mccoyed

Stowaways - The Lion's Eye Chapter 2 - Varlyrio GC2A

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Previously...

Illyrian Docks, Varlyrio

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The docks of Illyrian are a busy place with barges, canal boats, and small watercraft coming and going constantly and at all hours. Larger ships dock further out in the bay, ferrying passengers to the city. Sometimes a passenger who wants to avoid attention might head to the busiest parts of the port quarter, where all the hustle and bustle can keep them from being noticed.

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Even in the rougher areas, the streets are paved with cobblestone and guards make an appearance even if they aren't planning on looking at anything too carefully. Recently statues of Baiamontes (which were erected in Varlyrio's darker recent history) have been replaced with other public artwork, including statues of Sana Argenta of the Sword and Cup. Sometimes statues of her hold a cup as well as a sword, depending on the sculptor*.

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Minotaurs aren't a common sight in the more urbane streets of Illyrian, but common enough on the docks where their great strength is well compensated by those needing laborers or guards.

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Dock workers have a reputation for taking frequent breaks and being quick to avert disaster. It may not look it, but that crane hook weighs a lot!

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Being Illyrian, even the most rundown waterfront buildings have balconies that soar over the busy streets.

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It is common for shipping offices to be fronts for smuggling operations, piracy, and worse. Many of the oldest and poorest families in Eastern Varlyrio own buildings up and down the waterfront, either using them for their own schemes and "business" ventures...

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...or renting them out to locals, especially rich ones, looking to take in the local color.

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The warehouse is even busier than the streets, with cargo coming in and going out in a never-ending tide.

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Goods come in from everywhere in Historica, and even some places beyond...

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...and to be honest, a lot of it is moved without a record (if you know what I mean).

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Including people like Lady Tisha of Delmitra and her bodyguard, Arrea of Bandari. Fel D'Gatto has been arguing with them for days since discovering them renting out a modest berth on her ship home...

29275249817_31430ae372_t.jpg "C'mon Fel, it'll be fun!"

42090393570_686b5c709c_t.jpg "Don't you have anything to say about this, Arrea?"

28959531827_afe7858522_t.jpg "Not really, no."

29275249817_31430ae372_t.jpg "I said I would help you and that's what we're here to do!"

42090393570_686b5c709c_t.jpg "But you're a child. I don't know if I can be responsible for a child in Illyrian. I can barely wrap my head around it."

29275249817_31430ae372_t.jpg "What are you talking about, Fel? There's a kid over there playing with a butterfly."

42090393570_686b5c709c_t.jpg "No there is not."

28959531827_afe7858522_t.jpg "...there is, actually."

42090393570_686b5c709c_t.jpg "Sigh..."

29275249817_31430ae372_t.jpg "Don't worry about it. Arrea can protect me!"

42090393570_686b5c709c_t.jpg "Where we're going, I don't know if that's going to be enough."

29275249817_31430ae372_t.jpg "Hey, you said 'we're'. That means I'm going! Wait, where are we going?"

42090393570_686b5c709c_t.jpg "Lady Tisha, have you ever heard of the 'Sunken City'?"

29275249817_31430ae372_t.jpg "Let me think... Sunken City... not the 'Sinking City', that's in Nocturnus... Help me out here, Arrea."

28959531827_afe7858522_t.jpg "There's a 'Forgotten City' in Mwamba."

42090393570_686b5c709c_t.jpg "There's a 'Forgotten City' every dang place."

29275249817_31430ae372_t.jpg "Well it must be here in Varlyrio! Sounds exciting."

42090393570_686b5c709c_t.jpg "That's one way to put it."

29275249817_31430ae372_t.jpg "Oooooh is it scary?"

42090393570_686b5c709c_t.jpg "..."

29275249817_31430ae372_t.jpg "..."

28959531827_afe7858522_t.jpg "..."

29275249817_31430ae372_t.jpg "Hee. I bet it's so scary."

42090393570_686b5c709c_t.jpg "This is already going well."

