two thousand and twelve in review

Monday, December 31, 2012

My New Year's Eve tradition (all the way back to 2006) is to do the blog review meme...

The first sentence of the first blog post for each month of 2012...

It's perhaps a little less informative than in previous years if only because a number of the posts are either template changes or Random Hotness posts...

But that's okay... it seems like it was something of a reduced year on the blog this year anyway.

January: I have to say that last night didn't really feel properly like New Years Eve... and today really didn't feel like the beginning of a new year when I woke up this morning, although it's starting to feel a little more like that now.

February: I have no idea who this week's toned little blonde Random Hotness is... but I'm running a little behind schedule with everything this evening... I still need to finish drying the dishes and make sure everything is organised for the morning.

March: Would you believe that the Autumnal template photo was snapped in the entrance to Sportsgirl on Bourke Street Mall in Melbourne?

April: Having a photo of Lego minifigures on your desktop at work isn't a good way to distract yourself from the fact you have a parcel full of new minifigures in your bag that you'll have to wait until you get home before you can open.

May: First off... Joss Muthafuckin Whedon!

June: I realised yesterday when I went to Myer to buy two Lego Star Wars sets that my recent reconversion to an Adult Fan of Lego (or AFOL as they're sometimes called) is pretty much complete.

July: This hasn't been an especially good week for me so far...

August: I'm going all moody black and white for this week's Random Hotness with these photos taken by photographer Daniel Jaems during London Fashion Week.

September: It's time for a little bit of Spring green around the joint...

October: There are two types of time travel movies... ones where everything happens in the order it was always meant to happen and always has happened that way... and the other kind where new things can happen based on what happens right now.

November: I decided that today's Random Hotness needed to be something at least vaguely Halloween related... and what's the main thing about Halloween, after the scary stuff and the candy... costumes!

December: Yes, okay... so my descent into Lego related madness would seem to be complete... the Summer template is nothing but Lego accessories!

Fortunately I started working on something else the week before Christmas that perhaps reviews the year a little more appropriately...

My 2012 in review...

2012: burger theory2012: the shizzle burger
I'm officially declaring my 2012 as The Year of The Food Truck

I know my boys (and girls) from Burger Theory have been around since last year, but this year has just seen the whole food truck phenomenon take off like crazy here in Adelaide. And while both of the two Fork On The Road events were a big hit and featured a range of vendors, it's really the ones that are out there, on the streets as often as they can be that have really made it amazing.

Burger Theory, La Cantina Co, Raw Thirst, Veggie Velo and Chimichurri Grill have all managed to make my workday lunchtimes a much more pleasant experience.

Now what we really need as we head into the heat of Summer is a reoccurring ice-cream/gelati truck out and about... that would be awesome.

I also can't talk about 2012 and food trucks without mentioning Burger Theory and their fantastic Art Burger menu. I actually find that I miss it a little now... especially the Be Friendly and the Shizzle burgers. Plus all the artists who produced the art that went along with the burgers. I just need to get them framed up.

But the food trucks have all been a major part of my life this year... from following Burger Theory around (and ensuring I got my hands on the aforementioned Art Burgers as soon as I could), enjoying the brief period of time when they did a dinner service in North Adelaide to the discovery of the other trucks and finding the perfect thing on the menu to order and just the simple joy of sitting in the park eating a lunch that's fresher, tastier and generally better than anything that may have been sitting around in a bain-marie for several hours.

And although it's not a truck, going to Pearl's Diner for the first time was a pretty special experience as well.

2012: checking out espionage2012: my collection has grown again since this was taken
2012 has also been The Year of Collecting Art

Like food trucks, it was something that was already in place in my life, but this year definitely saw an increase the frequency of my art purchases... hand in hand with my regular visits to Espionage Gallery. It started with a visit last December, but really ramped up when I started going to the opening nights of shows... the first of which, I think, was the group print exhibition in April where I bought four pieces.

Add to that the fact that there seem to be a few smaller galleries popping up owned/run by people who understand street art and street artists (or who are street artists themselves). On top of Espionage, there's also These Walls Don't Lie and Tooth and Nail...

