Meet Thomas

Another week, another Friday, another Feature Friday #SiPgoes52 interview around a virtual cup of coffee. Today it’s Thomas Thoresen from Denmark joining us.

Meet Thomas

My name is Thomas, and I am proud to be as old as the minifigure! Being the father of three wonderful kids, I am rarely wondering what to do with my time. I am a teacher of children between the ages of 6 and 12. My job is very fulfilling but also demanding, and when I come home, I like to do something completely different.

I do enjoy spending time alone without too much digital pollution, and after having avoided social media for several years, I eventually joined Instagram in late 2016. I wanted to begin taking photos because I enjoy beauty, solitude, and silence. At that point, I had not considered taking photos of toys.

Thomas and toy photography

I came across the toy photography communities, and a whole new world opened up for me. I’ve loved Lego for as long as I can remember, so that was what I started photographing.

Fun

I started taking pictures of toys in November 2016. To begin with, I focused mostly on the narrative, and not so much on aesthetics. But soon I wanted more. I wanted to be able to shoot quality photos and find my own photographic style. I used my mobile phone, but I picked up a camera in January of this year. I wanted an interchangeable lens camera and chose the Olympus Pen-F with a 45 mm F1.8 lens. I enjoy being able to manually focus and control the depth of field. I am currently considering which lens to get next.

Photography has always fascinated me. I have been collecting old photographs for many years. I love the miniature world of toys. I have a few favourite locations, but I never stop scouting for small worlds for my minifigs. I can’t spend time in Nature without automatically looking for suitable spots for a minifigure setup. Toy photography is also a fun way to spend time with my kids.

Creativity

SiPgoes52

When the SiP goes 52 challenge started, I was experiencing a creative drought. The challenge instantly boosted my inspiration. Regretfully, I often have to leave my camera on the shelf, since I have so many other things on my hands.

I like the word nostalgia, and the photo for that word is one of my favourites. That is perhaps because it contains one of my favourite sets from my childhood – the Holiday Home from 1983. And the blue spaceman, of course. The picture was the first in a narrative series of three. (See recognition and community) I am also very pleased with the photos for fun and spirituality.

Nostalgia

I am looking forward to the word family. I have several ideas in my mind for that word. To me, family is first of all my three children and my immediate family. However, I also consider visualising one of my ancestors or the generations to come.

I plan to complete the challenge, knowing very well that I will not be able to take a picture for every word. I intend to catch up on some of the words that I missed.

I learn so much every week by seeing what other people post, and I love seeing BTS. With this challenge, I am forced to work in a way that I normally don’t do. As a consequence, I learn a lot about myself and my style.

Definitely! The challenge is so much fun, you are pushed out of your comfort zone, and it is very interesting to see what the other talented photographers come up with.

Spirituality

The question we didn’t ask

When we asked Thomas what is the magic question we might have missed, he told us:

You should have asked me what is my favourite picture taken by another photographer in this challenge! My answer would be “That feeling when you build an old set…” by Konstantin Schmidt for the word joy. It is a gem of a picture!

We’d like to thank Thomas for his time! Be sure to follow his future work on Instagram at @thomas_thoresen_!

The story of a coffee break that helped finding a solution

Once upon a time

Once upon a time, there were two scientists.
If you have no idea what scientist are doing all day: most of the time they are just being curious. They look at the world and try to understand it bit by bit. They may do so in their offices, on expeditions or in their laboratories.
And sometimes they even stumble across a problem when on their coffee breaks.

Scientists on one of their coffee breaks, discussing problems. Can you guess their names?

Blue and Beard

That’s what happened to Blue and Beard one day (yup, those were the names of the scientists). As they were enjoying yet another round of mugs with euphorigenic hot beverages they talked about this and that. They quickly discussed the plans of their research institute to build more labs. That was in order to have more space for even more curiosity. Their institute was located on the outskirts of town. Fortunately, there were not many (or should we say: not any) neighbors around. Then again, unfortunately, lots of space filled with hills of sand and gravel, rocks and even a forest were there, too. It was obvious to them that the forest should not be touched.
Forests naturally are an important home for animals and plants alike.
So instead the piles of sand and gravel had to be moved.

Orange and the other men

The head of the institute said that he knew a good man named Orange. He would surely do his very best to shovel all the sand away.
Blue and Beard thought that that’d be a funny idea.
By the time Orange might be finished only halfways he’d already have reached the age for retirement. Yes indeed, there was that much sand.

