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  1. Vespa P200 Review Model and instructions by The Arvo Brothers Ramon and Amador (The Arvo Brothers) are at it again and the end result is amazing! After the releases of two instruction books, one on the supperb Kaneda's Bike (I'm still sourcing out the parts) and another on a massive Alien sculpure, they now turn to a non-sci-fi theme and reveal a new model with instructions on how to build it: Piaggio's Vespa P200. Though not the most beautiful of Piaggio's Vespas, their ubiquity in the 80s and 90s make these bikes to be a pop-culture icon (you can read more about the P200 here) for anyone who was a child on those decades. For those unfamiliar with the bike, this is what Ramon and Amador were aiming for: The instructions: If you have already purchased any of Arvo Brother's prior books, then you can know what to expect: a very professional and stylized edition What differs on this Vespa (digital) book is no reference on the history behind the build, which are so engrossing on their two other publications (Alien and Kaneda's bike). Nevertheless, we are awarded with a 152 page, image rich, pdf, covering the 158 steps to assemble the 688 pieces that make the model up. Instructions are crystal clear as we've come to be accustumed with these Builders. The Arvo Brothers pasted a sample on their Facebook profile, which I'll use to depict the instruction style. The isometric perspective is quite handy in depicting the build steps and no confusion ever arises (probably aided by reduced color pallete of this build, comprise of black, white, dark and light gray pieces). Alongside with the construction steps of the main build, Ramon and Amador also include alternative construction steps, as a way to avoid harder to get parts (namelly, a) 4866 windscreen in white; b) 32439b technic disk; and c) 18653 brick arch inverted in white). These alternatives are nice, however the model looks better in its original form (as is to be expected). The Vespa P200 model is one suited for color swaps, however the pieces in use do not allow for a direct translation of the model into other colors (how I want an orange one). My only complaint relates to the parts list, as the creators stick to a generic "Light Gray" "Dark Gray" differentiation, not taking into consideration the "Light Bluish Gray"/"Light Gray" distinction (as well as the "Dark Bluish Gray"/"Dark Gray" specificities. This is just a minor nuissance in correctly selecting the parts you "already have"/"need to order" so you can complete the build. The Build: As mentioned above, instruction steps are clear and follow a very modular logic, almost seeming we are building a kit bike (or a real bike for that matter): . Tyres; . Body frame; . Left and right side panels; . Handlebar; The tyres: If you are familiar with past works of the Arvo Brothers, than you know official tire availability is no hurdle to their creative skills, and it so happens in this Vespa model: You'll be amazed to know that what you see are two 56x28 ZR Street tires bent out shape by 10 wide disks. Although hard to pull through, this building technic provides the wheel size needed to compliment the accurateness of the whole build. The body frame: As expected, this part covers most of the build and is where all the other segments will be placed. You can already see some of the iconic elements of this bike One can already see the distinctive hallmarks of the P200 just on this segment of the build, namely the inner arches, the seat and, especially, the curved front guard. Lovely is the inclusion of the grip detail on the floor of the bike, so accurate depicting the original model. The side panels: The side panels of the Vespas, along side the front guard, are the trademarks of these bikes, giving them a rounded (to the extreme in the 60's models) shape, a shape hard to translate in lego bricks. These side panels hold, on the right, the engine bay and, on the left, the spare tire, duly encased. The right panel (engine bay) The left panel (tyre bay) Both panels, from the front and from behind. As you can see, Ramon and Amador pulled the shapes quite accurately. The handlebar: Another distinctive element of the Vespa's are their large front lights and curved encasing. Although simple in appearance, the steps into making the curves and angles of the handlebar are amazing, leading to a very accurate representation: Fully assembled model: As it frequently happens, the full model is much more than the mere addition of its parts: My photo skills fail me in correctly showcasing this model's beauty, but you can refer to Arvo's own (rendered) showcase here. The handlebar is an hassle to correctly place as it suffers from the "Wall-e" syndrome, always rotating to unwanted angles. Nevertheless, I would still note the most amazing details on this build: The curved inner arches (can't stop admiring them) The curved front guard. The right side panel (engine bay) Final assessment: Pro's: . clear and stylized instructions; . less costly than the other hard covered instructions books by the Arvo Brothers; . no impossible to obtain pieces; . overall moc cost to range from 150 € to 200 € (maybe less if only used parts are purchased); . beautyful model; Con's: . would love a hard cover book (both to get further insight on the model and to place it alongside Kaneda and Alien books); . color selection could be improved in the parts list; . handle bar is somewhat loose (might be my construction skills); . limited functions (if what you want is not a display piece); Overall: . A not to be missed edition. For further details, visit the Arvo Brothers webpage here.
