[Retro MOC] The Wharf
Posted 04 September 2012 - 07:24 AM
I'd been looking around for another set to castlify after my Market By The Wall attempt and whilst hunting around on eBay for bits one set in particular caught my eye. I'd always been intending to extend my range of sets towards some form of medieval harbour and this one looked particularly ripe for adaption, therefore the inspiration for the wharf should be fairly clear. As ever there are no prizes, but feel free to post if you think you know from whence it came.
Sketches were drawn up on paper based on the source set. Key point's that I wanted to include were that it would be a continuation of the wall but that it's inheritance be fairly obvious. Since it's based around the same raised baseplate as 6081 King's Mountain Fortress that set would prove handy in terms of inspiration and construction technique. The final piece that I knew I wanted to include was a drawbridge down to the jetties, with the path over the drawbridge passing through a defensive tower.
Design proved fairly easy except for two little items that really took a bit of playing around with to get right; the tower at the top of the slope and the position of the building on the jetties.
The tower at the top of the slope was just plain awkward, there's not a lot of space there, the stud connections are limited and it has to have an opening on two adjacent sides. I eventually ended up using a modified version o f the lower level of the tower from 6081 King's Mountain Fortress. From a design perspective it is one of the weaker parts of the structure but it serves it's purpose.
A building with a small store in the roof was moved to the near side of the set to allow a tall tower to be place on the far right corner of the baseplate. This tower would be my drawbrige down to the jetties. The drawbridge was the cause of the next problem, with the drawbridge in place where to position the building on the jetties. Placed centrally it was too close to the existing tower so I moved it out to the corner of the baseboard which necessitated a rejig of the supporting arches and a widening of the jetty.
The end of the jetty needed a feature. Cranes are an obvious addition to any wharf, however a medieval crane would be human powered. Trying to build a minifig sized circular structure out of period 80's pieces isn't as easy at is sounds. The key piece was a Technic, Plate Rotor 3 Blade with Toothed Ends and 3 Studs (Propeller), this was enough to support a hexagon made from plates and old style finger hinges. Ideally I would have liked to get the studs inwards so that a minifig could be clipped in but I just couldn't get the plates and dimensions to work.
The boat is a modification of 6057 Sea Serpent. Extended for cargo carry and with lower fore and stern-castles. I also removed the shields from the sides in order to keep the width under 8 studs, important because the stretch of water beneath the drawbridge is only 10 studs wide.
On a set this big 9 minifigs don't go far. The boat crew took 3. Guards on the towers another 3. Dockhands the final 3. Plenty of barrels and chests populate the wharf as cargo.
LDD files can be found on MOCPages.
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: It's just part of the wider medieval life.
Playability: Lots of things to do, loading and unloading cargo. Raising the drawbridge to let the boat pass beneath. Hiding crates in the dungeon. Maybe even a little bit of light taxation. What there isn't is any direct conflict, there's no opposing side to start a fight.
Build-ability: It's an easy build. My problems stemmed from the availability of bricks in the colours I wanted. The castle colour palette of grey, black and another colour for hightlights is limiting. I'd initially designed the foundations of the tall tower in Dark Grey but the Slope, Inverted 75 2 x 1 x 3 isn't widely available in Dark Grey. Therefore I had to revert black which isn't as aesthetically pleasing. Light grey might have been more appropriate but then there's a danger of everything being light gray. I also struggled with the colour of the raised baseplate. I could use Baseplate, Raised 32 x 32 with Ramp and Pit, Water, Gray Stones Pattern or Baseplate, Raised 32 x 32 with Ramp and Pit, Rocks Black/Gray Pattern. Both are shown below
My opinion was that the green works better when the wharf is connected into the castle wall, shown below. It makes the join to the water a bit messy, if this were a real lego set then I'd get a fresh screen-print with water on just one side.
Cost: The brick count is on a par with the inspiration set. What that retailed for back in the 80's I don't know. At 650 bricks the nearest modern equivalent would be 7189 Mill Village Raid giving it a modern price of about £66.
Consistency: It fits into the wall well. My photostage can't cope with anything more than the shots already shown. From a wider perspective the raised baseplate gives a bit of height and variantion which stops the wall becoming a line of grey. More industry outside the wall is always welcome.
I'm quite pleased with this one, particularly the boat and the crane. Whilst it might appear to be a "rebuilt in grey", there's actually a lot more thought that's gone into it and the positioning of buildings and such-like.
Posted 04 September 2012 - 08:48 AM
I recognized it instantly, such a classic set
I like this addition to the series and i like how you are doing them as if they could have been classic sets
keep it up!
Posted 04 September 2012 - 09:12 AM
I agree that the green raised baseplate looks better than the grey one, but I think it would look more natural if you used green plates instead of blue ones to connect it to the blue baseplate. Dry ground after all should be higher than water by definition.
Supporting in Cuusoo: trebuchet, big trees, medieval theatre wagon, blacksmith's house...
Posted 04 September 2012 - 12:22 PM
Good work on the crane too
Here is my website:brickbuilt.tk
My flickr: link
John 14:6, Jesus answered, "I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
Posted 04 September 2012 - 01:47 PM
Posted 05 September 2012 - 06:51 AM
You might be right on the price, it's an educated guess at best. Direct comparissons are tricky because Lego's building style has evolved continually through the castle range, there's the classic style with 4444 panels moving in to the Kingdoms era with larger panels again, then the dramatic change from Knights Kingdom II to the Fantasy Era when Lego clearly move away from large panel construction toward models built from lots of smaller pieces.
The Imperial Trading Post inspiration came with 9 figs, admittedly minifigs were likely to have been cheaper in the 80's as the printing demands/expectations were significantly less, a front torso print as opposed to front,back,legs,head,etc...
Thanks for all the comments, Real-WorkTM has drastically reduced my building time but I've got at least one more model in ABS to show and two or three more in LDD waiting to be built up. One day I'll also get a shot of the entire town in built up form.
Posted 05 September 2012 - 07:19 AM
Betty in The Pearl Mafia.
My Academy-approved reviews: 9469 Gandalf Arrives, 8236 Bike Burner, 30027 Reindeer, 8737 Toa Hordika (Bionicle),8514 Power
Posted 05 September 2012 - 11:54 AM
I'd love to own the series personally.
Edited by Duce, 05 September 2012 - 11:55 AM.
Posted 05 September 2012 - 05:59 PM
Whilst I can't send you a lovely box of bricks and glossy instructions, the LDD files are on MOCPages, or here for the Wharf. If you've got the bricks going spare feel free to build a version and if you incorporate it into a wider setup I'd love see pictures.
Posted 13 January 2013 - 01:54 PM
After having looked at this great creation so many times, I finally decided to go ahead with my own version - and ordered no less than 3 variations of this baseplate on Bricklink. Can't wait for them to arrive.
I think I'll be inspired by your choice to put the ramp facing away from the water, as I always found it a bit strange that it faced right into the pier. Your idea to make it modular is something I will look into, great addition!
Keep on the good work, it's a source of awe and inspiration!
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