Monthly Archives: May 2019

Into the Quantum Realm

Into the Quantum Realm, completed build

Every June, DFWLUG holds a “MOC the Set” contest. The idea of this is that you take a recent (last couple of years) $20-$30 value set and use it like a seed piece, building around and with it to produce a more extensive creation.

Knowing this was coming, I had bought myself the 75229 Death Star Escape set a couple of months ago, anticipating extending it mostly vertically into something more like the actual open shaft that Luke and Leia swing across in A New Hope.

That would still be a pretty good build, but as it came to the end of April and I needed to start thinking about that contest, I found I wasn’t remotely inspired by the idea of putting the 75229 set back together and expanding it.

No; we’d got tickets for Captain Marvel at that point, and what was inspiring me, for the first time in my building life, was Marvel superheroes.

I’ve talked at some length on here before about how most superheroes aren’t that easy to LEGO. Batman is an exception in this regard because he does build themed vehicles and so do several of his bad guys. Iron Man, Marvel’s primary wealthy technologist/gadgeteer hero, is all power armours, and those are mostly just variations on the baseline minifigure.

It’s always been a little weird because I’ve never been as heavily into the DC universe as Marvel. I don’t know most of the characters that well, and don’t feel any particular desire to recreate the Man of Steel as a Man of Bricks, for example.

By contrast, I read several Marvel titles in my teenage years (Thor, Avengers and Excalibur chief among them) and I know that universe way better than anything DC has produced. And yet I never connected that with my LEGO obsession.

Until now.

There I was, casting my mind around for something I could build for the contest that wasn’t the Death Star Escape, and what do I see but my son’s 76109 Quantum Realm Explorers set, sitting there still built from his birthday back in March.

Aha! I thought. Maybe I could build Hank Pym’s quantum laboratory!

Quickly ascertaining that I didn’t have all the elements I’d need for the first way I thought about building the Quantum Portal, but still inspired by this great set, I shelved the idea of the lab and started in on the Quantum Realm itself.

The Quantum Realm

The weird, shifting landscape of the Quantum Realm as pictured in Ant-Man and the Wasp necessarily involved certain design decisions, as there was no way I could reproduce all the shifting and warping without some serious investment in Power Functions and Technic engineering expertise, and I only had a month. I’ve tried to convey the impression of that bizarre, unnaturally-coloured scenery’s continual shifting and changing, and though I haven’t inserted that city that people think they’ve seen in the Quantum Realm, I’m pleased with the result.

The actual build, though, is one of the simplest landscape builds I think I’ve ever made. It was abundantly clear by the time I’d finished that even extending it to another 32×32 baseplate wasn’t going to result in a contest-winning MOC if I stuck with the QR; I know the building ability of my fellow LUG nuts, and that would basically be an entry for the sake of it. I can do better than that.

Besides, if I’m MOCing the 76109 set, I’d better include the minifigures, and though Ant-Man went into the Quantum Realm in Ant-Man and the Wasp, he did not do so in the Pym Shrinking Submarine thing. And neither the Ghost nor the Wasp even went into the Quantum Realm in that movie.

Right, then. Better do that lab.

For the purposes of symmetry I wanted to keep the laboratory to a single 32×32 baseplate like my Quantum Realm build. This meant that the three-dimensional Quantum Tunnel I initially had in mind wasn’t going to fit, but on the plus side it let me have a reasonable chance at building it out of what I had on hand, and also let me tile over basically all of the laboratory. (Secret: I skipped tiling under the Quantum Explorer’s runway area because I was almost out of appropriately-coloured tiles by then).

Pym Technologies lab

I’ve kept to the general look and layout of the lab, but the precise details are my own because we don’t own that movie yet and I couldn’t find too many good reference images. The Quantum Portal is hinged so it will open and you can drive the Explorer craft through into the Quantum Realm. Of course, once I put the two sides together it was clear that this wasn’t precisely going to work. You couldn’t close the door afterwards, and the hard juxtaposition of the two halves of the build just looked odd.

