Nick V. (Brickthing) builds at 9 o’clock, if you judge by the stately grandfather clock in the corner of this room of inspiration. Meant to represent all the different places Nick draws inspiration, the room is packed full of references to online communities and fellow fans who focus Nick’s creativity. Look closely, and you’ll notice that even the landscape outside the window is brick-built – something on which it would be incredibly easy to take a shortcut.
The last stage of the sci-fi theme month trifecta is upon us. And NnoVVember is the original theme month. Started in 2008 by the late great Nate “nnenn” Nielson as a personal challenge to post a Vic Viper starfighter from the Gradius video game series for each day of the month. The challenge has continued each year since, and evolved into a yearly tribute to Nate since he passed away tragically in April of 2010.
Well this year is no different and we want to see everyone’s contribution to the monthly build challenge. However, after some discussion in the Vic Viper flickr group, we want to make sure that everyone brings their A-game. The whole premise of these theme months is to challenge people to build things that they otherwise may not have. But it appears that they are starting to become just an excuse to try and get your build on the final poster/map. Now don’t get me wrong, seeing people building, no matter the quality is great. But it does appear to be a trend in seeing submissions, that quite often by the builders own admission, are sub-par. People are rushing to either get as many builds as possible submitted, or scrambling at the last minute to get something added.
I saw this a lot during the Ma.Ktoberfest challenge, where people continuously posted builds and admitted that they didn’t really think they fit the theme and typically that they didn’t even fully understand what the theme was. I felt rather elitist when having to edit these submissions out, but at the end of the day, the information is out there. I know myself and the other organizers get a lot of satisfaction out of hosting these sorts of events, introducing people to a new theme and challenging them in their building. But if they are choosing to not look into the plethora of background information provided and/or interact within the group to learn from the active members, then that is no fault of my own. Rest assured that there is never a shortage of high quality builds, but I see this as somewhat of a slippery slope and I certainly don’t want the trend to continue and in turn discourage others from participating in the future.
So with all that being said, for this year’s NnoVVember let’s honour Nate’s memory the best way we can, let’s see Quality over Quantity Nate always gave us top quality builds, so we should do the same for him.
With over one hundred entries and over 11,700 studs worth of LEGO spaceships built, I think it is a safe bet that SHIPtember was a huge success. Checkout all the winners in this thread. And vote for your People’s Choice winners in this thread
Also be sure to to check out the massive full size poster at 10px=1 stud. Big props to Josh Derksen for making the rockin’ poster. And of course humungous internet high fives to brainchild Simon Liu for hosting probably the most epic monthly build challenge in flickr history.
As some of you may be aware, a group of fans dubbed the month of September “SHIPtember” and challenged builders around the world to create SHIPs (Seriously Huge Investment in Parts, aka a spaceship over 100 studs in length). We’ve been highlighting a few of the best SHIPs as they’ve come out, and we’ll continue to do so as we see ones that catch our fancy. Some builders, however, decided that mere photographs couldn’t suffice to show the awesomeness of their SHIPs, and just had to swoosh them around. Swooshing is the science of picking up your creation and zooming it around making engine noises. It’s a highly technical and very serious business, and serves the purpose of demonstrating how sturdy your construction is. Laser sound effects are optional. SHIPs, due to their size, require extraordinary engineering to be lifted in such a manner. Check out these great demonstrations by Jacob Unterreiner (4estFeller) and our very own Tromas. You can also browse through the 95 SHIPs built by fans in the last month–a ridiculous number of top-notch models.
(don’t try this at home, kids)
Well if SHIPtember has taught me anything, it’s that it will be one tough act to follow. Gargantuan spaceships of all shapes, sizes and colours have been created throughout the month. So what better way to segue in to Ma.Ktober than a Maschinen Krieger themed SHIP.
Now, I use the term ‘SHIP’ loosely here, because let’s be honest, it is basically a giant space barbell. But it did drain me of most of my 2×2 white tiles, curved slopes in both dark grey and white and did reach the 100 stud minimum length requirement. Also it swooshes like a dream, so I’ll give it a pass just this once.
But really I am not here to talk about my SHIP, I am here to tell you all to set aside your technic beams and large plates, pick up your curvy bits & bobs and get ready to make sweet sweet Maschinen Kriegery goodness. And not wanting to break with tradition my friend Victor Vercesi designed an absolutely amazing piece of work based on some of my Ma.K models. Again the design is available on Victor’s Society 6 Shop or his Redbubble Shop to buy on T-Shirts, Art Prints, phone cases, stickers etc.
So if you aren’t played out from all the SHIPing, pop on over to the Ma.Ktoberfest 2013 Bierzelt and join in on the fun.
Following the acquisition earlier this year of Bricklink.com by gaming mogul Jung-Ju Kim, Bricklink has begun to make changes to their site in anticipation of a complete site overhaul. One of their first steps has been to roll out a new ToS. Bricklink appears to also be claiming the exclusive rights to the common naming system for LEGO pieces, through threatening legal action to competitors. This is intended to protect Bricklink’s market dominance from newcomers like Brick Owl. It is natural that Bricklink takes reasonable steps to protect its interests, but they may have stepped too far with this claim. Our friend Tim Johnson over at The New Elementary has an excellent write-up covering the issue.
