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Avoiding "Big Grey Wall" syndrome


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#1 Mister Phes

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 12:44 AM

In the Fort Beckam thread Bloody Jay raised the following point:

Bloody Jay, on Oct 26 2005, 10:33 AM, said:

It's ok, but I think it has a bit of "Big Gray Wall" Syndrome going on, whether or not it's historically accurate.

Which spawned a whole new topic on how to prevent "Big Gray Wall" Syndrome, so the posts have been moved here to continue the discussion and keep the other thread on topic.

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Yes...  Mmmmm...  Yes...  Bloody Jay is absolutely right...  Remember folks "Natural stone is not all one uniform color, so why make your wall out of one shade of brick?


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#2 Dreamweb

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 07:49 AM

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Yes... Mmmmm... Yes... Bloody Jay is absolutely right... Remember folks "Natural stone is not all one uniform color, so why make your wall out of one shade of brick?


As a geologist I tend to agree. Now that we have a few shades of grey in Lego, while building grey walls we can mix them freely (different shades of one rock), or according to some pattern (parts of wall built of different rocks). Thiis would look much better and would attract the eye more than one boring colour everywhere.

#3 Mister Phes

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 08:53 AM

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LEGO attempted to break the monotony by mixing yellow and white and adding scatter brick patterns to the walls.  

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I don't know about you laddies, but like a Snickers Bar I find these really satisfying.  Satisfying in breaking the monotony of the fort walls that is!


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#4 snefroe

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 09:51 AM

Bloody Jay, on Oct 26 2005, 12:33 AM, said:

It's ok, but I think it has a bit of "Big Gray Wall" Syndrome going on, whether or not it's historically accurate.
i disagree. the only thing you need to do is to mix used grey bricks with new bricks. i've done that on several occasions and the effect is great! you still get your different shades of grey that way and they mix better than the different colours lego produces... also, a wall of a fortress doesn't have to be a Picasso, it's meant to defend a structure... in fact, you could also say that new bricks are always the wrong choice, because they reflect sunlight waaay too much... in the end, your wall isn't a wall, but a mirror...

besides, from a large distance, walls of castles do look like they're build in a uniform colour...

there's also the question of geography: egyptiens used sand stone because they didn't have the grey massonary, people in iraq only had clay...

#5 Mister Phes

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 10:01 AM

Sneffy, when you say "new" do you mean the new shades of grey, or the traditional grey bricks which haven't been used before?


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#6 snefroe

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 10:35 AM

mister_phes, on Oct 26 2005, 10:01 AM, said:

Sneffy, when you say "new" do you mean the new shades of grey, or the traditional grey bricks which haven't been used before?
i mean they've never been used before.

it's like the bricklink categories: you get used and new grey bricks, used bricks have been used by previous owners and new bricks are factory fresh, both in the same colors.

#7 Mister Phes

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 11:27 AM

Have you tried mixing the new greys with the old greys too?  Or is it against your religion to use new greys?


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#8 Dreamweb

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 12:41 PM

Just an idea I came up with:

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A granite-like brick!

Just imagine how a large building made of these would look like! It can be anything but monotonous.

#9 Mister Phes

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 12:50 PM

I feel a Avoiding the monotony of LEGO masonary walls thread coming on...

Mr Dreamweb, could you actually make labels out of that design and apply them to the bricks so you could actually build a fort or castle out of them?


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#10 snefroe

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 01:11 PM

mister_phes, on Oct 26 2005, 11:27 AM, said:

Have you tried mixing the new greys with the old greys too?  Or is it against your religion to use new greys?
no i haven't tried that because i didn't have enough new light grey bricks back then but i very often mix both in space ships and that works quite well. In that context, one plate in old grey could be an older component, but i think that's another discussion. In this case, age of a certain brick in a wall is not the essential reason for having another colour, it's geology...

i'd like to see a granite label too. i wonder how it would look. It may be a bit too detailed for the lego world, i'm not really sure... if this works very well, then you could practically take a photo of a wall, turn it into a label, and apply it to a wall of bricks :P

#11 Mister Phes

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 01:51 PM

snefroe1, on Oct 26 2005, 11:11 PM, said:

no i haven't tried that because i didn't have enough new light grey bricks back then but i very often mix both in space ships and that works quite well. In that context, one plate in old grey could be an older component, but i think that's another discussion.
By all means go into that discussion if you wish.  You won't be going off topic now!


