Block-Off Review – UCS Slave 1

Block-Off Review – UCS Slave 1

So I have been slowly replacing my actual Lego collection with Lepin or other block-off brands now for 2 years.

As Lego holds it value, I have been putting them aside to sell another day.

So when Lepin fell last year I jumped on a few remaining sets before they were gone, because we had no idea if or when Lepin would come back ot the surface.

This was both a great idea, and a bad idea.

Had I actually taken the time to assemble them when I picked them up last spring, I could have rectified a huge issue I had with the Slave 1.

Color matching.

What I presume happened here, and mind you, this is just conjecture, is that when Lepin went under, some places threw together some sets to get them out the door, not caring if things were right, or if some stuff was missing.

Enter, the Slave 1.

The whole set uses dark red bricks, but for some reason, 3 major brick parts were given out in bright red, by contrast, this looks like total crap.

20200206_18451920200206_18450620200206_184221

So sadly I had to order these parts, and they ended up costing me about $20 all told as I had to use 3 separate sellers and pay shipping three times.

But I digress.

On to the review!

So unlike the Lego variety of this set, there bags are not numbered.

This too was unusual.

DSC_2571

Typically if Lego has something numbered, so does Lepin, thus furthering my beleif this set may have been cobbled together by the seller.

As the set was not huge, it was not a major setback, but anytime a set is not numbered, it will increase your build time by a couple hours while you search for parts.

Other than those 2 issues, the set itself was identical to the Lego Slave 1.

It is a well thought out build, and very solid

DSC_2573DSC_2574DSC_2575

Halfway through though, I ran into yet another issue, a few missing bricks.

DSC_2577DSC_2576

Not show stoppers, the 2 angled pieces are inside and cannot be seen, so there is no worry skipping them.

The little ones on the other hand are directly needed to attach other parts to.

Luckily I had a couple from other builds spare.

DSC_2580DSC_2579DSC_2578

The set does include stickers, and they are well made, on par with Lego here.

This is a fun build to do all in all. Lots of cool design elements.

Had there not been so many issues this would have been a fantastic set.

DSC_2581DSC_2583DSC_2582

DSC_2584

I cannot fault Lepin here, so it wont affect the final score, but be sure to buy from a reputable dealer and not some fly by night company on AliExpress like I used.

As I rule I only ever use my 2 main dealers, but due to stock shortage I had no other choice in the matter.

End of the day, this is a great set for UCS collectors who want to save a pile of cash.

A Solid 9/10 and a great display piece.

Block MOC Review – The Monarch

Block MOC Review – The Monarch

So it is no small surprise to me 3 regular readers, that I am a bit of a Star Wars fanatic.

So it should come as no shock at all, that when one of the largest brick sets ever made by the Chinese block-off community dropped I would be on it like white on rice. HA!

I had been eagerly awaiting The Monarch since about Sept 2019. The big (only by piece count) brother to this ship came out in the fall, and though similar to the Monarch, it has a full interior.

Since I only intended for this to go up on a shelf for all of eternity, it made little sense to waste an additional few hundred bucks on a ship that had an interior, especially when in my opinion, the Monarch looks better overall.

So I snapped it up the first chance I had in mid-January, right before the Chinese New Year shutdown occurred.

When the set arrived I was a little worried, for the first time since I have been ordering from China, the box cam badly damaged.

I had actually been re-taped by DHL as it had split one side completely in two.

My biggest worry here was could there be some missing parts? Unlike Lego sets, all these sets come jammed into a box as tight as possible, so if they pop open, they could go everywhere.

20200117_184837 (Large)20200117_184832 (Large)20200117_184824 (Large)20200117_184828 (Large)

I spoke to the seller and he assured me if anything was missing they would make it right, but on a set that is nearly 12000 pieces, it could be a week before I would notice anything missing, and even so, when looking through 12000 bricks to find a single piece you may need, it can take a while, and who knows if it is even here.

Luckily he had a suggestion, the box weighed 13.95kg. He suggested I weigh the set and see if it is the same, if it is, then nothing should be missing.

