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How to build a SHIP -- Chapter 7: building with pizazz!
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How to build a SHIP -- Chapter 7: building with pizazz!

On MOCpages, and many other Lego sites, a person can find out all about SNOT building. But after someone left a comment asking what SNOT is, I figure I'd add another chapter about the finer details of building a SHIP. So, this chapter is all about Color, and SNOT.

First, Color -- It all started with Lego and the first space series. Lego used two colors: blue and grey, for all space sets. Then, for each new space 'faction', Lego used another two colors. The only third color they would include would be the transparent canopy pieces. For example, Blacktron II was black and white with trans-green canopy pieces.

Later, AFOLs started their own space factions, and they too specified what two, sometimes a third, colors could be used for that faction and what canopy pieces to use (Eastern Block, Jade Empire, etc.). Now, with the revised MOCpages, there are new factions rising (C.O.P., U.N.E., U.T.M., etc.). I have noticed that some of these factions have color schemes (U.T.M. is black and blue, maybe black and grey). The idea behind this is unity and organization. Too many colors makes your MOCs look disorganized, and messy. With tight color control comes a tight looking construction. It is understandable that some builders on MOCpages are very young and just getting started. As you might guess, their MOCs are very hodge podge and messy looking. Be considerate, be forgiving, and remember that they have few parts and little experience. Help these youngsters out if you can with helpful and positive comments, support them for they are a part of our growing community, or just don't comment at all if you can not be positive. As for those of us who have a few parts, and have a few skills, we are striving to be better and constructive criticism helps.

Anyway, color usage and control should be as important as any other part choice. Choose your parts carefully to represent what you are trying to build, and choose your colors carefully.
--Word of advice, I have found it very hard to tell the new light bley apart from the old dark grey under certain flourescent lights, same goes for the red brown and old brown-- Another aspect of color control is integrating the old greys with the new bleys, and old brown with new brown. If you are consistent with the placing of the colors, and you are symmetrical and evenly balanced with the placings of the two colors, then it is possible to integrate the different grays together and make it look intentional rather than accidental. There are some MOCs, I believe I have one or two as well, that have a combo of the greys and it missed the mark on intentional. However, I purposely tried to integrate all three browns into one MOC -- Kaar Kermargh transport -- and I was very careful on color placement and usage. I think that it worked and it looks intentional, which it was.

I don't mean to toot my own horn. I am using my stuff as an example to show that I am not just blowing hot air; I can backup what I say with my own failed/successful attempts.

So, careful color choice and usage really makes the difference between a motley looking build, and one that stands out as appealing. The better you get with color control, the more purposeful your parts will look, and the more overall awesome your SHIP will be. I would suggest practicing with three colors if you have low parts in various colors; if you have a lot of Legos, then just confine yourself to two, or go all crazy with one and see what happens. I have tried it with dark bley, and it was interesting.

Okay, SNOT work. Studs Not On Top (SNOT) makes all the difference between ordinary and spectacular. Stacking bricks can be a strong basis for your MOCs, but having parts that are on the side (Studs On The Side -- SOTS) or upside down, can give your MOCs instant "wow" factor. For examples of this, just cruise through almost any Lego builder site and you will start to see slopes and other pieces coming out of the side of SHIPs, or even bricks stacked, then all put over on their side. To see what I mean, go to Brickshelf, search for member, smartiac, look in his folder, mmmmmocs, then the folder called space. Finally, you will see a folder called, blacktron ii. There you will see a spectacular example of total SNOT work. To build this massive cruiser, he took small 1x2 black bricks, built a large 'wall', turned it on its side, then gently bent the wall to give it a curve. This 'curved wall' of 1x2 bricks then served as the outer hull for his Blacktron II cruiser. Another, much simpler, example from the same builder comes from smartiac's Batman folder: look for his Bat-plane. And, another builder who is a bit more clever at integrating SNOT work into small MOCs would be Brickshelf member: nnenn. Or, for a very, very simplistic example of SNOT work, check out my Feeraas Heavy Fighter. That MOC is a good example of simple methods to get you started on the SNOTy path. Nnenn's MOCs would be the next, higher step up in complexity of SNOT work.

It will take you a while to get the hang of SNOT work, but with practice, you will get the hang of it. SNOT work adds a lot of interesting pizazz to any MOC because it takes your construction into the realm of thinking three dimensional. When you just stack bricks, you have height and width to your MOC. But building your bricks into this new "z" axis requires some forethought, and adds new wrinkles to your brain as you try to figure out the new realm of potential that SNOT work adds to your MOCs. Thinking three dimensionally, as we saw with the battle between Kirk and Khan, can really make a big difference.

Really, this chapter is pretty simple. Go, browse the Lego web and you will find bazillions of examples of SNOT. You can even join the SNOT group here on MOCpages. And, your will see numerous great examples of tight color control and color usage to add yet more awesome detail to many MOCs. Then, once you picked up some ideas, practice, build, build, build. Soon you will find that there really is a lot more possible with your MOCs than you once thought.

As an after thought, I once read two statements on Lugnet: "Awesomeness is in the details", and, "details are only possible with small parts". I don't remember who said these, but they have held to be very true statements. So for the next step, once you have mastered color and SNOT, will be to see how well you can use the tiny bits (think of Lego's UCS Star Destroyer, Death Star, and Falcon. Those three sets just had thousands of little pieces that took forever to build, but it sure was worth it for the mind blowing awesome factor).
| June 13, 2009, 12:51 am
| June 29, 2009, 7:36 pm
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