Monday, July 30, 2007

RogueBantha mania

I had thought I'd posted on all of RogueBantha's Star Wars scenes, but on checking reallize that I haven't. Time to rectify that oversight.

Original Trilogy: A New Hope

Empire Strikes Back

Return of the Jedi


Prequels: Phantom Menace

Attack of the Clones

Revenge of the Sith


And this really impressed me. These are all (or were all) still assembled:


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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Tram

Akos Kostyan presents a Siemens Combino tram.



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Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?

Things have been really spacey around here recently, so let's go the opposite direction with acro897's Bikini Bottom, a micro version of set 3827.



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Friday, July 27, 2007

Stay on target

Nnenn is at it again, this time with a Star Wars mini playset, because, as he says, every kid and his little brother should have one.



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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Pride of the Colonials

Jediwannabe posted several great Battlestar Galactica micro MOCs, including a Battlestar group and a Viper.




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Blacktron and friends

Matt-S has a great Blacktron dropship. It can pick up and drop off a small land rover, and also refuel other ships.



Another great microspace MOC for today is Patuara's Dragonova racer.


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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

435/612 Tipper Truck

Perhaps this is cheating, but before the introduction of the true minifig in 1978 (the armless-legless version came out in 1975), the scales of LEGO sets were all over the place. Many of these sets were at a smaller scale than the now-ubiquitous fig-scale, so by the definition I've been using in this blog, these are fair game. Particularly in this case, which was either my first or second set ever (either before or after Universal Building Set 111): 435/612 - Tipper Truck.



Tipper Truck was released in Europe in 1974 under the number 632 and in the US the following year under the number 435. It is made up of only 17 elements, including that odd blue tipper bucket piece (that I still have!).

Entries for 435 on Lugnet and Brickset. Inventory on Peeron and instructions in the PICSL database. Entries for 612 on Lugnet and Brickset. Inventory on Peeron and instructions in the PICSL database.

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Micro-sean

A little before the recent Brickshelf kerfuffle, all of Sean Kenney's folders reappeared on the Brickshelf recent page. I don't think there was anything really new; I think he just posted a link to his site SeanKenney.com in each folder. However, this is a great excuse to post a couple of additional pictures from his micro suburbia.




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Monday, July 23, 2007

Space time

Every week there are great new micro space creations, such as:

Nnenn's Talvec 63c -Wish.


Tim Zarki's Naavi.


Jerrec's STDVicious.


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Mini city

Steven Marshall has a great mini city.



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Friday, July 20, 2007

Spacey

Three great spacey MOCs I was meaning to post before the fiasco of the past week: Martinbb's Antares class light cruiser.


Killer Spade's Freighter.


E of Alshire's Shoeshine Dragon.


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And this truck is juuuuust right

Huw Millington has built a whole family of container trucks, ranging from greater-than-fig-scale to two different microscale versions.





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Brickshelf is safe!!!!!!!

On the front page of Brickshelf, the following notice appears:

Notice: Brickshelf will not be shutting down!
We will be offering "featured" accounts for $5/month shortly.
We have received hundreds of supportive emails in the past few days including many who said they would like to contribute financially but did not know how. This has had us rethink the practicality of charging for enhanced features.We plan to do this without reducing current functionality for free users. Thank you for your enormous show of support. IMPORTANT: do NOT try to download the entire site, it causes major problems, slows things down for normal users and you will be permanently blocked.

There is also an announcement from Kevin on Brickshelf.

A few things:

Thank you to everyone in the community for all of your efforts to save users' folder. Please, though, respect Kevin's wishes and discontinue this effort.

I would, of course, always keep a full backup of your own stuff.

Let's all do what we can to support Brickshelf in the future. If you can donate, please do so. If you can upgrade to the "featured" accounts that Kevin plans, please do so.

Some other sites have sprung up in response to this crisis, so I'll try to follow those as well. I'm particularly happy about Sean Kenney's upgrades to MOCpages.

VignetteBricks and MicroBricks will continue, as before, to feature great vig and micro MOCs. I'll be happy to get away from all of this crisis mode and back to the hobby we all love.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Now what?

The past few days have been tumultuous in the Legoverse. As everyone who reads this blog surely knows by now, on Saturday Brickshelf, the largest image-hosting site devoted to LEGO, went dark. Then on Monday it came back up again, but only for the next two weeks so we can all back up our images.

Emotions have been all over the place on this--anger at the pulled plug, sadness at the loss of a favorite site, elation when it came back, frantic activity as we started backing up, pride and hope as the community has jumped into action. Also, perhaps belatedly, a huge thank you is due to Kevin Loch for hosting such a great service for over ten years. I do, though, still have some serious concerns about the impact to the community. More on that below.

First, let's start with some positive action.

How can we save the lost history? - You've got two weeks. If you go to such forums as Classic-Castle, Classic-Space, and FBTB, you can see concerted efforts by people to save not only their own galleries, but also those of important builders. Check this Brothers-Brick post for links. There are applications for PCs by Bob Kojima and for Macs by Jim DeVona to help with this process. The hope is that at some point in the near future there will be a central location where we can all re-upload these galleries and preserve that communal history. There are also some rumors that the whole archive may be saved in some fashion. If anything comes of those rumors I'll report here.