Thankfully he was correct, and it indeed did come complete.

So first off, this box is HUGE, I propped up a brick puller for scale, but this by far the largest set I have ever seen packaged.

DSC_2611

So after cracking the package open, in true “Lepin” style, the pile was infinitely bigger out of the box, than in the box, taking up over half the kitchen table (that is over 10 ft long)

DSC_2614DSC_2615

Even the manuals are massive, if I had to guess, combined they are about 5 lbs.

DSC_2612DSC_2613

Since this is a MOC, there was sadly no numbered bags to speak of. They are technically numbered, but those numbers mean nothing, I think it is simply a way the factory sorts them.

So unfortunately this meant having to resort to the old “tupperware” method.

DSC_2617

When doing MOCs I try and keep things how they were packaged, this has always made the most sense, as bricks tend to be packaged in a logical grouping. So while bricks may not be in the same step in the same cup, they do tend to group with each other on some level.

DSC_2618

Another method I have seen used but I do not employ is the true sorted method, whereby you would put each group of like pieces together, a full 100% sort.

This in my opinion is a colossal waste of time, you would likely be looking at half a day just getting things sorted into their own groups. Time I would rather spend building personally.

So with everything sorted it was on to the frame.

DSC_2619DSC_2621

The base is incredibly well made, solid and even uses a lot of tricks I see in the engineering world

DSC_2624

If I was a betting man I would say the creator (OneCase) has some sort of structural engineering background.

The base frame is a little deceptive in its size, as once it is complete, it is not the overall length of the set.

For that dimension you need to finish the skirting on the left and right sides.

DSC_2626DSC_2628

Another nice touch is the docking bay below the ship, it is build right into the base to add to the stability of it.

DSC_2625

Now there is a true sense of scale here, and a realization I may have a set bigger then I can accommodate in my display room.

Next up was the massive bottom panels

They too are very well designed. The use of the flat bricks a really give the ship that model like quality.

DSC_2631

They are almost too big for the build space

DSC_2634

I wish I had taken a pic of the connection method, because it was perfect, the panels use 5 techic rods to attach to the frame on the outside, and another 2 on the under belly, plus and additional 4 connection points along the bottom.

This made things rock solid and line up with ease, though it did take the help of my wife to hold the panel while I inserted the rods.

When complete the bottom looks almost seamless

DSC_2635DSC_2638DSC_2639

The docking bay is showcased nicely and would look great lit up.

DSC_2636

Once the base is done the back of the ship gets finished.

DSC_2640DSC_2645

I screwed up here in my build and it cost me a fair amount of time and frustration.

The upper and lower back panels are suppose to be assembled in pairs.

DSC_2641DSC_2642

I did not see this, I only made one of each, left and right, and presumed that the upper 2 would come into place once the top two panels were ready, this however was not the case.

They all should have gone in together at the end of book one.

DSC_2666

With the back out of the way, it is on to the 2 massive top panels.

There went together in a similar manner to the bottom, very flat and smooth.

DSC_2647

The side cannons were a real unique design that I am not too sure if I like.

When fully assembled they look decent, but they just seem a little flimsy compared to the rest of the build.

DSC_2650

The finished top is very well detailed.

DSC_2651DSC_2652

From here on out it is just layers on a cake.

Each was pretty straightforward though a little tedious and time consuming.

The steps in the remaining sections were a little grindy by the end, so many just require one of two small parts.

This took forever to search for, as there were space over 20 different containers typically.

DSC_2654DSC_2653DSC_2656DSC_2667DSC_2668

To finish out the build was the 3 mini ships.

This is the only part of the build that was a little weak.

The ships being so small are often held together with just a single little element.

Especially the blockade runner, which had a great look to it, but it is extremely fragile.

DSC_2660DSC_2661DSC_2663DSC_2664

That was it for the build, total time taking about 35 hours I guesstimate, I did not time it, but it seems about right, took me just over a week, building every eve and through 1 weekend.

But the finished product is a sight to behold.

