Author Archive

Essay: Building The Kraken!

Friday, September 4th, 2009

For as long as ships sailed the oceans, legends of collosal squid, large enough to drag ships to the bottom of the ocean, have existed. Similarly, for as long as LEGO fans have built ships, they have built creatures to battle with them - sea serpents, giant squid, sharks and other monstrosities. But most common by far is the Kraken, often inspired by popular fiction, such as the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

The smooth, aquadynamic form of the Kraken, in particular the tentacles, poses a difficult problem when building with cuboid bricks. However, as the parts palette available to builders expands, the problem becomes easier to solve.

The simplest solution to the Kraken is provided by The LEGO Group themselves - an octopus. Although far smaller than most giant squid are imagined, when used with a smallish vessel, they offer a quick and easy solution, such as in 6240 Kraken Attackin' -

Click to visit The Brickster's review in the Pirate Forum

It is perhaps more effective when used in conjunction with a microscale ship, such as in Paul Cantu's MOC -

Click to visit more photos of Paul Cantu's MOC

For those wanting a larger Kraken capable of mauling full-size ships, a brick-built alternative is necessary. The tentacles pose the greatest problem to builders, and a number of methods have evolved so far.

Again, the most wide-spread solution comes directly from LEGO themselves, in the form of the "tentacle system" - that is, the various parts that can be fitted together and posed to form tentacles, tails, trunks and the like. First released in 2001, it wasn't long before a giant squid appeared in a set, namely 4796 Ogel Mutant Squid -

Click to find out more about 4796 Ogel Mutant Squid on Bricklink

A slightly more realistic squid came in 7775 Aquabase Invasion as part of the Aquaraiders theme in 2007, which soon became the basis for most brick-built squid -

Click to read Hinckley's review of 7775 Aquabase Invasion

However, given the Kraken's propensity to remain underwater, the body is often left un-built, and just the tentacles represented, such as in Hippotam's MOC, the Last Journey -

Click to see more of Hippotam's MOC on Brickshelf

The length of tentacles that can be obtained using the "tentacle system" is, however, limited, and so other methods must be used if a larger Kraken is wanted.
The use of hinge bricks and plates allows for greater posing than using the "tentacle system", although it can be blockier. However, it allows for the use of 1x1 round plates to be used as suckers, such as in Josh Morris' MOC, Bones and Calamari -

Click to see more of Josh's MOC in the Pirate Forum

Entirely brick-built tentacles have also been experimented with, such as in Indy Ram's MOC -

Click to see more of Indy Ram's MOC

There have also been attempts to integrate the "tentacle system" with brick-built extensions, such as Paul Brassington's MOC -

Click to see more of Paul Brassington's MOC on Brickshelf

Other less conventional techniques are emerging, for example SirNadroj's use of Creator monkey tails -

Click to see more of SirNadroj's octopus

Other methods of tentacle-building out there, which haven't yet been applied to the building of giant squid, include the use of inverted rubber tyres, which gained prominence through the Black Fantasy genre, such as this MOC by Lt. De Martinet - imagine 8 of these on a collosal body!

Click to see more of Lt. De Martinet's tentacle

10192 Space Skulls comes with enough black cylinder-hinges for nearly 2 giant squid!

Click to read Dunamis' review of 10192 Space Skulls on Eurobricks

The body is another problem for MOCers. It is commonly solved by brick-building or using slopes, as seen in examples above, or by using larger pre-fabricated curved elements, such as in Rod Gillies' Calamari Calamity -

Click to see more of Rod Gillies' MOC

However, it remains simpler and perhaps more effective to leave the body underwater, and just build the tentacles.

N.B. Although there are notable differences between giant squid, octopi and various renditions of the Kraken, for the purposes of this essay, they are all included as one and the same thing.

Update! It looks like the new Atlantis line comes with 2 different Kraken, one which appears to have a new tentacle piece! See more here

Look out for Building Sea Serpents soon!

Redcoat vs Bluecoat Tournament

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Redcoat vs Bluecoat Tournament

The sparring of Redcoat and Bluecoat fans that has engulfed the Pirate Forum in recent weeks has reached a climax: Lead by Commodore Hornbricker and Martin Super respectively, the two opposing factions will march to war! Each team will produce a variety of vignettes depicting utter slaughter, torture and humiliation of their opponents, to be decided by public vote, until one team emerges victorious!

Enlist in the tournament now!

If you're feeling a little more civilised, why not simply throw slander at the enemy in the Redcoats vs Bluecoats thread?
Or are you curious as to who each faction represents? Join the discussion in the Pirate forum now!

