Sunday, September 14, 2014

Some Interesting Ideas

Pick of the Week

Pictorial Map of Europe
by mmbace

A lot of projects on Ideas seek to recreate everyday objects in LEGO, not as a model, but as a full scale implementation.  I have to admit I don't care for most of these projects as they fail to really embrace the potential of LEGO while retaining the effortless function of whatever device they profess to operate as. 

The most common execution of this, on Ideas, is LEGO chess sets.  While I love the Minifig Chess sets that LEGO produces from time to time, the array of brick built chess sets on Ideas rarely take into account the grip strength of the bricks relative to the playing board, space constraints on the board, and the complications it adds to an otherwise elegant game, not to mention the relative cost of a standard chess set.  Some claim the LEGO snap function makes their chess boards more portable, but if you want portable chess, I recommend you download an app rather than take something assembled from 100s of tiny elements that pop apart outside of your house... 

Ok, lets bring this back to the specific project presented here.  I like this project a lot because not only is it educational, fun, and well executed, but is also does not fail to incorporate the awesome aspects of LEGO while recreating an otherwise mundane device.

This project takes those clever maps that have little cartoons of local points of interest and actualizes it in LEGO.  So you have have an execution of geography in LEGO which is somewhat interesting but then it is paired with clever micro-builds to elevate the concept to the sublime.

It may be large (not sure where I would put this in my house...could I hang it?) but the ideas is certainly novel, well executed, and stands out in the crowd.

It should also be added that Mmbace has several other builds, mostly micro or aircraft related that are worthy of your review. 

Honorable Mentions

Record Store

There was a bit of confusion recently when a project posted last week looked very similar to this one.  Many, myself included, assumed RyanHowerter had revamped this great diorama to align it with a real world record store.  When this was posted a few days later it was clear that despite the similarities, Ryan was not assossiated with the other build.

Well, yes, despite the similarities in the builds, one could argue that most record stores do, in fact, look alike and therefore any builds would look similar as well.  With this in mind I contacted the record store associated with the other project to discus the origin of their project.

I never got a response but the project was taken down a few hours later so, I guess that has resolved lets talk about this build...

My review for this project is, is in many ways similar to last week's record store review.

 I will add however that one thing I have always loved about this MOC is its use of context.  All the "records" in this build are official LEGO decorated tiles.  Now, there are like, only one or two official record sleeve tiles.  One came with the disco CMF, and I think there might have been another....But if you look at this image, all these tiles really seem to belong.  I mean, if you told me, "Here is a tile with a picture of mug, some bread, and some cheese. I am going to use it for a record!" I would think, no way dude.

Ryan here has expertly re-contextualized all these classic images, transformed them into something absolutely different.

Car - Ombra La Volpe(Shadow of Fox) & Showcase

An impressive build of a generic classic car.  The pin striping on the side is a very nice touch as is the angled grill at the front.  The showcase booth is a creative touch.

This project does include a minifig even though this car is way out of normal proportions for a minifig car.  I am not sure if it is intentional, but the photos do a good job of masking the inconstant proportions by never actually showing the figure with the outside of the car and only in close ups when in the car.

Hiccup and Toothless

I love How to Train Your Dragon, both 1 and 2 and this is an EPIC MOC for the Toothless (the dragon).

Sure, the severed arms that form Toothless's head could not be more illegal a technique but it is just so lovely!  Look at those eyes!  I mean look at that's a freaking masterpiece! So very tightly packed...

The Chima flame sword is prefect too.

Sure, Ionix weird collapsing brick things were what we got for construction toys in Dragon 2 but perhaps the license will be over by the time Dragon 3 comes out.  Won't be the first time a license has changed over between sequels.  Additionally, I can't really speak for the success of the Dragon's line (other than being personally disturbed by the strange visuals of the harsh, sharp geometries with smooth organic dragon heads snapped on) but Ionix's Tenkai Knights were on some pretty severe clearances at the local Targets here in Austin.

Vintage Bus

Bigboy99899 has 32 excellent projects on Ideas.  If you like this gorgeous vintage build make sure to check out their other amazing builds.  Even if you don't you should check them out because they very from microbuilds, to calm gardens, to epic arenas.  Bigboy99899 is easily one of Ideas best, most diverse, and unfortunately least supported, creators.  

by mc2k13

Nighthawks(link to Wikipedia) is one of the most recognized pieces of American art and a personal favorite of mine as well. 

Would love to see this in Modular with a light in it.


