Monday, February 23, 2015

SSC: 41510 Mixel Lunk

For my weekly Mobile Frame Zero Single Set Challenge, I'm doing Mixel Lunk (Set 41510). 

Looking at the packaging, I knew I had to use those things coming out of his nose as a sword, and I put together what I think is a nice little frame. The legs can be adjusted a lot more than I would have expected, in the photo album there are a few pics of him running.

Picture album can be found here

My only regret is not getting more of this set when I could. I'm not sure I've seen that sword anywhere else, so having only two of them is only gonna lead me straight to Brink Link.

I'm going to call this guy Sneezy in honor of the sword. The only thing I'm going to change on him is the claw. I'm going to rotate that 90 degrees.

Here is a link to an explanation of the Single Set Challenge guidelines.

Next up: I'm not going to predict what is up next, but I'll post it before Monday night next week.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Micro Castle - Standard Development

As I have been researching the idea of a standard for building castles on a micro scale, I have come across a few discussions in various places. Most are a few years old, and I haven’t been able to find anyone that is currently working on a standard. If you know of anyone, please point it out to me in the comments.

What I have taken away from all that I’ve read is that a Carcassone style of tile is probably best, at least for the roads and rivers. I find the idea of a “wall standard,” meaning modularized castle walls, to be somewhat restrictive. A standard would require all castles to be built with the same color and wall design, and I think this will result in less variety and creativity in castle design. So, rather than come up with a wall standard, I am simply going to say that all castles need to be contained on the module. Even if this means building a double module so that there is enough room for the castle.

The size that I have chosen to start out with is 13x13. This allows for a plate six studs wide to be used on either side of a blue tile that represents water. The drawback to this, other than a need for multiple plates, is that the technic piece used to connect the plates has to be at least four studs long. I feel this is a better trade off than having the all water modules terminate with a spot two studs wide.

Another benefit of 13x13 is that an "adapter" can be created that allows a micro castle module to fit the micropolis standard, if the technic bricks are done correctly. Since the micropolis standard is much more widely used, this makes the micro castle modules a little more versatile.

Here are the first three modules that I have photographed. I have another castle on the way, and then I will be working on some forest land.

One thing that becomes readily apparent in these pictures is that a standard color for roads needs to be decided upon.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

SSC: 76010: Batman: The Penguin Face Off

My next Single Set Challenge for Mobile Frame Zero is, as promised, the Batman set featuring the Penguin. I played around with this a bit, and behold, I present to you, DuckBot.

More pix can be found here

I tried to use some of the “signature parts” that came in the set, and I think I captured it well with the fins (flags) used as feet and the “tail” piece actually used as a tail. The set contained enough pieces to make two copies of the laser cannon, but I like asymmetric builds. Though I like the minimalist nature of the legs, I will likely be changing them at some point. I want to keep the flag usage, but I’m going to have to cram a knee joint in there somewhere.

I really liked this build. The scuba flippers will be the first to go, but I think I may add the waist/hip joints to my bag of tricks.

The Anti-Climax

And now here's a another SSC: the Mixel "Nurp-Naut" (set 41529) from Series 4.


I tried and I tried, but I couldn’t come up with a use of the huge trans-clear domes that came with this guy. I tried to at least use the round piece for the top of the bot, but it just isn’t turning out. Overall, I’m not very happy with this frame. I figured I would take pictures, but now that that is done he’s gonna be parts. If I was reviewing this Mixel for use as a frame, it wouldn’t get a very good grade from me. Sure the price was great per piece, but all I feel I got out of it was the two mixel joints and a couple of clear domes that can be used for stations of some sort.

I can't really call this a "bonus," but I'm throwing it in here because I really don't think it stands on its on.

Here are more pics, for the sake of completeness.

Here is a link to an explanation of the Single Set Challenge guidelines. Thanks again to Mantis King for reminding me where it can be found.

Next up: Mixel Lunk (Set 41510)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Micropolis Duplex Module

So I dove right in and started creating a full block, complex layout Micropolis module. [The micropolis standard can be found i the links.] The majority of the module was going to have a giant SNOT green area that was going to be a city park. It is just one of what I think are great ideas for some unusual modules. But as I am finding out, it isn’t easy to just dive right in.

