts where they couldn't normally attach? That's kind of like trying to prove something, but making up your own logical rules instead of using normal logic that makes sense to people.
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#30 Offline Toa of Geek

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Posted Jul 20 2013 - 08:57 PM

I don't do it, partly because with my experience anything I could do to a piece would just make it worse. However, if other people want to do it, that's fine with me. I think that sometimes they add a nice touch to a MOC. The only time where I would have a problem with it is if someone relied heavily on custom pieces to make their creations look cool, or worse, if someone used custom pieces to try to gain an upper hand in a contest (Hence the no custom pieces rule in our BBC contests).


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#31 Offline Sir Guurahk The Third

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Posted Jul 24 2013 - 04:09 PM

this is a full customization: http://www.flickr.co...n-apf12b-amgFpd

 

 

That looks awesome. And episode-accurate.


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