I now own over 30 pieces of art... the only downside is that I don't have the wall space to hang them all or the ability to put nails in the wall. But one day... when I'm living somewhere else... I want to have one of those feature walls for all my art where you start at the centre and just move outwards as your collection grows.

2012: the first photo a day2012: the last photo a day
2012 has, photographically speaking, been The Year of FatMumSlim's Photo-A-Day challenge.

It's been a great experience... 14 of my top 20 photos on Instagram at present are Photo-A-Day prompted shots (and the top three are all from PAD), and just that push to photograph something every single day has been great.

I am tempted to create a Printstagram page-a-day calendars out of all the photos... even though I know I phoned a few of my shots in during year... but I haven't found another page-a-day calendar that I like, so it could be a way to go.

I'm still undecided about joining the 2013 Photo-A-Day challenge... but I honestly don't quite know what I'm going to do with myself once tomorrow rolls around if I don't have one of Chantelle's word prompts urging me to take a particular photo.

2012: the lizzie bennet diaries episode 592012: tabletop - the fiasco episode
2012 has also become The Year of Watching YouTube Series...

As I've already mentioned, I discovered The Lizzie Bennet Diaries at the beginning of the year (and it just continues to get better and better even with my earlier complaint), and then only a few months back I finally got around to watching Tabletop hosted by the charming Wil Wheaton.

I would never have suspected that watching a group of people play a board game on YouTube could be so much fun... but the combination of great board/dice/card games that I've not heard of and "celebrity" players turns out to be a winning one.

I ended up watching the majority of the sixteen episode season in a few days, but fortunately the series restarts on January 3... so I'm excited about that. 

2012: red river2012: the godfather
Like every year, 2012 has also been about movies, but this year has very much been The Year of Movies I've Never Seen Before...

I'll devote a whole post to this later, but I've seen more movies that I've never seen before this year than I saw movies in total last year!

The number of movies I saw in the cinema was the same as last year, but my review of Wreck-It Ralph took me all the way to 200 movie review posts here on the blog.

2012: a year of many moods and many lego minifigures2012: and the most ambitious lego set i've ever built
And I couldn't conclude a list like this without saying that 2012 has without doubt been The Year Lego Came Back Into My Life.

Yes, it crept back in in 2010 when the Lego minifigure collections were released and I bought my first two... but it was just something I bought now and again.

Then, with the release of either Series 5 or 6, my obsession really took off and I not only collected that whole series (and every one since), but I had to go back and fill in the previous series with the assistance of eBay.

I also bought three major Lego sets (I'm not counting the Star Wars minifigure/vehicle/planet sets... although I have all six of those now)... Lego Hulk, the Lego Sydney Opera House (bought from the actual Opera House... which is as it should be) and the Lego R2D2 which I put together earlier this week.

But like my art collection and my small collection of vinyl toys and my toy soldier collection (which didn't even make it out of the boxes this year due to a lack of space) and to a lesser extent pretty much everything I own, I would have more, but I just don't have the room for it, or even the storage space to pack it away.

This is definitely why 2013 needs to be The Year I Reorganise Things And Buy New Bookcases... or possibly, but less likely, The Year I Move House... but that would mean that it would also need to be The Year I Get Permanent Employment.

2012: the boy james2012: shadows of angels
Theatre

In a non-"Year of the" way, there was once again quite a lot of theatre in my year... 21 Adelaide Fringe shows, 4 Adelaide Cabaret Festival shows and a handful of other shows...
Out of those 31 shows, The Boy James is still the most emotionally powerful experience I had all year long... even thinking about it now, there are parts of that experience that are as vivid to me as though they happened yesterday, and it does stir up all those emotions I felt at the time.

2012: a trip to melbourne2012: a trip to sydney
Travel

Ma and I didn't do any "major" interstate trips this year... there was a brief "long weekend" trip to Melbourne in February for the Doctor Who concert, and I did an overnight trip to Sydney for Macbeth in April... but since then, nothing.

