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About xccj

  • Birthday 11/04/1988

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  • 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. xccj


    Oh hey someone else is doing NaNoWriMo. Don't see that too often in this community anymore. What's your username so I can stalk you follow your progress?
  2. I liked Kazi, what he lacked in articulation he made up for in style. Av-Matoran / Agori / Stars sets were all pretty awful IMO. Clunky single mold bodies and limbs that lacked the aesthetic of early sets and the mobility of newer designs, and happened to be in the era of weak joints while they're at it. Some of the canister sets were less than the others. The Nuva and Bohrok Kal suffer from being inferior recolors when compared to the originals, but they could still hold up on their own. The Hordika, however, only ever contributed the Hordika skull limb piece to the theme. And I was less than impressed with Gali Mistika and Matoro Mahri. Plus, let's be fair, outside of the golden Ignika mask, the large Toa Mata Nui was a mess. Not to mention that a lot of the System playsets from 05-07 were far from great. I dunno which one I'd classify as the absolute worst. Probably an Av-Matoran design. Maybe Radiak or Atakus. Zesk gets a free pass tho, 'e's alright.
  3. Heh, there's a name I haven't seen in a while! Hello! Think we have the BZP 20th birthday coming up soon.
  4. In an effort to procrastinate and put something else off, I spent a little bit of time throwing this joke together. It's some entry fodder anyway, haha.
  5. Based on BS01 it sounds like the mask was only good for water; I recall somebody asking about this before and it getting shot down by Greg. But let's be honest, of the six original Toa masks, the Kaukau got the least amount of attention, with the only presented use of it on BS01 being attributed to only a semi-canon book. Part of it is that the power is passive when a character is underwater, and it's also far less showy than levitation or shielding. There are plenty of ways the Kaukau could've been actively utilized but the story just never seemed to care. (Heck, in 07 when there was a big deal about needing to breathe underwater they still didn't refer to the mask.) So canon wise it's really hard to tell what the limitations of the Kanohi could be because it was just never used. (Of course, BS01 says something about time limitations and inability to handle difficult pressures, although this was a retroactive explanation from a reference book released years later.) It was one of my favorite masks so it was always disappointing that it got so little use in the stories. Having the Kaukau work as essentially an air tank would make it particularly more useful indeed. And given some of the multiple uses of other masks, it seems like it wouldn't be an unreasonable extension of the mask's power. But if the power is only to extract oxygen from water as opposed to having a reserve of breathable air, then water would be required.
  6. Teacup ride with off-color statues or nothing at all.
  7. Protodermic Kanohi were only introduced in the Krana-Kal battle packs of 2003, likely as incentive for people to keep buying them even if they had all the other Nuva masks. If these packs were indeed from 2002, then it's to be expected that none of them were Silver. I don't think there were ever any crossover between krana types. Early 2002 has generic krana and gold/silver Mata masks, late 2002 had generic krana and Nuva masks, and early 2003 had krana kal and Nuva masks with potential for silver. At least, that's how the boxes that sold in the States worked. Interesting analysis tho.
  8. xccj

    Musings of an old man

    There was a ridiculous amount of celebrity worshipping that seemed to happen on the forums way back then that's really awkward to look back on. Combination of us being young and socializing the internet also being fairly new, I guess. From what I remember, you were always a cool and funny member. Glad to hear you're doing alright IRL!