 

Builder's Notes and Bonus Pics:

Spoiler

Notes First:

-*I had a cup in the statue's hand and didn't notice it had fallen off until after I took the photos and shopped them. Oh well, I'll make sure she's holding a cup next time! I'll be introducing more of the Sana Argenta lore in a future build.
-I don't know if it's apparent in these photos but I tried a lot of techniques in this build that stretched my comfort zone. The leftside "modular style" building especially. I hope to continue trying more advanced Lego techniques in future builds.
-I also borrowed some techniques from others, naturally. Thank you if you see something you invented in here!
-Did I remember it right that the Black Hand used to run Varlyrio?
-I tried a couple of photos in 1024x768... can't remember if that sizing is okay?
-I am still terrible at Lego photography so any tips for tall builds could be useful as I'm not 100% happy with how the "overview" photo turned out. I would also, next time, not have anything sticking out the open part of the left-side building for a shot like that. Kind of breaks the illusion that you're looking at a street and ruins a little of the fun of seeing the interiors after the facade.
-This build was heavily inspired by concept art from The Witcher 3, particularly this shot: 320?cb=20160922171102

Bonus Pics Second:

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43305859425_2cd5dbf3ba_c.jpg

 

Edited by mccoyed

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Wow McC, that is what Varlyrio is about. So much going on, so neat and rough at the same time. 

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Great little slice of Varlyrio!  Really good use of those tan garage panel pieces, and the tall overhanging wood structure is a great concept for Varlyrian dockyards!

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Loving that overhanging wooden section with the crane, mate!  Very nice job with this - as others have mentioned, the height is great (re: photography though, I do find that there's not really much of an easy way to take pics of a tall build!  It always is pretty complicated), and I'm liking all the interiors you managed to fit in there too :classic:  

If I've got a critique, it'd be that the scene just seems a little busy to me - particularly maybe a few too many colors and textures on the building on the left?  The one on the right is pretty cohesive and nice all around, but with all the action texture-wise on the left the eye is kind of confused at first glance and doesn't know where to look, if that makes sense.

Before I forget, that water is great as well! :thumbup:

10 hours ago, mccoyed said:

-Did I remember it right that the Black Hand used to run Varlyrio?

Something like that.  The official Varlyrian story right now is that Lord Basil was one of the Baiamonte's and that they were in cahoots with the Black Hand during his reign (possibly that of one or two of his predecessors too).  Or if the timeline bothers you with that interpretation, you can take Lord Basil Baiamonte as not having been the Rego at the time (the Baiamonte's reign wasn't exactly recent enough), but simply having been a powerful second rank lord who supported the Spire.  I doubt it will be all written out and set in stone by us unless we decide to do something with it in the future, so it's basically up for interpretation as to when he was around/how much of the guild was really supportive of the Black Hand at that time.

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This is great! It reminds me of the Ninjago City set, except for Guilds of Historica, with stuff happening all around, lots of different levels, finished interiors, and even a waterfront. I think that the busyness here is actually a strength, since it conveys very nicely the hustle and bustle of a lively port, one in which a person (or three) could easily get lost in anonymity and not have to answer difficult questions. I like how clean and tiled everything is, making it look crisp. My favorite detail is the lower terra cotta roof on the right hand building, since it is a small thing that adds a bunch of visual interest and a splash of color. 

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9 hours ago, narbilu said:

Wow McC, that is what Varlyrio is about. So much going on, so neat and rough at the same time. 

Haha thanks, Narbilu. I find that I want to push my skills and it's all for Varlyrio! The V in the Sea!

3 hours ago, TheLordOfBricks said:

Nice work! Good job with the busyness of the scene here, great details all around! Keep it up! :)

Thanks!

3 hours ago, W Navarre said:

This is a wonderful build for Varlyrio, I like the height of the buildings! NPU on the garage door roof as well. 

Thanks! That was really hard to do. One little clip is all that was holding it in place, the "spine" of the roof is mostly for show.

