It's amazing :o
The destruction of Allied shipping by German U-boats was a spectacular and tragic feature of both World Wars I and II. Luis Peña has recreated the much-dreaded underwater menace and scourge of Allied sailors at 1:50 scale with U-Boat VIIc, the most common class of German submarine.
The contouring of the ship is beautiful, she looks like a long slender species of whale without flippers. Featuring all things you’d expect on a submarine plus a few extras.
Small details like the life preserver and the fire extinguisher really help bring this silent predator to life. Most of all I love the humour and character Luis has put into the various scenes throughout the ship.
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This Onith-Wing Starfighter by Ted Andes is so sweet that I think it should be woven into a Star Wars movie. It’s seriously that good — it has all the right elements that make it believable, with both the contours and the lovely muted grey, dark red, and white theme. It reminds me of a cross between a Y-wing with the modified engines of X-Wings with some A-Wings thrown in for good looks. The build is almost without any visible studs to give it smooth and clean lines.
While it seems that this beauty would not pack sufficient firepower to bring anything down, the underbelly sports a couple more hidden cannons.
And last but not least, how would a pilot ever be a hero without an astromech companion? Taking a page from the X-Wing playbook, a nice spot for an R2 droid to snuggle in.
The post What do you get when you cross an X-Wing, a Y-Wing, and an A-Wing? appeared first on The Brothers Brick.
Brazilian artist Butcher Billy describes himself as a "pop culture butcher obsessively looking for the perfect cut." I think he's found just that with his latest artworks.
The nine-piece series imagines each episode of Stranger Things 2, from "MADMAX" to "The Gate," as the cover of an 80s-style paperback book. So cool!
The digital era has pushed a lot of state-of-the-art technology into vintage obscurity, and one such piece of audio equipment is the reel-to-reel tape recorder. Imagine the tape removed from a tape cassette and wound onto a reel, press a button and twiddle some knobs and voilà, your slightly crackly audio recording will be transferred onto the reel. Yul Burman has built a great looking LEGO version complete with reels, buttons, twiddly knobs and some bygone bling!
I want this on my shelf next to Carl Merriam’s vintage LEGO movie projector.
The post A reel-to-reel tape recorder that’s not really real appeared first on The Brothers Brick.
LEGO recently unveiled its latest LEGO Ideas set, 21312 Women of Nasa. The set includes four minifigures depicting women astronauts, scientists, and engineers from throughout the US space program’s history. LEGO sent The Brothers Brick an early review copy of the set, which is due out on November 1st.
While the minifigures are certainly the heroes of the set, the set also includes three mini-builds, with 231 pieces. When released, the set will retail for $24.99. Given the science-oriented, minifig-centric nature of both LEGO Ideas sets, comparisons to 21110 Research Institute will be inevitable among LEGO fans, and we’ll do our best to compare and contrast them along the way.
The box and instructions
21312 Women of Nasa returns to the traditional LEGO Ideas packaging that 21310 Old Fishing Store did not use — a sturdy box that can safely store the mini-models, minifigs, and their stands after you’ve built them.
The back of the box shows the real-life women with their minifigure counterparts.
The parts for all three mini-models come in three unnumbered bags. Despite the lack of numbered bags, I was able to comfortably build each part of the set with all the parts dumped back into the box, though a younger builder might get frustrated fishing around in the black box for the right black piece.
21312 is a slightly larger set than 21110, so the box is correspondingly larger.
The instruction booklet includes several pages of biographical information about the four scientists and engineers, as well as information about fan designer Maia Weinstock and the team of LEGO set designers who turned Maia’s idea into an official LEGO set.
The build & mini-models
Each of the mini-builds serves as a stand for one or more of the minifigures. The first backdrop creates a small scene for computer scientist Margaret Hamilton, whose software was used in the Apollo, Skylab, and Space Shuttle programs. The stand uses some surprisingly elegant techniques for what amounts to a small backdrop — the whiteboard attaches vertically with clips.
The nameplate attaches to brackets on a light gray 3×4 collectible minifigure stand built into the base. This creates a sturdy attachment that might detach more easily if it were built with the more-obvious solution using a 1×4 tile under the nameplate.