Coca Cola shop
This is the highest Coke References / Brick ratio I have ever seen in a build.
The Secret of Monkey Island - Stan of Stan's P
Most projects overlook including an image of the source material.  This one thankfully does not, so even if you are not familiar with the subject you can appreciate the accuracy of the work.
Tournaments - LEGO
Interesting!  I would love to see this at a con
Catbus from "My Neighbor Totoro"
Very cute
Blue Collar Bricks
I assume LEGO is working on this or not interested.  The CMS expands into all careers it appears, and vignetting them is basically what they have explored on some level with the Research Institute, of course that also included the gender approach.

Medieval Satellite Module
by JanYap
I am sure you guys are tired of hearing me mention these projects but I really like they way JanYap thinks. 
Old car
Great car.  I wish I had more Fabuland parts.
Spinning Display Stand
If it moves: make a video, post to youtube, link to video
The SCT Drone
Nicely posable
Capitan Harlok's Ship
I really like the micro-ship + minifig combo that has been popular since the Star Wars Planets line

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Major Ironfist by Paddy Bricksplitter

Found this niffy steampunk mech by Bricksplitter on Rebrick

 I love these ginormous posable hands

 And the monocle and mustache are fantastic!

Bonus, Bricksplitter also has Mecha-Homer!

Some Interesting Ideas

Pueblo: Less Musical, More Legitimate

In early August this beautiful Pueblo project was published to Ideas.   I would have been excited to share this creative and expertly executed project but for one reason.  Where the horse rider now has a rifle, he had a classic acoustic guitar.

While it personally I would prefer a guitar to the portrayed rifle, the issue is that LEGO has never produced an acoustic guitar element.   The guitar was actually a third party element.  Ideas is not suppose to allow project that include non-LEGO elements, but sometimes a project flies under the radar.

I assumed that eventually, the project would get taken down for violating the guidelines but I am very glad to see that not only has Ideas allowed the project to be updated to remove the offending element, but has also just selected the project for staff pick.

Pick of the Week

Formula SPACE!
by jmathis

There is a particular type of project I love to encounter on Ideas.  I actively seek MOCs that embrace the history of LEGO but also revitalizes it, takes it in a new direction; builds like the Benny's Spaceship and the Exo-suit.  There are plenty of project on Ideas that reference old themes but rather than evolution most of these just show modernization.

This project, however, showcases what I am looking for.  First off, the project is, independent of any LEGO connection, well executed.  The vehicles have class and stand out from the normal "space fare," not just some random cobbled together ships.  But with the connection to LEGO history: classic space, Blacktron, and Octan, there is suddenly personality, nostalgia, and audience as well. 

Truly awesome!  I hope the FOL community can see past the low render quality and see this project for the full potential that it has.

While I believe three vehicles is an appropriate number for a set, a canny approach for this project might be to allow FOLs to vote on their favorite references, perhaps adding possibilities like the Black Falcons, Knight's Kingdom, etc...of course, if Jmathis is specifically attached to the presented themes, then stick with what you love.

Honorable Mentions

"Pathfinder" Recon Walker

This looks like an awesome mash up of the Exo-suit and a Star Wars walker.  Excellent scenery really helps to showcase the build.

Fair or unfair, it is going to be extremely hard for any grey, greebled out mecha to get out of Peter Reid's shadow for the foreseeable future.

Doraemon Fujiko F.Fujio 80th Anniversary commemora
by woontze

I am not terribly familiar with Doraemon, though I have seen the commercials on Disney XD and caught a few minutes of a couple episodes.  But, I don't really need any background to appreciate the attention to detail and production value that this project has.

The Doraemon figure is excellently executed, though technically I doubt the Maggie body would be available as an unlicensed element.  That of course does not prevent one from executing the project, more power to Woontze.

In addition to all the fine and accurate details, I really like how the windows are printed with an urban scene.  The mechanism for the transition to the time machine is also well done.    

GARAGE LIFE - Oldtimer VOLKSWAGEN "service and

With it appearing that LEGO is now in the business of making at least one large scale car a year, in collector quality details, this Idea seems quite attractive.

The only potential issue is that I assume the the high end vehicles speak to individuals...for instance, while I respect them all, I have not purchased any yet for myself, but if last week's Stingray comes out though...I will certainly be picking it up, and this would be a great way to display it.

Fans might have to support this project in anticipation of their favorite car coming out to pair it with.