  9. Metru Nui Mosaic by Jason, on Flickr Metru Nui, the City of the Great Spirit, the City of Legends Introduced in 2004, Metru Nui was the original home of the Matoran and the setting for both the 04 and 05 stories, and remained a focal point for Bionicle Gen 1 universe. This is created using the pieces of 31203 World Map. Well, not entirely; the additional dishes are pieces I added separately, and the set was short by about 100 coral tiles, so I needed to buy some more of those... but the majority of this model comes from the one set. When the World Map was first introduced, I immediately know I wanted to recreate one of the Bionicle islands with it. But, alas, a couple of different people beat me to remaking Mata Nui, so I decided to go a different route. Figuring out the backgrounds was a challenge with most of these map designs, because the oceans were what the colored tiles were meant for rather than the land. Some of the ocean designs I've seen have been just too chaotic, so I wanted something that was a little cleaner but still relevant to Bionicle. And as it would be, 2004 Metru Nui was associated with six Kanoka symbols for each Metru that would be simple to recreate and not too parts intensive. Each Kanoka symbol was made using two colors based on the selection from the set. Some of them were trickier to choose from than others. I was originally going to place them in a solid grid, but unfortunately that meant the ones in the middle would've been mostly covered by the island, so I moved them all around a bit so the defining details could all be clearly seen. This did leave a small gap around Ga-Metru, so I added a UDD symbol to fill in the empty space. The island is mostly made of white studs, but I wanted to make sure I included enough details to make Metru Nui stand out from Mata Nui, since the island shapes are very similar. Metru Nui is distinctive because of the many canals, chutes, and buildings. The canals were added using teal as the primary water color and shows the clear separation of the six Metrus. Tan tiles are used to form the Chutes that interconnect the island, creating pathways from one area to the other. Various buildings and towers were also included, and I recreated these using white dishes and set their locations based on various landmarks off some of the details maps on the island. Each Metru has a central hub facility that is slightly larger than the others, and the Coliseum rises out of the center of the island using a larger cone piece. This took me a couple of weeks to get the designs and colors selected. Then I waited until double VIP points to buy the actual set; after that it took me about five days of building sessions to put the full mosaic together, teasing it on Instagram as I went. I had to wait on a few separate orders to get the domes all finalized, but now that they're in I've got it all put together and photographed. (I mean, it's not the greatest photo, but it gets the idea across.) Since it's a fairly big and costly project, this one will probably stay together for a while and hopefully will show up at a few cons. It will most definitely be at BricksCascade 2022, and maybe I'll eventually fly it out to BrickFair. (It'll have to get broken down for transport but I think it's possible.) I'm fairly pleased with how it turned out. And for a quick summary, here are the colors I used: Ta-Metru: Coral and Medium Azure Ga-Metru: Medium Azure and Lime Po-Metru: Orange and Bright Light Orange Ko-Metru: Medium Azure and Lime (I'll be honest, I plan to switch the lime out for another color like Aqua, but I don't have the pieces for that yet.) Le-Metru: Bright Green and Lime Onu-Metru: Dark Blue and Coral Water: Teal Land: White Chutes: Tan Thanks for looking.
  10. Knew most of those buildings would be ridiculously overpriced. Aquarium was always of interest, and at least it's more affordable than the others. Fingers crossed that it doesn't have any issues making the cut. I do wonder how many AFOLs would go crazy for the big complicated buildings. Science Adventures also looks like a fun small set but I think it's going to get steamrolled in the competition.
  11. Oh no, I think that was the exact reason why they didn't advertise it; if you had known about the event, you would've put off your purchases and now they got your money but without the perks. And although a few places had predicted that the sale would be this week (and we didn't even get that estimate until a few weeks ago, so most of us were just assuming it would be sometime in October) there was no official conformation that it was happening until today... so yeah not advertised very well. I personally did put off getting the World Map set until today, and I've been waiting a couple of months now to grab that set... In general, Lego does a Double VIP promotion in October and April, although the exact times and lengths of the promotion vary from year to year. They sometimes do Double VIP for Black Friday too... or more specifically, VIPs get deals the week before Black Friday, and by the time the actual sales week happens all the good stuff is sold out. They usually have some decent gifts with purchase around that time of year too. The risky part is just because of worldwide supply chain disruptions, highly desired sales are selling out quickly, so if you risk waiting for a better deal then the item might not actually be available anymore when the time comes. Th pros and cons of trying to take advantage of LEGO deals, heh...
