Antique (ca 2013) musical instruments

Antique (ca 2013) musical instruments

I went to look for the blog posts where I showed off the instruments I built back in summer 2013 and discovered there were no such posts. Some pictures in progress but none of the completed objects. Bad blogger! Bad!

So, okay, here they are: One diddley bow, and one fretless 3-string cigar box guitar. Nothing objectively notable about either, but I enjoyed making them. And no, I still haven’t gotten around to learning to play them, so they hang on the wall. Someday maybe.

Also someday maybe I’ll get back to the fretted cigar box guitar I started building not long thereafter, and never got very far with.

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Rey’s speeder (part 6)

Rey’s speeder (part 6)

New Year’s weekend I went ahead and built my version of Rey’s speeder, except I was missing a couple of parts, so it sat not-quite-complete for a few days. But the parts have now arrived and here it is.img_1909 img_1915

For those tuning in late, this looks a lot like the official LEGO set, and indeed significant chunks of it are carried over (mostly) unaltered from that — the front end, top surface, control panel, and lower engine specifically. But in fact, although my original intention was just to tweak the set to bring it better in line with the movie version, I ended up largely redesigning it. The bottom, side panels, interior structure, upper engine, and seat/fin mount are completely redone. The body is one unit longer than before, to bring it closer to scale. The front grille is black. The uncanonical stud shooters are replaced by something more like the movie version’s “directional steering exhaust nozzles”. I reused some of the kit’s stickers, but not the bright orange ones on the body; instead I did brick-built dark orange stripes. The sides don’t bulge out as far, and don’t hinge. A net full of “junk” replaces the kit’s clip-on tools. And of course the whole thing hovers is propped up above the desert sand.img_1910

There are no studs on the seat to keep a minifig Rey in place, but that’s because, at approximately 1/19 scale, this thing is just too large for minifig Rey. Her staff, clipped above the net, is lengthened to something more like correct scale, but lengthening Rey is more problematic. She can pose in the foreground of a photograph, but that’s about it. Sorry, Rey!img_1916


Rey’s speeder (part 5)

Rey’s speeder (part 5)

So much for a few design tweaks.

Here’s what I have so far for a 1/19 (4 studs wide) speeder. 4-wide 4-wide-2 4-wide-3The top and front of the body, the bottom engine, and the controls are largely unchanged from the kit. The interior, bottom, and sides of the body, the top engine, and the saddle mounting are all completely different. The body’s one stud longer than the original, to get it closer to scale length. I did reuse the 4×4 wedge panel on the sides, which do not hinge. There are no provisions at all for opening up the body — there wasn’t really room inside for even the suggestion of engines to look at.

There’s a couple of holders where a net can be attached to the left side (but not in LDD), and they can be used to clip Rey’s staff to the speeder too — a staff which also got redesigned, since the minifig scale staff was too small for this model.

I did change the front grille to black (not that all the colors here are what I would use in a physical build). No oval rim though. The stud shooters have reverted to “directional steering exhaust nozzles”, executed similarly, I think, to Andrew Becraft’s model.

If I know me I’ll probably fiddle with this a bit more, but unless I find a serious fundamental flaw, which is entirely possible, I don’t think I’ll make any major changes. As for building it, well, not very soon, but maybe after Christmas I will.

Rey’s speeder (part 4)

Rey’s speeder (part 4)

I spent a ridiculous amount of time in LDD yesterday. Because I am an adult.

I worked out that a scale of about 1/25, basically the largest you can go with proper scaling and still claim minifig scale, corresponds to a body width for the speeder of 3 studs. No one in their right mind would design a 3 stud wide speeder, though.

And yet here we are.

3-wide 3-wide-2 3-wide-3I tried in several places to carry over stuff from the LEGO kit design only to find reasons why it wouldn’t work well, so this ended up being basically 100% new design. It came out looking better than I was expecting; I’m not sure how well the build would work mechanically, though. (I have a suspicion the whole nose would be likely to fall off if you looked at it funny.) I’m pleased with the brick built orange stripes, which add a lot to the otherwise slablike body. There’s no net, or provisions for anchoring a net, but that’d be easy.

