Kategoriarkiv: International

Lego MOC 1:1 Avdank Ultimate Collector Series 2: Niereth

It has been two years since I finished my 1:1 sculpture of my character Shaana. Since then I’ve moved, and having set up a brand new Lego building area I wanted to make something big again. And the choice was fairly obvious. Niereth is a much newer design of mine, having been created in 2018, but she quickly became a favourite.

After having already learned roughly how to make a sculpture of this size, the build took shape quickly. I made a 1:1 sketch to figure out how large she would need to be to scale with Shaana, who is 181 cm tall while Niereth is 175 cm. This time around I had the super useful Technic frames and liftarms with holes on all sides, which made the internal skeleton much easier to construct. So I very quickly had the general concept up and running, and could get started on the face. This time the head is separate and sits securely on the neck but can be removed. With all the frames it was much simpler to mount the outer layers, so I can remove most of them very easily which turned out to be helpful. ... Läs hela texten

Review of Storm Collectibles Golden Axe Tyris Flare

Golden Axe, in its Amiga version, was probably one of the first games where I got to play as a distinctly female character. Sure, there was Metroid, but there really is no comparison between the NES game and the huge, detailed Frazetta-esque sprites of the arcade game and its 16 bit ports. I probably played as Gilius at first, but soon discovered that Tyris was devastating with her screen-filling dragon magic. That she was running around in a tiny white bikini wasn’t a factor just yet.

So even though I’ve rarely played any of the Golden Axe games in a good thirty years, Tyris Flare is rather special as a game character, and I jumped on the preorder of this brand new figure from Storm Collectibles. The company makes a ton of game figures, but I haven’t had the opportunity to get any until now. She did end up being delayed for month after month, not to mention that she came packed with a blue dragon which bumped up the price even more, plus of course shipping and import fees. So while I’m not absolutely certain whether she was worth the cost and wait, let’s take a look. ... Läs hela texten

Sarah Àlainn and friends: Shionogi Music Fair – La Diva TV Live

Before One was announced, Sarah Àlainn performed in a live show with three other artists, which was released on CD with the somewhat cumbersome title Shionogi Music Fair – La Diva TV Live. Sarah was joined by Ryoko Moriyama, Seiko Niizuma and Ayaka Hirahara, neither of whom I had encountered before. Moriyama is a folk singer who has released some classics in her long career. Niizuma is mostly a musical artist, having performed in Miss Saigon and Les Miserables. Hirahara is a pop singer who performed the ending theme of Okami and has recorded a version of ”Inochi no Namae” from Spirited Away. ... Läs hela texten

Lego Boutique Hotel (10297)

It has already been five years since Lego released its Assembly Square, the ten-year anniversary set of the modular line, and consequently the Boutique Hotel is the 15th anniversary celebration. It’s been a weird run, not even counting the events of the last two years. After experimenting with 50’s Americana in two sets, they returned to a fairly timeless early 20th century style, but both the Book Shop and Police Station were still non-traditional, with the former being more of side street building instead of something fitting on the main street, and the latter quite lacking in personality. ... Läs hela texten

Why Earthen Peak makes sense (sort of) in Dark Souls 2

One of the more common criticisms of Dark Souls 2 is that the world isn’t as tightly designed as in Dark Souls, which is partly by design and partly because of lack of time. It’s well known at this point that Dark Souls 2 was rushed and had a ton of content reworked very late in the process. The Gutter was supposed to be an entire city of broken buildings stacked together, and connect to a sewer system leading into Drangleic Castle, for example.

