Vig/orama Contest reviews - Vignettes . Find out why you failed! . This is one of the wordiest pages in the history of MOCpages, so I completely understand if you're tempted to skip directly to the review of your own entry. However, I wouldn't go through the trouble of writing all these reviews if I didn't believe I had some worthwhile insights and advice to share. I would encourage you to read every single one -- but maybe not all in one sitting.
(Disclaimer: I don't claim to be an absolute authority on what makes a quality MOC. There are, however, certain standards that everyone has pretty much agreed upon as to what constitutes "quality," such as cohesive color scheming, clear photography, inventive parts usage, etc. I may not pick your favorite as my winners, but at the same time, I don't think you'll be able to look at the winners and say, "What, is he on crack? That MOC sucked!" Judgments like this are necessarily subjective, and depend on my own tastes and prejudices. In every instance I will attempt to give a full accounting of the reasons I judged the way I did.)
Ryan T - Trap
Posted roughly 17 seconds after the contest was first announced, Ryan gets special mention for kicking things off with this nice little vig. I like the ground cover, achieving an overgrown look without going overboard on the foliage, and the small strip of SNOT water to add some color. Not too sure about the cylinder atop the palm tree though, that looks a bit weird to me.
The major problem I have is with the concept. It is entitled "Trap," but there's no trap to be seen in the MOC. It's confusing. Did someone put a poison frog or snake there? Is that the trap? We need a snare, a pit covered with brush, some dude hiding behind the palm tree in ambush, something.
It's a nice looking scene otherwise. Nothing spectacular (which is what I'm looking for in my Vignette Contest winner), but nothing to be ashamed of. Thanks for playing.
Dennis Price - Shannon! Rocks!
Another early entry, which is generally a disadvantage in a contest -- however, setting out to do a play on the "Shannon rocks" phrase requirement, you've got to get it in quickly before anyone else can beat you to it. It did give me a chuckle, so bonus points there.
On to the MOC: A simple build illustrating a simple concept. Not necessarily a bad thing, but in this case maybe a bit too simple. In general I am heavily biased toward studless surfaces, when the surface in question is manmade (of course there are exceptions -- there are always exceptions). Grass, rocks, dirt, etc -- I am fine with these being studded. But sidewalks, roads, interior flooring and suchlike look better tiled or SNOTed. This is only my personal preference, not an ironclad rule I'm trying to impose on everyone -- I know some people like studs because it gives things a "classic Lego" look. But it is my contest, so you've got to pander to me at least a little bit in order to win.
Aside from that, a few things I felt could have polished it up a bit would be to wall off the open space on the edge of the MOC since we aren't meant to see inside anyway, and to work in an overhang on the roof -- a half-stud offset would be good, or even just using these.
All in all, I did chuckle, I did like it... but I wasn't blown away. Thank you for playing, but I cannot give you the win.
Sebeus I - Read the sign
You should already know what I'm going to say... Let there be light!
This could have been the greatest MOC in the history of the world and still not have come close to earning a prize from me, because the pictures are so awful. You've been on the 'pages long enough to know how to take a proper picture of a MOC, so this instance of bad photography is just baffling to me. Especially for a contest entry; it's not like there was any rush to put it up, you had another two months til the deadline.
Going by the main pic, as it's the only one I can really see (although, if I recall, it started out fairly dim as well -- if you later changed it to a brighter one, why not any of the others?), we have a humorous little scene, nicely constructed. The action of the workman mirrors the sign perfectly, good job there. I like the faces you chose for the characters -- I sense a whole backstory here of a crabby homeowner fed up with the noisy, dirty, interminable construction work of a gang of slack-jawed yokels right outside his door.
There appears to be an upper story to the building, but I don't have anything to say about it since I can barely see it. Sorry to keep harping on that, but -- actually, no. I'm not sorry. You can do better, and you know it. As I said, you've been on MOCpages quite a while. You have built a deserved reputation for consistent quality, and occasional outright genius (your "Portal" series comes to mind, and of course this). I just did not see your best here. Thanks for entering, but it was not your day.
Mister Bones - BLOCKAGE!!
This one gave me a lot of trouble to review, for reasons I'm not sure I can adequately explain.
In short, it doesn't have the feel of a vignette to me. It feels like a diorama. I know, I know, by the letter of my own law, it counts as a vignette: Anything from 8x8 to 16x16 will have no more than two characters or significant events to be considered a vignette. A lot of you out there, especially the "let's call any scene a vignette" crowd, are already up in arms about my definition of a vignette being too narrow (while in my heart of hearts I think those guidelines are probably too loose). But I also said this: Basically, as the footprint grows, less must be going on for it to still have the "feel" of a vignette. That is the sticking point for me here.
Admittedly, not much is going on from a minifig point of view. Our two characters exchange a few lines. If the scene were to be somehow animated, there would not be a whole lot of movement. So what's my problem?