Open portal. This is half the reason we need that hinged configuration

Struck by sudden inspiration, I joined the two sides with a single 1×4 hinge plate at the front inner corners, and that worked to solve both problems. The “distinct-yet-joined” nature of the two halves of the build seems like the proper physical expression of the relationship between Marvel’s on-screen macro-world and Quantum Realms, and now the Quantum Gateway will open and close like anything.

Best of all, now I could make the set properly represent the events of the movie, where Hank Pym uses the Explorer craft to venture into the Quantum Realm after his wife, while Ant-Man and Wasp fight the Ghost.

To do this, I needed Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne minifigures. There is a Hank Pym ‘fig, but I don’t own one and didn’t even know of its existence when I was building. I decided to use Bespin-Han’s torso (from the 75137 Carbon Freezing Chamber set) with old Obi-Wan’s hair (from 75173 Luke’s Landspeeder) and a random Resistance trooper head. It’s close enough that you can tell who it is from context, even if it doesn’t look that much like Robert Redford.

Janet was way easier. Rey’s desert cowl (from 75099 Rey’s Speeder) is about as close as LEGO comes to the face-shrouding Quantum Realm robes she wears. Where did those come from, by the way? When she went into the Quantum Realm she was in her Wasp suit. Then I used Leia’s head and torso and Qui-Gon Jinn’s arms (and possibly legs) to complete her QR appearance. (Note: These pics use an earlier version of Janet drawing more heavily from Rey’s Jakku ‘fig) Again, not totally movie-accurate, but unless I’m going to paint my own, which I’m not, this isn’t bad.

Following the completion of the lab, I did try to build the microscopic tardigrade field on a blue 32×32 baseplate between the lab and the Quantum Realm, however, this ran into major quality issues and I was forced to abandon the idea.

There was no way a tardigrade on the scale shown in the movie was going to fit on a 32×32 baseplate, so I was forced to build my water-bear smaller. I was also forced to use black for the sake of element availability, and though I could have acquired the elements I needed in brown, I wasn’t sufficiently enamoured of the addition to bother. It just seemed to detract from the main action at either end to have a slightly crap rendition of a tardigrade intruding into the central focal point, and I just can’t think of a way to do it well enough to include. I pulled the tardigrade field and put it back the way it was, which is much, much better.

I’ll be taking my Into the Quantum Realm build for the contest tomorrow. I’ll let you know how I did.

Brit-Headz

There’s an obvious solution to my desire for a Captain Britain in LEGO form:

Build one.

Custom minifigure designs printed or painted on real LEGO bricks may be out of my range of abilities, but minifigures aren’t the only way to get a character in LEGO. Yes, I’m talking Brickheadz.

Brickheadz logo. Source: http://www.rebelscum.com

It shouldn’t be possible to find something boring and fun at the same time, but this is pretty much the case with TLG’s brick-built collectable character figurines.

On the one hand, they don’t actually do anything. They’re designed to be an ornament: a stylised, minimalist, Chibi version of a popular character that sits there on your shelf and looks decorative. Like CCBS figures, they share a more or less common basic core and build their individuality up from that, but unlike CCBS ‘figs (such as the Star Wars buildable figures) they have no articulation or possible range of motion. And if you aren’t into the character being portrayed, why bother? I have no real interest in a Cinderella Brickheadz, for instance. Kind of boring.

On the other hand, once you start building them, they’re quite addictive and fun to design. If you’re making a character you are into, trying to figure out the best way to reproduce them in a figure of this type is a fun challenge, and they do look rather good, on the whole. Though that’s generally more to do with who they represent than any intrinsic beauty.

So yeah, both boring and fun.

Captain Britain. Source: http://www.screengeek.net

Captain Britain, as you’ll know if you’ve read many of my latest posts, is one of my favourite heroes from the Marvel Comics universe. Though from his name you might get the idea that he’s some kind of derivative of Captain America, maybe getting his powers from an Allied version of the Super Soldier Serum developed across the pond, in actuality he’s more like a male Captain Marvel with ties to the King Arthur legends.