The second mini-model is a rather nice Space Shuttle, complete with Solid Rocket Boosters and External Tank.
The Shuttle is the latest in a long line of LEGO Space Shuttles, including several mini-models like this one, and it serves as the stand for astronauts Mae Jemison (the first woman of color in space) and Sally Ride (the first American woman in space). However, this is the first Space Shuttle mini-model that includes the boosters and fuel tank.
Nevertheless, I have to quibble with the color choice for the External Tank, which LEGO has produced at larger scales several times. On sets like 10231/10213 and even the LEGO City 60080 Spaceport, the color of the External Tank is dark orange. It’s a deeply nerdy, nit-picky quibble, to be sure, but I don’t think the bright orange works nearly as well as dark orange would have.
The third and final stand is for astronomer Nancy G. Roman, who was instrumental in planning and designing the Hubble Space Telescope. Naturally, the stand features a mini-model of Hubble.
The backdrop also includes a printed panel with an image of the Cone Nebula captured in 2002 by Hubble. It’s a fantastic printed piece that would look right at home on a spaceship’s bridge. Hubble itself also includes two 1×4 tiles printed with a solar panel pattern.
Like the Space Shuttle, the Hubble Space Telescope mini-model captures the shape of the real-life spacecraft wonderfully. The little LEGO Hubble incorporates a garbage can piece, and the aperture door attaches to one of the trash can’s handles.
As enjoyable as the three mini-builds may be, the main focus of this set is the four people represented by their minifigures. The set includes minifigs depicting four real-life women who’ve contributed to the American space program — astronomer Nancy Grace Roman; computer scientist Margaret Hamilton; astronaut physicist Sally Ride; and astronaut physician Mae Jemison.
Unlike Research Institute from 2014, each of the minifigures includes brand new printed elements. Nancy G. Roman wears fantastic cat eye glasses and a colorful necklace. Sally Ride and Mae Jemison both wear NASA flight suits (Dr. Ride in light blue and Dr. Jemison in orange). Margaret Hamilton wears a black knitted dress.
All of the minifigs also have double-sided heads, with alternate expressions. I like to think that the “determined” expressions (above) reflect a passion for the scientific method while the “happy” expressions (below) capture the moment of discovery or breakthrough.
A noteworthy omission is Katherine Johnson, who chose not to participate in the project, though she was included as a fifth minifigure in the original project proposal by fan designer Maia Weinstock. There could be any number of completely understandable reasons why Ms. Johnson chose not to have herself portrayed as a LEGO minifig, ranging from not wanting to be singled out among the amazing, pioneering women she worked with during her career to having no real interest in LEGO, since she’s nearly a hundred years old! But as disappointing as this role model’s omission is, speculating about her motives for not wanting to be included is just that — speculation.
Conclusions & recommendation
In many schools and for many children — myself included, growing up back in the 70’s and 80’s — LEGO plays a pivotal role in fostering a passion not just for creativity more generally but for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) specifically. I feel a deep debt of gratitude toward LEGO for the role it played in inspiring my twenty-year career in technology today. Perhaps caused by past decisions about the default gender for minifigs in professional roles, compounded by continued market success with boys aged 5-12, LEGO continues to have a perception as a “boy’s toy.” The company has made huge strides toward greater diversity in key themes like LEGO City — the current 60141 Police Station features an evenly split police force and even a female burglar! Nevertheless, the company still has a long way to go to level the playing field and attract girls to the toy outside the “pink aisles” with LEGO Friends.
Thus, I wholeheartedly endorse LEGO’s specific attention to the achievements of women in STEM with this LEGO Ideas set, and I hope that it will inspire more young women to choose education and careers that will lead to the next great breakthroughs for humanity. But setting aside the subject matter, this is still an excellent LEGO set on its own merits, with some great printed parts, fantastic minifigs, and fun little display models of the Shuttle and Hubble especially.
At $24.99 for 4 minifigs and 231 pieces, it’s also a pretty good deal (even better than the $20 for 165 pieces for Research Institute). We highly recommend this set, and hope that LEGO is better able to predict the demand for this set than they did for Research Institute — it deserves to get into the hands of many more people than the very limited run of that earlier set.
