Life on the Death Star

We are now 7 weeks into this year challenge, here on Stuck In Plastic. A new word (value or emotion) every week with a picture to illustrate it.

I am glad to see that many people are participating with us, taking and posting pictures on social media using the hashtag #SiPgoes52 .

My own logo for my SiPgoes52 project ;-)
My own logo for my SiPgoes52 project ;-)

But let me share with you my plans for this project.

At the beginning

Initially, when Boris told us that the plan was to illustrate 52 values during the year, I was a bit dubious.

I struggled in 2017 to have 12 pictures for the 12 words (and for some months, I didn’t even write a post). So 52 pictures seemed like an impossible task to tackle.
Would I succeed? Would I be able to find inspiration all those weeks?
But I kept my mouth shut on the subject and waited to see…

The end of 2017 was not easy for me. I was in a creative slump. I was not motivated by anything and started to think:
Why am I doing this stuff? Is it worth it? Is it time for me to stop?

The more I asked those questions, the more depressed I got.


The 52-word project

I think, this time, the 52-word project saved me.

It was Monday, January 1st 2018. We were in week 1.

I had my back against the wall. I did not want to fail (especially at the beginning). So, I had to come up with something. I needed an idea for a picture. Actually, NO. I had to come up with an idea for 52 pictures!

I needed a plan for the whole year.
Because of my work which regularly intrudes in my life and modifies my schedule at the last moment, I had to find a solution to be able to provide something every week. Yes, for this project I wanted to be creative and share 52 new pictures.

The calendar
The calendar

So I decided to go with a theme. A simple set-up and some characters that I would use on a regular basis.

And finally, it clicked.
I wanted to change from my usual pictures and do something indoor for once. That way I don’t depend on the weather and I can shoot at any time of the day.

I wanted a simple set-up.
I had some plastic wall panels from the Star Wars universe at home, that I never used and they would be a perfect candidate for a background. That was my theme. I liked the symmetry of the walls, so I decided to go with a black plexiglass floor, to use the reflection in my pictures.

My "Studio"
My “Studio”

As for the characters, I decided to go with classic Stormtroopers. I know that a lot of people use them in the toy photography community, but I found the subject interesting.
I was going to take 52 pictures reflecting on 52 human values and emotions. And for that, I would be using stormtroopers who only display blend emotions with their helmet.
We never see them as actual human beings in any Star Wars movie. We don’t know how they actually live on the Death Star.
So it would be interesting to give them some life and emotions.

Perfect. I had my theme, my set-up and now for the pictures idea.

My workflow

Boris shared the schedule with everyone on the blog a couple of days before the new year. The first thing I did was to print it in several exemplars and put one on my wall at home, on my desk at my office, even at the end of my work notepad and of coure, I kept one version at hand on my phone. That way I could always have a look at the schedule to see the next words to come and have the complete list.

At my office
At my office

I usually think about my pictures when my mind can escape: either during my daily commutes, at home or during boring meetings at work. And I either write some synopsis/description of the picture or I doodle something. It helps me get a general idea of the picture and can also help me to have a list of accessories and parts that I would need.

One of the terrible doodles that I draw
One of the terrible doodles that I draw…
... and the final picture
… and the final picture

So, I started a spreadsheet on my google drive with my pictures ideas, and I keep it updated on a regular basis. I can easily add stuff from my computer or my phone.

Then when I have time at home for pictures, I set up the “studio” and do several of those already planned pictures.

So, I came up with another spreadsheet to track my picture ideas, the pictures I took, and the pictures I posted online.
(Am I a control freak?! Maybe)

My roadmap
My roadmap at week 4

Having pictures in advance also helps me improve them. I have time to look at them, study them and if needed, I can decide to take them again from a new angle or with a new setup or story.

Now that I start getting ideas about future pictures, I see the project as a whole and I will encapsulate stories inside. That way, at the end, you will need to look at the bigger picture. You will notice some recurring characters and if you put the pictures in the correct order, you will see a story. But shh… It’s a secret for the future.


Even with all that preparation, there are still a lot of words which need ideas or pictures, so I will definitely have work for the whole year.

But at the same time, with each word, I like to take a look back at my pictures, the ones I took in the last years, to see which ones share the values on the list. I have a very strong link with some of them and I will share that with you during this year on the blog.

For each picture, I try to reflect upon myself. See what the word inspires me and what I feel thinking about it. It’s a very deep and interesting project. And to be honest, I am really glad I kept my mouth shut when I was not trusting it at the beginning, because I am definitely having fun.


By the way, since my mind was bursting with inspiration at the beginning of this project, I even found a name for my series of pictures. A simple one.

And during that whole year, I hope that you will enjoy, the “Life on the Death Star”.

Life on the Death Star
Life on the Death Star

Julien / Ballou34

Aeronautics engineer by day, toy photographer by night.
Exploring the world with his plastic figures.

Let me tell you something… in confidence

I am looking at a blank page with the word “Confidence” written in capital letters in a corner. And nothing comes to mind.

That was me a few days ago starting to think about this week’s picture: “confidence”.
Creativity”  seemed easier to me and with the rules I set myself for this project (more on that later in another blog post), I had difficulties to find a proper idea.
Looking at the whole list, I know that I will get this blank feeling again in the next weeks.

So, I looked at myself, at my past, my feelings and the first idea arrived. Continue reading “Let me tell you something… in confidence”

Aeronautics engineer by day, toy photographer by night.
Exploring the world with his plastic figures.


To tell you the truth, it was difficult to write this blog post.
It was a struggle for me to select a word for the 12th month of the year.