So when you get to Earthen Peak, you climb the tower and finally reach Mytha, and if you’ve had enough foresight to burn the windmill, which stops the mechanisms that pump poison up the tower, you will beat her rather easily. Then you progress a bit further, take an elevator up … and enter a castle sunken into lava. ... Läs hela texten

Turrican Flashback

After famously crashing and burning with Lair on Playstation 3 and having a bunch of promising games cancelled, Factor 5 is finally back, or at least sort of. They’re releasing a set of ports of their classic Turrican games, but in a complicated way. Two physical limited editions are collecting all five main games (Turrican, Turrican 2, Turrican 3/Mega Turrican, Super Turrican and Super Turrican 2) plus variations, but the downloadable Turrican Flashback collection only features the first four. Even though I’m a big fan, I was a bit annoyed by this setup, but eventually bought it to show my support if nothing else. While I dislike the ”release old game to see if there’s any interest” thing, I do want a new Turrican. But hey, why not do a Kickstarter like everyone else? ... Läs hela texten

The three masterpieces of Christopher Tin

Christopher Tin albums

As part of the Kickstarter campaign for To Shiver The Sky, Christopher Tin made a set of all three albums available. And since I only had the first two downloaded and because they are some of my favourite albums ever, I obviously jumped at the chance to get a signed set. And it is finally here.

I’ve written about To Shiver The Sky and the first two previously (in Swedish) and there isn’t much to add. All three contain some amazing music by a great composer, and while I still prefer the more varied tone of Calling All Dawns and The Drop That Contained The Sea, the last album is constantly growing on me and is even more refined technically.

It’s worth listening through the entire albums, and many of the tracks form a complete movement so that it’s hard to separate them. But here, in order of appearance, are my six favourite parts. Because it would be too hard to pick just one from one of them.

* I’ve listened to so many versions of ”Baba Yetu” over the years that it’s hard to pick a favourite, but that’s also the appeal. It doesn’t matter if it’s the original version from Civilization IV, or the album version performed by the Soweto Gospel Choir, or versions by Alex Boyé or Peter Hollens, or Angel City Chorale’s full concert performance, or the Stellenbosch University Choir, or the performance Tin conducted himself at Llangollen. It’s always filled with joy and constantly reinvents itself.

* The final four tracks of Calling All Dawns form an amazing suite across four languages and cultures. This is Tin at his most unique and pleasant, inviting people to explore new horizons. The most glorious part is ”Hamsafar”, sung beautifully in Farsi, but all of it is great. The interleaving of the very masculine, traditional Maori dances and the bright, uplifting choir parts of ”Kia Hora Te Marino” makes for a very rewarding combination.

* The Drop That Contains The Sea has a similar structure as the previous album but saves its singular masterpiece ”Iza Ngomso” for a bit. It’s a constant barrage of beautiful voices and some delightful flourishes in the middle bridge, like the little flute that sends chills down my spine.

* ”Waloyo Yamoni” finishes off the album in style, with a single 12 minute track that introduces several different themes before combining them all in a powerful conclusion. It’s like a short story in itself, and once the initial theme returns at the 9 minute mark it’s all fantastic from there.

* The opening 18 seconds of To Shiver The Sky are perfect: promising greatness and delivering over the next couple of minutes. Not only is ”Sogno di Volare” possibly the single strongest theme of Tin’s creations and the separate opening track magnificent, it’s used to great effect to cap off ”The Fall” and the poignant end of ”Oh, the Humanity”. The sky is shivering and so am I.

* The brief but powerful ”The Power of the Spirit” flows seamlessly into the epic ”We Choose to go to the Moon” at the end of To Shiver The Sky, and after the bleak, war themed section that reflected the early 20th century, these tracks create a hopeful story for the future. Despite the fact that the text of both songs originated during the Cold War, it’s worth remembering and celebrating that there is indeed a crew of American and Russian fulfilling Kennedy’s words in the International Space Station at this very moment. The final two minutes crescendo into a fittingly epic end for this trilogy of albums … for now.

You may recognize that these fantastic parts form large sections of these three albums. Yes. That’s my point.