LEGO Ideas 21312 Women of Nasa will be available from the LEGO Shop online starting November 1st for $24.99.
The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.
The ‘twin ion engines’ in a TIE fighter help to make these little starfighters fast, agile and perfectly suited for a dog-fight in a narrow trench. Every Star Wars fan surely needs at least one sitting on their desk? Thanks to instructions provided by Inthert, you can build his LEGO version of this iconic starfighter and take on the nearest X-wing.
There are three pages of instructions provided. Page one provides the steps for building the solar array wings…
Page two completes the wings and provides instructions to start the spherical central cockpit area…
Finally, page three completes the cockpit and shows how to put everything together…
Thanks to Inthert for taking the time to make instructions as his TIE-fighter looks to be a fun build.
The post Become an Imperial engineer and build your own TIE Fighter [Instructions] appeared first on The Brothers Brick.
LEGOLIZE IT MAN enters this year’s SHIPtember building challenge with a stunning spacecraft promoting one of the world’s famous home furniture producers. It’s hard to say whether the assembling process was as hard and exhausting as it is of a some Swedish kitchen table, but at least there are no spare screws lying around.
When most people today hear the name Tesla, you probably think of those snazzy electric cars. If you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that Serbian-American engineer Nikola Tesla, with or without credit, influenced our modern world in ways that perhaps no man ever has. the_jetboy knows this, creating a fantastic kinetic magnetic tribute to the great inventor. If you include designing the first hydroelectric power plant, advocating Alternating Current, and inventing electric motors, robotics, new ways of harnessing and distributing light – including lasers and X-rays, radio (sorry Marconi), and wireless communication (including TV remotes), then there’s not a lot he hasn’t contributed to today’s modern world.
Inspired by Sensei Yoshihito Isogawa, the builder has also created a video showing this beautiful, magnet-bearing kinetic sculpture in action. One final tantilising piece of Tesla trivia: Teslas are a unit used to measure the strength of magnetic fields.
A final quote from the genius madman inventor himself:
The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.
European Commission spent 360,000€ on a piracy study, then buried it because they didn't like what it said
It's not the first nor the last time that a study that has an unwanted result is "forgotten" or just ignored.
Estimating displacement rates of copyrighted content in the EU is a 360,000€ study commissioned by the European Commission from the Dutch consulting firm Ecorys, whose mandate was to "research the effect piracy had on sales of copyrighted content" -- the report was completed in 2015, but never made public. (more…)
On Monday, the World Wide Web Consortium published EME, a standard for locking up video on the web with DRM, allowing large corporate members to proceed without taking any steps to protect accessibility work, security research, archiving or innovation. (more…)
Sounds painfully truthful :p
Former Soviet Air Defense Colonel Stanislav Petrov, the man known for preventing an accidental nuclear launch by the Soviet Union at the height of Cold War tensions, has passed away. Karl Schumacher, a German political activist who first met Petrov in 1998 and helped him visit Germany a year later, published news of Petrov's death after learning from Petrov's son that he had died in May. Petrov was 77.
Petrov's story has since been recounted several times by historians, including briefly in William Taubman's recent biography of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Gorbachev: His Life and Times. Ars also wrote about Petrov in our 2015 feature on Exercise Able Archer. On the night of September 26, 1983, Petrov was watch officer in charge of the Soviet Union's recently completed US-KS nuclear launch warning satellite network, known as "Oko" (Russian for "eye"). To provide instant warning of an American nuclear attack, the system was supposed to catch the flare of launching missiles as they rose.
That night, just past midnight, the Oko system signaled that a single US missile had been launched. "When I first saw the alert message, I got up from my chair," Petrov told RT in a 2010 interview. "All my subordinates were confused, so I started shouting orders at them to avoid panic. I knew my decision would have a lot of consequences."
A comically sycophantic outcome at Harvard.
Former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell earlier Thursday announced his resignation as a senior fellow at Harvard over its decision to invite Manning. Mike Pompeo, the agency's current director, also canceled a speaking engagement there Thursday night.
