19 January 2017

The Clayface of Nougat Flesh

We have an unusual set to discuss today in that it contains a high percentage of newly recoloured elements in a single colour. To discuss the Medium Nougat [TLG]/ Medium Dark Flesh [BL] pieces in LEGO® Batman Movie set 70904 Clayface Splat Attack we welcome a new author: Sven Franic (Flickr: svenfranic) who is a member of a LEGO User Group from Croatia, Kockice.

One of the main frustrations or challenges when building your own LEGO creations, depending on your point of view, is the limited number of colours a certain element is available in. This is especially true for those who like to build concepts in digital form, only to realize some crucial elements are not available in that shade. 

Some colours are so limited in choice of parts that nobody really sets out to build with them and it is just more convenient to stick with the commonly available colours. I am personally a bit tired of grey and brown. It is time for a colour revolution!

In 2016, one such revolution in the shape of a VW Bug (10252 Volkswagen Beetle) jump-started one of my favourite shades of blue. Thanks to this set, Dark Azur [TLG]/ Dark Azure [BL] is now a feasible colour for building with, but we don’t often come across a single set with so many recolours and new parts. In fact, I often find obscure colour choices in official sets, probably because it is not economically viable to produce a part in a new colour just for that set (arches over rounded window frames pop to mind). Now it almost feels like an intentional tactic from the folks at TLG to speed up the process of enriching the available palette.

70904 Clayface Splat Attack


We have entered 2017 with the first wave of the LEGO Batman Movie sets, and one set in particular, 70904 Clayface Splat Attack, has introduced 13 recolours of parts in Medium Nougat [TLG]/ Medium Dark Flesh [BL]. In fact it has 14 recolours if you count the one new element in Reddish Brown.





Medium Nougat was first introduced in early 2010 in the LEGO Prince of Persia sets, followed by LEGO Harry Potter sets later that year, only to be used occasionally in the following years for specific elements like animals, food, hairpieces and dark skin tones for minifigure and minidoll parts. In 2014 we saw the first large-scale use of this shade, in 10246 Detective's Office, as part of an American 1920s-style building, but still with very little variety in choice of elements.

This graph shows the introduction of new elements in Medium Nougat over the years. To obtain a more conclusive view, I omitted all minifigure parts, animals, creatures, printed elements and DUPLO, as these are rarely used outside their intended application. We should also be aware that we have still not seen half the sets for this year, and a large number of the elements from 2010 are long out of production. It is worth noting, if we only consider the strictly common-use construction parts, hardly any have been introduced since the initial wave in 2010, until now.

70904 Clayface Splat Attack also gives us some new obscure elements in this shade.
 I think the axle plate, known as Bearing element 2x2 double (Element ID 6173059 | Design ID 4600), must be the strangest choice of the bunch. It is used in the set as a stopper to limit mouth movement and only one is supplied. The element is hardly visible in the set so I predict we will be seeing it again somewhere.


In most cases, axle plates are not visible so their colour is not relevant. However, I was recently making a popcorn cart where the axle plate’s limited range of industrial tones really messed with my paint scheme. Medium Nougat may not have been my first choice, but I desperately needed something that wasn’t grey or black, and incidentally only needed one.









The part Wall 1/2 Circle 2X4X2 W/Cut-out (6177803 | 24593) is a very new element, only available in one other set so far in Medium Lilac [TLG]/ Dark Purple [BL]. 
Thankfully, four of them are supplied here. They are used to make up Clayface’s giant clay mallet.



Plate 4X4 Round W. Snap (6167647 | 60474) is a useful accompanying piece for the wall element and five are supplied in the set. We already had a similar element with a 2x2 round open centre cut-out: Plate Round 4X4 With Ø16Mm Hole (Design ID 11833), which is available in Medium Nougat in other sets.


Another seemingly unnecessary but very welcome recoloured element is the old "hinge base" Rocker Bearing 1X2 (Element ID 6167642 | Design ID 3937), with a total of ten provided in the set. No matching colour top part is supplied, although we do get a re-colour of Plate 2X2 (Rocking) (6167644 | 6134) in Reddish Brown, a welcome addition to the already rich array. The hinge base is often an invisible, purely utilitarian element, but can be put to use as a decorative piece on its own. That is what I tried to do in the model below which uses nine Medium Nougat elements from this set, plus one more.


