Thursday, August 25, 2011

Aquazone Breakfast News: 031

Publishing early this week because, although I'm back in Boston, I'm leaving again for the weekend with my fiancée, and the computer is staying at home.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Aquazone Breakfast News: 030

30 comics already; time sure has flown... here's hoping the next 30 weeks go as smoothly.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Modified Harry Potter Torso

Well, actually it's a modified Draco Malfoy torso (most likely) as Harry Potter wouldn't likely travel around wearing Slytherin colours (bar being polyjuice-disguised as one). If there is a prime candidate for "useless multiple figs," Harry Potter is surely the posterboy, and it's rather likely that I'll do a post or two on his various non-Harry Potter uses in my LEGO collection... but it'll have to wait until I'm back in Boston, since that's where most of my Harry Potter figs are these days.

(On which note, I leave Alberta on Sunday and after a couple nights' stopover in Toronto with relatives, I'll be back in Boston a week from today. Expect updates to be sporadic at best for the next couple weeks.)

This post, in the meantime, is not about the usefulness of Harry Potter parts, as such, but about the attractiveness of a specific Harry Potter part, once modified. As one can see from the picture above, I've modified an existing Slytherin torso by removing the Slytherin shield, producing a "sweater and tie with green highlights" torso. Admittedly, one's LEGO collection probably doesn't need multiple "sweaters with tie" but one or two are easily incorporated into a Town scene. Even if the modified torso is no more useful in high quantities than the original version (and, personally, I think it's more useful than the original), it's still a rather handsome piece.

As to the mechanics of modifying the torso, I simply used a normal pencil eraser. The abrasiveness required to remove graphite from paper is about the same as that required to remove the printing from a LEGO piece, although a lot more elbow grease is needed. The fact that you can find erasers handily positioned on the end of pencils also made it rather easy to exert the necessary control that would not have been possible with a stand-alone eraser--since, of course, I didn't want to remove ALL the torso's printing.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

8763 Toa Norik

I threatened earlier this summer to post about Bionicles if I ran out of other material here in Canada, away from the majority of my collection, and that time has come. Today we present 8763 Toa Norik.

Norik, Lugnet informs me, was released in 2005. He was a special, "backstory" character of the current Bionicle chapter (the "Hordika" events involving the third Bionicle movie--as an aside, I thought the first three Bionicle movies were rather good. The fourth I have not seen, but am told is rather more juvenile). "Regular" Norik is a Rahaga--a wizened animal (Rahi) elder (Turaga) (therefore, Rahaga). This Toa version is Norik a long, long time ago, before he was Rahagafied (probably not a real word).

I did not get Norik when he came out. I'd passed out of my Bionicle years by then and wasn't buying a lot of LEGO at that time anyway. Instead, I got him off Bricklink two or three years later when I had an impulse to continue collecting all the red Bionicles (we divvied them up by colour in my family, and as the eldest, its somewhat natural that I got red). This impulse would fail again before the last couple years of Bionicle, but it did result in Toa Norik making it into the collection.

Because the Hordika story was essentially "Metru Nui: Part II," it comes as no surprise that Toa Norik has the same basic structure/parts as the 2004 Toa Metru. This is my favourite Toa design, offering the most articulation without the massive (and ugly) oversized appearance of the later, post-Metru Nui Toa.

Norik also comes with a brand-new mask, one that has only made a very few appearances. It's not quite "classic Bionicle" in my mind, but it's still rather stately. His armour is a bit cumbersome, and I'm not a fan of the spinners, but the silver/dark red combination is rather attractive. Although the change from primary LEGO colours to their "dark" versions is something I generally prefer to avoid having exclusively, I have to admit that I find dark red a far nobler colour than regular LEGO red.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

6107 Recon Ray

Once again, good readers, we present you with a review of a tiny little Aquazone set, for the simple reason that my Aquazone collection was among the few bits of LEGO that came back to Canada with me. In the picture below you can see the entirety of my Stingray (the subtheme, not the animals) collection--and, no, that does not include the two baseplates.

