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EBCTC: A Day at the Races


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#1 MetroiD

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 08:20 PM

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"It's the fantastic drowse
Of the afternoon Sundays"


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It's classic. And it's classy. Horse racing - the traditional weekend pastime of the British upper class. A celebration of sportsmanship, superior animal breeding ... oh yes, and vanity too. Beautiful thoroughbred animals racing with the wind for a coveted trophy, which will bring joy not only to their owners and caretakers, but also to thousands of people gazing from the stands... naturally, provided that they've put their money on the right horse. Of course, there's always the occasional suspicious black suitcase passed on just before the end of a certain race, but that is a whole different story which, in keeping with the afore-mentioned "sportsmanship" factor, we would rather refrain from discussing. And while the blue-blooded spectators enjoy (or regret) the performance of their chosen horse from atop the VIP lounge, most regular folk just flock to the stadium with one thing in mind: betting. That automatically turns Sundays into the busiest days in any bookie's schedule - which of course they don't mind the least. Especially when there are proper means of covering the losses, so to speak. But I digress.

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Ladies and gentlemen, I would hereby like to present to your attention our entry to the Eurobricks Classic Town Contest: "A Day at the Races". Even though this was a last minute entry, we did try our best to make it look presentable. The basic idea behind this one was to add something different to the Contest - so far we've seen marvellous downtown structures, town centres and squares. But we all know that, come the weekend, people prefer to have a chance of getting away from the big city, no matter how nice it is. Et voila - there you have it - all the bustle (and hustle) of the vivid LEGO town, albeit in a green rural setting.

This particular stadium was inspired by Dundalk Racing Stadium, which is one of the premier venues in horse racing. Our LEGO interpretation features a top-level VIP lounge with a separated commentator's booth, a main covered stand which can hold upwards of 100 spectators and, downstairs, a bookmaker's office with a photo-finish booth just across the hallway - in case spectators find it hard to come to terms with the official results.

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Obviously, you've just caught a scene at the end of one of today's races. The stadium is far from being full yet, so this must be one of the earliest events. With a horse just arriving and making its way out of the truck and a rider preparing her animal for the race, it looks like the action is yet to hit a high. That does not, however, stop a few devoted fans (or rather, friends of the rider) from cheering on their chosen horse. Of course, this might have a rather negative effect, since even a slight loss of concentration has cost many a racer their first places. Although, judging from what's going on at the shady back of the terraces, it might just be that this race's outcome has been predetermined... Or perhaps we're wrong and that's simply some regular business taking place at a very irregular venue.

The commentator is seated in the top level of the stadium and so has a perfect overview of everything that goes on down on the track:
"In the lead, Black-Pead Eye, looking a bit unconcentrated, followed closely by Military Pacifist and Amicable Amelia in third who is quickly gaining ground on the outside. Ladies and gentlemen, watch closely, because we may be in for yet another photo-finish, even though it's early in the afternoon... You can check the finish line shots at the booth downstairs after presenting your betting stubs at the bookmaker's..."

The horse truck which has just arrived is transporting one of the big hopefuls for today's final race - Creased Lightning, a particularly long-standing (hence the name, I guess) crowd favourite. It comes as no surprise that the black horse is transported in the most modern truck available (as of the late 80s). Same as the entire MOC here, we didn't want it to be firmly planted in the past, since we see LEGO as subject to development. And combining the elements of classic town with what modern times have to offer often makes for nice results.

Oh, and for today's history lesson... "A Day at the Races" was released by Queen in 1976 and the above quote is from "Drowse" off that album. This MOC was obviously never released as a set by LEGO, but if it had been, I reckon it would have been one of those later-80s / early-90s sets. Hope you enjoyed it - and if you haven't, just stick around, the most interesting races are yet to start!
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#2 BlueBard

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 11:46 PM

Nice entry, and an original way to use roadplates  :wink: Love the horse truck too  :thumbup: Good luck for the contest!

#3 TheBrickster

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 01:48 AM

Giddie Up Otters!  What a fantastic entry, and very creative.  I would never have thought that someone would create a classic derby scene, and you've done so very nicely.
Sure, it's not exactly exactly a Main Street-type creation with traditional buildings, but that's what makes it unique.  

I give an A+ for creativity. :thumbup:

#4 WhiteFang

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 04:20 AM

First of all, Asya & Bobby, I am very glad that both of you managed to enter this contest with this surprising entry of yours.  :sweet:

Seriously, you surprised me with this title of yours, "A Day at the Races". I was expecting something similar or related to Grand Prix Classic Town racing scene which is very common back in those 1980s and I enjoyed played those small go karts race vehicles back then zooming around my tabletop town when I was a child. However, when I viewed at your entry, I am really happy to see something very orignal that I have not seen before in a Classic Town settings, which is Horse Racing in turf clubs. This entry grasp the essential classic town feel, added with some new touch. The stadium is very nicely designed especially its VIP Lounge combining with the Commentor's booth. At the stand, the audience are able to crowd around cheering for their bets, I mean, their favourite jockey.  :grin:

By the way, I love that horse trailer of yours and somehow the color combination did remind me of the Vestas van though. This is a very nice entry. This Classic Town scene has been featured in Classic-Town.net.

