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I have always had an interest in Japanese animation. Star Blazers and Macross were a couple of the first animated shows to come to the US. I have always loved the big robots, and who does not? Couple that with my love of LEGO and it is no surprise the I yearned to make a big LEGO robot.

Fast forward about 10 years and Japan has produced Gundam, a bunch of slick big robot designs. I wanted to make one. I had not built LEGO in almost 10 years, so I searched the internet for models. I found many different LEGO mecha models. Of significance were Karim Nassar, whom I consider the Godfather of the LEGO mecha genre. However LEGO parts which could be used for articulation were very limited.

Then LEGO released Throwbots, small poseable men with ball and socket articulation. Suddenly a big articulated robot seemed like a possibility. I decided to make a Gundam. LEGO mecha in general was a fairly new genre and seemed full of new possibilities. In many ways this idea of uncharted territory drew me to the LEGO mecha genre.

I began deciding what criteria I wanted to fulfill with my model. After reviewing many models online I noticed that many tried to show too much detail and the larger forms were lost in the process. I made a conscious effort to make larger simple shapes and forms so that the overall design would not get muddled by the details. Second, I noticed that many of the mecha models could not stand up unassisted. I decided that my model must stand up not only by itself but stand up well. The last was easy and I only mention it in retrospect. I wanted a model which stayed together while handled and posed. While this seemed obvious to me what I did not realize was that many of the mecha I was seeing online were fragile, some were very fragile.

The result of this first venture into building was Big Blue, my first real mecha. Though I did not realize it, standing at approx 14 inches tall Big Blue was one of the largest mecha at the time. I came to realize that I had no skill in judging the size of a model by pictures online. In fact I still do not have this skill and probably never will. What I thought were comparable model were in fact only half the size of Big Blue. My first chance to compare Big Blue with other mecha was at my first LUGOLA meeting.

The biggest failure of Big Blue is where the shoulder armor meets the neck area. Because it is only 4 studs of contact at a 45 degree angle it tends to break more than any other part of the model.

At about the same time that I built Big Blue I got Photoshop, some new fangled photo editing program, and was learning to use it. I also got my first taste of digital photography. My pictures of Big Blue reflect my ignorance of both, though I did find the font tool and the lens flare!

Later I met Eric Sophie, another LEGO mecha builder. I gave him Big Blue as a present when he came to BricksWest in 2003. Eric has taken Big Blue and shown it next to his own models at many shows since. Big Blue still resides with Eric and has become somewhat of a mascot.

big_blue01.jpg (64080 bytes)

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big_blue04.jpg (45189 bytes)

 

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