But that's partly so we could do a trip to Sydney in April 2013. Unfortunately I discovered the week before Christmas that the reason for that trip, to go to the second Outpost street art event, has now been cancelled. Which is a total shame... and I haven't really heard why it was cancelled either, which is a bit of a bummer.

I think we'll probably still do an April trip though... I mean I already have it on the Big Board Of Stuff at work and I think Ma has already applied for the time off.

2012: when my world fell apart2012: getting by with a little help
The downside of 2012

I honestly haven't had a large amount to complain about this year... sure there are always little niggling complaints, but overall there has been much in the way of major disasters... although, to be honest, one is more than enough.

However, 2012 was also The Year I Injured My Back... or possibly, just that it was when the issue that had been present in my back since I was a teenager finally made itself officially known.

I now pretty much divide the year into two halves... everything that happened before I injured my back on May 6 and everything that happened from May 6 onwards. And it's one of those things that I don't know if it will ever be completely under control. Every time I think I have a handle on it, I slide backwards a little bit...

But it's difficult to relearn how to stand and walk and generally hold your body after doing the same thing for the last 30-something years.

I just wish that putting that next to the fact that my sex life has slipped from being in intensive care to an unresponsive coma during the latter part of the year into perspective.

So that was my year in a nutshell... mostly good, and a lot that was memorable.

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#photoadaydec

#photoadaydec
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a wrap on 2012 for Photo A Day!
It's been a hell of a year of photos... I actually still remember first seeing this "Photo A Day" thing pop up on Instagram and then having to produce my first four photos all in the one day to catch myself up.

And looking back through the previous months, I can pretty much remember the taking of every photo for the year.

I struggled with some of the photos at the beginning and end of this month though (especially days 3, 6, 10, 18, 23 and 29... 29 was a day late because nothing occurred to me until it was too late), but I feel like I mostly found a groove from about Day 14 to Day 22.

Day 14 also turned out to be the most popular photo of the month (it's amazing what you can do with some green cardboard), as well as my second most popular image of all time.

There were 6 Lego related photos for the month (Days 4, 14, 19, 23, 27 and 30), bringing the total Lego Photo A Day photos up to 46, which is an average of just under 4 a month.

My personal favourite image of the month has to be Day 19, just because I put a bunch of effort into the planning and set up of the shot, although I do like a number of the shots from the middle of the month that are just strong, solid colour photos (Days 14, 15, 19, 20, 21, 22).
  • Day 1: 8 o’clock (on a Saturday at 8am, you'll find me in the supermarket)
  • Day 2: Peace
  • Day 3: Something I held
  • Day 4: Black + white
  • Day 5: Looking up (the Victoria Square Christmas tree)
  • Day 6: From where I live (the Central Market is pretty iconic to my city)
  • Day 7: Stars
  • Day 8: Someone I love (with the bunny standing in for Ma)
  • Day 9: Out + about
  • Day 10: Under (the Merry Go Round under the Gawler Place pagola)
  • Day 11: Sweet
  • Day 12: Hat
  • Day 13: Lights (the neon sign of a tattoo parlour)
  • Day 14: Something green
  • Day 15: Outdoors
  • Day 16: Something I made (Christmas goodies with Ma)
  • Day 17: On the floor
  • Day 18: Makes me feel merry (Ultra Lounge Christmas carols)
  • Day 19: Something beginning with 's' (I can actually count 8 things...)
  • Day 20: Weather (clear blue skies do not make for interesting weather photos)
  • Day 21: Tree
  • Day 22: Decoration (the ribbon for Ma's presents)
  • Day 23: Joy is... (giving thoughtful gifts to the people you love)
  • Day 24: Tradition/something I always do (get pizza on Christmas Eve)
  • Day 25: Lunchtime
  • Day 26: Mess (not really a mess, but it's taking up space)
  • Day 27: How I relax (I relaxed for eight straight hours making this)
  • Day 28: Cold (yummy Loca Pop!)
  • Day 29: Hot
  • Day 30: Something that made me smile this year
  • Day 31: Self-portrait (just me and my monkeyfeet)
I'm not sure yet whether I'm going to take part in the 2013 edition of Photo A Day (I guess I have another 24 hours before I have to make a definite decision)... but the list is on FatMumSlim's website, as always.

