Thomas Jenkins (@thomas_jenkins_bricks) is the penultimate contributor to our 5x5 fest, where we sent 5 LEGO® sets to 5 builders and asked them to use the new parts in interesting original creations.
We continue to be blessed with a wealth of interesting new LEGO® elements in 2021 and I’ve had a lot of fun investigating some of the recent new entries into the LEGO inventory in our 5x5 fest.
An overview of the common sets we used in our 5x5 fest can be found here. In addition to the 71746 Jungle Dragon, 43184 Sisu Dragon and VIDIYO Beatbox that the four other New E writers received, I was given 71740 Jay’s Electro Mech and 41931 Extra DOTS Series 4 to work with.
(Almost) Classic Space Rover
The blue parts found in 71740 Jay’s Electric Mech inspired were begging to be used in some Classic Space creation.
- Brick Special 4 x 10 x 4 - Plane Bottom (44665)
- Mech Leg, Left, with Black Pin (6323453 | 70946)
- Mech Leg, Right, with Black Pin (6323440 | 70943)
The leg elements are currently only available in Blue and come only in this set, while the Plane Bottom has appeared in a few other colours since the beginning of 2021. Tim Goddard took a closer look at this element when he reviewed 60263 Ocean Mini-Submarine earlier this year.
The legs were the main catalyst for this creation. Both the colour and shape when laid horizontally reminded me of the Spinner from Blade Runner, which it turns out was the same thought that crossed Kev Levell’s mind for this festival.
The black pins on the inside of the (former) hips were a perfect attachment point for a wheel. Well, almost perfect: as a black pin, there is a little too much friction for the wheels to spin freely, but aesthetically they fit the bill. I used the Plane Bottom (also in a horizontal orientation) to provide a spacious cockpit.
I added some wedges and slopes to the back of the vehicle to mimic the angles of the Plane Bottom. No Classic Space creation is complete without a few superfluous greebles so I filled up the few blank surfaces that remained with some brick-built details, including filling up some of the hollows on the underside of the Plane Bottom which helped to make a more cohesive design.
I completed about 75 per cent of the build until I realized that Windscreen 8 x 6 x 2 Curved (41751) isn’t available in Trans Yellow. Oops! I hope it’s not too sacrilegious to use a colour other than Trans-Yellow for the windscreen.
"Animal / Creature Body Part, Tail / Claw / Horn / Branch / Tentacle, End Section, Large" in Medium Azure (6331737 | 67361) is a new part for 2021 found in 43184 Raya and Sisu Dragon.
It has since appeared in 76389 Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets in Olive Green (6351429). As Jonas Kramm mentioned in his coverage of the summer wave of Harry Potter sets, this is a replacement for the old Tail (40395) element. The design has been totally overhauled with antistuds replacing the pin at the wide end and a noticeable recess on the inside of the curved surface.
I was quite smitten with this new part. It complements one of my favourite pieces: the maxaroni (65473) which is also supplied in 43184 Raya and Sisu Dragon in Medium Azure (6322807).
The colour and shape of these parts inspired me to make a figure of the virtual idol Hatsune Miku, as they work perfectly for her signature pigtails. I had initially envisioned a much larger figure, but I am no Eero Okkonen, so I chibi-fied the body a bit.
Hatsune Miku is the mascot of a popular series of singing voice synthesizer software called Vocaloid published by Yamaha in Japan. There are a number of different Vocaloid characters each with their own characteristic voice and personality. In fact, the popularity of these characters has birthed an entire music genre of the same name.
My next MOC also draws inspiration from another Japanese creation, though you wouldn’t have guessed it from the name. Maschinen Krieger or Ma.K. is a Sci-Fi universe created by Japanese artist and sculptor Kow Yokoyama in the 1980s. It has a distinct aesthetic that combines design elements from the real-world vehicles of World War I and II with popular Sci-Fi movies from the ‘80s such as Star Wars and Blade Runner.
The part responsible for this little space suit is the Turntable Snap (6317514 | 65146). I immediately saw a grabby claw upon inspecting the parts for the first time.