I've come back to this MOC, and come back to it, and come back to it, trying to figure it out. I've stared at it more than is healthy. I've come to the conclusion that it's the mountain. I keep inspecting it, as if I expect someone or something to be hiding there. It looms over the explorers and dominates the scene. It almost (and here's the key) seems a character in its own right. A vignette, much more so than a diorama, should focus on your minifigs (or animals, or whatever your main characters are), and here they are overshadowed by a piece of the landscape.
I realize this is completely arbitrary on my part, judging on gut reaction more than my own written guidelines. But damn it, I'm not a robot! I'm a human being!
Anyway, it's a nice looking scene regardless of how it's defined. The things I can think to do to improve it are all small and minor: Follow the Egg Master's dictum about covering up the exposed hollow studs on the BURPs; hide an animal or two in there -- a snake, a scorpion, a bird, etc.; and switch out the guide's head gear. There is enough greenery to make the scene appear jungley and South American to me, but that guy's hat says Himalayan sherpa all the way.
So, no prize for you, but thanks for entering.
Spartan 26 "Rusty" - Get Off My Lawn!
First of all, as an avowed curmudgeon I must say that the phrase "Get off my lawn!" is one that is near and dear to my heart. And the trans-yellow studs for urine, though done many times before, is still good for a laugh here. Unfortunately, a lot of your pictures are pretty dim, which hurts the presentation.
On to the rest of the MOC: It's a bit big for the action going on. I do like 8x8 bases for vignettes, but will admit that this one might have looked cramped if you had forced yourself to fit within those constraints. 12x12 would have been more than big enough, I think. As it is, much of the lawn is just wasted empty space -- although I do understand the reason it's there, as the whole point of the MOC is the guy being proud and protective of his nice lawn.
A few things seem off -- You definitely need a pathway leading up to the steps, and mixing the palm leaves with those other foliage pieces on the big tree just doesn't work for me. I will salute you for trying something new there, but I can't call the experiment successful. And I do know from personal experience that making a good brick-built Lego tree is not easy. Lastly, the facade of the house should probably extend the entire width of the base -- that's a narrow house you've got there!
Love the concept... the build just needed a tweak here and there to put it over the top. Thanks for entering, but I'll be shipping that Lego set to someone else.
That LDD Guy - Pull
Intentional or not, this can not help but remind anyone who's ever seen it of the classic Far Side comic. Nothing wrong with that!
The MOC: Much of what I said in reviewing Dennis Price's vig can be applied here -- a bit too simple, wall off the building's side(s), go studless on the sidewalk.
Addressing the specifics of yours, I'm not sure what's going on with the black tile strip and raised grill tile, that just looks a bit odd. And the things inside the building flanking the door, that's a bit confusing as well. Tools? Is this a hardware store?
In my opinion you'd have been better served to move the wall of the building forward a few studs. There's plenty of room outside (which as it stands is unutilized empty space), and this would also give you the opportunity to better detail the inside. You could have some store shelves, people inside laughing at the illiterate. Or you could simply shrink the base. A vignette does not have to be at least 8x8. Shave off the two rows of studs behind the illiterate, and this works perfectly well on a 6x8 base.
I do like the concept, seeing as how reading comprehension (or lack thereof) quickly emerged as a major theme of the contest. You fell short buildwise, but thanks for playing.
Jordan L. - "Master?...."
I like that the murder victim's last words were "Shannon rocks." That just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
A few nitpicks on the MOC: The murderer's facial expression bothers me. He just killed a man, he hears someone coming down the stairs... and he seems pretty blasé about it. Now, it's entirely possible that you don't have another suitably grim head in your collection. If you don't have it, you don't have it, and I would hate to punish someone for lack of parts... but that smile really seems incongruous to me.
Also, we can't see the victim in the main pic. We know after we read your description that the murderer has stashed him out of sight, but your ordinary viewer (someone who is not judging this for a contest and feels no obligation to click on it) needs a bit more of a teaser to draw him in. If the killer was backed up against the stair support to ambush the butler coming down, and perhaps with a slightly different camera angle so we can see the body, I think it would add more tension (and thus, interest) to the scene. Better yet, maybe the body is more out in the open -- the killer hasn't had a chance to move it before the butler comes down to investigate.
And it may seem a bit unfair, but this entry did lose points in my mind because I found the vig you posted immediately after it, Triple decker gut bomb, to just be more fun and enjoyable. Sadly, I was wishing you'd waited and entered that one instead.
Which is not to say this is a bad vig at all -- it is good. A minor adjustment here and there, and it begins to edge into the realm of Great. Thanks for entering my contest, but I just can't give you the win this time.
Hans Dendauw - In space, no one can hear you scream...
Let me try to put my feelings of nostalgia for Aliens aside, and concentrate on the MOC.
