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2016 in Review

In contrast to the previous few years, 2016 has provided me with ample time for my LEGO hobby, and as a result I have been able to achieve several things, not the least of which is getting this website — BrickMonkey MOCs — up and running. The goals were to cover the costs of the site and to streamline the distribution of PDF instructions, both of which have been comfortably achieved. So thank you to all of the customers and clients who have made this project work.

On the MOCing front I've been able to pump out a few quality models, primarily consisting of 1:17 scale and city-scale vehicles. My previous 1:17 scale cars had all been alternate builds from sets, so it was fun to produce some entirely new models from scratch without any parts limitations. I haven't produced much in the way of new military models this year, though I have taken the opportunity to provide some overdue upgrades to existing models — the Humvees were significantly reworked to shorten their wheelbase and remove the stripe around the roof, the Apache received a new Brickmania-inspired brick-built canopy, and the Little Birds received two-man cockpits and five-blade main rotors.

While 2016 has been a good year for sets, I actually found very few that I wished to buy, yet those few have been rewarding purchases. The 60113 Rally Car was a nice set that lent itself well to modification, and thereby also inspired my range of city-scale racers at the same scale. The 21307 LEGO Ideas Caterham set was both brilliant and disappointing out of the box, but has been tremendous fun to modify and turn into a more satisfying model. The 75153 AT-ST set was also a great one for modifying, and is now much improved with a two-man cockpit. While I haven't got my hands on it yet, I'm also looking forward to building the new Y-Wing set.

The most rewarding aspect of my hobby this year has been working on commissioned builds, of which I have had several to work on. Reverse-engineering Ricardo Prates' (Biczzz) amazing Shelby Cobra was a huge challenge, and has also influenced my more recent Mazda MX-5 model (soon to be built). Working on the Polish PL-01 Tank also helped me learn new things, such as building tracks with suspension and a turning turret fitting minifigures.

Having more time to build, and a website to promote my models, has also helped to raise the profile of my builds. It has also certainly helped getting models blogged on both The Lego Car Blog (TLCB) and The Brothers Brick (TBB) this year, with the Ferrari LMP1 in particular generating a lot of attention and feedback. I have also been able to give a little back to the LEGO community this year by assisting with the proofreading and editing of Hispabrick Magazine. One thing I know I have been a little slack on is posting on this Blog! So if there is more you'd like to see here, in terms of building tips, set reviews, or anything else, contact me and let me know. Also give me a shout if there is something in particular you'd like to see me build in the year to come. Bring on 2017!

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