MOC: Batspeed

Brickbeard was almost out of luck. The ‘Bounty suffered major keel damage when he was forced to take her over a reef to escape from the new Imperial Flagship. (How dare they get a bigger ship?!) Unable to pay the cost of repairs he made a gamble; using all his hoarded treasure he’d buy a smaller ship and go back to his roots as a smuggler to raise the gold.

With him he took none of his old crew, and at short notice he found he had slim pickings. Two looked like George Michael, one looked as old as his clothes did, and the other just liked hanging around wearing as little as possible. But they were good sailors.

Even so, being a traditionalist he still carried the colours, but he resisted flying them too much and never from the mast!

This ship he found as the “White Pearl” and after buying a replacement figure head he dubbed her “Batspeed”. The ships was ideal for the job; she had a small draft, an excessive amount of sails and she didn’t look so much like a pirate ship.

Only one cannon was carried; any more would have been suspicious.

Being an ex-nobleman’s ship she was fast and had good sea-keeping qualities, so in part to maintain the image, he took on passengers sometimes. This one was reportedly looking for his “rightful” bucket.

MOC Notes:

I needed to build a pirate ship ASAP so it could be sent to Brickworld and this weekend I found the time. I spent about a day on it so I’m happy all things considered. When I get it back I’ll probably buy some of the smaller sails…

MOC: “Forager” Mech at a Garden Party

“Forager” class mechs are heavily used by the Classics as a light enforcement tool. Protesters? Send in a Forager. Hostage crisis? Send in a Forager. Drug smugglers? Send in a few Foragers. Tax evasion? Send in a Forager… OK, maybe not then. Maybe…

Due to their overpowered legs they are capable of some impressive feats; jumps of 20 meters for example, or parachute-less deployment from over 100 meters and a ground movement speed of around 150 kph. Thus they get used for many odd jobs, but they excel at light enforcement, reconnaissance and anti-infantry roles.

Unlike many larger mechs they don’t have a separate “head” or true “arms”. For this reason there are sensors in the “chin” and rear, and light manipulators capable of carrying around 100kg are equipped to reduce the need of the pilot to exit the safety of the cockpit.

Weaponry varies according to the role, but common equipment are missile pods either side for anti-armour, twin machine guns aiming up for anti-air duties, and another machine gun and grenade launcher for anti-personnel. Against an anti-armour mech Foragers will generally do hit-and-fade attacks; their armour is strictly designed to handle small arms and a single hit (via either physical or weaponry) will result in the loss of the unit. Foragers do not have an escape system either.

Even so, pilots usually like piloting Foragers, and races are organised regularly. In this role the missile pods are normally removed.

On the subject of this photo, it’s unclear what’s going on here. The Classics refused to give an official image, so these one were sourced via a contact. This could be a terrorist camp attack, or it could be just that the pilot wasn’t invited to a party and decided to do something about it. What happens next is also unclear; the pilot may have gone home after he grabbed the croissant, but that turkey looks mighty tempting….

MOC comments

The story of this MOC is long and complex. Hinckley from Eurobricks asked me about 2 years ago to make something for Brickworld. He asked one thing, I read another, and I made the wrong thing. I then got caught up in details, didn’t like them, and then moved house twice. Last month I decided I’d finish this, and a few weekends back I did!

It uses a lot of parts from the Midgard Serpent in 7018; using these parts was part of my personal challenge for this MOC.

The head is used as the base, and the back is the cockpit. I then made something around that. When that was roughly finished, I then went onto the legs. At that point I made a silly decision; I want suspension! I then messed around for a bit but never made anything that I liked so the project was “shelved”. (Actually boxed.)

But in the end I did make something I was happy with. My main issue at the time was that I wanted it to be reasonably compact, strong, and smooth. After about 20 prototypes I ended up with this. Here it is uncompressed….

…and compressed.

(This will be used as a De-Classic-Space MOC.)

The Bogfloater

For years many people laughed at the idea of a floating dump truck. “Why would someone want that? The power needed to lift any heavy machinery like that would make it impractical. Wheels are a far better solution.”

But everything changed when Talrtre 4 was discovered. It was a vast planet that was a virtual gold mine of everything; uranium, rare isotopes, jewels the size of heads, methane, gold… everything was there for the taking. But the problem was that less than 1% of the planet had a surface; the rest was a vast bogland of riches, a bogland that was highly destructive to metals and ceramics.

