Monthly Archives: January 2006

The Crew of the Pequod II

Names: Bartholemew O’Hurlahey and Mario Fratelli
Occupation: Captain and first mate of the fishing vessel Pequod II
Notes: Capt. Bart fancies himself the long-lost descendent of Herman Melville’s Capt. Ahab. He insists on carrying around a harpoon, even though they mainly catch herring, with a little cod and pollack thrown in. He also affects a limp, despite being in peak physical condition. Whenever he spots another boat on the horizon, he screams at Mario that it’s “the white whale!!!” and forces him to haul in the empty nets and give chase. Mario just sighs and rolls his eyes, muttering under his breath that Huckleberry Finn is a better candidate for canonization as the Great American Novel anyway… Sometimes when Mario is drunk, he gets angry at Capt. Bart and reminds him that Capt. Ahab is “fictional, you crazy coot!” He then breaks down sobbing that he misses his long-lost brother, who dresses in green instead of red.

Brick Journal Issue 3

Bricks in my Pocket has just posted the latest issue of Brick Journal, the magazine for adult fans of LEGO (AFOLs). There’s an article on the increasingly intriguing fan-created theme “steampunk” by local AFOL Dan Sabath, instructions for a cool mini V-wing, detailed pictures of Janey Cook’s awesome doll house, and lots of coverage of last year’s various LEGO events (Brickfest, NWBrickCon, and so on).

Thanks to VignetteBricks and Klasbricks for the heads-up as well.

Samurai Sedan Chair by Sumi-Handy’s Son

Japanese LEGO blogger Sumi-Handy posts his own LEGO creations, along with those of his kids. He recently posted a kago (which means “box”), an enclosed sedan chair in which important people were carried around during the Edo period (1603-1867):

The sedan chair is by Sumi-Handy’s son, but what struck me about this creation is the fantastic cedar tree Sumi-Handy himself added in the background. Very, very nice!

Serenity and Firefly Minifigs

Brickshelf user morgan19 recently posted several cool minifigs based on the wonderful (and short-lived) Joss Whedon TV series Firefly. That reminded me that I’ve been meaning to make my own.

Here we have the crew of Serenity:

Click the image above for individual shots of the characters (with accessories!). LEGO hasn’t released a female African-American head yet, so I couldn’t make Zoe.

Next, several other characters from Firefly. Left to right, Jubal Early, a “Two by two, hands of blue” guy (I only have one of these suits and two light-blue hands), and Adelai Niska:

Finally, a couple of characters from the movie Serenity, Mr. Universe and The Operative:

More Thoughts on LEGO Photography

I did a little experiment a couple weeks back because I wasn’t satisfied with the quality of my LEGO photography. In the process, I discovered that I have very specific ideas about what makes for good LEGO photography and Brickshelf posting practices. This is pretty long, so skip it if you’re not interested.

When you take pictures of your LEGO creations (or MOCs):

  • Use the right amount of light. It’s hard to see poorly lit MOCs, and over-lit MOCs are washed out and lack contrast.
  • Focus. If you accidentally take an unfocused picture, take it again before you upload it.
  • Unless you’re trying to be especially artistic, fill as much of the frame as you can with your MOC.

When you post your LEGO creations to Brickshelf:

  • Size down your dang pictures! There’s nothing more annoying than clicking a thumbnail and then getting about one eighth of the picture on your screen. Use the software that came with your digital camera, or iPhoto, or Adobe Photoshop, or The GIMP — something! — to output your pictures no bigger than 1024×768 pixels. (I like 425×318 for my minifig pictures because they fit nicely in this Blogger template.) If you want to provide high-resolution pictures of your MOCs, put them in a sub-folder.
  • Save your pictures in a compressed image format. Bitmaps (.bmp files) are uncompressed, and are a waste of bandwidth. Save your pictures in GIF, JPEG, PNG, or another “Web-friendly” format.
  • Give your files meaningful names. I know your camera might use something cryptic like DSC10416.JPG for its file names, but change them to something that tells your viewers what the picture shows, like spaceship_front.jpg or joevig_party.gif.
  • Control the order that pictures appear in your gallery by putting letters or numbers at the beginning of your file names. Numbers sort before letters, so if you want to use a specific picture for the folder thumbnail, you could use something like 00_spaceship_front.jpg. (I learned a cool trick from Antony Lau recently. Instead of naming new files you add to a folder by counting up, start with a number like 999 and count down! The new things you add will always appear as your folder thumbnail.)
  • Add a description and folder keywords when you create your folders. A description and keywords make it easy for other Brickshelf users to find your MOCs.

I’m sure I’ve missed a few things, so feel free to add your own thoughts by posting comments. :-)