Archive for Legos

The Hobbit: Legos, Movie, and Current Culture

LOTR books

My husband and I have a few books that we reread every now and then, and among these are Tolkein’s The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series. Without going into too much, I will say that I love these books, and find them not only to be a thoroughly enchanting read, but also to have great personal value. When the Peter Jackson movies arrived, I felt generally positive about them, in spite of some screenplay irritations (Why did we need all that Arwen and Aragorn stuff? WHY did we need Frodo and Sam to have a fight?), but by and large, it’s an “adaptation,” not a “transliteration.” The two media are too different for audiences to reasonably expect perfect fidelity. That’s just my feeling. My brother disagrees on this, and his thoughts are worth reading. Anyway, I’m only trying to say that I think I have a pretty open mind about necessary book-to-screenplay adjustments. Necessary ones. They are painful, but I can accept them.

frodo elija wood

But then there was The Hobbit. For this movie, it’s actually a good thing he took such initiative to move beyond the “necessary changes” idea and just hacked away, because The Hobbit wasn’t a very good book and that’s why nobody liked it very much. Right. That’s why no one ever reads it.

hobbit movie poster

Stuff like this makes me scratch my head. How could such a good director let such a big project go so badly? Did screenwriters really think they were improving? Did everyone really think moviegoers wouldn’t mind that they all but discarded the original story? I suspect they thought neither of those things, but knew we would buy tickets anyway. It’s sad, but it happens. It’s the Citizen Kane syndrome: a small-time creator with big dreams of crushing the man makes something big happen, turns heads, becomes a force to be reckoned with, and slowly yields to the compromise that he initially spoke out against. I understand they wished to tie it in with the LOTR movie set, but the effort was really unnecessary, and the resulting final product is disappointing. I won’t detail my specific problems with it, aside from one pertinant change that my husband pointed out. The dwarves in the movie are reclaiming their home, as opposed to the ones in the book who are pursuing stolen gold. Doesn’t that make sense? Why not draw a little attention away from the pitfalls of greed? The entire movie is the child of gold mongering, and I find nothing surprising about the producers wanting to avoid the subject. Maybe they would have been better off doing so- is it better to admit you’re greedy and selfish or try to pretend you’re telling a pleasant little tale of lost orphans who want to go home and risk sounding vapid instead?
What do you think? Did you see the movie? If so, am I overreacting, or do you agree?

Anyhow, however the movie turned out, at least I got some good legos out of it. Hunny bought me Bilbo’s House a few days back as a present, and I share it below, just so that I can close this post on a positive note and also because I like talking about legos:

Bilbos House exterior

bilbos house interior

The design has a great balance of house and hill. It looks as cozy as Bag-End is supposed to be, complete with careful detail to the kitchen, of course. (There is a lot of food with this set.) This little kitchen stove and chimney are pretty cute, no?

interior detail

My favorite detail, though, is this front window.

window complete

I love lego structures that are made up of creatively arranged standard pieces.

window deconstruct 1

window deconstruct 2

window deconstruct 3

Yeah, that’s a cool window. This little bit of carefully organized plastic is altogether more appealing to me than the movie’s heart and soul, I’m sorry to say. If it weren’t for this acquisition, I would have ended my post telling you that I found virtually nothing of value in that movie. So very sad.

Mad Tea Party Lego Set

I made an Alice in Wonderland lego set 😀 I’m kind of into Alice in Wonderland stuff these days (click here to check out the cupcakes I made), and I wanted to do some Alice sets with legos. This is the Mad Tea Party, created using the Lego Digital Designer software which I used previously to make a set for Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor from Harry Potter.

It’s not always easy to make minifigs to go with these sets, because characters are so specific that the generic faces and bodies in LDD don’t usually work, but this time I think they’re okay. I used a mis-matched suitcoat and pants for the Mad Hatter, and of course the March Hare and Mouse were right there. I couldn’t find a brown rabbit, which would have been better since there’s a White Rabbit character in this story, but I think it works. The size is perfect.

For Alice, I used a plain blue top and a yellow wig, but I used a curved brick for her skirt and a pair of round one-dot plates for her feet. It makes her a little shorter and gives the appearance of her being a little girl. I touched her up digitally, since I don’t have the pieces in real life, but that’s what she would look like if I did- short sleeves (maybe I should have made them blue?), an apron and of course the black bow in her hair.