I like the look of the main pic, it is reminiscent of the dim lighting used in that scene (indeed, throughout the whole movie), and yet we can still see everything we need to see. I love the power loader suit, which is obviously the star of the MOC. I have seen slightly better Aliens done at similar scales... but certainly not by me! You did a lot better than I'm sure I would have, which was exactly what I wanted out of this contest. I wanted entries that would make me say, "Whoah -- I couldn't do that..."
That was the good. Now here's where I break your heart!
The trouble with reproducing a scene from a movie that I know and love well is that I'm going to be a stickler for accuracy. I just don't like the scared face on Ripley here. Sure, she's frightened, but she's more angry and determined. Of course, Lego's selection of female minifig heads with a suitable expression is going to be sorely lacking, so unless you're a whiz with Photoshop, or go with a traditionally male one that might neuter her, I realize that this is probably your best alternative. And yet, knowing all this, it still strikes a slightly sour note with me. This just isn't the face that grates, "Get away from her, you bitch!"
Even more arbitrarily, I would rather have seen this as a diorama. Not necessarily a recreation of the entire hangar bay (though that would obviously be super cool), but at least one wall, and more floorspace so there's room for barrels and crates and stuff, with Newt hiding somewhere... you see where I'm going. As it is, the base (though nicely detailed) is almost superfluous. Ripley and the Alien are the focus, but it would have been great to have some surroundings to really be able to put them into context.
I hate to judge you on the MOC you didn't make, but ultimately, in a backhanded compliment, I was left wanting more. It was a strong entry... unfortunately I'm only awarding first prizes. But thanks for entering.
Dave Shaddix - Tending Bar: Walking the Thin, Brown Line.
What can I say about ol' Dirty Dave's entry here? It helps if you know the joke he's illustrating. I at first did not -- I assumed he'd just heard a slightly different version of this old chestnut:
A guy walks into a bar with a frog on his head. The bartender looks him up and down and finally asks, "All right, what is this?" The frog replies, "I know! Can you believe this started out as a wart on my ass?"
Then I saw Lee Jones's review on it, where he called the joke "tasteless." Now, I've met the good doctor, and I've heard some fairly "tasteless" things come out of his own mouth (not to mention some of the MOCs he's posted himself). I was quite sure that the above joke would not prompt that reaction out of him. So I had to look it up for myself, and found this:
A black guy walks into a bar with a parrot on his shoulder. The bartender looks them over and says, "Wow, that's a beautiful creature. Where'd you get it?" The parrot replies, "Africa -- they've got millions of them over there!"
Whether the joke is tasteless or not is debatable -- I'm sure many of us have heard (if not told) jokes far more offensive than that. The point is the MOC built to support it.
I know it's a strong build when I have to hunt for something I'd have done differently to improve it -- and all I can find is the face used on the bartender. I guess that's his reaction to the parrot's reply to him. But since the black guy is still in the act of walking up to the bar, I would have put a smile on the bartender (this would be capturing the pre-punchline moment), or keep that face but have the black guy standing still (post-punchline).
Whatever. I might just as well criticize the fact that you didn't somehow manage to attach the parrot to the minifig's shoulder. For all I know, the way you heard it, it was sitting on the guy's head. Once again I would just be hunting for something to criticize because I feel obligated to criticize something.
It's all there, and all on an 8x8 base -- the barstool, the footrest at the base of the bar, the liquor bottles, the taps. The only thing I could think to add would be an ashtray on the bar, except that so many places have now banned smoking in bars. Bowl of pretzels, maybe? One of those little touch screen video game things? Nah, something on the bar would probably just clutter the scene and distract from the characters.
It's a great vig. Why then, am I not giving you the win? There was one I liked a little better, that's all. But it was close. Thanks for playing, and keep reaching for that rainbow, Shaddix!
Louis K. - Mustafar Vig
Star Wars. You entered a non-ironic Star Wars MOC in my contest. Did you even read the rules? I am tempted to answer "no" to my own question because I had you in my "no 'Shannon rocks'" file from the moment you entered it... luckily an angry raccoon came to your aid. (Which is ironic, because he forgot it on one of his own entries!)
Onto the MOC: The chopped-up Anakin is the best part of the scene. (In fact, I would venture to say that this minifig is a better actor than the annoying, talentless hack who played him in the movie, but I digress.) The few round studs used for the stumps of his legs work perfectly.
On the other hand, all those flame pieces, while looking cool on their own, don't really suggest lava to me. It looks more like an explosion, or a small firestorm. Nice technique, but I think a little misplaced here. Unless I'm completely misremembering the movie, which is entirely possible. I may have been playing a different, much better movie in my head by that point, no longer able to bear the sight of poor Natalie Portman bravely plowing through the stilted dialogue foisted on her by that greedy and evil leprechaun, George Lucas... but again, I digress.
