The review and brickfilm was generously written by Spudson. Check out his other brickfilms here, and be sure to subscribe:
In 2016, LEGO released a little theme called “Brickheadz.” Small, buildable, blocky characters of everyone’s favorite pop-culture characters. You can usually find one of these little guys on any LEGO enthusiast’s desk, shelf, table, or maybe even as a king-kong-like monster stampeding through their LEGO city. With their adorable big eyes and humorous blocky demeanor, Brickheadz are easy to love. But...are they good for brickfilming?
I set out to find an answer to that very question...after I was commissioned the task of making a review brickfilm of LEGO set 40490. A set including three Brickheadz characters from the LEGO Ninjago TV series, namely, Golden Lloyd, Nya Samurai X, and Firstbourne Dragon.
I received the set and was charmed by the designs of the characters. They each have their own unique features and looks. I was especially intrigued by the design of the Firstbourne Dragon build. Probably one of the more complicated Brickheadz figures I've seen. It manages to give off the feeling of being a powerful beast while also having the typical Brickhead cuteness. Nya’s Samurai helmet has an awesome design that uses a lot of interesting pieces. And Golden Lloyd, while simple, still has distinct character and charm. I had a decent amount to work with. I started production on my Brickheadz brickfilm.
Before I started animating I decided to see if anyone else had tried animation with Brickheadz and it turns out, there are barely any brickfilms containing Brickhead animation (outside of the stop-motion build variety). I was on my own for this one. But animating Brickheadz can’t be that much different from animating minifigures...right? Wrong.
Brickheadz are completely different in design than minifigs and thus can’t do things that minifigures can. For example, a minifigure can bend its legs all the way forward and all the way backward. A Brickhead can’t do that. While arm movement and leg movement can be achieved with sticky tack, the flexibility of a Brickhead is far more limited.
They’re not really meant to be animated.
During production, I found that lighting set-ups, as well as animation, took a lot longer than I was expecting. About three times the size of a minifigure and a lot heavier, they become a lot harder to maneuver. And I found multiple times that they’re very easy to bump...off the animation table and onto the floor where they shatter into a million pieces. Ouch.
However, there are some things a Brickhead can do that a minifigure can’t. For example, moving eyebrows. In my film, I used sticky tack to attach 1x2 tile plates to my figure’s faces to represent eyebrows, and thus it became very easy to have emotive facial expressions with my characters. Fun! I was also able to achieve blinking by replacing the piece holding their eyes. Both these things are very hard to do on minifigures.
So are Brickheadz good for brickfilming? Kinda. Though the production process would have been a lot easier with minifigures, I feel like the Brickheadz builds have enough movability and inherent personality to be well animated. I believe I'll be returning to traditional minifigure animation after this project, but if you want to play around with animating Brickheadz...go for it!
LEGO 40490 "NINJAGO 10" was provided to Bricks in Motion by the LEGO Ambassador Network for review. The set can be purchased for $10 USD alongside any NINJAGO purchase of $85 or more at qualifying in-person LEGO Stores.
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