Where can we post images of LEGO MOCs or go to see other people's MOCs? - There are, of course, hundreds of personal websites out there featuring people's creations. For more communal sites, there are a few purely LEGO offerings. It seems that Sean Kenney has quickly acted to add an image hosting feature to MOCpages, free for now but possibly for a cost in the future. It also seems that all of the thumbnails for old creations still exist on MOCpages, so you can see smaller versions of some of the images you miss. MOCshow is a new site that has sprung up to fill some of the need. We'll see how that site does over time. There are already some more specific community image sites, such as the MyImages albums for the 1000steine.de community (premiere German language AFOL site), the Customs gallery on From Bricks to Bothans (does that take new submissions?), the premiere Star Wars theme site, or for you customizers out there, the Minifig Customization Network has galleries of customized figs and accessories. Please let me know of other community image hosting and I'll link them here. In addition, there are other general photo-hosting sites, some for free, others for a fee (some with a free version and then a pay upgrade with more bells and whistles). Flickr has probably gained the most widespread acceptance within the community, with nice features like the ability to comment on photos and create themed discussion groups. I'd suggest starting by finding the tags feature and searching for images tagged "LEGO". Maj is pretty much the same as Brickshelf, so many are migrating their images there. I would caution that, since it has the same management as Brickshelf, it may face the same challenges in the future. Two sites that I'm less familiar with are ImageShack and Photobucket. I'll have to play with those sites to see how easy it is to find LEGO images. There's probably a good opportunity here for someone to write an application that scans all of these sites and aggregates recent LEGO images, much like ILENN does with blogs. There are also rumors of other LEGO image hosting sites in the works. I'll immediately report on any such sites if those plans come to fruition.

All of that said, some are raising concerns over a plethora of sites and urge caution as we consider our next steps as a community, as in this by Andrew, this by Steve, and this by Clifton.

I share those concerns, which leads to thoughts on why I was saddened by the disappearence of Brickshelf. There are two reasons - community and history.

Community - There have been many debates about whether the proliferation of LEGO forums is good or bad, usually formulated around the question of whether Lugnet should remain the "one true site" compared to other breakaway communities like Classic-Castle, Classic-Space, etc. Of course this argument has always ignored the fact that Lugnet was never the one true site, but rather the main site for Adult English-speaking fans, mostly in North America. Regardless of that, I've always been in the "Let a thousand flowers bloom" camp - if new forums are strong and useful, they will thrive and attract new members to the community, if not, they will die off. However, the one thing that has always anchored the community, through the growth, and death, of various splinter groups, has been Brickshelf. Even if I mostly read a forum devoted to, for instance, Castle, I can still follow and enjoy all of the great Space or Train or whatever creations. I also keep up with events; if someone posted a creation on Brickshelf and notes that it's for a contest, for instance, usually I could figure out what the contest was and post an announcement on my blog or some appropriate forum. If each segment of the community has its own image site-of-choice, we lose this connection between the different aspects of the community. Even more profound is the connection with LEGO fans with other primary languages. There's a pretty good connection between the English-language and European AFOL communities - primarily because of German, Portuguese, French etc. AFOLs who also participate in English-language forums. There is much less connection, though, with the Asian AFOL community, probably due to the much greater linguistic differences, making it harder for us to peruse eachother's websites. Except for the purely visual Brickshelf. Who hasn't, for instance, enjoyed the galleries of such builders as Moko or Sugegasa? Another aspect of community is the growth of LEGO blogs. In the past year there has been a rapid growth of blogs highlighting and commenting on great creations. Mostly we've found these on Brickshelf. Yes, there are other sites as listed above, but it will be much harder to find great MOCs. Finally, when an event such as BrickFest or some other gathering occurs, thousands of fans attend virtually, by checking out all of the galleries posted on Brickshelf, sometimes even while the event is still occuring.


Of course, all of these concerns will be lessened if the community eventually settles in to one main image site, whether one of those listed above, some new site, or a resurrected Brickshelf. We're still left with my second major concern - history.

History - The fact that Brickshelf came back for two weeks did help alleviate a huge portion of this concern. As noted above, there is a concerted effort going on to save those images. Assuming these are all gathered together again in the future, we will still have access. However, there are now hundreds of thousands of forum posts, blog posts, link lists and articles that become instantly obsolete on July 31. Our hobby is, at it's base, about an object - the LEGO brick and things that can be built of bricks. At a fest or a LUG meeting we can actually physically hold another person's MOC. Otherwise we are left with images. Post after post is based on the use of images to show off a MOC, highlight a particular detail, discuss a building technique, or preview a new set. Even if all of the MOCs currently on Brickshelf reappear on some other site, the links in all of those discussions are now broken. Some of these will be fixed - for instance the Classic-Castle admin team are working to preserve images from our "how-to" articles, contest winners, featured MOCs, etc. I've also backed up images of featured MOCs on my blogs, and will eventually fix those broken links. But it's impossible to go back and fix links in all of those forum posts.