The bottom line is, you made a decent MOC. But it's a Star Wars MOC. And Star Wars MOCs don't win my contest. I need more originality. Thanks for playing anyway.
Jean-Marc Dussault - Mom kissing Santa Claus
A Christmas-themed vig released before Halloween. It seems to come earlier every year.
I could simply say that, for a variety of reasons, I have come to really dislike Christmas, to which you would shrug in resignation and think, "Well, there goes any chance I had of winning," at which point we'd move on to the next entry... but that would hardly be fair, would it?
Multi-level vignettes always seem to be fun. (Makes me wonder why I've never done one myself.) My favorite bit here is the rat and the skull between floors, reminds me of the Simpsons when they do a pan up or down through the house, and there's always something hidden in there. Also, the bed in the kid's room. At first I thought, what was he doing there, that looks all messed up. But then I thought, hey, my bed looks all messed up when I get out of it, too. I hope that's what you were going for. I'd never seen anyone attempt a messy bed in Lego before.
There appear to be some neat details on the bottom level, with the fireplace, the tree, the presents -- unfortunately we don't get a good look at any of them. A few more shots from different angles would be nice, and the lighting could be improved as well. I'm not a fan of the architecture, with the round studs sticking out everywhere. The walls on the second floor are a bit muddled as well, with a mix of standard bricks and the "log" ones and round 1x1's.
The Mommy kissing Santa thing has of course been done before, but the creepy Halloween vibe lurking throughout the MOC put a unique spin on it. You definitely have some great elements here, but unfortunately not enough to vault you to the top of the heap. Thanks for entering.
Lord J - Fishing
There's nothing at all bad here, it's just kind of boring.
The rocks are built well. The water effect is neat. There's just absolutely nothing else going on to grab our attention. This for instance, also in your Vignettes folder, is built on the same size base and has ten times the life and visual appeal. Now I'm not saying you need a battle going on around the fisherman, you just need some more details to bring the scene to life. A tacklebox, a crab or frog on the rocks, a bird, a tree, something. Maybe a cutaway in the rocks with some humorous action going on beneath his feet? Maybe a two-level MOC with a scene of something going on beneath the waterline?
By your own admission this was a quick build. Spending a little more time and thought on it definitely would have been in your best interest. Thanks for entering, but I just needed more from you.
Angryraccoon ! - Faceless Betty
Original, silly, and surreal. We're off to a good start.
Technically, according to the letter of the law, it's a diorama and should be disqualified. Six and two-thirds bricks height equals eight studs length, and your base is seven and two thirds bricks. Which does put it over 8x8, with four characters, and "Anything from 8x8 to 16x16 will have no more than two characters or significant events to be considered a vignette."
But I'll let it slide. I can and will strictly adhere to the letter of the law when it suits me to do so (just ask some of the rabble I banned from the contest group), but in this case it doesn't suit me. It would be like a cop pulling you over for doing 42 in a 40 -- technically he'd be in the right, but he'd also be a complete dick for doing it.
I like the idea of this weird faceless freak just innocently walking down the street, minding her own business, not hurting anyone, and yet people are so terrified they're leaping through windows to get away. My inner smartass does insist on asking how she gets around so well without a cane or seeing-eye dog, but we'll gloss over that. Like when a plotline anywhere invokes time travel -- don't think too deeply on it, just go with it.
The part where you mention not having any more screaming faces, but manage to work around it through careful positioning of the figs, is a little nugget of wisdom many MOCers would do well to pay heed to. It's not about having an unlimited supply of parts. It's about using what you do have, well.
A few things bug me, and one is the lighting. I don't know what you're using for light or how you're using it, but the MOC has a weird look. In consequence, there's a black thing on the floor inside the shop and I can't tell what it is. And then that crate inside the door. I appreciate your wanting something to occupy that corner of the MOC, but where it is now, people would be banging the door into it all day when they came into the shop. Finally, the multicolored wall. I'd prefer either a solid color here, or if you're going for a mottled brick look, mix up two or three different colors of small plates. As it is you're halfway between the two and it looks odd.
I'll repeat once again that I love the concept, but ultimately the build is just a little too simple to be a prizewinning entry. Little details like a sign on the wall outside the shop, or an awning above the door and window would have helped. If you could have managed some kind of broken glass effect for the person diving through the window, it would have been awesome. It's those things that separate good MOCs from great. Thanks for entering, but that fabulous prize will be going somewhere else.
Cody G - O, Fortuna
It has an almost Nannanesque vibe. And since I've been a big old Nannan Z. fanboy ever since I first stumbled upon MOCpages lo these several years ago, that is a good thing.
The bad thing is the same trouble so many of us have: trying to photograph black. It's just hard to see any details. Now, I will grant in this case that brighter lighting would significantly alter the feel of the MOC, and probably not for the better, so this is actually done about as well as you could hope. Nevertheless, I would have liked at least one pic where I could clearly see the base, the connections, and the structure they're climbing. Simply for purposes of judging technique, you understand. Normally I'm all for guarding your secrets like a magician.
