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xccj

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About xccj

BioniLUG Members
Year 18
  • Rank
    Senior Staff Mask Maker
  • Birthday 11/04/1988

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  • Gender
    Male
  • 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. Honestly, this was one (of many) problems I had with the Hordika back in the day. (The main one being that the sets looked ugly, and the story saying that they're supposed to look ugly didn't help anything.) To me, the Hordika did not have any clear animals they were based on. They were essentially recolored builds with different tools and masks, but the masks did not appear to be any particular animal. Yes, I always got rhino vibes from Nuju and reptilian vibes from Nokama and Matau, but it was all just a little too vague for my tastes. And that's not to say Lego couldn't have done better, because in later years THEY DID. The Barraki were not direct animal replicas, but they had enough design features that it was clearly apparent that Carapar was a crab, Kalmah was a squid, Takadox was a mantis, ext. Of course, in 2005 they hadn't got past the clone builds, but then you could look to the third wave of Hero Factory heroes with the animal motifs. The basic designs of each didn't change, but they had styled weapons that sorta matched their animals, and then they had very details helmets immediately made it clear what animal they were based on. The Hordika could've benefited from either of these routes. I'm sure it was a case that the sets were designed long before the story, so maybe that's where the biggest disconnect is. (Saying they're based on animals when the original designs were just sort of nonspecific "mutations"). But they gave us lackluster sets and kind of an annoying theme to explain them. 2005 was a lousy year. (Although as much as I dislike Web of Shadows, I do have to admit that the animation had finally improved on the third movie.) Obviously, these are my opinions, which are mine, and I know plenty of people would disagree with that, but whatevs.
  2. 10 - Vohtarak and 5 - Makuta of the Melding look pretty cool, but I think I have to vote for 3 - Le-Koro Platform for the sheer nostalgia.
  3. Back at BrickFair 2011 we had this crazy thing where we build a giant tower out of spare play bricks during one of the drinking nights. It was a crazy and memorable project from some of the earlier convention years (for me at least) so I wanted to recreate it as a MOC for this contest. Of course, the tower itself would be kind of a bland build, so I decided to also incorporate the tradition of PBZP, which was back when people would make MOCs of a bunch of members. I didn't get the whole group, but I got the lot who I'm still (kind of) in touch with today. And of course these are weird takes on their usernames and not actual depictions of them in person, because they are all really cool people and I couldn't possibly do them justice otherwise!! The Tower: Even with the system lettering and base, this still passes the technic ratio for BBC Contests because this thing is super dense with thin liftarms. It's a bit more colorful than the actual tower (which was made using a lot of white and brown bricks) and of course the lettering is different. But I chose some artistic deviations to get the same feel for it across. (I also forgot we added all sorts of weird antennas to the sides so those the flex wires were added in to mix up the texture.) Emperor Whenua: Always the regal type, so I gave him a crown and a fluffy scarf. I decided to keep with the Turaga route and made him hunchback but also super buff. Chocolate Frogs: He wanted a green outfit, so I gave him a lime coat. But more importantly, his brick-badge has a brown frog on it! Nuju Metru: He was always the most dapper of us all, so I tried to give him a fancy suit and jacket, almost it's not quite as flush as I'd like it. Had to give him the bowtie tho. Bionicle Raptor: I was trying to make him into an actual dinosaur, but then he ended up more like a really buff but wingless dragon. Me: Um, I tried to give him headphones and a green color scheme. Anyway, that's what I have for a MOC. Not exactly the most fabulous MOCs ever but I like how the scene has come together. And now to send it to BrickFair to be displayed 10 years after the fact!
  4. Heh, in case it wasn't obvious, this IS a set; this was made using only pieces from the giant World Map set, so you could buy that one now (if you could find it) and do this kind of alt-build yourself. As cool as this is, I'm a little jealous that they beat me to a Mata-Nui design because it was something I totally wanted to do with this set already. XD
  5. Okay, that was interesting, and fun to hear from a guy who was legitimately a fan. (Although there were a few parts where he was confused about something and I was like "oh I know where that's from..." so I dunno what that says about me, heh.) MNOLG music was really great, and I still have one of the tracks as a ringtone. Excited to hear that there might be a remix of it later this summer. Fun listen.
