Ascendant Lords – Tian Guo
Translated from the word Prosperity from an old pre-Quorus nation, the Fanrong serves both as elite reFrame unit and as a sign of Tian Guo’s wealth and military might. While not equipped with any ranged weapons like most reFrames in the Ascendant Lords, its high mobility coupled with the YANHU Fanrong shields allow it to quickly close in and cleave through reFrame ranks with ease with the PA-GUANDAO-FR.
It is believed that upon seeing this deep red reFrame that one will be blessed in good tidings. While this may be true for the inhabitants of Tian Guo, a newly formed Lordship that has deep roots to a long forgotten dynasty, seeing this on the opposite side of the battlefield isn’t so prosperous, even more when you’re within reach of its deadly PA-GUANDAO-FR.
Made specifically for Chinese New Year 2020. I’ve actually had the head of this in development in a bin of my UCS Hulkbuster parts for a few months as I wanted to build a CNY themed mech for last year.
Part of the concept brainstorming for this was to make a Year of the Rat build but I thought to myself that there’s very little ways to make a cool rat mech build. I opted to just make it generally Chinese-themed instead of going for an animal theme approach.
It just so happened that we have an on-going head build challenge at BMD. That and I needed to clean up the LEGO work room more as part of New Year traditions. On New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31), I did some cleaning while building the Dirius and now with Chinese New Year, I did a bit more cleaning for the bins that were hidden. 😋
Inspiration and sources
One clear reference I had for this was the Shenlong Gundam from Gundam Wing, especially with the weapon. I really wanted a Chinese vibe to it but without the usual visual cliches. The Woundwort Gundam (and ReZeon variants) from Advance of Zeta was also referenced for the finalized body silhouette with the small shoulders and big hips.
I also referenced Guan Yu slightly from Romance of the Three Kingdoms (most of my knowledge of him is from playing Dynasty Warriors). The only reason was that in the game, he used the Guandao and I went through a polearm phase in my younger days. 😅
I. Initial Head Build
As I was building this mostly for the BMD head challenge, I really wanted to make a distinct head design. Usually for my Ascendant Lord faction builds, the reFrames have to look really distinct and unique.
The hard part about this build was mostly the restrictions of Dark Red pieces. Apparently, I didn’t have as much different pieces as I thought.
II. REFINE HEAD BUILD
The first version had weird shapes all over the place and the top was too cluttered. I streamlined it for the next version but still felt the curves were lacking.
I did settle with the pearl gold Khopesh swords for horns but wanted more in the area in the middle to fill the gap.
III. HEAD V3, Body assembly
The almost final design of the head still had the sword horns but added an extra layer for a more distinct silhouette.
The body was built by looking at what Dark Red pieces I had an seeing how I could make it into a chest. Not sure where I got the vehicle spoiler piece in Dark Red (I only had one) but since I removed it from the head, I moved it to the front chest plate and gave this great layered look.
IV. Everything else
Everything else actually came by quick as I couldn’t sleep right away after WIP step 3. I ended up thinking of various designs while trying to fall asleep and was contemplating between a wide sharp triangular shape for the shoulders (similar to the shape of the Shenlong Gundam) with standard sized legs or go for a Woundwort Gundam, more feminine proportion distribution (small rounded shoulders, big hips).
I built one shoulder first and just liked how the small shoulder matched the horned head so I went with the Woundwort proportions. Developing the waist design was more of reinforcing the assembly and seeing which pieces could be placed for plating. This was where modified plate #30166 (see next section for more info) came handy as I had very little modified plates in Dark Red but had a bunch of these. Decided to use them for the thighs and knees as well.
Feet follow the heeled design of most Ascendant Lord designs. The weapon was built just like the Guandong using the new Ninjago blade piece and had to look more Eastern in design.
The shoulder armor took a bit of building as it was much harder to connect the huge wedge piece to the very small shoulder assembly. I also had to make the connection rigid enough to hold the shoulder shield angle in place and not droop the shoulders.
The last part was making the back boosters and I wanted them to use these lantern pieces with gold 1×1 round bricks inside. Initially it was just small 4 boosters (2 per side) but it felt lacking so added the big booster in the middle for more oomph!
Notable Parts usage
I. Rocker plate
30166 Plate, Modified 2 x 3 Inverted with 4 Studs and Handle on Bottom – Closed Ends (Rocker Plate)
One of my new favorite pieces especially as it now comes in LBG, DBG, White, and Dark Red. This piece is handy for making surfaces that need to angle. I’m actually planning on using them for layered armor panels or areas like the knee armor to cover the knee joint.
II. railing detail
37494 Hinge Train Pantograph Shoe
An interesting piece to use as the ends and middle areas are all standard 3mm bar diameter. This means the ends can go into hollow studs and clips can attach to the middle 3mm bars.
I’ve had a few of these for a while and have been wanting to use them as some kind of industrial railing piece.
III. Lanterns for boosters
37776 Minifigure, Utensil Lantern
First time I saw this piece, I immediately knew I wanted to use them as boosters.
The shape is already ideal for this and there’s even an understud under the handle, allowing for any round piece to be placed inside the lantern. For sets, normally this is a transparent-colored 1×1 round brick.
If you’re curious about getting a custom reFrame from me, simply check out my Commissions section here in my website. I’ve written all the details you might need to order your own custom LEGO reFrame mech build and what kind of customization options you can get.
Do take note though that I only do this in a very limited capacity.
I open up slots for commissions here on my site and also announce it over at my various social media pages. I’d suggest following me on any/all of my social media pages below to stay updated on my work and commission slots.
reFRAME v3 Instruction Manual
The reFrame System is a modular brick skeleton aimed to help both new and veternan brick mech builders create their own designs in a consistent size with modular capabilities. It was originally designed to be a basis for all my mechs in the Mech Wars universe. Having gone through a number of upgrades, the V3 reFrame can now house a minifigure pilot in the chest without sacrificing aesthetic or articulation.