Monday, December 30, 2013

Looking Back

With the new year a less than two days away, I thought I'd take a look back at the where we've been.  Let's hop back to last year for a second though.  Back in the first week of December of 2012, I set out some pacing guidelines for myself.  I wanted to post twice a week.  This is the 156th post for 2013.  Combine that with the 13 from last December and you have 169.  Which breaks down to a tiny bit more than three posts per week for 56 weeks.  Not bad.  I'm going to try and hold this pace through 2014.

Looking at this year, I did a review of a Character Builder blind bag in April.  That was my first review.  I did another in May and June.  July is when I really got rolling with six reviews.  It was also in July that I developed my review and rating system.  I've done sixteen more reviews since that point.  That's a total of 24, which averages out to two per month.  Pretty good for only starting in May.  A few people have adopted my review system and done their own reviews.  This makes me happy as it means I've given something useful to the MFZ community.

I'm now north of 150K views.  Looks like I broke that barrier in the first week of December or so.  I broke 50K in late November 2012, so it took roughly a year to get 100K more views.  That breaks down to 1800+ views per week over 53 weeks.  Thanks people!

2013 felt like a good year for me in terms of MFZ.  I got to attend PAX East again, I got to play MFZ outside of PAX East, I picked up a ton of Lego cheap, and I gave a few friends a bunch of Lego so they can start their own collections.  Let's see what 2014 has to offer.  :-)

Friday, December 27, 2013


I received a Lego Store gift card for Christmas.  I also had some frequent buyer points running out.  So I went to the Lego store and splurged a little.  I bought a small Pick-A-Brick cup as the wall had some pieces I wanted.  I also bought a 21013 Big Ben and five 30185 Little Eagle polybags.  I'll review both of those sets at a later date.

What I want to do now is show you how I fill a PaB cup.  Since I didn't take pictures while I was placing pieces into it, I'll just show you the pieces as they come out.

My method for filling a cup involves making stacks of the pieces that will do so, and filling in the left-over space with loose pieces that do not stack.  I also fill in that little space in the lid to get the most use of the cup.  Do not forget to tamp the cup after every time you add loose fill.  It can take a fair amount of time to assemble the pieces into stacks while you put them in the cup so be sure you set aside enough time to do so.

80 pieces.

64 pieces.

62 pieces.

45 pieces.

27 Lever & Bases, 51 Trans-Clear cheese slopes, 117 Olive Green cheese slopes, and two bricks that somehow didn't make it into a picture.  And let's not forget the 16 bricks in the lid.  That gives us a total of 464 pieces for $7.99.  Which is $0.02 per piece.  There are other methods out there for filling PaB cups but I prefer this one.

Now I just have to set aside some time to sort and build!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Just A Few Things

Just a quick update today, as it's Christmas and I'm sure people are busy.

There's a MFZ group on deviantART.  I've posted links to individual creations on the Community page before.  This will allow people to get a wider look at the people who post MFZ creations to deviantART.

I've put the questions and ratings that I use in my reviews on their own page.  A few people in the community have used them to do their own reviews so I've made it easier to find.

I've also re-arranged the header bar to an order that looks a little more user friendly.

As people have created more PDF instructions for frames I've been adding them to the Instruction page.  Keep checking back every now and then.

Have a merry Christmas!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Review: 9675 Sebulba's Podracer & Tatooine Planet Set

The Star Wars Planet sets were good enough for three waves but not popular enough for a fourth.  Let's take a look at one of them from the first wave.

Here's the container they're sold in.  Each one has different cover art but each has a hole to allow the planet pieces to fit.  Each set was $9.99.

Here's the instruction booklet.

I see Clip Tiles, Clip Plates, Cheese Slopes, and two Lightsaber bars.

I see three motor bricks, an octagonal bar plate, and a Trans-Clear Bar 1x8 w/Brick 1x2 Curved Top End.

Here's the planet pieces, and the minifig.  Ugly sucker, ain't he?

I managed to make a frame and something that can pass as a station.
The Questions:

Can you build a frame, or frames, right away?  Yes.  (+5)

Is it below, at, or above the golden ratio?  Above.  (-10)

If you can't build a frame right away, does it have parts you should be able to put into use right away?  Yes.  (+5)

Does it have more than a handful of immediately useful parts?  Yes. (+5)

Score: +5 (B).  There are some good pieces in this set.  The horrendous pricing -- $0.13 per piece for this set -- really drags the rating down though.  As they've been discontinued, you should be able to find them at decent prices if there are any left in stores.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Non-Human 7

Alright, let's finish out the week strong.

Rakun,Thupt of the high lands by LK21LK.  Someone has a lot of lime green cheese slopes!

M.O.T.H. by rope fish.  It might be slightly large -- the main wings are 6x6 -- but it looks awesome.

Tesla Fly by Johann Dakitsch.  It's mostly Hero Factory pieces but, from the looks of it, still manages to stay in scale for MFZ.

IMG_9997 by Simmon Kim.  A really stompy Police bot.