  6. Okay, you want it by year...? 2001: Gali Mata 2002: Kohrok 2003: Nuhvok Kal 2004: Matau Metru 2005: Matau Hordika 2006: Thok 2007: Mantax 2008: Pohatu Phantoka 2009: Vorox 2010: Um... I think it might've been Gresh Stars 2015: Pohatu, Master of Stone 2006: Four Way Tie! Gali, Master of Water, Lewa, Master of Air, Akida, Creature of Water, Uxar, Creature of Air
  7. But of course Andrew got Ninjago City Gardens to build.
  8. Hehehe, just realized Andrew mixed up his Looney Toons with Tiny Toons and said Babs Bunny instead of Lola Bunny. IMO this looks like a series I can mostly pass on. It has the same issues as the Simpsons waves; very custom head molds and very generic torso prints for the most part. There are a few elements that I'm interested in (cheese printed cheese slopes!!) but I'm not a big enough Looney Tunes fan to go all in. Honestly would not have predicted this as a wave of figs, but I guess they could do worse.
  9. Yeah, so this isn't quite a standard review, but rather a discussion about the theme and the TV series. I actually fell behind on the Ninjago TV series and recently caught up with it on Netflix. The shorter episodes were a bit off-putting, but they still tell a decent story, with the occasional break to focus purely on side characters. (And the fact that sometimes they switch to a more anime-like animation style was neat too.) The fact that the last season heavily focused on Cole was bittersweet after the passing of his voice actor, Kirby Morrow. For the character, I liked how he was able to connect to his mother's past as another Earth elemental, some of the scenes were pretty moving. And even so, plenty of the other characters got their chances to shine, which is not something all seasons of the show have been able to pull off. And yes, the action and humor is generally aimed for a younger audience so it would be mild for most adults, but I enjoyed how they incorporated all the sets and characters (and annoyed at some of the characters and locations that didn't get properly featured in sets. That fancy city had potential.) The best joke was also their take on the LotR quote with "You shall not... be granted permission to transverse beyond this point." More photos on Instagram Now, for the sets, there was the whole concept this year of combining them into larger portions to make a large board game. I ended up getting 71717 Journey to the Skull Dungeons, 71721 Skull Sorcerer's Dragon, and 71722 Skull Sorcerer's Dungeons. Journey and Dungeons have the bigger landscape pieces that look like they fit together the best (kinda reminds me of the Helms Deep set and then the wall extension set that were clearly made to go together.) Journey on it's own is lackluster, but it still provides a more substantial landscape than in the Dragon set. (And the Dragon set has better landscapes than the other sets, from the looks of it.) Still, the adjustable pathways are a bit of a mess when you try to connect them all, and I wasn't really able to get all the loops properly connected. It is nice to have a full set of the Ninja; always cool to see the team all together. And, of course, I tried to pair up all the dragons I had built with the Skull Dragon to show off it's massive size. Anyway, this was a fun theme for Ninjago and I think the theme is still doing alright. A new mech and dragon every year is fine with me, especially as the designs keep changing and bringing something new to the table. And the show still seems to be doing well; not bogged down too much in the story of previous years but still alluding to it when appropriate. (Although it is a bit annoying when they're falling and in trouble and we forget that a few years ago they had Airjitzu that they could use to fly). I look forward to see where they're going with the theme next.