  12. So this is the end of my slog of prepared reviews to post. I got a plethora of new sets from the Summer release, so I’ll probably look into reviewing those in the coming days, but there’ll be more time needed so it won’t be like I’m spamming the blogs too much. Not that I think anybody’s really noticed or worried about that, anyway; it is kind of interesting that I used to gripe about all sorts of stuff here and now I mainly just stop by to post set reviews. I do miss the days when there was a ton of content in the blogs, but alas times are changing and people are moving to other social networks. And I’m just as guilty of it, especially because I’ve been taking these mini blog reviews and reposting them on BrickSet. I haven’t posted reviews on BrickSet in 8 years and they have a new system and everything. . . and yet I can skirt moderation because I posted so many CMF reviews (that were marked as helpful) there 8 years ago that I’m listed as a trusted reviewer. I still plan to do the big in-depth reviews on BZPower when I have the chance. . . which I ended up doing for the Ninjago Hydro Bounty last week. But I also like to give quick snippits on other sets without going the full mile I do for a front page review. . . and honestly nobody is seeing them here in my blog, but they might reach an interested audience on BrickSet, who’s inventory of sets remains one of the best on the web. (Their opinionated member base in news comments. . . that’s a different story.) Too bad they don’t seem to allow embedded Instagram photos, which is where I’m posting most of my picts for now. Of course, here’s the main event… 265 pieces, $29.99 More photos on (where else?) Instagram! This was not a scene I was expecting to be made into a set. But given that Korg and Miek don’t really show up a whole lot of places, so it’s hard to find a set for them to fit in. Something from Ragnarok, like the jail cells or rainbow bridge battle? Boring or already done in a previous set. They showed up in the final battle of Endgame but were basically just cameos, so if you’re going to get them in a set, might as well be in the one scene they were solely featured in. And so thus we get Thor’s messy room, also known as “it doesn’t look that bad compared to my place, heck you can even see the floor in places!” First the figs. You get three characters that are all exclusive to this set: Bro Thor, Korg, and Miek. Bro Thor / Fat Thor shows him without a shirt and with a big belly, whose printing overlaps onto the hips (although the coloring isn’t great.) It’s about the best you can do to showcase a chubby stomach in printed form; I would be tempted to suggest that they’d actually make an additional molded piece to create a 3D belly, like the fat-suit that Chris Hemsworth had to actually wear. . . but I guess that would be going a bit far for a humanoid minifig. The head and hairpiece are reused from the other Thor figs in sets this year. Next up is Korg, who is wearing a festive tan skirt with his rocky abbs visible beneath it. I think the headphones he comes with are supposed to be because he’s a gamer now. His rocky hair piece is exclusive, I believe, and does a good job of recreating this character as a fig. Miek was a bit more abstract of a character, so he only gets a printed minifig head atop a few studs. The flower studs give him some added texture, but he remains quite simple. The main room is pretty cluttered for a LEGO model but has a lot of fun details hidden around it. Pizza boxes litter the house, you have stuff like a frying pan, a whip, a pitch fork, an ore, and a shovel stashed on the walls. There are seem to be two boat models; one on the shelf above the couch and one above the fireplace. (Maybe they’re supposed to resemble something else, but I see them as mini sail boats.) Strangely, there’s a barrel next to the fireplace that contains trans yellow tiles. This is obviously supposed to be ale, but I find it kind of weird that alcohol is included in a LEGO set in such a way. Maybe officially it’s labeled as lemonade? The couch is the most interesting build of the bunch, featuring a few SNOT techniques to create the cushions. And then you have a lot of detailed stickers hidden around the model. The TV (nicely placed at an angle) showcases the video game, where Korg seems to be a playable character due-wielding Stormbreaker and Mjolnir. Noobmaster is making some comments on the side, and you even see the stud score at the top of the screen, representing many LEGO video games, even if that’s not exactly what they were playing in the scene, heh. (It was Fortnight, right? I dunno, don’t really have the time or budget for games like that.) I don’t know if the number for the score means anything, it’s too long for the set number anyway. A newspaper clipping is included talking about the blip. . . obviously New Asgard is old school if they’re still using print newspaper. Somebody needs to build them a website. The best sticker is the photo of Thor, Valkyrie, Korg, and Miek attached to the wall, a nice memento of their previous adventures. Once you’ve removed all the clutter, the room itself is extremely basic. The walls use a mixture of different textured bricks to give it a rustic look, and there’s a little stove in the corner. A fun bit of the design is cookie tiles and pizza slices are placed on the floor under other items like the couch, showing just how messy Thor has let his place become. The exterior looks remarkably plain, but the door does open to let you in, even if the ale barrel blocks you from entering too far in. There’s also a small signpost for New Asgard that’s supposed to be set up outside the room. (Full disclosure; in the photos you may notice I’m missing one of the dark tan windowsill pieces. It felt to the carpet while I was building, my dark tan carpet that it blends into too well, and for the life of me I cannot tell where it bounced off to. So, alas, I moved forward without it.) I think the minifigures are the main draw to this set, and the other pieces don’t necessarily excite me. There are a few fun sand green elements in the couch, and the walls used a lot of SNOT and masonry bricks which could be useful. Oh, plus the angled door frame is here, which isn’t new but I still believe it’s uncommon. The printed pizza tiles and game controllers are also a nice touch. I could’ve gone without the treasure chest however; I’m not a fan of getting the bottom half but not the top half. It’s a solid display piece that captures a lot of nice details from the movie with some easter eggs hidden around. The characters are great, but there’s a pretty big lack of action features here, so not really a set for playability. I feel this is probably aimed to an older audience who want to collect the figs, but I’m sure any Avengers / Thor fans will appreciate this set for what it is. And honestly, at $29.99, it’s on the cheaper end of things too. I wouldn’t say that this is the set to represent the EndGame movie, but it will do a good job of supplementing your Avenger collection. (And besides, we all needed an Korg fig even if we haven’t admitted it to ourselves yet.)
