Product Idea

Sonic Mania - Green Hill Zone

GREEN LIGHT RIDE(RS)

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Congratulations to SUMO Digital on the successful launch of Team Sonic Racing! From one kart-racer lover to another, you've managed to make a well-mined genre fresh and distinctive. All the best!

I figured a good way to celebrate both the game's release and my project's steady progress upwards (even while I've been preoccupied with other things) would be to put together the Cyclone from Sonic Drift. Sonic's personal racecar is sleek and shiny, and while the LEGO version has a few harder edges, it still manages to capture a lot of its essence.

Speaking of - sorry for not being around lately. My exam season and thesis were both a special kind of awful, but now I'm freeeeeeeee!!! I will be more on the ball now that I've rested properly. ^u^

Much thanks to Brickset for featuring this project back on May 8th, which I would've posted about earlier had I not been extremely busy with work, and big congrats to Mukkinn and their Dinosaur Fossil Skeletons project for passing the Ideas review! Hopefully the playable piano ALSO does - but I completely understand the need for a little more extra time in the oven on that decision.

Next up: I have some special surprises in store for the 5K supporters mark. A full month of weekly project updates. A new Badnik. A new module. And to top it all off, something just as fast as Sonic's Cyclone, and way more dangerous...


Every hero has a Mega Drive

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I'm supposed to be preparing for an exam tomorrow, but honestly? I couldn't resist.

Nothing here is a super involved build or anything - it's mostly a proof of concept regarding the minifigs. The small drone ("buzzbomber"?) and boombox were things I included to round out the scene, kind of like if LEGO Dimensions was still a thing by this November...

Anyways, what did y'alls think of the trailer?

EDIT: Congratulations to the Seasame Street project on hitting 10k! Proud to be a supporter on that one for sure, what a sweet concept. I don't know if I'd be able to hustle up Modular money for it, but I know for sure that if it did happen the world would be richer for it. Machu Picchu and the Adams Family House, too!


BLASTER MASTER

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Putting the bullet in bullet time, the Heavy Gunner is here to to punish and enslave!

The main Hard Boiled Heavy in Mania's marketing, the Gunner is definitely a fan favourite, and it's no exception on my end. While I'm not a fan of his profession, it suits his role as the aggressor in a high-octane chase, and it's fun to knock his own missiles back into his truncheon-wielding cronies.

As nice as his design is though, it is the least original of the Hard Boiled Heavies. When I started concepting the Heavies, my first step was to put together a basic Eggrobo so that I knew what I'd be working with (which I'll show off eventually, but is teased at the bottom of the header image!), and the only non-colour/print changes from that build were the transparent siren cone id 4589b and new weapon build.

Speaking of that weapon. If you remember the original art the Sonic twitter account showed way back when, you'll probably notice that that picture's gun has one barrel, versus the four transparent 1x1 round plates ID 4073 on the brick-built version. This was a decision of pragmatism; I decided there was no effective piece to properly represent the hole whilst also maintaining the square outline (I considered 2x2 turntable base ID 3680, but any attempt to darken the inside of that would lead to a black rim on the gun itself). Since that was out of the question, I instead took a page from the Phantom Gunner's form - a hand-held missile rack instead of a single launcher, which in some ways is more accurate to the in-game three-missiles-at-once shot the Gunner takes from his helicopter (even if the count is wrong).

Another interesting tidbit about that gun - the handle is modified plate with wheel axle ID 4488, which my gut feeling told me wasn't a set-legal grip due to the compression-based connection, but fascinatingly HAS been used in actual sets in a similar fashion. My specific exenoration is 70657-1 Ninjago City Docks, which includes two arcade machines - the Junkbot one is my favourite for personal reasons, but the fascinating one is the dark red generic ninja sidescroller cabinet. It has a joystick represented by the previously mentioned axle plate with mechanical claw clip ID 48729b attached around it. If I had to guess, it's specifically legal because the axle's end ridge isn't under compression - which means the bigfig hand's grip should probably be alright too.