GHOSTBUSTERS HQ Midiscale version

 Wow!  This is really impressive.  I can't believe the level of detail Orion Pax got into this scale.  The Ecto-2 is a brilliant touch.

Rough Trade Music Store

This project really showcases the impact of having the right prints.  If you imagine all the plates being blank this is a pretty simple build actually.  Not knocking the project at all, just pointing out that the right details really bring a project to life. 

Hazardous Materials Management Transporter
by Rojerty

This is a really fun design with some great play features.  I like the use of the "helicopter" canopy for a wheeled vehicle.

V/STOL Aircraft

I have a thing for tilt rotor aircraft so I am a bit conflicted about this project.  If I could buy this right now, as is, I certainly would.  Here is the catch though, it is clear this project is heavily inspired by the Boeing V-22 Osprey.  Some might argue that this project has just filed off the serial numbers.
So why not have this be an Osprey officially?  Well, the Osprey is a military vehicle and therefore not viable as an ideas project.  So this is a project for a generic tilt rotor aircraft and for generic tilt rotor aircraft that look like the Osprey, we already have the 60021 Cargo Heliplane set.

Now, I am not saying that Herodesignstw and Mybuild2013 should not try to get this produced, but it does, regardless of the evident quality of the MOC, find itself trying to get the attention of FOLs who have an available substitute in the stores.  

Combinators: Project Duotron

Eight micro build vehicles that pair together to form four different mecha/robots.  This one is rather clever with some intriguing designs.

X-15 rocket-plane

A quality MOC enhanced by an appropriate background image, a nice thruster effect, and a well placed title.  Well done.


Wedding Studio
Kissclassic has a great example of how a Modular can show great variety in a build while maintaining a cohesive theme. 
The Marquis
Abathar6 has some great projects that demonstrate how to make your space ships stand out in the crowd.  
Disney Lego Ratatouille: le bistrot chez Remy
The subject of a project should be immediately clear to the target audience.  This can often be accomplished by displaying a logo and a pertinent character.

To be sure though, these indicators should be placed so as to avoid awkward crops on thumbnails and when shared via social media for best effect.

White Rose
A nice piece of art.  I like it a lot.
Alice in Wonderland: a mad Tea Party
A very impressive MOC. 
Propeller Snowmobile
by Hajdekr
Really impressed with what Hajdekr did with the front wheel hub there. 
Datsun Roadster
This build has impressive curves for the scale.
Awesome MOC, but ideally this should have been uploaded months before the Guardians of the Galaxy come out in the US.  Although the film is an great ride, the hype machine for the movie has come and gone.

Now, there are international markets that have not received the film yet so Stickhim might just want to see about leveraging those.

Eliminator ZZ
by JWG258
If you like one-seater space craft with a lot of personality, JWG258 is the designer for you
Star Citizen Hornet
Very well done MOC.  Turbo kiwi has a tough job ahead of them though if they want to catch up with the current Star Citizen Hornet project
A Charlie Brown Christmas
A well done project, but like Scooby Doo, inherently limited by the inability to present a critical non-human character as the fans would demand.
Soviet Moonshot
by ikuzus
An interesting take on "real space" projects

On the Subject of Racers...

DC Superhero Racers
by Okay
If you like fun, themed racers you might also want to check out Okay's DC, Marvel, and Disney racers.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Helicarrier Takes Flight & Speculation on the Review Contenders

The Helicarrier in LEGO Ideas overtook the Marble Maze as the top project yesterday and is now less than 150 votes from 10,000.  This set is well paced to be the first project for the September-December Review.  The Helicarrier will also be the first project to reach 10,000 that was uploaded after Cuusoo became Ideas.

As this is not only a large project but probably the largest one ever to reach 10,000 in the history of Ideas, I will go ahead and include a link to my editorial on large scale Ideas projects here. 

Given that they can hold there current support rates, other projects set to join the Helicarrier in the upcoming review include:
The list is ordered by likelihood based on current projections but the review deadline is a long way off so some of these projects might fade away and other might pick up. 

For those of you who root for the underdog I gotta' point out that even though Piano is the 4th (soon to be 3rd) most supported project on Ideas, it is going to have a tough time reaching 10,000 in the 236 days it has left before Ideas dumps all the grandfathered-in Cuusoo projects.  Please check it out and give it a vote if you think it deserves to be reviewed by LEGO if not actually be included in your own collection.

A Great Campaign: Ikea Bookbook

This has nothing to do with LEGO but it does have to do with using a fun approach to your idea in order to get people to pay attention and more importantly, share the content, which is critical to any Ideas project.

