Friday, July 8, 2016

[Lego] Black light - #71316 Umarak the Destroyer

It was the 4th of March, 2016. My back-then-four-months-younger-self mashed the refresh button on Netflix to finally watch the first episodes of the Bionicle: Journey to One series with great excitement.

"You have done well."
"They are weak, and I am the Hunter."
"You were. Now you are my servant."
"I serve no one."
"As strong as you think you are, I am stronger. There are events that must transpire,
so that I may be freed. You are Hunter no more. You are my minion. You are Destroyer."
*Episode ends*
In quite some history of Bionicle chapters, one thing that was always present in the first generation is that the main villain Makuta Teridax is never as interesting as the supportive villainous characters that aid or serve him.
Whenever it's Roodaka who pulled the strings in the Web of Shadows chapter, convincing Toa Vakama to turn his back against his own group, betrayed and left Sidorak to be crushed into pieces by Keetongu, and injured herself nearly to death to free Makuta from a Toa Seal, or a character like Krika who despite being a creature of evil and allied with other villains, was envious of the good in the world and just simply accepted his fate that he was not meant to be like them and his place in the world was with the losing team. The villainous supportive characters in the first generation often had their own depth and where individuals that often where unique and diverse.
After it was confirmed that generation 2 would undergo a more simple story, most people were worried Bionicle would lose that storytelling the first generation did so well. While we didn't have much to go with in 2015, we've gotten more of that storytelling we love in 2016. And heck, even if this year's chapter isn't finished yet, Umarak is becoming one of my favorite Bionicle villains because he's yet another one of those with depth.
Umarak the Destroyer (left) next to his previous incarnation, Umarak the Hunter (right).
Umarak the Destroyer is a fantastic Bionicle model. Despite it not having a lot of play features, and is like most larger Bionicle/Hero Factory characters limited to just only articulation, it has a striking and unique design, being one of the few Bionicle characters from both generations to be mainly designed out of that good ol' Transparent Neon Green. Which, to be honest, was a surprise.
If you put Umarak the Destroyer next to Umarak the Hunter, you can clearly see the influence of his previous incarnation in his new design. A lot key elements of his Hunter looks have been transfered well to this mutation,
most notably his ankle, chest and shoulder designs.
He might not be like Mata Nui "big", but he is quite a large figure, especially for the price range and piece count. He is significantly larger than any of the 2016 Toa (including Ekimu) and his previous form too. His bulk is probably most notable in the upper part of his body. What a beefcake.
Well - like any product, Umarak the Destroyer isn't flawless either... even if he uses a lot of friction reinforcements, some joints still remain hard to keep in a specific poses because of the weight. The set is very durable, but you can imagine that given the limit to the amount of pieces one LEGO® Product Designer is allowed to use and the strict rules they have to follow, what you get is quite good.
In example of the weight issue, the pose you see above is one that we see in various promotional images. The arms are quite heavy because of its size, and thus even having those friction reinforcements in the shoulders seems to occasionally be not enough...
Flaws aside, just look at him. What a show off. Did you know that some of the generation 2 sets are already in the top 50 of non-System-based Bionicle sets with the most pieces? While "50" might not sound a lot, keep in mind that as of the time of this post, Bricklink has registered 432 (!) Bionicle sets in its database.

If you already have Umarak the Hunter and are a fan of the character or his design, I would recommend getting Destroyer as well. While I would admit that the Hunter is a better set as a toy and if you had to choose between you should get the Hunter, but Destroyer is one heck of a second dish if you wanted to have more.

While Journey to One isn't finished yet and thankfully more future Bionicle chapters have been confirmed, I'm looking forward to the season finale and seeing this monstrosity in action.

I'm sure that my within-three-weeks-future-self will mash that refresh button once again with great excitement when those episodes air soon, on July 29th.

That's it for now - I'll see you guys again next post!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

[Lego] Black light - #76054 Batman: Scarecrow Harvest of Fear

Return to the UV Black light archive.

Hi guys! Back with another quick "Black light" blogpost. Today's set is #76054 Batman: Scarecrow Harvest of Fear.

The Scarecrow is a character that we've seen in three different LEGO® minifigures to date. He has been in four different sets; two sets where he plays the role of an inmate of both the original and redesigned Arkham Asylum.

In his first appearance in a LEGO® set, he flew a biplane to drop fear gas canisters in what appears to be Gotham City. Something that I do like is that The LEGO® Company often designs fictional vehicles for characters that usually do not have these in their source material. And Scarecrow is one of those villians to drive around in things that feels appropiate to the character.

Regardless if he has a certificate to fly around in a biplane is another story, but I do love the new idea of him driving around in a harvester. To be honest, he's a criminal, so he doesn't really need to have a pilot's certificate now does he?

Having another Scarecrow vehicle is also a good excuse to use a lot of trans-neon-green, and I like the thought of using that Alpha Team sawblade as a gear to rotate the cutter on the front. However, if I have to be honest, it does lack in execution, especially if you want to drive backwards.

