Tag Archives: squieu

Choosing Colours

When you’re building with a limited set of bricks, like I am, colour selection often comes second to parts-availability when it comes time to put together your next LEGO combatant.  I’ve only got two Exo-Force arms, and they’re both dark red.  If I want to use the arms, I’m gonna have to work around the colours.  That said, colour selection is something I’m paying more and more attention to as an essential part of the eventual look of a creation.  Choosing good colours for your mech is almost as important as how you actually build the thing, and your choice of colours can do a lot to personalisie, and give personality to your force.  Thinking about this has given me cause to refresh my knowledge of the theory of colour, and how that applies to building with Lego.

Complimentary Colours

Complimentary colours are colours that, unsurprisingly, compliment each other.  They appear more brilliant next to each other, and make each other stand out.  Understanding which colours are complimentary is based on the colour wheel, which looks like this:

Colours which are opposite each other on the colour wheel are complimentary.  They compliment each other because they contrast strongly.  For LEGO builders, the most useful combinations of this are red/green and orange/blue, since these are the colours most available to us.  If you’ve got a bunch of purple bricks around, then they’ll be complimented by yellow, but I don’t think many of us will be in that situation.

That said, you won’t see many lego creations making use of straight-up complimentary colour combinations.  Why is that? It’s because the contrast of two bold colours tends to give things a weird, slightly fake look.  For example, this Takafashii frame pictured to the left:

Squieu is demonstrating the construction of the fram here, so the near-complimentary colours used make the parts stand out well from each other, so you can see how the thing is made.  The effect though is very unnatural.  The frame looks toy-like.  More natural contrast is achieved through the use of dark and light.

 Dark and Light

Use of dark and light shades in construction is almost ubiquitous.  Contrast between dark areas and light points is pleasing to the eye, defines shapes, and highlights important features.  I’ve picked an example more-or-less at random from Brothers Brick.

This little aircraft to the left shows the use of dark and light to emphasise form very well.  The wings and plating are in bright white, while the engines, seat arangement, and air intake are in dark grays.  The bright areas emphasise the overall shape of the aircraft, while the dark colours give the impression of depth and hidden detail.

Light and dark is especially important to mech builders because of the sense of scale it imparts.  The shadows on a large object are much deeper and darker than those on a small object, and by using dark and light techniques, you can give the illusion of greater size.  Anyone who has painted a miniature for a wargame knows the technique of shading dark colours into crevices, and painting light colours on edges to give a more realistic and lifelike look to small models.  The same effect can be achieved with lego constructions through the use of darker colours on the interior of a construction.

This amazing hardsuit by Chewk shows off this technique.  The use of dark gray greeblies on the interior, especially the binoculars, and the lighter plates on the exterior, gives the piece a sense of scale.

Another way to use light and dark is to highlight a particular point on the construction, to draw the eye and to emphasise the most important part of the creation.  A lot of mech constructions do this with the use of a bright coloured eye on an otherwise dark or colourless mech. This great little stomper by </arpy> achieves that in unusual style with the frog in its cockpit (“Frog in its cockpit” is a phrase I never thought I’d be writing).

So Complimentary Colours and Light and Dark are two ways of using contrasting colours to your advantage when you’re building, but they’re by no means the end of the colour story.  There’s more, but I think it will have to wait for a second installment.




MgR-808 Karma

MgR-808 Karma, top

Originally uploaded by jed_september

Finally got around to taking some photos of this. Built a few weeks ago, but due to travela nd other commitments, I’ve never actually done anything with it. Nevertheless, here it is.

Based on the mini-frame by Squieu, I find it nicely poseable and chunky, but not too large for use with Mechaton. There are a nuch of other photos of it on my Flickr pages.


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.