scout walker

Lego AT-ST
More Star Wars Lego (and this ain’t the last of it). This is the AT-ST, otherwise known as the Scout Walker. Not Scott Walker as my autocorrect would say. “the Twin Suns Ain’t Gonna Shine Any More”. This is the one from Rogue One, seen briefly unless you were looking at your popcorn or literally blinking. It’s the same as the ones seen in Return of the Jedi, the ones famously useless at dealing with rolling logs. This vehicle will always remind me of getting run over at age 7 by a van outside my house.

I was playing with my friends Natasha and Simon in our narrow street, my Star Wars figures all over the doorstep. We crossed over the street to see if our friends Robert and Victoria wanted to come out and play. They couldn’t; they had family visiting. Ok we said and turned to dash back over to our side of the street. My street was narrow, but cars parked on one side meant it was hard to see oncoming traffic. I was first, so I stepped into the street and woke up on the couch, covered in blood with crying and panic all around. I vaguely remember the impact knocking me out, seeing a big white blur. I think the van was white. It was probably going too fast, but it hit me head first so I have no idea. I was lucky. I spent the night in hospital, and all I had was a big beaten-up face and a black eye. But I got a new Star Wars toy as a present, which was the old Kenner AT-ST Scout Walker – Return of the Jedi had come out a few months before and was pretty much my favourite thing in the world. I remember my older sister playing with it with me, creating a terrain on the carpet by putting a blanket over several other items to create hills. There was a button on the back to make it walk. I did have an Ewok with a little glider that dropped boulders on it, as well as the Biker Scout on the Speeder Bike (which would ‘explode’ by pressing a little button on the back). My tortoises had a little brick ‘hut’ in the back garden I would pretend was the Imperial Bunker (the tortoises didn’t mind at all, I think they enjoyed being part of the story). All of this, I think of when I see the AT-ST! Hardly a trauma. I remember people asking for a couple of months afterwards, “who hit you?” It was a van, don’t worry about it. My school photos from 1983 showed a lot of scabbing and a redness in my eye. I did miss a couple of days of school. Ironically, one of my best friends in class, Wayne, also got run over on the exact same day in a separate incident. (Conspiracy theorists of 1983, get on that!). I think he was hit by a taxi. He was out of school for longer than me though, because he had broken his leg. I remember Wayne, we used to play chess and talk about animals and politics; he loved running and was good at football, he supported Everton, we both liked Sampdoria. His family were Jamaican and when he went over to Jamaica when we were 9 or 10 he brought me back this thing called a ‘Jamaican Yo-Yo’ and incredibly I STILL have it. I should find it and sketch it sometime.

This was a fun set to build, and comes with (among others) Baze Malbus, the dude with the massive blaster in Rogue One who is friends with Chirrut Imwe. Those two were cool.

“Jabba, this is your last chance. Free us, or die”

sw-lego-desertskiff-sm

That is my favourite scene from Return of the Jedi, possibly all of Star Wars. Possibly all of everything. I compare everything to that scene. That was a fun conversation, I think whenever I meet someone new. But did R2-D2 throw me a green lightsabre that I start swinging around against a bunch of space pirates that tried to feed me to a giant toothy pit in the desert? No, I didn’t think so. Ok maybe that one time. Yes, more Star Wars Lego sketching, and it’s a great way to pass the time, and keep the old mind off of current affairs, or “raisins liaisons” as I call them. There’s Luke above facing off against Boba Fett on the sand skiff, I remember so clearly watching that aged 7 at the cinema with my big brother and just gasping at the brilliant green of the lightsabre, which I had never seen before (I had no idea they could be green! Big revelation). I had a toy lightsabre, it was a cheap plastic one that glowed white, but I loved it. Prior to that, my big sister used to make me lightsabres out of cardboard, old toilet rolls really, with coloured paper on them. I remember getting in trouble with the security guards at Brent Cross Shopping Centre for duelling with my cousin Daniel with our cardboard sabres, I was only six or seven at the time. I mention that, like as if I wouldn’t do the same now. Anyway that one that lit up, it stopped working after I decided that it needed to be green. I painted the bulb green with poster paint, you know the little coloured tubs you used to get, and that did it in basically, stopped working. I’m still sad about that now. Everyone says how when they were in the playground, they always wanted to be Han Solo, Han was the coolest, he always got the girl. Well I remember being seven and Luke Skywalker was so the coolest, because he had the LIGHTSABRE, and what’s so good about ‘getting the girl’? I was seven, dude. Luke’s always been my favourite. And Vader of course, but one of my other friends liked to be Vader. sw-lego-lukespeeder-sm

