BTB: Afro-Samurai

When I came across DemonHunter‘s epic LEGO rendering of Afro Samurai, I was taken by his ability to capture the expressive and dynamic look of the character. For those of you who are unfamilar with the manga and Samuel L. Jackson-voiced anime character, check out the following clip. Once you have the context and get a sense of the aesthetic, read on to find out what DemonHunter has to say about his LEGO version.

PROJECT TITLE: Yo! Afro!!

BUILDER: DemonHunter

So do you have any more pics? I only found the one.

Unfortunately I dont have any more pictures…I’m terrible at photography and for some reason this guy was impossible to photograph. Sorry.

How’d you end up settling on the idea to create Afro Samurai in LEGO? Were there any other LEGO models or builders you looked to for inspiration, ideas, etc. on how to go about getting it done?

Well the way this came about is a long story but I’ll try to condense it to the major plot points: Played the Afro Samurai PS3 game. Watched the anime. Was browsing Flickr and saw a “cubedude”. Wondered if anybody had built an Afro Samurai dude. Decided “cubedude” size was too small. That’s about it. So i guess you could say i was somewhat inspired by MacLane.

The final product manages to capture the character design and overall art direction of the cartoon pretty well. Was it hard achieving that highly expressive, dynamic look given the 90° biases of LEGO?

YES! Words can’t express how hard. The legs were the hardest part.

Is there any sort of “sketching” or “brainstorming” process to this build or the way you build in general? Did you use any sort of pre- process for this?

Well, as far as sketching goes I really only do that on large scale models like castles. My pre-process for Afro was looking at a lot of reference mostly.

I’ve never tried it myself, but I assume that when people try to replicate an existing character in LEGO, there’s a constant struggle between trying to accurately translate the original and knowing when things are “close enough”. How do you deal with this?

Well as far as accuracy goes I tried to be as true as i could with the scale i used. The idea was to make the character as instantly recognizable as possible.

I’m always curious how long it takes for folks to work on projects. What’s your estimate for this one? Do you generally do long building sessions or shorter ones over the span of a project?

Hmm…I’m not really sure but I’d guesstimate it at about 12 hrs. As far as the length of my building sessions: I’d say usually about 3 hrs at a time. But there are those late-night sessions when creativity strikes and when you finally look at the clock you realize “It’s finished but OMG I’ve been doing this for 6 hrs?!? I have to work soon!”.

What’s are your favorite part of this build? Why? (By the way, mine is the use of that t-bar on the sandals. Brilliant.)

Thank you! The Tbars were actually one of the last things I thought of. My personal favorite part was of course the afro. It was a lot of fun to build. Thanx for featuring me on your blog btw. Im very flattered.

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