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To say something about The Rack Iíll need to give a bit of background information. BZP is a fan based Bionicle site with forums for talking about anything to do with the Bionicle world. Since mid 2002 BZPís model forum, Bionicle Based Creations, has held a contest. This contest is commonly referred to as the BBC though just to confuse matters the forum itself is also commonly called the BBC. Hereís a quick aside, LEGO geeks love acronyms: hence one could say thereís a BBC in the BBC on BZP.

            With the 25th BBC contest the administration of BZP decided to invite back all the previous winners to battle it out in a "Clash of the Titans". Actually there were more than 25 winner because several contests had a couple categories and several members had won more than once. All that aside I was invited because Iíd won one of the contests.

            So with arguably the best 25 Bionicle builders in the world coming to duke it out I decided to just go all out. I wanted to make something that not only was never made but something that was never even thought possible.

            I had been experimenting with some layering techniques using many of the same part to create textures where the individual parts disappear in favor of a larger structure. Also Iíve always liked two very differentscenes from the movies. First is the scene in Alien where the astronauts are repelling into the large derelict ship. I like the concave wall sections that looked ribbed. Then the camera pulls back and you see all the Alien eggs in this huge cavern. Second I love the part in Captain EO where the Spider Queen descends down from this sort of mechanical web with all these hoses and cables and such attached to her. Also she is supported only by those cables and lacks legs. I know most people havenít seen Captain EO and those who have were so busy laughing at Michael Jackson that they donít seem to remember the Spider Queen, but thatís another topic all together.

            So now I have the general concept: big cavern, some ďthingĒ suspended, dark, creepy. I went through many incarnations of what to build. At one point I was thinking of making a large worm looking creature and having this "thing" suspended in its "mouth". Finally I settled on the idea of a big clamshell shape with open ends to imply that it was only a smaller part of a larger structure.

At first I was only going to put a tortured humanoid figure hanging in the middle as if being tortured, hence ďThe RackĒ. However after several design changes I found that the black figure hanging in the front didnít show up well with the black background. I wanted something more dynamic and more menacing as well.

I ended up going with the Spider Queen idea. Eventually I settled on red as the color for the monster. I went with red for two reasons. One, it set off well against the black when photographed. Two I had lots of red smooth slopes which are always fun to use. I love the layered armor on the red creature, Kitsu. But in the end it was too large for The Rack. The creature just isnít small enough to give one the sense that The Rack is a huge cave. Also I hate the head. I had about 12 incarnations of heads and head designs but just couldnít come up with a good one. At the 11th hour with Ray Quan patiently waiting with cameras and equipment while it poured rain outside I finally just shoved it onto the torso. Funny fact: the creature has no thumbs. It originally had black hands which didnít show up when photographed; I quickly changed them mid photo shoot and forgot the thumbs.

Jumping back to the rack proper, itís essentially a Technic frame with textured elements hanging on it. However the texture elements like the strings of Onua claws and M-tron tires are surprisingly rigid and add to the strength of the structure. The Technic pins with the Technic straws are almost as strong as just a studless Technic beam. The dino tails running horizontally like ribs are part of a solid structure with 7 tails running between two 16 long Technic beams. So although The Rack looks somewhat fragile it actually can be picked up and carried easily. The picture on the home page is of me using the Rack as a wig. Itís upside down over my head as I was dancing around laughing and only some Bionicle masks fell off.

When it was all said and done I would have liked The Rack taller and the Kitsu smaller. The Rack is actually a much stronger design without the creature. More than anything The Rack was a study in amorphic shapes using LEGO. I plan on taking the super textured look and incorporating it into some more recognizable forms.

 

 

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