This is Brian Braddock (aka Captain Britain)’s second, and arguably best-known, costume, designed by artist Alan Davis and based on the dress uniforms of military units like the Queen’s Own Household Cavalry, with their knee-high boots, white trousers and crossed diagonal belts. Getting a diagonal cross on a Brickheadz sized torso was quite a challenge, but I’m really pleased with what I eventually came up with. Reproducing the segments of the Union Jack that he has on his mask/helmet wasn’t easy either, and though I’m less pleased with that I can’t think of a better way to deal with it. You’ll see him in at least three other costumes since the character has been rebooted a number of times since his debut in 1976, and all of the three more recent costumes are leagues better than his idiosyncratically ugly first red costume with the gold lion on the chest.

Brian Braddock, aka Captain Britain

The eyes aren’t authentic Brickheadz since those are another range of LEGO products I haven’t bothered to acquire any of, but the printed 1×1 round tiles of Aragog’s eyes (from the 75950 Aragog’s Lair set) work just fine as far as I’m concerned.

I did initially play with the idea of giving him a sword. Though it makes a wonderful visual counterpoint to Captain America’s shield, it wouldn’t be technically accurate. When Merlin (yes, that Merlin) gave him his powers and role as protector of Britain, he offered Brian a choice between the Sword of Might and the Amulet of Right, and Brian, not feeling that he was much of a warrior, chose the Amulet. In one of the recent reboots he appears to have a sword, but I wasn’t keeping up with comics at that point, so don’t ask me.

Anyway, until the unlikely event of the LEGO Group producing a minifigure version or the much more likely event of me succumbing to the temptation of acquiring a bootleg ‘fig, this will have to be it for a LEGO Captain Britain. Though I might try and build his most recent costume.

Here’s hoping we see him in the MCU at some point!

But At Least We Can Build A Spaceship

LL627 Starhammer

Just to prove that my inner Benny is still alive and well and hasn’t been drowned by the MCU nanovirus sweeping these parts, I built another NCS spaceship.

It’s looking like an atmosphere-capable heavy fighter to me, but most ships in the (N)CS style have atmospheric wings and tailpieces regardless of the fact that we never actually saw the originals anywhere but on airless planetoids, so presumably in the NCS universe it’s unusual if they aren’t atmosphere-capable.

The dual cockpit started out life as one of my numerous aborted attempts to build a Quinjet-style NCS ship. Not a Quinjet as such, but a homage to it. Having finished the cockpit area, though, I realised that once again I’d managed to create something that didn’t look remotely like I wanted it to.

Also, the ship was shaping up to be way huger than I’d anticipated and I was going to run out of blue.

“Adapt and Rule” being the watchword in these parts, I thoroughly overhauled what I initially had in mind and turned it into this nice stubby little starfighter.

The LL627 Starhammer is a System starfighter developed by Lagrange-Lunacorp in their Phobos-based “Dreadworks” facility. Like many of the vessels to come out of the Dreadworks yards, the Starhammer is a more or less purely military design, though it was billed as a new patrol vessel for the Space Police.

The Starhammer, however, lost the bidding process for the Space Police patrol vessel contract against Systematix Provo’s SP527 Longarm. In fairness, though, the Systematix Provo design benefited from having an inside track on the Requirement articles as well as from the usual greasing of palms and provision of incentives that passes for an honest bidding process in the System.

Lagrange-Lunacorp continued to produce a small number of Starhammers, marketing them mostly to the Nouveau Riche that had made their fortunes in asteroid mining and wanted to protect themselves from claim-jumpers, pirates and Blacktron agents. In this market, the LL627 proved to be a highly desirable ship. Its stubby wings allowed atmospheric entry but made the process of close asteroidal approach much less of a chancy business, while the basic armament of 2 laser pulse cannons and one underslung particle beam was both effective as sold and easy to upgrade.

In Darkness Enfolded

Having come late to the MCU party (yeah, we’re slow. I was working crazy hours for not all that much money at my previous job up until this time last year, and movies were a stretch in both time and cash), it’s only been relatively recently that I’ve actually seen Thor: The Dark World.

