Friday, June 14, 2013

Not for the average builder

I was hesitating a lot if I should write this post, but at the end I have decided to go with it. It is all about existing builds, but I am mostly interested what can be still considered LEGO and what unconventional techniques exist to stretch this definition.

When someone builds from bricks, the goal is usually to create something that looks good. Most builds never end up in the hands of many other people. There are exhibitions, but even there people are not allowed to touch the models. And there are many which are only shared via photos over the net. The competition is strong, so builders sometimes end up with unexpected solutions. Let us go after some of them.

One general expectation is that a LEGO model should be built from LEGO bricks. So far so good. But how strong does it have to be? From photos it is impossible to tell if a connection is so weak that it falls apart from the first touch. Most builders try to make the model massive, but since shape is much more apparent on a photo than strength, shape wins in many cases. If someone tries to grab a model at a random point, it may very easily end up like this:

According to the unwritten and sometimes written rules the builder is not allowed to physically cut bricks, except a very limited number of special ones like flexible tubes. One is typically also allowed to use stickers though, since this is common practice in many factory models. But stickers sometimes end up in places where not everyone expects them to be. Have you seen a brick like this, for example?

Or how about this:

I am pretty sure I would have never thought about putting a sticker there. Some models go much further than this though. This Spitfire has its entire camouflage made of stickers:

Painting bricks is less common, but you can still find a couple of examples. like this other Spitfire from our recent post:

An in an extreme case even the bricks get modified like the windscreen on this truck from INDOMITUS (via kockagyár):

The possibilities are endless when the model is built a computer only. CAD programs are sophisticated, but even so they rarely contain crash simulation. LEGO Digital Designer is able to test if all parts of the model are connected, which is more than nothing, but it is still no guarantee that the model is able to support its own weight in reality. But this is more than what is offered by other LEGO software: most LDraw editors do not have anything, it is up to the builder to ensure that the model can be actually built.

Even more, CAD tools typically do not know which parts exist in which colors. Or maybe they exist, but it costs a small fortune because supply is far smaller than demand (via Eurobricks).

And if someone has POV-Ray in his hands, can do even more. Do you notice that the yellow color used on this bus has been tweaked a bit to be more similar to the yellow used on the original buses?

And how about some Photoshop? Who recognizes what is wrong with this Spitfire photo?

LEGO is always LEGO. But as you can see, there are gray areas.

No comments:

Post a Comment