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meeting the lego neighbours

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Just before Christmas the nice folks at Fusion, a local innovation agency, sent me one of their individualised "Build A Break" Lego sets.

A couple of my Lego photos actually feature in the booklet that came with the set... and it's all kinds of awesome to see my photos in something as cool as the booklet, especially alongside all the personalised Lego interpretations of the Fusion crew.

The sets are a great way to build a positive image around their brand and to get people to interact with them on social media.

Clearly Lego is something that must be close to the heart of somebody in the agency, because these aren't slapped together sets or figures, there's definitely been some thought gone into matching figures with their staff... as well as coming up with sets that work alongside the "Build A Break" idea.

As soon as I opened the set I was sent (which also came in the coolest little white box with a Lego minifigure head printed on top... definitely something I'll be keeping), the first thing that struck me was the two unique minifigures that came with the set...

I don't know if they were individualised for me or not, but I just loved the fact that they were both male, and both blonde... and that they're not wearing a hell of a lot... with a mixture of the Lego surfer, skater, bagpipe player, sumo wrestler and tennis player's parts.

As far as the rest of the set goes, it turns out that the main parts of the boat are from the Lego Friends line, but with a less pink/purple look overall... I had to do a little remodelling to it so that the minifigures could actually stand at the helm... and I added a steering wheel. I do love the little kayak (even though I have it backwards in the photo), which comes from the Lego City range.

After seeing the way that photographer and Lego fan, Chris McVeigh, used cardboard while photographing the Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar, I was inspired to put together a little diorama for one of the Photo A Day photos this month...

Which led me to buying some more coloured cardboard to make some very simple backgrounds...

And of course I had to do a photoshoot introducing Little Traveller and Little Boyfriend (I'm starting to their they need easier names...) to the new neighbours...

lego neighbours - auric and flax and their boats
"Hey, LT... we have new neighbours... and they have a speedboat!"
Meet Auric (in the speedboat) and Flax (in the kayak). 

lego neighbours - eltee and elbee meet flax and auric
"Pleased to meet you!"
"Pssst, LT... They're not wearing any pants and the one at the front
appears to be wearing go-go boots!"
"Shhhh LB, I know!"

lego neighours - the gift of pants for the new neighbours
"A little 'welcome to the neighbourhood' gift from us to you."
"Awww... thanks guys, you shouldn't have."

lego neighbours - flax still isn't wearing a shirt...
"LT, should we get Flax a shirt too?"
"Errr... no LB, I'm really not seeing a problem..."
"You know we can hear you both, right?"

For some reason, I suddenly see Flax as a circus performer... possibly the trapeze... not sure how that works with the boats.

And yes, I did notice that they're kind of the blonde versions of LT and LB, at least as far as the hairstyles go.

Once the photoshoot was over Auric and Flax both changed back into their beachwear.

Well... eventually...

lego neighbours - any excuse flax, and you're flinging off your clothes...lego neighbours - thank goodness for conveniently placed black tiles
It appears Flax may also be a bit of an exhibitionist in addition to an acrobat and a kayaker... and a wearer of go-go boots.

Just don't ask me how that modesty bar is staying in place...

But the neighbours (and their boats) may reappear at a later stage... partly because I just realised I never took any shots of LT and LB on the boat.

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movies: wreck-it ralph

Saturday, December 29, 2012

wreck-it ralph - the story of a regular guy just looking for a little wreck-ognition
Before I talk about the main feature I need to say a few words about the short that precedes it...

Both Disney and Pixar do their best work in any of their short features that include no dialogue. Paperman is, without doubt, the best example of this, and unquestionably the best Disney short I've ever seen.

It's the story of love at first sight and a missed connection, and presented almost entirely in black and white (with a very small amount of red that represents a plot point).

And it just got to me... it's so lovely and so sweet and so artfully presented and so surprising that it really touched me.

