Lego Blog: Illustrating Flash Pulp episode FP0022

If you go down to the woods today…

I’ve had the pictures for this build for a while now, but failed to find the time to crop and select them. My shaky hands demand editing! I’ve been keenly anticipating another Thomas Blackhall tale – he’s one of my favourite Flash Pulp characters – the forest settings and era are very appealing to me.


Read and Listen To The Story

You have to do this now:

Here’s the full story: The Charivari


Illustrating The Story

Hedge wizard Thomas Blackhall emerges from the deep forests and finds himself at the edge of the village of Bigelow. He is welcomed into The Loyalist inn by its proprietor and freshens up before being dragged into local scandal and mob unrulery. It’s a three-part story and there is much more to it! I’d love to come back to the setting of the final part of the yarn – maybe one day…

Strictly speaking I’ve illustrated a single exchange from the story: the greeting of Blackhall by the moustachioed Morton Van Rijn. Of course he has an axe – he’s Canadian.

What’s In A Road?

I was carried off by the notion of an inn by the water on a neatly paved road. Naturally the details of the road occupied a startling amount of time. I’d seen a cool way to curve Lego plates in Blocks magazine but hadn’t had a moment to play with the idea. What better time? The road is made up of long strips of 2×2 plates overlaid with 2×2 tiles – once laid on edge you can bend them quite a long way. Pinning them in place with other bricks resulted in much brick spaffing across the room… The results are pretty! I’m looking forwards to refining the technique further.

The water is several plates deep, allowing for much dotting of transparent blue and white circular plates which has produced a nice illusion of depth. Then I had fun building up the shore too. Finally I got to the pesky business of the inn itself.

Running Out of Space

I’d figured a 32×32 base plate would be adequate for my purposes, but I’d clearly used up waaaay too much space on the road and shoreline. Plus I wanted to offset the inn, and well, there was no room left. So I ‘neatly’ added a chunky corner at the back. Looks great, right? It gave me the extra space I needed!

It took several abortive efforts to get the size of The Loyalist right – walls are always thicker than I think, and since I’m a terrible planner I need to leave more space than I think I’ll need. There’s not a great deal in there, but you can safely assume there’s an outhouse somewhere, and a washroom, and a kitchen… and everything else. But it looks nice.

   

The door is massive. I’m very happy with how the slightly patchy, made out of local materials look I’ve given it. The careful patchiness is something I really admire in Lego’s official sets – there’s an aesthetic balance which they absolutely nail. I can only aim for it. I also really dig the shutters: the windows are too small to put proper glass windows in and this was surprisingly effective.

I made a roof that fits! Well, more or less. I felt obliged to put a chimney on it, but as you’ll note from the interior shots, there is no space for a fireplace. It’s a decorative chimney. Like they that back in the olden days.

It’s What’s On The Inside That Matters

Since I had limited floorspace, I focussed on the important aspects of an inn: the bar, and the bedroom. I have once more made something that is almost impossible to see inside of, let alone photograph. The bunk beds are actually quite neat, but you’ll have to take my word for it…

 

Final Reflections

Super observant fans of Flash Pulp will notice that although this is a rather jolly little inn, it is wrong in almost all possible details. The Loyalist is a mostly white painted building, considerably larger than this one and should really be surrounded with other buildings and more of a crossroads than a wiggly road. Ho hum. It’s the spirit of the story, alright?!

There are a load more pictures of the details here, on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/eric_the_bewildered_weasel/sets/72157668298142972

 

Lego Blog: Illustrating Flash Pulp episode FP007-12

Making Progress

I’ve finally reached a new thread in the massive Flash Pulp universe! And he’s one of my favourites too – Thomas Blackhall: frontiersman, occult magician, all round mid-nineteenth century bad-ass. He comes in to the universe with a six-parter – no mean debut. There’s some pretty awesome magic and witchery later on in the story, but this introduction features Blackhall facing off with one of the great Bear Lords of the forest, referred to only politely as ‘Master Bear’.

FP007


Read and Listen To The Story

You have to do this now:

Here’s the full story: Redmouth’s Legacy – A Thomas Blackhall Tale – Part 1 of 6 


Illustrating The Story

Thankfully the six episodes take place in the same spot – on the top of Talbot’s Plateau, where Blackhall has scrambled trying to escape from the Bear Lord after putting down his son, the eponymous Red Mouth. It’s a tense stand off which Blackhall drags out while he cons the bear into providing his means of further escape. That means I can lazily jam six episodes into just one build…

 The plateau was appealing enough – I’ve been enjoying rock work and hinges for construction. The base of the plateau is a series of plates with slopes built up and around them to give me some more fun choices about what direction I build in. I’ve included the route Thomas uses to clamber up as a series of steps on the left. Obviously it needed a tiny waterfall on the other side.

The plateau itself clips straight on top. The plate widths foxed me for a while, but a few weird length Technics pins and 1×1 plates made it surprisingly neat. It does threaten to flip back and smash everywhere of course. The plateau is supposed to be fairly barren which called for a colour shift (to me) which I think came out nicely. 

The backdrop is entirely separate. I needed some way to give the impression of a forest behind the plateau. I’d seen someone use the flower elements upside down before on Flickr and it had stuck in my head. They’re just sitting upside down on some Technics 1×1 bricks. I like that I can move them round. Maybe I should have done more.

I made some beautiful trees to go on the plateau before re-reading the story and discovering they were not required. All that lives on there is a white pine, which turned out to be quite hard to make. I concluded that I couldn’t do the sloping triangular shape required, but figured I could do a tall wind-smashed battered tree.

 

Minifigging the Characters

 

Master Bear was fairly straightforward – I just needed to acquire a polar bear. I’ve wanted one for ages anyway, and he looks nice with my brown bear. Blackhall was an entirely different proposition. I’ve actually been worrying about Thomas Blackhall since I started this project. He’s not given much physical description in the early stories but there’s a story card for him with a hat… He’s usually clean shaven but he doesn’t sound like that to me. Since he’s supposed to be quite ragged in this one I’ve stretched the limits.

The body is one of the many gorgeous The Hobbit minifigures. This is the body of Bard the Bowman. I’m going classic yellow heads for Flash Pulp, but this one had me veering into pink. I’m not sure where I got this noggin from, but the hat and hair combined is from The Lone Ranger‘s Butch Cavendish, whose costume was also one of my options. He gets a sabre (required) and I couldn’t help but give him some kind of a compass box thing, as well as his bundle of reeds. I’ll probably have to find a new face and possibly hair/hat combo for the next one. Unless I meet with authorial approval to be lazy of course!

That’s a big bear.


There are some more pictures of the details here, on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/eric_the_bewildered_weasel/albums/72157664783844732