  10. And now to move onto the biggest set of the themes... More photos on Instagram: The build process Set highlights and action features The minifigures 71722 Skull Sorcerer's Dungeons is $99.99 and has 1171 pieces. And it is good. Ninjago has done a bunch of big based before, but something about this one feels like more of the adventurer big sets from the late 90s... y'know, the ones I never was able to buy but admired a lot in the magazines. Part of this has to do with the game board setup, where you have paths leading up and around the temple, giving it more of a sense of adventure than a standard building or temple. The rocky structure works out nicely, but the detailed skull design that fits atop it really draws the eyes, and the underlying orange plates as lava add to the environmental feel. On the main level, you have a campfire on one side of the skull and a weapons cache on the other. Meanwhile, on the back side of the mountain you have the Skull Sorcerer's office, complete with some nice decorations and a portrait of him before he got all skull-faced. The right path is pretty meager and comparable to the paths seen in some of the smaller sets, although it features a mini stone bridge. The left path has a more substantial bridge and uses a neat trick to extend the ladder up towards the tower without actually connecting to it. To add to the game play, there are also hidden hearts and weapons along the paths. (I tried to look up the rules for the board game but it's so generic that I think you're better off customizing them yourself.) There are a couple of fun action features squeezed into the landscape too. If you push the pathway beneath the skull's mouth, you can open the doorway to one of the swords. (This is a fun feature that has been utilized a few times before, like in one of the Elves castles, but it's still a good one.) You also have a lever you can pull back on the top to send back the spikes and reveal the other sword. Meanwhile, if you turn the tower on the left, you activate all sorts of sequences. It causes blades to spin on the bridge and raises / lowers the cage on the far right. (The cage, meanwhile, is the exact same design from the cheaper set.) The most ambitious part, however, is the paths leading up to the skull, which the sequence causes to rise and fall. The latter one does have a tendency to get stuck so it's not quite as fluid as I would've liked, but it's impressive. And the main tower uses a rubber piece to lock the turns, so you don't have a lot of slack running through the full thing. You get a full selection of figs to play with too. Lloyd, Zane, and Cole fill out the Ninja roster (the other half of the team is in the skeleton dragon set.) You also get the troll Munce character and the goblin Ginkle character, who turn out to be Ninja allies in the show. The black Skeleton warrior is not tho, but he's generic so it's okay to hate him. The Skull Sorcerer is nicely detailed, and the same as he was in the dragon set. Unique to this set is Vania, who has her own unique color scheme that really stands out in the dungeons. Also two game play stands and a dice spinner. As a play set, I think this might be one of the better Ninjago sets from the whole theme. The concept of tying all the sets together as a board-game really adds to their play value, and I could see younger kids spending a lot of time with this set with all the adventures it offers. From a purely display angle, it's not the most picturesque with some of the flimsy paths, but the skull design certainly holds its own. It makes a worthwhile set for any Ninjago fan... s'long as they can afford it, because it is on the pricey side.
  11. So I've been forced to relearn how to deal with images in BZP blogs. (Yeah, this isn't the highest traffic place around anymore, but how else am I supposed to scream my thoughts out into the void??) Flickr restructured and became unusable for a large quantity of images, and Brickshelf is another older platform that I just don't use that much anymore. I was trying to go for the Instagram route for photos of sets to do quick reviews on, but then embedding broke on BZP (I don't know which side is responsible, but knowing the issues with the forum's server I bet it's on our side.) But, lo and behold, we have that whole gallery thing that I've never utilized. And sooooo... went and spammed a bunch of review pictures there and updated all my mini reviews from the last couple of years. I'll still upload full galleries to Instagram but I'll at least have some visuals to post here. And I still have some Ninjago stuff to cover from last year before I start focusing on the new sets. So without further ado... More photos and videos on Instagram, obviously. The Skull Sorcerer's Dragon, AKA Skeleton Dragon, goes for $79.99 USD and has 1016 pieces. I'm reluctant to call it the largest Ninjago dragon ever (it probably ranks up there) but it's the largest I've owned so far, so it's still quite impressive. The wings are the biggest stand out for me; they are cloth and have a really awesome printing to them, even as they take up a TON of space. The dragon is mainly white with dark grey along its spine and trans bright green highlights. The torso is impressive with it's skeletal rib designs, and guess what, it also has a Tridax pod built in! If you push a lever on the dragon's back, the ribs pop opened and the trans green boulder can be dropped. The head tops it off with an impressive spikey design. Of course, the dragon has its faults, and the biggest one is possibility. While the hind legs have the standard motions you'd expect from a Ninjago dragon, the front legs are locked at the shoulders, forcing it to remain in the same forward stance at all times. (It has elbows to allow it to raise itself up and down a bit, but I think too much mobility is lost without the shoulders.) As such, the dragon only really looks good in one pose, and trying to adjust that just looks awkward. And it doesn't help that the front legs also tend to hide the cooler rib designs of the torso. I also found the swinging tail to be quite annoying after a while; it's hard to pose in a position that is not wrapping back around the dragon's body. Good as a play feature, yes, bad for posing. Of course, keeping with the game-board-like designs of all these Ninjago Master of the Mountain sets, this one has some landscape bits, but they are rather weak. You have a turntable that can act as a switch to swing them to three different islands in the laval. One of those islands also has a statue that's built on a neat little action feature; press down slightly on the game stand that the Ninja is supposed to land on, and the statue falls on top of them. It also comes with two of the game stands with heath hearts, which are in most of this theme's sets, as well as the dice-spinner. The figs are decent, but again are secondary to the main dragon. You get Kai, Jay, and Nya in their new armor. (Fun fact, the other half of the Ninjas come in the Skull Sorcerer's Dungeon, so if you get both of those sets then you get a full team of ninja!) The new armor and helmets are interesting, and while Nya and Jay have neat torso designs, Kai's feels a bit bland with just a giant emblem. Printed shields are a plus tho. On the bad guy's side, you have the Skull Sorcerer himself, with a detailed robe and a fancy special mask (built into the hat tho, sorry). The two black skeletons are identical and a bit generic, but hey it can help build up your skeleton army. In the end, I'm not quite sure if this is the most worthwhile set. The dragon is massive and detailed but is not exactly the best to display with it's lack of posability. (I might remove the front legs entirely and make it a Wyvern, but then it would be far too front heavy.) The figs are great, the landscape is meh, and the pieces are actually pretty good, with a lot of fun whites. (Not a while lot of new stuff that I could see.) A fitting dragon for sure. Anyway, more Ninjago stuff to come. Allow me to continue to scream into the void.