As it is, the overall presentation is done extremely well, and the addition of the music adds just the right touch of tongue-in-cheek drama. The writeup was one of the few in either contest that made me laugh. I enjoyed this MOC immensely. However, in the end, I felt that the actual construction (just a bunch of minifigs on some steps, when you boil it down) was too simple to merit a win. Thanks for entering, but there will be no prize for you.
Tyler Evans - "Whodunit?"
A nice creation, but unfortunately titled. In dubbing it "Whodunit?" you essentially enter into a contract with your audience that promises an unfolding mystery, one which will be satisfactorily solved by story's end. We don't get that payoff. If it was a movie, we'd want our money back.
I am left wanting more. That is sometimes a compliment, but in this case it's absolutely a backhanded one, said more out of a sense of incompleteness in this MOC. We've got some good elements here, especially the guy cut in half by the door, nice and gory. Everyone loves Lego gore. We've got control panels and other futuristic doodads. So far, so good. But who or what is the guy on top shooting at? I liken it once again to a contract with the audience you've defaulted on -- like the monster movie that heightens the tension throughout the flick by never allowing you to clearly see the beast until the very end. The important thing is, before those credits roll, you've got to show the beast. Otherwise it's a ripoff.
Could you, in an 8x8 vignette, have found a way to show the enemy that in this MOC, forever lurks offstage? Probably. More challenging, obviously, but it could be done. However, I think this might have worked better if you had not worried about the footprint and instead expanded it into a full-scale diorama. Sometimes it's worthwhile to force your creation to adhere to some rigid guideline, whatever it may be, and other times it's best to just let the MOC run free and do what it wants. In this case I think it's the latter. I thank you for your entry, but can't award you the prize.
Recon Commander: Commander Reek - Bye Bye, Phil
For someone who used the word "Commander" not once, but TWICE in his online alias, let me just say how pleasantly surprised and relieved I was that you didn't enter a Clone Wars MOC.
A guy strapped into the electric chair and about to ride the lightning is a wonderful subject for a vignette, so the concept is great. The execution (pardon the pun)... not so much.
The wall with window is fine, since there is always a small gallery of witnesses to actual executions in state prisons, and that scared, sweating minifig face is the perfect, obvious choice here. But that is where any semblance of reality ends. You might want to do some research on how executions are conducted using Old Sparky, or at least make sure you include all the well-known clichés from TV and movies. The Chair is so infamously iconic that it needs to be done extremely well for a MOC featuring it to be successful. Most glaring omission: there should be a bowl or dish of some sort on the condemned man's head so they can shoot the current right into his brain. In addition to the helmet, the chair should also have arms so the condemned man's wrists can be strapped down to them. Not the easiest thing to do at that scale, I will admit, but it would be well worth the effort.
There would also be a doctor there whose job it is to confirm the death, along with at least one guard or cop. Probably a priest or minister, too. And if the executioner is standing next to one of those huge wall switches with the big lever to pull down, so much the better. Granted, adding every single one of those elements would make it too crowded for an 8x8 base, in which case you'd need to start thinking of expanding it into a diorama. But I think you could lose the wall, give yourself some more room, and put in a couple of them.
A strong concept is the foundation of any good vignette, and you definitely have that here. The build just didn't quite do it justice. Thanks for playing, but that prize will not be landing on your doorstep.
Mario man3138 - Colonel Mustard, with the Wrench, in the Library
At least he died with a smile on his face...
What struck me first about this MOC was that in using three studs worth of width to create the bookshelf, you only leave yourself five studs width in which to place the body (complete with blood spatter) and the murderer, which leaves you no room to add any other details on the floor. That is nicely solved by putting some knickknacks on top of the shelf, which not everyone would have thought of. It's a bit of an eclectic collection up there, but it's something.
I like that Colonel Mustard has epaulettes, nice touch there. In playing Clue as a kid, I pictured the Colonel as an old British Empire type, probably spending most of his life in India. I picture him with a monocle and pith helmet. The fedora here is not a bad choice, but a pith helmet would have been better.
Other than that, I once again have to state my preference for studless floors (and tops of bookshelves), and also state my preference for positioning dead minifigs facedown. While it is possible to die smiling, it usually doesn't occur when getting clobbered with a wrench.
It delivers what it promises: the killer, the murder weapon, and the victim. It's a nice MOC on its own, and the setting doesn't really call for a lot of tricky techniques being necessary anyway. As you say yourself, it is a simple build -- just a bit too simple to be a contest winner. But thanks for entering.
Ribbits M - Skyshark Warning Pamphlet
Bonus points for building the first ever MOC on the subject of skysharks!
