As so much of video game and animation character design shifts from sketching on a piece of paper to modeling on a computer, I’ve often wondered about the differences in the two skill sets. Not long ago, designing a character was about imagining how to express the three-dimensional human form using lines on a flat surface, but now, the arguably more valuable skill is being able to break that form down into minute building blocks, then render and reassemble them digitally.
The 3-D graphic method is a lot closer to building something out of blocks than drawing a portrait, so it’s actually quite fitting that one Lego enthusiast decided to use Japan’s favorite digital diva, Hatsune Miku, as his muse in making a life-size recreation of the virtual idol.
Twitter user ChaosBrick started his labor of love last October. By February he was working with a full-size drawing of Miku’s face, laying blocks on top of it to get the shapes and proportions of her features just right.
About a month later he’d completed a respectable bust, and had even outfitted the Lego Miku prototype with the reed-like microphone she’s often depicted using. The artist hadn’t started work on the Vocaloid’s signature twin pigtails yet.
The Hatsune Miku fan community is large and passionate, and a number of amateur designers have produced their own versions which share the character’s basic design cues. No matter which rendition you’re going by, though, Miku doesn’t have a frame that could be described as anything close to beefy. If ChaosBrick was going to retain her slender build for his model, he was going to need to make sure its weight could be supported by Miku’s slender legs. In order to keep things light, he settled on a hollow construction for the cranium.
▼ You could literally insert a crack about empty-headed idol singers here.
You might wonder why Lego Miku needs articulation points in her fingers. Over the last few years, idol fans in Japan have come to expect the singers they support to periodically hold events where they shake hands with their supporters. Being a computer animated construct, Miku has been exempt from this until now, but now that ChaosBrick was bringing her into the physical world, he wasn’t about to skimp out on the design and spoil his chance of linking palms with the singer.
Meanwhile, work continued on Miku’s torso, upper arms, and hips, with ChaosBrick setting the requirement of being able to pick the connected mass up without its parts separating.
▼ Some of you might feel inclined to praise the artist’s restraint in not pumping up Miku’s ordinarily modest chest by a few cup sizes, but we ask you to hold your evaluations until the end.
Next, ChaosBrick attached the forearms, and while he wasn’t entirely satisfied with the look of the hands at this point, the attention to detail shown by giving Miku polished nails is impressive.
The project hit a bit of a snag when trying to mount the upper body onto the legs, necessitating a reworking of the skirt and pig tails.
Once again, the trickiest part was recreating Miku’s voluminous locks with a minimum of blocks, in order to keep weight down.
ChaosBrick persevered, though, and on April 15, six months after beginning his project, Miku was standing before him.
Again, we’re impressed by all the little touches that make Lego Miku seem more lifelike and realistic. Check out her Lego hair and tie clips, her Lego ankle straps…
▼ …and her Lego panties.
Yeah, like we said, we’re not sure about assigning ChaosBrick any bonus points for chastity. Full marks for technique, though, not to mention thoroughness.