Interestingly enough, this set has one particular coincidence with the first Scarecrow set: the Batcopter. This isn't the second time we've seen a Batcopter either. Every Batman vehicle from Batman I has officially been redesigned at least once for Batman II. The Batcopter was first seen against Scarecrow, a team-up with Nightwing against Man-Bat, in the Classic TV Series Batcave and yet against Scarecrow once again. I do think that the esthetics and build of this Batcopter is the best out of the four - however, as a toy, it has the least play features.

Vehicles aside, one thing that most readers might notice from the picture is the glowing legs of Killer Moth. While the wings are made out of transparent neon orange and thus are intended to glow, the legs are made out of a solid colour of plastic and yet still seems to glow. This is probably because of the manufacturing of these pieces outside of Billund - some pieces for minifigures and certain creatures like dinosaurs require a complex printing which is done elsewhere. While those pieces are made of solid plastic, taking my black light to my minifigure display shows something interesting.

If you look closely to the image on the right, certain pieces are not transparent and glows on a similar fashion to Killer Moth's legs. I won't join the discussion about whenever that is a "good thing" or not, because we all know that I'm biased towards the company due to my Legocentric life - but I genuinely don't care about it and it doesn't really bother me too much.

As long as the figures have some excellent design, crisp prints and quality behind it like they have been for decades, I'll remain a happy potato. I won't complain to have some obscure characters finally memorized in this plastic medium. You do realize how expensive these things are to manufacture and to develop, right?

That's it for today! I'm not sure when I'll be going to cover Umarak The Destroyer, but I know one thing - it is on my list to write about it. I'll see you guys again next post!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

[Lego] Black light - #8935 Nocturn (Take 2)

Return to the UV Black light archive.

Hi guys! After playing with different features of my camera I use for my blog, I found a way to capture images in locations where light is less apparent. Since I kind of thought the original Nocturn blogpost didn't give the justice it deserves, I decided to give it another try.

What wasn't as clear in the previous blogpost is how green/turquoise the glow in the dark pieces become when they are charged up. An interesting thing about the previous blogpost is that Nocturn became blue at first after I opened a sealed box - the green/turquoise change of hue actually appeared after a certain amount of time (probably because of maturing of the pieces). This is why the GIF and the main image made Nocturn's body glow a bit more blue than green instead.

I love the way how they moulded a blend of glow in the dark together with transparent light blue, the latter which is a colour that isn't affected by black light. You can clearly see that each blended piece has a few spots that does and not glow, and with some clever engineering behind various structural walls and piece thickness it does define an irregular flow, giving it a more lively effect. Especially the latter is something I am very fond of.

With this camera "macro", I'm also able to capture how Nocturn looks without black light and let the glow in the dark part do its job. Having no light to make his eyes present kind of makes Nocturn feel "hollow" and a tad undead.
After all, the blurb for the Barraki line back in 2007 was "Creeps from the deep".

It is worth to mention that the glow in the dark spines on his back do grow brightly if it is exposed to plenty of (sun)light. So if Nocturn is placed on a shelf (permanently) those spines should glow too. It only glows faintly on the picture
because these spines need to be charged thorough; the blend between transparent light blue and glow in the dark for these pieces are low on glow in the dark.

That's it for today - I'll see you guys again next post!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

[YT] 9000 Subs!

Yay! We just hit 9000 subscribers!


Monday, June 6, 2016

[EMS] Kinesis Skill Link Level 2 GET!

Hi guys! A few days ago I've managed to obtain the Level 2 of the Kinesis Skill Link.
This link gives a significant 8% of Minimum Critical Damage, which is a damage-increasing mechanic if you land a Critical Hit (based on a percentage).

Most of you recurring readers might know I've been funding in this Critical Mechanic ever since I got my first Adventure Ring way before the Big Bang update, so I was looking forward a lot to the Kinesis Skill Link and the new Hyper Stat mechanic. While the latter was more "hype" to me because of the whopping 15% Status Resistance boost, I'm more than glad to see that they did add more Critical Mechanic-stats to the new Hyper Stat system as well.

Currently I'm running 182% Minimum Critical Damage and 203% Maximum Critical Damage on my Hero while under the effects of the Enrage skill on a target with Puncture's Bleeding effect; keep in mind that I don't have any points invested in the Minimum Critical Damage Hyper Stat yet (because of the lack of Hyper SP at the moment) and I don't run a Sylph Ring, Thief Card Deck or any Potential with Min/Max Crit damage. When I would have invested a maximum amount of Hyper Stat SP into Minimum Critical Damage, I'll have a total of 192%. There's still some room left to improve, and it's quite plausable for me to get over 200% Minimum Critical Damage in a distant future.

That's it for today - as mentioned in my previous blogpost, I still have some other content left to write about. I just have to see whenever I have time to write about it!

I'll see you guys again next post!