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Found 103 results

  1. Honour the Fallen Chapter I: The Tranquil Meadow Chapter II: Old Bagshaw's Residence Chapter III: The Poacher Chapter IV: Making Camp Chapter V: Solitary Council Chapter VI: Escaping Home Chapter VII: Waylaid Chapter VIII: Archery Practice Chapter IX: Honour the Fallen Bonus Landscape: Avalonian Countryside Nyle added another stone to the pile and started looking around for another. - 'I think that is probably enough', he heard Sir Darby's voice behind him. Nyle looked down at the pile of rocks. Maybe it didn't need any more, but Nyle didn't emph:want to be done. He bent down to pick up a small pebble and threw it on the heap. - 'Kipp wouldn't care about the size of his cairn', said Harlon. 'He always lived in the moment, and now his moment is over. Just let him go.' Nyle imagined that comment might have earned Harlon a stern glance from Darby, but he knew it was true. This was all for him. For him to make peace with losing his brother. Nyle took one of Kipp's swords and wedged it into the cairn. It took him a while to get it to sit sturdy, but eventually it stuck. He then proceeded to tie Kipp's cape to the handle. The wind caught it a bit, giving it a small flutter at the edge. Nyle thought back to his childhood days. Kipp had always been the strong confident big brother who always knew how to handle every situation. He had always felt safe knowing Kipp was around. And then, Kipp had gone off to war. He clearly remembered the misty morning, seeing his brother pack his horse, and then flashing him a smile, ensuring him that things would be ok, before riding off. Nyle had been devastated for days. The colors had gone out of the world and the tasted bland. That feeling of being left behind, it was the same feeling he had right now. Kipp had left him behind. Again. - 'What do I do now, Kipp?', Nyle whispered to himself. 'The only reason I'm here is because this is because you were going. I wanted to learn from you. To be like you, the Great Kipp. But mostly, I didn't want you to be left behind again. And now I'm standing here, and you are gone. What do I do?' Harlon sighed. - 'How long is this going to take?', he asked. - 'He needs his time. He's not used to this', Darby replied. - 'Clearly. But we should get moving. Someone is clearly after us, and I'd feel much better to be one in the crowd in Newquay.' Darby didn't share Harlon's worries about the assassin, and neither did he think that life in Newquay would be much of an improvement to their current situation. But at least there would be some answers at their destination. For better of for worse. - 'Why did Kipp even bring him along? Now we will have to babysit him all the way to Newquay, and probably even after we arrive.', Harlon continued. Darby looked over at Nyle. - 'Yes, he is as green as they come, but if memory serves right, you have made confident soldiers out worse. Remember Tane?' Harlon smirked. - 'Yeah, I wouldn't do that again for anything.' Harlon drew a deep sigh. - 'But maybe you are right. We could make a man of him yet.' - 'We can at least try. But you are right, it is time to get going' - 'Nyle, we have to go', said Sir Darby. 'Me and Harlon will go and prepare the horses. Say what you need to say and get ready to leave. Sir Darby and Harlon started to make their way back through the fields. Nyle watched them leave. - 'Can I do it, Kipp?', he asked. 'Can I be you? The strong, confident warrior that everybody looks up to. I'm scared. Were you scared too? Heading out to battle not knowing what to face?' There was no answer. Nyle would have to figure this out by himself. His brother could not help him out anymore. It was up to him from now on. - 'I will be keeping your other sword', he said. 'Hopefully I can do it justice. Goodbye brother.' Nyle turned around and started making his way through the field back to camp. *** Been a while since my last GoH post now, but I certainly enjoy building in Avalonia :) This build was actually the result of taking the four corner modules for another, slightly bigger, build I'm working on and then adding the center greenery (plus the token tree of course ;)) to fit my GoH story. The grain technique is obviously very parts intensive and time consuming. I would have liked to make it even thicker, but ran out of tan bars. Gotta get more bars ;) The transition from grain to grass became a bit too abrupt and looks a bit unnatural. The planned build will have a stone wall or a fence as a divider so it should hopefully look better. Also, I might change the soil to be all dark tan rather than a mix of dark tan and reddish brown. Thanks for watching :)
  2. My first attemt at building big old LEGO trees. I plan on using them in a Medieval layout in May 2017 and subsequently in a Town/Landscape layout.
  3. Hi all. This is my first time posting in the town forum. I just wanted to share a MOC I built for our local Lego show "BrickExpo" in late July 2016, which I only recently had the chance to photograph properly when it was part of a recent LUG collaborative display at the Bricks at Woden School show, and then again when I set it up at home a week or so back. I wanted to build a formal park that was in scale with the Modular buildings, with the aim of having a larger display piece that could be used in the LUG's collaborative layouts. I had already prototyped corner and side modules when LEGO announced the Fun in the Park set, and that set inspired me to proceed with it. So over the course of several months in early 2016 I built all the rest of the park modules. I realised later on in the build that I needed to provide wheelchair access for the new fig, so I turned a side entrance into a ramp and made it the focus of an "opening" scene for the new access ramp. I bought the Fun in the Park set on day one of release and had an entertaining time posing figures (I did use all of them from the set, but one is out of sight on the far side), and thought up a few more minifig scenes as well. The Park also gave me the chance to try some different techniques, especially with the trees, which I made from techniques I saw online and with some variations of my own. Jokingly I refer to it as "UCS Fun in the Park". In the following two overview shots taken at the show, one LUG member built the brick-built roads, and another built the multi-coloured row of town houses in the back. Various members contributed sets etc. Overview 1 Modular City Park Overview 1 by Magma Xenoliths, on Flickr Overview 2 Modular City Park Overview 2 by Magma Xenoliths, on Flickr The Opening of the access ramp Modular City Park 3 by Magma Xenoliths, on Flickr Close up of the Statue end of the Park - a tribute to our founders Modular City Park 4 by Magma Xenoliths, on Flickr I guess I am a romantic at heart... Modular City Park 5 by Magma Xenoliths, on Flickr Kids enjoying the park Modular City Park 6 by Magma Xenoliths, on Flickr Corner Modular City Park 7 by Magma Xenoliths, on Flickr How the park is constructed Modular City Park 8 by Magma Xenoliths, on Flickr And because the park itself is modular, it can be used in a smaller configuration if required! Modular City Park 9 by Magma Xenoliths, on Flickr Larger versions of all photos can be found in the flickr album here for the extra keen: https://www.flickr.com/photos/125221542@N03/albums/72157682377221205 Thanks for taking the time to have a look.
  4. The Elf-Witch Cottage In the depths of the enchanted woods, where reality and fantasy meet, an elf-witch has lived since forever. Nobody knows her name or her exact age, maybe 100, maybe 1000 years, but it doesn't matter, she's part of the woods she lives in now. She's always busy with her magic potions and her studies… fascinated by nature's incredible colors and shapes, she keeps on living in her house, away from the rest of the world. I've always been fascinated by nature, by its colors, and by the fantasy universe. In this project I tried to put it all together, using unusual parts and colors that I'd underestimated before. I'm very satisfied with the result. You can look at more pictures here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/vedosololego/albums/72157682099871646 Or You can support on LEGO Ideas here: https://ideas.lego.com/projects/172038 Thank You
  5. I wanted to create some different areas based on the four elements represented by the four main elves, I've mixed parts from all kinds of different sets to create these places. This one is the earth themed home for Farran the Earth Elf. I wanted it to be part cottage, part treehouse. It's mostly parts from The Elves Treetop Hideaway and the Ewok Village sets. I attached my waterfall cave alongside the treehouse I also made a fire themed volcano cave with a tall treehouse/tower neighbouring it. It's mostly made from a Lego Friends set that has a cabin and a waterfall. I kept the cabin and built the tower above it and changed the waterfall into a volcano. I've created a workshop for the Air Elf Aira in one section of the tower with a bedroom above it, an observing platform with a telescope above that and a turret room on the top. The webisodes show that Azari the fire elf is homeless and just crashes with the other elves, but I've given her a warm place to sleep inside the volcano. I kept the camp beds in the cabin for the humans to sleep in when they visit Elvendale. And here's some random pictures..
  6. In the Mystic Isles, a shack in long need of repairs provides a local witch with shelter. How it still stands? Magic. Er, don't like this alot :p , the roof kinda ruins it and it looks way better in real life (without the roof). The angles were lots of fun to achieve, although made this Moc very flimsy. I think the landscape is ok, although you definitely cannot see the tree in its full glory. The tree, by the way is inspired by TheBrickAvenger. Anyway, hope you guys enjoy and C&C needed :D
  7. Built in another age this hut was the home of a powerful druid who preferred to study high above the ground. So not to long ago (a year today to be exact) I posted my first Moc online (that primitive thing in the spoiler). Anyway its been a pretty good year and I am impressed by how much I have improved thanks to you guys. So I hope you like this new updated version better than the first (if you don't I guess it means I have failed? ). I changed up the base and although the rock work ain't the best it works :p I added some leans so it was closer to the original plan and I used a net for the second time in the roof.. The trees and mediocre. Overall I thinks its half decent and beats the original by a slim margin. so thanks for a good year and keep the C&C flowin
  8. Pine Tree Technique Have you ever wanted to make LEGO pine trees that are a little more realistic than the molded ones that TLG produces? Here is a tutorial for just such a technique. You may notice that this technique is not for the faint of heart or weak of pieces, though! The techniques are fairly basic, but this is one of the SHIP-est tree techniques I have seen. Try it at your wallet’s risk! First, a Bill of Materials needed for one tree: Now for the tutorial: First comes the trunk. This is quite basic. The start of the needles is next. Notice the direction of the bend on the droid arms. Alternation is critical to the proper appearance. Now fill out the foliage a bit more. Add an internal trunk support. Next is the trickiest part of this technique: the first ring of thick needles. Pay attention to the direction of bend on droid arms. This helps to fill out the needles with fewer gaps. Note that the droid arms are sometimes spread a bit on the bars. Not each connection can be snugged completely against the earlier connections. For ease of tutorial and some final color variation, I alternated droid arm colors every layer. …finally add the ring around the trunk support. It should rest neatly on the black octagonal bar plate used earlier. Now repeat the process for the next needle ring, only this ring is smaller. …and add the second needle ring on top of the first needle ring. Wiggle and rotate the second ring a bit during assembly. It should interconnect and seat slightly into the first ring to lock the position and keep the needles densely layered. Another trunk support is needed to hold the second needle ring in place and provide support for the rest of the tree. One more needle ring is needed to finish out the tree at this size. This needle ring is much smaller to allow for the conical shape on the final tree. …and add the third needle ring on top of the second. Of course, pine cones are a nice addition. Some can be added along with additional needle sections to make the needles denser. If more pine cones are desired, simply make more pine cones from the three flower plates and add them to the tips of any spiked vine piece. The additional needle sections do allow for the pine cones to be settled into the needles to give a more realistic appearance than having pine cones on the ends of the earlier branches. To attach the additional needle sections, just nestle them over earlier needle sections and allow the other branches to cover over and lock in the droid arm. This might take a little practice and determination to get the right appearance. Before finishing the top, more needle sections should be added to make the needles denser and provide a better mesh with the top section. Note the different direction of bend on the droid arms. This allows some sections to be placed nearer the trunk to give varying degrees of thickness and conical shaping to the tree. After assembling the needle sections, hang them around the third needle ring and allow the spiked vines to fall into the spiked vines from the third needle ring. Play around with the rotation of the vines in the droid arm clips to get the best fit and tree shape. Finally, we are nearing the top! A critical note for this top section is to use a black octagonal bar plate of the earlier version with thinner tabs attaching the bar to the plate. TLG later thickened the tabs to reinforce the piece. The increased tab thickness decreases the bar width by enough to not allow for proper connection and spacing of two droid arms on each bar section. While building the top section, pay attention to the direction the droid arms are attached to the black octagonal bar plate. Also note that the vines are not parallel along the length of the droid arm. By rotating the vines slightly, a better mesh is achieved between the upper and lower layers of this top section. Now, slide the top section on the trunk support until it is against the stop-ring on the top 6-long bar. Add the round brick and cone to top the trunk, insert 4 spiked vines to finish the top needles, and press in the upper droid arms on the top section to close them around the top needles. …and we are finally finished! Note that different colors can be used for the droid arms to allow for slight variations on the internal portions of the tree. These pieces show through at different spots, so the colors do have an effect on the finished tree. Varying the number of needle rings, number of bars in a needle ring, and height of the support trunk allow for many different variations on the tree height and shape. Some evergreens have denser needles while some have more visible branches and more separation between branches. Keep this in mind when considering how many needles to add. Let me know what you think of this design with comments and constructive criticisms! I am always looking for improvements to the design, so I look forward to seeing how you can use and expand upon this technique! Thanks for looking, Slegengr
  9. Just a quick 30 minute LUG speed-build that I liked enough to take pictures of and post. One of the main things I wanted to try with this build was the transition from tan to dark tan on the edges of the path, to give the impression of slush. A Mitgardian trapper goes for a walk in the early morning, after a freshly fallen snow. More pictures on Brickbuilt Thanks for looking, C&C welcome
  10. Here's a small scene featuring a couple mounties trudging down the lane after a recent snowstorm. I've made a tutorial on how to make these trees here:
  11. I mainly wanted to experiment with dark orange as a predominant landscape color for this build, and I think it turned out nicely. Credit for the tree design goes to Joeri Ridder. The mill does work, in that the oxen can be ‘driven’ around easily and the mill stone is driven in turn by them. Ox driven mills are one of the simplest mills, yet still quite effective. Most towns and villages in Mitgardia have at least one of these mills. "More barley to be ground, Ailin?" "Yep, will be one of the last trips for me though. Nearly finished with my harvest." More pics on brickbuilt. Thanks for looking
  12. My phase 2 windmill, this is another build influenced by Skyrim, the windmill is based off of the typical windmills seen in game. I also tried to replicate the tundra look that is common in many regions of Skyrim. This was also my entry to the 2017 Brickstory contest, for the Early Middle Age category. The model features working windmill blades and grindstone, both simultaneously operated by a crank on the back of the windmill. Previous story installments: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th. Glorfindel and Dedan visit the windmill in Holt to speak with Jarl Arfast. "Welcome, Sir Glorfindel! I'm glad you were willing to meet me here, harvest time sees me at the windmill more often than my hall." "Greetings Jarl, it's nice to have a meeting outside for once. This is my friend, Dedan the hunter." "Good day, hunter Dedan," replied Arfast, "I imagine you two have come with warnings of the conflict in Nocturnus? I can assure you all our warriors have been keeping a watchful eye on our borders and will continue to do so. Though our numbers are limited after the Algus war," he continued sadly. "Yes, that conflict has weakened our forces considerably. I may have some encouraging news though, as I've recently returned from Valholl, and some of the centrally located towns and villages have agreed to send some of their own troops to help reinforce our borders. The troops will be allotted to various villages who are deemed to have special need. And the soldiers will be placed directly under the jarls and lords command." "That is good news! Particularly during this season when our men are so busy preparing for the coming winter months. Thank you Glorfindel." "You are most welcome, Mitgardia must stand together to survive. Now Dedan and I must be off to Firoir on a pressing matter. So good day, Jarl." Check out more pictures here. C&C welcome
  13. A time when villages weren't burnt or plundered, and peasants murdered or taken as slaves. A time when you didn't walk in fear and look over your shoulder at every turn. A time when you could rest under a tree, and know no drow would slaughter you in your sleep. First build of the year (at last) :P and its pretty simple. Just a small scene to start with larger ones on the way. The Hill was a nice challenge to try and create, and I needed another tree design so this was the perfect time to try it out. I'm pretty happy overall. I will probably post one or two builds today or tomorrow. Hope you enjoy :) P.s. I did mean it to seem a little blocky :P
  14. My 11th entry into the CCC XIV, for the ‘Pit of Dispair’ category. Inspired by Marcel's excellent dungeon scene for last years CCC. The floor design was inspired by LL. The one eyed Wolfpack gang had several members captured recently by the Blue Dragons, so Rolf led a breakout. The dungeon sentries were caught off guard and quickly overpowered. Rolf admired some new loot for a moment, and then set his compatriots free. More picture on Brickbuilt Thanks for looking, C&C welcome
  15. A typical Swedish cottage that I made for a competition over at Swebrick. Dark red cottages with white corners is as traditional as it gets over here :) Was very frustrating to work in such a small space, but happy with how it turned out in the end. Hope you like it
  16. This is an entry into the Woodland Hideaway category of the Colossal Castle Contest, and the dragon is also an entry into the second Dragon Building Contest. The landscape design was inspired by Brother Steven’s Friosaelt Falls build. The dragon Skogrbani’s lair is hidden deep in the forest. Two unfortunately ignorant thieves thought it was a good idea to hide their loot by burying it in the woods just outside Skogrbani’s home… See more pictures on brickbuilt. Thanks for looking, comments and suggestions are welcome
  17. Hey everybody, this is my last build of the year and the last one for at least a few months as I've said in my flickr account a few days before I'll be moving to Billund on January. This build was actually started a few months ago but I never got the chance to finish it until now. And as I got a big chunk of my collection unsorted and my time is very limited right now, I didn't manage to get the results I wanted. A river was planned as well as a richer landscape and more leaves on the upper part. Anyway, hope you like it! :) Thoryn Arper Tree House Thoryn Arper Tree House Thoryn Arper Tree House
  18. And so on.... Full Gallery This is MOC was presented as a part of 25m2 diorama at two Zbudujmy.to exhibitions in Warsaw and Radzionków and can be seen on 1 upcoming one. :) MOC consist of: 2x4 BP Farm - based on Farm :) 2x2 BP Tree - based on Ellcrys from The Shannara Chronicles. In near future I'm planing to add extra 2x4 BP of Farm, unfortunately I'm still waiting for some pieces that supposed to come "one day" :P. The tree will be moved to the forest section where it will overlook over other trees.
  19. Hello fellow humans! Here is a build that i completed very early this year, after dedicating many, many hours to it over last year. When I was a kid, I always wanted to build a large tree house out of LEGO but never had the parts or the disposable income.. Now, I have both of those things, I thought it was time to get it on the drawing boards. I would have posted it heaps sooner, but these pics were taken for Bricks CULTURE magazine #6 and wanted to do the right thing by them and hold off until the next edition was out. As I'm still getting used to uploading images and yet to tweek the RAW ones to a usable file size, this is all i have for you to check out here.. Though if you'd like to check out some of the finer details and the rear side, please jump over to my Flickr account here and have a squiz! There is quite the philosophical story behind it all, but I'll leave that for the pages of BC. Thanks to Cristian Brunelli for the great photographic shots, as my camera, if you could call it that, wouldn't stand up to the task in the state of my studio. Oh yeah, just by the by, the chairlift, waterwheel and waterfalls all move thanks to the Power of a single XL PF Motor and a string of gearboxes.. And I'd be more than happy to prove it to you, if someone has some footage.. I was lucky enough to get these shots! haha! Anywho, Enjoy.
  20. Hey guys! Today I'm going to show you my latest LEGO(R) creation/MOC. It's a "pre-christmas". I'm prepairing my LEGO(R) city for the Christmas time and this is a good add to it I think. It is a version of the danish tree lorries that carry the trees to put in the familie's houses. I hope you like it!
  21. Archery Practice Chapter I: The Tranquil Meadow Chapter II: Old Bagshaw's Residence Chapter III: The Poacher Chapter IV: Making Camp Chapter V: Solitary Council Chapter VI: Escaping Home Chapter VII: Waylaid Chapter VIII: Archery Practice Chapter IX: Honour the Fallen Bonus Landscape: Avalonian Countryside Averil trod through the forest, bow in her left hand and knapsack in her right. Dawn had just broken and the grass was still wet with dew. This was Averil's favorite time of day, when everything was quiet. Her hunting party would not meet up for another couple of hours, so she had some time to herself. Time she preferred to spend alone with her thoughts. Her thoughts and her bow. Before long she reached her usual practice spot. There was an archery range in town of course, but Averil preferred to be here, away from the noise and the people. She grabbed an apple from her knapsack and put it on the top of a small rock in front of a tree. It wasn't exactly the perfect target, but at least it wouldn't damage her arrows the way a wooden target would. - 'Perhaps I should swipe one of the straw targets from the range', she muttered to herself. It wasn't a very big distance, but then, the apple wasn't a very big target either. She was just here to warm up, not to push herself. Although she hunted daily it could sometimes go days without her taking a shot. That was not enough to keep up her skills with the bow. Practice was very much still a necessity. She nocked an arrow, aimed carefully, and released. Pieces of the apple flew as the arrow drilled straight through its core. Averil walked up to the tree and picked up the apple. She carefully removed the arrow and wiped the apple clean. - 'No point in letting you go to waste', she told the apple before taking a big bite of it. She sat down on the rock, savouring the silence just as much as her snack. However, the silence did not last long. Something stirred back on the path. Averil's grip on her bow tightened. It wasn't an animal, the movements were too rhythmic. A moment later she saw a man heading up the path towards her. It was Jarvis. Jarvis was the leader of her hunting team. He was old and had a weathered look, but he was by no means fragile. Not exactly a good shot, but an excellent tracker, lithe and knowledgeable. Averil liked the man, but him appearing here made her a bit suspicious. As Jarvis came closer he greeted her with a wave and a smile. She returned the greeting half-heartedly. - 'Enjoying your morning practice?', Jarvis asked as he came up to her. - 'Have to keep up my skills with the bow, sir', she replied hesitantly. Jarvis chuckled. - 'Do I look like a 'sir' to you? Well, no one can deny your skill with the bow, but why not come train with the others?' - 'Well, I enjoy practicing out here.' - 'I'm not asking this for your benefit, I'm asking for the benefit of everyone else. I'm sure you could help improve the bowmanship of the men, myself included. Why not come and help out?' - 'I'm not that good' - 'Hogwash!' Jarvis laughed. 'You do remember I handle the cadavers right? I don't think you've made a single shot that didn't pierce both lungs. And you don't get carried away like some of the others, you always wait for the broadside shot. I could probably send you alone into the forest and you would produce as much game as the rest of our team together. But I'm sure you've never hunted alone, right?', Jarvis said with a wink. Averil froze. Did he know about her poaching? - 'Relax, I don't care about your past', Jarvis continued. 'We all have them, and for most of us that is why we're here in this remote, upstart colony where anonymity comes easy.' - 'I... I don't belong here.' Jarvis chuckled. - 'You think any of us do? But you are here, right? And if you are not planning on leaving you might as well make what you can of the life you lead here. Help build this colony into something great. Not for lord dimwit's sake, but for all of us. Help keep everyone fed, and help keep your hunting fellows safe. Did you know the other hunting teams have all lost men over the past month?' Averil nodded. Out of the four teams, only theirs had not lost anyone to the forest, at least not since she joined. - 'You can help teach the men how to defend themselves against whatever is out there. Let go of your past and live your life here and now. People need you here. Won't you let them depend on you? Or are you going to continue living in your past?' Averil looked down. - 'I'm not sure I can do it.' - 'You won't know until you try. Why don't you come shoot with us?' Averil knew why she held on to her past. Because her father was still out there, somewhere, and she was still waiting for him to return. Even after more than five years she was still holding on to hope, and moving on with her life meant she was giving up on that hope. She didn't want to do it. She wanted all this to be temporary. She wanted to be his precious, mischievous daughter again. She wanted her family back. But Jarvis was right. That would never happen, even though she wanted it with all her heart. She had to live her life, like Gammy and Leeson were already doing. Maybe her feelings would subside in time? But yes, she wouldn't know until she tried. - 'Ok, I will go shoot with you', she replied. - 'Thank you. We really are quite a merry bunch, once you get to know us, you know?' As they went on their way, Averil paused and turned back towards the tree one more time. - 'Goodbye, father', she whispered to herself. *** So, this is the build I used for my tutorial on the axe tree technique, which is one of the reasons it has been so delayed (the other reason being that another little human being has joined our household ). I grossly underestimated how much work it is to put together a tutorial, but now it is finally finished, and I'm certainly happy about that If you're interested in how these types of trees are built, you can check out the tutorial here. Other than that, this was my first try at an irregular base, which made me realise that my arsenal of wedge plates is quite limited. It may not have been the best choice for such a thin build, but it was interesting trying it out. Thanks for watching, hope you enjoyed it! C & C always welcome
  22. Built a few seasonal vignettes after seeing this cool technique for a circular base posted by o0ger. Experimenting with different shapes and colors for micro trees. Enjoy :)
  23. John (LittleJohn) and I decided to do a collab series based around re-imagining old set themes. Adventurers is a theme we’ve liked for years, though we never had any of the sets. After getting some of the original figs at Brickfair, Virginia, we wanted to put them to good use. The landscape and temple were inspired by Grant Davis and Mark of Falworth. Johnny Thunder and his team of Adventurers have discovered an uncharted jungle island. Within the dense vegetation they find the entrance to a ruined temple! After leaping from pillar to pillar, over the crocodile swamp, Johnny reaches the gateway. They’re not the first ones there though, as the treasure-seeking gang boss, G.R. Edy is there with some henchmen. Will Johnny be able to prevail, and will Dr. Kilroy fall to the alligators? We hope you enjoy, and you can see plenty more pictures on our website
