Time for a comeback!?!



Red vs Blue, originally uploaded by JasBrick.

The last few months have been quiet for me on the customisation front… but from looking at places like Flickr and the main blogs it would seem that it is not just me that has been running silent. Could this be due to pressures of real life eating into our hobby time, or is it a genuine decline in interest and activity? It is hard to judge… however those that I consider to be the pillars of customisation are nowhere to be seen… where are Hazel and Morgan19 for instance? I am hoping that there absence is just temporary.Even Ken at http://www.customminifig.com is not blogging anywhere near as much as usual (does that mean there is nothing worth blogging about?). I was discussing this with a friend and we both lamented the loss of the Ugly Duckling blog run by Kyle Swan. It did seem to be the glue that kept some of us together and offered inspiration to many.Custom accessory providers seem to be continuing to add new items… but to me it seems that people are doing less with these rather than more… What is going on?I would be interested to know what the community actually wants or needs, is it tutorials on techniques? critical analysis (and I mean critical) of custom figs and accessories? If you have any ideas please let me know.

He He its Me! :-)



He He its Me! :-), originally uploaded by JasBrick.

This is a screenshot of the http://www.greatwesternlegoshow.com website that includes information on the event and also details of a particular exhibitor…. ME! :-)

This is a great event to visit and to be able to exhibit is a really big thing for me. I am still in the planning stage at the moment with regard to exactly what I am going to bring, however you can bank on a whole bunch of custom figs.

Anyone in the UK planning to go to the event please leave a comment so I know to look out for you!

The greatest show on Earth!



The greatest show on Earth!, originally uploaded by JasBrick.

Hi All… good news, well for me anyway, I have now confirmed that I will be attending and displaying at Steam: The Great Western Lego Show in October.

The reason that this has me quite excited is due to the fact that custom minifigs will now have a place amongst the fantastic creations of my fellow members of the Brickish Association. Call me an egotist if you will, but I do like to show off and this will be the perfect opportunity to do just that.

Further details for the event can be obtained from the official show website:

http://www.greatwesternlegoshow.com

Those of you in the UK that can make it please let me know and make sure you introduce yourself at the event.

UPDATE ON MADFIGS: I am just making the final preparations to the next phase of madfigs, and a hint of what is to come will be coming this weekend.

Your Kung Fu is… no match for Series 2 ;-)



Your Kung Fu is…, originally uploaded by JasBrick.

Have I struck the mother load and found a supply of Series 2 Collectable Minifigs? Have I heck! These things are still as rare as hens teeth over here, but I did manage to find a Karate fig on Bricklink with a not too extortionate price tag.

Am I excited about Series 2? Yes, very actually. I have ordered a box of these again on the basis that in addition to the minifigs being cool the spare parts are gold to me, new hair, new parts… all very cool.

When Series 1 came out I underestimated the mileage that I could get from them. I even think Lego was caught unawares by peoples appetite for these little suckers. It sounds as though Series 3 is going to keep things going in the right direction… I won’t repeat the rumours but the line-up sounds really cool.

I am still working on a new direction for this blog and hope to have something to report soon… I am sure that Series 2 will also play a big part in that as well.

Things to come!



The Nigh is End….de ja vue, originally uploaded by JasBrick.

As you may have noticed I have been a little quiet recently… in my defence I have still been churning out the figs on Flickr, however my silence here has served a purpose. I am currently planning a few things that will hopefully make up for my laziness ;-)

So watch this space…!

It ain’t funny!

Combat Clowns, originally uploaded by JasBrick.

Hi guys, things have been rather hectic recently, however I am back. Anyway to start the ball rolling again I thought I would return to the subject of the Collectable Minifigs produced by Lego.

I mentioned these previously when they were originally made public, however now I have had a good opportunity to mess around with the box of these that I bought it is safe to say I am very pleased with the contents.

Even those figs that I was originally dubious about are incredibly useful from a customisation perspective… as can be seen from the image above ;-)

For me it is the array of new pieces that are exciting, such as the following:

1. Clown hair, great for comedic effect, whilst also possible to re-colour for a truly funky afro;
2. Syringe, which is great for medical figs;
3. Skateboarders Hair, nice new style which I think looks better on female figs;
4. Spaceman Helmet, this looks great in white;
5. Spaceman Pistol, very retro looking blaster (steampunk / retro uses)
6. Zombie Head, the ultimate post-apoc / zombie fest piece that is a personal dream come true.

In addition the theme covered by the figs provide new inspiration to start building in a few forgotten genres (e.g. Cowboys, Forestmen tec.)

In addition to the random selection obtained in the box I have also purchased singles from Firestar Toys to create an army of Retro Robots and Zombies for future projects.

NOTE: Please let me know anything specific that you want me to cover in the blog using comments, otherwise I will continue to do things as and when they come to me.

