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The_Cook

[Retro MOC] The Guildhall

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The Guildhall is the 8th in a series of MOC's that could have come from the late 80's castle range. I'm trying to explore Medieval life in more detail than Lego's sellable range ever allowed whilst staying true to the design principles of that era. This posting can also be found here on MOCpages.

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Design

The design was inspired by the town hall in Abingdon, England. It's comprised of a covered market below with a meeting room above. Whilst I knew that was what I wanted to build, the actual design gestated for a good while until early one morning in those moments between sleep and wakefulness my mind suddenly assembled some Panel 2x5x6 Wall w/ Black Stripes in a way that would work and, perhaps more importantly, how the arches below would also work and be the right dimensions for the room above.

I sketched the design out as I travelled into work on the tube. The key was that two 4444 panels side by side is 10 studs which is the same as two Brick, Arch 1x5x4. The cutouts on the Brick, Arch 1x5x4 arches mean that Brick, Arch 1x6x2 could be used at right angles. 3 arches in a row gives 18 studs width to the frontage. A 4444 panel side on adjacent to a 4444 panel front on is 6 studs, leave a gap of 6 studs for a balcony and then miror the panel arrangement on the far side. After some furious sketching this design was really starting to come together, although it was all still on squared paper it was obvious that it was going to work.

One of the things that I've learnt from studying the Lego designs is that they're rarely enclosed. If you add all 4 walls then you can't get inside to play. Indeed the Lego designers go to a lot of trouble on their playable models to allow easy access, often they will hint at walls by using pillars or other tricks rather than actually building them. Another favoured trick is to just provide a frontage and leave the rear open. It was this design paradigm that I followed on the back of the town hall, a single 1x16 beam runs across the back to support the roof leaving the entire room accessible for playing in.

An arch over the balcony supports a bell tower with the standard peaked roof that I've used on several other models, the rest of the roof was formed of 33 degree slopes. I replace one of the side 4444 panels with an arch and pillar arrangement leading to an outside set of stairs. I decide to go for brick built stairs rather than an all in one piece. The balcony was in-part inspired by something I'd seen whilst studying the images in the Prototype Castle Sets thread, the curtains to either side were inspired by the window detailing in the Green Grocer modular building.

Moving on to the interior detailing a large table was an obvious starting point. The ubiquitous chest tucked into one corner and a globe taken from 4729 Dumbledore's Office was tucked into the corner opposite. LDD refused to cooperate to get a flag behind the mayors seat I just couldn't get it aligned right even though it should fit. If this were a real set then I'd get a flag made up with either the Lion, Falcon or Crusader emblems printed on sideways so that they're the right way up when hung downwards from a vertical bar.

The LDD shots below show the front and interior detail. The LDD design itself is available from the MOCPage version of this posting.

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Analysis

I'm trying to work to a similar set design criteria to what the Lego designers would work to, a more detailed explanation can be found in my earlier posting on The Maidens Tower.

Story: None, although some degree of story could possibly be concocted around the prince taxing the peasants. This could quickly become a Robin Hood story if one of the peasants was a forestman.

Playability: For once I think I've got the access about right. It's a little tight getting minifigs under the arches and into the upper room, but it's not impossible. Looking back at it now could I have gone even further, I wonder if I could have changed the roof to make just half a building. The hardcore collector could easily place two and place them back to back to create a whole whilst the child market that we're aiming at would have easier acces to the interior to play.

Build-ability: It was all going quite well until I got to the stairs up the edge. In order to support these I needed to extend the base plating out beneath them, but to do so would have left an unsupported seam down the middle. Eventually I opted to add a small well in the middle built out of grey Brick, Round Corner 2x2 Macaroni around a round blue plate. This proved to be enough to secure the stairs propely.

The shots below show the rear and sides of the built model, along with the interior detailing.