DSC_2679DSC_2680DSC_2684DSC_2683DSC_2682DSC_2681DSC_2678DSC_2671DSC_2675DSC_2666

No major hiccups or errors, only a couple steps that specified one length of brick but required another. Careful reading with make these evident.

Only a couple pain points for that required kragle as well.

The dome under the ship would not stay on, it is well designed, but the gravity of the panels apply a bit too much pressure to the dome and it kept popping off, so a small dot of glue here fixed the issue.

DSC_2637

The only other spot of contention was the nose of the ship. I like my points to line up, and originally they did not, they left panel was a bit warped it seemed, so to rectify this I took some grey sewing thread and made a loop around the front.

Unless you are less than 1ft away you cannot tell at all

DSC_2672

Lastly, there was a TON of spare parts on this one. They give you close to 100 tool sheets, with 9 parts each, the entire build only require 1 part from each sheet, and a couple spare wrenches. So the other 900 odd pieces are spare.

Not sure if they count the sheet or each piece for the total part count in the set.

DSC_2658DSC_2657

All in all not a set for the faint of heart (and those lacking in space) as it is a very time consuming and at times tedious build.

But if you are looking for the best ISD on the market today, the Monarch is it, and at less than 50% of what Lego is charging for their far inferior model.

A solid 10/10, no questions asked.

Block MOC Review – Iron Book – I Am Iron Block……

Block MOC Review – Iron Book – I Am Iron Block……

So we are starting the New Year off with something pretty unique out of China.

After Lego kicked open the door for Lego Books with the Ideas Pop Up Book last year, the Chinese Block-Off community saw the build idea and capitalized on it.

There have been a few sets now that use the same book design, sans the popup aspect.

The first of which was this awesome set from SY, the Iron Book.

It contains over 50 of Iron Man’s suits from over the years, all the way back to the Mark 1.

Coming in at a whopping 2000 pieces, I expected the set to be way bigger, but upon closer inspection, it is primarily due o the way Chinese blocks are counted.

Mini figures from Lego are just 3 pieces, head, torso and legs.

In China, it is Head, left arm, right arm, left hand, right hand, torso, waist, left leg, right leg.

So each Iron Man iteration is 9 parts, not including his accessories.

So with 52 figures, that is already over 500 pieces just for the mini-figs.

One aspect I really appreciates about this set is the numbered bags, MOC sets rarely have numbered sections, so it was wonderful to see.

DSC_2411

The book build is very similar to the popup book, with the exception of the cover.

DSC_2415DSC_2413

Another surprise is the use of stickers. I had assumed (incorrectly I might add) that the big Iron Man logo was a printed part. It is not.

It is one of the biggest stickers I have ever applied to a set.

DSC_2416

DSC_2417DSC_2419

I highly suggest you have some form of flattening tool available to take out the bubbles, because you will only be getting 1 shot at applying it.

DSC_2420

The cover us adorned with a fantastic 3d Iron Man helmet.

DSC_2422

DSC_2423

I have seen a couple mods that have his eyes wired in to glow, the effect is pretty cool if you have the time and cash to do it.

The minifigs themselves are of exceptional quality for a Chinese knockoff.

The clutch is good all around, and there is a TON of accessories included.

Everything pictured below is just the figs and accessories!

DSC_2424

The figure build was a bit tedious as nothing is numbered.

So if you want to put them all in chronological order, you will have to painstakingly compare each fig to the layout in the book or online.

As so many of the figures are similar, it can be a bit challenging.

DSC_2425DSC_2426DSC_2427

All in all it was a fun set to build, and I hope we see more branching out like this in the future.

I have seen already there is a DC vs Marvel Chess set book which is a really neat idea as well.

A solid build, with great display-ability.

A 8/10 and a must have for Iron Man fans like myself.

Coming Soon!

So I know that 2020 is the Year of the Rat in China, but here in Canada it is more like the Year of the Brick, for this block-off fan at least.

