Sunday, September 28, 2014

HT-AT: A Custom Lego Creation Inspired by Star Wars; 7 Years in the Making!

Long ago in 2007 when I was still crazy-inspired to crank out Lego originals based on popular science fiction movie design sensibilities, I really felt I needed a walker vehicle of my own. Enter the heavily armored HT-AT.

This led to the birth of my HT-AT. A Clone-Wars-Era walker made to fit right in with the AT-TE and other vehicles used by the Galactic Republic, like the LAAT dropship.

About 3 months ago, I revisited my MOC (Model of Choice) because I felt I needed to update some of the construction and finer details. I reduced the amount of visible studs, streamlining it just a tad.

It's technically still under construction, as I'm a bit of a perfectionist. Plus, I need to add some moveable support mechanism to the underside. I designed it to attach to my custom LAAT Dropship, but the weight of the much larger model does put some stress on the legs of the smaller walker. 


Clone Wars Era
Galactic Republic

The HT-AT is a multi-role walker made especially for extremely rugged terrain. it is an extremely versatile machine that provides ground support as well as transport capabilities. Much smaller than an AT-TE, HT-AT's can be used in a number of tight spaces such as caves or man-made structures. Its legs are designed to scale a variety of challenging surfaces. It can climb a vertical cliff and has even been deployed in zero gravity environments, attaching itself to large craft, such as cruisers and space stations. After the much smaller AT-RT, it is the 2nd fastest walker used by the republic, though it has a limited range. 

This design is not "cannon" or an official Star Wars design. I created the model myself about 5 years ago out of a love for similar vehicles.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Dia de los Muertos / Day of the Dead Altar in Lego

I have soooo many plans for Lego builds or MOCs (Model of Choice), probably too many to ever realize in my lifetime. But I was looking at some Day of the Dead artworks and felt quite inspired and decided, "That's it! I'm finally making my little shrine I've been meaning to assemble for almost four years now!"

I knew I wanted a bride (Catrina?) and groom in some sort of chapel. That was clear from the beginning. I also knew I would use the Lego scorpion, spider and bats. Bats were iconic symbols used not just by the ancient Mayans but by the Aztecs as well!

The little werewolf at the top of my altar is the one part I suddenly stumbled on last minute. And it's my favorite little detail, though he's already pre-made and an official Lego figure. He's tiny!

I could have gone the easy, very modern route and used a simple red-black-white color scheme. Those colors are striking and can be elegant at times. But traditional Dia de los Muertos art uses many vibrant colors, which I find can be almost creepier in some cases.

The bride's torso and skirt are from the Hollywood Starlet figure from Collectible Minifigures series #9. The groom's torso is from a much older minifigure.

The werewolf. My favorite!

Flowers and skulls. Life and death.

The hole in the middle of the backside makes it easy to hang. I actually have the "shrine" hanging in my living room.

I've made many Lego MOC's not available in any store, usually a spaceship or sci fi environment. This was a fun departure from my usual.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hasbro Star Wars COMMAND Hand-Painted Customs. Why not?

I was at a store a few weeks ago and saw these. In recent years I've been trying to stick to model kits and forced myself to not buy toys anymore (Really? Who am I trying to fool? The animated Star Wars Rebels will be out soon!). But when I saw these stark, unpainted figures I felt that tremor in the force again. 

Unpainted Star Wars miniatures? Sold!

At just 2 to 2 and a half inches, they make great gaming pieces and great miniature display figures. Warning: I'm not a great photographer and the digital camera makes the fine details look harsher. A LOT!

First, you have to prime them. This is absolutely necessary as the material they are made from has a certain residue that makes the paint slide across the surface. I washed the figures in liquid detergent, then let them dry thoroughly. 

Next, I sprayed them with Tamiya "Fine" White surface primer.

And last I painted them with different acrylic paints like Floquil's Polly Scale and cheap craft acrylic. Believe it or not, you can work wonders with some of those little 50 cent bottles!

The Endor set includes 4 Ewoks and I painted three of them as different characters based on my Hasbro figures from Power of the Force or the Saga series.

Obviously, they're all copies of Wicket. But they look real cute to the naked eye in 3-D. Who wants an army of just Wicket clones?

Next from the Endor set are the two vehicles, molded in a semi-soft, almost rubbery plastic.

After priming they can be painted real easy. I used Tamiya's panel line accent color again and I really need to get the grey and mix it with the black, I think. The pure black lines are great on darker colors. but they might me a wee bit too dark on the X-Wing fighter. It looks good in person, though.

Because of the molding of the three lines on the s-foils (wings), I recognized this as Red-3, the X-Wing piloted by Biggs Darklighter. So I referenced an old magazine I still have with a few great pictures of ILM's filming models to get the right color scheme. Bear in mind, this thing is about 2 inches long, so getting the details right on the little astromech droid wasn't easy. He's a little sketchy!

I still need a few colors here and there to get this one 100% done. This really inspires me to get a an actual X-Wing model kit like the 1/72 Fine Molds or even other versions. 
I love X-Wings.

The AT-ST Chicken Walker was A LOT easier to finish. Basically, grey spray paint and panel lines.

Will I use these in some game? Probably not. I've never actually done Star Wars RPG. That doesn't mean I'm not at least curious. But I want more of these. The "Rebels" one with the new characters looks really cool.