Which brings us to Wreck-It Ralph.

One of the things I love about the way the movie was put together is that they contacted a range of video game companies and actually have real game characters featured. There's Sonic, Pac Man, Bowser from Super Mario Brothers, even all the way back to Pong. It makes the world of Ralph and his friends feel much more real.

And each of the game worlds, no matter how simple or 8-Bit their video games might be, are all wonderfully rendered. I do kind of wish we'd seem a little more of the second game world, the Starship Troopers/Halo style game, Hero's Duty... it's only really featured long enough to be a plot point before the story moves on, but I suppose spending too much time there would have made the game feel a lot darker.

The location of the majority of the movie, the descriptively titled Sugar Rush, features exactly what you would expect from a game with a title like that... everything is chocolate and cream and sugar and every manner of sweet treat you can imagine. It's a great world that doesn't feel confined though... there's a range of locations, all of which are wonderfully detailed.

What I also enjoyed was some of the really subtle animations, especially with the people in Ralph's game... because they're 8-Bit characters their animation is jerky and while both Felix and Ralph (the hero and villain) have fluid animation, the other characters have had their "in between" animation removed, so even though they're beautifully rendered they still have this great rapid, jerky movement that actually works really well.

The story is about what you would expect... but I think almost all animated movies follow a fairly standard pattern, but that's okay, it's an archetypal story that is given an interesting interpretation here.

The four main cast members, John C. Reilly as Ralph, Jack McBrayer as Felix, Jane Lynch as Calhoun and Sarah Silverman as Vanellope all do an excellent job... of course Lynch will probably always be typecast as that gruff acerbic character she plays in Glee and other things... but her voice suits the Hero's Duty character perfectly. Plus it's nice to see a main character from a game like that be a woman.

Reilly has the perfect gruff tone to his voice for this giant, ham handed character and while I'm aware of Silverman and McBrayer I'm not really familiar with their work, but their voices seemed to fit their respective characters.

I also enjoyed the credit sequence, which is all presented as though its 8-Bit graphics and works perfectly. There's also a great "glitch" over the Disney end logo screen that surprised both me and the woman who was waiting to clean the cinema.

yani's rating: 8 first person shooters out of 10

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photo friday: lego r2d2

Friday, December 28, 2012

lego r2d2 - i've been itching to open this since christmas daylego r2d2 - eight hours of clicking together lego pieces later...
At the beginning of this year I knew that by the end of the year I would have bought a large scale Lego set. Something that required a lot of work to put together and was impressive once it was done.

And I wanted something self contained... nothing with individual little segments, but something that displayed well. As soon as I saw the pictures for the Lego Star Wars R2D2 set, I was completely in love.

R2D2 has always been my favourite Star Wars character... although I couldn't tell you why... maybe I always figured he would be the most useful to have around.

I bought the set on a dark and rainy June morning knowing full well that it would go away for Christmas.

And I've been resisting the urge to start putting him together since I unwrapped the box on Christmas Day. Yesterday afternoon I stopped resisting and spent the next eight hours constructing my Lego Star Wars R2D2.

lego r2d2 - the unboxing
When I opened the box and unpacked everything, this is what I was confronted with...

Lots and lots and lots and lots of bags full of Lego... 2127 pieces of Lego in fact. And don't let the numbering of 1 through 10 fool you, there were often more than one bag with the same number...

There were actually fifteen bags all up, plus three instruction manuals and the "fact plaque".

lego r2d2 - start here...lego r2d2 - the r2d2 minifigure freed from bag 10
For reasons I'm not completely sure on, the R2D2 minifigure that comes with the set is held captive in Bag 10, so you have to construct the whole thing before getting to put mini-R2 together.

I said to hell with that, opened Bag 10 first, rescued mini-R2 and safely stored the contents of Bag 10 in a plastic container.

lego r2d2 - mini-r2 inspects the beginning of the buildlego r2d2 - the end of bag one
Initially I was planning on trying to photograph him at various stages as the set went together, but I realised that it would take twice as long if I did that, so I mostly settled on photographing the end of each bag...

