Chapter Two: Inventory, Inspection and Quality Control
My childhood collection consists mainly of Classic Space, which I looked after in its original boxes, and a mixture of Town, Castle and (very old) Trains which unfortunately had been thrown together with my elder siblings' chewed and dirty hand-me-downs in a variety of shoe-boxes and other random containers. I was pleased to find, after a lot of rummaging around amongst chewed and dirty LEGO, that I had for the most part looked after the Castle stuff, and I was able to assemble the majority of 375's parts with relative ease.
Happily, most of the important bricks that make the structure of the castle have been retained. We'll start with the five baseplates:
They're filthy, but intact. Baseplates have a tendency to warp and crack, but these remain perfectly flat
I'll have to do some work to get rid of all that grime, though
The bulk of the yellow is displayed here:
I was worried about having lost the large yellow slopes that form the bastions of the castle walls, but they are all present and in excellent condition; likewise, the yellow arches have survived intact (I even found a few extras, also in great condition, but I do not recall owning any of the few other sets that they were available in
). Also of great importance are the eight yellow hinge-bricks, and the two red doors and their attachments (the latter prone to breaking, so I'm very relieved that to have found them in working order).
I wasn't too worried about the grey plates, as I knew I'd have plenty from the Classic Space collection, but I had to work to find the correct numbers that weren't overly chewed. You may be able to make out in the photograph some significant colour variation in the grey parts; some of this is clearly dirt, but the 4x6 plates in particular have taken on a brownish tint that I presume is due to sun exposure. We'll have to see if I can ameliorate that.
I have omitted from this picture the seventy-one
1x1 and one hundred and eighty-three
1x2 yellow bricks; many of the 1x1s were coated in a gummy sticker residue to which had adhered years of fluff and grime - I've spared you that horror. I suspect this was where I had needed 1x1s in another colour, and improvised with coloured stickers!
Interestingly, there is evidence of evolution in the parts within the set. Compare the 2x2 and 1x2 inverted slopes:
The former have thicker open studs; today's newer type of open stud is present in the 1x2s. As I don't have any other types in my collection, I can only assume this is how they came with the set (the explanation may be that the 1x2 inverted slope is a newer part, albeit only by one year).
Bricklink lists the 1x1 round bricks as having a closed stud in 375, but an open stud in the identical - but later - 6075. This one came with open studs:
The right-hand frame shows an example of the grimy residue that covered many of the bricks. I was missing two of these 1x3 bricks; easily replaced!
The winch is intact, and, believe it or not, I suspect that is the original string! The red 2x2 with hole through which the string is threaded is badly chewed, but I found two others in excellent condition. The hook doesn't come with the set
Also shown are further examples of the grime of decades! I was missing two 2x2 yellow plates; further rummaging produced the above collection of other 2x2s, but they are all far too chewed and I'll have to replace the missing ones.
This rare part forms a vital feature of the castle:
Sadly despite hours of searching, I could only find five of the necessary six. Bricklink will be needed for the last!
As I mentioned previously, I had built the horses temporarily to ensure I had the right parts. This showed up the age, particularly of the white pieces, which are dirty and some discoloured:
Spotting is present on the yellow 1x8; the stickers here, whilst mercifully intact, are horribly dirty and will be impossible to clean (and one of the yellow banners, I now notice, has been applied upside down
The 'home team' of blue soldiers wearing the crown emblem report for duty. They all have the correct headgear, and vests; even the crown stickers are all present, but a bit tatty and many applied wonkily. The knight even has has facepiece, although it is dirty and a little scuffed. Ideally, that should be replaced.
I've only just realised there should be eight of these dudes
The 'away team' haven't fared quite so well:
Both the black and white knights have lost their faceplates; the red knight is fully dressed but his squire is legless
. All the vests are accounted for, with stickers intact but tatty and sloppily applied. If I'm going to restore this properly, those stickers will need to be replaced, somehow
Most of the classic smiley heads are acceptable, though some are a little worn. They'll have to do.
The black-suited dude's torso has a sticker decal applied; that will have to come off. Note that in those days minifigure heads came with a closed stud.
The swords and lances are all present and correct:
Of the nine shields in the set, the two yellow/green chevrons are missing; of the rest, the stickers again are dirty, tatty and poorly applied.
The halberds are a little chewed, and there's some colour variability in the greys:
I might have to put up with this, but if necessary, some could be replaced.
All in all, most of the set has survived! The following replacements will be needed:
From my own contemporary collection:
- 2 x 1x3 yellow brick
- 2 x 2x3 yellow plate
- 2 x frictionless Technic pin (bley will have to do for these - I do apologise to the purists!)
- 1 x blue minifigure, 1 x light grey helmet
- 1 x red 1x1 window
- 2 x grey shield
- 1 x white knight facepiece
- 1 x black knight facepiece
- 1 x red minifigure legs assembly (not one collectable minifigure comes with red legs!! )
- 1 x light grey vest piece
- 1 x grey knight facepiece
- To consider: 4 x grey halberds
- Medium-thickness black cord (at least 50cm)
Bricklink here we come!
Then I have to work out what to do about the stickers
Whew, those knight face-shields are pricey! Approximately US $10 each
Larger pictures on Flickr
. Next up - the Big Clean-Up!