27 April 2023

Flowerfest: Eero Okkonen

Posted by Eero

After we took a look at the new and rare parts in the 2023 LEGO® Icons Botanical Collection sets a week ago, I am now kicking off our Flowerfest! Over the next few weeks, my New Elementary colleagues and I will reveal what we created with these beautiful elements.

I received two LEGO® Icons Botanical Collection sets, 40646 Daffodils and 10314 Dried Flower Centrepiece. As usual, these floral bricks and pieces inspired me to build flowing hair and elegant clothes… Well, mostly. I also turned a rose into Sontaran.

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Appetiser: Palutena's New Hair

This is not an entirely new model, but I had a strong reason to make a refurbishment on an older character build. I built Kid Icarus/Super Smash Bros. character Palutena for my LUG's contest a year ago, but the long, green hair ended up being a bit lacklustre. I didn't have flowing and elegant yet light pieces in Green to make the locks. The structure of usual plates, tiles and curved slopes had to be quite sparse to be light enough, as it was held up by the actual neck joint of the character.

Luckily, the leaf pieces - Hinge Plate 3 x 12 with Angled Side Extensions and Tapered Ends (6346399 | 57906 / 53031) became available in Daffodils, offering a good way to make the hair more impressive. I angled the parts in a fan-like shape to make it flow naturally. There aren't many green hinge parts available, so the click hinges in the ends were out of question; the Sand Green connectors used in the set wouldn't have worked. I used mostly swivel hinge plates, but one leaf is connected with a mixel ball joint - the Light Bluish Grey part well hidden amidst all the green.

Greta Ericales

I envisioned this character right away when I knew I was going to do a Parts Festival with the Dried Flower Centrepiece. Dark Red and Orange made a festive, regal colour combination that fitted well on a uniform with some frills, pleated skirt and long coattails, with the same pieces I used in Green to make Palutena's hair above. Using Orange epaulettes as buttons or toggles was obvious, only it took a while to connect them satisfyingly. Aesthetically, gold-topped minifig microphones would have made the best connection, but they were too long; I settled with Pearl Gold round plates with a bar. 

Orange is a nice colour, but feels still rather limited in the inventory. I used some flippers not from the Botanical sets to continue the layered fabrics of the coat. They're again overlapped with some elegantly curving tiles and then some more paddle petals, forming a sort of large epaulettes to the character. I kept the arms and the legs simple, as there was already a lot going on on the coat.

To be honest, my most common idea on using new pieces is hair. Here, it was the pretty Dark Orange pumpkins that ended up growing out of the head, forming a couple buns! Using balloon panels as a hair is nothing new, but it always looks good with those naturally flowing shapes; also two long pigtails matched the pumpkin buns rather nicely. There is again some brighter Orange in the hair ornaments that recycle the ingenious little flowers from the set. I just changed the centres into red jewels to make them more ornament-like.

Commander Strax 

This is actually the final model I built for this Parts Festival. I had already used most of the pieces I found interesting - but I hadn't touched the Nougat parts that make up the beautiful rose: four Large Figure Armor, Round, Smooth with Bar Handle - Free Ends (6431730 | 1686) and four Vehicle, Mudguard 3 x 3 x 1 with Arch Round (6330588 | 49097). Now, Nougat is one of the more limited colours, which makes using it cumbersome. My first idea was to simply have a suit of armour with some Nougat in it. But those parts were designed to be the pauldrons of LEGO Super Heroes buildable figures in the first place, and the use felt too obvious. 

I desired more. I tried to form a torso with the overlapping on the sides, but it didn't work out at all. It turned into a head; a head of a fat bald man, with big cheeks and low brow and small nose. My first idea was to build a politician, a sort of stereotypical old male politician, but I have been watching some Doctor Who lately, and I ended up jutting the caput into a nice Dark Blue macaroni brick roll, where it fitted perfectly. 

The rest of the MOC was built downwards from there, using a great portion of my Sand Blue. It doesn't really use any other major parts from the Festival sets, but I'm rather amused how the pretty and poetic flower turned into a potato head from outer space. For those of you wondering, the head dome armour is connected by jutting a clip of a droid arm between the support prongs leading into the bar connection of the nose. It fits snugly.

This is my second-ever Doctor Who MOC, and amusingly the previous one, my take on the Tardis interior, was built for my previous Parts Festival in 2019.

Neito Niemen Nenässä

Pardon the Finnish name - it can't be satisfyingly translated but it's something like Maiden at the Cape-Nose. I had used the rich Dark Red and Orange hues in Greta Ericales already, and was left with Bright Light Yellow flowers, Olive Green stem modules and spruces, little White bar-connecting blossoms, Tan short flower stems and Dark Tan crowns. These muted but light and natural colours reminded me of the palette of symbolist painters of the so-called Golden Age of Finnish art at the turn of the 20th century which guided the themes of the build. I've recently been drawing inspiration from painting to my MOCs and this continued that experimentation. The starting point was again the hair, with its curls made with Bright Light Yellow flowers and the White blossoms tied into it. Tan short flower stems and their White clip connectors disappear nicely into the mass of the hair; I'm very happy with the outcome. It feels like summer.

Olive Green Plant Stem / Stalk / Vine with Stud and Bar Attachments (6426470 | 1566) is an exciting, well-designed piece with plenty of connections; I'm particularly happy with the curved 3.18 mm bar. It's easy to use as something else than a plant; one of the early ideas was to form Yoda's face with them. Here they ended up forming the ornamental pattern of the otherwise simple dress. Unfortunately the Dried Flowers Centerpiece set has 15 of this part and an even 16 would have been so much more useful for patterns. The geometrical designs slightly reminds me of unspecific folk costume motifs, whereas the long evening dress is obviously far from folk costumes and probably not very convenient at the Cape-Nose. It's the symbolism… of something.

There were still plenty of parts to go, and this model was not going to be merely the character. Dried Flower Centerpiece had 4 Olive Green Plant Stem with 3 Leaves on Bar with Top and Bottom Pin Holes (6285465 | 37695) but I had plenty more in my collection, so they formed the vegetation for the dress to rise up from. I didn't want to use any Green, Dark Green or Bright Green to keep the colours constant. The sedges, probably cattails, consist of the crown pieces, topped with Medium Nougat rocks. I was unsure with them, as they turned quite big, and I changed their locations while photographing for the best arrangement. However, the curved rigid hoses as their stalks really helped to set the mood of a windy cape-point.

The cape with the figure was going to have a close crop on the left side, and I extended the model by showing another rocky point far at the lake and the suggested opposite shore looming on the horizon. I used forced perspective to make them in smaller scale; this made it possible to use 4 Olive Green Plant, Tree Pine Small 2 x 2 x 4 4 (6426464 | 2435) unique to the Dried Flowers Centerpiece. They're cute and nostalgic parts, but hard to use - especially for a character builder! I also threw in a couple of pines that use the Dark Orange antennae from the set as their trunks. The final arrangement has a lot of empty sky in the middle - perfect for a poem, or a menu, or an invitation. I might even find a use for it.

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READ MORE: What are the new LEGO® parts for May 2023 and which sets contain the most?

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  1. That Commander Straw figure's face is fantastic - what an inspired part use for the nose. All figures beautifully realised with the plant elements. Well done!

  2. Lovely MOCs as always from Eero!