And having fussed about not being able to build any MCU MOCs because of lacking the ‘figs, this is actually a fairly good film to build from because TLG didn’t release any sets from it. Aside from Thor himself, and Loki of course, I don’t need any more official ‘figs than that, because there really aren’t any.

(Okay, there might be an Erik Selvig in some set somewhere as well. Give me a break).

In short, anything I can produce has almost as good a claim to being the definitive LEGO version as anyone else’s, especially where the Dark Elves are concerned.

I admit the Dark Elves weren’t the most interesting villains in the MCU. Their motivations are opaque and nearly nonsensical (wouldn’t it have been cheaper and easier to put your people in stasis until the heat death of the universe if you hate light and other races that much?), and they’re more like an embodied force of nature than an actual villain.

But then, no-one watching a superhero movie ought to be analysing the plot for plausibility. By design and nature they’re grandiose right up to the point of absurdity, otherwise what’s the point? It becomes “Quick! To the Bat-lobbying committee!”

But I do have to say that of all of the hardware of the MCU (especially its spacegoing parts), it’s the Dark Elves’ stuff that most grabs my attention.

Dark Elf ships are cool!

Quinjet? Quinjets are nice, but to this day I can’t build anything like a Quinjet I’m actually pleased with. I’ve tried Blacktron I, NCS and Futuron versions, and apparently I suck at building Quinjets. The Asgardians have a pleasing mix of high technology and Dark Age trappings (way better than Nexo Knights). The Milano is a lovely iconic ship. But as far as I’m concerned the Dark Elf Harrow kicks some serious butt as a ship, and I love the tall, imposing form of their capital ships as well.

As I’ve said before in the past, I’m an absolute sucker for vertically-oriented ships, though I don’t often build them because of the difficulties of displaying them. But I just had to try building a Harrow.

Scaled down some for the purpose of buildability (something that TLG do all the time), this is my version of the Dark Elves’ starfighter/dropship. I went with a red bubble canopy to represent that fiery glowing area at the front of the ship, but I’m still not sure whether that was supposed to be part of the drive system, a viewport area or a weapon system.

The rest of the ship isn’t totally movie-accurate either. I think the original is a little taller, more pointed at the back and slightly slimmer in the body. But on the whole I’m satisfied with it. Any more height would have redoubled the structural weakness of any ship of this sort of shape built in LEGO bricks, and there was no realistic way to make it narrower and still able to seat a pilot. You can tell what it is, and there aren’t any better versions out there that I can find. I’ve looked.

One of the things that surprised me about it was how fragile it isn’t. I was expecting something shaped like this to end up as the sort of creation that wobbles if you look at it funny and falls apart if you breathe at it wrong, but it’s actually way sturdier than I’d anticipated. The only real area of structural dubiousness is where the wing attaches to the cockpit, and I couldn’t think of a way to get more clutch power there without compromising the ship’s appearance. You can even swoosh it (gently) if you hold onto it by the wing rather than the cockpit.

Swoosh!

Probably the most challenging part of this creation was making the pilot.

Obviously, since TLG skipped The Dark World for sets (and they weren’t the only toy company to give the second Thor film short shrift. My theory is that Marvel Studios were being stingy with licenses for it in order to get more merchandising attention for the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie), there isn’t a Dark Elf minifigure. Not even Malekith.

I’m actually okay with that since I’m in the same boat as everyone else, at least as far as purist customs go. I have to try and make one of my own design.

My stock of suitable minifigures isn’t that large, and at least for this build I’m using what little I already possess rather than trying to purchase or acquire the perfect elements. I have an idea for a follow-up to this build, a Dark Elf Battle Pack, for which I might go ahead and acquire the parts, but for this, I’m keeping with what I’ve got.

I’ve used Garmadon’s torso and some plain black legs, as they look reasonably like the Dark Elves’ outfits, but I think once my son’s finished with Darth Maul I’ll use that torso and legs instead. There are options for the body of the ‘fig. It’s the head and headgear that are the real challenge.