At first people were happy with just sucking up from the side of the small islands on Talrtre 4, but it was soon found that the islands for some reason repelled most of the better resources; a better solution needed. One day a thrill seeker was testing out a new floater-bike and he strayed over the boglands by mistake. Instantly his floater shot up in the air, and he was never seen again. This tragic incident led to some research and it was found that the vapours from the boglands increased the efficiency of most floaters by 500%! Thus the concept of floating refineries was born.

It was soon realised that a way for transporting the processed goods to the spaceports was needed, so reluctantly tenders were put out for a floating dump truck. In under a day most truck companies revealed that they had a design ready, but none wanted to discuss why they had one made already.

Today Talrtre 4 is covered with thousands of floating dump trucks, colloquially known as Bogfloaters. (Not to be confused with floating bogs…)

Boring notes from reality land

I bought 7344 soon after my return to the light… but it didn’t take long for me to start regretting it. It doesn’t fit into towns at all, so it was shelved fast. Re-building it into a space-dump-truck occurred to me a year later! Aside from the black beams at the bottom it only uses parts from the set. It’s currently in semi-broken state but the concept is so silly yet semi believable that I plan to re-work it.

Von Nebula’s Tricycle of Transcending Transportation

For some time Von Nebula has been portrayed by Stormer as being the “worst villain of the galaxy” and that he has a “special hatred for Hero Factory”. Well the latter is right at least. Von in reality is a brilliant scientist who refused to give Slime Bag Stormer his secret knowledge; how to generate stable and controllable Black Holes from a simple looking staff. Their debates raged for several months, and cumulated with Stormer the Stupid trying to grab the staff during a complex procedure resulting in the much publicised accident. By the time he brought the black hole under control and saved Makuhero City, Stormer the Slanderer had won over the public and nothing Von said made any difference in their mind. But that’s a topic for another day.

Von keeps his body at peak efficiency by shunning powered vehicles. Sure if he’s in a hurry he just uses his staff, but for everyday transportation he uses a tricycle. This tricycle.

Conceived, designed, tested and built with his own hands, this is a tricycle like no other. The geared up giant front wheel gives him maximum speed and control.

At the rear is room for his staff. These days it’s keyed to his mind so no accidents like the one with Stormer the Sloppy can happen. It’s heavier than it looks so there’s little danger of it falling out. (No, you can’t seem me reflected in this photo….)

The extra storage receptacle at the front is useful for many tasks, especially when Von goes shopping.

Due to the mechanoid nature of those from Makuhero Belt conventional pedals aren’t needed; Von just inserts the Power Delivery Shafts into his feet and he’s ready to roll!

The trike by itself.

The mech and his trike.

Lotso: Can I borrow this, friend? I need to do some shopping.
Von: Sure!

Lotso: Maybe it’s not a smart idea. I can’t reach the handlebars or pedals and, no offense, but it’s rather uncomfortable on my face and testicles. I’ll walk.

Notes: This partially for a contest on Eurobricks, but is not a valid entry as I’m staff. I more made it as after I bought Von I thought; “He needs a tricycle!” I’m not sure why I thought that… In any case, here it is! Making a tricycle with working pedals (yes he can pedal the trike) for Von was harder than I expected. His legs may be poseable but considering the wheel I used they are a bit short. Thus the gearing. My original concept was going to be more girly; streamers, bell, flags…. but in the end I decided to just give him the basket.

HMS Indefatigable: Airship

Lord Monty Zarknell was not a man with a vast sense of humor. Thus when he suggested building a flying ship in 1905 this was seen as a sign of insanity so he was promptly discharged from the RN. In all actuality they probably were right, but insane or not, Zarknell used his vast fortune to build a prototype himself rather than give up on the idea.

Six months later HMS Indefatigable was the result. While it was only one tenth the size of what he originally had in mind, it proved how sound his concepts actually were. Capable of speeds in excess of 250km/h (155 mph) and ranges of around 500km (310 mi) fully loaded, she was useful as well.

However when he presented his creation to Admiralty they were not impressed… and neither was he. Determined to prove his concept despite them, he flew to the site of a naval exercise, he proceeded to use the dual 4.5 inch guns to destroy all the targets before the ships could. What happened next? The history is unclear, but most reports indicate that while finally impressed, Admiralty were not amused…

Enough history; more facts! The envelope was filled with hydrogen and provided enough lift to offset about 95% of the total loaded weight. This meant that the rotors could use most of their power for movement rather than lift, and also that Indefatigable was stable on the ground. The rotors themselves were steam driven; inside each nacelle was a steam turbine running at a constant speed with the rotors using the revolutionary technique of varying pitch to control power. There was a single main boiler inside the rear of the upper fuselage which fed both turbines. In the case of steam failure a secondary boiler could be used to restart the primary, but if height and terrain permitted it was safer to just autorotate and land, and then restart on the ground. (Rotor damage at height would have resulted in crash.)

