Bisonfuehrer‘s Vic Viper for the Missing Man display at BrickWorld 2010 has pink bubbles that remind me of a bubble eye goldfish. It’s one of the most innovative space creations I’ve seen in a while; the use of the onion dome certainly tops the chart for creativity.
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.
This Vic Viper was the first that nnenn has shown us at the start of 2008. I had to learn that this starfighter came from the the 1985 Gradius games. The player controls a ship known as the Vic Viper in this scrolling shooter, which you can actually play here. Thanks to nnenn, just about every active Lego builder on Flickr now knows what it is.
Be sure to join us in sharing your own thoughts on Nate’s online eulogy.
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!
This 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.
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?
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?
nnenn: 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
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.
Andrew Lee is calling it the Raptor. I call them T-Rex parts. I expect that everyone will call it awesome.
I’m sure I’m going to have to do a round-up post at the end of the month with all my favorite Vic Vipers. In the meantime, I couldn’t resist posting one that I just saw.
Stefan (Brainbikerider) has a pretty different take on the Vic Viper shape. His ship is a lot less pointy than most, and barely has wings. It’s also great. He’s done some great color-blocking and used stickers impeccably.
Once again I find myself with more neat stuff to blog and no time to do it all justice. At least I added names this time. Does anyone else find the new version of flickr really frustrating for obtaining image deeplinks?
I’m digging the one below by legodrome, and I’m sure there will be many more nice fighters to come. I feel that the black stripes on the front are rather sharp.
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.
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.
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?
Previous interviews on The Brothers Brick: