BEAVeR

[MOC] Wan Hu, World's First Astronaut

Recommended Posts

If certain stories are to be believed, you should forget about Gagarin as world's first astronaut altogether. He was a couple of hundreds of years too late, you know, because that's when Wan Hu took to the skies. Wan Hu had no Vostok rocket at his disposal, but he could get his hand on dozens of small Chinese firework rockets. He tied them all to a platform with a chair and let his servants light all the fuses at once. A couple of tense moments later, he had disappeared in a huge explosion of fire, smoke and noise. He was never seen again.

50267446583_7941aa4c9c_b.jpg
[MOC] Wan Hu, World's First Astronaut by Bert Van Raemdonck, on Flickr

Obviously this story isn't true and it isn't even an ancient Chinese folk tale - it's a lot more recent than you would think - but Wan Hu's attempt at spaceflight is a fun story that sparks my imagination. And the visual of a man with his gaze fixed on the sky blasting off with a big explosion, while he's just relaxing in his lazy chair really speaks to me.That's why I chose to depict Wan Hu and his makeshift spaceship for a local contest with as theme: "build the spaceship of your dreams". I loved the challenge of having almost no reference to work off - you'd be surprised how little comes up in an image search - so I could let my imagination run free in the design of the launch vehicle and of its rider. Since Wan Hu is a fictional character and not really a part of Chinese folklore anyway, I did not feel too obliged to follow historically accurate images and just made something up based on some images of Chinese philosophers I found. Once I figured out that crowbars make for a really nice moustache, the head came together really quickly although it has studs going in all directions. The body was a joy to put together and get all those nice curves in without having to do too much puzzling with the chair kindly hiding some scafolding. The chair itself is heavily based on the one I was sitting on while designing it!

1024x576.jpg

One thing about the contest is that it only ran for one week and I only found out about it three days in, so this was probably the quickest build I ever put together. I did finish just in time, but the last parts I put together were really rushed so they were not up to par with the rest of the creation. So now, a couple of months later, I want back to touch some things up. For the figure, all I changed was its backside so it looks decent from all angles. I did completely rebuild the platform with the rockets and their exhaust though. This process took a lot longer than the initial five days because of all of the weird angles for the rockets and the smoke, trying to make it dynamic while eliminating all of the gaps. The mess of clips, bars and ball joints is just out of sight but I did manage to keep it somewhat reasonable on the inside. For my standards, that is!

1024x576.jpg

My main goal was to convey a sense of energy, power and speed. A couple of Wan Hu's strands of hair are blowing in the wind and he's holding on for his dear life to keep everything in place. The ropes are barely keeping the rockets in check and some of the floorboards have given way because of the huge impact of the explosion. Combine that with some dramatic framing and lighting and the exhaust smoke in which I tried to capture both the initial jet of smoke with the billowing once it hits the ground, and I hope I achieved my goal!

1024x576.jpg

So I hope you felt the excitement in the build! Thank you for stopping by! Any feedback is appreciated, but anyway I hope you have a great day in which the stars seem closer than ever!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very nice!

Edited by JintaiZ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fun story, that for some weird reason I really want to believe is true! The build is awesome, I love the parts usage for the guy's beard and the rocket exhaust clouds are amazing!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

*huh*

That is the coolest, most visually captivating build I have seen in a while.  I think it's safe to say you achieved your goal!

Mind blown.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is fantastic & hilarious! I love everything. His pose is great & the fireworks shooting him to space is creative. The build & details are awesome. Well done!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can you give us more pictures, such as some close ups? I'm curious as to how you have the model resting on the white axles.

Edited by Metagross555

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Incredible detail work and to have no studs showing at all. I'd love to see how the smoke was achieved.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Amazing.  Just when I think I've seen everything that can be done with LEGO.  This is one of the coolest things I've ever seen. Thank you. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for your amazing feedback! It feels great to be a bit more involved in the community here again.

 

On 8/26/2020 at 1:16 PM, Metagross555 said:

Can you give us more pictures, such as some close ups? I'm curious as to how you have the model resting on the white axles.

 

On 8/27/2020 at 1:17 AM, jxu said:

Incredible detail work and to have no studs showing at all. I'd love to see how the smoke was achieved.

Not sure if more pictures will give more clarity, but you can have a look at the digital models (both for studio and LDraw) here. Then you'll spot all my dirty secrets I tried to hide in the pictures :blush:, but as a bonus you can also see the first version I made in the io file. The main idea of the exhaust/support is that it's a sandwich of plates on their sides. In between this sandwich, there's a bunch of clips and ball joint plates as attachment for those claw, bar and ball pieces to connect the domes. At the top, there's a whole bunch of socket plates with axle/ball joint parts in them, to which ultimately the technic axles are connected. The idea is that some of them slot into the bases of some of the rockets and while the others just serve as support without actually connecting, but just by serving as a resting point. That's the idea, but to be honest this is really a pain to build digitally where you tediously need to angle all the joint manually and nothing self aligns. So I gave up after finishing one of the smoke plumes and just mirrored it to the other side :tongue:. But I think the idea is solid enough. I've seen some builds balancing on more precarious supports...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice build!

I think Mythbusters did a test, on how he might have ... well, disappeared, to never be seen anymore.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.