Some Interesting Ideas


Reports appear to indicate that LEGO has overtaken Mattel as the biggest makes of toys in the world.

Note, as LEGO Ideas only had a very projects go up last week, this is actually a review of two weeks of projects: August 18th - August 29th. 


Pick of the Week

1969 Chevrolet Corvette

Could the pick of the week really have been anything else.  I think Brickdater puts it best with "coke bottle curves." This is a true work of art.


Honorable Mentions

Apollo 11 Saturn-V
by saabfan

This project is a fantastic demonstration of the production values that you need for a serious project.  The renders showcase all the details and the backgrounds for them set up and really sell the idea.  Imagery like the Apollo 11 badge integrated.

This kind of effort is what anyone should shoot for in any project.  In a project with as popular of a subject matter as the moon landing, you especially need these levels of detail to ensure that your project stands out.

Tractor 9530

Very impressive build which fantastically integrates the iconic green and yellow branding of John Deere.

Combine Harvester
by Hajdekr

Hajdekr is the LEGO Ideas leader in microscale models.  When I first saw the thumbnail for this project I thought, huh, Hajdekr is building big now?  When I took a closer look I was fascinated at how much details Hajdekr managed to fit into sub-minifig scale. Amazing work


Batmobile (The Lego Movie)
In theory I guess these Movie projects are ok.  They are a request for LEGO to make a set.  Personally though, I just feel like they are plagiarism. 

These people are making projects that are suppose to look just like someone else's LEGO model.  If this was not LEGO's model they used as the source material, it would be an open shut case of plagiarism. Since it is "inspired" by the move, it is allowed for some reason. 

Hardsuit Kit
An impressive model. 
Excavation Project
This is a fun build.  I especially appreciate the project for putting a title in the image.  It broadcasts what the project is about which can be quite confusing when all you see is the thumbnail. 
The HOMER - The car built for Homer
I have seen a few mock ups of the Homer is this is the best one I have seen fully built.

A lot of great photography suits the quality of build.  I also like vignette of Homer demonstrating his sketch of the idea.

It will certainly be an uphill battle for a build based on a single episode of the Simpsons though.  MTTBSSTT will have to make sure to push this project in Simpsons circles... 
A-Team Van
One of the best, if not the best A-team projects I have seen to date.  The figs are customized, the red stripe is there,there is even a MacGyver type rebuilding in this project. 
Doraemon Fujiko F.Fujio 80th Anniversary
by woontze
Very well done build of an animated character.  The figure base as a tongue is a stroke of genius. 
OK Go - Here It Goes Again
I love OK Go videos.  They are a lot of fun.   The moc really captures the look of the band quite well, and serves as a great image of the video.  Unfortunately, for this build, a huge part of the inherent fun is the dynamic nature of OK Go videos. 

I see this picture and the first thing I think is "I want to see the figures move side to side."  Therefore I am immediately disappointed with it.

Additionally, this project really should include a link to the video.

The Oregon Trail
by Ohmadon
A great send up of a classic
Imperial Hot Tub
Martin JRM-3 Mars Water Bomber
by mmbace
Another fine vehicle model by MMbrace.
H. G. Wells' The Time Machine
When you make a project, Ideas shows you what image people are going to see as the Thumbnail.  You should always use this to make sure your image is clear and well represents your project.

While Shaakrob does a great job with this project, demonstrating the source material, which so many others leave out of their projects, Shaakrob has an awkward crop on his title image which bisects their build.  This is even more emphasized in the Facebook share. 
Batman: Detective Comics #27
by Mibitat
I have considered doing builds like this before and it is quite interesting to see a fellow craftsman's interpretation.
Mini-Dolls, Large Scale Character Frame.
by Ehl-Jay
These builds are very impressive and I certainly like the idea of a kit that helps you design the figures.

I do find it a bit of a bait and switch that nearly all the project photos (4 of the 6) are of pop culture figures but the description of the set are directed at Fairy Tale characters.

Another concern I have for this project is the branding.  Mini-dolls is the common term for the friends figure.  So creating a project, aimed at the LEGO community, you might be missing some people just based on confusion of what your project is about.

My advice for this project would be to relaunch the project with more examples of the intended fair tale characters and include the images of the pop culture references as well, but create independent projects for those to get the fan support publicity for the concept. 
Pick-Up Truck
by JanYap
Ha!  Pick Up Truck.