If at some point a resurrected Brickshelf were to reappear, even a locked version without the ability to upload new stuff, that would be a great benefit to the communal memory.

Anyway, as I started this post, these past few days have been tumultuous, sad, stressful, but I do have confidence that the community will find new ways to express ourselves. A huge thank you is due to Kevin Loch for hosting our images for all of those years, and I hope he'll be part of a new way forward.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Backup your Brickshelf

Brickshelf is back! Well, at least for the moment. If you go there now you will see the following message:

Notice: Brickshelf will be shutting down on 2007/07/31.
Please save your files to your computer.

I'm going to try to back up those vigs and micro mocs I've blogged, but will probably save only a single image of each. Not sure when and where I'll be able to re-post them, though.

Bruce

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Brickshelf back?????

Is Brickshelf back??? At a slightly different url:

https://www.brickshelf.com/

Not sure how this will shake out. If I were you, I'd back up all of your images from that url. Now!

Hoping that this will stay,
Bruce

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Brickshelf dead?????

If you go to Brickshelf now, you see the following message:

Brickshelf has discontinued operation. We apologize for any inconvenience.

I'm not sure what this means in the long run. I'm probably going to blog at a much slower pace for a while. I really apologize to MB fans.

Teeny Tiny Tatooine

The photography leaves something to be desired, but I really like Bricksaber3's great little Dewback design.



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Friday, July 13, 2007

Shannonia

Shannon Young has been working on an outstanding city named Shannonia. Be sure to check out MOCpage 1, MOCpage 2, and MOCpage 3 for detailed descriptions.





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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Eiffel Tower

LEGO recently released a new set, 10181, Eiffel Tower.




Set 10181 is a 1:300 scale model of the Paris landmark, designed from the original blueprints. This gallery, by Brickshelf user nfontaine, has many detailed pictures of the construction, including a closeup of the elevators. Many people who aren't even interested in the model are excited by this set as a dark gray (dark blay) parts pack, since it has very large numbers of repeated elements, such as 240 dark gray 1x2 plates. Overall this set contains 3428 elements and costs US$200.

10181 on Brickset and Lugnet. Inventory on Peeron.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Really small really big building

Builder Dawiedrake presents a micro version of the world's tallest building, Taipei 101.



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icontest

The new Flickr group Microspacetopia is holding an icon contest. The winning creation will be the group icon for the next month. It looks like they'll repeat this contest each month or so, so I'll leave this up as a "current contest" link for the foreseeable future. Each month be sure to check Microspacetopia for the next installment. Initial entries this time around include Andrew's shuttle and Jayfo's fighter.




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Monday, July 09, 2007

Friday, July 06, 2007

Why micro?

Why build microscale? If you've been following this blog you've certainly seen some great micro MOCs, but what is the allure of this style of building rather than the more common minifig-scale? Several reasons are given below. What are your reasons for enjoying this scale?

Anyone can play - Like vignettes, microscale is open to anyone. Some other themes are dominated by builders with huge collections; for instance, it's hard for a new builder to come up with an impressive fig-scale castle or a full train layout simply because they don't have the bricks. At microscale, however, with some creativity you can have a great MOC even with a very small collection. For instance, Jason Alleman's great tractor uses only 18 pieces.



Impossibly large subject matter - Along the same lines, with microscale you can tackle projects that would be unmanageable even to those with huge collections, like the Death Star, the Titanic, the World Trade Center, Minas Tirith, or Ersh's model of Manhattan, a project that even Sean Kenney would balk at if forced to do at fig-scale.



The cuteness factor - What's cuter? A chicken or a little chick? A cat or a kitten? Mark Stafford's great Gothica or his microscale version.



Flexibility - When you're building to the minifig, you're set in at one scale. Once you go smaller (or larger, but that would be another blog) you get infinite flexibility. For instance, I've seen great Millenium Falcons done at many different scales, which allows for new and clever solutions. Or here, for example, Don Bruce approaches the Chateau de Hautefort at three different scales.



Imaginatve piece usage - Microscale encourages creativity, since you often take pieces like minifig utensils that were originally intended for one specific use and remake them into something new at a different scale. For example, the use of the hawk/parrot element and the binoculars in Dunechaser's Hawk 1.



Forced perspective - Microscale can be used in conjunction with fig-scale to give the illusion of distance. For example see the Parthenon in Brendan Powell Smith's Paul in Athens.



Mixing scales - In addition to forced perspective, microscale can be mixed with fig scale to, for instance, give a fig a toy to play with, as in Erik Brok's Otterdam by bike, where a fig visits a LEGO store complete with micro versions of sets, or to put a giant fig in the land of microfigs, as in Moko's Adventure of Gulliver




Finally, it's fun!

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Microspacetopia

I've previously noted how great spacers are at microscale. Now they've made it easier to report on thei work by creating a new Flickr group, Microspacetopia. You can bet I'll be mining this group for creations by builders like Dunechaser, Lights and Zachmoe.






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