  12. I got a handful of Ninjago sets this last month, so I'll start out the new year by looking at some of the Ninjago "Master of the Mountain" sets from last year! First up: The Spinjitzu Burst spinner packs. More photos and videos on Instagram In case it wasn't obvious, I'm a sucker for exclusive Ninjago figs, and the various spinner packs are always enticing for their new figs, even if they are generally lackluster in the builds. This batch is another spinner you set off by slamming a lever, not unlike the Spinjitzu Slam sets from 2019. Unfortunately, only three were released, so you only get Cole, Kai, and Lloyd. This irks me, because as a completionist, I am now left without Jay, Zane, or Nya. (And like the Arcade packs only came with Jay, Kai, and Lloyd, and last year's Spinjitzu slam only featured Lloyd, Kai, Zane, and Jay. Nya seems to get left out of all of these packs.) (Plus I just caught up on the show, and only Cole actually does the Spinjitzu Slam, so what are Kai and Lloyd trying to do here??) The figs themselves are actually pretty neat, with elemental energy torso designs and new head prints. They also come with rounded straw hats, and when I got a red and black hat out of Cole and Kai, I was hopeful for a new green variant for Lloyd, but alas he only gets a boring silver hat that doesn't really match with his scheme at all. The spinners themselves are new. The central bit has a stud connection for the ninjas and then bar attachments on four sides, so maybe reusable. The various fins are crystalline and come in some neat colors, but the problem is they're only connection point is a bar clip... and I'm not sure how secure it would be in different bar settings. When you rubber band them together, they hold together and form a Spinjitzu tornado, and the rounded straw hats actually fill out the top nicely. The bases (and the main build) for all three sets are pretty much identical, with the only difference being the colored trans 1x1 piece decorations. The coloring fits in with the rock and lava style from the main sets, but it would've been nicer if it wasn't the same exact repeat three times; previous spinners have done their bases in different colors, why couldn't we have had that again? Anyway, the idea is you position the spinners on the base, slam down on the lever, and send them spinning. The results vary. You need to apply a lot of force to get them started, so anything half hearted just causes them to immediately slump over. If you can get them moving fast enough, the fins actually fan out as it spins, which is neat. Otherwise, it's a classic Ninjago top. Fun for a little bit, but replay value seems limited (I mean how long can you be entertained by spinners. They've pulled this gimmick off quite a lot and I'm sure it's getting old.) And, of course, there's no real display value. So overall. It's fun, and if you haven't gotten one of these before it could be nice to pick up and test out a bit. And some of the fin pieces could be nice to use in sets, and of course the unique figs are a draw. But unless you want all the figs, not really worth picking up multiple copies. (Alas, I am in the former, and will always beckon to the call of impulse spinner sets with unique figs.)
  13. Huh, I thought Lego Creator would've been the first, but Lego Island actually predates even that one. Interesting stuff. There's a lot of Lego video games out there; I'm curious if they'll eventually delve into some of the online games as well.