There is a LEGO head printing that looks pretty close to those mask helmets: the old Gasgano head from the first Star Wars Episode I Mos Espa Podrace set. Those heads are old, rare and expensive, though, and even if I had one they wouldn’t be a good choice for something you might want a fair-sized legion of. And like I said, for this build I was just going with stuff I already had.

In the end I went with Palpatine from the Darth Vader Transformation set, but I’m not especially happy with it. For general use it has the advantage of being plentiful, recent and cheap, but it’s not especially accurate in either the eyes or the expression. Luminara Unduli wouldn’t be a bad choice, but then the disadvantage is you either have to make all your elves female or modify the eyes with paint or a Sharpie (and a very steady hand). It may come to that if and when I make the Battle Pack, but for now, Palpatine. Palpatine is probably a better colour anyway.

When I built the Harrow, I elected to use one of the old Castle helmets for the pilot, but after that I wondered if there wasn’t a better way of doing it and started playing around with my stock of elements. It turns out that you can wedge the samurai chin guard visor element onto the aviator cap element in a raised position, and end up with something that gives the effect of the long Dark Elf ears they appear to have.

Alas, this won’t fit in the cockpit of the Harrow, but if I make the Battle Pack that’s the way I’m doing my Dark Elves. Stay posted on that score.

Dark Elf pilot, version one.

I’m actually tempted to add in some yellow stripes and swap out the windscreen element to modify this into a Blacktron vessel. I’d probably want to add some visible guns and engines if I did that, though.

Anyway, here’s my Dark Elf Harrow, single-pilot version. I hope you like it.

Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S.

The P.E.G.A.S.U.S. spaceplane

And the first MCU-related build that I post here is… Not spectacular, I have to admit.

The experimental Project PEGASUS craft from Captain Marvel never even got the dignity of a proper name, let alone more than about six seconds of on-screen time, but since neither of the two blue minifig heads we have in this household (TLBM’s Mr Freeze and a random and unidentified Star Wars alien from one of the Battle Packs, for what it’s worth) look much like Kree, it’s about as likely a first MCU build as anything else. At least I only need human-appearing ‘figs in something that’ll pass as a flight suit.

Technically it’s not my first MCU build, but the actual first will have to wait because I’m entering it in next month’s DFWLUG “MOC the Set” contest and I don’t want to spoiler myself.

I also have the advantage that I haven’t yet seen another PEGASUS plane MOC. It’s nice to be the first, even with as unspectacular a build as this.

The main problem, obviously, is that it mixes white and grey. I realised halfway through building it that I didn’t have enough 1x2x3 slopes of either colour to make it all one shade, and the combination looks far less pleasing than I’d hoped it would. I was thinking I could make it look sort of intentional, but it’s still a bit hmmm if you want my opinion.

Oh well. I have some upcoming MCU builds that are better than this, but I did want to post this one anyway, to make the point that even without all the main character minifigures and even without wanting to remake anything that’s already in a set, there are still things you can do.

I’m starting to suspect the reason why there was only one set in the Captain Marvel wave. It has to compete with not only Endgame sets, but also Spider-Man: Far From Home in what’s (from a marketing perspective) a single range of MCU sets for this half-year period. Presumably TLG only has a limited amount of licensing money and places for sets in its current lineup, and only a certain percentage of those can be devoted to the MCU. That being the probable case, it makes sense for them to put the bulk of their effort behind things that are likely to prove more popular. Spidey is a major established character in the Marvel franchise and already has one MCU movie under his belt, and Endgame is Endgame, obviously, and needs no further comment on the likely popularity of any merchandise that ties into it. It’s possibly a major concession on TLG’s part that we even have a set from the movie and they didn’t go the Thor: The Dark World route and skip over it entirely. Of course, it did feature a brand new character who seemed an obvious new major powerhouse on the overall team lineup, which might have been a consideration.

I’m glad they made the set, because I wouldn’t have spent the money on the 76131 Avengers Compound Battle set, which is the only other place the MCU ‘fig currently appears.