Since Christmas I have put together a whopping 10 sets, finishing with the massive ISD Monarch.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks as I get the reviews written up for the following:

Batmobile
Iron Book
UCS Tie
UCS Slave 1
UCS B-Wing
MegaBlox Enterprise
Jurassic Park
Thor’s Hammer
Infinity Gauntlet
Mustang
Hogwarts Castle
ISD Monarch

PS4 Review – Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order – The force is strong with this one…

PS4 Review – Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order – The force is strong with this one…

So it has been quite a while now since we have had a 100% single player Star Wars game, I can’t even recall the last one to be honest.

So when Respawn announced that they were making a new single player only, no loot box, no multiplayer, no pay to win game, the industry took a moment to pick their jaws up off the floor.

EA is not known for giving us complete games. Hell, their entire business model up to 2018 was to shill every customer for as much as they thought they could get away with.

Well that was til the backlash against them over Star Wars Battlefront 2. Fans spoke out so loud and long that they actually revamped their entire loot plan, and BF2 took such a financial hit from negative press, that I am honestly stunned EA even entertained another Star Wars game.

But they really did learn, and become humble at this years E3, coming right out saying they are eliminating loot boxes and paid expansion, it was a brazen change of direction for them. One fans looked on skeptically.

But proof is in the pudding.

Here we sit a year later with one of the best Star Wars games I have ever played, second only to Knight of the Old Republic.

The story takes place in a time between Episode 3 and Episode 4. After order 66 wiped out the Jedi, but about 10 years prior to A New Hope.

With a force sensitive scrap salvager and a fallen Jedi as his teacher.

I wont give away much of the story, as it is honestly pretty great, and works very well within the confines of the universe we all know and love.

At its core, it is a really weird mix of well established genres.

It is part Tomb Raider / Uncharted in its level traversal and climbing based puzzles. With wonderfully crafted worlds (6 in total) that are all open world, yet in the fashion of Legend of Zelda, require certain items or force skill unlocked as you journey to open paths in a level you are in.

Puzzling is nothing terribly difficult, but there are a lot of secrets and alternate routes to take if you are keeping a close eye on the level.

It is part Dark Souls in it unforgiving difficulty and the way it handles death. Every time you die, you respawn back at the previous place you meditated. And thus respawns all the enemies in the area.

This makes for a real balancing act, when you are low on health, do you meditate and respawn everyone? Or do you forge on and hope you make it to the next checkpoint.

If you do get killed my an enemy, they will now glow after your respawn, and they will hold all your previously acquired and unspent experience. Pushing you to find them and kill them, or you risk losing it all.

It has a vary Final Fantasy skill tree, where you spend points you accumulate from experience, every XX amount of points you get, nets you a skill point to spend on abilities. Most ranging from 1 to 3 points to unlock.

There are a fair bit of skills to unlock as well=, about 40 in total if I recall correctly. From throwing your saber, to additional combos, force push and pull boosts, etc. All adding to your arsenal of force destruction.

Upon day 1 release, sadly the game suffered from A LOT of glitches, from disappearing droids, to not being able to complete a Platinum run of the game as the collectables were glitched.

In the coming 4 weeks post launch though, they managed to clean pretty much all of it up. Just a bit frustrating for us day one buyers.

The only downside or negative I can say about the game is, they is little to no replay value added. Once you have got a Platinum, you have honestly seen and done it all.

I understand there may be a New Game + mode coming, that would go far in extending the life of the game for sure.

Visuals in Fallen Order are top notch, with excellent use of HDR and 4k, the game is incredibly crisp and colorful. Some of it can be a little too dark at times, even with a well calibrated TV or projector, but all in all the good outweighed the bad.

Sound was stellar, but not surprisingly so considering it is Lucas magic after all. Tie Fighters buzzing overhead, wayward shots from stormtroopers who can’t hit a thing, all of it sounded on par with the films.

An excellent romp that lasted about 25-30 hours for a Platinum trophy, and a damn fine addition to the Star Wars universe.

A solid 9/10 and a must buy for any Star Wars fan out there.

PS4 Review – Death Stranding – AKA UPS Simulation 2100

PS4 Review – Death Stranding – AKA UPS Simulation 2100

So this one is a big difficult to review. I am a huge fan of Kojima, and this is his first new IP from his new company, and in a way it kind of shows.