  13. 593 pieces, $49.99 More Instagram photos here!! I don’t mind that this is not called the Slave 1, but I do have to admit that this ship has been recreated so many times that it’s fairly ridiculous. Heck, I even made a custom Bionicle build of this ship already. And yet, I don’t have any copies of the actual model, so when I found this for sale at Costco I just impulsively bought it. Now I can at least add another classic Star Wars ship to my display. The two figs are Mando and Boba. Both are highly detailed (although that didn’t come across in my photos… everybody keeps complaining when I use flash or shine lights on my figs when taking photos, but when I try a more natural light setting the end results are too dull and blurry and photo editing can’t help. Sorry, mini rant aside, sorry for the lousy photo quality.) In fact, Boba has almost too much detailed printing everywhere. (I did forget the visor, whoops.) While Mando has some fancy armor printing on his shoulders, because I guess he managed to level up. There’s also a sticker of a Gamorrean in carbonite. The scale of this ship feels like it is way down compared to other variations, but it’s far more affordable so I can’t complain too much. And still, I think the design and coloring fits the shape of the original nicely. I am very impressed with the angled design of the “nose” or whatever, and especially the use of the wedge plates to hide the edge of the angle; the flow works so incredibly well there! Fantastic building techniques. The dark red bits are a bit less elegant, but they include a new wedge piece]. (Well, not brand new, apparently it was used in the Slave 1 of 2019, but it’s new to me.) The curved dark green pieces at the wing joints are also new and flow together nicely. I was also surprised at the use of stickers on the rounded nose elements; I don’t know if I’ve seen those with stickers before, but they work nicely. The cockpit also includes seating for a fig facing both directions; I know some of the larger sets allow the seat to flip around when you rotate it, which isn’t possible here, so we get a lo-tech version instead. Really, the only part of the ship I’m disappointed with is the wings, which are kind of sparse with halfhearted greeble. How could they have been improved… I don’t know, those wings have always looked iffy on the sets. A secondary model is supposed to be some sort of support hovercraft. It’s generally kind of bland, until you realize that it doubles as a stand to hold the starship upright. It’s a simple design but I’m impressed by how well it works. A nice touch, making it a mild play feature but also a usable stand. Very nice. The biggest factor for this set is probably the fact that it’s a scaled down model of a starship that has appeared quite often. And I’m sure many adults won’t want to downgrade to this, because I don’t think it necessarily brings anything particularly new to the table in terms of the ship’s design. But I’ve never bought any of the other models, and the scale works for the X-Wing fighters I already have on display, so I like it. Plus, it’s a lower priced model for kids who are just starting their Star Wars collection, and the figs are crazy detailed. A decent set; maybe not for everybody, but worthwhile to plenty all the same.
