Monday, 24 January 2011

It's all Dutch to me.

I built. Hahahahahahahaha, I can't believe I can actually say that. For two reasons: a) I haven't built in ages, been feeling really shit about it, and b) I built this post-apoc diorama a few weeks ago, so maybe I didn't build. Maybe I just photographed. Either way, I feel like I'm getting back into my swing, into my building mood. Plus I have a kickass post coming atcha sometime soon about Janteloven, complete with moody Lego scene to compliment/exaggerate the words. Or maybe just to make skim-reading it a lot more enjoyable.

OK, before we get started, here's a couple of links so you can quit asking me the Flickr page or whatevs:
Flickr set link
Brickshelf Gallery


This particular MOC is a big mixture of a bunch of smaller project, which is why it can seem a bit messy, and there's the issue of whether it should be post-apoc at all, or whether I should just put away my little plastic guns and be peaceful for once. The first thing I built was the car:


The original intentions were to make a true-to-life representation of the Soccer-Mom-mobile, the AMC Eagle (see below). It's full of curves, bulky bits, sitting high on its tyres, and features whopping great fenders. So I decided to start from the most recognisable part of the car: the radiator grille. I made that fine - sure, the grille tiles fall out, but they look great, right - and it was all downhill from there. Steeply downhill. I made what I thought was a decent version of the AMC Eagle, then realised it didn't have any wheels (that's what all that bother at the end of my 365 project was about), so I cut into the back and chucked some wheels on a small axle there, then tore out the sides and put some front wheels in. The result? This heap o' junk. Not recognisable as an AMC Eagle any more. Which is why I didn't title it so in the Flickr pic - I felt it was an insult to AMC and to the LUGnuts challenge to pass this off as something it looks nothing like. I still like it. Not as an AMC Eagle, but I like it. It's chunky, it's rickety, and it's a tasteful shade of brown, some sort of family car. For 80s, small-family soccer moms. That kind of thing.

My inspiration pic for the car.
I didn't get the Eagle done by the end of the month, so I decided I'd include it in a dio and just say 'screw you' to the LUGnuts challenge, I diverged from that aeons ago. Next up for my big and [inevitably] ambitious project was a tug boat.

Back when I was on a school trip in Portsmouth, before the summer holidays last year, we came across a little quay, and in it were a bunch of blue-hulled tug boats, with tyres round the edge. I loved them, for some reason. I really did - they were so dirty, so functional, so perfect for post-apoc. For a few months I held the romantic notion I'd eventually make one (I snapped a few source shots when I was there), put it next to a stained wood warehouse and make it a little travelling drug dealer's hideout, featuring sausage guy. But then, when I came up with the idea for a post-apoc canal lock, I told those ideas to go do something nasty to themselves and decided to make the tug for that instead.

My main source pic for the tug
So, after some finickety angled plates, I created the hull, chucked some wooden panelling on top to form a petite deck, and set about fucking up the white cockpit frame. Yeah, it's a total mess. And not even totally white, which sucks harder. "put them vertically," said my subconscious at several key times during the tug's build, "it'll be much easier and not so sucky looking." But did I listen? Nuh-uh, I made an angled thing to look more realistic. And it sucks. But anywho, enough about that. Here's the final thing:


The hull is, admittedly, very bulky. But it's OK, because I never intended to show the entire boat until the photo-taking session itself, when I couldn't resist my shutter-happy finger. It's 'submerged' below the water. Fair enough.

So I had my boat, bulky and rough. And I had my car, looking nothing like an AMC Eagle. But who cares, it's Post-Apoc - it's meant to be messy, and since it's fictional, I could've included a flying Velociraptor and it would've fitted in some strange, surrealist way. On that thought, I realise I really should have done that. Dang. Ah well, next time.

Just like the boat and the car, the canal lock itself needed a source picture. I have no idea when and where and how the idea for a canal lock came from, all I can show you is the source photo I used for most of the mechanisms and layout involved. The lockhouse building itself was something I spied once on an unsurprisingly boring episode of Location location location, with Phil and Katie getting on swell. Also, she seems to be constantly pregnant throughout most series of the show - anyone else noticed this? Probably not, because the kind of interesting, cynical and world-weary people who notice details like that don't watch boring-ass shows like Location location location. But, one day, I did. And I saw this white wooden-panelled lockhouse somewhere in Essex or Sussex or Worcester. One of those counties that isn't Kent or anything I vaguely recognise as being urban.

So here's my source photo, thanks to Wikipedia:

This photo shows a canal lock somewhere in the Netherlands, a place called Noordoostpolder - a name I later worked out to be a combo of 'noord', 'oost' and 'polder' - in other words, north-east polder. So that's the reason for the lengthy title of the creation. Sorted. Obviously I didn't include two lockhouses as in the photo, because I'm not a maniac, and - as much as I'd've liked to - I didn't include that dark green pipe construction on the grounds of sanity. I think I created a good enough reproduction of the canal lock:


Maybe it's a little blocky, a little chibi, but I'm proud of it. And my biggest MOC to date, too. Building it took place over two whole days, during which I listened to Kate Nash's album 'My best friend is you' almost exclusively. As a result I now know all the words to the foul-mouthed 'Mansion Song', and can sing along to a decent percentage of all the other songs. A great album, a great singer. That ginger fellow by the car is included, I believe, as some sort of subconscious nod of thanks to Kate Nash for the awesome music.

Well, there you have it folks. Winging its way down the blog tunnel to you soon will be a couple of posts, but you may have to hang around for the Janteloven one, that'll take some time. See y'all!

~John

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