Monthly Archives: December 2009

My View: Collector Figures Ad

Collector Figures Ad, originally uploaded by Navy Trooper Fenson.

This image is doing the rounds on Flickr, Brothers Brick and various other places… my blogging it here is purely for the purpose of discussing how much Lego has changed over the last 12 months.

Even though this blog is primarily to discuss how you can replicate my figs (if you care enough to want to)… I was also going to talk at some point about the fact that I think Lego is really far more attuned to what people want then ever before. This is not just sycophantic worship… I genuinely believe that the design teams they have now are the strongest they have been for as long as I can remember.

My evidence for this is as follows (purely my opinion):
1. Strong licensed themes that are well supported (Indy Jones, Star Wars);
2. Pruning of poor themes that just were not popular, well with me anyway (Mars Mission, Dino Attack, Divers);
3. Some great non-licensed themes (Pirates returning, Agents and to a lesser extent Power Miners);
4. They have introduced some great new minifig accessories that I have been after for a while (modern body armour, new helmet design (SP3 Helmet that looks very HALO ODST), jetpacks, helmets, clone trooper accessories and definitely the new Atlantis items);
5. The improvements with multi side printed torsos has also not gone unnoticed and is definitely very welcome;
6. And finally these collectible minifigs are in my view the Icing on the Cake. I normally don’t like praising a Corporation for coming up with another way to take money from me…. but come on, these are so cool. The collectible aspect initially made me groan…. however looking at the range of figs makes me realise that no matter which one I get I would be happy.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not agree with every decision made, however I feel a very strong sense of connection between my wishes and the Lego design process….. At the moment 😉

Whilst the customisation potential is huge with these figs, I am going to find it very difficult to do anything other than keep them as they are…. unless I can get LOADS of them! and believe me I will be trying.

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Brikviet Beginning

Brikviet Beginning, originally uploaded by JasBrick.

What better place to start than the beginning?!

I dabbled a little with various little modifications prior to creating this fig, but in reality for me it all started with this little chap. He is still one of my favourite figs (as you can tell from the watermark) and contains a good deal of the techniques I continue to use now.

The inspiration for this fig came from the pieces rather than any pre-conceived plan. He evolved from an attempt to create a more militaristic armour piece. I will talk about the development of the Brikviet backstory at a later stage so for now I will just concentrate on the fig design.

Parts Required:
2 * 1X1 Plate (black)
1 * Castle chestplate (any colour – whichever is cheapest)
2 * Firemans Axe
2 * Buzzsaws
1 * Rock raiders Helmet
1 * Ice Planet Visor (normally trans-orange)
1 * Triangular road sign
2 * Star wand (normally trans-red)
1 * Cable reel
1 * Hammer
1 * Black torso and legs
1 * Minifig head
1 * Katana

Additional non-TLC parts / tools
1 * Brickarms Grenade
2 * Brickarms U-clip or Monopod
1 * Brickarms Space Assault Rifle
Superglue
Games Workshop black undercoat spray
Games Workshop Chaos Black paint
Games Workshop Catachan Green paint
Craft knife / Heavy duty cutting knife.
Standard paintbrush

Stage 1: Creating the Armour

The armour on this fig is very simple and is created as follows:
1. Cut the axe heads off the 2 axes (taking care to retain the shape of the head). You will be using the heads for this armour, however I would suggest keeping the handles for use in other things (I generally use them as cigars);
2. Glue the two axe heads onto the sloping front of the chestplate, with one on either side of the central line, leaving a small gap between the plates. Try and keep them as straight and parallel as possible;
3. Cut the handles from the two buzzsaws.. cutting a straight line as close to the end of each side (I may try and take an image of this with the cutting points and post it for those unsure where to cut);
4. Position the handles from 3. above on the shoulders of the armour, trying to keep the handles as horizontal as possible. Once you are happy with the positioning glue these in place.
5. Cut one of the monopods just below the clip trying to obtain a clean, straight cut;
6. Glue the monopod clip to the left axehead breastplate.

That is the armour done… just do the helmet next.