Concept: A triple-plus. As for the build...
You already know I have to take you to task on that balloon. All the helium would escape through those numerous gaps, and it would quickly become a landshark. A bit more finagling to tighten up that sphere was definitely needed.
Aside from that, there are two problems I have with the MOC. One is that the two gawkers are wearing regular civilian clothes, and the two people running seem to be wearing stormtrooper outfits for some reason. The other is more a personal preference thing, and involves the suspension of the balloon with those clear rods.
The use of various clear pieces to depict flying or floating objects is a venerable tradition, but I've never liked it. When I've had to use them I preferred to hide them as much as possible, through carefully chosen camera angles and various build trickery. Your use of them here is especially problematic because of the gray plate you have holding two of them together, which pretty much shatters any illusion of invisibility. To my mind, a better solution would have been to have a few clear bricks underneath the shark, and have the balloon supported by a long rod or technic axle fixed to the shark's back. It would take some trial and error to get it all to balance properly, but it would look much cleaner.
Great concept, just not quite there on the build. Thanks for playing, but that Lego set will be going elsewhere.
legorevolution . - Robo-Snowman
It took me a while to pin down what was bothering me about this MOC, because on the whole, it's a nice little scene. Good trees, great snowman (love the rubber band hatband), well-chosen minifig faces. I'd personally go with trans-blue or -clear tiles for the ice rather than the trans-black, but whatever. Not a big deal. And yet, something was off...
Finally, it hit me. It's the short legs on the girl.
Obviously you wanted to make it clear to the viewer that these are children, and the only sure way to do that is to use the short legs. The problem is, there is no poseability with those legs. This is an element that's somewhat out of your control, since Lego couldn't or wouldn't put a hinge in that piece. The girl should be running away, and yet there she is with both feet rooted to the ground. We lose all sense of the movement that we know should be there.
It's a small thing, but at the same time it's also a very big thing. Picture the characters with normal minifig legs, so that the girl was caught in the act of running: leaning slightly forward, one foot attached to a stud on the ground, one kicked out a little behind. And the boy: maybe he's leaning back slightly at the waist, legs tweaked a bit so they're not directly side by side, caught in the act of a delighted chortle. Suddenly a scene that looks oddly static is full of movement.
Thanks for entering, but I can't give you the prize.
Lucas Wyatt - AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Gratuitous punctuation aside, let's take a look at the MOC here, shall we?
A little backstory would be helpful here. Why is the hardsuit smashing through the wall? I thought that the guy screaming was just a regular civilian, which makes it even more puzzling, but upon close inspection he might be wearing some kind of uniform and have a gun on his hip. The contrast in these pics is turned way up or something, so it's hard to tell.
I'm somewhat out of my element trying to critique the suit itself, but here goes: It certainly looks menacing, which is the most important thing. If it's supposed to be something the guy is wearing, it is too skinny in the torso, but I can live with that. I'm perfectly happy thinking of him as a cyborg, regardless of what you call it. But those round gray studs on the inner ankle area look awkward -- like they'd bang into each other and trip him up when he tried to walk. The best part for me was trying to figure out how you attached the minifig legs used as the arms. The pegs of minifig hands stuck in the pinholes of the legs? Genius. I don't know if you came up with that connection yourself or borrowed it from somewhere, but I'd never seen that before so you got the benefit of my being impressed.
Convincing destruction can be hard to pull off in Lego, and I think you've got a nice hole in the wall here. I'm trying to figure out what the wall would have looked like before the hardsuit came busting through like the Kool-Aid Man, though. ("Oh yeah!" Do the kids out there even know what I'm talking about, or am I just showing my age?) On one side you have mostly grill tiles but on the other there's a couple of 2x2 regular tiles. I'd have liked to have seen some consistency.
The back side of the vig is where I have the biggest nitpick. It doesn't look like it's meant to be viewed from that angle at all. My guess is you're just showing the rear of the hardsuit, and that's fine -- but I'd rather see detail shots of the suit by itself, as in the final picture where it's just the two guys, and no setting. As it is, with the base extending back that far (only so the suit's back foot has something to stand on, I assume) it suggests that he's coming through from another room, but those technic bricks with blue pins don't really look like any kind of proper wall. There's also a bit of unutilized floorspace back there. I would move the wall back, which would give you a bit more room to add a detail or two to the room being invaded -- a piece of furniture or equipment or a cat or something.
Great concept -- just needed a few tweaks to make it a true contender. Thanks for entering, but the prize goes elsewhere.
Nitrosity The CyborgNinja - Burn the megabloks
I'd love to chide you for owning Megabloks at all, but I do realize that what family members get for you is largely out of your control. "They're all the same, right?" non-Lego people say, while we Faithful cringe...
It would have been great if the offending clone bricks had been a bit melted, but I'm not going to take points away from you for NOT playing with fire. I'll just applaud the concept.