As a reduced scale prototype HMS Indefatigable was lightly armed, but it certainly wasn’t defenseless. Two 4.5 inch guns were designed for attacking ground targets (they couldn’t elevate up) and for local air defense there were 4 0.303 inch machine guns. The latter could be rotated but not elevated.

4 crew were carried, but it wasn’t designed for their comfort. The lower gondola did carry bedding and provisions for longer trips however. Their uniform (and flag) was non-standard; another sign of Zarknell’s insanity?

I’m king of the world!

Love Space Ship: Happy Birthday Coll!

What’s better than the Love Boat? Why a Love Space Ship! This being ours it has some special features including side-by-side seating, a control system that requires both of us to work together for the ship to more, an excessive amount of controls, and a triple screen computer with a high speed link to the latest Manga. (Sadly there’s no room for much LEGO on the ship, but most of the time it’s going to a store to buy some…)


Range: Infinite. Love has no boundaries
Speed: Infinite. Love has no limits.
Endurance: …I’m sure you get the idea!

I wanted to make this to celebrate my wife’s birthday, but I only had a few hours to make it so I cheated by taking a design of a heart I found on Brickshelf made by maskatron, I then reversed it and “cut out” the inside. I wanted to make something like this for our 10th anniversary, but I didn’t have the time. Today I still didn’t have the time… but I made this anyway! I quite like how it turned out; I’ll have to put some more work into it later! (It needs more thrusters…)

LEGO Sinner Computing Banner

To cut a long story short, I’m re-activating (it used to just re-direct) the old domain name of my software company while still using the current name so I needed a new version of this…

Banner One
..banner. This was the original banner for my site, made in an afternoon using MSPaint over ten years ago. While I love the colour purple, it is a bit much at times, so I went for a more subtle embossed green look a few years later…

Banner 2Banner 2
…but I never liked that one very much so I couldn’t use that either. Besides, my current banner…

ACAPsoft Banner
…was a continuation of that colour theme and I wanted to make both look different. But no purple. At first I was going to do a vector drawing like the ACAPsoft one (made using Inkscape) but then I thought; Let’s mix business with pleasure and make a LEGO one!

My initial thought was a free standing design using a similar lettering concept to Grand Emporium, but the more I thought about it the more I had doubts. How would I stack the top level? Could I do a snake and make it stand up? Eventually it became clear that a mosaic style was smarter. Instantly I dived to my board collection to find my 2 16×16 Mosaic boards, but I could only find one. Thus I was forced to use a 48×48 board…. which as it turns out was what I needed anyway as I massively underestimated the size needed!

New Banner, take 1
Here’s what I ended up with. Letter wise I didn’t have too much trouble; only the “M” was a major issue… although I’m still a bit iffy on the “I”s and “T”s. I had trouble with a lower case “r” that I liked so I decided to go for a upper case “Sinner” in this version. (The letters are 100% my design… even though I bet I’m not the first to do ones like this.) Making the snake was one of the biggest problems; I started that several times, and each time it just got too big. So I ended up going for as small as possible and that worked out OK, even thought it took all of my green 1×4 plates. (The Walrus is there as I was considering making him a part of the banner, but it looked confusing when shrunk down so I skipped it in the end.) Taking the photo was another matter. Inside I was having trouble with light levels and angles…

New Banner, take 2
…but outside just caused sharp shadows.

New Banner, take 3
Eventually I angled the plate so it faced the sun and took the photo from the angle that didn’t block the light and didn’t cause too much shine. But I was still left with a lot of shine…

Test Banner
…and my first test banner highlights this. What you say? I thought you said “no purple”? Yeah, I changed my mind; I love purple… Anyway, at this stage I was out of time so I cheated; using GIMP I added a black filter to the shiny areas…

New Banner Big
…leaving me with this…

New banner
…which when reduced looks OK.

I’m still not 100% happy with it. Since I went for purple in the end white letters would have made more sense, and I’ll probably do a revised version in a few months. I needed this fast so all things considered it’s turned out OK and it looks OK on the site.