2 hours ago, Kai NRG said:

Great little slice of Varlyrio!  Really good use of those tan garage panel pieces, and the tall overhanging wood structure is a great concept for Varlyrian dockyards!

Thanks! I can't take credit since I borrowed the idea from Witcher 3 which in turn based it on a real building in Poland!

1 hour ago, Garmadon said:

Loving that overhanging wooden section with the crane, mate!  Very nice job with this - as others have mentioned, the height is great (re: photography though, I do find that there's not really much of an easy way to take pics of a tall build!  It always is pretty complicated), and I'm liking all the interiors you managed to fit in there too :classic:  

If I've got a critique, it'd be that the scene just seems a little busy to me - particularly maybe a few too many colors and textures on the building on the left?  The one on the right is pretty cohesive and nice all around, but with all the action texture-wise on the left the eye is kind of confused at first glance and doesn't know where to look, if that makes sense.

Before I forget, that water is great as well! :thumbup:

Something like that.  The official Varlyrian story right now is that Lord Basil was one of the Baiamonte's and that they were in cahoots with the Black Hand during his reign (possibly that of one or two of his predecessors too).  Or if the timeline bothers you with that interpretation, you can take Lord Basil Baiamonte as not having been the Rego at the time (the Baiamonte's reign wasn't exactly recent enough), but simply having been a powerful second rank lord who supported the Spire.  I doubt it will be all written out and set in stone by us unless we decide to do something with it in the future, so it's basically up for interpretation as to when he was around/how much of the guild was really supportive of the Black Hand at that time.

Thanks Garmadon! I do tend to stuff my builds with 'figs and I actually kind of agree about the building on the left. I lack the pastel bricks others have been using for Varlyrio and the building was originally intended to not be as tall. I got caught up trying to replicate techniques I was discovering on Flickr and Pinterest and just kept adding to it. I think it might be too gray and looks kind of fortified, which tells a little story I guess but as proud as I am of trying new things with it, I think I agree that there's too much happening. This build is, overall, too "narrow" and tall for that much texture.

Thanks for the info about the Varlyrian history. My notion so far has been that Varlyrio was kind of suppressed/oppressed by the Baiamontes/Black Hand/Spire then was rebuilding itself while the other Guilds were fighting civil wars. Now with Ylspeth, it's the most "rebuilt" Guild but only newly open to Historica. The strict timeline of all this hasn't really been established, eh? Well, I'll keep writing it my way until I hit the lore wall. :P

1 hour ago, Henjin_Quilones said:

This is great! It reminds me of the Ninjago City set, except for Guilds of Historica, with stuff happening all around, lots of different levels, finished interiors, and even a waterfront. I think that the busyness here is actually a strength, since it conveys very nicely the hustle and bustle of a lively port, one in which a person (or three) could easily get lost in anonymity and not have to answer difficult questions. I like how clean and tiled everything is, making it look crisp. My favorite detail is the lower terra cotta roof on the right hand building, since it is a small thing that adds a bunch of visual interest and a splash of color. 

Thanks Henj! I was definitely trying to convey that feel while also keeping Fel, Tisha, and Arrea front and center. I noticed I lack a good shot of Tisha and Arrea from their front, but oh well.

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Looking at it in photos, I definitely have the same feeling. I'd be interested in critique of specific places where this crops up especially. Garmadon mentioned the textures on the left building, but are there other things that contribute? The placement of the statue? The angle of the shots?

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5 minutes ago, mccoyed said:

Looking at it in photos, I definitely have the same feeling. I'd be interested in critique of specific places where this crops up especially. Garmadon mentioned the textures on the left building, but are there other things that contribute? The placement of the statue? The angle of the shots?