Should it be 'conclusion', 'ending', 'finality'? Click To Tweet

I like order and for me, every story has a beginning, a middle/development and an ending.
I don’t like endings. It means that everything stops afterwards and I hate that.
When I read a book that I enjoy, I always take a break before reading the last chapter. I don’t like endings.
So, the more I was writing this blog post, the more depressing it was getting.

Then, it hit me during New Year’s Eve.
The end of the year is not about ending things. It’s about new beginning(s). Continue reading “Beginning(s)”

Aeronautics engineer by day, toy photographer by night.
Exploring the world with his plastic figures.

SiP goes … in 2018

2017 is almost over but here at Stuck In Plastic, we are already planning 2018.

I hope you all enjoyed our reports about our last toy safari in Scotland (the review, the #1Toy2Share activity or Chris Rose experience) and maybe you were even able to attend our small exhibition during Bricklive Birmingham. We all had a blast there. Since we want to have fun again soon, we’ve already started planning the next one. Continue reading “SiP goes … in 2018”

Aeronautics engineer by day, toy photographer by night.
Exploring the world with his plastic figures.

Revisiting places

Did you know that there is a French island in the Indian Ocean, near Madagascar, called “La Réunion” (meaning, “the gathering” in French)?

This island came out of the ocean with the birth of two volcanoes, including one which is still active today. Continue reading “Revisiting places”

Aeronautics engineer by day, toy photographer by night.
Exploring the world with his plastic figures.

The Martian

If you haven’t guess by now, looking at my social media feed, I love space. Be it the classic spacemen from my childhood or the Star Wars universe, I always dreamt to see our planet from the outside.

I don’t know if there is any link with my work and my passion for aircraft, but space looks interesting to me because there is still so many discoveries and scientific advances to be made in this area, either in technology or in places to visit. The challenge is amazing and I am amazed to see that some private companies, like Space X, are accomplishing what was only the work of nations in the past. I always try to watch every lift off and landing of their launchers. They are able to send a spacecraft beyond our atmosphere and have it land back on a “small” drone barge. What an accomplishment. Continue reading “The Martian”

Aeronautics engineer by day, toy photographer by night.
Exploring the world with his plastic figures.

My own “Escape the slug” picture

I am back from a well deserved vacation far from home and work. And I am happy to see that a new photo contest is in progress with #SiPgoesJedi.

When we received the news that TLG (read, The Lego Group) was sending us three sets numbered 6176782: Escape the Slug, for the challenge, I was excited and sad.

I was excited because it is an exclusive set which was only available in 2016 during the “May the Fourth” event and it depicts one of the most iconic scenes of the original Star Wars movies.

But at the same time, since I am part of the jury, I was sad because I will not be able to win one. But I am happy that three lucky and creative winners will receive this awesome prize. Continue reading “My own “Escape the slug” picture”

Aeronautics engineer by day, toy photographer by night.
Exploring the world with his plastic figures.

Skærbæk Fan Weekend 2017

A couple of weeks ago, after the fantastic LEGO house  Fan Pre-Opening, I left Boris to go to Skærbæk, a town on the western coast of Denmark, for SFW (read Skærbæk Fan Weekend).

But what is Skærbæk Fan Weekend?

If you don’t know what SFW is, here is an extract from their website to help you understand its history.

SFW Logo - (c) Skaerbaek Fan Weekend
SFW Logo – (c) Skærbæk Fan Weekend

In 2005 the LEGO® Company started a small get together with some AFOLs.
That event was called the LEGO Fan Weekend.
Through the years it developed and growed to a fantastic event. Somehow the LEGO Company decided ten years later not to continue the LEGO Fan Weekend. Seriously bad news for the fans and so three AFOLs decided to take over the organisation:
in 2015 the Skærbæk Fan Weekend was born!
Fans from all over the world are coming together in Skærbæk and share their passion for the brick. No hand-luggage bag is too small that even the AFOLs from oversea are bringing some of their brilliant creations to Denmark.
But not only AFOLs are joining us, through the weekend the event is open for public visitors.

Skærbæk Fan Weekend this year

This edition of SFW was the biggest ever in terms of participants and MOCs (My Own Creations – meaning original creations made out of LEGO by fans). We were more than 740 participants coming from 31 countries (including Australia, Brazil, the US, Japan, Hong-Kong, Italy, Spain, Germany, France ;-),…).

A gathering of people from all around the globe
A gathering of people from all around the globe

Continue reading “Skærbæk Fan Weekend 2017”

Aeronautics engineer by day, toy photographer by night.
Exploring the world with his plastic figures.

Story book (a summer project) – Status report

Summer holidays.

What a great moment of the year. I really hope you are enjoying yours.

Like every year, the summer season is one of the busiest time of the year at work, for me. This June/July did not fail to be so.

And since I don’t have any child, I tend to take my summer holidays in June or September. What a delight to be on vacation when everyone is back at the office. :-)

This time, in September, there is the Edinburgh toy safari planned followed by a trip to Denmark (but more on that later on the blog).

Don’t get me wrong, I will have a short break this August during which I will drive to the South of France, to visit my parents.  Continue reading “Story book (a summer project) – Status report”

Aeronautics engineer by day, toy photographer by night.
Exploring the world with his plastic figures.

I believe I can fly…

Last month was the Paris Air Show.
You may have read my article on the subject. It was a great experience. I had so much fun taking pictures with LEGO minifigures in the middle of airplanes.

And because last month’s word was craftsmanship, I thought it would be a good idea to take one of those picture and describe the crafts I used to achieve the initial vision. Let me drive fly you through the whole process Continue reading “I believe I can fly…”

Aeronautics engineer by day, toy photographer by night.
Exploring the world with his plastic figures.