Monthly Archives: January 2019

Three Little Pigs Mech Battle

So I had this idea for a series of mechs based on the story of the Three Little Pigs.

Originally I was thinking I’d do them at minifigure scale and purchase three of the old piggie suit guy (from the Series 12 minifigures) to pilot them, and a Chima figure for the Big Bad Wolf. Then I saw the going rate for Pig Suit Guy. Ouch.

Yeah, he’s not the most expensive minifigure out there (Ginny Weasley for over $25? I laugh), but I still object to paying $35-45 US for three minifigures that I’m probably only going to use in a single creation.

Microscale, then.

You don’t get quite the same level of piggyness with the stacked-1×1-round-plate type of figures, but at least they have pink heads and give an impression of three little pigs. The wolf is marginally better – light bluish grey microfigure with the 1×1 clip tile on top of his head for ears. And it’s worked out probably better overall, because this way I got to build a whole scene out of it.

A very tiny Big Bad Wolf

The Mech Made Of Straw was the first part of the creation to be built, and is probably my favourite of the mechs. I don’t think I’ve built that many microscale mechs before, and I decided to pull out as many of the stops as I could in creative joint structures and not using balljoints all the time. He’s armed with those big pincer claws and a laser or machine gun of some sort.

Mech Made Of Straw

The Mech Made Of Sticks got built next. Again, I went with mostly non-balljoint joints, and built just a little larger than the straw mech. I think I’m most pleased with the clinker-built look of the front torso and the suggestion of knots in the wood with strategic use of studs and tiles. His main weapon is the rocket pods on his shoulders, showing that Stick Piggie isn’t the wisest of pigs (Explosive materials and wood. Hmmm).

Mech Made Of Sticks

Then I took a break from mechs and built the huffing, puffing Big Bad Lobo Tank. To be frank about it, I wasn’t sure I could pull off a good enough Lobomech at this scale, especially since I wanted that big wind turbine element as a main weapon system. The tank was substantially rebuilt after my first attempt, adding the side sponsons and generally cleaning it up. I’m still not entirely satisfied with it but it’s better than it was.

Huffin’, puffin’ Big Bad Lobo Tank

The Mech Made Of Bricks came after that. Originally taller, I rebuilt some sections after I decided that the arms looked too short. A Brick Mech ought to be sort of squat and solid-looking, after all.

Mech Made Of Bricks

This was my first experiment with the use of minifig legs as mech fingers. This mech is small enough that it isn’t quite as good a technique as it would be on something with bigger hands, but it works, and it’s a new technique for me. I’m actually least satisfied with the Brick Mech, which is partly why it’s lurking at the back.

After building all these mechs, I was staring at my daughter’s green baseplates when I started to think that some scenery-building would really unify the creation and bring it all together. Bright green isn’t normally my preferred incarnation of LEGO green, but it certainly works well with the sideways fairytale subject matter here. And it doesn’t hurt that I’ve got enough regular green and other colours to break it up a little. And I got to build the House of Straw, House of Sticks and House of Bricks as well.

Straw House. Note the First Little Pig to the right.
Second Little Pig and Stick House
Brick House with water wheel

It’s actually something of a shame that the Brick House is right at the back, because it’s by far the best of the three houses, complete with water wheel and an interesting technique on the door frame. However, if I put the Brick House at the front it would mean I had to put the Brick Mech at the front, too, and it’s not quite as good as the others. And since the mechs are the actual focus of the creation…

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This Is Not The V-Wing You Are Looking For

LL588 V-Wing transatmospheric craft

When looking for a name for this NCS transatmospheric craft, it seemed that “V-Wing” was the only possible choice somehow.

However, there’s already a Clone Wars-era Star Wars ship (possibly two) by that name, so I was reluctant to add a third.

Still, with those long wings that fold vertically up for landing, it’s so much more V-shaped than the V-wing. Which I don’t actually like all that much as a fighter; too derivative of the Jedi Starfighter. And since the NCS universe in all its variants is normally separate from the Star Wars canon universe and I know of at least one non-Star Wars V-Wing, I think it’s okay to add another.

LL588 in landing configuration

I know it looks like an NCS homage to Kylo Ren’s command shuttle, but I was honestly more inspired by the Imperial shuttle Tydirium. It was only after I decided to dispense with the vertical fin that I realised how similar it looks to the First Order’s second-best original vehicle.

I’ve ranted before about how ugly a lot of the new trilogy’s new hardware is, but there are a few exceptions. I mean, the Resistance X-Wing and First Order TIE Fighter can barely be told from their originals, and a lot of the other hardware is so obviously derivative that I don’t count it as a new vehicle (First Order Star Destroyers, uglified AT-ATs, Resistance cruisers). And so what are we left with? The ugly sideways brick of the Resistance troop transport, the First Order’s slab-sided repulsorlift LST, the almost-as-ugly Resistance bomber and that transport pod. The Crait speeders are a partial exception but I’m not personally that fond of them, so the only two new ships out of two whole Star Wars movies that I actually like the designs of are the First Order command shuttle and the TIE Silencer.

For the Star Wars universe, that’s a pretty terrible record. The franchise made its name and reputation at least in part on its iconic and awesome ship designs, and even the Prequel Trilogy had a lot of gorgeous vehicles, like the vaguely-ancestral-to-an-X-Wing Naboo fighters or the sail-powered vessel of Count Dooku or the AT-TE. The present crop of hardware designers just don’t seem to cut it by comparison.

However, this is NCS, and owes little to the Star Wars canon apart from a tangential inspiration. My V-Wing actually looks like a V and not a letter H.

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The LL588 V-Wing is a class of transatmospheric scoutship used by the Federation. Its long wings make it perfect for in-atmosphere work as well as in vacuum, but its flight configuration is suboptimal for space carrier operations due to the amount of hangar space they take up.

Though some carrier designs experimented with vertical-stacking small craft bays, the fact is that humans evolved on the ground and prefer flat layouts.

The solution ever since the days of ancient wet-navy aircraft carriers has often been folding wing designs, and the V-Wing is no exception. When raised for landing, the wings do take up a considerable amount of height, but hangar bays are typically tall to facilitate takeoff/landing operations.

The LL588 V-Wing is not heavily armed for its size, though the pair of underslung particle cannons are of a calibre normally found on corvettes and small frigates as secondary or tertiary weapons. In addition, the V-Wing bears a pair of wingtip lasers.

The main thrusters are augmented by wing-mounted microjets to aid in extra-atmospheric manoeuvring.

The Redcoats Are Coming

I don’t have a lot to say about this, but I think it’s one of my best built large figures to date.

The constraction parts I used on the legs and feet almost feel like a cheat, but they do work so well here that I’m not going to sweat it. And technically either the face ought to be light flesh in colour or the hands should be tan, but if I hadn’t known that I don’t think I would catch it.

The head and hips are my two favourite parts. Those old clip-on black solar panels or whatever they are work really well to cover the balljoints, and I’m really pleased with how the face turned out and the design of the bearskin hat.

Admittedly it would work even better if I had a balljoint holder in light tan, but that’s a no-go at this time. I’m not even sure LEGO make one in that colour.

Anyway, here he is; my first creation of the new year. Enjoy.