How to catch all the re-released Neo-Geo classics

(updated 20-10-01)
Despite once being the most expensive, exclusive and elusive console, Neo-Geo is now actually the most ever-present classic format available to any modern gamer. As of September 30th 2020, 109 of the 148 official Neo-Geo titles listed on neo-geo.com have been re-released on at least one modern format. Now, I’m not generally counting any re-releases for Playstation 2, Playstation 3, Xbox 360 or Wii, because at this point they are probably as hard to find as an original MVS title (if possibly cheaper).

While we’re about to get new consoles, both are backwards compatible so the library should theoretically port over to Playstation 5 and Xbox Series S/X.

With that in mind, the best place to get the biggest Neo-Geo library is the Switch or Xbox. Both have access to all 104 currently available ACA Neogeo titles, but only the Switch (and PS4) has the remastered version of Windjammers. Consider this the master list of available games (bolded are the major classics):

Switch and Xbox ACA Neogeo titles
2020 Super Baseball
3 Count Bout
Aero Fighters 2
Aero Fighters 3
Aggressors of Dark Kombat
Alpha Mission II
Art of Fighting
Art of Fighting 2
Art of Fighting 3
Baseball Stars Professional
Baseball Stars 2
Big Tournament Golf/Neo Turf Masters
Blazing Star
Blue’s Journey
Burning Fight
Crossed Swords
Fatal Fury
Fatal Fury 2
Fatal Fury 3
Fatal Fury Special
Football Frenzy
Galaxy Fight
Garou: Mark of the Wolves
Ghost Pilots
Karnov’s Revenge
King of the Monsters
King of the Monsters 2
Kizuna Encounter
Last Resort
League Bowling
Magical Drop II
Magical Drop III
Magician Lord
Metal Slug
Metal Slug 2
Metal Slug 3
Metal Slug 4
Metal Slug 5
Metal Slug X

Money Puzzle Exchanger
Mutation Nation
Ninja Combat
Ninja Commando
Ninja Master’s
Over Top
Pleasure Goal
Power Spikes II
Prehistoric Isle 2
Puzzle Bobble
Puzzle Bobble 2
Real Bout Fatal Fury
Real Bout Fatal Fury 2
Real Bout Fatal Fury Special

Riding Hero
Robo Army
Samurai Shodown
Samurai Shodown II
Samurai Shodown III
Samurai Shodown IV

Samurai Shodown V
Samurai Shodown V Special
Savage Reign
Sengoku 2
Sengoku 3
Shock Troopers

Shock Troopers 2nd Squad
Soccer Brawl
Spin Master
Stakes Winner
Stakes Winner 2
Street Hoop
Strikers 1945 Plus
Super Sidekicks
The King of Fighters ’94
The King of Fighters ’95

The King of Fighters ’96
The King of Fighters ’97
The King of Fighters ’98
The King of Fighters ’99 ... Läs hela texten

Lego MOC 1:1 Avdank Ultimate Collector Series : Shaana

Shaana main

It’s been almost exactly 25 years since I first came up with the character of Shaana, so it’s fitting that I’ve now completed the biggest Lego build of her by far. She was also the first custom Lego I made after my dark ages in 2012, when I looked up parts on Bricklink to build a minifigure of her. But this is bigger – way bigger. In fact, I can’t reasonably make her much bigger since this is a 1:1 scale bust.

The seed part was the 2×4 metallic silver tile that was made available in a Lugbulk deal almost two years ago now after having been introduced through the Aston Martin. I’ve always liked the metallic silver Lego colour, and it made me think: now what could I make if I had vast amounts of that part? Since Shaana is dressed in shining armor, it didn’t take long for an idea to take form. I didn’t have any specific design in mind, but I was inspired by the recent UCS figures of Yoda and BB-8, where the figure is built in sections on top of a Technic framework. While I was waiting for delivery of the parts, I started planning.