Orange on his day of retirement, many years from now

More Manpower.

So maybe more manpower could do the job?
Then again they still had to have lots of coffee breaks (at least as many as Blue and Beard had) to be able to stay awake long enough for getting things done. “But wait”, Beard said to Blue. “ Do we know what’s underneath all the sand?”

Did you hear that?

Not only were Blue and Beard curious scientists, the two of them also had a very vivid fantasy. They agreed that if the men who would shovel away the masses of sand, had imagination skills just like Blue and Beard, they’d get scared of the things they could find.
And as a consequence- they would run away.

Gone in a second, probably

The birth of another idea

Another plan had to be created. “Why don’t we invent a machine to do most of the job?”, said Blue,” Maybe an autonomous one so it could work both night and day. That way we’d be finished in no time!”

“That’s great!”, replied Beard. “And if we found some really fearless guys, they could still watch out for possible dangers on the site. And all that while having their well-deserved coffee breaks.”

What a plan!

Blue and Beard went back to their lab for further thinking and planning. As they hadn’t built any loading machines themselves, they asked their fellow scientists and engineers from Sweden to help on that end.

Meanwhile back in reality

That is supposedly the story of how the 42081 LEGO Technic Volvo Concept Wheel Loader ZEUX came to life. This vehicle is the result of engineers and designers (and maybe some coffee loving scientists) joining thoughts, experiences and superpowers. They even asked some kids about their ideas. Kids are our future and their ideas matter just the same. Or even more.

In order to be able to move as much material as possible, Zeux was given a huge bucket.
In practice, it actually is a little bit too big.
When you fill it all up, ZEUX needs a tiny helping hand for lifting its arm.

The big mouth of ZEUX
Maybe a little too much?

A great addition to this concept vehicle is its massively big tires.
They go wherever you want them to.

Where it’s going it doesn’t need roads
Bumpy paths are no problem here

And in order to be working fully autonomous, Zeux is additionally equipped with its own drone. When needed, it flies around, looking for the next site to take material away from. Or to send an overview of the working progress to the scientists’ labs. When it is not needed the drone will sit in its place on the counterweight that also includes batteries and electronics to keep ZEUX going continuously.

The drone hovering above the construction site
Home of the drone
One of ZEUX’s bonnets unveiling electronics and powers

What’s this arm for?

Looking at the loader you´ll instantly spot a long arm on its’ top back. This is a detail the designers picked up from the kids. They righteously said that if this loader was working autonomic how could they know it took notice of the humans around it? So this arm has a camera on its end.
An electronic eye if you wish.
This turns to you as soon as the vehicles’ sensors registered you.
And that´s how you make sure you’re not in the way whenever ZEUX is doing its thing.

The loader and its camera arm on the right

An experience

Thank you to the people at The LEGO Group for providing this model for reviewing. Building it was… a true experience for me. First of all, I really can’t remember the last time I built a Technic model.

Next up I was very surprised to find ten (all in all thirteen) bags- and none numbered. Guessing I was too much spoilt by my favorite line, LEGO Ideas. The 260 pages booklet with its +400 steps instantly granted a good building experience.
And fun it was, too. All in all, I made only two mistakes.
The first one I noticed a good 70 steps after having made it but it was easy to fix. The second one took a little (!) more time and disassembling. Guessing I should build more Technic sets to improve on that end.

The fifty stickers were also fun to attach (I am aware not many people share the passion but I think they definitely add to the model. I can’t imagine why so many people are annoyed by them, but I am sure some will share their thoughts in the comments …).

Bags, instructions, and some stickers

Mixed reactions.

Another thing I really enjoyed before writing these lines was watching people’s reactions to this set. Some AFOLs think the main purpose of this set is to provide many great parts. Others were disappointed that ZEUX is operated all manually and that there are no motors inside. And the odd few complained that there’s not enough space to equip it with Mindstorms parts to actually turn it into a real autonomous vehicle.

Come on, people.

First of all, this is a kid’s toy.
The box clearly states that it´s for ages “10-16”. Those who really want it motorized will find their ways of customizing this into a self-working machine. (Jim from Eurobricks had another very interesting thought why it’s good this model is not equipped with a remote control in his own review of the ZEUX. Cheers for that, Jim!)

Having to operate this loader manually stays true to the original LEGO idea to be a system toy that can help to develop creativity.
And where would we be without or imagination?