  14. 506 pieces, $39.99 More photos on Instagram. Ninjago always has to do dragons, and I’ve appreciated how they’ve continued to crank out various fun designs over the years. The Jungle Dragon brings on a slightly revamped design but with a lot of teal, so what’s not to love? Also featuring the new Island / Jungle theme, so a new round of characters! You get four figs: Jungle Lloyd, Jungle Zane, PoulErik, and Thunder Keeper. The two islanders share the same torso design, with grass woven armor and lavender skin. Thunder Keeper has a brilliant looking mask, while PoulEric has two stacked heads, which is a fun concept. The new Ninja outfits include some new rugged textures, and Lloyd shows off his new hairpiece. Zane also has a little sailboat mini-build, keeping with the Ninja boat designs for the theme. It’s compact but still captures the same essence as the larger catamarans. The most interesting part of the build is that the dragon comes with a angled bend in the middle of its back, giving it an odd bent appearance that makes posing it a bit interesting. This also means that the legs, which are fairly short and lack elbow joints (per usual), don’t have a lot of range of motion; they mostly need to be extended all the way down to keep the dragon’s lowered belly off the ground. I’m not entirely thrilled with the design. On one hand, it gives the dragon a somewhat more canine and playful appearance, but I have not been happy with the posability of the whole thing. I don’t know the best ways to fix it either; the bend in the body could be on a joint, but the design is built around a rigid structure and adding another joint might be too weak to hold it together during play. The tail design is again loosely connected via technic axles, so it flops back and forth (which again makes it kind of dog-like.) The wings are also very bare-bones and difficult to pose well. The head makes good use of the new mold elements, and the attachment for the jaw does allow for the tongue to hang out, which just solidified the dog-ness of this dragon. I’m not super impressed with the build, to be honest. And yet, for all that it’s lacking, this dragon has character!. The head is very expressive, the few poses it can be in makes it look more playful and less intimidating than previous dragons, and the teal and gold color scheme works extremely well. So, in the end, I have to say that this dragon is indeed worthwhile. Plus, lots of teal pieces and some nice figs (including an exclusive Zane) meant that it was a must buy for me.
  15. 340 pieces, $24.99 More photos on Instagram. Ah, BrickHeadz, they’re still around and still remaking licensed characters. I generally don’t pick these up for the characters anymore and mainly get them for the pieces. But my roommate is a fan of the series so I got it as a birthday gift. But as I’ve discovered, while he likes displaying Lego, he doesn’t actually build with it, so buying him a new set just means he stashes the box away untouched. So I prebuilt these, and decided to take some picts and talk about them before wrapping them up. (If he asks, I’ll just say that Lego sometimes prebuilds the sets in the box. I legitimately made that joke to another coworker once when I gave him a blind bag where I’d built the mini set inside ahead of time… and he believed me for months before somebody spilled that I was pulling his leg. Haha, fun times in the office.) Alas, by the time I got to editing the photos the set had already been wrapped, so I’m stuck with a few blurry ones. If you look at it cross-eyed then everything else will turn blurry to match and they won’t look out of place; problem solved. Scrooge himself is a standard BrickHeadz design. He comes with his blue jacket with red highlights, and a printed brick on the front. He wears a neat top hat and includes a beak and some additional tiles and slopes to represent his feathers. Oh, and his has tiles to stand in as his glasses. Fun stuff. (I almost made a Scrooge BrickHeadz as a convention trophy a few years ago but instead opted for Darkwing Duck. I wonder how long before he appears as a BrickHeadz…?) One of the more unusual bits is the wedge plates used as his flipper duck feet, which seems a bit awkward to me, like his legs are sprawling out in an odd direction. But I guess they’ve used it for the other duck BrickHeadz before, so might as well keep it consistent. Scrooge has two tiles to showcase his shoes, making it a bit different. The triplets are all the exact same designs but with recolors… which I guess is how they appeared in the original show. (I very much appreciated that the new show took the time to give them each distinct personalities. The original show was a bit before my time and so wasn’t my go-to nostalgic childhood show, but when I rewatched some episodes and the three kids were basically interchangeable, it kind of annoyed me.) Anyway, they use the smaller 3x3 design with cool baseball cap designs and some rounded tiles on their face to replicate the designs used on Scrooge. They use the wedge plates as feet too, and it’s even more jarring at this scale. Also… the back of their heads are double plated, with a full white plate and then another layer of tiles. To me this makes the back of their head stuck out just a bit too far, and I think one layer of tiles would’ve sufficed. And there’s plenty of connections to allow for that, so the additional plate wasn’t necessary for stability. Scrooge also uses the double plate width on the back of his neck, but for his size it’s not as noticeable. Honestly, BrickHeadz designs generally don’t get too impressive, but these four characters are easily recognizable so I think the process worked for them. And lots of nice extra pieces too, and it was fun to have the colorful triplets included instead of just Scrooge. If you’re a fan of the show, I think they’re worthwhile. (I’ll have to update you on my roommate’s reaction; luckily he doesn’t read this blog [like everybody else in existence, to be sure] so he won’t have the surprise spoiled here.)
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