  24. Microscale Tree Mini-tutorial This is a short tutorial showcasing a technique for building microscale trees. This technique was used to build most of the trees in my MOC Avalonian Countryside. The pieces needed are shown above. The centerpiece of the tree is the 6 stemmed plant piece (19119) which is essential for the design. The rest of the pieces are pretty standard, and some can be exchanged for other pieces. As seen on the 1x2 plate in the lower right, the plates need to have a little hole in the center column, as this will be attached to the stems. I believe the hole is pretty standard in pieces nowadays, but not sure for older pieces. First we put together the trunk. Nothing strange here, just attach the 1x1 round bricks to the telescope and put the plant piece on top. For the canopy we construct little building blocks that we will then hang on the stalks. These building blocks are easily constructed from 1x2 plates and a 2x2 plate as shown in the top right. We need three of these. We then proceed to hang these on the tree. They should hang on the 3 lower stems that are more horizontal. After hanging each part we will then secure it by attaching another 1x2 plate directly to the stem. This is done by inserting the stem into the little hole on the center column at the bottom of the plate. Our tree should now look as on the left. The next step is to add 1x2 plates to the top of the tree. These are again attached directly to the stems. I find they look best if placed in a kind of windmill pattern as shown in the center picture. We now have our completed tree as shown on the right. If all our trees look exactly the same, it won't look natural. So let's look at some modifications that can be made to break the pattern. Some of these modifications can also help if you are short on certain parts, or want to use colors that doesn't have certain elements. First some variations of the trunk. Instead of the standard telescope trunk, we could use technic connectors. It gives a thicker, straighter trunk, but is a bit more complicated to connect to your build. Another option is to use a regular bar, which gives a very thin trunk. We can also just use straight up 1x1 round bricks, and possibly mix in some 1x1 round plates in the mix. This works well if we want to do a tree with shifting colors, like a birch or similar. There are also endless possibilities to modify the canopy. Instead of building an anchor shape from 1x2 plates we can more round plates as in the top left. For colors like olive green we can't use a 2x2 round plate, but can instead use a 3x4 leaf element. The leaf is then hung from the top right hole of the leaf element. We can also just alter the orientation of the regular design, as shown in the bottom left, where we have put the anchor shape on the right side. It is a very small change, but still helps break the pattern. Also just want to point out that the 6 stem piece does come in different colors, so if you are building a canopy in dark orange, you may want to use a 6 stem piece in dark orange as well, as the green can sometimes be seen through the canopy. Some examples of what the finished trees may look like. There are lots of other ways to build trees like this, so just go ahead and try different things. If you lack a piece for something, just try replacing it with something else. It might just end up even better :) Happy building!
  25. Hi everyone! So, awhile back I created a new technique for making trees from axes and droid arms - the axe tree! I have since been asked numerous times how these are built, but as the building process is quite complex I decided that a tutorial would be the best way to explain it. This is that tutorial and hopefully it will all be explained here :) So if you want to try to build one of these trees - keep reading! Feel free to ask questions or give general feedback on the tutorial in the comments, either here or on the relevant pictures on Flickr. Enjoy :) First, let's take a look at what we need. The different types of pieces needed are shown in the picture. Tree bark: 500 x Droid Arm (30377) (dark brown) 200 x Axe (3835) (black) Building guides: 12 x Round Brick 1x1 (3062b) (brown, black or dark brown) 12 x Cone 1x1 (4589b) (brown or black) 12 x Bar 4L (30374) (black) 30 x Round Plate 1x1 (4073) 3 x Plate 4x4 (3031) (any color) 2 x Plate 6x6 (3958) (any color) 8 x Jumper Plate 1x2 (3794b) (any color) 1 x Jumper Plate 2x2 (87580) (any color) Support structure: 1 x Plate 2x2 (3022) (any color) 1 x Cone 3x3x2 (6233) (black) 5 x Technic Connector #2 (32034) (black) 5 x Technic Connector #3 (32034) (black) 15 x Technic Connector 2L (6538c) (black) 2 x Technic Connector Triple (10288) (dark brown) 25 x Technic Axle 2L (32062) (black) 2 x Technic Axle 3L (4519) (black) 2 x Technic Axle Pin 3L (18651) (black) 2 x Technic Connector with Axle Hole (32039) (black) 10 x Hinge Cylinder (30552) (black) 10 x Hinge Plate 1x2 (60471) (black) 10 x Bar 1L with Clip Mechanical Claw (48729) (black) Foliage: 150-200 x Leaves 5x6 (2417) (any color) 10+ x Plate 1x2 (3023) (same as leaves or black or dark brown) Now this is only a rough list of what we need. Many of the items are not strictly needed and can usually be replaced by something similar or even omitted altogether. The droid arms and axes are obviously critical to the tree design. The droid arms are not exchangeable, but the axes can be replaced by regular bars if desired. Axes are a lot cheaper than bars, but is somewhat more limited in terms of color. The axes also gives a different texture to the tree. If you do use bars, 3L bars are the easiest to replace with, but also the most expensive. 4L and 6L bars can also be used, but this will alter the design process significantly. The 6L bars also have the little protruding rings which further complicates things. I would go with axes :) The items for the support structure can be varied depending on how you want to design your tree. The items listed are what is needed to build the particular design in this tutorial, but as these elements are generally cheap I would advise to get hold of a range of technic connectors with different angles so you can design trees in whatever shape you would like. For the the foliage you can choose whatever color you would like. In this tutorial we will be using green and dark green. If you for some reason would like to use 3x4 leaves that is also possible, but I certainly prefer to work with 5x6 leaves and will not be using them in this tutorial. That is it for pieces. Let's start building! So how are these trees built? The tree basically consists of a support structure, “dressed up” with bark. The bark is essentially tubes built from just droid arms and axes. Tubes can be built in different sizes. I will refer to a tube's size as the number of axes in the circumference of the tube. That is, if a full circle of a tube has 8 axes, it is size 8. The picture shows tubes of sizes 8, 12, 16, 20 and 24. They can be built in other sizes as well, but multiples of 4 are easier to build. Size 8 is the absolute smallest that can be built though and the upper limit is somewhere around 28 or 32. First we will have a look at how to build the bark. In order to build the bark tubes we need to first build guides, which make the assembling process simpler. These guides are not part of the tree itself, and will be removed at the end of the process. We will have to build different guides depending on the size of the tube being built. The picture shows the bottom plates for guides of sizes 8, 12, 16, 20 and 24. We need one of each of these, so go ahead and build them :) In order to use the guides we build little pillars that we put on the guide plates. These are the connection points for the tubes and are simple to build. We need 6 of these for now. We'll start by building a size 24 tube as this will be the bottom part of the trunk, so go ahead and attach the pillars to the guide plate. This is one of the main building blocks for the tubes. We will be building a lot of these. The orientation of the bend of the droid arm is important. I also think it is a good idea to connect the