As 2018 comes to an end, I'd like to take this opportunity to look back at a wonderful LEGO-filled year.
LEGO MOC BUILDS
While I would have wanted to do 1 MOC (My Own Creation) per month, quite a few things happened in my personal life coming from a rough 2017 and carried over into 2018 so I wasn’t able to fully commit to my 1 MOC / month goal. Regardless, this was a good year in terms of quality of builds produced.
- 10 reFrames
- 1 non-reFrame mech
- 1 BrickHeadz design
- 1 Titanfall BT
One thing I changed this year was the layout and background for most of my builds.
I had acquired earlier this year the Foldio 3 from OrangeMonkie and it has been great for taking photos for the scale I build. This also helped doing the videos per build although I’ve been having difficulty squeezing in extra time to edit them and this is something I want to fix for 2019.
I also carried over the full compiled layout from 2017 but as of my last two builds, I’ll be trying out individual photos again.
Overall it’s been a good building year with a good amount of experimenting on new techniques, upgrading older builds, and refining builds. While my output has decreased from my earlier years of mecha building, I feel like the level of detail and overall aesthetic per build has significantly improved.
I hope to continue down this path of quality > quantity so please look forward to my 2019 builds 😀
Comparing to 2017 where I built only 7 reFrames, 2018 saw a good output of builds. Out of the 10 reFrames, 3 were part of the r3build project where I’d take ver 1 and 2 reFrames and upgrade it to the v3 (Waltz and Paragon). I still have quite a few of my older non-v3 builds that I have to upgrade but this is a good start.
I also had 6 designs that were completely new. The Ikaruga was the first transforming variable reFrame I built and gave me a good experience for a future project 😉 I also did a recolor of the Sailia (OG and Oenanthe).
I still have two ongoing commissions so I’ll be finishing those for the 1st quarter of 2019.
Pacific Rim BMD Challenge
This was done for Brick Mecha Division’s Pacific Rim challenge and is the biggest mech build I’ve done in the last few years. It was a lot of fun to build and was able to explore a few things since it was bigger in scale compared to my reFrames.
TitanFall Vanguard Class Titan
I also have the Titanfall build still ongoing as I’ve discovered some issues with the leg and arm stability so will be fixing those with newly acquired parts before proceeding with the instructions.
Done for TAPh 2018, this started out as an homage build for designer toy maker Quiccs but quickly turned into a collaboration project. You’ll be hearing more about this in 2019 😀
EXHIBITIONS & EVENTS
2018 was a good year as I was fortunate enough to participate in quite a few local and international events.
- Abrickadabra (via proxy)
- ToyConPH (via proxy)
- Toy Art Philippines (TAPh) 2018
- Japan Brickfest (JBF) 2018
- AFOL Festival Shanghai 2018
Aside from going to these events, I also did a few talks and workshops at some of these events. Both Japan Brickfest and AFOL Festival had me give a mech building workshop and was the first time I gave workshops to a foreign audience on something that I really loved.
I also got invited to give a talk on my experiences going to foreign LEGO events during Bricktober so that was also a new experience.
Lastly, I also did an event with PayPal Philippines around September about Freelancing. We did a media panel where I joined a few local entrepreneurs to discuss the current scene of freelancing in the Philippines.
The experience gave me the opportunity to talk a bit about my passion and reassess the business side of my hobby and share that knowledge with other people.
Was also able to attend a LEGO Voltron fan-designer signing event that was held locally. Lendy Tayag himself flew in and I was finally able to meet him in person. It was great being able to chat with him and discuss a few things about LEGO mech building, his success with the Voltron IDEAS, and the increasing interest in LEGO mech building especially in our BMD Facebook group.
I also had my 2nd box of Voltron signed and even got a dedication from Lendy! 😀
LEGO JIAXING PLANT TOUR
I was also able to visit the new Jiaxing LEGO factory with some of the AFOL Festival 2018 participants. It was my first time being inside a LEGO factory and we got toured around the production floor and the packing area. We then had a Q&A with the heads of the various processes as well as some insights from Carl Merriam, a LEGO set designer, about certain decisions The LEGO Group takes into account with their products.
It was truly a learning and eye-opening experience and really made me appreciate LEGO more than ever 😀
LEGO Shanghai Office
My girlfriend and I also got toured by Mr. Jacky Chen around the Shanghai LEGO office. He showed us around the two floor office and the various departments and the whole time I was just imagining working for a cool toy culture company.
We weren’t allowed to take photos except for the entrance and the cafeteria so here’s a picture of us with Jacky 😀
The LEGO hobby doesn’t just revolve around the pieces and there’s tons of things that can compliment it. In my case, I’m constantly looking for new things to make my hobby even better. For 2018, I upgraded my photo setup, got some new turntables for display purposes, and also overhauled my website to better prepare for 2019.
Foldio 3 Lightbox
I’ve been using the Foldio 2 lightbox since 2016 to take photos of my models but always found it a little too small for the scale I built in. I often ended up doing a lot of post-editing, mostly spent on cutting out my models from the background and would really slow down my time per build rate.
I figured a new bigger lightbox would allow me to do just simple post-editing adjustments as I wouldn’t have to crop out my models anymore and that’s exactly what the Foldio 3 did for me.
Not only is it bigger but has better light positioning and the newer Halo lights are easily positioned around inside the box.
Turntables for Displays
Ever since my first public LEGO exhibit, I’ve wanted to spice up my display by adding some sort of dynamic element to my standing LEGO mech models. Most of the time, people looking at my works would try to go around it and take pictures of the side and back views and there were even occasions that someone would accidentally nudge the display table.
Then it dawned on me that having a few pieces on a turntable would help solve this issue. It would also be a good way to highlight certain models in my display like if I had a new build or a a special color used.
Luckily, I was able to find a good turntable during my visit to Japan in April 2018 and have been using them ever since.
One thing I started in 2018 was move my ebooks to my Facebook page to sell but I often got inquiries when I was sleeping or when I’d be away from my computer. Wanting to remedy this, I decided to just do the selling on my website.
This involved having to overhaul my entire site from a blog-type site to something more robust and that was what I was doing for the most of November and December. I’m happy to say that the new site’s design is aesthetically better and has better functionality.
The built-in shop will also come in handy once I start releasing my planned ebooks for this 2019 so kindly look forward to those 😀
I also recently picked up a Sony a6300 mirrorless camera along with a 35mm 1.8 lens to take better photographs of my models.
I have not been able to fully experiment on it but hope to fully get the hang of it by early 2019.
Meet Ashi, our adorable new British Shorthair kitten who likes leaving his fur and paw prints all over my black felt lightbox background and meows at me when I LEGO too much.
My older cat Momo (ball of fluff inside the box) has been a good elder bro to this grey furball.
Will also be expecting a few new cats by January 2019 so it’s going to be meowier in my place.
Games this year
Played quite a bit this year of various titles such as Monster Hunter World, Destiny 2, some Nintendo Switch games (Super Mario Galaxy, Mario Party, Dead Cells).
I think it’s fine to take a break with Video Games as it can also give some inspiration to my builds (playing Destiny helped me make gun weapons better to be honest) but I have a tendency of playing too much hehe.
I’m looking forward to a bunch of games in 2019 like Anthem but as I can’t invest too much time in games so I can focus on my mechs still 😛
That’s it for 2018! Looking forward to what 2019 will bring and wishing everyone a wonderful New Year 😀
It’s been truly an amazing year! I hope to continue building more and better mechs, meeting new people from the LEGO and toy / art communities, and enjoying everything while I’m at it 😀