Since I wanted to make her to scale, the process began with drawing a 1:1 sketch of her to get the proportions right. I never really planned to make a full body build (because that would be crazy, right?), but I needed the full sketch to get it right. I then sketch built the face and stuck it onto some shaky Technic beams that went down to a boxy shape where I started to form her upper torso, basically a ribcage. This required some experimentation, and all the angles make for a quite complex structure, especially the two different slopes down her chest. Basically, the upper section hangs down from the shoulders while the lower one extends up.

It soon became apparent that I needed more silver parts to shape her. The 2×4 tiles would serve as the larger areas, but around her chest I needed something more … curved. Luckily such a part exists, the curved slope 6×2 (part #44126). However, it was only produced once, in 2005. There were three sellers with a decent amount of the part, but only one had a somewhat realistic price. So I ended up buying basically a third of Bricklink’s supply of the part. I also got several other useful parts, like the Windscreen 5×2 (only in an 2009 Agents set) and some 6×2 wedges (also only in the 2005 set). Hey, isn’t it great how Lego once produced one-off parts for all kinds of random sets and nearly bankrupted themselves?

Once I had the parts it was mostly a case of building everything in sections and reinforcing the structure as I went along. When I started adding features to the head, it soon became apparent that I needed to make the neck stronger. Ultimately it’s a sequence of 6×4 Technic bricks that go over a 2×4 structure of Technic beams, covered with curved slopes. It rests on parts of the shoulders, but to make this strong enough I basically needed an actual skeleton, so there’s collar bones in there, and for strength I eventually needed to make a core spine.

The head is a boxy structure built on top of that neck part, and then covered with sections of the hair and the face. Everything lifts off fairly easily so that I can work on the parts separately. The face was the very first part I built, based on the proportions of the sketch, and it changed very little. Getting the eyes right was the most important, and from there it was just a case of combining slopes to shape the jaw. For a long time there was just a flat surface, but once I had the head structure in place I built backwards. Ultimately, the face and cheeks are one piece that clip around the lower parts of the plates that hold the hair on each side. The hair itself required a lot of special orders since I didn’t have much of yellow slopes around, but it was fairly straightforward.

Moving on down, the upper shoulders are covered by her cloak, so it was mostly a case of finding the right black parts. Some roof parts from the Sydney Opera House helped here, making for great sweeping round corners in this scale. The neck guard is made from various parts in metallic silver, including the macaroni parts that only came with the Sopwith Camel plane. She needs to have a golden pin for her cloak, and luckily the recent Apollo 11 Lunar Lander introduced the 4×4 dish in metallic gold, and the 3×3 dish has been around some time. The front part of the cape used to sit on the armor section, but it turned out that the tolerances worked much better when it was simply hinged down 45 degrees from the shoulders.

The shoulder parts are a constant issue with her design and I haven’t ever quite nailed them down. I think she replaces them every so often, since they are reinforced leather and slightly bendable, so they’ll look different over time. For these, I considered making just a plate build on top of some structure, but large plates in orange are super rare. But there’s a useful curved Technic panel, originally from the Porsche 911. So basically she’s wearing a Porsche hood on her shoulders. The sides are other Technic panels, connected by a small section of plates and tiles.

Around this time I needed to decide what to do with the arms. I had lengthened the torso by twelve studs, but it still wasn’t quite long enough, and I didn’t want to go overboard. I had built a right hand for her, complete with posable fingers, and I started working on a lower arm but I couldn’t find a way to make it fit well within the proportions and the pose. So I finally dedided to just make this a bust, and the holes in the armor are covered up by plates.

Before I could finish up the armor, which was still mostly the front, I needed to make the cloak. It a huge sheet of plates, with some modifications around the shoulder pads, and mostly covered in roof tile slopes. It connects to the upper shoulders and along the spine.

After that, I knew how far I needed to extend the armor, and this was mostly done with the same techniques, fitting tiles onto plates and then attaching them to the Technic skeleton. After having finished the shoulder pads, I also got started on the dreaded armpit area. Having three planes of plates along her front is one thing, filling in the sides of that is another completely. The lower curve was easy as it conforms to the regular square structure. The middle section was harder, but I managed to fill it with small 1×2 curved slopes, originally from the Mini Cooper. This section slots under the first one. Finally, I cheated a tiny bit with the last triangular corner, which is simply built with grey bricks down from the tiles to fit snugly behind the shoulder pad.