The hole in the middle of the Technic Snap is too large for a Technic pin, so to facilitate a connection for the part, I used Technic Driving Ring Extension (32187). It’s a tight fit- they probably aren’t intended to be used together but there’s not enough stress in the connection to damage the parts.
Tom Loftus found some great techniques involving the Turntable Snap. For more connections and a thorough inspection of this element, be sure to check out his 5x5 fest articles, starting from next Friday.
I think they look great as robot hands and pair nicely with the old school hinge arm system of elements to produce a cool robotic aesthetic. I was slightly dubious about the usefulness of this part given its specific intended use and total lack of connection points at first glance. It’s an interesting part and I hope they’ll find their way into more MOCs in the future.
Another weird element introduced in the Vidiyo range is Strap with End Rings (65130). This part really intrigued me and I was determined to find some use for it. Laying the two ring ends on top of each other to make a loop hinted at some potential use for the piece. In black with a 3-module wide gold dish to hold the assembly in place, it looked a bit like a belt- perhaps that of a boxer?
I took this idea and ran with it, experimenting with the angle at which the ends met at the ring connection and layering up the straps.
Eventually, I ended up with an interesting tunic-like torso. Pretty much all the straps in this figure rely on 2x2 round stoppers and a bit of tension in the element to keep them in place. Those that don’t have enough tension are held in place by a 3x3 dish.
I think much of the appeal of the Vidiyo range- at least among AFOLs- has been in the minifigure selection and I think -maybe- a lot of the new elements introduced in the range have gone overlooked. I think these straps have potential, especially in building large figures and may appeal to some builders in this genre for their novelty. Obscure and forgotten parts (at least from a System builder’s perspective) are often cropping up in the MOCs from the Bionicle community and I’d love to see what much more experienced character builders than I might do with these parts.
For some more inspiration using a similar element, check out Cole Blaq’s article investigating The DOTS straps.
Continuing with the weird and wonderful offerings from the Vidiyo collection is the new canopy element: Pod, Square with Rounded Corners, Front, 8 x 8 x 2 (6310507 | 65128).
I was initially quite excited at the prospect of this interesting new part, but those frosted sides had me a little disappointed. Anything I built inside would only be visible from that clear top portion of the element. That said, I’m sure this could be used to a builder’s advantage- condensation on the inside of a terrarium, perhaps? The lack of connection points on this part also made this a much less appealing element to work with. But of course, that’s part of the fun...
I must admit, I’m more of a dog person, but Caz has already treated us with a wonderful spacefaring pug. I used my canopy as the view port for this cat astronaut (catstronaut?). I guess I didn’t want to be seen as a copy-cat...
I avoided the issue of connection points (or lack thereof) entirely by using the round protrusions on each side of the canopy to trap the element in place. The 3x3 curved macaroni bricks frame the viewport quite nicely.
Although I prefer the shiny black eyes, the 41931 Extra DOTS provided me with a few more expressive options for the intrepid space kitty.
A lot of the elements we featured in our 5 x 5 fest are parts designed with a specific purpose or function in mind. It was great fun playing around with them and subverting their intended use.
I think a lot of the new parts available in the Vidiyo sets have been overlooked in favour of the minifigures. I was initially a bit sceptical about just how useful some of the specialized Vidiyo parts might be but investigating them along with the other New E contributors over the last few weeks has revealed a wealth of possible uses for these intriguing and unusual new parts. Hopefully it has inspired our readers to take another look at these new pieces too.
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Massive thanks go to our 'Vibrant Coral' patrons: Chuck Hagenbuch, Joe Fontana, Elspeth De Montes, Megan Lum, Markus Rollbühler, Mevits Bricks, Font Review Journal, Baixo LMmodels, Andy Price, Anthony Wright, Chris Cook, London AFOLs, Gerald Lasser, Big B Bricks, Dave Schefcik, David and Breda Fennell, Huw Millington, Neil Crosby, Antonio Serra, Beyond the Brick, Sue Ann Barber & Trevor Clark, and Kevin Gascoigne. Vale Iain Adams, a great supporter of New Elementary.
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