Vic Venator

I just couldn’t let Novvember pass by without building a Viper. It isn’t terribly eye-catching, but in this case the trick is in the details. I built my version only from the parts found in the Target polybag set 30053 Republic Attack Cruiser. That means lots and lots of these and not much else. So although it’s in mini scale, it’s possibly the largest Viper around.

Head over to Flickr if you’d like to see more.


Advent Calendar Season

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Thanks to some generous gift-giving by thoughtful friends and family, I’ve come into possession of not one, but two LEGO advent calendars this year. The Star Wars and City calendars both look promising this year, and I’ll be posting a picture of each daily build here throughout December. The current plan is to post the City build in the morning and Star Wars in the evening. I don’t hope to make my photos as creative as powerpig‘s, but hopefully they’ll brighten someone’s winter day. I know I’ll have fun building them.

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

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I apologize for the dearth of posts over the last few days – I went home to rural Wisconsin for the holiday, and my house is located in an area where dial-up is the only internet available. Needless to say, that makes blogging an incredibly painful experience which I opted to avoid altogether. So expect regular updates to resume now that I’m back in civilization. (Defined as a city that ISPs consider profitable enough to actually serve.)

This chunky turkey comes from powerpig, who built it for a contest last fall. I was a bit disappointed to not see a schfio holiday mod this time around, since he’s become my go-to builder for festive posts. But I’m sure he’s working on some excellent new creations on another theme. In the meantime, powerpig will fill in nicely.


Old Creations

I’ve posted some old MOCs to Flickr. I built these almost a decade ago but never got around to photographing them. Since they’ve stood the test of time and never been dismantled for parts, I finally gave them a home online.

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These are very small creations, born from the necessity of a very small parts pool. I have fewer bricks than almost anyone I know, and yet I’m the one writing about LEGO. Go figure. I built in a rather unusual scale, smaller than minifig but larger than midi. The models are about half as long and one third as tall as a normal minifig-scale creation, but that scale let me make some unique shapes from many fewer pieces.

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I incorporated some MegaBloks into this one. As shameful as I am now, there’s no way to replace them with standard LEGO elements. Besides, the design is one of my favorites just the way it is.

The designs are simple by AFOL standards, but I like them despite their small size. I’ll always have a certain nostalgia for them, and I think they hold up relatively well against similarly-sized creations.


Killer Queen

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Iain Heath (Ochre Jelly) pays fitting tribute to the twenty-year anniversary of Freddie Mercury’s passing with this striking figure. I’m too young to remember Queen in person, but I can only imagine the blow his death was to the music world. Iain suggests playing a Queen record or two today, and I’m happy to oblige. The show must go on!


Review: Russian Dancing Men

If you know and love Mr Weebl’s rather unique video shorts, you’ve probably already purchased this game or are downloading it right now. On the other hand, if you hate pointless cartoons singing the praises of KenyaNarwhals, and Badgers (not snakes), then definitely do not buy this game.

That just about sums up the appeal of Russian Dancing Men, a fantastic rhythm game for iOS (and if the YouTube commenters are influencing the developers at all, there should be an Android version approximately last week.) Based on the captivating Russian Dancing Men video by Weebl’s Stuff, the game follows the adventures of a dedicated soviet dancing troupe as they journey through a perilous world filed with obstacles and various characters from other Weebl cartoons. Look for narwhals, badgers, an amazing horse, and a young man with a disturbing oral crab fetish to help you on your way. Each stage is taken from a different viral cartoon, and more levels will soon be available for purchase if you tire of singing Magical Trevor too many times.

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The whole game is designed around a faux-soviet aesthetic, complete with “backwards letter” cyrillic characters, red backgrounds, and prominent stars at every turn. Even the level selection is done in the style of communist propaganda posters, proclaiming the virtues of the industrious crab and the mighty badger fighting the corporate snake. Each level is introduced by a humorous video that carries the plot from one location to another, and the beleaguered dancers grow on you throughout the story.

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Gameplay consists of hitting four buttons with precise timing, allowing the dancing men to avoid different obstacles in their path. It sounds easy enough, but it gets fiendishly difficult in the later levels. Hitting an obstacles results in a sad but proud “Do svidaniya” from the lead Russian, and you lose one dancer from the group. After a while your lost dancers will return, but bonus points are awarded based on how many men are part of the group.

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Once the obstacles fly in faster than normal humans can react, some of which require two button presses to successfully navigate, you’ll start to hate the tempo changes Weebl throws in and the seemingly endless extended versions of his songs. But that challenge also leads to a high replay value and an addictive quality similar to Angry Birds or Tiny Wings. You’ll definitely get your money’s worth out of this game, as long as you like Weebl’s songs.

For a couple bucks, it’s hard to go wrong with this app if you’re already a fan of the videos it’s based on. If the random humor doesn’t appeal to you, don’t bother. But just in case you need some more convincing, watch the fantastic game trailer – definitely the best promotional video I’ve ever seen. If the game seems too tough, just remember to blame the capitalist pig. After all, so do the birds.


Build-It-Yourself Ornaments

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As much as I usually dislike mentioning Christmas before Thanksgiving, it’s never too early to start planning a new build – especially when you can hang it on your tree and celebrate the holidays in true LEGO style.

Chris McVeigh (powerpig) has updated his holiday models from last year and added some new ones to the mix, including a tiny Millennium Falcon counterpart for this Death Star. If Star Wars tree décor isn’t your thing (unthinkable, I know), there are plenty of traditional models to choose from. They’re free to download (you’ll need the free LEGO Digital Designer software to view the files), and you can order the sets from inside Digital Designer itself. Buyer beware, since this method, while easy, is also the most expensive. For a cheaper route, download the parts list and either scrounge the pieces together at home or get them from Pick a Brick.

If you’d like to support Chris for making his ornaments available to all, consider purchasing a set directly from his Etsy page.

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If you’re the sort of person to craft and hang little Death Stars from your tree, chances are you’d also be interested in these Star Wars snowflakes I found last year. I made the original versions from this site, as well as a Princess Leia version. Just keep in mind that these rather intricate designs take forever to cut out (almost 45 minutes each in my case) so set aside some real time if you need more than a few flakes.