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Zero Hour on Highway 44 (Dawn Forge Mix) . A collaborative project between Keith Goldman, a cast of twenty all-star builders, and myself. . /start transmission/ DFCO Priority Transmission 3013L-07 Aegis Encryption-6.2 Destination: The Circumference, Building 4 Field Commander Hedre to Dawn Forge Central Ops. Subject: Status report on Vancouver Operation /start text/ The evacuation and occupation of Vancouver is proceeding as planned. Martial law is in effect; DF forces now 60% garrisoned with near 100% expected within three days. Local authorities are cooperative, civilian population unhappy but orderly. Exit volumes significantly higher than expected, but the simplifying and streamlining of traffic patterns has kept the evacuation on schedule. No signs yet of the impending invasion, nor any indications of from what direction it will come or what form it will take. Likewise, zero enemy contacts, or even sightings. Troop morale is high to the point of being edgy. Combat droid AIs running at optimal levels, but even the bots seem to sense something. And candidly Sirs, I must confess that I feel it as well. Something should have happened by now. Or something has and we just don’t know about it yet. Keep in mind who we are dealing with… Next report when the occupation is complete or as changing circumstances dictate. Hedre /end text/ /end transmission/ OK, now that that little bit of explanatory sci-fi nonsense is out of the way, I can come back to the real world and get on with the pics. To start with, let’s be clear that this behemoth was a joint project involving a host of top flight builders. The military elements (built in my pet Dawn Forge theme) were my humble contributions. The kaleidoscope of vehicles on the upper road, as well as the train and a few other aspects of the layout were the products of 20 of the brightest minds (and shadiest characters) in the Lego hobby, who’s names I’ve listed below. Carter Baldwin Chuck Citrin Tyler Clites Fradel Gonzales Nick Kappatos Jon Langrish Andrew Lee Joe Meno Paul Meissner Peter L. Morris Nathan Proudlove Peter Reid Dan Rubin Ryan Rubino Michael Rutherford Dave Shaddix Shannon Sproule (Ocean) Julie Stewart Shannon Young Nannan Zhang Also, a special thanks to Gary McIntire for supplying the greenery for the trees. The rest of the layout (which accounts for pretty much the whole damn thing) was a product of the warped mind and mighty building skill of one Keith Goldman. As if there was ever any doubt… If you’ve arrived here by way of Keith’s post, many thanks for allowing even more of your life to be wasted staring at a computer screen full of plastic bricks. If, however, you have not yet seen Keith’s smacktacular posting of this project, be sure to check it out at this link or the one you'll find at the bottom of this page. And for those craving bigger/higher quality pics, here are the links to my flickr posting and Keith’s flickr posting. Why two posts? How else are you going to satisfy two egos as prodigious as mine and Keith’s? Ok, actually we just had a lot of cool pictures and it seemed like a good way to break things up a bit, with my version focusing more heavily on the military stuff and Keith’s spotlighting the cars and figs a bit more. EDIT: I’ve posted the individual Dawn Forge MOCs from this dio, if anyone is interested in more detailed pics. Here are the links- IGNITION Class Light Mech A-700c MSV E-1 UNITY Combat Droid ARGENT Class APC ICON Class Command Mech Alright, enough talk…let’s make with the pics already! By the numbers, there are 21 AI controlled droid mechs (the small ones), 4 medium sized mechs (near the back of the line), 4 supply trucks, 2 APCs, and 1 command mech (supervising traffic on the upper level) I was stunned when I first saw the upper road and it’s contents in person. The mix of styles and building techniques is amazing, although I must admit I do have a favorite, the identity of which I am not at liberty to divulge at this time… Besides the small droid mechs, everything else fits at least one mini-fig. In the case of the transport trucks and APCs they fit 2 and 6 (or maybe 7) respectively. Droids are in grouped in fives with the white trimmed one being some sort of leader. The APCs were the last thing I built, and I nearly didn’t get them done in time, but I think they helped to flesh things out a bit. While photographing the layout, every 20 minutes or so that