Monthly Archives: December 2008

Mastery of the Brick

The most wonderful thing about Lego as a construction medium is the incredible flexibility and adaptability. Nowhere are these two attributes better showcased than in the work of some truly talented builders. Since re-aquainting myself with Lego after a period of many years, I have been marveling at the ability of some people to create amazing, sometimes complex, sometimes simple things out of a pile of bricks.

Because of the small scale of models used in Mechaton, simplicity if often better than complexity. Certainly, there is a contrast between the mechs that Simon and I create. Where Simon uses a few simple pieces to create attractive and effective units, mine have been tending more towards the complex. This isn’t always a good thing.

It’s only when you look at some truly great pieces of construction that you realise that the ideas behind what you thought was insanely complex can actually be very simple. It’s the visualisation process, taking an idea in the head and putting the bricks together in the right way, that makes all the difference. Indeed, this is something I struggle with, hence taking inspiration from those with far greater talents than I.

Squieu is an obvious contender in this regard. He has a dense style, using many small bricks to create an image of mechanical complexity. yet much of this appearance of complexity is achieved through artful use of pieces layered on to a relatively simple frame. The conception of the frame is key, as is the ability to create those layers. Squieu is undoubtedly a master of this, one of many Japanese Lego builders of design and put together remarkable mecha on very small scales. Perhaps most useful for Mechaton are his Takafashii and Nantoka designs.

Soren Roberts creates some stunning pieces, spacecraft, vignettes and mecha. Of particular note for Mechaton inspiration are his three ‘mecha teams’ (Team 1, Team 2 and Team 3). While less ‘dense’ than the Squieu mecha, they are nonetheless wonderful designs, especially in terms of colour and theme.

One thing that I am certainly concentrating on at the moment is seeing how individuals like Squieu and Soren create their designs in order to better understand how to come up with my own. My latest effort is to try and build a Takafashii-framed mecha. More to come on that once it’s been photographed.

Cheers

Malcolm

Post Entitled ‘First Post’

Mechatonic is primarily about the game Mechaton, created by Vincent Baker. Primarily, but not wholly. Simon and I will be offering links to Mechaton discussions, thoughts on play and improving the play experience, our own Lego creations for the game and interesting/inspiring Lego builds that we’ve spotted elsewhere.

In future posts, I’d certainly like to talk about developing a story and world alongside games of Mechaton, taking a simple series of games and giving them added colour and meaning through out-of-play elements. We’ll also be testing out the campaign rules that Vincent has developed, so we’ll certainly be reporting back on that and giving our thoughts and ideas on Mechaton campaign play.

To kick things off, you can find some of the mechs we’ve been using for our games here on my Flickr pages. There are a few to be added, plus there are always new designs on the way. One of my personal favourites so far has been this guy:

The Commander

The Commander

Anyway, that’s all for now.

Cheers

Malcolm