But I don’t think I’ll be building this.

It was educational, trying to work within a 3 stud width. My feeling, though, is that a modified version of the LEGO kit would look considerably better, with nicer details, even though at 1/19 it’s really too big for minifig scale.

Then there’s 2 stud width, 1/37, firmly within and not at the edges of minifig scale range. That’d really look like a bare, square slab, though. Unless I… NO. I AM NOT GOING THERE. Today.


Rey’s speeder (part 3)

I hadn’t realized until I overlaid the LEGO model on a schematic of the “real” speeder how out of whack the scale is:speeder-compareAdjusting to make the heights the same, and disregarding the spurious stud shooter pods, the engines on the LEGO kit are too fat but not by a lot, and the bottom one’s too low but not by a lot, and there’s not much one can do about either. The body width side to side is too large, but mainly on the wedge shaped plates that form the front halves of the side panels; they form the widest part of the body, whereas they really should be recessed a little. Otherwise the body could stand to be a stud narrower, maybe, but that would really make for a design mess. Or of course the other dimensions could be increased a little, but it’s already near the limits of minifig scale.

The real problem is the body length. Much too short.

In the kit the stabilizing fins (which, trust a model rocketeer on this, would not do much of anything to stabilize this thing) are too far from the engines. Oh, by the way, you can’t see the fins on the LEGO drawing because I imported the LDD file into BrickSmith to get these straight-on side, front, and top views (LDD seems to allow only perspective views), and the LDraw database doesn’t include that part. But you can see the brackets they clip into, and they themselves are beyond where the fins in the schematic are.

One other amusing discrepancy is the saddle, which is too far back. Presumably the reason for this is that the Rey minifig can’t sit on the smooth-surfaced saddle, so instead it goes on the (lengthened) studded surface in front of it. I am not sure what to do about that: having the minifig ride the speeder is problematic in all sorts of ways, but giving that up seems wrong.

The bottom engine can stay as it is, except to get rid of the spurious blue stud. The top one, well, there isn’t an engine really, just a nozzle at the back. Can that be improved? And in the process bring the fins in at least a little?

As for the body, it certainly needs lengthening, which means the side panels need re-designing and maybe correcting their height profile is possible.

… and if the body is lengthened then the argument that the size is within minifig scale limits gets a little less defensible. Sigh.

Wait, when did this little toy turn into such an involved project? I was just going to tweak the kit a little…



Rey’s speeder (part 2)

Rey’s speeder (part 2)


Prior experience with LEGO Digital Designer led me to expect significant trouble with trying to build the speeder digitally. In fact there were very few problems — some pieces (notably the fins) unavailable in the right colors, and some (notably the stud shooters) unavailable at all. So I made a few substitutions. I left off the tools hanging off the side and the stuff stowed inside, and the minifigs of course. I mounted the whole thing on a stand to elevate it. Ta daa. Now I can work on digital mods.speederspeeder2

Rey’s speeder

Rey’s speeder

The local hobby store had a sale last weekend and I couldn’t resist this:img_1891

(Yes, that piece toward the back wasn’t seated properly, and I didn’t notice until I saw this picture.)

I kind of like this set, but on the other hand, I kind of want to redo it a little more faithfully to the movie. For one thing Rey’s speeder doesn’t have tools clipped to the side, it has salvaged junk hanging in a net:[<oz>PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE STAND SUPPORTING THE SPEEDER</oz>]

The model’s sides open up to reveal storage space:2016-11-20-11-01-48But canonically… that’s not storage space.And somehow the “directional steering exhaust nozzles” have turned into stud shooters.

Okay, I get it — first of all, the LEGO model probably was based on very limited pre-release movie information, and second of all, it was designed and marketed as a play toy. Not saying they made bad design choices. Just that different choices would be nice.

Some other builders have complained the model is too large compared to the minifig Rey. Of course this gets into the whole question of what minifig scale really is… given the wide/squat proportions of a minifig, Tom Alphin comes up with either 1/25 or 1/42. Rey’s speeder is said to be 3.73 meters long so minifig scale probably should be between 9 and 15 cm. It’s actually about 14 cm, so somewhat defensible. But the 1/25 scale is based on minifig width, not length, and in this context length is arguably more important.