The Starfighter Telephone Game was started over two years ago and now for the first time a round has been completed. The game works just like the grade-school game from which it got it’s name. Someone starts off by building a starfighter and ships it to the next player, they keep it and build a new fighter inspired by the previous. Game carries on until the first player receives the final fighter.
With three rounds underway and dozens of builders spread across the globe, I think it is safe to say that the game is a success (even with a few delays and hiccups along the way).
Mark Stafford just posted the pictures of the final version of the starfighter for his team (which I was lucky enough to be a part of). All I have to say is that Mike Yoder is a lucky boy to end up with this thing.
Mark also did up a quick video showing the progression of the design from start to finish.
Mike just did up this edit of the linear progression of each version. It is very cool just how much it changes from step to step.
With the success of the R-Type Build Challenge we have continued with a new challenge for this month. But I am here to talk about what will be going down next month. The month of July is all going to be about nnenn, a builder whom is probably one of the most influential ever to have graced the interwebs. Sadly it has been just over 3 years since he passed away. But despite that fact, his work continues to inspire new builders to this day. So we thought it would be fitting to pay tribute with our 10th monthly build challenge…
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to select any of nnenn’s countless starfighers and build a tribute fighter based on the design. Whether you want to build a copy with a fresh paint job or a redux with your own personal twist is entirely up to you.
Rules will be simple:
-Running July 2013
-Build a tribute fighter based on/inspired by one of nnenn’s models
-Post a link to the source fighter in your description
-Of course, cut, modified, and clone parts of all shapes and sizes are acceptable, if not encouraged
-Don’t be afraid to use colour…nnenn certainly never was!
-As always we will allow renders, but I strongly encourage you to build with actual bricks for this challenge
So for next couple of weeks I want you all to pour over nnenn’s photostream and get inspired, because we need to make this the greatest monthly build challenge yet! (Of course be sure to set aside enough time to build your Thunder Force fighters too…)
I know you are all going to say, “Stick a Megablok in your pie hole Tromas!” But I simply must beat this dead horse: Our community is rather fantastic!!
Case in point Simon Liu’s (Si-MOCs) Operation Oscar: Phase 1. Simon built this large scene to honour a few of his favourite builders, those that inspired and influenced him. Simon left it up to us, the viewers, to recognize who those builders are, but it is rather obvious just who the guilty parties are…all of which are TBB regulars; Fedde (Karf), Peter Reid, and of course our own resident DJ, The Goldman (or as I like to affectionately refer to him, Gold Member).
Now it must be pointed out that Gold Member’s influence on Simon’s build is quite prominent, as the general layout of the launch base is straight out of his ‘Gypsy Queens, you are clear to launch’…a hit single that Keith debuted 2 weeks ago. Now if I have learned anything from my time spent kickin’ it with Gold-Member in the TBB club house, it is that despite his epic awesomeness, he is not one to toot his own horn. So I am more than happy to cut into his weekend air time and toot his horn in his stead. So here it, the world debut of ‘Gypsy Queens, you are clear to launch':
Now, back to the brilliance of the community…not only is Simon’s creation inspired by his favourite builders, but Keith’s build was a direct result of a few more of our regulars, Stijn (Red Spacecat) & Mike Yoder. I’ll just let Keith explain the story in his own words:
Almost two years ago I was fortunate enough to receive the generous gift of a MATSF-5000E Superbanshee II SE from Stijn. To make things all the more strange, the package was sent through middleman Yoder. Although I was stoked to receive such a swooshable fighter, I was a little burned out of building dioramas for starfighters. Over the course of the last couple of years I’ve attempted 3 relatively large scale dioramas, including a cruder version of what you see here. The models failed for various reasons, but mostly because I was struggling with the scale. While I have tried microscale before, it was never on such a large scale and I found it very difficult to grind out the small details that make everything come to life without the trusty minifig to guide me.
The model also includes Stijn’s recent M28-Pig in the pen, as it were, in the lower left hand corner.
So cheers Stijn! I hope it was worth the wait.
So what is the moral of this story you ask?
Don’t think for a second that just because oceans and continents separate us, that we can’t still get together to play LEGO!
Also, please be sure to check out the full set of pictures for both of these brilliant creations, there are simply too many details to pass up:
With nearly 70 entries in the R-Type & Beyond Build Challenge I think it is a safe bet that the month was a huge success. There was a brilliant diversity of designs and scales, yet all entries were totally reminiscent of the R-Type style. However, it appears that a few builders were saving some lovely surprises for the last day…
Curtis Collins builds, in my opinion, the most ‘classic’ looking model of the month, and his spray painted canopy and use of a toy ball commandeered from his son for the Force Pod are just the sort of creative twists we love to see in the Starfighters group.
Stefan Schindler is no stranger to starfighters with beautiful angles, but his R-Type Ampulex definitely wins this month for coolest colour scheme.
Simone also builds a classic looking R-Type with wonderful lines, but this time in midi-scale.
So thanks to all who participated, it was very great to see such great quality builds throughout the entire month. Keep an eye out at the flickr group for future monthly build challenges.