The pyre is well done, and your guys look cool (even if they are wearing dresses). I wonder about putting them underground, though. Are they in Megablok-land? Do they have to perform these grim rites in secret? The aboveground level, while a fine bit of landscaping, doesn't add anything. You missed out on an opportunity for a whole other dimension to be added to your MOC. Maybe someone is up there blissfully playing with Megabloks, completely unaware of what lurks beneath him. Or a couple of people are walking along, discussing the mysterious disappearance of Megabloks all over the kingdom. You get the idea.
Solid effort, just needed a bit more to put it over the top. Thanks for entering, but I won't be sending you any Lego to replace those imposter bricks.
JD Luse - Flying High
Oh no... here we go now...
First off, I have to question the likelihood of an Iraqi being named "Ramon." And what are you doing referencing Ozzy and Kurt when you should be ripping off Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride?"
Okay, the build, which is what I'm supposed to be paying attention to: it's quite simple, as it should be. It's not a concept that requires a lot of tricky construction, just a few well-chosen pieces, properly placed, skillfully photographed. It does what it needs to -- the forced perspective works brilliantly.
I would probably give most anyone else a pass on the scene below, but with your proven history of brilliant microcitying skills, I'd expect a bit more. Rather than a few scattered structures I'd have liked to see one detailed mosque with minarets, something along those lines. As it is I'm not sure if what you do have successfully evokes the Middle East because it would anyway, or because we know that's what it's supposed to evoke because of the turbaned guy on a magic carpet.
An original entry, which is all to the good, but I've got the bar set pretty high for you. In the end it just seemed a bit light buildwise to be a true contender. But thanks for entering.
Stuart Delahay - Scuba Claus
MORE Christmas themed stuff? That's what I get for hosting a contest in December, I guess.
It's original, I'll give you that. Nothing wrong with a little weirdness, except it's just weird enough that at first glance I didn't fully get it. I thought Santa had ridden the bike down there to deliver the gift. Now, I can wrap my mind around Santa Claus donning scuba gear to deliver gifts to merpeople, but why the bike? It's no stranger than flying reindeer when you get right down to it, but still. I think the misconception arose because he's holding onto the handlebars, and the back of the bike faces the mermaid. When you hand something off to a recipient, you generally want to give it to them handle first. Or maybe I'm the only one who didn't get it, and should shut up now?
I like the sedimentary layers beneath the seafloor, and the fish-suspending technique is quite clever, as others have pointed out. I also like the idea of the crab in place of the bow on the small gift, but am slightly bothered that it is a different color than the ribbon.
Overall, I don't know that the scene is quite Christmasy enough. Without the title, is the holiday reference clear? It could just be some lonely scuba diver fruitlessly trying to buy the mermaid's affection with poorly-chosen gifts. If possible, some kind of underwater Christmas tree (Christmas kelp?) would have been great. To make it perfectly clear, Santa could have an underwater sleigh pulled by a dolphin/shark/octopus/whatever. I will readily admit that it would have been difficult to fit that into a vignette, though.
A nice vig, good for a chuckle... but not quite what I was looking for in my contest winner. Thanks for playing, but Shannon Claus will be delivering that Lego set to some other good little boy.
Nick Jensen - Master Chef
I used to feel that Halo Lego was the bane of MOCpages' existence... and then came the Clone Wars. Kind of how George W. Bush made me feel about Bill Clinton, you know? Suddenly ol' Mastr Cheef didn't seem so bad anymore.
Don't get me wrong, I still find him objectionable -- just not as much as I used to. I can't stand the Brickforge or Megabloks or whatever it is Master Chef you've got here, but then again, I never much liked purist versions either. Your saving grace is a willingness to poke fun at him. It always seemed to me that so many Halo kiddies worshipped their CG hero with a humorless fanaticism (which, in retrospect, pales in comparison to the devotion of the clone kiddies to their chosen idols).
Anyway. Your kitchen is brilliant. The vent hood above the stove immediately caught my eye as a nice touch, and upon closer inspection, I found the knife block to be a thing of genius. My one nitpick is the lack of cupboards above the counter and to the left of the stove. You've got some drawers on the right, but there aren't any other visible handles anywhere else, so it ends up looking like plain bare wall.
I enjoyed this MOC very much. However, the use of non-Lego elements in such a starring role deeply offends my purist sensibilities (which I hold to with a humorless fanaticism). Even if it had been my absolute favorite vig of the contest I still could not have given it the win, solely for that reason.
Nice job (for a filthy, non-Lego using heretic!), and thanks for entering.
Mark Legorski - The Proposal
Aw, how sweet -- excuse me while I throw up. But seriously, folks...
A nice simple scene, depicting that first step towards divorce. Simple is not a bad thing, and indeed is generally preferable to working in tricky techniques for their own sake, but in a contest with this many entrants it tends not to produce winners. Not to say it fails as a MOC -- it does a fine job of delivering what it promises. It just doesn't have that wow factor I was looking for.