So I decided that I am going to try to design some normal (¼ block sized) modules to get a better handle on the scale of micro building. I finished my first one, a duplex house with two vehicles in the front driveway, a couple of trees, and a trampoline in the backyard.

Pictures can be seen here.

So, there it is. My first Micropolis module. I would love to hear what you think about it, including any questions. I think I’m going to try my hand at designing at least one more ¼ block before moving to my ½ and full block designs. Pretty quick I am going to run out of the tiles needed for streets and sidewalks, and I’m sure that I will end up on BrickLink buying what I need.When I do that, I'm going to order up the pieces that will fix the one spot on this module that I think needs improvement. We’ll see how long the bricks I already own will last.

SSC: 79001 Escape from Mirkwood Spiders!

So, I read about the Single Set Challenge on the Mobile Frame Hanger forums, and decided that I’d like to try it. So I did a couple of small sets one, a Mixel, one a Chima set. These have been done by others as well, and the results are about what you would expect. I really liked the challenge of building a frame from a very limited to parts selection, and I found that it really challenged me to think outside the box. The Chima one in particular led to some things I may try to replicate on a larger scale.  I’ll post those other SSCs separately.
What I want to talk about right now is what I’m calling the Mirkwood Squad. I had a copy of Set# 79001, “Escape from Mirkwood Spiders.” Fresh off of completing the first two, I decided to SSC this bad boy.
I opened it up, and right out of the box I knew what direction it was going. Those two spiders have a combined 16 legs, all with the same click hinge setup. The last batch of frames I built falls over a lot. So I decided to try to build four identical four legged frames. I got the legs done, and then a funny thing happened. I made two into matching soldiers, with a sensor array on the head, legs for the movement, a medium autocannon, and a shield. Then I made a hand to hand specialist and an artillery specialist. Both of them needed something more, but I liked where they were headed. I like the look of my artillery piece, but I wanted to try to build something else out of either it or the HTH specialist. As I was messing around trying to come up with a better build for one of them, I ended up creating a squad leader for the bunch. Thus was born the Murkwood Squad. 

In my next skirmish (4 players that turned into 3), I fielded both the soldiers, backed by the artillery frame. I was point, and I managed to seize enough stations to finish first. Part of it was strategy, but part of it was these guys just being all around sweet frames. And I loved the stability of the extra legs.

I also built a station and some cover. I had enough slopes to throw together a ship for IO, should I decide to branch out once we’ve got a lot of MFØ played.

Though I may change a few things, I’m going to keep the color scheme and most of the set up. I like the four leg setup, but the torso connections can be a bit fragile. The HTH specialist is most likely to see change, and the fragility of the squad leader’s shield demands reinforcement. But overall, I’m going to end up with a unique squad with a very interesting back story.

Next up is set# 76010: Batman: The Penguin Face Off, which looks promising before I even open up the box.

What to expect from A Few Bricks Short

So, here it is. My first blog post. I’m supposed to introduce myself and tell you why you should read this blog. Well, here’s a link to the About Me page. Read that if you like.

As for why you should stop by here, well, I’ll be posting pictures of my various finished projects and modules, some in-progress construction pictures, and some of the thinking that went into the design of them.

I’ll also be posting various things for Mobile Frame Zero. If you like Lego and tabletop war games, and somehow you haven’t heard of it, I strongly recommend it. The mechanics favor offense, and the game has a clock built in that allows for a finite playing time. You can find it here, or more about it on the Links page.

I will be posting Single Set Challenges (SSC), including some unusual choices for set. I’ll also be posting (very) occasional set reviews for usefulness and cost. Lastly, I’m going to be putting up skirmish and battle reports. We’ve talked about a campaign, so we will see how that goes.

I’ll also be posting non-MF0 write ups as well, mostly about building on a micro scale. I am embracing the Micropolis standard, and will be building for that scale. I am also toying around with micro sized castles, and want to eventually chronicle the used car lot that my cubicle desktop at work became for a while last summer.

Finally, I'll be experimenting with the layout of this page over the course of the first few months. Don't be surprised if I change things up a little occasionally. Any suggestions are welcome in this regard, as with all parts of this blog.