Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Yet more lego: Millenium Falcon ZipBin carry case

Just a sort little post that I've been meaning to get out for a while.

I'm on a serious Lego binge at the moment and I wanted something to keep the bits that are in progress but too small to keep in the open.

Amazon threw up a suggestion of this and for under £10 it seemed like a decent idea and if it didn't work out then I could just use it as a really nerdy handbag.

It measures around 27x35cm and is 8cm deep (10.5x14x3inches). The shoulder strap is not as long as you would think when looking at the picture online (that must be a very small child they used to badly Photoshop it onto) so it can't be worn across body on an adult without looking very strange but it can be suspended from one shoulder or carried like a briefcase with the handle.

A little detail I like is that it has a loop for a coat hook or something similar that you rarely see outside of backpacks so if you wanted to display it on a wall that makes it so much simpler and neater than if you were using any of the other straps.

It opens up to show a storage area and mat for building on. The storage area has six pockets specifically for minifigures around the sides and the mat provides a stable, flat area for building on.

The product description states that in can hold up to 400 lego bricks but I haven't tested that yet. It is really good however for keeping my half finished builds safe when I'm building them in their stages because of the rigid structure of the case. The larger size of it means that it can do this with all but the largest of the lego sets I have been building recently.

One of the selling points that is given is the washable/waterproof nature of the case. This wasn't something that would have sold me on it but a parent of a messy child would be pretty pleased with that.

Overall this was a resounding success to the point where I had to give away the surprise for my mum's birthday/Christmas when she saw it to stop her from buying one.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Lego Build: The Hobbit, An Unexpected Gathering (Part 5/5)

True to form of Tolkien's work and any derivative works of it there has to be a final additional post full of detail and things that wouldn't fit or would be out of place in the main body of the work. The books called them appendices as did the films but informally they are known as special features.

You can't talk about bag end without at least mentioning the famous green door.
really, Gandalf, was the graffiti absolutely necessary?
During the build I noticed that the fireplace has 'glowing' (red) coals in it. there's also a letter sitting at the side with some small jars at the other side. These small details are what really get me excited about the lego sets for movies. The sheer amount of thought and attention that goes into the design of them never fails to amaze me (such as the fire extinguishers on the quinjet that I've already spoken about in another post). It also makes me feel a lot better about the price of it because, while Lego is expensive, you really do get what you pay for.

Just look at that! it doesn't need to be there! but it is! brilliant!

Speaking of detail, the food that this set come with certainly is enough to fill any self respecting hobbit's pantry.

There's just so much!

and said self respecting hobbit wouldn't be caught dead without a pretty garden (including a spot to sit and take in the sun)

or, Valar forbid, an empty window box.

I'm sure if you're reading this post then you saw how the tangent I went off on back in the stage 3 post about the red book of westmarch. It should really be there as the events recorded within it have yet to occur. I think it's either a remnant from the design of bag end during the LOTR era or a point for people who would use the set as it's seen in the pre-title scene of An Unexpected Journey. Another oddly present object for the time frame is Sting, sitting on display when Bilbo hasn't even met the trolls yet along with a selection of maps all but one of which (the shire) shouldn't be in Bilbo's possession yet.

Lovely detail but a little out of place for a Baggins of Bag End
I think it's kinda nice that Lego isn't splitting up the sibling groups withing their sets. They'll still separate more distant relatives such as cousins but not actual brothers. I figured this out as within this set there is Bofur and Bombur but not Bifur this was a little confusing until I remembered that he was their cousin not their brother and by a similar logic Oin and Gloin should have been there also as they're first cousins to Balin and Dwalin but instead they're in the barrel escape with a couple of elven gaurds and Bilbo in his travelling outfit.

If you're interested in more lego shenanigans with a greater variety of characters and amusing situations you should check out this tumblr blog; Buildingbagend. It was actually this blog that got me interested in the Hobbit lego sets and inspired me to do this series of posts. Take a look and go through their archive if you have the time, it's really worth it.

As for this blog there is yet more lego posts in store as since I finished bag end I have actually bought two more (smaller) sets and some other lego minifigs and merch which I will be posting about soon enough.

Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3, Stage 4, Special Features

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Lego Build: The Hobbit, An Unexpected Gathering (Part 4/5)

This is the final post on the actual build itself. I'll be doing one more on general thoughts spotlighting my favourite features of this set and geeking out over things that have significance (to me anyway). That could be posted anywhere between today and next week depending on how much I want to talk about and the level of detail I want to go into.

Previously; Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3

Stage 3: The Dwarrow invasion began
Stage 4 differs from the previous ones as it can be built independently of the other three rather than having to be added on to the previous stage(s).