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Minifig choice for the photo's was somewhat prefunctory on my part, which I now regret. I feel that with a bit of effort I could have come up with a proper mayor minifig, possibly based around the Lucius Malfoy torso from 4867 Hogwarts with suitable yellow head and hands applied for an old man. I think I'd argue the case with the accountants for the inclusion of an additional Robin Hood minifig to drive the storyline. The revised minifig lineup shows from left to right, a Forestman, a Nun, the Prince, a Peasant and the Mayor.

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Cost: 260 pieces puts it in the same bracket as 6067 Guarded Inn. Looking at the modern equivalents; the pice count puts it halfway between 7948 Outpost Attack and Prison Tower Rescue so probably about £30.

Consistency: This is a trickier building to judge as, unlike everything else that I've created so far, this one doesn't clip into the wall. That said there's nothing in the design that couldn't be from the 80's. The anachronisms are in the props; the globe is modern as are the printed tiles forming the paperwork on the table. Also, I ended up using a 3x3x2 cone for the bell when building the model for real as I didn't have a 4x4x2 cone which would have been period.

Conclusion

I like this one, the design is nice and simple but sufficiently distinctive that it stands out from the other castle buildings. Would it sell? I think it's got as much of a chance as Guarded Inn, primarily because it does stand out. I'm beginning to realise that the storyline is very much bound up in the minifigs and that I need to pay more attention to them from the outset rather than adding them afterwards since they dictate the story which ultimately leads to the sell-ability of the set. I think that the late changes to the minifig line give much more playability straight from the box.

The Series

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I love these retro MOCs of yours. I used to spend ages as a kid pouring over the lego catalogues with their scenes of forestmen attacking castles and your MOCs really give off the same nostalgic feel. I like the thought that you've put into each one, and it really shows in the cohesiveness of them all, as well as them not looking out of place against other 'real' retro castle sets. I'd love to see some of these mocked up as boxes with the classic yellow packaging and background.

Thanks for building and sharing, I've enjoyed everyone so far! Any plans for some carts etc?

p.s. Don't they throw bread rolls off the roof of the town hall in Abingdon for some random festival?

Edited by andhe

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I'd love to see some of these mocked up as boxes with the classic yellow packaging and background.

Thanks for building and sharing, I've enjoyed everyone so far! Any plans for some carts etc?

p.s. Don't they throw bread rolls off the roof of the town hall in Abingdon for some random festival?

I've been considering trying to replicate the yellow/orange backgrounds of the 80's castle sets but I haven't quite build up the requisite number of trees to properly reproduce those wonderfull Forestmen attack scenes from the catalogues...

The next model, which you can get a preview of at MOCPages, has a cart. I've also got some siege machines in the pipeline.

I'd not heard of bread rolls being thrown from the roof of the town hall but it's the sort of tradition that could well happen.

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I like this model alot, but i dont think it fits as well as the others. Your look is great and i would build it because it is a nice set but it almost looks like it belongs in a different faction or set.

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Hi The_Cook. Well done! I really love your MOC especially the use of yellow/black wall panel.

I am a bit obsessed with this yellow/black wall panel. I always pay attention on how people use them in their MOC. This MOC definitely use it well. It really gives us the 80's feeling.

Thanks for the great work. I might copy your idea in my castle design.

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Very good, very Lego golden era :laugh:. Great castle small moc. Continue to good work :sweet:

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yay thank you for another one of these, this is probably my favorite, its have the simple elegance of many of the sets from the 80s, keep up the great work :thumbup:

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These retro MOCs are great! This one has to be my favorite. Great job!

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Your nun design is awesome. Keep these creations coming. :thumbup:

Thank you. I've been putting together a small convent of these. A church is on my list of buildings, but it's one that I'm somewhat reluctant to do because Lego always avoids religion and I'm playing by their rules. Even in the their castle themes they've studiously avoided religion despite the church being one of the three pillars of medieval society. Knights to protect, Priests to care for the soul and the Peasantry to provide food.

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I agree with everyone else, it is a really good representation of the classical feel. Very nice job.

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