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LEGO Rainbow Dash

Discussion in 'Customs and Plushies' started by Oilyvalves, 15 November 2015.

  1. Oilyvalves

    Oilyvalves Railway Pony

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    LEGO Rainbow Dash Project

    Project aim: Build a free-standing show-accurate sculpture of Rainbow Dash completely from LEGO

    [​IMG]


    (last updated 27/06/17)

    Hi all,

    I've been a fan of Lego for as long as I can remember, and have been an active member of the Lego fan community since long before MLP:FiM. Normally, I build models of trains (particularly steam locomotives); you can see some of my work here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/technoandrew/albums

    However, I've finally started what I've been meaning to do pretty much since I became a fan of MLP; building a Lego pony.

    My first model will be Rainbow Dash; being one of the mane 6, she has the regular body shape, and she's probably the most recognisable character to people who aren't into the show. The plan is to eventually take the model to exhibitions with my Lego club. Plus she's my favourite character, so a no brainer eh? ;) Once I've finished her, I'll see what other characters I can produce.

    I'll be posting my progress on the project here. Fingers crossed she'll be done in the next few months.

    The first step was to choose what pose to have her in (she'll be a static figure). I wanted to add some interest, so she'll be mid-walk. I'm taking a risk with her balancing on only 2 hoofs, but if it all goes wrong I can add weights in her or something. Still not quite decided on her facial expression, but that'll come later.

    Then to develop her 3D shape, I'm first creating 2D outlines or 'spines', traced from an image of her. These tracings help to shape the bits normally hidden by her mane, wings etc. I did this in Microsoft Powerpoint, as I don't have any other fancy image software:

    Rainbow Dash WIP 1.jpg

    Then I've transferred those outlines on to a grid system that represents the Lego parts (again in Powerpoint), so I can work out the construction. Those blue triangles are to help me choose when to switch between upwards facing parts and sideways facing ones.

    New Picture (2).jpg

    Finally, based on that plan in Powerpoint I've build up the bricks using software called 'Lego Digital Designer' (you can download it for free from Lego):

    Rainbow Dash WIP 3.jpg
    This is where I've got to at the moment. The next step will be to repeat the process with a head-on image of Dash, to give depth and shaping to the profiles above. After that I'll be able to start filling in the spaces to create the full 3D shape. Details like the eyes, cutie mark, ears and wings will have to be added in 3D afterwards.

    Once the design is finished, I'll be able to order all the parts needed, and build her for real :D
     
    #1 Oilyvalves, 15 November 2015
    Last edited: 27 June 2017
  2. Wonderbolt

    Wonderbolt Honorary Pony

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    Cool, I have been quite familiar with your work (I have seen it quite a few times on Flikr and I think in RAILBRICKS) but I didn't realise it was you lol.
     
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  3. ScopeEva

    ScopeEva Changeling Lurker

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    Huh, pretty cool. I've been quite the LEGO enthusiast when younger but my current lack of disposable income prohibits that.

    Recently wanted to start putting together landmarks and building from around Equestria, preferably to the scale of blind bag ponies but a lack of the right verity of bricks. Though I must thank you for reminding me of the digital design programs around for Lego, must give them a try for this.
     
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  4. Starscream759

    Starscream759 Honorary Pony

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    I've been a fan of Lego for quite some time now but I've never once used this program actually. It's interesting that I know about it now. God and all this talk of lego is making me thinking of my induction day to LEGOLAND even though it was a couple of weeks ago.
     
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  5. Irregular Apocalypse

    Irregular Apocalypse Follo teh oranj hoers ...

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    This has given me some very badunsound ideas ... I hope you realise that :D
     
    #5 Irregular Apocalypse, 15 November 2015
    Last edited: 15 November 2015
  6. Oilyvalves

    Oilyvalves Railway Pony

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    Can't say I know what you mean, but if you say so :confused:.
     
  7. Irregular Apocalypse

    Irregular Apocalypse Follo teh oranj hoers ...

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    Good ideas from a 'hmm, what could I do with Lego?' perspective.
    Bad ideas from a 'finite level of disposable income' perspective.

    Bonus points for an interesting use of Powerpoint, too.
     
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  8. ScopeEva

    ScopeEva Changeling Lurker

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    I think I have used it in the past but felt somewhat disappointed with it's inflexibility and lack of brick variety, both type and colour, so I sort of forgot about it. Until now!

    The point is I feel I've been looking at it the wrong way. Rather then using it to digitally create a model, it should be used to plan the model I want to make... which was an epiphany that started here.

    So, a thank you to you Oilyvalves for that. And for liking my post which got me the "I Like It a Lot " trophy.
     
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  9. Oilyvalves

    Oilyvalves Railway Pony

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    UPDATE:

    I've been gradually developing outlines of dash in different orientations, to create her 3D shape. I've also had a go at padding out a couple of her legs into something like what the finished model will be (the darker blue).

    The red bits in her head were just to help me with working out the shape of her face etc.

    Rainbow Dash WIP 5.png
    Also just for fun, I thought I'd show you how crazy that Powerpoint file is getting that I'm using to work out the shapes. Those grey pony parts were a handy pony base model without mane/tail I found:

    Rainbow Dash WIP 6.jpg
     
  10. Starscream759

    Starscream759 Honorary Pony

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    Looks good so far.
     
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  11. Cloudane

    Cloudane Element of Mostly Excessive Verbosity

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    Nice work!

    I don't understand why LEGO ponies are not an official thing. Just about every other brand has done deals with them. Hasbrah can be pretty stubborn I guess..
     
