Ladies and Gentlemen,
I realize that this is a bit wordy - seeing as how I'm new here, bear with me - it's worth it!
So let's get down to business shall we? I have a huge notebook full of ideas and doodlings that detail modified, or entirely original pieces. I've been doing this off and on for quite some time. In my current location I am rather limited on resources and references, however my creativity and a simple pen, paper, and a copier should suffice for just about anything.
I got to thinking last night - to start a threat here that encourages people to try to get their ideas down on a form of media, as well as open discussion of/and conceptualization - and to shed some light on myself at the same time.
A word on my (current) method of operation:
I often start with a theme, for this example we're going to use a sci-fi or space template.
From there I envision my character, their purpose, and their range of accessories and equipment.
The most important thing in my designs, and something I can't emphasize enough is to strike a balance
between appearence, durability, and functionality. For the sake of arguement I'm going to use a popular
character from a video game franchise, and one that some of you have presumably tried to create in the past.
Samus Aran - Varia Suit Form.
-I've seen several customs out there, even on E-bay, and I personally don't think they do her justice.
Her helmet, armor (Her definitive helmet, chest and shoulder pads to be exact) and body are all very feasible using unmodified legoes or well known custom pieces and decals.
The element that stands out here as difficult is her arm cannon.
I've seen anything from a 1x1 cylindar or cone cut down and mounted on the cyborn arm piece to a clay/sculpty piece that fits over a standard minifig hand.
(When it comes to recreating characters I grew up with and absolutely love... I admittedly am a prima donna.)
Now that we have our criteria let's get down to business!
The practical (to a fanboy such as myself) thing to do would be make a custom piece.
Reciting my balance here again; appearence, durability, and functionality are the most important things to consider.
The piece I came up with regarding this example is a hand replacement. (pictures coming soon to support this!).
This fits into a standard minifig hand slot and extends forward from the arm a length a little farther than a standard minifig hand. The end of the barrel is a hollow peg 1x1 allowing for interior and exterior attachments to it. (IE rockets or a beam)
The top/side of this cannon should also extrude back along the arm almost the same way the vampbracer piece does.
Just to the elbow and covering just enough area to get a little detail on it - this way it will not effect the range of movement of the arm - Either blocking itself on the edge of the torso, or interfering with shoulder armor.
Once I get the pictures uploaded I will add them to support this as previously mentioned, but I think I've explained it clearly enough for one to gauge at least a basic image of it.
A piece such as this has potential demand and is applicable to multiple other characters, which is the final step in my process, the marketing aspect - defining and refining the concept to maximize it's spectrum of use.
FINAL WORD... For now!
I feel as though I'm preaching to the choir with this design banter, this is simply the method I've been using, and a general open ended suggestion - nothing more. However it's one I wish to get feedback on, and I'd like to hear about the steps you use in your own personal version of the creative process!
I also encourage people to send me messages or post here with descriptions, drawings, and pictures of pieces they have considered and the many potential uses of them (or not so many as some cases may be) and I'll see if I can't cook something up for you or at least offer a reference and inspiration.
If I can help even one person get their idea down on paper and have it displayed in a way that makes it not only better understood, but plausible to make cost-efficiently, I'll have accomplished my goal.
File comment: Visual Concept, once again sorry about the quality - my software sucks at the moment.
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