Monthly Archives: June 2019


Sagittarius Defence Mech

I think this is a much better mech than last time’s SPARTVS design, but interestingly enough I have far less to say about it. It’s weird how that works sometimes. I was perfectly satisfied with the SPARTVS until I built this Sagittarius mech, but now that I have this to compare it with the SPARTVS seems a bit clumsy and clunky.

To me, this looks like a sort of light aerospace defence mech, which makes the name “Sagittarius” (“Archer”) very appropriate. Interestingly, though, that wasn’t the origin of the name.

With those long legs and splay-toed feet, I thought it had a rather ratite look. For the uninitiated, “Ratites” are a bird family, including all the extant large flightless birds (ostriches, emus, rheas, cassowaries and kiwis) plus the non-flightless tinamou and a number of extinct birds including the moa of New Zealand and the elephant bird of Madagascar. Anyway, it was nearly the Ratite-class, but that didn’t seem right for what was obviously a military design, so I cast my mind around for something similar but a bit more predatory.

Aha! Secretary Bird!

Secretary-class works even less well than Ratite-class, but the scientific binomial name of the Secretary Bird is Sagittarius serpentarius. And Sagittarius being a constellation as well as a genus, and meaning “Archer” to boot, that worked doubly well for a space defence walker.


The SPARTVS walker

The SPARTVS (“Spartus”; “Synergistic Piloted Assault Robot Tactical Victory Suit”) mech is a twin-crewed close-quarters combat mech developed by Cyberus Industries of Titan, a subsidiary of TransOctan. TransOctan is one of the oldest transcorporate entities in the System, and though its power has fluctuated relative to the other feudal-capitalist giants like Bencom and Lagrange-Lunacorp, it remains one of the major powers, and one known for a certain ruthlessness.

Twin-crewed bipedal mechs are not common even in the System, but Cyberus Industries of Titan seem to specialise in them; the SPARTVS is not the first such mech to come out of the Cyberus manufactories beside the Vid Flumina.

The SPARTVS was designed as an enforcement mech for quelling labour riots, so its first factory-default standard model featured neural stun batons to be used in the lower pair of hands, and sleepgas dispensers fitted to the upper arms. However, TransOctan corporate security forces requested a change to monomolecular-edged cutting blades in order to deal with unrest in the volatile Mercury solar farms, where rioting workers had access to Mercurian-environment power armours like the so-called Hellsuit.

The Mark 2 SPARTVS mech incorporated the requested changeout of stun batons for monomolecular cutting blades, and also replaced the upper sleepgas dispensers with hydraulic claws. Smaller sleepgas dispensers can still be fitted to the four upper arms, but the SPARTVS is mostly deployed against exo-suited rioters or spacesuited Blacktron agitators where sleepgas is ineffective.


And so we return to Classic Space, and the inverted-moral-polarity world of the System, in which the Blacktrons are the good guys and the Classic astronauts represent various corporate factions of the ruling Dark Side Ayn Randian hypercapitalist dystopia.

It’s been a while since I generated a proper backstory for one of my NCS creations, and with something as unusual as a twin-crewed NCS combat mechsuit it seemed like a good opportunity to rectify that oversight, as well as to return to my favourite dystopian take on the Neoclassic Space shared universe. And I got to come up with a new acronym for its name, which is always fun.

You really don’t see a lot of mechs with multiple crew; the whole point of giant humanoid walkers is that they’re supposed to be intuitive to control by a single pilot. If you’re going to build a walker with more than one crewmember, it’s usually going to be more like an AT-AT or a chicken walker and less like a humanoid. “Legged vehicle” rather than actual mechsuit.

However, if you can separate out your crew control roles, or possibly link both pilots together (perhaps with control cables plugged directly into their brains), there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t. Besides, it lets you do things like four-armed mechs that actually might have a hope of being controllable without AI running half of it.

Also, unusual design concepts are like crack for me. I’m hopelessly addicted.

I suspect that the “Synergistic” part of the name acronym means that the pilots are hardwired into the control systems, but it’s possible there’s some sort of holographic control interface instead. It’s the future; maybe people have implanted nanocomputers that interface directly with the brain for information networking, hard-drive memory support and control of personal peripherals. That would also explain the absence of any kind of visible controls for a lot of NCS hardware; they’re controlling it via implants.

Iron Mongery

Obadiah Stane’s Iron Monger armour

Who’d have thought that I’d be happily building MCU stuff related to Iron Man?

For a whole complex of reasons (mostly amounting to “I find Tony Stark difficult to relate to”) Iron Man’s one of my least favourite Marvel Cinematic Universe heroes. I never read the comics he was in, not his own book nor the West Coast Avengers that he led when I was reading Marvel comics in the ‘90s, and so I have little background knowledge and nostalgia for the character. All I can draw from is the modern big-screen incarnation, and not all of that because I skipped over Iron Man 3.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t dislike the character. I enjoy watching him interact with the other heroes in most of the ensemble movies, and even in Civil War I get where he’s coming from despite the fact that I think I agree more with Captain America. It’s just that a solo Iron Man film is usually just a bit too much unleavened Tony Stark for me.

That being the case, you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking I’d be slow to gravitate towards Iron Man builds. However, I don’t especially like most of the grimdark incarnations of Batman either, but that hasn’t slowed me down from building the occasional take on the Batmobile or other Bat-vehicles. Here I am building an Iron Man-related build.

Obadiah Stane’s Iron Monger suit from the first Iron Man movie is noticeably bigger than a regular-sized human. Since the Mark 3 Iron Man armour is represented in LEGO as a minifigure (as are most of the various Tony Stark armours), the larger size of the Iron Monger brings it into “something to build” territory rather than “custom minifig”.