More Luke, much earlier Luke. This is his landspeeder from Star Wars (that’s “A New Hope” to you). I guess those stormtroopers bought those droids then. There’s Ben KEnobi, now here’s the thing. I love Ben Kenobi, Obi-Wan is probably my second favourite character after Luke (solo movie PLEASE), but come on. In the scene where he mind-tricks the troopers, he does also ask if they want to buy the droids. Ok, mind-tricks are one thing, but seriously. You get pulled over by a cop, they’re like, this a stolen car bro? Kinda looks like a stolen car bro. And you’re like, nah is cool, had this for three or four seasons, but like, you wanna buy it off me? That is some mind-trick, Ben, because that is some seriously shady dealing. And then later, in the cantina, after chopping a guy’s arm off (fair play, dangerous town), he ‘negotiates’ with Han Solo. He says, “Just myself, the boy, two droids…and no questions asked.” Again, trying not to sound shady. So then Han Solo does just that and asks a question. Does Ben raise his eyebrows and say, “Dude, I just said no questions asked, do you need me to write it down?” No, he answers the question, with an even more shady answer, to which Han increases the price. Ben however has played this weird game of Go For Broke before (remember that board game?) and says, 10k? Nah man, I give you 17k. Remember a couple of decades before when Grievous calls him “The Negotiator”? Yeah that. This is Ben playing with other people’s cash. Good job Luke was able to sell his out-of-demand speeder for that 2k. If he hadn’t, well perhaps they should have gone back to those troopers and tried to sell them C-3PO. Threepio wasn’t carrying any Death Star plans after all, and he doesn’t exactly walk very fast.

sw-lego-falcon-mf-sm

“You’re all clear kid now let’s blow this thing and go home!”

Now I’m not saying Han isn’t cool. He definitely is, because he flies the Millennium Falcon. The one above is of course the micro-fighter version. I do have the bigger one but that takes a longer time to draw. I love the Falcon. What a piece of junk. She may not look like much but she’s got it where it counts kid. Now, I know it’s just a saying, I know it comes at the coolest bit of the movie (Seriously, get a chance to watch Star Wars on the big screen again some day and the moment where the Falcon flies back in, Vader goes “what?” and Han cheers “yahoo!” well I defy you not to fist-bump the air and cheer in the movie theatre). However, “and go home”? Really? He knows Luke’s home got burned down and his family killed like just a couple of days before? Leia would have been listening too, “all go home”? He knows her home planet was blown up? And as for Han himself, where does he live? He lives on the Falcon right? I don’t care. Even thinking about that moment in the film brings shivers down my spine.

I have more Lego sketches to share, but it’s late and I’m going to bed, thinking about Star Wars, because thinking about Star Wars is a helluva lot better than not thinking about Star Wars. As Ben Kenobi once said, “who’s the more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?”

AT-AT walker, step by step

ATAT build 1
Look what I got for Christmas! I know, more Star Wars and Lego, but I have wanted this for ages. It’s probably my favourite vehicle in Star Wars (and, um, therefore anywhere), though the Millennium Falcon is also up there (with the Snowspeeder not far behind, I love that little thing). The AT-AT, which I do pronounce attatt (not spelling out the letters), also know as Imperial Walker, the big armoured behemoths from The Empire Strikes Back. I remember getting the toy one as a kid at Christmas, I must have been about six or seven, and I remember the big box, it was the pride of my collection. This Lego version took significantly longer to put together, and well, I love it. I sketched the steps of building it. Above, it looks more like the skeleton of a small ship that the snowtroopers have cobbled together. Below, the armour is starting to take shape, the feet are built and the neck has been screwed on.
ATAT build 2<
Then, I added the legs. I lay it on its side. It’s quite tall, and surprisingly sturdy. Lego is very technical these days.
ATAT build 3
And then it was done! Took me a few days to complete, but I took my time, enjoyed it. Now battle commences. General Veers, prepare your men.
ATAT Lego

draw your swords!