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#12 Dreamweb

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 02:13 PM

mister_phes, on Oct 26 2005, 01:50 PM, said:

Mr Dreamweb, could you actually make labels out of that design and apply them to the bricks so you could actually build a fort or castle out of them?
Printing this pattern on a large sticker, then cutting it to fit the bricks and putting the stickers on them wouldn't be hard, maybe someday I'll try it (when I start building my long-planned fortress, but that won't be so soon).

#13 Mister Phes

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 02:24 PM

What if you built the wall first then applied the sticker then used a craft knife to cut them up while they were stuck to the bricks?  Would that be faster?


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#14 Dreamweb

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 02:30 PM

That'd be faster but you have to be careful not to scratch the bricks :)

#15 Mister Phes

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 02:52 PM

Hmmm...  I wonder how it'd look...  Ya can't really tell from one brick... Well an image of one brick...  Maybe it would be too much...


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#16 ApophisV

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 03:33 PM

I would like to add that Sne's idea especially works for white walls because the white bricks will become slightly yellow / tan after some years. (Here is one example from my money box tower *self advertisement* ;))

#17 snefroe

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 03:48 PM

Apo's example also shows another thing:

if you would replace a few white bricks by grey bricks to indicate different geology, you would at the same time compromise the beautifull design of the building, because your corner stones are already grey stones. In fact, if there's any consistency in your guideline to use different lego colors, then you'd almost be forced to replace a few corner stones by dark grey as well... in the end, i'm not sure if that would look very well.

#18 Mister Phes

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 04:17 PM

Once again here's the real thing...



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And this...


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And this...

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Yer can kind of see the variation in colour in the stones...


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#19 snefroe

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 04:34 PM

remember, pirate, this is a very old fortress! i wonder how these buildings would have looked in the 18th - 19th century.

#20 Mister Phes

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 04:43 PM

Yes that is a good point.  I didn't even stop to think that weathering or flora or vandalism might alter their appearances.  I also didn't even stop to think that its almost 3AM and I should be asleep...


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#21 Norro

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 06:03 PM

mister_phes, on Oct 26 2005, 11:27 AM, said:

Have you tried mixing the new greys with the old greys too?
As has been discussed this looks *terrible*. Which is why I boycott new grey, which is why I am in a huff at mod lego...

        God Bless,

             Nathan
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#22 Mister Phes

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Posted 27 October 2005 - 03:04 AM

Why does it look *terrible* - I obviously haven't seen a mixture of the two!
Anyone got any pictures?


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#23 Starwars4J

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Posted 27 October 2005 - 04:28 AM

As far as the "big grey wall" syndrom goes, that's why I like mixing the sizes of the bricks I use.  See, if I have a wall made of 1x2, 1x4, etc, all randomly placed, it gives the look of cracks and the like randomly appearing due to some sort of aging.  That, and I also use what was mentioned before about using new and old bricks in the same color to gain a certain affect.  it IS more accurate afterall, more like what happens in life.

#24 Dreamweb

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Posted 27 October 2005 - 08:26 AM

I think building a wall for a house is much easier than building actual rock - a rocky cliff, or a quarry's wall... BURPS just don't do them justice... They should also have a lot of cracks but shouldn't be perfectly vertical. And shouldn't be in one colour only. As a geologist I have some ideas though...

#25 Norro

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Posted 27 October 2005 - 04:40 PM

mister_phes, on Oct 27 2005, 03:04 AM, said:

Why does it look *terrible* - I obviously haven't seen a mixture of the two!
Anyone got any pictures?
Jipay (I believe) put one up last time you asked...

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