Yay, curved slopes! 
A disturbingly uneven nine are included with Clayface, but I do not think this is the last we will see of them.

I have a special fondness for curved slopes, so much so that I would rank the potential usefulness of working in a certain colour just by the amount of curved slope elements available. Curved slopes are responsible for overcoming the long-standing tradition of blocky shapes in LEGO creations ever since 1992, when Brick W. Arch 1X1X1 1/3 (Design ID 6091) first appeared. It is technically not a slope, either by TLG or BrickLink categorization, but in its practical function it is most closely related to curved slopes. 






If we exclude three retired colours, there are now 29 solid colours of this element to choose from (sorry, I have yet to obtain the gold one).


A yet-even-better curved slope gets a recolour: Plate W. Bow 1X2X2/3 (Element ID 6167645 | Design ID 11477). A very generous 41 pieces can be found in the set. 



The plethora of colours that this element has been produced in so far, in its relatively short life, is proof of how hugely useful and versatile these little slopes can be. 
A full 32 solid colours, including pearls and lacquers, have been released to the public.





With a total of 81 plus four spare, the most plentiful part in the set is certainly Plate 1X1 Round (6167641 | 6141). You have stud shooters to thank for that. I do not know much about Clayface, but this much I have figured out: he is a naughty monster made of clay who shoots people using parts of himself. I would personally much rather have square 1x1 plates, but round ones will have to do for now. After this set, I do not think I will have to acquire any more very soon.






What makes up Clayface’s body for the most part are 67 2x2 round plates (6167643 | 4032), also for the first time in Medium Nougat. Tree trunks anyone? Brownies?

Two “modified plates” (BrickLink jargon) have also been added to the Medium Nougat club: Plate 1X2 W/Holder, Vertical (6167698 | 60474) and Plate 1X2 W/Shaft Ø3.2 (6167699 | 60470).
 The two elements work well together and we conveniently get eight and 16 of each accordingly.





Only three recoloured elements are left to discuss: a basic corner plate (6177535 | 2420), the “chassis piece” Stone 1X2X1 1/3 W. 2 Plates 2X2 (6175943 | 11215) and a fairly bulky, decorative wedge piece, Roof Rock Tile 4X4 W.Angle (6167637 | 64867). I can see the wedge used for building large canyons and scenery, if you have enough slopes to mix and match.
 
The corner plate fills a small part of the large void in the available array of small plates in Medium Nougat, but we will have to wait a while longer to see any of the more versatile 1x1 or 1x2 plates.

This concludes our look at all the recoloured elements from this set.


Other parts of interest


There are two new printed elements worth mentioning in the set, which make up Clayface’s eyes (Element IDs 6172476 and 6172476 | Design ID 3040). Obviously you only get one of each, but you will also find two unprinted versions of the same 1x2 slope in the box. The pieces would be a challenge to re-use for anything else, but they work surprisingly well for changing Clayface’s expression. Just by switching them, the character’s menacing look suddenly becomes much more amicable. This is even suggested as a feature on the back of the box.


Apart from boosting my supply of bricks in an interesting earth tone, this set had an additional selling point for me as a collector of minifigure hairpieces. The inclusion of the character Mayor McCaskill from the LEGO Batman Movie gives us a brilliant new hairpiece in Cool Yellow [TLG]/ Bright Light Yellow [BL] (Element ID 6171887).  I think her printed torso could work as a vintage flight attendant uniform of a certain famous airline company.

Finally, I think a special mention is in order for an element not included in this set, but new in Medium Nougat for 2017. 
The mighty "cheese slope" Roof Tile 1X1X2/3 (Element ID 6167690 | Design ID 54200), nicknamed after its resemblance to a block of cheese, was introduced in Medium Nougat in the new Modular Buildings set 10255 Assembly Square.

The gang of cheese slopes now form an almost complete palette of current LEGO colours for this element.
 I think the size of a piece is inversely proportional to its versatility, which makes this slope, albeit not curved, one of the most revolutionary elements of the modern LEGO era. You can hardly find a set today without at least a little bit of cheese.