As I needed some final parts to finish this up, I realized that there’s no simple way to move this around. The skeleton is stable enough, but she’s quite top-heavy with a partly solid head, and the armor parts don’t hold up too well to pressure. The best way to carry her was simply grabbing the spine, but that wouldn’t work once she was complete. I had left some spare Technic connectors in case I wanted to continue building more of her body, and I came up with a way to hook some Technic beams into these, attached to two large sections of a display base. These clamp together similarly to the Sydney Opera House base, and it’s rock solid. From there it was just a case of finishing it up and providing room for my previous minifig versions.

And then I thought that I was done, until I realized that it needed a little something extra. On my pictures of her, Shaana has her sword strapped on her back. So I needed to build that. The blade isn’t actually there, but the scabbard and hilt are based on my own sword and modelled to scale. And instead of using a line of hinges to form the strap, the obvious choice was to go for DOTS bracelets. It’s held on with Technic pins and the strap holds the sword in place. And while waiting for those parts to arrive, I had a few more additions to make. I added some more bulk to the hair and refined the face.

The final build stands 70 cm tall including the base, 54 cm wide across the shoulder pads and 22 cm deep. I ended up using around 120 of the 2×4 silver tiles and 86 of the 6×2 silver slopes. There’s hundreds of Technic beams inside her and I actually managed to run out of Technic pins, which I thought would never happen. She is stable enough that I don’t need to worry about display, but for transport I will need to remove the head since it adds a lot of stress on the neck connection. Structurally, almost everything comes off easily in sections if I need to change anything.

But this is it. I’m very happy with how this turned out. Now I just needs to find her the perfect display space she deserves.

Best of Lego 2018 and 2019


Okay, so it’s an inevitable result of several years of amazing Lego releases: I simply do not have room for them anymore. So even though I’m still actively buying, I’m also trying to sell a lot and keep some kind of balance. This makes it harder for new sets to really grab me, and only the really unmissable ones make the cut. That’s why I didn’t make a list of the best Lego sets of 2018 and why I don’t really have enough for a good 2019 list either. But having caught up on some stuff, let’s see what sets and figures were the best of both years.


Queasy Unikitty was the best release of the collectible Unikitty figures and allowed me to sell off my Seacow with the adorable Queasy Kitty included, since this was basically the same figure.

Nya Kabuki was caught up in TRU’s destruction and what should have been an easy set to find (since it was overshadowed by Marvel, Potter and Jurassic Park sets) became really rare. This was an awesome figure though and well worth tracking down.

Dragon Suit Guy was the greatest among many great costumed figures and I’ve built an entire squad of this guy.

Lobo is, in fact, the best minifigure of 2018. Or, he would be if Lego’s stupid printing quality issues hadn’t gotten in the way. Still a really cool figure and crazy that we got such an adult oriented character anywhere near Lego.

Hagrid rounds out the year with a custom body that really captures the character while staying within the system as much as possible. Although there’s several great Potterverse figures like Luna, Hermione, Remus and Mad-Eye, Hagrid takes the win here.

Monkey King is another nod to the Chinese community and a stunning figure on his own. I love the colours and all the detail, and I look forward to getting the plain but useful shoulderpads in other colours.

Sweet Mayhem is probably the coolest Lego figure in years, with her space outfit and pearlescent hair. The only major problem with her is having to decide to show that amazing helmet or the awesome hair.

Lenny was the standout of the already awesome nostalgia set that is Benny’s Space Squad. Getting a classic space guy in pink was a great treat and so was not having it be the token female one.

Hercules was the best of a big range of great Disney figures in this year’s collectible line. Jasmine, Hades, Elsa and Scrooge and the triplets also deserve mention, but Hercules took the crown with a great selection of colours and accessories.