"I now think that designating Chelsea Manning as a visiting fellow was a mistake, for which I accept responsibility," Kennedy School Dean Douglas W. Elmendorf said in a statement posted on the university's website early Friday
Manning: "The CIA determines what is said and is not taught at Harvard."
In anticipation of the latest screen adaptation of Stephen King’s classic coulrophobia-inducing book IT, builder Tim Lydy has crafted this wonderfully creepy bust of Pennywise the dancing clown. Guess I won’t be sleeping tonight! I also love the added touch of the brick-built origami sailboat.
I think Tim might be a bit of an IT fan, as this isn’t the first time he’s rendered these characters in LEGO. Check out his “adorable” Brickheadz versions too. We all float down here. (shudder)
The post But what if it’s just some crazy guy in a clown suit? appeared first on The Brothers Brick.
Behold the most amazing arcade hack in existence: Matt Brailsford, AKA Circuitbeard, crammed Sega's OutRun into a Tomy Turnin' Turbo dashboard. [via]
Some key features are an integrated 3.5” TFT screen, fully usable steering wheel and gear shifter (dashboard turbo light comes on when in high gear), working ignition key for power, true MPH speed and rev counter displays, and a fuel gauge to represent the stage time remaining.
The project itself was quite a big one for me, filled with several moments of frustration, from burnt out potentiometers, to soldering LEDs backwards, multiple TFT screen purchases and more than one change in direction as approaches to problems were found to be inadequate.
All the toy's hardware is hooked up to the game, running on a Raspberry Pi with a PiCade board and Kookye 3.5" display. He worked around the lack of pedals by using the gearshift to accelerate and brake. How he made a physical LED dashboard to show the in-game speed completely escapes me. Genius!
Here's the original mechanical toy, for reference:
Are you the police?
No mam, we're musicians.
Okay I may have got a little carried away, as it’s not quite the Blues Mobile. Put a giant megaphone on the roof and put a couple of suited, sunglassed musicians in the front seat and I reckon it’d look the part. Slovenian builder Primoz Mlakar has created a wonderful Speed Champions style Police Interceptor. Inspired by vehicles in Ken Block’s Gymkhana 7, the builder has captured the lines and curves of the classic black and white beautifully. Particularly impressive is the use of the tooth piece for a window pillar and the bad robot arms as nudge bars.
The post It’s got a cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant, it’s got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks. appeared first on The Brothers Brick.
It's awesome :o
Builder Sam Cheng is back with his Chibi-Transformers, this time, however, defecting to the side of the Decepticons. The leader of all things against good and hoarder of Energon-cubes, Megatron is beautifully sculpted with over 40 points of articulation, and is fully transformable to its weapon form. Sometimes a good amount of tinkering is required to get things right to personal satisfaction. Sam has been at this since April and tried a dozen different methods to achieve the look he wanted. The headpiece is inspired by Moko‘s Megatron. Standing at an estimated 500 elements, the toughest part of the build is making sure that the alternate ‘gun mode’ is totally asymmetrical and in proportion.
This snazzy looking bipedal robot is off to a good start, but things go haywire in short order. It has trouble setting a package on a cart. Then it knocks things off the shelf, drops the package on the floor, knocks over the cart, and falls down. As one Reddit user said, "I would watch Gordon Ramsay yelling at a group of these things for hours."
Covers by Motörhead? Count me in!
According to Rolling Stone, Motörhead performed David Bowie's 'Heroes' "live only one time, in June 2015, as an encore at Germany's Aftershock festival." Fortunately for us, it was recorded.
The footage, along with some candid shots of (the late-great) Lemmy Kilmister and the band, make up the song's music video:
Lemmy Kilmister, Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee liked to do over their years together in Motörhead, was grab a favourite song by another artist and give it a good old fashioned ‘Motörheading’. To run them through the Motörizer if you will. To rock them, roll them and even give them an extra twist and edge.Under Cöver will be released on September 1st.
