Arvo Alien – showcase & review
AlienMy latest build, a variant of the Arvo Alien. If you for some reason don't recognize this ugly monstrosity, it is the Xenomorph antagonist of the sci-fi/horror movie 'Alien' (it also features in several sequel movies). The monster design is the work of genius H.R. Giger. I've been an Alien fan ever since I watched the first on on TV when I was as little as 12 years old (which not recommended if you want to sleep properly duing the rest of your childhood years). Check out the Flickr gallery below. The model is approximately 50 cm tall, consists of about 1500 parts not including the base. The build is closely based on the instructions in the Alien Project Book sold by the Arvo Brothers. They sell it directly through their website for only €26, and I haven't seen it on Amazon or any other online book stores yet. In addition, they kindly provided the parts list via e-mail, which is very helpful when you start your quest for parts on Bricklink and Bricks and Pieces. I'm not going to review the book itself, as Brickset has already expertly done so - and I totally agree with Huw on this one.
The buildWhile it took some Bricklink orders to get certain parts of the model in order, I had the majority of the parts in hand. The Arvo guys do take a few shortcuts with regards to the instructions in their book, but they are fairly simple to follow if you pay attention. A lot of SNOT is used, as well as other interesting building techniques. All of the limbs, the head, the tail and the torso are built separately and thus the model can fairly easily be taken apart for transport. The build itself is not at all repetitive and poses a decent challenge while not being too lengthy. I savoured this for a few nights alltogether and was able to enjoy the final model in all its glory without many errors.
The finished modelIt has to be noted that the instructions call for a few parts that are relatively rare and therefore expensive. Luckily, there are much cheaper alternatives to be used which doesn't impact the result too much. The model is pretty forgiving since it's primarily black, and this hides most imperfections until you get up close. Still, in my eyes, it looks impressively movie accurate if you consider what medium is used to build it. There are also a few highlights on the model that break up the blackness, i.e the claws and mouth. The iconic shape of the head is beautifully represented, as this is the most important part of the Alien. On the downside, the model is not very stable. The base helps keep it in place, but it doesn't take more than a light bump to risk toppling it. It is indeed well built and pretty solid, but it will still be risky not to put it on a sturdy surface. To keep it as stable as possible, the authors of the book recommend two distinct poses. One with the body straight up, the arms slightly backward and the tail between the legs. If you want the hands more forward, the torso can be tilted slightly backwards. The stability issues can probably be blamed on two things; size and design. The torso and head weigh quite a bit, and causes the hip to easily tilt backwards or forwards. The feet are also a weak point, as they are connected to the legs only through two ball joints each. These receive a fair amount of pressure and thus become sensitive to motion. These issues can be countered if you get to know the model a bit and learn how to carry Poseability is limited because of design choices made along the way. The arms can be adjusted quite freely (although this may cause instability, as mentioned above) and the head can be tilted sideways and up/down in a few positions. You can also remove the small inner jaws to be able to close the mouth more, and the drool is of course optional (not really). The tail consists of a lot of joints, but can only be bent forward between the legs in different angles. At any rate, the model looks menacingly enough just by standing on the base like that...
Final wordsWords cannot describe how great this model turned out. (I wanted to write 'beautiful', but that word is hardly fitting for a Xenomorph, is it?) It looked awesome in the photos in the book and on the internet, but nothing could prepare me for the massiveness of the finished model. It is simply stunning. The choice of sloped and angled parts makes it look very organic in nature, and I think H. R. Giger would have approved of this (R.I.P). This project is wholeheartedly recommended to any Alien and LEGO fan!
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