Tracer led the line for Overwatch and the poster girl of the game got a great figure. Unlike Mercy she wasn’t ruined by poor printing, and she’s already a pop culture classic.

As for sets, 2018 was marred by a strange mix of themes. Elves was winding down with a subseries infected way too much by teal, Nexo Knights did the same but in black and green, and there was a specific Unikitty series as well as a short-lived Power Puff Girls line. The Brickheadz line focused on Justice League and The Last Jedi characters and is somehow still surviving. Friends went racing, City went arctic (again) and Ninjago went spinning in two separate directions (literally). 2019 saw the excellent The Lego Movie 2 release with a couple of amazing sets and many dull ones as the movie focused on three very distinct themes: post-apocalypse, gaudy blue-green space and colourful pink stuff. Hidden Side was the new action theme, replacing Nexo Knights and Elves. City went into space with a neat realistic exploration line and Ninjago went back to the classics.


5) Vestas Wind Turbine
I hesitated to get this at the original price but caught it at a sale, and it’s a pretty cool build. While the techniques are fairly plain, the sheer size of this makes it look great and it will be a fantastic backdrop for when I eventually build a full Lego city.

4) Lego 40 Years LEGO Minifigure
I grabbed this employee exclusive for a single reason: the Blacktron reissue hidden within one of the presents. But as it turned out, the build was a great oversized replica of Santa and his sled complete with reindeer and it will become a Christmas ornament from now on.

3) Downtown Diner
The yearly modular wasn’t the best this year, but the Diner still deserves a lot of praise for some ridiculously inventive building signed Mike Psiaki. The way the side windows are attached still blows my mind.

2) Ninjago City Docks
Docks was a strange addition to the great Ninjago City itself, with even more crazyness spread over a wider surface. Eventually I will have to take down both these marvellous sets since they simply don’t fit with anything else, but for now, it’s pretty magnificent.

1) Roller Coaster
I waited a bit for this set too, but couldn’t resist a good offer. While the build is remarkably repetitive, the finished set is as great as it is huge. When motorized, it works splendidly, even though I’ve noticed it slowly deteriorating. Eventually, this will be the centerpiece of my fairground area.

5) Ultrakatty & Warrior Lucy!
While the post-apocalyptic The Lego Movie 2 sets mostly failed to excite me, the concept of Unikitty becoming a Road Warrior was too great to ignore. A huge figure taking lessons from the Elves dragons, with a unique five-wide piece for her face, Ultrakatty is worth picking up before these sets disappear forever.

4) Corner Garage
The obligatory modular only placed on this list because I missed several others (see below). It was fine and I enjoyed having a big building in dark orange again, but there were only a few really great designs in this.

3) Slave I
While most of the Star Wars anniversary sets were fairly dull, this was an amazing update to the Slave I design and almost as great as the UCS version.

2) NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander
We continue the space theme with an excellent set made to celebrate the anniversary of the moon landing. This set looks fantastic on display and will stay that way for a long time.

1) Benny’s Space Squad

But really, put three brand new classic space figures in a cheap set and watch me buy a ton of them. I lost count somewhere around the eighth of these and I will continue to grab them on sale as I find them.

And so that I don’t forget them entirely, here’s the top five sets I would have gotten if space had permitted:

5) Gingerbread House – I already have a Christmas display with the toy shop and various others so it had to wait.

4) Central Perk – I wanted it mostly for the parts and for selling off the figures so it was not a huge priority.

3) Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner – it being region exclusive made it a little easier to skip it, but I really wanted this pretty little set. I did get a bunch of printed food parts to use later though.

2) Ford Mustang – Since I don’t really collect cars, I could skip this, but I may have to pick it up later since by all accounts it’s a great one.

1) Tree House – I didn’t look forward to this, but the finished set looks great. Once I find a deal, it will be mine.