And you can actually watch the light fade as it turns from afternoon to evening and then to night.

lego r2d2 - mini-r2 inspecting the work and his own giant innardslego r2d2 - the two very imporant control rods in r2's back

lego r2d2 - where his legs will golego r2d2 - equipment doors in place, internal framework taking shape
I was actually surprised by how much red, yellow and green Lego was used for R2's internal structure... I suppose it's easier than showing yet another white brick in the instructions.

You can also see in the background of these shots my very sophisticated and hi-tech method of construction. When I opened a new bag of Lego I sorted it into it's constituent colours... white (usually big white pieces and small white pieces depending on the bag), blue, grey and other.

It turned out to be an excellent system... and whatever time I lost in sorting the pieces as I opened each bag I suspect I probably made up in how easy it was to find the piece I needed.

And even though I ended up with a bunch of spare bricks at the end (small round dots, tiles and connector pieces mostly) I was missing one brick... a 2x1 white tile that's by mini-R2's left foot. Fortunately I had a spare tile in my existing Lego pieces but it did make me a little paranoid whenever I couldn't find the piece I needed.

The other thing that was missing, according to the instructions, was one of those orange Lego brick separators, although I've seen someone else online mention they didn't get one, so maybe it's a mistake in the instructions. 

lego r2d2 - now it's starting to look properly like everyone's favourite droidlego r2d2 - and things open and other things pop out
Having not built anything of this size or complexity from Lego really ever and nothing much else in the era of modern Lego (beyond the Lego Star Wars miniature vehicle range and the Lego Sydney Opera House) I was both amazed at the way that pieces where arranged and all of the advanced building techniques.

Which I guess you would expect from a set that's marked as being for 16 years and over...

Even so there were a couple of instances where I couldn't help thinking "wait... you want me to put that where?".

And Bag 3 added a bunch of those with R2's front panel and the two "spacecraft linkage control arms" (I totally don't remember those from the movies)... you can't see it in this photo but there's a wonderful detail of a gold rod piece behind those two upper arms... there's no purpose to it, it's just extra detail.

And I don't know that my brain was working on all cylinders throughout the entire build because even though I'd constructed the two mechanisms to make R2's tools appear out of his chest it didn't completely dawn on me until I was pretty much finished that that was what the two little rods (from the previous photos) actually did.

Dur!

lego r2d2 - fitting the vent panels to the sideslego r2d2 - and only realising much later that I hadn't photographed the internal mechanism
Speaking of dur...it was only after I'd moved on to the next bag of pieces that I realised I never photographed the somewhat fancy internal mechanism that allows for R2's third leg to retract into his body cavity (I'm sure there's a smutty joke about cold water there somewhere).

I also loved the addition of the two large vent pieces... as you can see in the previous photos, before this point it's an open space with red, green and yellow bricks showing... but Bag 4 contained the parts to create two panels that simply snap into place.

But they couldn't have been included earlier as they also hide the spot where the internal mechanism is attached to the frame.

It's little details like that that make me take my hat off to the folks at Lego.

lego r2d2 - r2's third leg... make your own jokeslego r2d2 - the head spinning rig and internal mechanism
And with the advent of Bag 5, I moved on to the second book of instructions. Although having said that, the first book is 84 pages, the second is 78 and the third is only 37.

This time I remembered to photograph R2's third leg before installing it... and you can kind of see the internal mechanism in one of the shots I took this morning... the fancy top piece allows R2's head to spin around and the white piece in the middle is the third leg.

Oh and the little blue and red piece in the first photo is the anchor that stops the leg falling out of his body completely, but I couldn't put that on until the leg was in place.

lego r2d2 - i put one leg in place, then made dinnerlego r2d2 - the finished detailing on the legs
After I finished the first leg I stopped for dinner... you can also tell in these photos that this was the point at which I opened the front door so the light changes yet again.