Considering the intermittent presence of Medium Nougat elements in the past, I think 70904 Clayface Splat Attack is a good opportunity to collect a fair amount of stock. Medium Nougat works so well as an “intermediary” for brown and tan tones. It is perhaps still too limited for use as a primary colour in any large build, but it’s great for breaking up the monotony of established colours.

Just don’t try to eat it, as tempting as the name suggests... 

 






LEGO® Batman Movie set 70904 Clayface Splat Attack has 448 pieces and retails for £29.99 / US$34.99 / CA$44.99 / €34.99.

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16 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed that article - well written, informative & you showed us some lovely potential uses of the parts. Excellent & thank you.

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  2. Replies
    1. No, but Clayface does include 3x 2x2 plates (surprisingly not mentioned here), which has appeared in a surprising number of sets since it first appeared in 2014. Oddly enough, it's the only caramel element from this set that _didn't_ get mentioned in the article.

      Personally, I would have preferred some slightly larger plates. 2x2 and 2x2 corner plate are the largest that are available until you get up to 8x8, and I came up with an idea for an alternate Clayface head that would have greatly benefited from a 2x8. Or some 2x4's. Or 2x3's.

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  3. Wonderful article, and wonderful set!

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  4. Very nice review! Thanks for all the information there

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  5. Clayface, for those who don't know, actually describes a series of at least nine different characters from DC. The one that most people would be familiar with (and which appears to be the inspiration for the look of the LBM Clayface) is Matt Hagan, from Batman: The Animated Series. While he's the second character to take the name Clayface, he was the only Clayface who appeared in B:TAS, and he's the source for the basic power set that currently defines the character. Hagan in the comics found a pit of protoplasm that gave him his powers with the need to recharge them every two days, while in B:TAS he got it from being force-fed a vat of face cream that originally gave him the limited ability to morph his face to look like other people. Afterwards, Hagan looked pretty much exactly like this set (except able to form hands), his body consists of a clay-like substance with the ability to change shape and size at will, he can fire blobs of himself to entrap victims, and he even has the ability to form metallic weapons with his hands (I remember a fireman's axe blade being used, I think in Feat of Clay II).

    In LBM, it sounds like Clayface will actually be Basil Karlo, the original comic book Clayface. His origin was that he was an actor (that part was borrowed into the B:TAS Matt Hagan Clayface) who went insane when he learned that Hollywood was going to remake his best movie, so he launched a campaign that got all the funding pulled from from Burton's 1989 movie...no, wait, that was Adam West (no, seriously, that actually happened). Karlo actually dressed up as the villain of his movie, Clayface, and went around killing people from the original movie, for reasons that apparently worked in his head. Three Clayfaces later, when they all formed a supervillain group called The Mud Pack, Karlo injected himself with samples from Clayfaces II-IV, and developed all of the powers from the other three Clayfaces. But just based on the shape of the head alone, this is still clearly based on the look of Hagan from B:TAS.

    Bonus fact: Marvel ripped off Clayface II when they created the Spiderman villain, Sandman.

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  6. I must mention that Sandman was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko... (The alleged ripoff isn't enough to have them dethroned from being personal heroes...)

    I remember Playmobil had sandbox shovels and rakes, but for Lego maybe you'd have to settle for a Friends spoon... (And a Medical Spoon in Light Aqua, to boot...)

    /Håkan

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    1. Also, I think (?) that McCaskill, as well as the BLM Gordons have Medium Nougat as their skin color, and that would imply they're of Latin heritage in this incarnation. (Although their names rather sound Irish.)

      /Håkan

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    2. Marvel and DC have stolen each others' characters for decades. It's not a one-way street, and a lot of times it probably came about when someone jumped ship from another company. I can't remember more than a couple (Deadpool being copied from Deathstroke is obviously one of the most well-known), but I think there's at least one Batman villain who is based on a Marvel character. One Marvel-to-DC copy I know of is that Namor came before Aquaman by a couple years.