It is by no means an Indie game, yet there are things about it that scream Indie title.

From unfinished design elements, to bizarre story telling that needs to be read about online post game to ensure you understood what just happened.

Yet on the other hand, this is nothing but AAA.

From perfectly mastered environment, great character design and stellar acting, to a killer soundtrack that will stick in your head.

It is all tossed in a blender and comes out with a strange UPS delivery man simulation in the end.

When I first started Death Stranding I presumed the parcel delivery was a kitschy little thing that would going to be a secondary element.

Well boy was I wrong, the game is 95% package delivery. And the weird part is, it works.

I started off not really caring for it, it was an annoyance, always having to balance you load, make sure you were not carrying too much, or that you were not falling and breaking your goods, or having them rust away in the terrible rains.

But slowly as time passed, I found I was trying harder and harder to get the mail to the rightful owners. It just grows on you over time. When drudging hip deep in snow, trying you best not to slip and ruin your load.

Things do get easier as time goes o, you develop the ability to craft buildings and roads at the heavy cost of resources. But the sooner you can get together a highway or a zip line network, the easier things will be in the back half of the game.

The game also ties together with online in a weird Dark Souls kinda of way, with a persistent online tie to other players and their buildings. They will help supply resources for your roads for instances.

Or leave little emoji signs warning you of danger, or of treasure ahead.

It is a strange add in that works well for the world, but sadly did not serve much purpose.

You cannot interact with other people in any way directly.

The graphics in Death Stranding are absolutely amazing. For a new studio, it is extremely impressive what Kojima could achieve here. The world he crafted is exquisite. From barren desert plains, to snowy mountains, to grassy fields, all of it feels very real, and very somber.

This is a game about isolation, you spend the vast majority of it alone, you vs the elements.

With the occasional smattering of vocal music to set the mood.

The audio is a real treat as well, there is a TON of rain in this game, and it pairs well with simulated Atmos. The ceiling feels huge here, and the surround is well designed.

While it does lack in bass for my liking, the ambient noise in the game is a real treat. In a world so dead, it certainly sounded alive.

Some of the weird shortcomings in the game center a lot around driving.

This is where the Indie side of things starts to show.

There are a few types of vehicles in the game, mainly bikes and trucks.

But my God the bikes are HORRIBLE! Like we are talking 1 out of 10 stars horrible.

It is like something that was designed in the Sony PS1 days. You cant even bump a rock without getting stuck or flipping. It is absolutely terrible. So bad that 90% of the time I avoided them altogether and just walked instead.

That’s right, I would rather spend a dozen extra hours walking than use the provided transportation.

There was also some technical glitches, like the game randomly crashing when a cutscene would start, those type of QA things that could have been fixed with another few weeks of testing.

But I imagine Kojima needed this out in time for holiday 2019.

Had this been any other designer, they likely would have been crucified over the issues. But we all give him a bit of a free pass due to the amazing story telling he does.

All in all Death Stranding was a good game, warts and all.

Not a 10/10 title, but a fantastic 1st attempt for a man who has shaped the gaming industry over the last 30+ years.

A must play for Kojima fan, or for aspiring UPS / postal workers.

A decent 7.5/10.

Block MOC Review – BSG Colonial Viper

Block MOC Review – BSG Colonial Viper

When trolling the rebrickable site a year or so ago, I stumbled upon the plans for 2 amazing MOCs, the Colonial Viper, and the Cylon Raider.

I immediately knew I had to have them, and promptly bought the instructions from the creator.

I dumped the part list into brick link, and came to find I would have to spend about 600 per ship to complete the builds. Not too shabby, but at the time I just didn’t have the capital to put on them.

So fast forward to spring 2019 and low and behold, the Chinese block-off community decided to make the Colonial Viper, and for a paltry $200 none the less, this immediately went to the top of my list, and I for the first time in Lepin history, pre-ordered it.

Now this was a mistake.

I was too damn excited, and jumped on the promise of coming next month. (This was Feb 2019)

4 long months passed, and after delays and more delays due to the bust of Lepin, I was getting pretty skeptical if this would even happen.