Non-Metallic Metal Hybrid



Hazel GOW Plus, originally uploaded by JasBrick.

Hi, this fig is a good excuse to start blogging again as it would seem that quite a few people are interested in how I created the detail on this piece without using anything other than painting technique.

As I may have mentioned previously my dark ages were filled with a lot of 28mm wargaming and a fair amount of model painting… I even restore antiques for my wife where paint has been chipped off or removed completely. Anyway I would love to say that the technique I am about to explain is easy… but in reality it takes a bit of practice to get it right.

The technique is a hybrid of NMM (Non-Metallic Metal) painting that you can google to get more detail on. However in short the technique is to create metal looking effects on models without using metal paints…. seems a bit daft when there are so many metal coloured paints?! Well actually it is not as painting a model of fig with pure metal paints creates a pile of poo 9 times out of 10. The reflections and characteristics of the metal paint just does not look good in miniature.

The main problem with NMM is that it takes absolutely ages to do properly and requires patience and a good amount of skill. In this case I decided to take a shortcut (laziness has its virtue too you know!). I used metallic paint on the piece and then applied basic NMM technique to create an illusion of detail.

Here is a step by step guide:

1. Get one of Hazel’s (Amazing Armory) amazing GOW armour pieces as soon as you can as I think he has stopped producing these;

2. Get an appropriate reference image, in this case there are loads of GOW images of the armour I was recreating;

3. UNDERCOAT… in this case Hazel’s pieces come prepainted black. However they can still have a slippery surface so I tend to use a spray undercoat (Games Workshop Chaos Black is my undercoat of choice);

4. BASE COAT… as I want this to be silver like the real gears of war armour I use the following paint on the entire piece: Games Workshop Boltgun Metal. This is a dull silver colour that is great for coverage and setting the darkest shade for the armour;

5. BLACK LINING… I use a standard brush to draw lines on the armour plates where they do not actually exist on the armour piece. These lines will be the joins between the plates. Try to keep your lines as tidy as possible, however don’t worry if they get a little thick as the next stage will sort that;

6. CUTTING IN… If you have not had the practice to get your black lines perfect first time don’t worry. All you need to do is use Boltgun Metal again to cut on on both sides of the line to make it thinner and straighter. Cutting in is easier than trying to get a perfect line as all you are worried about is one side of the line. Practice this as it is a great way to make your lines look crisp and thin;

7. FIRST HIGHLIGHT… you will now have a very strange looking piece that looks terrible… please don’t give up as so many do at this point… this is where you start adding a 3rd dimension to your piece. I now add a line of GW Codex Grey paint alongside every black line or natural ridge. The thickness of this line is not huge however you need to remember that 2 more lines will be going inside this one. The effect of this line and subsequent ones is to make the black line drop back into the piece and make the plate you have created seem real ;

8. SECOND HIGHLIGHT… As before use a thin line of GW Fortress Grey over the first Codex Grey line leaving some of the latter still showing. This gives a gradiation with it getting lighter towards the edge of the plates. In real NMM you might go through a number of blended lines each with a progressively lighter mix of paint… however for a piece of Lego that ain’t something you really need to do;

9. THIRD HIGHLIGHT… I use 2 paints at this stage first I use GW Mithril Silver (a very shiny silver) on the absolute edge of every one of my plates (real or created via the black line and highlights). Then finally I use pure white on the corners and tips of any plates that I think would shine based on an imaginary light source somewhere to the front of the fig;

At this point you sould have a flat piece of armour that visually looks as though you have stuck lots of plates onto it or scratched on the ridges… which you haven’t.

To really create the illusion of detail there are a few tricks you can add:

RIVET HOLES… these holes at the corners of the plates really add to the illusion and are so easy to do. Just get a tiny amount of black paint on the tip of your brush (standard size) and then just touch it to the surface in the correct points. This if you are careful should just create a small round dot. My advice is to not get too fancy adding the screw to the dot as this level of detail is just lost on something so small;

CHEST PLATES… the black circles on the armour break up the excessive silver scheme and add much needed contrast. The white marks are small triangles painted onto the black. If you have trouble painting thin lines just paint a small solid triangle and then dab a dot of black paint in the center that creates the effect that the triangle is made from lines;

COG SYMBOLS… The Cog symbols are the ultimate level of detail for the fig and are actually quite simple to do. All you do is add dots of white paint in a circle roughly where the teeth of the cog would be. Then draw a circle connecting the dots leaving half to 2/3rds of the dot showing. Hopefully you should have a enough space in the centre to add a big dot for the skull. Practice this a bit before doing on the fig and you will soon have it down easy.

That is a basic run-down of how I did it. Sorry to go on, however I think that with a little practice there is no reason why anybody could not do this.

Any questions just comment and I will do my best to help.

Jasbrick