Final Stage! *cue videogame boss music*

Two minifigures this time! Bombur and Dwalin! With two weapons each (and a sausage for Bombur)

As I mentioned with the other dwarves, the hair casts and details for these two are amazing. Lego even manage to create the impression of how fat Bombur is by using his hair and beard piece to incorporate an extension for his belly and the chin that was so big that Stephen Hunter could keep his phone in it.

Build time!

Because there was a lot of actual Lego 'bricks' rather than the single line pieces that made up most of the set this moved on much faster than any of the other stages. I took a progress photo after completing the main body of the roof.

After that the tree was simple yet fun to put together and the actual building process was completed with a lamp to hang outside the door.

Once that was placed onto the lintel the roof was snapped into place, the six minifigures were gathered and posed for picture time!

Bilbo has yet to learn that drunk wizards are useless in getting rid of dwarves.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Lego Build: The Hobbit, An Unexpected Gathering (Part 3/5)

This is gonna be my fiftieth post! Woo! If I'd realised sooner I would have done something a little bit more special but I'll make up for that another time okay?

Previously; Stage 1, Stage 2

In case you needed a reminder this is what was complete at the end of stage 2

So, Stage 3.

From the instruction book it can be seen that there's not one, not two, but THREE minifigures here.

So exciting!

So no time was wasted getting it tipped out and sorted

There were a lot more smaller pieces than in the other two stages but that was probably due to the fact that this stage had much of the detail in the interior and garden whereas the other two were mainly structural in composition.

So, minifigures!

We have Gandalf, Balin and Bofur! Which is nice as they're Bilbo's particular friends (in the movies anyway, Bofur doesn't get much in the way of character in the books so we've no way of knowing if he wasn't Bilbo's friend there too)

I was more excited than usual about these minifigures than normal as they have so many parts to them. Like, they each have a cloak and weapon the the casts for their hair and beards are so cool!
 I missed Gandalf's beard as it was in one of the smaller bags separate from the rest of the pieces but once I found it all was well.

Minifigures out of the way it's time to get into the main building phase!

This stage had so many small bits to it that I ended up storing them in a shot glass so as not to lose then during the build. In particular the brown studs that were used extensively in this stage were so numerous that they got their own container.

This is probably as close as I'll ever get to actually gardening
Sticker sheet in action on the fence!
With the plants in place and the fence all put together it was really starting to look like a pretty little hobbit hole.

But it's not a proper hobbit hole if the inside is bare so it was time to activate my powers of interior design! and fit a writing desk, a dining table, six chairs amongst other things which included a very nice selection of maps and... The Red Book of Westmarch.

*insert angelic chorus here*

It's not called that yet but it is that very same book and it makes the Tolkien nerd inside of me curl up and giggle like a five-year-old on a sugar high.
For anyone who doesn't know just what the significance of it is; it's the book in which Bilbo records the story that we know as "The Hobbit" in and Frodo later does the same with the "Lord of the Rings" before passing it on to Sam. Sam then adds to it up until he also sails West, after which Sam's decedents are left in charge of it. (this is all found in the LOTR appendices at the end of RotK which can be really boring at parts but are worth a read for anyone interested) So you can imagine why I'm just a little bit giddy over it.

Anyway, once the furniture was in and everything that could be secured was, it was just a matter of laying out the items that couldn't be secured, getting everyone into view and taking some final photos.

Poor Bilbo, all of these Dwarves invading his lovely Home!
Nice and safe until next time
 I put all of the unsecured extra bits of scene dressing that weren't into the shot glass just to keep them all in one place for now.

Next time! Stage 4!

Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3, Stage 4, Special features.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Lego Build: The Hobbit, An unexpected Gathering (Part 2/5)

Previously on Surrounded with pretty things... Stage 1

Now for Stage 2!
The weather was better this day so I got a more consistent light for the photos.

Initial predictions from the instructions

From that it's pretty obvious that this stage will be finishing the exterior walls and Bag End is getting it's iconic green door complete with cirth 'G' for Gandalf (that OAP of a vandal!) as well as the lovely coloured window in the study/kitchen/dining area that you can see on the exterior of the box.

No minifigures in this stage so it was right into construction!

There were four smaller windows that went around the walls the has a slight hinge to open them.

When placed correctly with the panes closer to the external edge they completely lost this feature because of the way they interacted with the circular frames on the outside. I found that by switching the panes to the internal hinge points I was able to salvage some to the opening action but not completely. That didn't effect the overall appearance of the windows other than that the panes are set a few millimetres deeper into the wall than they would normally be.

and here's the finishing point for now with the instruction page for comparison

I was mistaken about the window being coloured and there was more to the interior that I thought but I'd say that otherwise looks about right don't you think?

Back on the bookshelf with you
Next up! Stage 3!