  14. More photos on Instagram. The first wave of Hidden Side was pretty great, but the second wave was lackluster. Designs improved again in the third wave, and I think the highlight is the Phantom Fire Truck. It goes for $59.99 and has 760 pieces, including some newer elements. Not bad. This reminds me of the upgraded school bus from last year. The front of the fire truck is well done and lots of nice details. In particular, I like the wheel guard designs they came up with here, very clever. Inside the cab also has a small living space with a computer monitor (sorry, no picture of that) but I did find the top a bit tough to take off; it tends to take too many pieces off when I do. The back of the truck looks okay, even if the blue turret is a bit of an odd attachment. But then suddenly the back shifts and a mech steps off the truck. And I'll be honest; I was only lukewarm towards the set until I learned about the transforming feature. The mech itself isn't super well proportioned; the leg joints are a bit clunky, to be honest. But the fact that the legs fold up and transform quite seamlessly into the back of the truck is cool enough to forgive all the other flaws. And, to be fair, the turret arms look pretty crazy, especially with the multi-layered disc design they used. The main enemy is this spindly ghost guy. His legs are made up of black vines attached to a standard base, but surprisingly he had a couple of poses you can put him in (even if some put him off balance.) And honestly, you don't often have a figure shaped like this, so I'll give them credit for being innovative with him too. The figs are a standard batch of the Ghost fighters or whatever; I'm not sure there's too much different between them here and their versions in the School Bus. You do get one spooky black fig, who has a neat transparent head. The new walking computer is a nice callback to Alpha Team. Speaking of callbacks, there are a lot of references to old themes in the stickers, but the most important one is the Hau. I always appreciate Bionicle references, and they may influence my decisions to buy these larger sets sometimes. Overall, this is a solid set with a good cast of figs and a fun transforming feature. And the pieces are good too. I haven't grabbed any of the other wave 3 sets, but I picked up this one because it looked the best of the batch and it does not disappoint. (And maybe there won't be any more Hidden Side sets next year, so it's worth getting this one to end the theme with a bang.)
  15. More photos on Instagram. I'm a sucker for Ninjago sets, and the new Skull Dungeons theme looks pretty crazy. I want some of the larger sets but don't currently have the budget for them, so I picked up the cheaper one earlier this year to get the figs and get into the theme. It's 401 pieces for $29.99, so not a bad value. So this small set doesn't appear to be any major location, but mostly builds a rock ledge with some steps leading up to it. That premise is actually kind of boring, if I'm being honest, but the bricks will be useful if I want to make more MOCs that use rockwork designs in em. The main trail of steps are connected to hinges so you can rotate them a bit; this is incorporated into attaching this set to the others and build up a massive board for some sort of game. The concept is interesting, but it doesn't really add a whole lot to this small set alone. The spiral stairs that lead up to the top of the rocks is a more interesting design; not unprecedented but still solid. The rock wall features some wooden panels and trans orange lava flowing by, which helps build up the scene. There's a small wooden fence on the top (where the black sword is stored, I guess) and there's a pulley system attached to a small cage. The cage is well done, but it does use techniques from previous sets (some in the Ninjago theme, although it also reminds me of Pirate of the Caribbean.) The back is mostly empty, but I think it's supposed to be the sleeping quarters for the troll. There's also a few torches utilizing the flame piece in trans green, which is a plus. There's a small side build that includes a stand for the character and three hearts which goes with the board game setup. Instead of a character, I put the new spinner on it in the photos. The new spinner piece is cleverly also a dice; it has a hexagon style build with one, two, or three dots printed; so you spin it and whichever side is facing up is your roll number. A fun way to incorporate spinjitzu into the game. I have a habit of collecting all the Ninja figs, and you get three in this set: Jay, Lloyd, and Nya. They're extra armored up here, with massive shoulder places and extra silver printing on their torsos. In addition to some standard weapons, they also have shields with dragon prints on em! There's also a sand green troll who wouldn't look out of place in a fantasy castle theme. Honestly, while this set has some benefits, it's pretty lacking, especially compared to some of the larger sets like the full Skull Dungeons or the Bone Dragon. It feels very much like a supplemental set to add onto the larger ones; it gives you a taste of the full theme at a cheaper price point, but doesn't quite hold up on its own. And yet, it has three Ninja, the new spinner, the fancy black sword, and the crazy green flame elements. I feel like if you can afford it, the larger sets would be more appealing.
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