In celebration of some of those finest moments, the band will release Under Cöver, a collection of some of their best covers, and a collection which will include the previously unreleased version of David Bowie’s timeless classic “Heroes”. Recorded during the Bad Magic sessions in 2015 by Cameron Webb, and was one of the last songs the band recorded together. “It’s such a great Bowie song, one of his best, and I could only see great things coming out of it from us, and so it proved to be,” says Phil Campbell, “and Lemmy ended up loving our version.” “He was very, very proud of it,” says Mikkey Dee, “not only because it turned out so well but because it was fun! Which is what projects like this should be – fun!”
This morning, Twitter covered Ken "Popehat" White's profile page in balloons to celebrate his birthday. This afternoon, it suspended his account for posting screenshots of threats he'd received from another user.
The ranting missive, from a far-right lawyer in Texas whose threatening Twitter postings White had earlier mocked, promises such hatred and cruelty that White will want to kill himself or flee to "escape my wrath."
But it was White's response that fell afoul of Twitter's mysterious rules on posting personally identifying information—even when such information is disclosed and widely publicized.
Twitter is a private company. It has every right to suspend me or kick me off, however foolish its reason. It's got the right to free speech and free association. My rights have not been violated. I am not a victim. When you use a "free" service like Twitter and Facebook, you're buying into the policies and attitudes they pursue, for better or worse. Want a platform with no dumb policies? Create one or pay for one.
For the moment, I doubt this reflects an evaluation by anyone at Twitter that "it's okay for a deranged bigot to threaten people on Twitter but not okay to publish his threats." Rather, this is part of the inevitable result of automating responses to abuse complaints. Now, if Twitter reviews this, and thinks that's the right result — well, that would be something else again.
Twitter is still where the abusive can rail on and on before they get canned, while anyone with an earnest interest in using the site in good faith must adhere to vague, unhelpful policies in how they deal with all that trash.
UPDATE Twitter unsuspended White's account and agreed the original suspension was a mistake. Right on!
Amazing work :o
Chris McVeigh of Halifax, Nova Scotia builds all kinds of cool things with LEGO. Recently, he's been creating kits that showcase obsolete office technology. This particular kit, which he calls "My Old Desktop: DOS Edition 2.0," features a few reminders of the 1980s office, including a rotary-dial desk phone and a beige desk computer that can be partially fed one of the miniature 5.25" floppy disk replicas.
I may want that book for myself :p
Joachim Klang and Alex Jones are a duo of builders well known within the LEGO community, and their creations have appeared on The Brothers Brick numerous times. Now they’ve got a new book to share some of their techniques: Tips for Kids – Transformers: Cool Projects for Your LEGO® Bricks. Over the past few months, we’ve already highlighted a few of the builds that the pair created for the book, but now we are able to review the book itself.
Title: Tips for Kids: Transformers: Cool Projects for your Lego Bricks
Publisher: Heel Verlag Gmbh (July 10, 2017)
The 208-page soft-cover book is a very visual book with minimal text, and includes 200 colour illustrations. There are detailed instructions for 9 models (plus 2 weapon systems) which range from a mini Grimlock built with 24 pieces to the awesome 800-piece transforming Optimus Prime that you see in the image above. The 9 models are The Ark, Nemesis, Transformation Probe, Mini Optimus Prime, Grimlock, Bumblebee, Soundwave, Constructicons, Optimus Prime, while the weapons are the Energon-ax and a laser gun. In the foreword, Joachim explains that Alex has built more models than could be included in the book, so many extra models are pictured to inspire builders to create their own models using parts from their collections. The Transformers in the image below, for example, are among those inspirational models.
Apart from the introductory pages, the rest of the book is mainly beautiful images of the Transformers in their brick-built scenes, along with the instructions themselves. A brick-built Alex figure also gives helpful tips and information throughout (for example, pointing out that a step uses a 1×1 brick with one stud rather than 2 studs, to avoid confusion).
The instructions are excellent, with clear images, sensible step breaks, and accurate colours. With mini Alex pointing out potential pitfalls, the complicated models come together easily. At times, fan-created instructions can suffer a variety of factors which hamper the building process, from a mix of poor colour differentiation, lack of parts lists, or unclear steps. Thankfully, none of those issues are present here.