Obadiah Stane… sort of

This version is obviously too big. Approxinmately twice the height even of one of the LEGO big ‘figs like Hulk and Thanos, it’s way out of proportion to a minifig-sized Iron Man. However, the LEGO Group themselves bend scale all the time for the sake of their builds, and in multiple themes. Official LEGO Droidekas are well known for being drastically larger than they ought to be, whereas even as large a set as the Death Star is demonstrably too small. I’m not one of these expert specialist mech architects, and I don’t know how to build much smaller than this and still have it look like the beefy, bulky suit of MCU Iron Man’s first villain.

I think my favourite part of this is the shoulder-mounted hydraulic pistons. A feature of the Iron Monger you really have to include if you’re building it, they’re not easy to do and tend to restrict the movement of the arms. I’ve done what I can, but these do have a tendency to disconnect in certain arm positions.

I’m also rather pleased with the multiposeable fingers. Those rounded 1×1 plates with the bar allow the fingers to splay, giving a much more naturalistic range of hand motion. Okay, my Iron Monger doesn’t have elbows or knees, but it looks reasonable despite that. The helmet even opens up to reveal Obadiah Stane (approximately) behind the mask.

It’d be nice if there was a way to reproduce a range of horizontal movement in the mask, but there’s no way to make the head turn with this construction technique, and anything else would spoil the look.

Ultramarine Spitfire

LL406 Ultramarine Spitfire

If I was building this for the anniversary of the Battle of Britain, I was a month off. The officially recognised start date for the Battle of Britain was 10th July 1940, and it’s still June right now.

I’m not sure quite what made me decide to build a Neoclassic Space take on a classic British warplane, but here it is. More of my subconscious “Space Everything” mindset, I suppose. Anyway, here it is. Technically, it’s closer in shape to the Hawker Typhoon than the Supermarine Spitfire, but the body’s a lot wider than either and much more blended with the wings.

Blended-wing construction was never a feature of 1940s aircraft. It’s way too expensive and difficult for far too little benefit; you could probably make two or three less capable non-blended-wing aircraft in the time it took to build one ultra-streamlined blended-wing super-aircraft. Still, those rounded wings the classic Spitfire has are rather iconic, and given the blue-based colour scheme of Classic Space there wasn’t anything I could call it except “Ultramarine Spitfire”.

Presumably this is a Classic Space Federation transatmospheric space fighter based on some planet where they need a lot of low-speed manoeuvrability. If there’s one thing most World War Two aircraft excelled in, it’s low-speed manoeuvres.

I’m not sure whether this counts as my first Dieselpunk spaceship or not, but I suppose it might.

Avengers Assembled

Avengers Tower

Maybe there’s more to build that’s related to the Marvel Cinematic Universe than I thought there was.

Yes, there’s a microbuild polybag of the Avengers Tower already. Nonetheless, I decided to build my own.

I’m pretty sure the polybag set is larger, so therefore easier to get detail into, but I’m quite pleased with how this came off. I even managed to incorporate the Avengers symbol, courtesy of one of the printed round 2×2 tiles that came with the Captain America Outriders Attack set.

I do love microbuilds, and finding something in the MCU that will make a good microbuild is more challenging that you might think. Forget any of the heroes, for a start; it’s just not happening.

Stark Tower/Avengers Tower is iconic enough to be instantly recogniseable and of a shape that isn’t too difficult to reproduce at this scale with bricks. And then getting those 2×2 Avengers symbol printed tiles was the icing on the cake.

Not a lot to say about this, really, but I’m pleased with it. Hope you like it.

Perturbations in the Quantum Realm

Ok, so I didn’t win.

I didn’t even come second, though as it turned out most people had apparently forgotten that it was “MOC the Set” month, and the build that did win wasn’t one that fit the MOC the Set criteria. If they hadn’t decided to extend the contest and include everything, who’s to say who would have won, after all the votes for other builds were retallied?

It still might not have been me, of course. My fellow LUG members are a creative lot and most of them are far better in their areas of expertise than I am in my more general building ability. But who actually knows?

Still, I did pick up a new set from the LEGO store where we meet, but as a purchase not a prize.

I ended up buying the 76123 Captain America Outriders Attack set, then picked up an older Cap minifig at one of the local Bricks and Minifigs stores – sadly without his shield.

Yes, the motorbike build is an oversized, ridiculous piece of junk, on the face of it. Yes, it’s totally movie-inaccurate – Captain America doesn’t ride any sort of motorbike in Endgame, let alone one the size of a largeish FedEx delivery van. Yes, if you have any of the other Endgame sets it’s probably not worth getting this one.

But I figured that between the new Captain America headgear element, and his shield, and the three Outriders, and all the Power Burst elements in trans orange, it was actually a decent investment. I’d end up paying almost as much Bricklinking all that as I spent getting it all together with all the other elements as well.

My 8-year-old son thinks it’s a great set, but then this is his first encounter with Power Burst pieces since we didn’t have any previously. Also, it features stuff that shoots. I think his idea of the ideal LEGO set would be a mass of Power Bursts and every conceivable way to shoot stuff with LEGO elements. 8-year-old boys…!

The motorbike is still hugely oversized and basically ridiculous, and if I’d been getting earlier MCU sets I probably wouldn’t bother with any of the Endgame range except maybe the Iron Man Hall of Armour. But I haven’t, so getting one of my personal favourite Avengers was worthwhile.