In addition to Android Files, which has been my primary comic, I've also seen sporadic updates on Grandfather's Tale, Crossed Bricks, and Aquazone Breakfast News, all of which used to exist here on this blog and now have their own comic sites on Comicfury. I also contributed, for one year, to a joint comic with my younger brothers: Crossover Championship. This is the most esotericly in-jokey, pandering almost more to our joint knowledge than existing as something really intended for a public audience (however, more is coming starting this Advent, so maybe I should plug it more heartily than that!).
I've also been posting pictures of minifigs on Flickr for better than a year and a half--not quite as daily as the plan might have been, and certainly nothing special in the realm of either photography or LEGO building, but it speaks to my ultimate love of LEGO as the realm of the minifig and has been a good "tablescrap" of LEGO involvement for the long months of adult monotony between doing anything with my collection--"doing anything" these days being primarily focused on comic making.
What has been lacking, though, across these platforms, is the long-form writing about LEGO in any form that used to exist here, and I have missed it. Authorial comments on the comics or Flickr lacks the longer form depth that I sometimes miss, so here we are--years later--with a new post!
|L-R: Pitdroid, Rey, Elf-warrior, R2-D2, altar boy, battledroid 1, battledroid 2|
The subject of this particular post is a look at two sets that I got for Christmas in 1999. That was a significant end-of-the-year for my LEGO collection, because not only was it the first gift-giving season for a 12-year-old Star Wars fan, but it was hard on the heels of my first viewing of ANY Star Wars movie--friends had introduced my brother and I to the Original Trilogy in one unforgetable movie marathon and we got our parents to take us to The Phantom Menace, which was still playing in the cheap theatre, 5 months after its release.
By Christmas, my meagre cash reserves (expended earlier in the year on sets like Mystic Mountain Time Lab and Pharaoh's Forbidden Ruins) had only resulted in two Star Wars sets in my collection: the iconic 7101 Lightsaber Duel and 7110 Landspeeder: two absolutely iconic sets, some of the best value for your money of any set I've ever owned [warning: nostalgia factor is approaching critical levels].
For Christmas, I got two more sets: 7131 Anakin's Podracer and 7141 Naboo Fighter. Neither of these sets goes down as all-time favourites, but they--or, rather, their minifigs--might actually be a bit more interesting to look at because of it.
Anakin's Podracer has the dubious distinction of being identical to one-third of a much larger set, the massive 7171 Mos Espa Podrace. I never had that set, nor 2001's 7186 Watto's Junkyard, which meant that I never had (and still do not have) any other LEGO podracers for Anakin to compete with. The Attack of the Clones eventually came out, so even if I didn't already prefer Darth Vader as a minifig over Anakin Skywalker, I had "better" Anakin options to keep built in my collection, and with a collection built (especially in those days) more for play than for display, that meant both the young Anakins of these two sets were doomed to be parted.
One of these Anakins, the minifig on the far left, would ultimately end up back in my Star Wars fold after the release of The Force Awakens. Nearly a decade after LEGO's decision to shift licenced themes to flesh-toned minifigs, the heroine of the new saga did not come as a yellow-toned minifig, but my Star Wars collection has stubbornly refused to update--indeed, I have deliberately modified new human Star Wars characters to be yellow-figs rather than flesh-tones. Young Anakin's face has proven, if not perfect at least the best option I've found yet for Rey's face.
However, as my collection only needs one Rey, the other Young Anakin has ended up with a career as a Town fig, having been paired with a classic Ron Weasley hair and a plain white outfit to serve as an altar boy in my ever-unfinished parish church MOC.
Unlike Young Anakin, who reappeared in several sets over the years--and many, many more in his older forms as both Anakin and Darth Vader (in a couple of sets, twice over!), Padmé Naberrie would go many years before being released again, and is still a somewhat uncommon minifig--and, in my collection, this would continue to be the ONLY Padmé/Amidala fig down to the present day!
Despite that--and despite the fact that I do have a Padmé in my standing collection--this original Padmé has long since been sent elsewhere. Although I think it's a good head, I don't think it really looks at all like Natalie Portman, and in the intervening years, it has become long associated with an elf-warrior from my own fantasy legendarium.
The four other minifigs in the two sets are all droids, and are all currently extant in my collection, though the pit droid owes his recent re-existence to a Clone Wars-driven Star Wars mood coupled with a bit of nostalgia for some of my earliest Star Wars memories, in those days before Attack of the Clones. It's quite a faithful build, except for its scale, and made out of generic '90s pieces. I'd like to see what a 2018 set would use for a pit droid, because they would surely make it smaller, but I don't if it would be so general in build.
On the other hand, I know exactly what the droids from the Naboo Fighter would look like today, because the moulds haven't changed! LEGO perfected astromech droids in 1999 and have only ever tweaked the printing. I do use a 2016 R2-D2 as my primary R2-D2, but all my older models continue to be perfectly functional astromechs in my collection and this, the first, remains an R2-D2 by virtue of a self-entertaining loophole.
The battledroids haven't seen even a printing update, because they don't have printing! A sharp-eyed viewer will notice that I've upgraded their right arms to the newer, straight-arm options. Thanks to LEGO's propensity for including extra pieces of smaller parts, I have more than a few from newer sets. The original, side-ways-handed arms actually look better, on their own, again indicating the perfection of the original battledroid, but most guns looked ridiculous in their hands and I'm glad they eventually made the switch. These two battledroids are part of a larger army now, completely undistinguished--the only two minifigs out of these seven to fulfill exactly the same role in my collection as upon their arrival.