The statue's base seems too big for the location it is in, for one, and the fact that the left building's interior is partially visible in the overview shot makes it seem half-finished (since everything else visible is exterior). Interiors on buildings primarily intended to be seen from the exterior also always seem cramped, since there is such a limited footprint (again, especially on the left building). Also, shots that include both inside and outside (especially like the one down the street towards the dock, from the back of the build) are visually confusing - not that I can't figure it out, but it takes a viewer like me a moment to establish what parts are being separated from the other parts by walls, or more simply put, what is inside and what is out. Cropping the picture to include only inside, or only outside, can help make it seem more distinct. 

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24 minutes ago, mccoyed said:

Thanks Garmadon! I do tend to stuff my builds with 'figs and I actually kind of agree about the building on the left. I lack the pastel bricks others have been using for Varlyrio and the building was originally intended to not be as tall. I got caught up trying to replicate techniques I was discovering on Flickr and Pinterest and just kept adding to it. I think it might be too gray and looks kind of fortified, which tells a little story I guess but as proud as I am of trying new things with it, I think I agree that there's too much happening. This build is, overall, too "narrow" and tall for that much texture.

Yep, it was the textures I was talking about, the minifig activity is great - you'd definitely expect to find it pretty crowded at a Varlyrian dock!  When trying out a bunch of new things it is pretty rare that they all work as well as you'd like, but taking the risk is certainly the way to improve.  Keep it up!

25 minutes ago, mccoyed said:

Thanks for the info about the Varlyrian history. My notion so far has been that Varlyrio was kind of suppressed/oppressed by the Baiamontes/Black Hand/Spire then was rebuilding itself while the other Guilds were fighting civil wars. Now with Ylspeth, it's the most "rebuilt" Guild but only newly open to Historica. The strict timeline of all this hasn't really been established, eh? Well, I'll keep writing it my way until I hit the lore wall. :P

:thumbup: :laugh:  Sounds good!  You've pretty much got it - let's just say that Varlyrian historiographers at the moment are not the most... well-informed? :grin:  Even fairly recent history hasn't been written well enough to pinpoint things down to a strict timeline.

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This is an AWESOME MOC!  It feels lived-in but crisp.  The altitude of the buildings is great, and you know I appreciate the lack of laziness with the 1x1 water. :thumbup: :thumbup:

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Nice MOC.  I like the docks.  The cut away buildings are neat so you can see the interiors and for playability.  The buildings themselves have nice texture.  The wooden part is well done and works well with the colors of the building.  You also have quite the eclectic group of characters.   

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Awesome!  I like the whole thing!  Textures, colors, story... all great!  I like the Varlyrian feel.  The only part I'm not totally convinced of is the round trans studs in the sea, but it does passably well to my eye, and I realize the tiled pieces can be difficult to source sometimes.  Great job!

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Beautiful concept art, which you rendered amazing well in LEGO :wub: The whole right building is superb :thumbup:
You portrayed a busy harbor area very well, and I like the diverse characters all going about their daily business. That's a neat table design using bucket handles for legs.
And I was quite surprised to see Lady Tisha coming along for this adventure :laugh:

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On 8/23/2018 at 12:33 PM, Henjin_Quilones said:

The statue's base seems too big for the location it is in, for one, and the fact that the left building's interior is partially visible in the overview shot makes it seem half-finished (since everything else visible is exterior). Interiors on buildings primarily intended to be seen from the exterior also always seem cramped, since there is such a limited footprint (again, especially on the left building). Also, shots that include both inside and outside (especially like the one down the street towards the dock, from the back of the build) are visually confusing - not that I can't figure it out, but it takes a viewer like me a moment to establish what parts are being separated from the other parts by walls, or more simply put, what is inside and what is out. Cropping the picture to include only inside, or only outside, can help make it seem more distinct. 

Yes. Good points all around!

On 8/23/2018 at 12:36 PM, Garmadon said:

Yep, it was the textures I was talking about, the minifig activity is great - you'd definitely expect to find it pretty crowded at a Varlyrian dock!  When trying out a bunch of new things it is pretty rare that they all work as well as you'd like, but taking the risk is certainly the way to improve.  Keep it up!