Anyways, apologies about how it's been so long since I've had a good build to talk about here, and thank you so very much for your kindness and patience with me. I'm entering exam season, so the slim pickings may become even thinner for the next month, but I'll try to have little things for you all on the road to 5k no matter how long it takes for us to get there.

Your support is without doubt welcomed warmly, whether you were first on the train almost two months ago or just taking an interest today. Either way, you're here with us now - and that's what matters. <3

EDIT: Just learned Play Well Portugal covered this project back in March. Obrigado! (I don't know Portugese either, but I hope the sentiment is appreciated...)

EDIT II: just2good?????? It was a little while ago, but many thanks to him for mentioning this project in j2gOSRS #12! ^u^


Circumstantially simultaneous

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Just popping in to wish everyone a good day. This date has personal importance to me, so it's extra special that we reached a nice, round number right around now. (In case it wasn't obvious, the "612 pieces" set size estimate is 100% not a coincidence. c; ) Thank you all so much for making this hapen.

Of course, speaking of round numbers - the next Update will be number 20, and that'll come along when we hit 45%. See you then! <3

EDIT: Forgot to note - thank you to メοメοErica Christyメοメο, Captain Brickstarz, and Thefoster5555 on YouTube for making videos about this project in the past week! It's very much appreciated. ^u^


SPACE-EGGS

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Hi everyone! Sorry for it being a while since my last update. As I mentioned in the comments, I've been a little under the weather and haven't had the spare energy to build additional stuff for this project or what have you.

I shouldn't just leave the project to the wolves while I'm recovering my will and drive, though! To that end, here's a little thing I'd like to do going forward - unique pieces of art tying the Sonic Mania project with other LEGO Ideas projects that have passed significant milestones. It makes sense to do this for every 100 supporters, but we'll see how it goes.

For example, here's a piece of art to go with the SpaceX Big Falcon Rocket reaching the 10k supporter threshold - congratulations to that project, and wishing it luck in review. Here we can see it taking its obvious place in the background of Lava Reef Zone's second act, where in the original game Eggman was preparing to launch his rocket to the Little Planet! I wonder if they'll include an alternate stickerset to rebrand it, should it get produced...

As always, your support is warmly welcomed and appreciated. We're currently a hair under 44%, even without me paying any attention or care to the project for a little over a week. Thank you all!


Who were you expecting... the easter bunny? (April fools!)

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The japery of April 1st is upon us. Here's a modified version of the main project's build for an offsite gag! I can't pretend this is the new face for the project here because the LEGO Ideas Project Guidelines are very strict on not allowing projects to completely change direction even as a goof, but I hope you'll appreciate the effort I put into this fun Sonic Forces-based twist on Green Hill.

I actually really enjoyed that game, but I must admit there are many who don't agree - and there are legitimate grievances about not having much of an identity at times, to the point where recolouring Green Hill and the giant Egg Robot was enough to adequetely represent the game. That's the real crux of this joke, not any actual dislike! My favourite parts where the game does really come into its own wouldn't translate to LEGO that easy without the use of new elements, which is why it wasn't near the top of my brainstoming pile when figuring out the direction of what would eventually become the Sonic Mania project.

Both Infinite and the avatar/rookie (the two coolest additions by far) would need new sculpted head pieces in order to really shine, and my attempt at the Forces version of the Phantom Ruby is a bit weak compared to how the Mania version turned out and might do better with a dedicated part as well. I'd love to see them in LEGO form, but given the restrictions I'm working within it's completely out of my wheelhouse.

Of course, this version of the original build completely ignores all restrictions on what colours are available for what parts. I might go for a more serious attempt based on an actually distinctive part of the game like Sunset Heights another time, given (and I must stress this, since I don't want to seem too mean-spirited with the joke that led me to create this) I did actually have fun with Sonic Forces.

Still, thank you so much for 4,300 supporters! I hope the tomfoolery of today does not overwhelm you. ^u^;;

EDIT: Just found out Crazysonicfan110 made a YouTube video yesterday asking people to support this project. Their efforts are warmly appreciated!!


A little something else...

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Hi, everyone! This isn't necessarily an update to the project itself (more on that below), but I felt like sharing this MOC here would be appropriate given y'alls are likely Sonic fans.

