Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Favourite Minifigs: Sir Edmond of Orimault

He's a Lion knight. No... not those new Lion Knights. This fellow belongs to the oldest Lion Knights in the LEGO Castle genre: the 1984-1992 Legoland Castle "Lion Knights."

Of course, as you can see, this guy isn't straight out of a contemporary set, but a customized fig. He's made an appearance on the Internet before, as the rather minor character of Sir Edmond of Orimault, one of Princess Anne's suitors in the early chapters. His sword, helm, and breastplate comes from the now-defunct Little Armory, one of the earliest commercial LEGO customizers.

However, as you can see, the customization on Sir Edmond is not limited to what the Little Armory products I gave him. The pennant on his lance, his shield, and his torso all bear customized arms--based on the gold-rimmed classic Lion shield seen on this torso, and it is by limiting myself to these two colours (with the addition of greys and blacks) that we get this distinctly non-traditional Legoland Castle Lion Knight--a faction that defined itself by wearing red in opposition to its opponents, the Black Falcons.

Although I created the actual stickers seen on Sir Edmond, the templates were based on those created by Anthony Sava on Classic-Castle, and would likely not have appeared without them.

Also, in other news, look forward to daily updates from Aquazone Breakfast News over the next twenty-four days. Starting tomorrow, they present the 2011 City Advent Calendar!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Favourite Pieces

Having been at the LEGO Store last weekend, and having gone through the Black Friday ordeal yesterday I'm at a point where I've been thinking about acquiring sets, and the reality is that I'm pretty happy with my collection of sets currently available. There are a number of sets from the past that I'd like to acquire, and I wouldn't say no to a host of sets out there, but there are no sets that I'm really after.

Insofar as I am still after parts, however, some sets are better than others, and looking at all the sets available this weekend, I've been doing some more thinking than usual about the sorts of pieces that I like--and that I like in large quantities.

This might be occasion for a multi-post series, but one trend came to mind immediately: I like pieces that have both stud-connections (either studs-proper or stud receptacles) and bar-connections. A number of these are what Bricklink calls Plates Modified, such as Plate, Modified 1 x 1 with Clip Light and Plate, Modified 1 x 2 with Handle on Side. Plates in general sort of qualify for this versatility, insofar as they can be gripped by a clip. Headlight bricks are also awesome.

The problem with all these--and other--bricks is that they tend to come in small quantities. Many, many sets have some, but it's one here, two there, four in that set if you're lucky, and in a host of colours. On the other hand, when I use them in a creation, they tend to disappear at a rate faster than they exist in my collection, or I want to use colours that I don't have them in. So creative changes have to be made.

So, if you're listening LEGO, those are great pieces to have at Pick-a-Bricks.

What about the rest of you? What generic "parts" are high on your list?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

5766 Log Cabin

Celebrating Thanksgiving--well, digesting it anyway--I'm going to take a look at one of the sets I picked up at the LEGO Store last weekend. This is the second year in a row that I've visited the LEGO Store in mid-November, and it seems like it's a good time to go there. They already had some of the 2012 sets out, including the new Dino sets and some of the new city sets. The main set that I was after, however, was a 2011 set, 5766 Log Cabin.

Like the other Creator sets, Log Cabin's appeal is a combination of a robust design (in one or more models) and a phenomenal quantity of basic pieces.

The minifig is a bit plain--though the green backpack is a *bit* rare, though not super-useful. His kayak is a rather attractive design from the top--less so when you hold it up, because of the "boat round" pieces underneath.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Aquazone Breakfast News: 043

Whoops! I had this mostly ready to go yesterday afternoon... and then forgot to actually finish/post it in the evening. I'd have remembered sooner, but today was a trip to the LEGO Store, so I wasn't online to notice before now.

In other news... "teleprompter" amuses me.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

3367 Space Shuttle

It's getting to be about a month, maybe more, since I made an order at Shop@Home to buy a set that was apparently out of stock when I last visited the LEGO Store, back in early September. That set was 3367 Space Shuttle, the first NASA-based LEGO shuttle I've managed to acquire, though LEGO has been making them for decades.

As a $30 set (USD), the Space Shuttle is a fairly good size, large enough to adequately capture a sense of weightiness. I admit that I thought it was a bit expensive when I was buying it online, because all the pictures of it made it look a bit smaller than it actually is, but I was convinced once the set arrived and I put it together. Among other things, this swooshable ship has *heft*. It's also a fairly good parts pack: other than the specialized cockpit piece, there really isn't anything in this set that I would be averse to having multiple copies of.

As a playable design, Space Shuttle is composed of a cockpit and a cargo hold containing a Canadarm and a deployable satellite. The satellite is less complex than some we've seen in the past, but surprisingly cute. (I'm particularly thinking of this one from the Spaceport theme of 1999, the last major minifig-scaled series of NASA/Space sets--though there have been some impressive standalone and non-minifig sets in the years since). The cargo hold might be more fun if it had room to stow extra astronauts or aliens, but the room is there, if one leaves the satellite in space--also if one rooms the Canadarm.

As for minifigs... well, no one is going to buy this Space Shuttle as an army builder, but since I already have two Spaceport astronauts and two Launch astronauts from the Dacta 30 Minifigures (9293 Community Workers), I'm not really in the market to get more astronauts anyway. And as far as getting an astronaut at all went, I was quite happy that the Astronaut that DOES come with this set has the new "Space Police III" helmet, as well as the "Atlantis" bodysuit.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Minifig: Witch

I probably should have posted this on Monday to have been mostly timely, but it has been a crazy week for schoolwork (not overwhelmingly crazy, but definitely distractingly crazy).

The witch is not particularly novel in terms of part use. Lightsabre/gem combination "magic staffs" have been around for years, and the torso/dress come from LEGO's first witch (1997's Willa the Witch, from the Fright Knight line). Nonetheless, I am extremely pleased with this little witch, as a minifigure where all the elements have come together just right.

The black "queen" headdress in place of the standard wizard/witch's hat is probably my favourite element, and the extra blackness of the dress with the hat is offset by the substitution of the torso's original black arms with red ones. The black and red combination, which extends to the trans-red of the staff, is found right in the head-choice, with its black eyepatch and red lipstick. The head was an accidental, late addition to the witch (I was stealing her previous head for something else and this was handy), but I think it works well. She looks a lot more badass than Willa, and the colours tie together well.

Aquazone Breakfast News: 041

And that's the end of the Evil Peachy storyline--at least for now. My apologies for the funky reflections in the first panel; I didn't see them when taking the pictures, I only noticed that it wasn't shaky like the first take. Fortunately, the others turned out fairly well. I'm taking pictures outside, and so far I've been lucky that the weather has remained sunny when I've needed it for me to do that. I really need to get some pictures taken in advance, though, rather than taking them the day of all the time.