In my personal opinion, it’s a great set that provides a great building experience and some great playability.

But wait, what happened to our two scientists and their little story?

When ZEUX finally took up its’ work the fearless men were really happy to be working with such a great machine. It allowed them to enjoy their coffee while knowing the loader had noticed them and wouldn’t spill coffee nor milk about yet another problem.

It’s easy to enjoy your coffee when…
…you know the loader is aware that you´re around.

And unless Blue and Beard didn’t run out of coffee they’ll still be living happily together trying to understand the world and solving problems to make this world a better place.

The End.

(This article tells my own opinion and is not influenced by anyone else.)

Bringing back the Magic of Harry Potter

Bringing back the Magic

Seeing all the new Harry Potter minifigures and sets coming out right now and in the near future has taken me back to my youth when I first started reading the Harry Potter books. I remember getting so caught up in the first book and even as a kid I could not put it down. It was so magical!

There are a lot of similarities between the magic of Toy Photography and Harry Potter, both of which help me remember that I am indeed a kid at heart! Now that I have kids of my own, I had them help me with this review to introduce them to the magic of Harry Potter as well.

We loved opening these few bags of minifigures and living the excitement that only LEGO and Harry Potter can provide.

Between the 4 bags, we ended up with Professor Dumbledore, Lord Voldemort and Harry Potter from the original series, as well as Newt from Fantastic Beasts!

This is such a fun series with 22 amazing figures to collect…

Albus Dumbledore

Dumbledore comes with his night robes and hat. This minifigure really captures the kind and old Dumbledore well. I believe this is a new beard piece as well as a new dress piece. He comes holding a wand and a Pensieve with a blue swirl, which of course only the most advanced wizards can use!

Lord Voldemort

I LOVE the Lego version of Voldemort. It is one of my favorite minifigures. This one is even better because he is wearing my favorite color. I like the green dress better than the black version that has previously been seen in LEGO. He also has the new dress piece as well as a beautiful white wand.

Harry Potter

Harry comes with a wand as well. Actually, with two wands (as do all of the other figures) if you want to get technical. He also has his trusty Hedwig, which has printing that makes it look way better than the old version I have in my collection. He is wearing his Gryffindor robes that have printing that extends down to the leg piece.

Newt

I have only actually seen bits and pieces of Fantastic Beasts (shhhh don’t tell). So I am not as familiar with Newt, but he is a great looking minifigure. His awesome suitcase and body printing could easily be repurposed for other great non-harry potter figures. I also love the Niffler piece as I do all Lego animals!

Overall I really enjoyed opening these figures and I am sure it’s only a matter of time till I am feeling out the remaining 18!

Kenton

 

Forbidden Rock in the Forbidden Forest

Rock ‘n Roll at Hogwarts

Did you know that Rock and Roll is forbidden at Hogwarts? Officially it’s because loud music could make the walls of the castle crumble… but there are rumors that the truth is Professor Dumbledore hates loud music. He only allowed once a concert from the Weird Sisters during the Yule Ball because of the special occasion that the Triwizard Tournament was.

So what does a Hogwarts’ resident, craving for good music, do when it isn’t allowed? He runs into the Forbidden Forests and jam for the pleasure of the wild creatures living there! Continue reading “Forbidden Rock in the Forbidden Forest”

Beverley goes Harry Potter

A little review.

Last week Stuck in plastic sent me the LEGO figures that I won runner-up up in a little competition.   In the package, there were also a few goodies and 2 sealed bags of the Harry Potter/ Fantastic Beast minifigures.  From the looks of the packet, they are a limited edition and there is 22 to collect.  Upon opening the packs and reading the leaflet, I found out there are 16 Harry Potter and 6 Fantastic Beasts minifigures in total.  And I just got have two characters from Harry Potter.

The Package

Continue reading “Beverley goes Harry Potter”

Heavy Lifting

When The LEGO Group sent us a little email asking if we would be interested to review some LEGO Technic sets, we looked at each other and scratched our head. LEGO Technic is not the obvious sweet spot of the average toy photographer and while we have reviewed iconic LEGO Technic sets in the past with the Porsche and the Bugatti Chiron both reviews were two years apart.