thicker side of the droid arm to the axe. This is because it makes for easier connection to the rest of the tube, as the thinner side needs less force to clip on. Another thing to note is that the point on the axe we connect to is thinner on one side, so the droid arm needs to be connected perpendicular to the axe blade as shown, or it will not stick. Go ahead and build 6 of these for now. Now we connect these to the guide as shown above. I find it easier to connect them pointing outwards as on the image on the left and then just rotate them in once I've attached all of them. Do pay attention to the orientation of the droid arm bend. The result should look like the image on the right. Now for something similar, yet different. We now connect the droid arm at the other end of the axe. Again, pay attention to the orientation of the bend of the droid arms. We need 6 of these as well. Now things get slightly more complicated. We need to connect these on the guide just above where we connected the previous parts. But we will attach it from the opposite side, and the bend will also need to go behind the axe that we previously connected. Do zoom in on the left picture to get a good idea of how it is connected. We will then proceed and connect all of the six blocks the same way. The end result is seen in the middle picture, and from above in the right picture. At this point there are only two steps left to building the bark tube. These can be repeated as many times as we want to get a tube of desired length. The first step of the two is basically the same as what we did in the beginning. Attach another 6 droid arms to axes as in the left picture. We again attach these to the structure, but this time we connect to one of the axes rather than to the pillars. This requires a more careful touch and we need to apply counter pressure on the axe we attach to or things may fall off. Note that the bend of the droid arms goes behind the bar of the pillar as seen in the middle picture. We will go ahead and do the same with the other 5 and the end result should be like the picture on the right. Time for the second repeatable step. This is probably the most challenging, and the most finger-pain-inducing ;) What we do is that we connect 6 droid arms to bars/axes all around the tube. The left picture shows how one of these are connected. Now, in order to accomplish this connection I usually connect the droid arm to the bar on the left first, and then actually just push the other side of the droid arm down onto the shorter bar. This process is shown in the middle and right pictures. Make sure you attach the thicker part of the droid arm to the bar on the left as it is easier to push down the thinner clip. In subsequent repetitions of this step we will be pushing down onto axes rather than onto the pillars like here. This means we need to apply counter pressure with the thumb at the bottom of the axe we attach to, or the axe may slide down instead of the clip connecting to it. On the plus side, axes tend to have a rounded end which makes pushing down the clip on it easier. If you are confused about which two bars you should connect with the droid arms, just remember that the droid arms should be connected so that it goes behind the bar that is currently the tallest. Once you have connected one, figuring out the other 5 will be easy. Ok, so now we have reached the repetition stage. From here on out we just repeat the steps shown in the two previous images until we get the length we want on our tube. The top left, top right and bottom left, shows result of the next 1, 2 and 3 steps respectively, while the bottom right is the finished tube. Note that as we build the tube higher the axes tend to want to pull inwards. This is fine, and is because the bottom guide plate doesn't match the natural size of the tube completely. The same goes for the pillars which tend to want to bend a bit to the sides, which is quite visible in some of the pictures. We don't have to force them to stand straight, it is fine if they are a bit crooked. The pillars are there to help with the building, not to force it into a certain position. So there we go! A full size bark tube :) Now, let's take a quick look at the support structure that goes inside the bark tube. It is pretty simple and is built by technic connector elements. These do not connect to the tube pieces, but rather the tubes either hangs or leans on the support structure. As mentioned, the guides are not usually part of the tree. However, for the bottom part of the tree, a guide plate actually makes for a good connection point to the rest of our build. So we will leave the bark tube attached to the guide for the bottom tube. In the pictures the structure is shown without the bark tube to more clearly show how it is connected to the plate of the guide. Next we will attach this inside the tube we just built. Just attach the support structure inside the tube. Plain and simple! Now, this particular attachment of the support structure is adequate for smaller trees, but if you would like to build something bigger, or just want more stability (always a good thing) another, more sturdy, way is shown next. Or you can just skip ahead to the following picture :) This is an alternative, and more stable connection for the support structure. The downside is that you will have to use a different plate than the one used to build the bottom tube on, which means we have to detach the bark tube when it is done and then reattach it on top of this instead. It also has only 4 connection points, which means 2 pillars will be unconnected. It adds a lot of stability to the support structure though, and I would advise using something like this if you are building big trees. The added complexity is worth it. Now, whatever your choice, we need more bark tubes for the tree, so let's build them. First we will build a size 20 tube that goes directly on top of the size 24 one. The building process is very similar to the size 24 tube, except we are using a different guide plate with only 5 pillars on it. The other steps are essentially the same, so let's just go ahead and start building :) As you can see, the size 20 tube suffers from the same desire to bend inwards as well as the pillars wanting to bend slightly sideways. Again, this is fine so don't worry about it :) We will be building this tube a bit taller than the size 24 one. This is to make the tree look more natural as the thickness of real trees tend to have a higher rate of change close to the roots. The tube on the right is the result of 6 repetitions of the two building steps. We will now detach the tube from the guide. First, we gently pull the pillars from the plate, which will result in something like the picture on the left. The bottom plate and pillars may need some slight repairs afterwards. Second, we want to pull out the pillars from the tube. This should be done without harming the tube itself, which can sometimes be a challenge. The way I do it is to put my thumbnail in between the pillar and the first droid arm attached to it, and then pull gently. The result is shown in the next picture. Now, for each pillar you pull out, you will notice something loosening and perhaps even falling out. This is as it should be, and these pieces should be removed. The results of pulling out all the pillars can be seen on the right. You may have noticed that the axe heads on the tube points somewhat straight out, which definitely looks strange. In order to give the bark a smoother surface we now need to rotate all those axe heads in towards the bark. The axes can be rotated in two directions though, so which direction do we choose? We actually alternate the direction :) This is because the axe heads are lined up in a diagonal fashion around the bark and it will look unnatural if we just push all the axe heads in the same