      I'm not sure what you're trying to say about shovels, rakes, and spoons, but if it's about making alternate appendages for the Clayface set, I've already bought six copies of the set. One was built stock, I think on Christmas morning. With the other five, I've already built the following:

      - Two upgraded torsos (added a slight amount of additional detailing, covered some of the reddish-brown with caramel, replaced any dark-bley/red/yellow parts and visible tan parts with reddish-brown)
      - two upgraded pairs of upper arms (same deal as the torsos)
      - two upgraded pairs of legs (same deal as the torsos, but replaced the short CCBS extender with a slightly longer arm so the legs are longer and _slightly_ pose-able)
      - left and right disarmed stud-shooters (redesigned more for display, and to be left/right versions)
      - 2x flying blobs (designed to be attached to the shooter hands or be mounted free-standing on a clear post so it looks like he is about to launch or has just launched a blob projectile)
      - hammer hand (pretty much built from scratch because the original version can't be posed to sit flat like it's striking the ground)
      - en-blob-ment hand (a forearm with a variation of the Mayor's blob of clay on the end)
      - 2x arm extensions (add about 12 studs of length to any arm, designed to be rotated 90⁰ when combined so it's not as obvious that they're identical, and generally intended to be used with either the hammer or en-blob-ment hands)
      - Mayor's blob (tweaked because the original looked just a bit anemic)
      - 2x additional blobs (further tweaked so the minifig can be posed like they got hit while mid-stride)
      - upgraded standard head (mostly just filled out the back of the head and behind the eyes, filled in the corners of the inside of the mouth, switched to round tiles for the lower teeth)
      - smiling head (based on my upgraded regular head, but with a huge smile including 8 studs width of teeth)

      I want to make a few more blobs so I can have the Mayor, all of the non-Gordon cops, and the Scarecrow security guard all snared. I'm going to make a complete third torso/legs/upper arms, and I want to design a roaring mouth so I can put Clayface out on three displays at the same time. I already have six hands, so I don't even need to design anything new besides the third head.

      As for the minifig skintones, the Mayor is played by Mariah Carey, who is of African/Irish/Venezuelan descent, but whose actual skin color is very pale compared to her minifig. Barbara is played by Rosario Dawson, who appears to be of African/Irish/Cuban/Puerto Rican/Native American descent. I still can't find who provides the voice for James Gordon, as only a handful of the voice cast have been revealed at this point.

      Also, it's LBM. I don't know that Gordon and BLM would want to have anything to do with each other right now.

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    3. The rake or what it's called is in the sandbox image at the top... I know the piece is a fork originally, but that's not how it's used in the build...

      /Håkan

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  7. I forgot one really significant issue with Clayface. I have currently identified two basic waves of sets. If you look at the bottom of the box, right below the barcode there's a hyphenated 9-digit number. The two versions I've found are either 127759-640 and 127759-645. There is a clean distinction between some of the parts found in the 640 vs 645 versions. The 2x2 round plates in the 640 copies come in two versions. Most of what I've pulled have the pip on the upper left stud when viewed with the logos all right-side-up, but maybe 1/4-1/3 have it on the upper right, the mold markings on the underside are completely different, and the plastic looks glossier. I think the latter studs also grip a little weaker. The 645 has none of the latter round plates. The other part I found to be different, and unfortunately can't say for sure which copies come with which version(s) is the 1x1 round plate. I've got some that are a little bit darker and opaque when held up to a light source, and some which are a little bit lighter and somewhat translucent against the light. I suspect the latter came in the 640 copy, because they don't grip as tight as the darker ones. The reason I even discovered this is because the first time I built Clayface was a 640, and there's a single 1x1 round plate attached to the lowest 2x2 round plate on the right side of his torso that's not matched on the left. I found that even lightly brushing that one caused it to fall right off, and that led me to discover that the clutch was inconsistent between some of the parts. The 645 version I haven't had any problems with at all, so from here on out I'll keep checking the number to make sure that's the version I'm buying.

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  8. Replies
    1. Great to hear Lee, thanks so much!

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  9. great article and love those builds, the line of colours for a part always make me 'swoon'. Lovely!

    For rake, I would use the Hinge Bar with 3 Fingers and End Stud Part 2433. Old skool but its cool :-)

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  10. Fantastic article, great to see so many new parts in new colors! Wonderful builds as well, I especially like that micro castle :)

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  11. Thanks for all the great comments everyone!
    @Purple Dave: The 2x2 plate wasn't new in that color so it got left out. You are right though, being the only remaining Medium Nougat part in the set, I might as well have mentioned it.

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