Well finally after long last, the end of June arrived and so did my shiny new ship.

DSC_1559

I immediately tore into it, to find for the first time, there was not instructions. Now luckily I had actually purchased them the year before, but I would be pretty pissed if I had to shell out another $50 for instructions that in the beginning, were not conveyed that I had to buy.

I cracked all the bags open and dove in.

DSC_1563DSC_1562

It became very quickly apparent that sadly the color match on the bricks were all over the place. The reds do not all match, nor do the whites.

DSC_1618DSC_1617

All in all it does not matter too much, when it is on a shelf 9 ft away from my desk chair, I cant see a difference at all.

The build itself was moderately challenging. Nothing crazy for a MOC build, but there was a difference in color choice for the interior unseen bricks that was not mentioned, this lead to some searching for nothing as the bricks I needed were different.

This is a real shortcoming in the MOC block-off community. They seriously need to supply a part substitution list.

DSC_1570

There are really only 2 major short falls in this set. One I am pissed off about, as it was never rectified by the seller (Jeremy @ Whatsapp)

The cockpit itself is 100% wrong.

The glass provided is completely incorrect, and the cost of a replacement on Bricklink is $20 or more.

When I brought it to his attention, he straight up told me they would not be able to provide a replacement:

DSC_1639

DSC_1638

Second, and this was a doozy.

The way the engines are constructed have to be the single handed stupidest think I have ever seen in a MOC.

You have to precariously place all the surrounding bricks, then shove a rubber tire into the middle, in such a precise way that if it is off by a couple mm, then it will not connect to the ship itself.

It took me close to an hour just to get a rough idea of how to do it, and probably 2 hours to make it would at all.

Essentially you make a Circle out of tank tracks, then you wedge a dish into the tire, which is an extremely tight fit, and does not fit evenly, then insert the small ring holding 8 tiny grates.

Here is a mini album of the process:

 

DSC_1633DSC_1632

It was TERRIBLE.

Beyond those 2 major issue though, there was very little to report.

The build otherwise is very straight forward, it sits on the stand nicely, and looks fantastic on the shelf.

A good starter build for budding MOC folks, (short of the engines) and over all a rather non-frustrating build.

A 8/10 for finished presentation, and a must have for BSG fans.

DSC_1641dsc_1636.jpgdsc_1640.jpgDSC_1636DSC_1635DSC_1634DSC_1626

Block MOC review – Empire over Jedha

Block MOC review – Empire over Jedha

When I first caught glimpse of this MOC, long before the Chinese block-off community grabbed it, I was taken aback.

It is rare to see a set like this. Something on a micro scale, yet so incredibly detailed. With hundreds of small buildings peeking out under the massive Star Destroyer. It was something of beauty, and something I figured I would never have a chance to build, as the likelihood of me putting in the time to collect the bricks for this was pretty unlikely.

But thankfully, the “Lepin” community rose to the challenge, and popped this set out.

Coming in at a whopping 5098 bricks, it is no small feat to put this thing together.

DSC_1770

Sorting of MOCs is always a challenge, and I tend to not stray too far from how it is bagged. In my experience, bricks of a like step or kind tend to be together. Not always, but short of sorting every little brick, this is what I have found that works.

Sadly one thing that came immediately apparent was, they decided to change the color of the interior “unseen” bricks. Now this is not an issue IF, and this is a big one, IF you let people know what you changed….

What it made for was a terribly frustrating build as you had to literally guess what bricks would not be needed later. The substituted Red for Blue, but also put in a pile of light grey and dark grey, both of which are used in other parts of the build.

DSC_1772DSC_1779DSC_1784

So when assembling the base, hundreds of substitutions were made, and worse yet, the manual is pretty unclear on colors specification. Sometimes things looked red, other times orange, and the 2 greys are almost identical in the book, so finding the right parts was a real challenge.

All that said, the base is incredibly well designed. It is solid and shows very little change of falling part at all.

The detail level is incredible, with multiple layers of “dirt” layer after layer.

