When I originally created the TIE cockpit based off the Lowell Sphere back in 2011, the TIE Interceptor was the first recipient of it. I’ve always loved all of the starship designs from Return of the Jedi, and the Interceptor is no exception.
I created the TIE cockpit design based off the Lowell Sphere back in 2011, originally for a TIE Interceptor. I then made this TIE Fighter, and have been occasionally revisiting the designs of the two since. I decided it was time to finally take some pictures and post them online.
Tommy over at BrickNerd send me this photo of my donut and rubber ducky designs being used at The LEGO® Movie Experience at LEGOLAND, California. It’s a very convincing recreation of the set from the movie, and the rubber ducky and donut look pretty accurate, so kudos to the builders! I hope to see the exhibit soon! You can see more details on the event here.
Like many people, when I first heard that was in the works, I was more than a bit apprehensive about it. The first teaser trailer, full of one-liners as it was, gave me the impression that the only decent two minutes of the film had just been viewed. I was still going to see it, but I was not expecting much more out of the movie than to bore my wife with an earful of complaints after the credits rolled.
I forget the exact moment when, watching a newer trailer about a month ago, something changed. It was a profound moment (that I just can’t happen to remember), but I actually wanted to see the movie! I prepped myself well, with steady viewings of new trailers and TV spots, getting my two-and-a-half year old son excited to see his first movie in a theater, and inadvertently getting hooked on “Everything Is AWESOME!!!” (which led to me buying the entire soundtrack). Come February 7th, I was SO PUMPED UP!
I saw The LEGO® Movie opening night with my wife and a group of friends and it’s safe to say we all loved it. We then took my son to see it two days later and were surprised that he sat rapt for the entire movie. The first word out of his mouth when the credits rolled was “MORE!” A true LEGO fan in the making! The second viewing was just as good, if not better, than the first.
Much ink has been spilled on the subject. Most reviewers of the movie have a cursory knowledge of what “Legos” are and spout the same facts over and over with some quips about how everything in the movie “fits together.” I don’t fault them for that; they have little invested in LEGO other than getting people to read their reviews for the next few weeks. Their analyses of the movie are fair enough, and I defer to them in that regard.
I hope to offer a different take on the movie, not a formal critique per se, but just the perspective of a guy who really likes LEGO. Onto the movie!
MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!
Oh, The LEGO® Movie… sure, we didn’t meet on the best of terms, but that’s all history. We’re cool now. The movie is a critical and commercial success, as well it should be. It’s a GOOD movie. It’s a FUNNY movie. It’s an INSPIRING movie. Allow me to expound on those three points.
The LEGO® Movie is good fun. The story is a bit formulaic (to a point), but I see that as a strength in two ways. First, one can relax and just enjoy the comedic and visual elements of the movie. Second, the story is later revealed to be the product of Finn’s imagination. I don’t know many eight-and-a-half year olds with enough story writing acumen to turn Hollywood on its back, so the fast-paced, slightly choppy, cookie-cutter story, at least to the point of Emmet’s transportation into the real world, is more than fitting. The turn the movie takes from there was a welcome surprise, and puts it on a much deeper plane that anyone with a heart can relate to. With the inclusion of the live action sequence, I think the film outshines most animated features almost to the extent Toy Story did in 1995.
The LEGO® Movie is funny; it’s literally packed with jokes, even in its most serious parts! I must confess both times I saw it I was the only one who laughed out loud when Vitruvius, right after almost giving Emmet the key to defeating Lord Business, saying, “What I’m about to tell you will change the course of history…” abruptly dies with a gasp as X’s cover his eyes. His reappearance as a ghost on a string is even funnier. “Emmet, you didn’t let me finish earlier… because I died.” The micro-scale scenes with mouthed sound effects are inspired. Will Arnett is competing with Christian Bale for my current favorite incarnation of Batman, though for very different reasons! Be sure to check out his song, “Untitled Self-Portrait.” The line “NO PARENTS!” had me laughing for about five minutes straight.
The LEGO® Movie is inspiring. The entire world, including crashing waves, lasers, explosions, steam, and everything in between is made of LEGO bricks. I like the subtle inclusion of a fingerprint on Emmet’s torso, which can only be seen when his reflective stripes hit light at the right angle. I can relate to how Wyldstyle sees the world around her when creating her super cool Super Cycle. The nods to the AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO) community are numerous, and show the care that the filmmakers took in producing this. I left the theater inspired to go home and BUILD! I think seeing some of my MOCs in the movie and credits served as a fresh reminder that people actually like what I build, so that might have contributed to my elation. Will Ferrell’s character says that LEGO is not a toy, but “a highly sophisticated, interlocking brick system.” I know some AFOLs who forget that, at the end of the day, we’re all just playing with toys. So we might as well have fun with it, right?
