One of Pluto – An experiment in uncontrolled building.

As LEGO builders we each find our own style in which we create. For myself I have always concentrated on the aspects of playability, so as a result tend to sacrifice aesthetics for function in many cases. LEGO has and always will be a toy for me. I wish I could categorize myself as a LEGO artist like many builders out there, but who am I kidding, I build this stuff to play with. Another side effect of this mindset is the tendency to disregard certain pieces of inspiration if I think the resulting model would be too fragile to play with. I can now use my sons as an excuse to perpetuate this habit, but honestly they do not impact my thought process because I want to swoosh and zoom my models just as much as they do.

Which leads me to One of Pluto, a piece of Maschinen Krieger concept art that I first saw years ago while perusing the internet for all things Ma.K (shortly after first being introduced to the genre by Tim’s early Ma.K stuff). The design completely intrigued me. It was so vastly different than anything else in the universe but somehow still fit in perfectly. Like all cool pieces of concept art I immediately contemplated the possibility of building it with LEGO. However, quickly dismissed the idea due to the clearly un-LEGO friendly shape.

One of Pluto

Well that was 6 or 7 years ago, and over that time I got up the nerve to take a crack at it. It was in fact during last Ma.Ktoberfest that I intended on building this, but real life got in the way and I never ended up starting anything. I still had my bag of dark grey boulders, which I ordered specifically for the project, set aside. So about a week ago I start fiddling with the parts. But I soon discovered that I had my mind too set within a controlled and symmetrical style of building. If I was going to be successful I had to completely change the way I normally build. Those that know me, know that my collection is in dire need of sorting, but for this project I think that fact actually helped. Because instead of going through a bin of parts looking for a specific piece, I simply rummaged through the bin and collected an assortment of pieces that I thought could work. So my starting point was a large pile of random dark grey bits and bobs (& my boulders). I knew that if I could get the general configuration of the bulbous abdomen figured out the rest would fall in place relatively easily. I experimented with several internal structures to get the right general shape with boulders, but again found myself concentrating too much on playability…I needed to admit to myself that this was going to be a display model only. Once I decided that, I quickly found a set up for the abdomen that gave me the right shape. But what totally surprised me was that once I used the assorted strings, hoses and rubber bands to add the detailing, they in fact held the boulders in place so well that it became super robust and easily swooshable. The upper ‘torso’ and head took a few tries as well, but were certainly simpler than the abdomen. I am super happy with the end result both in terms of aesthetics and playability. This will definitely be sitting on the ol’ LEGO shelf for quite some time.

In the end this build has made me realize that stepping back and looking at a project from a different perspective can be hugely beneficial. I took a fresh approach and actually ended up with familiar results.

Happy Ma.Ktoberfest everyone.

3 comments on “One of Pluto – An experiment in uncontrolled building.

  1. worker201

    Letting go of strength and rigidity can be a huge step in your Lego development – not only because it allows you to experiment, but also because it occasionally forces you to innovate strength and rigidity in ways you hadn’t considered before. I’ll usually let a model dissolve in my hands 2 or 3 times before I start looking for alternative methods.

  2. Mnemonyx

    It’s only once you let go of the conventions (good sorting, strength and rigidity, symmetry etc) and step back from your usual perspectives and approaches that creations like this can be properly realised.

Comments are closed.