sweet little rail bike you see here (built by Andrew Lee) would spontaneously zoom itself down the hill. For the first several hours, it repeatedly caught us off guard and we reacted like the entire dio was about to collapse. I’m pretty sure Andrew was controlling it remotely from somewhere and laughing his a$$ off… Dawn Forge mech pilots are almost exclusively female since their heightened emotional awareness tends to enhance the neural interfaces used to control many aspects of the mech’s primary combat and targeting systems. Or something like that. You can see one of these dangerous beauties here, standing in front of her mech. Well, you can sort of see her… I’m not real big on captions, but I thought this time I would at least make an effort to write something for each pic. This one didn’t turn out so well… Off ramp courtesy of Ryan Rubino. “Dude, when are WE going to get some rides like that?” Just keep it moving people… Before you start to say “WTF? It’s all pictures of his crap!” remember that this is by design. Better coverage of the rest of the layout (and less of my crap) can be found on Keith’s post. I really liked the monorail station, although we probably could have found a more effective way of utilizing it. Yep…more mechs. Notice the red sensor that indicates an AI controlled bot versus the green (like on the APC), which indicates a manned vehicle. I think the DF is pretty much done with windscreens on their war machines. This is the future, baby. At first I didn’t get what Keith was going for using 1x1 round plates for the lines in the road, since here in Wisconsin, we still use paint. Then I get out to Vegas and darned if their fancy road lines don’t look exactly like what you see here. I guess if you want to see the shape of things to come, look to Las Vegas… Originally, I had no idea how wide that upper walkway area really was. The bicycle exodus (Keith’s idea) adds a nice eco-friendly future touch, I think. Be sure to watch for Keith’s follow up post showcasing individual pictures of all the cars and trucks. There really are some amazing designs here that are impossible to fully appreciate when embedded in a big ol’ traffic jam. Boy, talk about overkill… Bob: “I told you, I don’t know how I got here. I just…appeared. Man, you wouldn’t believe some of the things I’ve seen. One time I was on my way to the office, and than all of a sudden I’m standing on a crumbling catwalk, watching some poor soul being chased by this giant female cyborg thing with this HUGE set of…” Agent: “OK sir, I think we’ve heard enough. You’d better come with us.” Poor Bob from Accounting. He never seems to catch a break… And you thought you were going to get away without any HALO exposure. You can blame me for the Chief, but Nannan was responsible for the Civy Warthog. Consider yourself fortunate that there wasn’t a Ghost sitting in traffic somewhere… How Kelso managed to get his name on here while obstinately refusing to build even a motor scooter, I’ll never know. What a tool. There were some nice opportunities for pics with a lot of depth, but lighting them was a real challenge. I have a new respect for people who build big and then have to photograph it. Michael Rutherford’s train. This area was so atmospheric, it was hard to take a bad shot. Uh-oh. It appears Commander Hedre’s fears are justified…the bad guys are already here. Observant viewers may recognize these little buggers from one of my previous builds. Although maybe not from this crummy shot… These guys were always meant to be an enemy for the Dawn Forge, so don’t be surprised (or disappointed, depending on how you look at it) if they pop up again at some point in the future. I’ll be doing individual postings of the Dawn Forge stuff the next couple weeks, if anyone is interested in a closer look. And I’ll leave you with this…one of the only shots that at least approached fitting the whole dio in the picture. It really is that huge… Now, if you haven’t yet done so, check out Keith’s post, Zero Hour on Highway 44 (High Octane Mix) for his unique brand of smack. Well, that’s about it. A big thanks to everyone who participated in this little project, and especially to Keith, who supplied such an awesome layout to play in. You’re fading fast in all other respects, but you building skills are as sharp as ever. Now PLEASE go buy some more extension cords… And to everyone else, thanks for looking.

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