The little tree and park bench are rendered nicely. (Maybe I'll run a tree-building contest someday, since over the course of judging all these entries, so many people seem to struggle with them.) I appreciate what you were trying to do with the overhanging lamp post, but those gray clips look out of place on the white structure. I would personally prefer a clear jewel piece or a clear 1x1 round stud to depict a diamond, but the gold one you used is probably the next best option. I do think you missed an opportunity to work in a tricky technique that would have been very appropriate here: somehow having the guy down on one knee as he pops the immortal question, "Will you take half my stuff someday?"
One last quibble I have is that it could have been lit a bit better. Especially with so many dark colors used in the MOC, a lot of it is plunged in shadow.
A good vignette, no question. But I wanted great. Thanks for playing, but the prize goes elsewhere.
Ethan M. - Foiled!
And I'd have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for you meddling kids!
The build appears to be your average generic near-future section of corridor in a base or bunker. Not bad in and of itself, but one problem is that since it is fairly generic, I don't get a sense of exactly why two sets of thieves would be breaking in simultaneously. Is it a vault? Are they after money or treasure? Sensitive documents pertaining to national security? Vials filled with a deadly strain of super-tuberculosis to sell to rogue states? Something else?
I also do not see a sense of purpose in the two lowermost characters. What I mean is, the guys in the orange jumpsuits are there to break in through a hole in the ceiling. The agents are there to stop them. The guys down below are already inside, and they ostensibly have a mission, but since they're just in some random corridor, their only purpose here seems to be to stand there like idiots so someone can snatch their guns out of their hands.
To put it another way, let's say that instead of the generic corridor we had some sort of vault. Maybe they'd gotten it open and were halfway through loading up the cash or jewels or whatever when the guy pops down from the ceiling and goes, "yoink!" If they are interrupted in the process of doing whatever they were there to do, they start to become interesting characters instead of simple props for a gag.
The convergence of two sets of thieves and the authorities in one spot is a good start to a MOC. That is a rich vein to mine. I'm not sure you fully grasped what you had here, conceptually. This isn't so much a bad build as the wrong one, if that makes sense. What could be a riotous farcical adventure is lost in some nondescript corridor.
This proves you've got the skills to produce some high-quality work. And this -- you understood instinctively that it needed no words. The message is perfectly clear from the title and build alone. You don't have a lot in your portfolio yet, but what is beginning to emerge is enough to convince me that Foiled! was something of an off day. Thanks for entering, and I look forward to great things from you in the future.
Topsy Cret - Space or Water?
I think "muddled" is the term I want here. Not only am I not sure where you were going with this, you didn't seem to have a clear idea yourself.
In judging these entries I've tried whenever possible to focus on the build itself while ignoring any commentary. In this case I have to resort to your opening description as a major component of the MOC to make any sense of what I'm seeing at all.
Your two concepts just don't mesh here. The idea of looking at the exterior of some base and not being able to tell whether it's in space or underwater is a good one. The junkyard of broken Lego is something I have seen before, but not so recently and so often that your take on it would be as tiresome as yet another custom clone. Two concepts that, each on their own, are fodder for a good MOC. Jumbled together, the whole is less than the sum of its parts.
As far as the build goes, the outside is pretty boring. Rather than just a bare plate, you need some kind of ambiguous plant life that could be aquatic or alien. Some designs or greebles to liven up that blank gray wall would help too. Up top it's more interesting visually, but rather incoherent. I'm all for piping, but the piping should look like it does something. You have one that makes a hairpin turn for no apparent reason and then spirals back in on itself, the other terminates in two cones connected directly to each other. I think the pipes would work much better if they were coming out of the ground and went along and then into the wall, or into some machinery on top. This would both alleviate the bareness I talked about, and give the pipes a sense of purpose.
Inside is better, some nifty SNOTwork on the lettering, and the row of Exo-Force robot legs looks neat, although it doesn't seem to have any relation to anything else. The floor, sad to say, does not score you additional points for two reasons: it's black and hard to see the technique in the dimness, and the jagged ends of the floor need to be covered up for it to really work well. Nice try, though! Another thing that strikes me as somewhat odd: no minifigs. No characters of any kind, be they human, alien, or animal.
The bottom line is, this looks extremely jumbled and rushed. The fact that this was uploaded scant hours before the contest ended would tend to confirm this impression. I appreciate that you wanted to enter my contest, but this was not your finest hour. We need only look at the two MOCs you posted immediately preceding this (here, and here) to see that you're capable of much better. Thanks for entering, but I can't give you the prize.
(Final note: Any entrant who wants to receive clarification, rebut, or respond to my review of your work, please don't do it in the comments here -- let's do that in the Vig/orama group.)