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  12. Starscream759

    Starscream759 Honorary Pony

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    "We can't have Lego sets about ponies! It'll scar the kids!" Is the thought process behind Hasbro.
     
  13. Cendaquenta

    Cendaquenta she / they

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    Apparently Hasbro make their own building-block brand, so they're technically a competitor to Lego. But yes, I wish pony Lego existed... shame it'd probably end up being Duplo or Lego Friends and not proper buildable Lego, even if they did get the license.
     
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  14. Oilyvalves

    Oilyvalves Railway Pony

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    LEGO have a scheme called 'IDEAS' where people can submit suggestions for sets. A couple of people put forward MLP related ones where the ponies were 1 or 2 piece mouldings. They didn't really get anywhere.
    Since LEGO and HASBRO are direct competitors, I'd have thought the possibility of them calaborating would be very slim.
     
  15. Irregular Apocalypse

    Irregular Apocalypse Follo teh oranj hoers ...

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    I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that Lego stated fairly explicitly that the chances of a collaboration with Hasbro were somewhere on the far side of nil - I think the main reason was because, yes, Hasbro do their own building block product (Kre-O) but I also think a large part of it has to do with the fact that Lego can be monumentally difficult to deal with (allegedly, etc.etc.)

    Anyway, nice to see some progress. A couple of questions, though:
    • How are you going to account for the fact that the brick studs change their orientation? For example, on her face the studs face 'outwards' whereas on the top of her head they face upwards - is this intentional or just an artifact of the design software? I don't remember there ever being any 'stock' bricks that allowed you to do this so I'm curious to see how you approach it (eg. using compatible non-Lego bricks)
    • Is the model going to be solid or hollow? Looking at the second pic I'm guessing solid but again, I'm curious.
    Regarding the craziness of the Powerpoint file, you might want to consider looking at something like GIMP, paint .NET or Inkscape for future projects - the latter may be a good bet if you're working with vector images but it is a bit of a pig to use (all three are free and open source)
     
  16. Oilyvalves

    Oilyvalves Railway Pony

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    The fact that the brick studs face in different orientations is intentional. It's a style of lego building that allows for greater flexibility in shape, and because there are studs everywhere, it gives it a generally more 'Lego' appearance; something I don't normally do for my models within the Lego train community, but for pony I wanted something that would stand out.

    In order to achieve the different directions, there are many official standard pieces available:
    http://www.bricklink.com/catalogList.asp?v=2&pg=1&catLike=W&catID=7
    http://www.bricklink.com/catalogLis...temYear=&searchName=Y&searchNo=Y&q=&catLike=W

    Bricklink is a site for selling second hand parts.

    As for the 2nd question, the model will be mostly solid due to the nature of how the shape is constructed and held together (especially considering the weight of the whole model has to be transferred through only 2 legs). There'll be the odd gap in there though; I'm not making a conscience effort to fill the inside completely.

    I'm actually finding it OK to use Powerpoint for this sort of thing, mainly as I can just use the program straight away, and use features like selectively snapping some objects to others etc. If I ever create any more vector pony images similar to my avatar, I might investigate other programs, as Powerpoint doesn't allow things to be exported in a vector format.
     
  17. Oilyvalves

    Oilyvalves Railway Pony

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    Small update; all legs now modeled. Now onto the body, neck and head.

    Rainbow Dash WIP 7.jpg
     
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  18. Oilyvalves

    Oilyvalves Railway Pony

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    Update!

    So, I've spend the last few weeks not making that much visible progress, because I've been doing things like working out the internal structures that hold the legs together etc.

    I've also been struggling a bit with some of the shaping, particularly in the torso and head area; e.g, what does a pony's head look like from directly above? :confused:. One thing I want to achieve is the eyes looking reasonable from both the front and the sides; something a lot of plushies and figures fail to do.

    Then I thought, since I'm creating a 3D model of a pony, a good place to look would be the SFM stuff. No point re-inventing the wheel eh? I'm not willing to download source filmmaker and all that, but I thought if there's a way to study one of the models, that'd be a big help.

    A little digging and.. jackpot :D! A user on Deviant Art by the username KP-ShadowSquirrel has created and providing links for 3D PDFs of the models. If you're not familiar with 3D PDFs, basically you open it like a normal pdf, but contained within is a 3D CAD model which you can rotate around, turn into a wireframe etc.

    http://kp-shadowsquirrel.deviantart.com/art/Pony-3D-PDF-Files-281802660

    3D dash 1.jpg

    3D dash 2.jpg

    And best of all, you can view cross sections of the model. For example, this is what the middle of Dash's head looks like viewed from above. I'm aware this does look rather creepy :confused::

    3d dash 3.jpg

    I won't be copying the SFM model, exactly, just using it for tips.

    Anyway, some good progress should now be made on the rest of LEGO Dash. This is her at the moment:

    Rainbow Dash WIP 8.png

    She's looking a bit tubby at the mo :rolleyes:.
     
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  19. Oilyvalves

    Oilyvalves Railway Pony

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    *Another Update*

    LEGO Dash now has a face.

    Rainbow Dash WIP 9.png

    She could really do with some ears now. And a mane. And a tail. And her cutie marks. And her wings. Still lots to do! :)
     
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  20. Irregular Apocalypse

    Irregular Apocalypse Follo teh oranj hoers ...

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    Today I have learnt a thing ... I was not aware of the existence of 3D PDFs.
    Admittedly, I can't think of any reason why I'd want to use them in the normal run of events but they're pretty cool nonetheless. Much like LegoDash herself, in fact.

    Does the Lego software allow you to rotate the model? Might be interesting to see it from some different angles.
     
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