I had some spare time and an abundance of parts not currently occupied by any sets the other day, so I took the opportunity to design a few things. One of those was an upgrade to the LEGO Dimensions 71244-1 Sonic the Hedgehog Level Pack, a set which I would consider a strong companion piece to the hypothetical end result of this project, given that it stars Modern Sonic verus this one's Classic.

Per that era divide, this is specifically a rendition of the design from Sonic Adventure rather than a more neutral version with silver wings. It lacks the deco prints that in-game model posesses, but other than that I consider it a pretty faithful rendition of that build's colorway and shapings.

If this MOC interests you, check out my Flickr page - either in my profile, or through this direct link to the build's album! Obviously it'd look better with a Tails the Fox minifigure, but we work with what we have, not always what we'd like...

Why doesn't this count as an Update, rather than just a MOC? Well, this project is about Sonic Mania. Why would I muddy the waters with elements from Sonic Adventure? All of the updates I've done so far have been things that the eventual product designer from the Ideas team could consider as alternative elements to work with the base concept without raising eyebrows, not completely unrelated additions.

Even if I were to change the colourscheme and tweak some of the shapes involved, the Tornado doesn't even appear in Green Hill Zone, just Angel Island and Mirage Saloon. As it stands I'd rather avoid overcomplicating the set with thematic aberrations when there's so much you can do within the base concept as described in the project title already!

Anyways, thank you all for your support! We passed another few hundreds since the last update, including a totally benign number which nonetheless seems to resonate with people, since I got more retweets on that than most other updates. I'll have more to share with you in due course, and the next major update will definitely be a content addition unless something wacky happens.

Let's keep this momentum goin' <3


Attack its weak point for massive damage (UPDATED)

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Sidling into the scene crabwise, the Crabmeat is here to pinch that pesky blue pincushion!

Yep, the third Badnik to be designed for this project is obviously one of the most iconic in Sonic 1. While it's not completely associated with Green Hill (I personally think of it as a Spring Yard badnik myself), it does appear in the zone and therefore is fair game for me to design.

One thing that's interesting about the Crabmeat is that you were able to build it with 71244-1, the LEGO Dimensions pack that gave us our first taste of the world of Sonic the Hedgehog in bricks - and it's a pretty good rendition given that it also had to be rebuildable into Sonic's biplane, the Tornado. If the Ideas team chooses not to include my Badnik in the end product, there's no shame in keeping this one around. However, there's obvious ways in which it could be improved - it's definitely more of a giant enemy crab rather than the almost-too-cute-to-be-evil 'bot we'd known. That's why I considered it worth my while to design up a potential competitior!

This little fellow, much like the Buzzbomber, contains no unique pieces that have never been available before (er, almost - I had forgotten modified brick with studs on two adjacent sides ID 26604 has not been available in Light Bluish Grey since being introduced in 2017, but that's ultimately unimportant to the final build's appearance and could easily be swapped out). Unlike the Buzzbomber, however, this one can be built right now, even without a Motobug to clear the way - its eyes are 1x1 round tile ID 98138pb066, a pre-existing print that has previously been used for the eyes of a crab in Creator set 31088-1! (EDIT: Turns out people really didn't like this. I have introduced exactly one new BrickHeadz-inspired print as a replacement, of which the set would require two copies; this can appear in subsequent robot-themed Creator/Classic sets to offset the design cost, as nothing about it is particular to the Sonic Mania theming. The original version of the build as described in the italic text is visible in the circular cut-out in the top right of the new header image.)

This was probably the first build in which scale was actively difficult to achieve, as opposed to a natural consequence of what I saw in my mind's eye. Part of the issue is that the eyes on the sprite are definitely smaller than the size of a stud, relative to Sonic - but having the pupils for recognisability was definitely more important than nailing the scale 100%, so this Crabmeat errs a little on the large side. It frustrates me a tad, but I know most people won't mind - and this is already way smaller than most people's attempts at the Badnik so I should probably learn to deal.