Swords
Before I plunge into posting Santa Barbara sketches, I thought I might show you some swords. They’re not real swords I hasten to add, that isn’t real metal, that isn’t real gold with blue Chi energy running though it. These were bought in Legoland, which actually isn’t a real land, it’s more like a theme park I suppose. My son has quite an armoury of Lego swords, which are made form a kind of hardened foam and really do take a beating – I should know, I’m usually the one getting beaten. I always need the shield to protect me from the rapid sword blows being rained upon me. I sometimes wear an Iron Man mask to give me some more protection, but unfortunately it doesn’t record, predict and counteract all of my opponent’s moves like the real thing. These are great fun, I must admit. I drew them in the Book of My Son’s Things. We will go back to Legoland, California, this summer, to spend more money, as you do. I love it.

Haha, “draw your swords”, haha, I just got that.

the tall wings of the dark side

kylo ren lego ship

And back to the Lego. This is my son’s Kylo Ren spaceship, from a movie called The Force Awakens. Did you see that? It’s pretty good. It’s about this girl, and there’s this guy, and there’s this other guy who’s really grumpy, and they meet these guys and then all this stuff happens and the force wakes up, and the end. I saw it four times at the movie theater, or rather I saw it twice at the cinema (that is, in England), and twice at the movie theater (ie, in America), and one of those times was at the IMAX. I’ve seen it a couple of times at least on DVD now. So the shiny stormtrooper, if you live in London and go on the Northern Line, her other job is saying “This station is Chalk Farm. This train terminates at Morden, via Bank. Please stand clear of the closing doors.” I recognized the tall hairy bloke as well, I’ve seen him in something. So, I loved the film. I must point out that I am a massive Star Wars fan, I like all the Star Wars, all the wars, they’re great, and then there’s the stars, I love them, love all the different stars. Sirius, the Sun, Rigel, Nigel, Rigella, all the stars.

So there is a fair bit of Star Wars Lego in the house, and this is the tallest. Those wings are collapsible, much to Kylo’s annoyance. He needs those big wings, none of the other dark lords had wings that tall. Vader’s wings were tiny, and Darth Maul’s. You just know General Hux made him get collapsible wings so they would fit in the Star Destroyer. “Do you know how expensive those big bay doors are Ren?” he says. “You should be careful I don’t make your bay doors bigger Hux!” Ren retorts, before they both give each other very embarrassed looks, and Ren says “sorry that came out wrong, I need to go and speak to grandfather’s melted helmet,” before Hux suppresses a giggle and Ren shuffles away. On the back of this ship is a sticker that says “Chewie is my co-pilot” which obviously he put there years ago and forgot was there. That’s the thing, when you turn to the Dark Side do you go back and delete all those Facebook photos of selfies from high school, do all your friends unfriends you because your posts start getting all political, posting all “How to Talk to a Rebel” nonsense and changing your profile picture to a big Imperial flag with all “Proud To Be Imperial” and sharing “First Order First” posts that definitely aren’t racist against wookiees or gungans, but all seem to be stuff like “Who remembers when Coruscant was all Imperial shops, oh them were the days, now when you fly down a Coruscant street it’s all gungan blue energy ball shops, it’s a health hazard.” I bet Kylo gets into all sorts of arguments online, and all his comments are about three pages long full of links to Wikipedia or right-wing pro-first-order news editorials. He seems the type. I imagine being online was very much like that for Kylo, except I bet Facebook made him change his name back to Ben Solo because they have that bloody must-use-your-real-name policy, honestly you would think he would just not use Facebook, he doesn’t even like showing his face. I like how he smashes up his computer when he gets annoyed, that’s one way of getting a new computer. See I think that if Han and Leia didn’t keep getting him new computers every time he smashed one to pieces maybe he would have developed the emotional intelligence not to turn to the Dark Side. Then again I bet they were all like, “You’re not parking that ship in here, not unless you get collapsible wings” and he went out and got the wings made even bigger, just to rebel. Teenagers eh.