DSC_1776DSC_1787

Once the base was out of the way, the city level posed the next conundrum. The instructions on how the support posts inside are placed leaves a lot of guess work as well. So when you are coming around the structure later with the walls, you may run into instances where you have to take some of it apart, and move the columns as they are in the wrong place.

DSC_1791.JPG

Another major shortcoming was the lack of properly colored supports for the star Destroyer. They provided white, and they should have been clear, this was to give it that floating look, which was completely ruined by 2 giant white technic sticks….

DSC_1789

Worse yet is the fact that they are built right into the base and into the Star Destroyer, so if you decide to change them later, you will need to do a substantial amount of rebuilding. So mu suggestion is grab a pair of bricklink BEFORE you begin.

And while you are there, grab a set of clear sticks for the mini ship supports too, those are inconveniently white as well.

DSC_1801

DSC_1806

Lastly we have the Star Destroyer itself.

For a ship that is so “small” it is incredibly well details, but sadly, it is also incredibly poorly designed.

The top and bottom plates will not stay in place and closed along the seams at all.

I tried multiple redesigns in hopes to fix the flaws, but in the end was only able to find one fix… Kragle…

That is par for the course for MOC builds usually, but I still hate to break it out if I can avoid it.

DSC_1803DSC_1807DSC_1804

The command deck as well was areal pain to assemble. From the instructions being a bit vague at points, to finding a delicate placement of things to make them look right. It was just a pain to assemble.

DSC_1808

Luckily it required no glue to make work.

All in all, it is on par with MOC builds. It looks fantastic finished, but it is a royal pain in the ass to get there.

Definitely a 8/10 on the complexity scale. And only recommended for the seasoned MOC builder.

One of the coolest looking sets in my collection though, and I do still recommend it no matter the challenges faced.

DSC_1809DSC_1818DSC_1816DSC_1814DSC_1812DSC_1799DSC_1792

PS4 Review – Call of Duty: Modern (why did they call it this) Warfare

PS4 Review – Call of Duty: Modern (why did they call it this) Warfare

So what can be said about the 16th game in an annual series that has not already been said 15 times before?

Honestly, not much.

What can be said is that Modern Warfare is #1, a really stupid way of naming a game, as they already had this exact title 10 years ago, so not really sure the mindset to calling it this, since it is not a remake, and it is not really a reboot, just another story in the Call of Duty universe with some characters we know and love.

#2 – This marks the triumphant return of a single player campaign.

Last year in 2018 we got Block Ops 4, the first Call of Duty to ever ditch the single player mode in lieu of a multiplayer only title. In a move I suspect Activision made so they could save money on development as they believed most folks in their eyes only play the online game.

This hurt them BAD. Sale of BO4 were about 50% of what they usually sell. Not shocking when you remove 50% of the game.

It was also the first Call of Duty game in 15 years I did not purchase. So withholding dollars actually did work in this case.

Modern Warfare is really typical Call of Duty fair, there is a big crisis, you need to take charge and stop a world threat no one knows about all while staying under the radar enough to not incite another world war. It is a tried and tested formula, and honestly, it works.

There is a reason they tend to sell 20 million copies a year, people like to play the hero. As do I.

Combat is very slick, over the last 15 games they have worked every kink and glitch out pretty much. It is fast paced, and never really feels unfair.

I play all of the Coll of Duty games on the hardest setting possible to milk the most out of the single player I can. I also like that actual feeling of war in a way. Where a single bullet will tend to do you in.

This one however felt a little light on difficulty on the hardest setting. Other than a few instances of getting overwhelmed by a group of enemies, I never really felt in imminent danger of dying if I pooped my head out of the gopher hole.

Visuals this time around were top notch as well. An obvious engine change has done wonders for the game. With expertly crafted HDR on a well tuned system made for ink black shadows and pure white flashlights. One of the better HDR presentation out there honestly.

Sound, while not in Atmos, worked very well with simulated Atmos. From helicopters overhead to siper fire whipping overhead, the sense of sound immersion was great.

