Monthly Archives: March 2010

Nate Nielson: Winter is a struggle and wind is my foe – Boilerplate & Beyond Vol. 3 [Interview]

Our third installment of interviews by Keith Goldman takes us into the mind of a builder that — let’s be honest — you either love or hate. Take it away, Keith!

LEGO Neo-Classic Space nnenn fighterThis week’s builder is known as “nnenn,” and should need no introduction if you’re a fan of science fiction models, or a follower of any number of groups on Flickr.

Nnenn’s name has become synonymous with both great building and controversy, beginning with his debut on Classic Space forum, where he managed to rile up more than a few purists with his tape, knife, and clone-brand components.

I take special notice of any builder who has fan-boys, if nothing else to make sure their army isn’t larger or more rabid than my own.

I met nnenn, as per his rather specific instructions, at the Palm Springs Wind Farm in Palm Desert, California: I didn’t actually see him, but we spoke through a grating at the base of a windmill. There was no small talk, we just talked about LEGO.

The Build

Keith Goldman: You always have interesting backgrounds for your creations. How do you select the background color for each model, and what sort of lighting do you use?

LEGO tank by nnennnnenn: I shoot everything outside by hand; winter is a struggle and wind is my foe.

The background posters are chosen for contrast: first, in value (dark for a light model, and vice-versa) or second, in color (blue for an orange model, etc.) I approximate the original color when digitally imaging so the model’s reflectives don’t look odd.

KG: Like many sci-fi builders, you have mentioned that your models draw inspiration in part from the “Terran Trade Authority” series of illustrated books from the late 1970’s. Is there any other go-to creative reference you consider when designing a model?

Terran Trade Authority concept artnnenn: I’m influenced by many things (including other builds) but I don’t have a dominant source of inspiration, nor do I keep a ready reference bank. Because seeing the same thing repeatedly tends to dull the awe, I purposely avoid perusing my muses (which is why I don’t keep ‘favorites’ on Flickr, incidentally.)

Though I am rarely at a loss for ideas, I do become unmotivated from time to time, so a few quick glances does more to spark my competitive side than provide fodder for new content.

KG: Do you purchase clone-brand sets, or is there a Bizarro-World BrickLink? If the answer is sets, which theme if any do you prefer?

nnenn: I’ve wished many times for a way to get clones by the piece (I’ve even contacted MegaBloks about it) but no, I resort to purchasing whole sets for just a handful of unique parts… themes don’t really play a part in my acquisition decisions. I’m holding out for cost-effective 3D printers.

More of Keith’s interview with nnenn after the jump: Continue reading

The Kollecta by Karf Oolhu

I don’t even know where to begin with how and why I love this crazy giant caped robot grim reaper scientist park stroller thingy by Fedde (Karf Oolhu). Obviously it made me think of a lot of things, intentional or unintentional. I especially like the contrast between the yellow flowers and the stark black of the Kollecta himself.

LEGO Karf Oolhu Kollecta

The future of LDraw?

A recent discussion at LUGNET raised questions about the future of LDraw in the fan community. Oddly enough I feel I’ve seen a resurgence in LDraw work recently but of course like all of us I tend to see what I want to see so I figured I’d throw some questions out to a wider audience.

... The first question is, obviously, have you ever heard of LDraw? And if you have do you know what it is? Have you ever considered using it but decided against it? If so why? Did you know the parts are all designed by volunteers?

To quickly give an overview it’s a CAD system and associated library designed to let you build LEGO models on your computer. It’s not the editors (those are things like MLCAD, LeoCAD and Bricksmith) or the renderers (like LDView) but the system all of these use and the parts library. Like LDD but more versatile. All the pictures in this article are recent creations designed in LDraw compatible software.

...If you are a user I’d really like to know what you use LDraw for? Do you use it to document old models? To make instructions? To make nice pictures? To make things you don’t have the bricks for? To design models you later build in bricks? Other reasons?

...Personally I feel that LDraw has enriched my LEGO hobby immeasurably and I am constantly thankful to all the volunteers who have dedicated their time to making it such a good system. I don’t ever want to see it die a slow death and I don’t think I will. I would, however, like to know what a newer and broader audience thinks.

So please, comment here, on LUGNET, or on flickr. But please do comment if you are remotely interested.

Image credit to, Tyler Clites (legohaulic), Mike Pianta (scruffulous) and Robin Chang (GreenLead) from top to bottom

One man LEGO ninja weapon museum

Aaron Dayman (Aaron :-)) has raised the stakes in the classic-castle medieval weapon challenge with this entry. Aaron’s arsenal of of ninja weapons includes nunchaku, shuriken, caltrops, tekagi, fukiya and smoke bombs.

LEGO Aaron ninja weapons

I’m really looking forward to seeing these in the Big in Japan display at BrickCon 2010. Maybe we should put together an entire brick built weapon museum?

Amazon sales include 20-30% off on LEGO Star Wars

UPDATE: the sale on the Clone Walker was short lived; it is no longer valid.

Good morning Amazon! Today you can find some decent sales including the soon to be out of production 8014 Clone Walker Battle Pack for $8.54. In addition, the 8086 Droid Tri-Fighter has been further marked down to $17.54. I take my words back, but I still abide by the belief that these sales could end at any moment.

Unfortunately, you can only buy up to three copies of each, but that’s enough to qualify for free shipping on your order.