Go Wide

Wide-angle lenses don’t get much love from macro photographers, and that’s a shame. There is precious little information in general photography articles about different macro lenses. If you want to take close-ups, you’ll buy the equivalent of a 100mm macro lens, because that’s the popular macro focal length for most systems. Continue reading “Go Wide”

Creative resuscitation

I often take breaks from toy photography, I’m certainly not one of those photograph-a-day people. I don’t think I could take a photo every day even if I tried. My ideas have become more complicated as I’ve developed as a photographer and each photo has become more of a project than a quick snapshot.

Almost every photo I post online these days is accompanied by a comment saying “nice to see you back!” on some form of social media. Hey! I didn’t go anywhere! Continue reading “Creative resuscitation”

Set Review: Porsche 911 GT3 RS

The last LEGO Technic set I owned was the 8860 Car Chassis. It was released in 1980 and contained 668 pieces. Things have moved on a bit since I last built a Technic set.

8860 Chassis
A classic Technic set, albeit with very uncomfortable looking seats.

I’ve always appreciated the large Technic sets from afar, never feeling the desperate need to buy one. They’re masterpieces of technical design, but ultimately display models, and definitely not minifig-compatible. Almost all of my LEGO purchases these days have the end goal of being used in my photography, and I can’t fit minifig Stormtroopers into Technic-scale sets.

However, when given the opportunity to review the new Porsche 911 GT3 RS, how could I refuse? Although this set is thoroughly modern, for me it’s a nostalgic trip back to the 80s.

It has 2604 bits in it, it’s quite a beast. It’s all very nicely presented in its slick black boxes and comes with an instruction manual that competes with epic fantasy novels in page count. It’s a quality production.

Porsche Manual
Now THIS is an instruction manual!

Putting this thing together requires some time. I don’t think I was quite prepared for what 2604 pieces look like. I would have picked a bigger table. I put it together over a couple of days at the weekend—around 8 hours in total. That’s not counting the confused minutes of searching back through the instructions trying to figure out why there were two pieces left over at the end.

Many times I found myself blindly following the building instructions without knowing what I was making. So many cogs and differentials. Only towards the end does it become obvious. I spent ten minutes putting together hinges, rods and a couple of elastic bands to create a mysterious assembly, and only when I attached a steering where did the purpose become clear! You have to be paying attention. There’s always the fear that one missed part could set you back hours (I did make quite a few errors, but they soon become obvious when the next step doesn’t work as expected). In all, an enjoyable experience.

Porsche_Steering
Now what are we making here? No idea.

The finished vehicle was much bigger than I imagined. One of the reasons I’ve never been into Technic sets is that they’re too big for me to store anywhere. I can’t imaging there are many bigger sets that this.

The car is beautiful to look at. It looks good from every angle, which is quite handy if you’re planning a bit of photography. A lot of the cleverness is hidden once you put the outer shell in place—you can no longer see the internals of the engine or the fantastically complex drivetrain, which is a shame. Removing the bodywork from the finished model doesn’t look like an easy option.

Porsche Drivetrain
The fantastically complicated drivetrain and steering assembly. It all works, unless you put a cog in the wrong place, then it doesn’t.

So does it photograph well? It does, it’s hard to take a bad shot of it. There’s no hope of including minifigs here unless you go in for some fancy perspective effects, but that was pretty obvious from the start. I don’t think most people will be buying this to use for minifig photography :-)

Porsche Trooper
Had to upgrade to a 5 inch Stormtrooper to get any Star Wars into this shot. And also a smoke machine.

I really don’t want to dismantle it, but there are some interesting new parts in there (new to me, I don’t know if they exist in other Technic sets). I have a feeling I could make a decent robot or two using some of those parts. A very orange robot.

-Mike