I built a few models, starting off with Soundwave, since I had most of the parts in my collection — albeit one was in a different colour, and I ‘borrowed’ another part from a LEGO buddy (for some reason I only had one blue 1×1 plate with tooth). Soundwave is a fairly simple build that results in a fun, poseable robot who transforms into a boombox.
I also built the non-transforming mini Optimus Prime in his juggernaut state. This can be built using the metallic silver parts if you have them, or with any of the grey tones if you do not. As you can see, I was easily able to utilise the parts I had and create the model with slightly different coloured parts than called for in the instructions. I imagine that most readers will either try to find the exact parts and purchase them on a secondary market (such as Bricklink or Brickowl) or do as I did and use the instructions as a guide to work with the parts already in their collection, replacing parts or finding other ways to work around shortcomings. While there are some specific parts required for the models, none are rare or expensive (especially if you go for grey instead of metallic silver).
Finally, I built the transforming Optimus Prime, which is the largest model in the book with 800 parts. Optimus Prime is a bit of a fiddly build at times, but the instructions are nice and clear and, as with all the models, there is a parts list in both image style and as a table with element IDs.
My Optimus Prime was a little loose-limbed and floppy in his robot state, but the use of Mixel joints is an essential part of his ability to transform. It’s difficult to envisage how to build a transforming model without having such flexibility, but the downside is the instability of the model in certain poses. One of the ways that Alex improves the stability of Optimus in his robot state is to have a small removable ‘bracket’ at the back that helps to effectively stabilise his pelvis and torso. It takes a bit of practice to transform Optimus, as the first few attempts result in certain parts pinging off, but once you have worked out where to push and pull, the transformation becomes much easier. However, I still had a few gaps on my juggernaut even after practicing the transformation numerous times.
Overall, this is a beautifully illustrated book. The brick-build images, especially the ones that are more inspirational, have been masterfully created by Alex and Joachim and the print quality does them justice. Sadly, some fill a double-page spread (such as the one below) resulting in a seam down the middle of the image, but this is a necessary consequence of showing the images large enough to see all the little details.
There’s a lot of inspiration within these 208 pages. The constructed models definitely look the part, and many clever techniques are used that will delight young and adult LEGO fans alike. Fans of Transformers and LEGO will definitely enjoy poring over the images, trying out some of the builds and learning techniques from a duo of very talented builders.
Tips for Kids: Transformers: Cool Projects for your Lego Bricks is currently available from Amazon for $17.49 (14% off).
Thanks to Alex Jones for providing The Brothers Brick with a copy of the book to review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.
The post Tips for Kids – Transformers: Cool Projects for Your LEGO Bricks [Review] appeared first on The Brothers Brick.
Here’s the game we’ve been working on for a while at Nolla Games:
Noita is a magical action rogue-lite set in a world where every pixel is physically simulated. Fight, explore, melt, burn, freeze and evaporate your way through the procedurally generated world using spells you’ve created yourself. You can find more info at http://noitagame.com/
It'd be a shame to share something as silly as this...
This image of Russian leader and purported Donald Trump kingmaker Vladimir Putin as a gay clown is now illegal in Russia. Whatever you do, do not share this far and wide so that everyone sees it.
Commodore's C64 had a famously decisive, if drab set of 16 colors to choose from, a note of artistic intent amid the unthinking mathematical extremities of other 8-bit color palettes. But did you know there were secret colors? Aaron Bell writes up a discovery that blew his mind many years ago and which, 26 years later, he's finally figured out.
If you swap two colours rapidly enough - say at 50 or 60 frames per second - you can fool the eye into seeing something that isn't there. On a machine with sixteen colours, just one or two extra can add a lot to a scene. Since today we all live in the future and you are reading a fully programmable document on a supercomputer, let's try it.
The sad part is that the trick doesn't work for most pairings due to the obvious strobing/flickering effect it generates. But now wily coders can add a whole host of new grays to their vivid Commodore palettes. ("The tartan for the clan McPuke" is definitely the best description of the C64 palette I've ever read. I doubt it'll be topped.)
I read somewhere this is more or less what's done on cheapo monitors to make you think you're getting 24-bit color.