"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead."
William Shakespeare: King Henry V Act 3, Scene 1
The third set in a series of MOCs in which I'm trying to create MOC's that look as if they could have been part of the Lego castle product lineup from the late 80's.
The design for the model was very much story driven, it was there from the outset rather than something I was trying to retro-fit later in the development phase. The inspiration came from looking at a Panel 2x6x6 Log Wall and thinking that it would be a useful for filling the gap in a castle wall and thus 'Defending The Breach' was born. I wanted something that was deliberately simple; aiming for the 100 bricks mark and the £15 price point. My usual rules would apply, see the Rationale section in my Maidens Tower posting for a longer explanation of what I'm working towards.
I started with a standard 4 panel wide stretch of wall, but removed the middle two panels to make the breach, for structural purposes a light grey 1x12 brick ties the bottom together securing the green plates that make up the base. The log panels sit immediately behind, their location pretty much dictated by the rear tabs on the 4444 panels.
The next task was to fill what was currently a very square gap with some degree of ruined masonry. At this point I knew that I wanted to use two Brick,Arch 1x3s to mimic the shape of windows that should have been there in the 4444 panels. On the right hand side the arch was positioned where it should be, held in place below by a little stack of 1x1 and 1x2 bricks and locked in above by bricks up to the parapet. On the left hand side I wanted the arch as part of the rubble, I also wanted to get some non-linearity into the rubble. The arch was duly attached to a Brick, Modified 1x2 w/Pin which pushes into a Technic, Brick 1x2 w/Hole brick and swings down until the arch touches the base-plate. Addition rubble came from 1x2 bricks and slopes.
The LDD screenshot below shows the underlying structure before the rubble and detailing are added.
The two sections of parapet were built up with plates locking the log panels into the 4444 panels for stability. The log wall was topped with another two rows of log bricks, a small parapet and a ladder up the back.
The final detail that I knew I wanted to add was a selection of 'items' from around the castle that had been propped up again breach to shore it up. As well as a couple of bits of light grey and black rubble and some barrels I elected to use a very simple cart turned on it's side. The hard part with this is how much to add, it would be very easy to just throw extra plates and bricks into this pile but this would be moving away from making it look like and actual set and into detailed vignette territory. I was happy with the cart since it has play use elsewhere, but I decided that only those things clipped to the base-plate would be part of the supporting material.
Minifig selection is again fairly easy, two attackers, two defenders. I chose Black Falcons to defend and Lion Knights to attack, but it could easily be the other way around. Spears seemed to be good defending weapons, so we'll give one defender a spear and attach another the wall. Arrows and another good defence, so the second defender gets a bow and quiver. For the first attacker a standard sword and shield, for the second an axe. A spare sword fills the clip on the rear.
LDD screenshot below show the final product of the design phase, .lxf file is attached to this post.
Story: The story is in there from the start in a fairly blatant fashion. Two men are defending a hastily patched breach in the wall against an attack by another two men.
Playability: No difficult areas to get minifigs into, they're either on the floor attacking on stuck onto the parapet defending. The cart will fall off it you move the set around too much, but this is no worse than minifigs falling off. The cart can also be used standalone.
Build-ability: Fairly easy, nothing too complex. If all the parts were fresh out of a bag, a competent builder easily complete the build within about 10 minutes. Unlike previous builds I hadn't drawn up instructions for this set, but I can't imagine it being more than 15 steps for the wall and 3-4 steps for the cart sub-assembly. Images below show the built set.
Cost: A very sparse 117 pieces including the minifigs and weapons. Within it's historical context it's very close to 6041 Armour Shop at 114 pieces and 6040 Blacksmith Shop at 92 pieces. Additional minifigs and a 4th panel make it slightly larger than the Blacksmith shop, so probably just a pound or two more expensive. The nearest modern set would be 7187 Escape from the Dragon's Prison which has 185 pieces and retailed for £19 ($20), by taking away the siege engine and horse for 7187 you're getting close to what I'd designed and dropping back towards the £15 price point that I was trying to hit.
Consistency: Use of the 30140 Panel 2 x 6 x 6 Log Wall (Palisade) is an anachronism since the part wasn't introduced until the mid-90's, however I believe the overall design still fits with the 80's ambiance. As usual the proof is how it looks when combined with existing sets, the photo's below show it clipped between 6074 Black Falcons Fortress and 6061 Siege Tower.
I'm quite please with this little set. Simple, direct, with 4 minifigs it's appealing to the army builder and it's a storyline driven set.