The legs have some great details within the centre panel... but my favourite is the "hydraulic arm shaft", the grey piece down the middle, which is essentially an all grey lightsaber. Technically the hilt is upside down, but still...

lego r2d2 - you put your right foot on...lego r2d2 - and then your left and finally he can stand
The point at which I was actually able to stand R2D2 up on his feet was actually an exciting moment... he'd been laying on his back for a really, really long time by that point, so being able to complete both feet, plus his curved shoulder tops in Bag 7 was a good feeling.

I was a little surprised that I had so many pieces left over when I'd finished both feet, but then I realised that they were the pieces to close the gap seen in the left hand photo that's needed to attach the foot to the ankle piece.

lego r2d2 - the very surprising fuel cellslego r2d2 - completed rear view showing off the fuel cells
The "fuel cells" in Bag 8 came as something of a surprise to me... mostly because I had no idea that they were part of R2D2. I knew about the cables, but not what they were attached to.

They were both beautiful to built (all curved corners and crazy building techniques) and slightly painful as there were a lot of little fiddly pieces and I was getting tired by that point.

lego r2d2 - r2's head is mostly empty spacelego r2d2 - but the detailing is amazing... and a little bit involved
The final two bags, 9 and 10 are all about R2's cranium.

I don't know if I expected it to be easier, or it was just that it was a lot of really small fiddly pieces and lost my place in the instructions a couple of times.

I also have a feeling that if you were inventive enough you may be able to rig up lights inside R2's head that would then shine out of the clear light pieces in his head.

Again, it's amazing that with the geometry of Lego bricks they were able to create something that looks and feels just like R2's dome. Yes the red sensor light could do with being bigger, but all in all it works really well.

lego r2d2 - the finished model complete with fact plaque and mini-r2lego r2d2 - everyone's favourite droid, standing tall
By the time I finished the dome and put the "fact plaque" together from the final pieces of Bag 10 I'd been working on R2 for over eight hours.

And it was really late so the lighting in my apartment wasn't as good as it could have been so I left the "beauty shots" until this morning.

What I can't get over is how much I'm totally in love with R2D2 now that he's all put together. Every time I look at the model it makes me smile (and I can't resist making his head spin around every time I get up close to him).

There was also a real sense of accomplishment on finishing him. It's one of those "I made that" feelings... I mean I know I just followed the instructions, but I made something that exists in the world.

lego r2d2 - those gold details i mentioned earlierlego r2d2 - i much prefer him in his tripod stance
The shot on the right shows off some of the great details on the back of R2's dome... the other holographic projector, and the great red and green transparent bricks of his rear "display".

The legs also look really great in this position, and to be honest I much prefer R2D2 in his tripod stance anyway. Plus he seems much more stable that way.

The shot on the left shows off the internal gold rod piece details... still no idea what they are, but the attention to detail is great.

lego r2d2 - universal computer interface armlego r2d2 - utility saw
A close up look at R2's "toolkit"... the universal computer interface arm and the utility saw.

They have to be extended out by hand, but the mechanism in R2's back that makes them swing out of his chest cavity works really well (once I finally worked out how it worked).

I think with a lot of opening and closing the bricks in the two little doors might start to come apart... I've already had to squash them back together again a couple of times, but that shouldn't really be a long term problem.

lego r2d2 - he's definitely the mini version... so tiny and cutelego r2d2 - leftovers
I can definitely see the mini-R2 figure making an appearance in my Lego photos... I've already shot a few photos with him and Little Traveller... so I think the Little boys have got themselves an Astromech droid.

The other photo is the pieces I had left over at the end of the build. It seems with everything I've made there are always those little round 1x1 stud plates left over... and basically any piece that either might be easy to lose or else weighs so little that they might not show up when the pieces are parcelled out.

Building R2D2 was thoroughly enjoyable though... even though it went a lot longer than I intended. And I think I have a little bit of cramp in my hand from all the repetitive action.

I definitely dreamt about putting together Lego pieces though... and was a little disappointed when I realised there wasn't any more to put together.

And I even went as far as to clear a space for him on my "coffee table". I don't quite know what I'm going to do with what was there previously, but he actually looks really good perched at the end of the table.

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