I can’t remember where I was going with this. As I said, I like Star Wars a lot. I really enjoyed The Force Awakens, but not in a fashionable smirky-cool “Hate The Prequels” way. No, I actually love the prequels, I love all the prequels. Prequels prequels prequels that’s me, I love them. Right, Lego. So I drew this in the Book of My Son’s Things. It’s a Stillman and Birn Alpha book. This was a fun sketch to do, and a fun ship to build, and play with. Note the little show running along the edge of the scan. I call that the Dark Side. Get it? Do you get it? Dark Side? No?

be my, be my beyblade

my son's beyblades
Ok, back to drawings of my son’s things, which I keep in a book dating back a few years now and update only sporadically. What, you are asking, are these? What indeed. If you have kids, you probably know all too well. These little things are called “Beyblades”. Oh, Beyblades. So my understanding is that they were really popular, and then they weren’t as popular, ok fine. So my son made a Christmas list late 2015 (“late 2015”, yeah right he started it in June), full of all the Pokemons and Legos and video games he wants, not a mention of Beyblades. Come November, safe now to say his list is final, yes; safe to go shopping. No. No, for some reason by then he had suddenly become obsessed with these Beyblade things. At his afterschool daycare, all the kids were now into these “Beyblades”, an obsession fueled by the daycare staff, the same people who had the year before organized Pokemon tournaments and therefore got all the kids into little Pokemon people. And Pokemon is rather irritating. I understand it not one bit, and the TV shows that go with it are just, look, I watched He-Man when I was a kid and that was 100% awesome and not ridiculous at all. This Pokemon stuff makes no sense. I’m sure the game itself is actually a lot of fun. I will say that having all these cards accelerated his reading and numeracy skills so I’ll admit they have been beneficial, but since they are all over my living room floor 24-7 I will reserve my right to grumble like any old dad.

And then it was Beyblades, and suddenly the List had to change. If anyone got him Beyblades that was automatically his favourite thing. Again, it was down to daycare – they were having Beyblade tournaments daily, so all the kids were playing them, and then going home and getting parents to look them up online to buy them. I know some people who had actually sold all their son’s old Beyblades when it seemed like that time had passed, and then when all the boys got into Beyblades, well they had to go looking for new ones. I’m a parent, this is just how it works. These things are not actually blades, they are in fact little spinning tops that you build and launch into a little arena. Two or more will spin around each other, hitting each other occasionally (“battling”) until one stops, meaning the other one wins. And spin they do – they can go for sveeral minutes silently whirring away. There are low quality, fake Beyblades out there and you better get the right one. Because the fad lost energy a while ago, these are less easy to find. If you have enough of them all over your living room floor, your bare feet will also pick up many injuries, something which only happens to adults who are of course stupid. There is a tv show that goes with it too. Now I say that Pokemon makes no sense, but Pokemon is like Citizen Kane compared to Beyblade. If you are a fan of shrieking irritating voices and plot concepts that make no sense whatsoever then Beyblade TV show is for you. Or perhaps Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (oh I could have a whole blogpost about that). Oh, Beyblades. They make these kids very happy indeed. For his birthday, my son had a Beyblade tournament, and a whole load of kids came over and “battled” with their Beys, I even tried it myself, and of course lost, the silly old boring useless grown-up that I am. They love it, and that’s fine. It can I guess be fun. They are quite pretty. Ok lad, I’m on board, I’m even going to draw them; tell me more.Which one’s faster?