The LEGO® Movie is not without its faults. The story feels a little light, or rather rushed, in some points (which I addressed earlier). For some reason, I wasn’t feeling Nick Offerman as Metal Beard. I’m a big fan of his, but this was the only character that I thought should have been cast differently. A few technical points that rub the LEGO nerd in me the wrong way; Emmet was able to bend backwards completely when real mini-figures only bend backwards about 60°, throughout the movie some of the bricks’ colors seemed milky as if they were inferior off-brand bricks, and the indentations on the underside of some plates’ studs were absent, which comes off as laziness considering the amount of detail put into the rest of the movie. Alas…
I know from personal experience how getting too “deep” into the hobby and letting it take preeminence over other things can lead to a burnout. I’d like to think I’ve found a good balance in the past few years in appropriately focusing my energies. LEGO® bricks are still the principal means through which I channel my creativity, but I’ve also enjoyed the peripherals that surround building; taking and editing photos, being involved in a local group and visiting conventions, taking commissioned work and other related events (including being in movies!), and most importantly building with my son.
Seeing as the LEGO® Company’s name derives from the Danish phrase “leg godt” (play well), I’ve seen a boost in creativity and playfulness as a direct result of The LEGO® Movie; with my son and his friends, but also in the AFOL community and with myself. If a silly 100-minute “kids” movie can do that, I’m all for it.
Well, not Bruce, per se, but Bruce’s work…
The LEGO® Movie was released this past Friday, February 7th and I had the pleasure of seeing it on opening night with my wife and some friends. It was nice to see a few of my MOCs made it into the movie!
My donut (and a few others which I didn’t see on-screen) were used on set for a live action scene towards the end of the movie. My taco can be seen being carried by some mini-figures during the Taco Tuesday/TAKOS scene. During the end credits, my hot dog and cow skull can be seen a few times. As one might imagine, it’s pretty cool seeing one’s own work in any movie, but even more so THE LEGO® Movie, which is almost unanimously loved by both critics and viewers! One might even say that everything is AWESOME!
Say what you will, but I think my headshot is what sold the powers that be on my donut:
Oogway is the creator of kung fu and master of the Jade Palace in the movie Kung Fu Panda. This was a commissioned piece.
The Little Tikes Cozy Coupe is another classic children’s toy that I never owned as a child. This is based off the 1991 version that I grew up around. I always liked the red hubcaps, and I was able to get them on this using red 1×1 round plates behind the white 1×1 round plates with holes. It wouldn’t feel like a Cozy Coupe without them!
Brandon Griffith’s STUDS Collectible Trading Cards was, I believe, the first successful LEGO-themed Kickstarter project. It’s a great concept, and the final product is fantastic.
I have the honor of having been chosen as one of the three featured artists for Series 1! There are eight different cards highlighting some of my most popular MOCs on one side, and a brief bio on the other side. PLUS, There are an additional nine cards that combine to show instructions to the Lowell Sphere on one side, and a new photo of my billiard set (based off the Lowell Sphere) on the other side.
Mike Doyle’s book “Beautiful LEGO” came out a few months ago and is filled with some of the best creations by the leading AFOLs in the community including Mike Nieves, Nannan Zhang, and Jordan Schwartz. I also happen to have some content in there.
Buy Beautiful LEGO on Amazon today!
The SFX Arwing is the signature starfighter from the original Star Fox video game for the Super Nintendo. I think the design of the Arwing has been updated for each subsequent game, but the SFX has hed a special place in my heart since I first played the game during a tournament weekend at Toys R Us back in 1993 and received a lapel pin as a reward for my (less than) stellar flying.
I’ve wanted to make an arwing using the sand blue 3×12 wedge slopes for the g-diffusers since the part first became available in 2004, but only last year got around to buying enough and building the g-diffusers. Once I saw the Furty Fox figure from the Chima line, I knew I had to finish the whole starfighter.
I’m really happy with how the whole thing turned out, especially the whole back end (using the large flags), the point of the nose, and the canopy design (which is borrowed in essence from my V-Wing Airspeeder).