So this month, after a bit of a hiatus due to web server changes and such, we are looking at Star Wars. Everyone in the family is excited about the forthcoming The Force Awakens, and with some great trailers coming out, showing us some brief glimpses of what appear to be some great characters, we couldn’t wait to check out some of the new Star Wars Lego sets that were being released, especially the minifigures.
One of the things that caught my eye, from an animation point of view, were the new range of Buildable Figures, with takes on Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, General Grevious, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jango Fett, and our favourite, Clone Commander Cody. We picked one up for a reasonable £15 from Toys’R’Us with a view to checking him out and animating him.
The figure stands about 26cm tall and is strong and durable, with fully posable limbs, a buildable blaster rifle and some well printed body parts, including a moulded hemet head piece and a detailed chest plate. Using a basic skeletal frame made from parts similar to those found in Technic/Bionicle/Hero Factory sets, the figure uses sockets and ball joints to create the moveable limbs, with the rest of the armour being designed to clip on to the frame, creating the character. I must say, I make it sound simple, but I did find the instructions a little confusing in places, making the build take longer than I expected.
From the front, the character looks great, with a nice little detail of an antenna on his back pack showing over his left shoulder, but from the back it doesn’t look so hot, and, in my opinion would greatly benefit from some armour to clip onto the back of his legs and his inner arms, concealing more of the skeletal frame. Otherwise, he is easy to pose, holds his weapon well and is quite convincing….
So how does he animate? That was the main reason I bought this figure after all… I saw from the off that animating this figure wasn’t going to be as easy as I originally thought. Anything upper body, making him look around, raise his gun etc, is very simple and straightforward, and is pretty much like animating any other minifigure, but making him walk, that is another thing! The figure is obviously quite top heavy and certainly will not easily stand on one leg in a walking motion. There is a definite need to fix the feet somehow so he can take steps. One way I have found of doing that is by using a single round lego stud in the convenient hole on the bottom of each foot. This allows you to attach him to a Lego baseplate, which offers some stability, but isn’t quite strong enough to hold him totally still or hold all of the weight in a walking action. I have yet to resolve this problem, but have a feeling it will involve large amounts of BluTac in each foot, to add weight, acting as a counter balance and a sticky surface to attach him to a flat table top with.
Check out the video below to see a quick speed build of the character and a short test animation I put together. We hope you enjoyed our look at the Clone Commander Cody Buildable Figure and hope you’ll come back to for more info on some of the recent Star Wars Lego releases…
Note: The blaster visual effects in the animation were created using a piece of software called SaberFX, which I will talk more about in a blog very soon!