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#5 Bartram

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 04:38 AM

What an original entry! I really love how you used the road plate, but also love the horse truck  :wub:

Bartram


#6 MetroiD

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 04:47 AM

Thanks guys, glad you enjoyed it. A good follow-up to this might be "A Night at the Opera", executed in modern modular style, however I don't think we'll be starting work on that anytime soon :tongue:
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#7 Rick

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 07:06 AM

Really really really creative and nicely executed scene. However, it doesn't breathe that classic-town atmosphere that some of the other entries do, except for the yellowed bricks and plates on the (really nicely done) horse truck :grin:

#8 Svelte

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 09:03 AM

Great idea, lovely execution.

The simple grandstand effect is brilliant!  :thumbup:

#9 MetroiD

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 10:25 AM

View PostRick77, on May 15 2009, 10:06 AM, said:

However, it doesn't breathe that classic-town atmosphere that some of the other entries do, except for the yellowed bricks and plates on the (really nicely done) horse truck :grin:

Depends on what your associations regarding "Classic Town" really are. Given, this one's by far not the most "classic" entry in the contest, but then again it was never intended to be anyway... save for those yellowed bricks :blush: . I did not start playing with LEGO until the late 80s, so building anything referring to a period earlier than that was not an option for me. I'm glad you guys still appreciate it though... :wink:
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#10 Guss

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 06:01 PM

nice and original, that's a really great entry^^ but I think that a "road" baseplate isn't very the good choice^^ but it's true that they're not really others baseplates to do it.. anyway, great job, this is a very cool entry :thumbup:
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#11 Teddy

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 07:15 PM

This is a really original and beautyfully executed entry.  :thumbup:
I can''t remember seeing a horse races MOC like this before.
Wether it is classic or not? I do remember an 80s poster of a car race in Lego City with similar stands.
So I think it has the "Classic" look. But this is my opinion and therefore arbitrary ofcourse.
Kind regards,

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#12 MetroiD

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 08:29 PM

Thanks Teddy:) It's good to know that this one still looks classic enough to fit the bill here :grin:

Guss, you're right - I guess that dirt/turf would be a good choice for the racetrack, however that was not an option considering the contest's rules :tongue:  Besides, once you're over the initial association of "road baseplate = concrete", this one actually does start to resemble a "good to firm" polytrack surface which is standard for horse racing tracks... it's not a perfect match, but that's as close as 80s road baseplates can get to horse racing  :wink:

Edited by TheOtters, 16 May 2009 - 08:29 PM.

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#13 Guss

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 09:09 PM

Quote

"road baseplate = concrete", this one actually does start to resemble a "good to firm" polytrack surface

didn't think about it, it can resemble to this you're right^^ nice !
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#14 Tom Bricks

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 09:11 PM

View PostTheOtters, on May 15 2009, 06:25 AM, said:

I did not start playing with LEGO until the late 80s, so building anything referring to a period earlier than that was not an option for me. I'm glad you guys still appreciate it though... :wink:

I am in a similar situation so I just tried to build my entry from the memories of my childhood which is what I'm sure you have done. This is a good entry and it stands out from all the others because of it's unique design. Good luck in the contest
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#15 Aliencat

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 11:20 AM

Excellent MOC, I like the use of the runway as a road plate for this.
It has an early 90s vibe to it, which I find great because that's where my childhood is at. I was six in 1990, so that was exactly when I was getting all into Lego.

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#16 MetroiD

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 11:29 AM

My thoughts precisely... Back in the early 90s there were some one-off sets such as the monorail or the airplane show or most Paradisa sets which never got "reworked", unlike all the recue HQs, police and fire stations. So I guess I was inspired by those sets when I was building this one. Talking in 1st person singular, since Asya didn't use to play with LEGO until a year or so ago, which puts her in a very "modernistic" position :wink:

P.S.: Sebastian, when is YOUR EBCTC entry coming then!? Most eager to see it mate ;]

Edited by TheOtters, 17 May 2009 - 11:30 AM.

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#17 koffiemoc

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 09:23 PM

A very original idea indeed! And though some details give a post-80ies impression, like the big transparent elements and some rounded slopes, the overall setup of this moc surely fits the classic theme. It makes me want to play that Andy Irvine song again about the noble horse Stewball and the race at the plains of Kildare.

#18 Klaus-Dieter

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 09:26 PM

That's a great entry, TheOtters! :thumbup:

Now you still managed to built and place an entry and even a very good one - congratulation! :classic:

I really  :wub: it!

This is really a very exceptional and brilliant idea! The tribune looks great, the lounge does, too, the horse transporter and the races, too.
Only one suggestion: I'd have added some seats to the tribune since now it looks a bit empty.
Otherwise it's perfect.
The most I like the lounge with the big blue window pieces and the horse transporter.

Very well done! :thumbup:


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Edited by Klaus-Dieter, 19 May 2009 - 09:26 PM.


#19 MetroiD

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 03:27 PM

Thanks for the comments guys!

Very much appreciated coming from you, koffiemoc, especially seeing as yours is one of my favourite entries in this contest! Best of luck mate :)

I also appreciate the constructive criticism, Klaus-Dieter, thanks very much for that :) I actually did try putting seats on the stands, but it didn't quite look the way I wanted it to. First of all, I didn't want the main stand to be all TOO colourful - after all, that's a horce racing stadium, and not Nou Kamp :tongue: Besides, terraces are common at such venues and seating is not a definite necessity since people tend to move around a lot - mainly for quick trips to the bookie, to check the schedule and back... but still ;) So I opted for the terrace-style stand without seating and decided to include the lounge area upstairs alongside the announcer's booth - in resemblance to the layout of the afore-mentioned Dundalk Racing Stadium.
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