Tag Archives: Novvember

Tardisblue’s Edgy Solar Strafer

Nick Trotta’s (aka Tardisblue) newest ship combines a superb color-scheme with incredible angles and a Vic Viper flourish to help finish out Novvember. The integration of the stripes into the wings and tail is wonderfully done, and the sawtooth edges on the forward struts give this ship a particularly aggressive look. Be sure to check out some of his other sweet ships, too.

Solar Strafer 3V

Novvember Vic Viper starfighter map

Even after the passing of Nate Nielson, Novvember still remained the month of the Vic Viper. This is evidenced by the 193 Vic Vipers from 88 builders shown in this starfighter map created by Pascal (pasukaru76). You can visit the Vic Vipers group on Flickr to see all these starfighters in detail.

Brickworld 2010 sci-fi collaboration displays

If you are attending Brickworld in June, you probably know that the theme for this year is space. More specifically, there are four collaboration displays designed to accommodate a variety of sci-fi creations. Here are the details:


The Space Frontiers display is a collection of space crafts and objects found in space. The guidelines are simple: if it flies or floats in space, then it has a place. You’re encouraged to build a stand for small or medium-sized creations so that your ships do not appear docked on the table.


The Renegade Planet display is dedicated to mechs and ground vehicles of the sci-fi genre. The overarching theme is a planet for outcasts who have built these mechs and vehicles to survive and conquer. You are encouraged to bring tan baseplate(s) that covers the area of your model. Feel free to build an outpost or other small desert structures.


The Vic Viper Fly-In display is a collection of Vic Vipers in memory of Nate “nnenn” Nielson, who passed away in April. There are many ways to build a Vic Viper, and there’s no shortage of inspiration from Novvember or the Vic Vipers Flickr group.

The Modern Warfare display is a collection of infantry, vehicles, and combat-torn buildings set in a sub-apocalyptic world based on the Modern Warfare video game. If you’re interested, there’s an active Flickr group that has everything you need to know to participate, including details on how to receive a free contributor’s pack from BrickArms.

Lastly, a huge thanks to Tyler Clites for creating the graphics for the first three space displays.

The best of nnenn: Novvember

If I had to choose only one legacy to remember nnenn by, it would have to be Novvember. Novvember is the month of the Vic Viper, and surely no one can forget nnenn’s daily debut of a new VV in November 2008. When I interviewed nnenn on this project, I began to appreciate the beauty of variations on a theme. I asked him when he would stop building spaceships, and he told me he would keep going until he has exhausted every possible configuration. I didn’t think it was possible, but neither did he.

The other side of Novvember that I will remember is the community participation that took place. The VV map below of everyone’s contributions for Novvember 2009 shows the extent of its success. You can see more at the Vic Viper Flickr group.

To celebrate the life and work of nnenn, don’t forget that there will be Vic Viper fly-ins at all the major US LEGO conventions this summer and fall:

You can ship a VV to be displayed or bring one in person. Please contact Keith Goldman if you’re interested (Legomankeith AT aol DOT com).

Be sure to join us in sharing your own thoughts on Nate’s online eulogy.

Farewell to a Legend: Mourning the passing of Nate “nnenn” Nielson

Over the last couple of months, Keith has brought us joy every Sunday with his interviews. Today, the burden of responsibility falls on Keith’s shoulders to bring us tragic news…

nnennIt is my unpleasant duty to report the passing of our friend and fellow builder Nate “nnenn” Nielson. Nate’s death was the result of an automobile accident earlier this month. A resident of Tekoa, Washington, Nate was a father, an artist, and a professor specializing in graphic design. Nate is survived by his beloved wife and two sons ages 3 and 8.
 
It is important to Nate’s family that he is remembered by our community, one that he took great joy in participating in. Above all they want Nate to be remembered as a devoted husband and father, and for us to know that his interest in the brick was inseparable from his love for his boys. Nate was notorious for his brevity, and when I was searching through his models, interviews, and comments for inspiration, this quote jumped off the screen:

“Ha! Spring break a week ago. Rainy day today. No friends. Two boys.”

Nate’s other great passion was teaching the principles of design and graphic art, something that should seem obvious to our community. It was Nate’s goal to encourage others and to push people to their creative potential. In our small corner of the universe, I think it is safe to say: mission accomplished, Nate.

LEGO Neo-Classic Space nnenn starfighterI didn’t know Nate very well, certainly not as well as I would have liked. We did however share a love of the brick, 70′s sci-fi and being a father. I always imagined I’d run into nnenn at a convention…that he’d slip out of the crowd on public-day looking like a dead ringer for Christopher Walken. In this fantasy he would walk up to my model on display and say something like:

“Guess what Goldman?! I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription… is more cowbell”.

I’ve always been a fan of Nate’s models, even when I initially disliked him in a superficial way for his heretical tendencies with my sacred bricks. In time I grew to respect him for his uncompromising stance and commitment to form over purist devotion. It was my distinct pleasure to interview nnenn last month, and in the process we exchanged some fun emails; I only wish I’d asked better questions.

You know a builder is big-time when he not only gets an entire scale named after him, but an element as well. Nnenn’s consistent level of quality and production since his debut in late 2006 is nothing short of extraordinary. I can say without exaggeration that Nate influenced a generation of builders, and even an old man or two like me. Nate had 1347 contacts on Flickr, 1347 students for a guy who loved to teach. I think time will prove that he taught us well.

For those of you missed it, James Wadsworth of LAML Radio conducted an audio interview with Nate last summer. Tom over at Masoko Tanga also has a wonderful interview with Nate on his site.

Missing Man Vic Viper Formation – BrickWorld & BrickCon

LEGO Vic Viper by nnennI’m organizing a fly-in style community build for the Brickworld 2010 fan convention in Chicago, and potentially at BrickCon 2010 in Seattle. Anyone who is interested in celebrating the life and models of nnenn is invited to bring or mail a small space-fighter in his iconic Vic Viper style to the convention. The vipers will be arranged in the traditional “missing man formation” common to air forces around the world.

Nate drew inspiration from his father who served the US as an F-16 fighter pilot, making the fly-in seem even more appropriate. So if you’d like to participate in the formation, contact me at Legomankeith AT aol DOT com for further details.

Guestbook

It only seems fitting to close this tribute to a legend with a word or two from some familiar voices in the community. The Brothers Brick and I invite all of you to add your thoughts to this memorial guestbook. There is no rhyme or reason to these first 20 fans; they are simply friends that I reached out to, to help make sense of Nate’s untimely passing. The one exception is Peter L. Morris, who contacted me after speaking directly with Nate’s widow and graciously invited me to participate in this tribute. Pete was closer to Nate than most of us, and his insights into Nate as a friend have been invaluable as we prepared this tribute.

Rest in peace nnenn, you’ll be missed.

Read the guestbook and leave your own comments after the jump: Continue reading

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

Victoria’s secret

Peter Morris LEGO ARX-02a Starfighter

In his latest Vic Viper, Peter Morris dispenses with minimalism in colouring and replaces it with all the gaudiness of a racecar. His ARX-02a Victoria’s Viper is loosely based on the 2009 Acura ARX-02a and the racing influence is a definite plus. It’s always a challenge to pull together this many colours but he’s managed with aplomb.