6107 Recon Ray was a new release when I bought it in the summer of 1998, while staying at my grandparents' for a week. It was also not the foremost among my purchases that week, since my focus was on the two Fright Knights sets I acquired (small, the both of them), and Recon Ray was just an afterthought because, hey, I had few bucks left, and I didn't have any Stingrays yet. (For whatever reason, I always figured I should try to get at least one of everything in my collection, rather than focusing on a theme or two. I'm better in my "old age," but the instinct still holds.)

While this little guy may have been an afterthought in 1998, he is a bit more significant than either of those Fright Knight sets: neither 6007 Batlord or Fright Force are recognisable as distinct sets in my collection these days. Of course, Recon Ray had an unfair advantage insofar as I've been re-accumulating my Aquazone sets with this Aquazone Breakfast News in mind, but the fact is that both those Fright Knights sets were more army-builders than stand-alone sets, and Recon Ray is, at least, a stand-alone set.

Actually, when I think about it, it's the most standalone "classic Aquazone" (aka, 1990s sets actually sold under that name) set I have. The reason? Unlike my five other classic Aquazone sets, Recon Ray is the only one to include something apart from the little submarine and its pilot. Yup... of all my old Aquazone sets, this is the ONLY one with a Hydrolator crystal--and NONE of them have sharks, octopi, or seaweed pieces.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

MOC Figs: Ancient Egyptian Troops

I don't think it's been mentioned here before, but I am a rather large fan of the Stargate TV franchises (the movie that started it all is a bit "meh" to me, but I suppose I'm glad that it allowed the TV series to develop). One of the major consequences of this for LEGO is that one of my "Space" themes has a distinctive ancient Egyptian flavour. While by no means composed of Goa'uld and Jaffa, my "Egyptian Troops" (pictured below) probably wouldn't exist without them.

These little fellows were among the figs that I had to replace after the May 30th burglary, and as you can see they have finally been fully restored. Originally, they didn't have black headdresses, but the tan ones from 1383 Curse of the Pharaoh--mostly because they predate the release of Pharaoh's Quest. The new black headdresses look a wee bit sharper, in my opinion, and (even more importantly) were easier and cheaper to amass anew.

And, for those who were wondering, that is a scorpion gun the commander is holding, and those are custom torsos (thanks to Anthony Sava and his articles on Classic-Castle).

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

6115 Shark Scout

I believe it was mentioned somewhere in the last few weeks worth of Aquazone Breakfast News that 6115 Shark Scout was my first Aquazone set. I got it late in 1995, the year it was released, as a present. From these modest beginnings came, well, a theme that never really amounted to much... at least not until the debut of Aquazone Breakfast News.

In those early years, my brother managed to amass a rather larger Aquashark army (his Aquanauts were playing in the same league as mine, however) than me, and since both his Aquashark subs came with sharks, my little Aquashark tended to borrow the shark from 6234 Renegade's Raft--after all, it's not like the poor shark had a lot of opportunities to eat people in that theme (people rarely died in my LEGO battles; as a general rule, they were only wounded).

As sets go, I always thought that this set had one of the handsomer "tiny submarine set" models. Although I wouldn't really go so far as to say that Shark Scout is comprised of a host of useful pieces, it avoids the appearance of having any Pieces-of-one-Part, and the one arguable P-of-1-P that it does have is the rather attractive Aquashark front piece. The black, blue, and neon orange colour combination was a handsome one, in my books, reminiscent of a cross between the original Space Police theme and Iceplanet. Unfortunately, this was the only set I really had in the colour scheme; the only other Aquashark set that I acquired was the rather terrible 1095 Super Sub. Like pretty much all the Aquazone subthemes, I acquired one token tiny submarine to say that I had some, and then failed to think of any reason to acquire more.