Sleeth, Thrupt of the snowy lands of Urken by LK21LK.  To bring it back to where we started, another delightfully expressive creation from LK21LK.

There we go.  Another batch of interesting non-human mech builds.  Enjoy your weekend and I'll catch you on Monday.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Spotlight: darksyntax

This spotlight is going to be a little different from the others.  Darksyntax has taken to my Single Set Challenge like a duck to water.  It seems like he cranks out a new one every couple of weeks. 

Single Set Challenge: 75002.  A nice set of builds from a great Star Wars set.

Single Set Challenge: 6911.  A frame and a station from a small set.  Very nice.

Single Set Challenge: 40077.  At some point I will do a review of this TRU only set.

Single Set Challenge: 31005.  He hopped on this one after Gusindor posted his.

Single Set Challenge: 30240.  In my review I said that this set was only good for building a flying frame.  Darksyntax proves me wrong with this build.

Single Set Challenge: 30059.  Another polybag falls victim to darksyntax.

Single Set Challange:6177.  I've mentioned this one in a blog post before.

I think I may have missed one of his Single Set Challenge builds but, you shouldn't.  Check out his Flickr stream.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Purity: Kreo Star Trek Blind Bag Review

The Star Trek Kreon blind bags have been out for a while.  Here are the codes so you can cherry-pick the ones you want.  Honestly, I don't think they have sold very well so you should be able to find them without searching too hard.

Bag and instructions.  As you can see from the picture, I did not pay full price for this item.  The base price is $2.99.  I picked up mine for $0.99 each.

Reverse.  There are only six Kreons in this run.  The ones I wanted are the Gorn, the Klingon, and Captain Nero.  I'll leave it up to you to figure out the reasons why.

Klingon Kreon.  I broke this one down to show you what the leg and arm attachments look like.  I'm disappointed the helmet and head are one piece.  This one has six pieces so that gives us a Price per Piece of $0.50 (normal), $0.17 (sale).

Lieutenant Sprog.  I don't really remember seeing an alien like this in the first reboot film.  This one has five pieces so that gives us a Price per Piece of $0.60 (normal), $0.20 (sale).

Close up on the Phaser & Batleth.  Yeah, minifig scale Star Trek weapons.  These have been available from various third party manufacturers for several years.  I believe these are the first authorized parts in minifig scale.

The Questions:
Can you build a frame, or frames, right away?  No.  (-5)
Is it below, at, or above the golden ratio?  Above.  (-10)
If you can't build a frame right away, does it have parts you should be able to put into use right away?  You should be able to use the Phaser or Batleth as frame weapons.  Still, that's stretching it.  (+5)
Does it have more than a handful of immediately useful parts?  No. (-5)
Score: -15 (C).  I can't really recommend these, unless you've got the collecting bug -- like I have.  If you get them at the same price I did they may be a way to get Phasers and Batleths without having to resort to Brickarms, Brickforge, etc.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Sets vs. Individual Parts

One of the ongoing debates in the MFZ community is the merit of buying sets for parts versus targeted buying of parts via Bricklink/owl, etc.

Basic sets are a good way to build up a supply of bricks, basic or otherwise. That's why I recommend them. It may be a slow way to build up the specialty bricks, especially for people new to the game, but it pays off in the long run.  You get the parts you need plus others that you will use later.  Frames, terrain, parts for other frames, you're building a stockpile.

Bricklink is a good way to acquire the bricks you need right now.  You get what you need and no more.  So while you may get out of the gate faster you will have a limited number of parts to draw from later.

Either way, you acquire Lego and you start playing MFZ.  Which is the reason why you're doing this in the first place.  :-)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Terrain & Scenery

Since I tend to post pictures of mecha -- a lot -- I'm going to try and post some pictures of things that could be used as terrain or scenery.

Cannon by Master Shifu Leo J.  This should make for a good station, the base looks to be 4x4.

M-Tron Megarover by Shannon Ocean.  Who wouldn't want to hide behind this?

AlienTech Straight Six Hi-Po Racing Engine by Karf Oohlu.  This one's a little complex but it would make for a great microscale power generator.


Holiday Train by Galatek.  It looks to be in 4P or 5P scale.  There's even a breakdown. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Build Journal: Clockwork Ruffian

I'm working on a new frame.  I originally called it the "Loki" because of the helmet.  I decided though that due to the large chest this doesn't look quite as svelte as a Loki might look.  I then decided that this would be called the "Ruffian".  The "Clockwork" addition came along a little later as this looks slightly steampunky to my eye.

Angled and front views.

I started with a torso section I copied from Pasukaru 76.  My problems with using it are detailed here.

Front and side views.  The small wings are an addition of mine.

I then added arms, a front plate, and a head.  The arms are a minor variation on what I used on the Hephaestus.

The legs were created separately.  They're a little spindly and will probably go through another iteration before I'm finished.

Here's a comparison shot with a Chub to give you an idea of its size.  I'm still working on this one and I'm not sure where it's going to end up or what the final look is going to be.