Anyway, here’s my take on six seconds’ worth of experimental lightspeed engine spaceplane, though why you’d build one with a dual cockpit and risk the life of your main development scientist in a test flight is anyone’s guess. Comic-book logic doesn’t stand up too well under scrutiny, but we’re all willing to suspend disbelief enough that it’s this that annoys me rather than Captain Marvel being able to fly under her own power. Which has its own sort of comic-book logic to it, really.

Kalevala-class Ice Mech

One of my better mechs, I think.

I finally got that horrible one-piece mech cockpit element (#27168) to actually work for me instead of against me! Seriously, that thing’s been a source of frustration since we acquired it with my son’s 70901 Mr Freeze Ice Attack set.

However, I finally realised that with a little judicious jiggery-pokery of angles with the lower pin attachment and almost completely ignoring the towball arm attachments, you can actually make quite a nice mech.

This is also the first time I’ve managed something like those completely unfolding mech cockpits that are so fashionable in hardsuit-building circles.

I don’t have a lot to say about this really. I named it after the Finnish mythological epic, because cold-weather climate mythologies are a great source of naming material for Ice Planet stuff.

We Can Build A Spaceship (But We Can’t Build A Quinjet)

Ironic, isn’t it? It’s taken me until Endgame to get to the point of wanting to build MCU MOCs.

What’s even more ironic is that I love the whole superhero genre and I’m far more knowledgeable about and into the Marvel universe than anything DC have produced. And yet this household has precisely two MCU sets (76109 Quantum Realm Explorers and 76127 Captain Marvel and the Skrull Attack) and I’ve yet to post pics of any MOC I’ve built associated with the Marvel universe, cinematic or comic-book variety.

I’ve built some Batman MOCs, mostly using The LEGO Batman Movie‘s Batman, which fits in pretty well to the Adam West/Burt Ward milieu which was Batman for my childhood. But although Batman seems custom-designed to LEGO well, every other superhero of which I’m aware, especially in the Marvel universe, is a very different kettle of fish.

Captain America, for instance, has powers that are much more innate to himself. Once you have the minifigure, there’s not really very much that you can build around him, in contrast to Batman’s Batmobiles and Batbikes, Tumblers and Batpods, Batcopters and Batwings and so on (right on down to the wickedly satirical Bat-Dune Buggy and Bat-Space Shuttle of TLBM). Even Iron Man, who shares Batman’s schtick as a technology-powered gadgeteer hero, is basically all about the power armour, and with one or two exceptions such as the Hulkbuster, what that basically amounts to is a long string of minifigure variants.

Here I have to confess not only that Iron Man is probably my least favourite of the MCU’s heroes, but also that all of the different minor suit variations all blur together in my mind. They all basically look like Iron Man. At my level of interest in the character it kind of becomes “what’s the point?”, beyond the first minifig.

However, the point is that Iron Man is probably the Marvel universe’s most famous “builder/gadgeteer”-type hero, and he’s not easy to create my kind of MOCs for because he has no real vehicles as such. And more organic superheroes with more intrinsic powers are usually worse in that regard.

Various toy companies including LEGO long ago realised that they could use superhero branding to shift merchandise, and have “blessed” the world with all manner of Spidercopters and Hulkmobiles and Venomcycles and X-submarines, none of which bear any more resemblance to anything you see in the source material than My Little Pony looks like a real horse. When you’re eight, these have a certain coolness factor, but they don’t do very much for your average twenty-eight or forty-eight-year-old AFOL, and I can’t see any adult builder that’s not employed by the LEGO Group as a set designer actually designing and building one for any serious superhero MOC.

Yes, there are a few official vehicles from the Marvel universe that would more naturally make the sorts of vehicular builds I tend to gravitate to: the Avengers Quinjet, the SHIELD Helicarrier, the Milano, the X-Men’s Blackbird. But by and large they either have very good sets already (Quinjet, Milano) or are so humungous you’re either looking at very tiny microscale or megatons of bricks (Helicarrier). But in general, if you’re building superhero MOCs you’re probably building locations and scenery. Or Brickheadz, but those are boring and don’t do a whole lot.