Not your day to day toy photographer sets.Click To Tweet

And while we almost said “no, thanks”  I remembered the discussion we had in 2016 in one of our hangouts where I tried to convince Vesa to shoot the LEGO Technic Claas Xerion in the Finnish woods. I got that idea when I saw that beauty in the RLFM days of 2016 in Billund hidden behind the Porsche.  And while that idea did not realize itself in 2016,  it made me go all in two years later. Be brave and bold and hit the reply button with “Yes, Of course”. Continue reading “Heavy Lifting”

Harry Potter and the second half of muggle shots

Just two more nights of sleep before LEGO releases the new Harry Potter Minifigure series around the globe officially.

A new box full of awesome minifigures to delight kids, adults, Harry Potter fans and LEGO toy photographers all around the world and here is part two of our introduction into the magic world of JKR aka …
If you did not read the first one yet, we warmly recommend you zap yourself over to that magical booth and start from the beginning by clicking here.

For all of you who are eagerly waiting for part two of the mug(gle) shot … let’s just dive in with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named after all the good vibes yesterday.

He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named

Tom Marvolo Riddle was born on the last day of 1926 as a half-blood wizard with serious father issues. His pure blood wizard mother was a direct descendant of Salazar Slytherin and died minutes after giving birth to one of the most powerful and dangerous dark wizards of all time, Lord Voldemort.

Sealed together in the same bag is Nagini.  A long, green female snake that belongs to Lord Voldemort.  She has a special bond mainly due to becoming a Horcrux after her master had killed Bertha Jorkins and new a piece of his soul is in her and it is obvious in our little photoshoot who is the alpha.

Nagina, a powerful Horcrux.

If you wonder what a Horcrux is, then look no further. Continue reading “Harry Potter and the second half of muggle shots”

Harry Potter and The Muggle Shots

Just a few more nights of sleep before LEGO releases the new Harry Potter Minifigure series around the globe.

A new box full of awesome minifigures to delight kids, adults, Harry Potter fans and LEGO toy photographers all around planet Earth and beyond.

The LEGO Group (you know, those friendly folks down in Billund) couldn’t resist to send us a box by private courier, and so Hedwig delivered.

We did the first live unboxing on IG last week and shipped the sealed students and wizards off to their crowd review destinations. By now our selected creative photographers should be having some fun with these minifigures and some have been sighted in the wild while others are still waiting for the mailman to deliver. We should have asked Hedwig to take care of the deliveries.

On Wednesday the floodgates of creativity will open when the “Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts” series makes it to the shelves and you all get your hands on the bags. A toy photographer delight, as this series is packed with some great Harry Potter fun and contains a lot you want to use in your own creative photography, even if all this wizardry is not really your cup of tea.

Is this your cup of tea?

We pushed the creative reviews out to August, so there is no “me first” syndrome as some of you pointed out before and everyone has the chance to be creative and inspire each other.

We will be sharing with you some down to earth muggle shots our house photographer took at Hogwarts. Nothing fancy, just your average muggle shot.

The Box

The box contains 60 bags and only one full set of 22 characters across the creative universe of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts. This is most probably the most controversial part in the AFOL community as again there is one exclusive collectible minifigure in the whole box. Just like with the police officer in series 18 this will create some conversation and we are sure that Percival Graves and his alter ego Gellert Grindelwald will be talked about. 

Percival Graves has been selected as the exclusive set of the box. Or was it Gellert Grindelwald?

In addition, if you are a collector (and not a toy photographer) who likes to show off the two characters at the same time, you will need two boxes.

Luckily not a problem we have as we can use our own magic to get both of them appear at once (and yes, we are sure you will get the magic out there).

The Characters

The characters in this series are LOVELY (caps intended) and are full of rich details both in the print and in the accessories. And we are getting a double treat as LEGO introduces the short bendable legs with this series, which is something we all have been waiting for. Continue reading “Harry Potter and The Muggle Shots”

A wolf, an axe, a lantern and LEDs

In the recent sets that LEGO has released, there was one accessory that caught my eye: a lantern.

For me, it’s a cool new piece that could fit in plenty of stories. I could see some scared children walking around a forest, or maybe Indiana Jones exploring a cave or even a sailor on his boat in a storm trying to see what’s in front of him. Well, it’s a fun accessory that I will keep at hand.

At the moment you can find it in the new Harry Potter sets (which are not available in France, yet) or in the new line of accessories polybags called LEGO Xtra.
And recently, I was able to get my hand on one.
So immediately, I wanted to play with it in a picture. Continue reading “A wolf, an axe, a lantern and LEDs”