What? You don’t play these any more? Your daycare has moved back to Pokemon, so it’s all Pokemon again? Yep, in the time it took me to draw and then finally post these, they have sat idle in the red plastic stadium, waiting for the next time the fad rolls in. Ah well, at least my feet are safe again, for now.

the plastic people of the universe

As you may have gathered I like to draw my son’s toys, especially his Lego, but many of his other things too. This is all in a book, a Stillman and Birn Alpha book, and is primarily as a keepsake for the future. When he’s grown up, he’ll be able to look through these and remember his toys, and he’ll probably say “Dad, can I borrow those back now please, Dad why do you have an entire basement full of Lego, Dad you’ve been drawing Lego continuously without sleep for twelve years ” and so on. Well, here are some more.

Lego figures again

ABOVE: Ok…we have Ka-Pow (I think), Ultron, Nevula, Morro, Wolverine, Jay the Blue Ninja, Lavel, Sensei Wu, Falcon, a Nindroid, Lloyd the Green Ninja, Wonder Woman, Star-Lord, the Flash, a Sormtrooper, Ant-Man (Scott Lang), Luke Skywalker, Captain america (right there two of my favourite heroes), Skylor the Orange Ninja (but she’s yellow, right? Mustard Yellow at least but my son insists she ‘s the Orange Ninja), Krusty the Klown (that’s mine!), Red Skull, Cyclops and the Emperor. Phew!

Lego figures still yet again

ABOVE: So…Kai the Red Ninja in his Airjitsu outfit, Scralet Witch, Han Solo, Taskmaster, Catwoman, Imperial Guard, Iron Man Mark 6, er…the king of the Lion tribe in Chima…Batman, one of the Chima Phoenix tribe, Cole the Black Ninja, Zane the White Ninja (actually maybe the Titanium Ninja by this point), Pepper Potts, Tony Stark, Lasha, Superman, Miles Morales Spider-Man, Master Chen, Wyldstyle, Deadpool, Clone pilot, Storm, Nova Officer.

Lego figures yet again

ABOVE: Finally…Yellowjacket, a Chima lion, a knight, a Sandtrooper, Aquaman, Lloyd (Ninjago Season 5), Kai (Ninjago Season 1), an Ogre, Magneto (white gloves era, probably when headmaster of the Xavier School), a Skeleton, Modok, a Battle Droid, Nya as the Water Ninja, an X-Wing pilot, a Season 5 Ninjago Ghost, Rocket Raccoon, Thor, Lex Luthor, a Knight, a Chitauri and…snow-suit Batman. Because what makes more sense than Batman wearing white and light grey.

Have you seen the Lego movie? It’s brilliant, it’s awesome, and I love that guy at the end, I presume he is the hero, the dad character who has that big Lego city. He’s living the dream. We do between us now have a lot of Lego, so when I say I am drawing his Lego, I really mean “and mine too”. But right now, Lego mini-figures are the number one play-thing. We get the big sets, but really it’s all about the figures that come with them more than the big vehicles. Right now, Ninjago and Chima rule the roost. Marvel, DC and Star Wars get in there but I don’t let him mix them up (just to wind me up, he puts Venom’s face into Taskmaster’s hood). Now I have drawn a bunch before, but I felt it was time to draw some more. And then some more, and then some more because I just can’t stop. I can’t Lego of the pen (really Pete, really???). Of course I should have drawn them as the majority really are, ie all taken apart and scattered across the floor, but I’m a puritanical President Business wannabe aren’t I, so I drew them as nature intended. Or at least as best I could gather them up. And there are loads more. Let me tell you something though – this took AGES. Absolutely ages. I’m not kidding. Half the time was spent looking through all the Lego for the right figures! Matching up the ones that were in pieces, trying to make sure there was a fair amount of female representation (not easy in Lego-world) (and I’ve noticed that female figures all have these little curves painted into their midfriffs). Finding the right weapons (I’m sure I got a few wrong, my son’ll be the first to tell me). Drawing them all one by one, and then colouring them in with watercolour, oh man that was a long process, I never want to do this again. I will of course, when there are more to add to the “draw-all-my-son’s-things” log. But it was hard work my friend, hard work.