I’ve tended to shy away from scenery builds because I always think I don’t have the elements to do them justice. When I do them, very often I microscale them for reasons of compatability with my smaller-end AFOL brick inventory, but you can’t very well do that if the whole focus of your build is a team of basically human-sized individuals with enhanced powers. You need to have the minifigs.

And this is where it becomes Catch-22 for me. Because I tend to shy away from location and scene-building, I’ve not been getting any of the Superheroes or MCU-related sets. I figured the builds were either contrived or not really relevant to what I was likely to want to build, and it just wasn’t worth getting the sets for the minifigures when I really couldn’t see using them in MOCs.

So now, when I actually want to build some superhero-related builds, I can’t because I don’t have the minifigures. Catch-22.

There’s always Bricklink and the local Bricks and Minifigs stores, but Captain America runs at $12 a ‘fig at the closest local B&M store, and that adds up quickly when you need not only him but Iron Man and Scarlet Witch and Thor and Hawkeye and all the rest. It’s a better price on Bricklink, but less so when you have to factor in postage.

Then, too, I always want obscure ones. I mentioned last time that I’d like some Kree. I’d like a better-looking Nova. And I’d absolutely love a Captain Britain (in his better-looking second outfit with the red diagonal cross, for preference). Of course, I figure the likelihood of the LEGO Group producing a Captain Britain ‘fig is woefully low unless he gets face time in one of the MCU Phase Four movies, and probably not high even then. Though there was that “blink-and-you’d-miss-it” name-drop in Endgame where Peggy Carter says that “Braddock” (as in Brian Braddock, Captain Britain?) hasn’t checked in for a while.

I’m unsure what I’d use a Captain Britain ‘fig in, but I really want one. So much so that for the first time I’m actually considering going to one of the bootleg custom brick-printing outfits for one. There are a few quite cheaply-priced examples online that don’t look half bad in their pics. I’ve always been leery of going that route, though, because I figure the quality is probably going to be bad and/or there are going to be real compatability issues with trying to attach it to real LEGO bricks.

MCU Battle Packs: An Option Worth Exploring

I do rather like the Star Wars “Battle Pack” sets that TLG produce. They’re great for cheap minifigures that you tend to need lots of, like Stormtroopers, Clones, random Jedi, Jawas and so on.

Typically I’ve personally used them as a source of flesh-coloured heads for my neo versions of Classic Space, Blacktron and Ice Planet astronauts, but I can foresee a time when I will actually buy them for their intended purpose.

However, the Star Wars Battle Packs in all their variety aren’t precisely what I want to talk about.

This week was my birthday, and among other things I got the 76127 Captain Marvel and the Skrull Attack set. Now, I don’t precisely want to review it right now either, but I will say that the proto-Quinjet is a very nice build for its size, with some really creative SNOTwork techniques being used. It’s just a pity that Captain Marvel’s hair is the wrong style. That’s a minor quibble, though, because I’m sure we’ve got a better hairpiece in nougat somewhere around.

No, what really annoys me about it is that they only made the one set from the entire movie, because I’d really like some Kree Starforce minifigs, or Accusers, or Skrulls.

That’s when it hit me that the Battle Pack format would be a great one to apply to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, because a Kree Starforce Battle Pack is basically the MCU’s equivalent of Stormtroopers.

You don’t have to confine it to just the Kree, either. I’ve got a whole raft of ideas you could do:

  • Kree Starforce
  • SHIELD Agents
  • Skrulls
  • Hydra Soldiers
  • Nova Corps
  • Ravagers
  • Chitauri
  • Kree Accusers
  • Wakandan Border Tribe
  • SHIELD Soldiers
  • Dora Milaje

And so on. You could even expand it into the further Marvel universe that the MCU hasn’t touched yet. But even if you don’t, at 2 or 3 Battle Packs per cycle that’s enough for several years’ worth of sets and their revenue.

Frankly, who wouldn’t be enthused about the opportunity to get a load of Kree, or Hydra soldiers, or SHIELD Agents, or Chitauri, in job lots without having to buy massive and expensive sets? I’d buy several, especially of the Kree.