direction. If we instead alternate, we will break the diagonal pattern, and instead we will have “patches” of axe heads here and there on the bark. There is still a pattern to it, but it is not very noticeable. Pushing in the axe heads may sometimes make the axe a bit looser. This is because the side of axe handle is smaller on the sides, so the clip attaching right under the axe head will not be firmly connected once we rotate the axe. However, since the tubes are quite sturdy it will generally hold together well anyway. The exception is the end parts of the tube, where an axe may fall off completely if we rotate it. So at the ends we just rotate the axes to whatever direction will still hold the tube together. It is time to add the completed size 20 tube to our tree. But we want to make sure it is somewhat stable and doesn't wobble around too much. To do this we attach two 1x1 round plates on each side of the support structure as shown on the left. This will help hold the tube in its right place. We then add the tube to the tree. Make sure you put it in with the axe heads pointing down. Also, try to get the two tubes to interlock as much as possible. This is not that easy, as a size 20 doesn't line up that well with a size 24, but by trying different positions and applying a little bit of force it is usually possible to make the two sit quite closely on top of each other. It is even possible to attach some of the loose droid arms of the top tube to some of the axes of the bottom tube, but usually just 1 or 2. In the end, there will usually be a bit of a gap between the tubes on one side of the tree and you may feel it doesn't look that nice. Don't despair! We will deal with that later :) Do also note the result of the axe head rotations on the tube in the picture on the right. Let's add some branching to our tree to make it nicer :) To do this we will use the triple technic connector shown on the left. We just attach it at the top on the support structure and it should look some like the picture on the right. Apart from adding branches this also helps the stability of the tree as the triple connector will press down on the top tube, holding it in place. If the height of the tubes are right that is :) From this stage onwards we may have to do some small tweaking here and there. This tree is not built with exact and precise connections, and each tree we build will be different. So don't be afraid to change things up if they don't fit as well as you would like. Even if the tree collapses, the tubes themselves are very sturdy and you can easily rebuild the support structure and add the tubes back. A little side note. There are many ways to create branching of the tree. On this tree we used the triple connector, which branches equally on both sides, which is good for the balance of the tree. Another way to branch can be seen above. This creates one branch on one side while letting the main trunk continue straight upwards. In general, the technic connectors allows you to design your tree pretty much the way you like, so feel free to experiment with it :) As our tree has branched, we should again make the bark thinner. We start by making a size 16 tube. This will be the continuation of the main trunk. Again, the process of building the tube remains essentially the same. Just use the guide for the size 16 tube and get building :) The result is in the bottom right. We also need a tube that will be our branch. We will make that one size 12 so it is thinner than the main trunk. I am not even going to show you the process of building a size 12 tube, as it is, again, essentially the same as all other tubes we've built. The result is shown on the left. We now have two tubes that are ready to be added to the tree. Before we move on though, I would recommend that you stabilize the base of the tree a bit. As we are adding branches the tree can become a bit lopsided so go ahead and add some extra plates or something down there for support, just in case. Better safe than sorry :) Now that we don't have to worry about toppling our tree anymore, let's add to our tree. On the right we will build a bend upwards as this will be the side where the main trunk continues. We will then put the size 16 tube there as seen on the right. Try to get it as far down as possible, to avoid getting too many cracks, though some cracks in the bark are inevitable and will be remedied later. Time to put the size 12 tube on the left branch. Wow, that looks great! Fits like a glove ;) So what is wrong? There are actually two problems here. Firstly, the internal radius of the size 12 tubes, as well as size 8 tubes, are too narrow to allow connector elements with pin holes through. The only connector that fits it is the straight smooth one (element 6538c), so let's go ahead and build the left branch out of these instead. We do also have another problem though, and that is that the shape of the tube doesn't allow it to fit very well against the other tubes. So what do we do? We need to shape the tube in order to make it fit better. Shaping the tube basically means that we pull out some axes and droid arms to give the end of the tube a shape that fits better with our tree. In the left picture I have removed 2-3 layers of droid arms and a couple of axes on one side. When doing this there will inevitably be some loose droid arm ends. This is fine, just move them so they fit with the shape we're trying to accomplish. We then try to put the tube on again, with the longer part of the edge on the top. The result is a that the tube fits much better with the tree as seen on the right. There are probably still some cracks here and there around the branching point, but it is fine for now :) In order to add leaves to the tree later we need to add some connection points for the leaf elements. The connection point is easily built as shown on the left and is then attached to another triple connector. We then add this to the right side of the tree, and we now have a leaf connection point :) We need leaves on the left side as well, but here we will use a different technique. First, let's add another connector with a slight bend upwards as seen on the top left. We then create a leaf connection point that we can connect to the pinhole of the technic connector. If you happen to have any 41532 elements lying around you can use them instead (this is what I ended up using in the bottom right which is why it is not protruding as much). For the end of the branches we need some very thin tubes. These are the size 8 tubes, which are the smallest ones you can make with this technique. What is that you say? The technique for size 8 tubes are essentially the same as all other tubes? Good guess, but umm... no :) Well, it's pretty similar, except for one main difference: the orientation of the droid arm bends are all reversed! This means the droid arms will bend outwards instead of inwards as is the case in all the other tubes. Other than that the process is just like the others. Building the size 8 should be pretty easy, and since it is only two droid arms per layer they are very quick to build. The end result is seen on the right. We need two of these btw :) Remember that the size 8 tubes also can only fit the smooth, straight connectors, so we will build the inner structure with those here. We would also like to attach leaves at the end of the branches, so let's add some leaf connection points at the top of the size 8 tubes before we add them to the tree as seen in the top left. The hinges with axle hole can be put right on top of the axle handles. Another version is to use element 32039 to get a different angle, this can be seen on the left branch in the right picture. On the main trunk we will first add another size 12 tube (yes, we need to build one more) before putting on the size 8 on top. Let's also add a connection point to the