On the other hand, there’s no way a minifig looks like a scale-accurate Rey, so trying to have it reach the pedals is perhaps a misguided effort.

Other people have had similar thoughts. Here’s Andrew Becraft of the Brothers Brick with his take:

Which is not bad. Not a really big departure from the original design; it addresses most of the problems noted above. He’s also particularly pleased with the black oval rim around the grill, seen in the moviebut not present in the LEGO kit. I’m less easily pleased. I find it too prominent and distracting. Actually part of the problem is the light grey, instead of black, grill. Maybe the rim would look better if the grill were black. Maybe not.

Here’s one by Stuart Lucas:

This actually was built before the movie was released, based on the trailer. Looks to me about the same length as the LEGO set, but narrower side to side.

Obi-Jon built this one before the movie release, too, though it looks like he got the Rey minifig from the LEGO set. Definitely shorter and much narrower. Much too narrow, in fact.

Along similar lines, post-movie release, is one by Hannah Chen of KJ Lego Microbuilds:

It looks like DarthTwoShedsJackson built his from parts out of the LEGO kit, or at least using some of the same parts the LEGO kit did (and the minifig):

I get where these smaller scale speeders are coming from. In particular DTSJ’s, at least from that angle, makes it look like Rey is actually riding the thing rather than just sitting on top of it. (Though in a direct side view it appears the top engine is going right through Rey’s body — minifig legs are not made for straddling.) Still, I’m not sold. Reduced to such a small size the whole thing starts to turn into a featureless, squared-off oblong block; at the point when the speeder becomes less visually interesting than the minifig, I think you’ve lost too much.

Nick Chen’s version definitely takes the “small is beautiful” idea too far:(Seriously, though, that seems to be one of a large set of LEGO Star Wars figures wearing their ships as costumes, and you should click through and enjoy all of them.)

In the other direction, at least two larger scale models have been submitted to Lego Ideas. This one is by JiHyun Jyoo:It didn’t get a lot of support and frankly I can see why. Too bristly, lots of edges where the original had smooth surfaces. No net, instead tools clipped to the side. And why the generic minifigs for a non minifig scale object? Misguided. Aside from that, it’s a beautiful piece of work on its own, but it just doesn’t represent the original very well.

I like Robert Lundmark’s better.That one pretty much nails what a larger scale speeder ought to be, I think. No minifig of course. A minifig on this would look like a Jawa on a Wookiee ship.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been looking at, while I’m sort of kind of thinking of a version along similar lines to Becraft’s. But with a black grill, probably no oval rim but maybe; consider his post-build idea to “brick-build the orange striping in dark orange instead of bright orange”; some possible mods to the cockpit and engines. Probably a support system similar to Lundmark’s. And if (IF!!) the right side, or perhaps the top, could be detachable (rather than hinged) to reveal an interior suggesting the above cutaway diagram that’d be gravy.


30 days of slack

I just realized it’s June, which used to be 30 Days of Creativity month. I took part in that the past four years, but last year the whole thing seemed to sputter into nothingness — not for me personally, I did my 30 days, but the organizers seemed to do a vanishing act and nothing much appeared online.

So what about this year? I don’t need a whole social movement to enable me to do it. On the other hand… the interaction does help.

And currently, what I’m most interested in creating is rockets, and that’s happening, if not every day, then a lot of days.

So… no. Not this year. I’ll make some cool things this month, and every month I can, but I’m taking a year off from the 30 Days Of thing.


Six for six (kind of)

Cool Things August 2013

Five of my six rocket launches today, five during the daylight portion of the Syracuse Rocket Club launch and one during the night launch. Clockwise from top left: FlisKits Caution! Rocket Launch in Progress! (my first cardstock rocket); Estes Loadstar II (sustainer stage only); Rocketarium Retro Rebel (my first odd-roc); Loadstar II (sustainer; my first night launch); and Loadstar II (my first 2 stage flight). (I didn’t capture the Edmonds Deltie boost glider flight during the day.) Some parachute problems on the Retro Rebel and final Loadstar II flights but all were recovered undamaged.