Monthly Archives: November 2008

Interview with Nnenn on Novvember [Interview]

During November, Nnenn ambitiously set out to present a new variation of the Vic Viper each day of the month. While the LEGO fan community on Flickr has known Nnenn to be one of the most prolific builders, no one has ever seen a builder post one new medium-sized LEGO creation for each day of an entire month. In the end, Nnenn did it; the result was “Novvember.”

In this exclusive interview with The Brothers Brick, Nnenn shares his thoughts on the project and how he managed to get everything finished without losing his sanity.


This fighter map from Nnenn shows all 31 Vic Vipers unleashed during November.

The Brothers Brick: What gave you the idea for Novvember?

Nnenn: Novvember came about as an effort to populate the Vic Viper group Peter Morris and I created on Flickr. We had each built and contributed a few VVs (based on the Gradius shmup series) to the pool but then came a period of stagnation. Since I have little tolerance for the myriad of unnecessary (or redundant) community groups, I felt something had to be done to warrant its existence. Dedicating a month to the cause, and the play on its name, is a carry-over of something I’ve done with my family for some time: we have such things as ‘Fun Friday, Special Breakfast Wednesday’ etc.

TBB: How long was the planning process? Had you been building Vipers before the start of the month or did you build all of them during November?

Nnenn: The idea began to germinate some weeks beforehand and I began building VVs about mid October… so I had several done before the official month began. The ‘official’ announcements were simply fun afterthoughts that helped garner momentum.

TBB: Describe your thought process on coming up with so many variations of the Viper.

Nnenn: During a ‘slow’ time on a visit to my in-laws, I remembered what Peter had said in his LAML interview about sketching ideas before building (something I rarely do) so I picked up a pen and covered three sheets with starfighters… most of them with dual forward prongs. Many of those became the basis for later models (the original paper is now fairly ragged with use); the rest came about by my usual method of fiddling with piece combinations.

TBB: What was the most challenging part of the whole project from start to finish?

Nnenn: Getting a model posted every single day was, by far, the most difficult aspect of the project. Many times during the month I thought about refining or making changes to whatever I was building but couldn’t because I needed to be moving on to maintain my ‘daily’ goal. So quality definitely suffered (as some have noted) but overall I’m pleased.

Years ago, I learned the tremendous educational value of completing many small projects over laboring over a single work for eons: An illustration professor I had would assign his students the task of developing twenty or so thumbnail solutions to some visual problem. When we presented our ideas, he would demand thirty new and unique sketches, declaring that our first attempts would always be the weakest and the least innovative. He said it wouldn’t be until number fifty or so that we would be forced into completely new territory. I wonder what Novvember would produce if we had four more weeks…

TBB: What are your opinions on the public’s reaction, and what do you think of the other builders’ contributions to Novvember?

Nnenn: I predicted we’d initially have a handful of contributors and then see several more trickle in throughout the month. But I never worried about generating interest… I was too focused on doing my part, so-to-speak. The results, however, have been both surprising and wonderful: a ton of participants have helped my initial jesting about a flood of VVs become reality. A few with short attention spans have complained or thrown around some negativity but those types are inevitable and besides, nothing was done with malicious intent.

TBB: Name a few of your favorite Vipers from both your builds and those by others.

Nnenn: Though I’m not one for favorites, I actually went back and spent some time perusing the pool… but I found myself picking out positive aspects from them all. So go pick your own!

TBB: Do you have any plans after NoVVember?

Nnenn: Right now I’ll build anything but a VV; I guess I’m a little spent. Doing more variations might push me but my investment in the hobby is more grounded in fun than in work, so I’m done… until next time.

TBB: What are your overall thoughts on how everything turned out?

Nnenn: Funtastic.

Previous interviews on The Brothers Brick:

Tower of torment

Tyler Clites (Legohaulic) deals pain in his latest wonderfully imaginative creation depicting an ominous torture tower nested precariously on a barren rocky landscape. As usual, there’s always new techniques and details to be seen for the first time by all of us in Tyler’s new creations. Note the dead trees featuring black droid arms and hand pieces and the slanted effect of the tower sections.

Announcing the FBTB Star Wars Christmasification contest [News]

FBTB announces a much overdue Star Wars contest since their previous popular Steam Wars contest almost a year ago. Nevertheless, the new contest looks to be an exciting one, where participants must add a touch of the holidays into a Star Wars vehicle or build a vignette that blends both themes.

The contest ends on December 20th and there are prizes for first and second place winners in both categories. Check out more details here and start building! Do or do not, there is no try ;)

The Siege of Ung’Thol

The sixth Colossal Castle Contest on Classic-Castle.com is certainly yielding some great entries this year, including this excellent siege scene by tiberium_blue.

The smoke trailing behind the fiery projectile is hard to miss, but the tiled walls are also something I hadn’t specifically noticed before, though it’s not the first time tiberium_blue has used it.

Don’t miss the full Siege of Ung’Thol photoset on Flickr.

“Turkey” Tactical Response and Combat Enforcer by Adrian Drake

Our focus here on The Brothers Brick is new creations (unless we’re fooled on Brickshelf, as we sometimes are). Nevertheless, classic creations come to our attention now and then that predate the blog and absolutely deserve broader attention.

Adrian Drake (Brickfrenzy) has been posting pictures of older creations on Flickr lately, and my favorite so far is his turkey mecha:

Click the picture for Adrian’s history of this creation, and check out the gallery on brickfrenzy.com for more pictures, including shots of the turkey with all weapons deployed.

Oh, and a belated “Happy Thanksgiving!” from me, too. ;-)