:thumbup: :laugh:  Sounds good!  You've pretty much got it - let's just say that Varlyrian historiographers at the moment are not the most... well-informed? :grin:  Even fairly recent history hasn't been written well enough to pinpoint things down to a strict timeline.

Thanks Garmadon!

On 8/23/2018 at 6:49 PM, mrcp6d said:

This is an AWESOME MOC!  It feels lived-in but crisp.  The altitude of the buildings is great, and you know I appreciate the lack of laziness with the 1x1 water. :thumbup: :thumbup:

Thanks mrcp! That's my trademark water. :P

On 8/23/2018 at 8:58 PM, zoth33 said:

Nice MOC.  I like the docks.  The cut away buildings are neat so you can see the interiors and for playability.  The buildings themselves have nice texture.  The wooden part is well done and works well with the colors of the building.  You also have quite the eclectic group of characters.   

Thanks zoth! 'Figging' is one of my favorite things.

On 8/23/2018 at 10:19 PM, Grover said:

Awesome!  I like the whole thing!  Textures, colors, story... all great!  I like the Varlyrian feel.  The only part I'm not totally convinced of is the round trans studs in the sea, but it does passably well to my eye, and I realize the tiled pieces can be difficult to source sometimes.  Great job!

Thanks Grover! I experimented with a bunch of water types over the years and have been using this style pretty consistently for a couple of years. I like it better than some of the other popular approaches, especially the ones that require Lego I don't have! I do have a lot of 1x2 trans light blue tiles, though, and may try to do water with them someday. To me, though, they often seem too smooth and uniform to make the illusion of moving, dynamic water.

On 8/24/2018 at 7:03 AM, soccerkid6 said:

Beautiful concept art, which you rendered amazing well in LEGO :wub: The whole right building is superb :thumbup:
You portrayed a busy harbor area very well, and I like the diverse characters all going about their daily business. That's a neat table design using bucket handles for legs.
And I was quite surprised to see Lady Tisha coming along for this adventure :laugh:

Thanks SK! Can't totally take credit for that table. There's a lot of people, you and LJ included, who design fig-scale Lego furniture out there and all credit to them for most of what I make!

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A very very very nice build for sure! The busy feeling and lots of small details, typically Varlyrian indeed!

I really like that you've included interiors (though as others have said: its a bit confusing when both interior and exterior are shown on one picture). I also feel like adding two or four studs to the right side of the build wouldn't hurt, so the tall building can expand a bit and isn't so... needle-y anymore? (I hope you get what I mean there)

Aside from these two little things, you've used some excellent techniques, especially on the roofs :thumbup: 

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Nice bustling city build!  There's a lot to see here, and fortunately there's a nice continuation of the story!  I like the use of the netting on the boat.  I also like the stonework on the tan building, and the design on the other building looks great with the rotated tiles and sand green walls.  The garage-style roof up top is a nice touch.  I think you did justice to the inspirational image you based it on.

Great job!

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On 8/27/2018 at 1:21 AM, TitusV said:

A very very very nice build for sure! The busy feeling and lots of small details, typically Varlyrian indeed!

I really like that you've included interiors (though as others have said: its a bit confusing when both interior and exterior are shown on one picture). I also feel like adding two or four studs to the right side of the build wouldn't hurt, so the tall building can expand a bit and isn't so... needle-y anymore? (I hope you get what I mean there)

Aside from these two little things, you've used some excellent techniques, especially on the roofs :thumbup: 

Thanks for the feedback!

15 hours ago, x105Black said:

Nice bustling city build!  There's a lot to see here, and fortunately there's a nice continuation of the story!  I like the use of the netting on the boat.  I also like the stonework on the tan building, and the design on the other building looks great with the rotated tiles and sand green walls.  The garage-style roof up top is a nice touch.  I think you did justice to the inspirational image you based it on.

Great job!

Thanks!

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Wow! Love the height of this moc´s rather small footprint! The details and the interiors make this moc my favourite among your mocs!!:wub:

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