Friday, December 4, 2009

What's Next?

I looked through my inspirational material and think I've lined up what my next build will be. I have my own sketch book that I've been slowly filling with concept art but I love looking at other people's art. Sometimes, I can still even sit down and build something with no inspirational images to work with at all. It's nice to have a blend of options to work with.

Anyway, I have no idea if I'll finish this next work. After my month-long challenge I started something and built it up for 2-3 days then promptly tossed it aside after I realized it would require almost a complete rebuild to get it the way I really wanted it. And I still have three other WIPs that are still sitting around and they are going on two years old already. Not to mention three others that are about five years old...I finally got around to tearing down the others.

When the fun turns into work, I just won't put up with it I guess.

Novvember II

Well, Nnenn's Novvember came and went. Not sure if there were more people or just more MOCs but I think I saw more models that impressed me less this year. Yeah, no one is trying to impress me, I understand that, but often people do it anyway.

I mostly sat out and watched from the sidelines, wishing I had the motivation to participate. Then, in the last week or so I suddenly had enough motivation to complete seven models. Brickshelf and CSF seems mostly unimpressed with my work, but Flickr seemed to enjoy some of it. I liked all of them. If I could, I would leave them all together to show off on a shelf.

The Twees poked some fun at the Vic Viper fad. Nnenn got blogged again. There was some drama about over one particular builder who was very exuberant and proved equally prolific, but some folks disapproved of his quantity over quality approach. Looks like he wasn't chased away though, sometimes it can take some thick skin to put up with the Lego community.

Anyhow, the Vic Vipers are fun. They are so simple to produce that you actually have to force yourself to do more than the requirements.

The Story of Chrome

This story is incomplete and put together with limited information. Corrections are welcomed.

It all began with the Lego Model Team line. Lego wanted to include awesome, shiny chrome parts into the line.

The problem
Chrome has to be applied to a part which increases the part's dimensions so that the part is no longer compatible with the rest of the system.

The fix
Lego made new, unique molds that were somewhat smaller to the rest of the system parts. The chrome application would be specific enough to only add enough thickness so that a chromed part is the same dimensions as the other system parts, thereby compatible.

The other problem
Now Lego had unique molds that were completely useless without the chrome application.

The "fix"
Lego begins to make slightly smaller molds of existing parts to be applied with chrome. Somewhat cheaper to digitally shrink an existing part rather than design a new, unique part from scratch.

The continuing problem
Lego is still creating molds that must have chrome applied to make them useful. Also, the company almost went bankrupt (chrome only being one of the many expensive issues that Lego needed to fix).

The new fix
No more chrome. Simple!

From time to time Lego still inserts a chrome grill tile or chrome round plate (maybe a light saber or two?) But for the most part, Lego has separated themselves from the chrome process except for rare promotional purposes. If Lego's current profit zen continues, we could see a return of chrome parts, but it is unlikely.


The large triple curve wedge is available in several drab colors. Only two bright colors are used so far, orange and white. I thought I saw a yellow one used on a leaked preliminary pic of an upcoming helicopter, but a more recent picture of that set uses a large sloped brick instead. I think I also saw a red one in an Atlantis set, so maybe there's hope for that. Otherwise, where are blue, green, and yellow? How about the other bright colors, lime and purple? This part was first issued in 2003. I don't think it has much longer to go before Lego either "fixes" the aging mold or scraps it altogether. It would sure be nice if we could round out the palette for this part.

We've been getting a few redesigns of common and very useful parts lately. Ideally, Lego will adjust or fix an aging mold rather than scrap it, but sometimes they choose to "improve" it altogether. In the most recent cases, Lego is on a mission to fix some clutch issues that current parts have shown. This has the unfortunate result of changing the way builders might use a part. Recent clutch improvements include the following:
From to
From to
From to a flame/wave without the tiny prongs but rather a "stabilizing" ring around the base. I didn't see an entry for the new part.

Colors that I think the Lego palette can do without:
All of the pearl colors
All of the mottled/metallic colors
All of the marbled two-tone colors
Trans-Sparkle colors
As far as chrome/silver goes, they should pick one and stick with it and dump the other attempts.

Purple is back. Either Lego fixed the problem of uncontrollable hues, or they finally came to terms with the fact that they can't seem to control the hues of ANY of their colors. So might as well bring purple back, people like it.

Toy Story line is a mixed blessing. Green soldier minifigs and three-eyed aliens and purple YAY! New exaggerated minifig parts to better represent the movie characters...BOOOooo!

Lego Space Police is a hit and will be making it's second round next year, YAY!
Lego Space Police year two will be white again, four years of white space ships...BOOOooo!

Bionicle no more, meh. New-"improved" Bionicle-like theme, meh. Consensus says that this new theme is Ben 10 Alien Force and I agree. Lego messed up by saying that the new theme would be based on an established third party license. There is a slim possibility that Lego has quietly acquired another, as yet unknown, third party license that the fans completely missed, but it is very unlikely. Anyhow, it's all a resounding "Meh".