Stage 2: Creating the Helmet

1. Cut the antenna from the Ice Planet visor;
2. Cut the handle part from the cable reel (another image I will post later to show where to cut);
3. Glue the handle from the cable reel to the bottom of the Ice Planet visor (best to do this right in the middle so that the visor will close properly with this part between the cheek guards of the helmet)
4. Cut the top of the hammer off (leaving a small piece of handle on it) and then glue to the top of the helmet (using the ridge on the top as another support for the glued piece).

That is the helmet done!

Stage 3: Painting

1. Take the helmet, visor, body armour and triangular sign and place on a flat surface. This should be ideally outdoors or in a well ventilated area that does not matter if it gets covered in paint;
2. Shake the black spray can vigorously (as instructed) and when ready spray the items carefully (as instructed), ensuring that the pieces are completely covered;
3. Wait for the paint to dry (leave as long as you can as there is noting worse than fingerprints in the paint);
4. When the undercoat is dry decide what colour you want the armour (in my case Green – Catachan green) and paint it on in thin layers using a standard brush. This is all done before putting on the fig body.

I use GW paints because of my wargaming background and the easy availability. I also use Catachan green specifically because to me it is one of the easiest paints to use… it goes on well and when dry looks like a solid colour with little or no streaking.

Once all the paint is dry (really dry – at least overnight) I would add a Matt Varnish (brushed on in thin coats) that seals the paint and makes it much more resilient to scratches and flaking. I normally don’t have a problem…. but others do so I generally recommend a Matt varnish.

Once everything is dry I generally finish off with the fun bits of assembling the parts together on the fig and adding weaponry / accessories based on preference. In this case the fig has a TLC Katana and a http://www.brickarms.com Space Assault Rifle (with monopod attached). However the advantage of minifigs is that you can change this as much as you want.

Hopefully this is helpful to anyone looking to create a similar fig. As you can see the image it should help when following the instructions. Any questions about this fig just ask!

Flickr 500,000 views

Zombie Hunter Swarm 1, originally uploaded by JasBrick.

Before I start blathering on about my figs I just passed the 500,000 view mark on Flickr and thought I should mark the event with something different. Here you can see a group of my Zombie Hunters (not all I might add) turning the tables on a lone Z-Head!

Generally my photos focus on the figs that I have created in quite static poses and with no backgrounds… a lot of that is due to the fact that my building time is limited, however I do sometimes have a chance to display them.

Anyway I hope you like this shot and I will be starting on the fig analysis asap.

Customising Equipment Part 2

Painting Equipment, originally uploaded by JasBrick.

The image here shows examples of the paints and tools I use when customising figs.

Click on the image for more detail, but essentially this shows the 4 main types of paint that I use and most importantly the spray undercoat. I will be talking more about colour and painting technique when describing each fig, however this is a good reference point.

If you have any specific questions on paint and how to use it on lego pieces / accessories please feel free to ask.

My trade secrets…

My trade secrets…, originally uploaded by JasBrick.

I regularly get asked how I do something… or what equipment use to create a certain fig or technique…. which has led me to the conclusion that rather than answering everyone individually I should just do it in one place and refer them here.

This blog will hopefully be of use to those that want to try their hand at a bit of customisation themselves. What I intend to do is to go through my figs (probably starting with my older figs) and break down how and why I created that fig. Regardless of whether anyone else finds this interesting I personally feel it will be of use to me in helping me refine my work.

This first photo is of my toolkit (minus the painting gear that I will do in another post). This constitutes the main items and don’t worry you really only need a fraction of this to start creating figs, but I show it in its entirety to allow me to refer back to this in future posts.

Looking at this… one this I missed from the picture is my old friend Mr. Superglue! Please feel free to ask any questions regarding this kit and I will answer if I can.

The END? Actually No it is the beginning.



The END?, originally uploaded by JasBrick.

Now that I have had the time to work out how to connect Flickr to my newly established Blog I am ready to go.

The idea is to use whatever spare time I have to blog and analyse the custom minifigs that I have created (probably starting with the oldest designs first).

The blog will focus on what inspired me to create the fig in question and what techniques I used. This is very much a self focused endeavour at the moment, however due to the sheer number of people asking me how I do certain things I feel it is worth doing.

Anyway watch this space 😉