main trunk similar to the one added halfway up the left branch, that is, above the size 12 tube but below the size 8 tube. This time though, we will have it pointing to the back, so we can have leaves all around the tree. This is shown in the bottom left. Now things are starting to look like a proper tree, kind of :) But the leaf connection on the extreme right looks a bit too bare. Let's do something about that. We will build another really short size 8 tube that is to be attached on the rightmost little branch. Now it looks less bare. Also we add some more leaf connections at the very top of the tree. And, that's it! What do you think? Pretty ugly isn't it? ;) There are quite a few holes in the bark here and there. Don't worry, we will deal with that later. Or... maybe not :O We'll see! You may also have noted that I did not take my own advice to stabilize the bottom plate. That cost me dearly as my tree toppled over when I was halfway through building the foliage. No fun :P So, do stabilize it :) Ok, this is actually my favourite part of the tree building, since this is when the tree actually starts looking like a proper tree. It can also be one of the more frustrating parts, as foliage can be quite fragile, and it can sometimes be very hard to reach places where you want to add more leaves. Whatever the case, it is certainly a crucial step to tree building. I have chosen to work with green and dark green for this tree. If you would like to use other colors, by all means, go ahead. I'm quite fond of the dark orange / dark red combination myself :) We also need some droid arms for the foliage assembly. We start with the darker colour, as these will be the leaves shadowed by the others. A good way to start is to just connect a leaf element to each stud of the connection points. It is not shown in the picture, but at this point we should also put a 1x2 plate of the same colour as the leaves over the two studs where the leaves are connected. This will help keep the leaf elements in place. Now before adding more leaves I will show the method used to give volume to the foliage. Just attaching leaves to each other will give a very flat feel to the foliage, and it generally doesn't look natural. Real foliage has volume, and in order to achieve this, we either need to build loads of connection point for leaves all over the tree, which is not really possible with this technique. Or, we can create a vertical distance between leaf elements to generate more layers of leaves. We use droid arms for this. The droid arms can be attached to the “beams” of the leaf elements, and we can then attach another leaf element on the other end of the droid arms. Using two droid arms in parallel helps create a more stable connection between the two. Apart from creating a distance between the leaves this also gives the option of putting the leaves at different inclinations, which helps preventing the foliage from looking layered. You can also have the top leaf be turned 45 degrees compared to the bottom one, by attaching it to different “beams” as shown the right picture. In general, anything that helps the foliage look less structured is good. We are trying to create an organic looking tree here. As a last note, I want to say that there are loads of other ways to build a nice foliage, and this is just one of many ways to do it. If you prefer to do it some other way, please go ahead :) Ok, back to building the foliage! Here we have first connected a few more leaf elements to the first ones we added. After that we use the droid arm method to created a few more layers to the tree, both above and below the leaves we already have. More leaves have been added. Try to keep it balanced, and add more where things look sparse. But don't add too many layers upwards just yet. That is what the lighter color leaves are for. Around 50-75 leaves of the darker colour should be enough before switching to the lighter hue. Now we'll start using the lighter color leaves. I just wanted to begin by showing this. As we now have already quite a number of leaves on the tree, things start to get more fragile. Attaching new leaves gets harder, especially when doing it with droid arms. So what I usually do it build them like this before attaching them. Do note that the thicker part of the droid arms is the one we attach to the leaf. This will then be attached on top of one of the darker leaves as we see fit. We will also need to support the bottom of the darker leaf while attaching, or things may fall apart. Here we have created a couple of new layers with lighter leaves on top of the darker ones. If you find it hard to connect these (and you probably will in the beginning), try to attach them at an angle, and when attached you can then adjust them as you'd like. It is hard to explain, but as you keep building you will get the hang of it :) Here we have added a lot of leaves on the right side of the tree. Once we have attached a leaf with droid arms we can just add more leaves to it by connecting normally with studs. Don't be afraid to create long chains of leaves like this. If the leaves bend downwards from the weight that's fine, it gives a nice curvature to the leaves and helps to make it look less structured. We can also attach some lighter leaves on top of the darker ones directly by studs. Now the foliage is pretty much done. There are probably 75-100 elements of the lighter colour used here. Note the layers and different degrees of inclination, which help give the tree a fuller look by obstructing the view through the foliage. At this point I have also learnt from my mistakes and created a more stable base :) Some closeups of the foliage to get an idea of what is going on. Ok, so we are pretty much done. But how about those cracks and gaps in the trunk that I mentioned we'd fix later? Well, at this point many of those are already either obscured by the foliage or they are no longer noticeable since the contrast between foliage and trunk is so much bigger. That being said, there are usually some things that need fixing. In the case of this tree it was at the branching points, which is often the case. At certain angles you can see through the tree, which is certainly not desirable. So how do we fix the cracks in the trunk? We fill them up with stuff :) Essentially we can use anything that fits and sticks in black or dark brown color. Axes, droid arms or any combination of the two work well. I also like to use the little short bars with clips on them. Four of those can be assembled into a little ball that you can stick into little holes and crevices in the bark. Do note that pieces added this way have a tendency to fall out when the tree is moved. So use it sparsely, or make sure that the added pieces are firmly stuck. That's it! We are done with the tree and this is the final result :) Now all we have to do is build a landscape to add the tree to. Here is an example of a landscape built around the tree. Landscaping is beyond the scope of this tutorial though :) Some thoughts on this technique: I have built quite a number of these trees since I developed the technique about a year ago, and though I do think it's aesthetically pleasing, I find that the instability of it limits its usage quite a bit. It's fine for just having and photographing, but bringing it to exhibitions is quite risky. I also think there are a lot of improvements that can be done to it, in particular when it comes to the supporting structure and foliage. With all the awesome technic builds I see floating around, I'm sure there are plenty of people who have the knowhow to significantly improve the stability of the design. I'd definitely be interested to hear thoughts and ideas on how to improve both the technique and the tutorial itself, as this is my first time writing one. And I'd love to see any trees you all build :) Happy building!