For the table and scenery, I used a theme of contrast-a lot of the elements in the AiW story are very elegant but junky at the same time, such as the big fancy chairs sitting mismatched at a table outside on the grass.

I used some of the tree legos, rather than make trees out of brown bricks and leaves, because I felt they lent a polished, manicured look, and then I set them off with a variety of different leaves and plants in different shapes, colors and sizes on the rest of the scene.

I spent a long time fitting different shaped pieces together to make a teapot, and these are what I came up with. One looks like a caraffe and the other looks like meat grinder… oh well. I tried.

I used different-shaped leaf elements and green plates and bricks to make rosebushes. I felt the different leaves and the colors built on the contrast between ragged and elegant.

Some miscellaneous cookies, pastries and foodie things for the table. Also a pig, cuz he was cool. That’s the Vorpal Sword on the right, if you’re wondering.

Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor

Lego has this really cool program you can download and play with called Digital Designer. It’s free and relatively easy to figure out and use, and I find it rather addictive. I am happy to say that after a lot of work, last night I finished a project I’d been making with that software: Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor!
It is 908 pieces, although I could probably have economized on that a bit. I bet if I tried, I could have whittled it down to 850 or something, but working with virtual legos makes it kind of hard to tell which pieces are superfluous and which are necessary.

I made it to match the size of the other buildings in the Diagon Alley set. Hopefully, I will actually build it one day, although the bricks will cost a fortune. Probably the next project will be the Leaky Cauldron or perhaps Quality Quidditch Supplies.

If you’re so inclined, you can click here to see the lengthy and convoluted (because they are computer-generated) instructions for building it. I had briefly entertained thoughts of creating a shopping list of the different bricks needed to make this, but lost interest and scrapped the idea. Click here to download some sticker templates I made for the two signs.

Thinking mostly about The Prisoner of Azkaban -with Harry living at the inn and doing homework at the ice cream shop- I included a few accessories like books and extra foody looking things that I couldn’t place on the building itself. I also included a street lamp and a potted plant that I never found a place for just because Florean Fortescue seemed like the kind of guy who would like plants. Those are all on the left front side of the model.

The building itself includes a patio outside, a bar and two tables inside along with a few shelves and restaurant-like details. I included a shelf on a hinged back wall for the sole reason that the shop seemed to need a shelf full of dishes and I couldn’t find any other place to put it.

There is nothing specifically talking about how many floors are in the building in any of the books, so I took the liberty to design a second-story flat with the notion that Florean might have lived there. There is a trap door above the bar that folds downward, and a ladder that can rotate up into the flat or open down to the ice cream shop. That took me forever to design, and is a detail I’m pretty proud of.

Here are some screenshots of the two floors seperated so that the details are more visible.

The Batmobile

My husband bought this lego set for me, and here is the Batmobile from it. *Sigh.*

This is the Batman minifig from the set.

One of my students brought this one to class today:

and it was so cool I kept wishing he would try to sneak it out of his backpack during class so I could justifiably confiscate it. The thing is, I figured his mom normally picks him up when I was out of my classroom, so my door would have been locked… so… I could probably have it for a good full day until she came to drop him off tomorrow morning. As it turned out though, he didn’t try to take it out of his backpack. I’m so proud of him, being so obedient like that, darn it.


I made a Lego Bracelet!

There ya go.

I really need to go to bed, but I finished this thing and figured it really deserved a post. Behold, my lego bracelet. What do you think?

Lego Jewelry Anyone?

My childish nerd self ran headfirst into my costume jewelry addict self and invited my eternally-starting-new-projects self over to join the fun. I found this post on the Berry today and immediately knew in my heart that I needed to start a new unfinishable project: making lego jewelry! Ooooooh.

I’m absolutely beside myself about it. I’m giddy. I’ve got something wrong with me.

Hunger Games Trailer in Lego

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Hobbyists are really weird people. I just wish I had thought of to do this first.

I’m planning on taking over the world.

and I’ll have an awesome robot warrior to help me.

This is one of theKRE-O Transformers Bumblebee sets. I got it for Christmas from my mom

Here he is, transformed into a car, hanging out with the Weasley’s Ford Anglia. Hedwig and Norbert have taken it for a drive.

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