My first model was, believe it or not, a submarine. It was maybe 10-inches long - probably from Revell - and was grey moulded. I glued it together quickly if not inaccurately - but I did it all by myself - and them submerged it into my goldfish aquarium. You might think the glue would have killed the fish, but I know for a fact one of those fish lived to be 17 years of age - in my possession.
Anyhow... building models - you had to follow the instructions. There were no extra parts unless you built it wrong. As an adult, I would begin to alter my models - specifically the 1/24th scale cars and smash them with another kit to create my own Hot Rods. Although for my WWII airplanes and for my spacecraft, I went with authenticity - the same for the classic war ships, like the Phoenician galley et al.
When I got into Dungeons and Dragons, I began painting my own figurines (25mm in size) and learned all sorts of cool techniques from Dragon Magazine. Then I began building my own D&D worlds with cardboard... and while the spirit was willing, the talent was weak. By the way, cardboard should have been written as 'corrugated'. Packaging industry veteran eh.
But, it wasn't until recently - the past two years - when I got my son involved in LEGO, that things began to snap together. I would buy my 4-year-old son the most complex and huge LEGO models knowing they were too complex for him to build just so I could build them. The Power Miners stuff was awesome. The same with LEGO City and LEGO Star Wars.
And then LEGO put out Ninjago when my son was five. The Japanese-stylized LEGO world. Awesome. And then LEGO put a shop seven minutes from my house. The fates were screaming at me to listen. So I did.
Combining new LEGO Ninjago sets, with some older Japanese ones from my cousin Marc to my son Hudson (now 6), combined with some LEGO Castle sets, and just plane bricks from the LEGO wall... I began to use my fertile imagination. All fertile soil needs some bull-sh!t, and I'm full of it. I then started buying special parts from E-bay and presto... I began building LEGO dioramas of Feudal Japan.
My wife thinks I am insane. My son knows I am. But, as every sane person knows, only a crazy person would say they are not crazy - but I am not crazy. Just passionate.
But I had to do something! The little bugger is building at a 10-year-old level and sure as heck doesn't need dear old dad's help to build anything. I needed an outlet!
Four huge dioramas later - you've only seen three (DIORAMA 1, DIORAMA 2, DIORAMA 3), I've decided to go small... and to try something different.
This underwater scene is all about levels. A Japanese fisherman catches a fish out on the sea - unaware that a shark just below the surface is about to take his prize! Further down, a Ninja in flippers has made his way (unbeknownst to the fisherman) past the boat and is about to attack an octopus guarding a treasure - a skeleton - though the Ninja believes it is protecting a treasure chest. The Ninja is also unaware (or is he aware?) that behind him looms a shark, that if it wasn't for the caught fish distracting it, the Ninja would be in great danger... or perhaps the octopus would be.
No one is bothering the snail, the spiky plants going with the flow of the current, or the bamboo-like plants growing from the exposed rock near the boat. Some of the things the fisherman caught seem odd, though...
Enjoy. And remember that it's all just bricks in the wall...
I even think my photography is getting better - one definitely looks like it's completely underwater!
There is still one more small diorama being constructed slowly as I have to make a costume for a minifig (miniature figurine); one more large one needs to be re-examined to determine if I am actually finished; and then I have to figure out a way to combine the big ones with other dioramas not yet thought of.
LEGO is cool - especially when you are only limited by your imagination. Of course, you have all heard about the two Canadian teenagers who put a LEGO minifig man into space, a few days ago, right? HERE.
By Andrew Joseph