3840 Pirate Code: Now available

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

3840 Pirate Code Box

As part of their new LEGO Games line-up, we pirates get our own! It is also available from LEGO Shop in the UK for £16.65, although not so for the rest of the world, at present. A few copies have shown up on Bricklink in the past few days.

Who can be the most cunning pirate of them all? Guess the other players’ secret codes before they discover yours and become the pirate captain. A game of logic and luck, secrets and treasures for 2 to 4 players. Game play approximately 15-25 minutes.

The single minifig and lack of new parts (unlike in the other LEGO Games sets) is somewhat disappointing, but the parts-to-price ratio and abundance of jewels make up for this. Worth noting are the old-style skeleton arms on the pirate, something not seen since the Aqua-Raiders line in 2007.

Read more about 3840 Pirate Code and the other new LEGO Games in the Eurobricks forums

RTN LNA goes to Brickworld!

Friday, July 3rd, 2009
RTN LNA's fleet at Brickworld 2009

RTN LNA's fleet at Brickworld 2009

Veteran ship MOCer Kurt Baty, better known as Republic of Texas Navy LEGO Naval Architect, took his fleet (and numerous other MOCs) to Brickworld last month, and the display sure is a sight to behold! Furthermore, the RTS Zavala was nominated for, and won, the prestigious Brickworld 2009 Best Sea Craft Award.

Be sure to congratulate Kurt on his Brickworld display in the Pirate forum, or find more out about his ships here

Brickforge Scourge

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

Click to see more in the Eurobricks forum

Once again, Brickforge Apprentice Houndblower brings us news of an upcoming product, premiering at Brickworld this weekend. A scourge, or many-thonged whip, is another unsolved problem for MOCers - to use the official LEGO whip, be it unrealistic with the hooped end, or go with a custom string assembly? The recent Indiana Jones whip provided a solution, but its curled-up nature proved problematic for action posing. Now Imperials can flog unworthy recruits, and pirates torture their prisoners, all in true Brickforge style.

Read more in the Eurobricks forum

Bluecoats? Next wave of Pirates?

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Blue Coat's Set to return?

Classic-Pirates.com members Emperor Claudius Rome and Dr Steve bring us news of the appearance of Bluecoats, Caribbean Clippers and Islanders in the upcoming LEGO Battles Game for Nintendo DS, leading to mass-speculation about the future of the Pirate line. The majority seem to wish for Bluecoats to replace the current Redcoats, whilst the appearance of other obsolete themes, such as Mars Mission and Ninja, cause scepticism in others. The matter is complicated further as the governor from the current Pirate line (pictured above, front), is named Broadside in the game, taking the name - and hat - of his forebear...

Join the discussion - and confusion - in the Pirate forum

Meanwhile, general speculation about future sets and their release dates continues:

When will the new sets be released? We already have news of the LEGO Pirate Advent Calender to be released in November, but that doesn't seem to satisfy everyone. Join the debate!

What do you want to see as new sets? Pure wishful thinking - but Eurobricks members have been right in the past! What's your dream set?

The return of the morion (Armada helmet) in recent Indiana Jones sets has sparked discussion over a return of the Armada Soldiers. The return of the cutlass piece in an Indiana Jones set preceded the return of the Pirate line - so why not? Share your opinion in the Pirate forum.

Upcoming Brickforge Products

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Houndblower brings us news of the new Brickforge prodcuts that will be debuting at Brickworld later this week. Amongst them are a set of reins, a gunbelt and a surcoat with a sword-loop.

Click to see more in the Eurobricks forums

The reins are a great add-on for the commanders of the great armies of the Pirate Forum - you need no longer worry about elastic bands or string to control your horse! Furthermore, as the reins fit over both types of horse head armour, we could be seeing some heavily-armed mounted troops in the near future too. Other uses will be sure to turn up too - a hangman's noose, anyone?

The surcoats also solve a dilemma for MOCers, who used to have to choose between a minifig neck bracket and 1x1 clip or an elastic band to hold their troops' cutlasses in place.

If those aren't to your taste, then the gunbelt provides a less bulky alternative, without the leg-flaps. Pistols, knives and scimitars should all find their place on minifigs' hips, perhaps with a little modification, if necessary.

Click to discuss these new Brickforge products in the Eurobricks forum

Brickforge announces new Islander weapons

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Among Brickforge's new additions to their range of customs are a primitive spear and adze - great for variety in any Islander army. The new designs also helps differentiate between Incas, Mayas and Aztecs etc. and the Polynesian Islanders from the Lego sets.

Oonga-boonga-oonga-boonga-oonga-boonga-oo-oo!

Oonga-boonga-oonga-boonga-oonga-boonga-oo-oo!

Dicuss these new Brickforge tribal weapons in the forums, or head over there and get yourself some tribal spears or tribal swords!



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