I might do a Module for next week, but the pickings get slimmer every time I make an update. I'll keep you updated on if I manage to make something worth your while during the week, or if I'll have to showcase another Badnik design to buy myself more time to make something up to my quality standards for the project. I appreciate your patience.

Anyways, thank you so much for caring about this project! We're a hair under 41% at this moment, and everyone who's supported so far has my gratitude. <3

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EDIT: Someone said this comparison wasn't fair because there were two Crabmeat designs in LEGO Dimensions - the alternate build of the Tornado as pictured, but also an in-game enemy model pictured below, which as you can see looks a lot better.

So what gives, Viv? Are you giving your design an artificial advantage by hiding the Dimensions design that's way more accurate? Not intentionally - but they were right that I should have at least mentioned it in passing. There's a simple reason why I didn't consider it a fair contender - it's literally impossible to build!

It has a bunch of appropriate-looking parts in the right places, but there's several major problems with it that I can point out just by looking at this picture alone that prevent you from ordering all the needed parts off BrickLink and snapping it together.

  • Its mouthplate is 1x2 cheesegrater slope ID 61409, which appears to be intersecting with the front bar of 2x2 octagonal bar plate ID 75937, so it can't be in that position. In addition, it's only held on by one stud at the thin end, which results in unreasonably low clutch (test it yourself! It'll come off if you do so much as put your finger against it).
  • The assembly holding its mouthplate on has a solid stud on it front surface and two studs on each side. This part does not exist; its closest relatives are ID 32952 (which only has studs on two surfaces) and ID 47905 (which, if stacked directly, cannot have a plate attached to both studs at once), and even if it did, it would not be able to connect to the underside of the octagonal bar plate above it as it has no studs on the top surface, let alone ones appropriately offset without any apparent jumper plate present to sit in the middle of it.
  • Its eyestalks appear to be minifig weapon hilt ID 61199, inserted into a standard 1x1 round plate ID 85861. The diameter of this part increases slightly at the very bottom, which is generally fine for the minifig hand it was intended for but places stress on the round plate - which leads me to believe this is not a legal build. If you look closely, you can see a bit of Z-fighting with the 3D model here - which suggests the pieces are clipping into each other, confirming my suspicions.
  • The Exo-Force arms ID 98313 as the arms and the front legs don't have enough clearance to both be connected at the same time. It might just be a consequence of the specific pose in the screenshot, though.

I hope this criticism of the existing design was interesting. Thanks for hitting 4,100 supporters last night, by the way!


FOUR THOUSAND

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Four thousand. Wow. I'm still too sleepy to write this, but I didn't want to keep you guys waiting. ^^;;

It may have taken another two weeks and change since the last round milestone, but it's quite frankly incredible that the number is still rising. But the word "number" implies a bit of a detached tone: That's four thousand individual human beings, each who decided that they wanted to support my project.

Sorry to those who wanted the update to be immediate - the counter rolled over just as I was heading to bed, so I didn't have any time to prepare the customary image or text that I'm currently writing. I like to leave it as close as posssible to the publish time to make these things, to make it as relevant as possible.

As promised, the 4k update contains the Heavy Magician! It's difficult to represent her illusion dust without the ability to create new tooling, but I hope that you'll enjoy her design all the same. She's definitely my favourite!!

I asked you guys to vote on what I'd make for this Friday. Since nobody chose between the two options I gave, I kept on putting this off a bit. Long story short, it's looking like I'll put up a Badnik on Saturday. Thanks for your patience and kindness!

Anyways, I am continually awed. Thank you <3

PS: Congrats to the Kākāpō project for reaching 10k! Much luck in review.


TOP O' THE EVENIN' TO YA

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Quick bonus update today. I was going to wait WAY longer to show this guy off, but I realised the Heavy Shinobi is pretty topical. Let's say I'll show a new Hard Boiled Heavy off every 500 supporters (treating this as the 35k Heavy), and make a nice big render of them all for 6k..? How does that sound? I see you, all nodding in agreement. Fantastic, then, it's a deal.

(I MAY be a tad late in my timezone, but I'm Irish so it's St. Patty's Day when I say it is. ^^;; )