All in al lthe single player campaign was pretty great for a franchise that is pretty much same old same old every year.

I can’t comment on the other half of the game though, the multiplayer. I did not even dip my toe in that pool. It has been about 5 years since I played any Call of Duty MultiPlayer online, and the community then was rife with cheaters and campers, so I can’t imagine it got any better in the last 5 versions.

If you are looking for a stellar war campaign in a time tested franchise, then I highly recommend you pick up Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2019, you will not be disappointed.

A solid 9/10 for single player mode, and a big ?/10 for the multiplayer.

Brick MOC – Carbon Freezing Chamber

My apologies folks for taking so long to get some of these reviews out. It has been a very long work filled year, and though I found the time to play games and build “Lego” I have had a hell of a spell of writes block, coupled with a real lack of motivation due to my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

But I am forcing myself to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard as it were, and punch out a few rapid fire reviews that have been pending for months now.

First up (but last completed) if the amazing Carbon Freezing Chamber by Onecase and purchased from a Chinese block-off site complete(ish)

DSC_2394

Unlike most knock-off sets, MOCs are always a little fickle. They rarely come with printed manuals, so firstly you need a tablet or laptop close by to complete the build.

Second, there is never any semblance of organization, as all the bricks are counted out by the seller, it is literally a mixed bag of what you are going to get.

I tend to keep things sorted as they come, so in this case, about 12 piles.

DSC_2395

Things went smoothly for the base build, it is well constructed and feels very sturdy, something that is not always the case in MOCs, but this one was well designed from the ground up. At least to start.

There was some differences in parts compared to what the manual said, like the tank toppers in the back, and the small tank in the front, but it is merely cosmetic and not a big deal.

The problems started though with the 10 part wall construction.

1st off, the instructions once complete are very vague. There is no clear picture of how to put it on the base, it was 100% guess work and trial and error.

DSC_2399

Second and more problematic, was the way the connection to the triangle tops are designed. there is zero consistency. the 3 sections in the front were perfect, smooth, giving good surface to connect to.

But as you moved farther around, it was a mish-mash of different styles. Some only connection to 3 “dots” and having zero interior support.

DSC_2401

Thankfully there was lots of leftover pieces to fill things in, but it all could have been avoided had Onecase done a better job with the instructions, as he must have run into the same issues, just never corrected them.

Now for the big issues.

First off, the triangle top pieces are terribly thought out. As you can see, this is how they say they should be assembled. They took forever due to their absolutely flimsy design.

Couple that with the fact I was missing about 50 important bricks. For some reason the clear 1×2 were severely under shipped, as well as the 2×2 clear circles.

There are needed so that the lights can shine through cleanly.

I ended up having to add in solid bricks just to complete the build.

The next big issue came when it was time to put them all in place. Due to the poor design, the fell apart when trying to affix them. So I had to go back to the beginning and remove many of the clean 1×2, and add in a solid foundation so they would hold, having even to resort to a bit of kragle to make them hold.

The back triangle was the worst and needed a ground up redesign as Onecase bad it just floating in place, not connected to anything at all.

DSC_2400

I was lucky in the fact that there was a pile of unused 1×2 angle pieces left. The centers all lined up uneven originally, nothing came together smooth. But I was able to create a circle in the center with these spare parts to pull it all in nice and smooth.

The place I purchased from included a set of lights I had no intention of using, but figured I had them, and they are not compatible with my Christmas Village lighting, so may as well install them too.

I was glad I did as they look pretty great when turned on.

Adding them in was easy, they are all self adhering and went in no problem.

DSC_2401

This set sadly did not include any mini-figs, so I will be picking some up from Ali soon to finish off the look.

All in all it was a fun build, and though there are typical MOC challenges, the finished product looks fantastic.

The fine details of all the hoses and pipes really make the set a show piece.

DSC_2405DSC_2406DSC_2407

An excellent build not for the faint of heart or skill. Definitely an advanced level build requiring some out of the box thinking and patience.

A solid 10/10 for end results, and a 7/10 for MOC frustration.

DSC_2403DSC_2404

DSC_2409