  2. Thanks to HispaBrick Magazine, I was given the opportunity to review the latest release from the Arvo Brothers: Alien Project. You may know the Arvo Brothers from their gorgeous MOCs, or from their previous book on the Kaneda's Bike from the manga/anime Akira. Obviously, this book is all about their model of the Alien, from the Alien's movies franchise. It is divided in four chapters: Estimations, Construction of the model, Instructions and Gallery. 1. The Book The book itself is a very nice object, with a hard cover and 220 full colors pages with lots of pictures and artwork. I'm sure it can appeal not only to the AFOLs, but also to Alien movies' fans (tested and confirmed). You can view more detailled shots of the book on the Arvo Brothers' Flickr album. 2. Estimations and Construction The first two chapters are my favorites. They show the efforts needed to plan and build such a model... while writing a book about it. From size and scale determination to choices of parts, there is a lot to learn on how a model of this size and quality is designed. There is a nice blueprint of the model that indicate all its sizes. 48cm tall and 20cm width, we can say that it's a relatively big creature, not as much as the real model from the movies, but still I wouldn't like to cross one of these in a dark corridor... Why use these parts and not these ones? All is explained in this quite interesting chapter. Each section of the model is also lengthly commented. It's always nice to read what a designer (or two) think of his own model. This is maybe my favorite page of the book. It's the chronology of the 20 months of the project. 3. Instructions This may be the only reason for people to buy this book: the instructions. Sadly I'm not able to build the stand or the creature, but I can still give my impressiosn on the instructions themselves! And I must say that they are amazing. Throughout the 24 pages for the base and 116 pages for the Alien, the steps are pretty easy to follow, and for the more complex ones, the builder is guided with visual indications like brick outlines, studs connections highlights, guiding dashed lines or combinations of them. There are also alternates builds for hard to find parts. The Alien is composed of 1526 bricks, and the base of 466. By my standards it's not a very high amount of bricks, and since most part aren't rare, it's not an important investment if you want to build the model. The catalogue is maybe the weakest point of the book. Not for its design or content, but because you'll have to manually convert it to something like a Bricklink wanted list. But this is perfectly understandable as you'll have to buy the book if you want to have a look at the part inventory Nevermind, Missing Brick confirmed that the book come with a part list in electonic form that can then be used on Bricklink! 4. Gallery The book ends with some beautiful pictures of the model. If you still weren't amazed by the creature when you reach page 197, I'm sure those shots will convince you! 5. Conclusion This book is a lot more than just instructions for a model. It's a journey from the genesis of a project to its completion, detailling every steps from the drawing board to the photography studio. It shows that what we AFOLs do is not just playing with children plastic toys, it is Art. If you want to learn more about the project, if you want to build this model, if you want to convince a friend or a relative that you're not just playing with toys, I encourage you to get a copy of this book while it's still available! You can grab a copy from the Arvo Brothers website. And don't forget to visit their Flickr or Facebook accounts. I'd like to thanks again HispaBrick Magazine for providing me a copy of the book, and I'd also like to sincerely apologize for all the time it took me to finally post that review.
  3. arvo

    Kaneda's Bike - the Book

    Hi there! We'd like to show you our last "work", based in one of our favorite models, the Kaneda's Bike. It's just a revision of the bike built 7 or 8 years ago but, also represents our new way to feel this hobby...we need to extend and to complete the experience. Not only we want/need to play, also we want to explain and show all the details of the process...and pay tribute to the creator of AKIRA, Katsuhiro Ōtomo. The best way we know...a Book! It's rare, we feel that we need more and more...but, at the same time, less and less... ...ummm,!!!, we mean more and more...BRICKSSSS!!!!! We hope you like it: More pictures here: Cheers, Arvo