greg3

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  1. greg3

    Ballabreek 2020

    This weekend has seen the townsfolk head out into the countryside for the annual Swivenhodge match. The origins of this sport are long forgotten but each year the citizens take each other on in teams of 4 to see who can use a floor brush to hit a ball over a hedge the best! Usually, the event is held in May to mark the arrival of summer but this year's Covid lockdown has seen it postponed to today. Of course the news team are there to report on all the action... Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr The rules are pretty simple... each team take turns to hit the ball over the hedge (the ball can only be hit with the brush end of the broom). If they miss the ball or hit it into the hedge or out of bounds their opponents get a point. First team to 21 points wins. Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Many of the townspeople get involved - either playing or supporting. Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Refreshments are available Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Unfortunately, as with most of the fun things in life, injuries are common (most usually caused by a teammate's mistimed swing!). Luckily first aid is always on hand... Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr In keeping with my Harry Potter theme at the moment, this build was inspired by the Wizarding game of Swivenhodge (featured in the book Quidditch through the ages). The true origins of this "muggle version" have long been forgotten here but at Hogwarts it is still played properly as you can see in this topic which allowed me to make use of the recent Quidditch set. The scene is also loosely inspired by Cammag (a game played here on the Isle of Man every year on Boxing Day) It's a bit like hockey but with no limit to players on each team (usually North v South) and played with any sort of hitting implement you can find! (I've never played it but maybe one year!!) Anyway, thanks for looking....
  2. From the book "Quidditch Through the Ages" (Chapter 2 - Ancient Broom Games) "Swivenhodge is played with an inflated pig's bladder, with players sitting backwards on brooms and using the brush end to knock the bladder back and forth across a hedge. A point is awarded every time an opponent misses and the first to 50 points wins. The game originated in Herefordshire and, while never achieving widespread popularity, is still played in England." Reading this gave me an idea of how to use my official Quidditch set (I didn't want to buy another set to make a full Quidditch scene... nor would i have the room!). I imagined that a group of students have formed a Swivenhodge club at Hogwarts and have created a court for practise and matches (after a few "incidents", using ordinary hedges out in the countryside has been banned for drawing unwanted muggle attention!) Here we see a couple of players testing each other's skills - overseen by Madame Hooch (who thinks the game may help with training the Quidditch teams!) Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr The "hedge" is constructed using wooden posts filled in with vegetation Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr I'm planning to enlarge the court to cover 2 full baseplates so there will be plenty space for spectators (if the game ever finally increases in popularity - I'll get round to adding a crowd!) Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr This was a fun little build and I think it's a good way to use the Quidditch set - I might look at recreating some other "broom games"!
  3. greg3

    Ballabreek 2020

    Despite its growing minifig population, it's been a while since any new houses were built in the town but this week changes that (and as always, the news crew are there to tell us all about it!). As you can see, the main residential area has undergone some changes. A new modern family home has been constructed and a new road put in (where there had previously been a single parking bay) This road would lead to more houses and parking area for residents (but there's a wall in the way!!). Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr In keeping with my Harry Potter theme, the house is the official 4 Privet Drive set with a few MODs. Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr The main MOD involved narrowing the build so it'd fit in the available space... so unfortunately the stairs had to go (but luckily, like other buildings in the town it has the "Hand of God Vertical Transport System" to allow minifigs to get upstairs) I also had to MOD the fireplace. Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr It also turned out that Ballabreek Social Services didn't consider a cupboard to be a suitable place to keep a child so I converted the space into a kitchen area. Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Upstairs the main bedroom now has extra space which the new owners could use to create a child's nursery, home office or en suite bathroom. Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr And here are the new owners... a young couple with their baby... Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Just unloading the car (I've always thought that being a wizard would make moving house much easier!) Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr It wasn't long before the neighbours pop round to give them a friendly Ballabreek welcome (cake and flowers!) Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Finally a view down the street and an overview of how this area of the town now looks... Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr I'm quite pleased with how well the house fits in (I'd had this idea as soon as I saw the Privet Drive set!) I'm not sure how easily any other Harry Potter sets will fit in though!! Anyway thanks for looking... comments welcome as always.
  4. greg3

    Ballabreek 2020

    The news crew "filmed" this update last weekend as the citizens of Ballabreek made good use of the last weekend of the summer holidays. The town's small seaside area has proved especially popular this year (with foreign holidays out of the question due to Covid many people are opting to support local businesses by having a "staycation" instead)... Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr The open-air swimming pool is busy (despite the "chilly" water!! Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Ice cream and entertainment has been provided to amuse the kids... Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Those wanting to make their "staycation" bit more of an adventure head off into the countryside for a spot of camping... Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr One business hoping to benefit from the people wanting to enjoy the fresh air is the "Wizard's House" - a basic hostel/B&B providing accommodation to those who want more than a tent!! The news team are going to show us around... Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr The building was originally a Toll Gate on the main road in and out of Ballabtreek during the early 1700s but when the toll road fell out of use it became the local jail (it's said that for a while, hangings were carried out from the nearby tree!) Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Inside the tower (which was the toll collector's and later the jailer's accommodation) are dormitory type rooms and a kitchen where guests can relax and prepare for a day of exercise and fresh air! Eventually the owner plans to add another dormitory in the roof space. Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Comfy beds... Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Delicious food Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr And if after a long day hiking/biking, you fancy a nice hot shower, then the old strongroom (originally used to store goods/money collected as the toll and then used as the jail) is now a modern shower/toilet block. (unfortunately it doesn't yet have a proper interior) Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr The business has helped to revitalise the old camping area as guests can also hire mountain bikes, rafts and kayaks to explore the countryside. Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr So why is it called "The Wizard's House"? Most people assume it's because of the pointed roofs but according to local legend, the real reason is far more sinister! During the Victorian times, the building became the country retreat of a local man, Thomas Riddle, who was rumoured to have used it for occult magical experiments. After becoming linked to a number of grisly murders and disappearances (known as the "Death Eater Murders", Riddle mysteriously disappeared before he could be arrested and the house was found abandoned. Many people assume he simply fled overseas but others claim that he hid the secrets of his powers somewhere in the building just waiting to be found.... but of course that's nonsense.... ...or is it? Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr So after "Underwater Explorers" month, this month I'm planning to focus on the Harry Potter sets and getting some of them into Ballabreek. This is actually an old build which was originally just an abandoned building and campground. I thought re-inventing it as holiday acommodation made sense (the idea of staycations has become big here recently!) Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Anyway thanks for looking - comments welcome as always.
  5. Hi I recently bought the new Creator 3-in-1 Pirate Ship (31109) and found it a really enjoyable build and a nice looking model but the sails bugged me. I don't mind them being brick built but the foresail and rearmost sail just didn't look right so I had a go at creating a furled look (it's very basic but I didn't want to have to change the masts/yards.) Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr The foresail is my favourite bit... I used the spare bit of rigging to try and make it look a bit more realistic. Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr The rearmost sail (mizzen sail?) was the one that bugged me the most as the original triangle shape just didn't seem to look right/make sense (not that I'm any sort of sail/rigging expert!) so I've reimagined it as a gaff-rigged sail. Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Side view Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Overall I'm pretty pleased with the result - the ship is now in my Lego town harbour as a tourist attraction/floating museum! (it has a made up history and back story but I'll leave that for another day!) Thanks for looking - comments are very welcome!
  6. greg3

    Brickchester 2020

    Nice update... I need to get round to finding space for a skate ramp in my town!! Looking forward to seeing what you do next!
  7. greg3

    Ballabreek 2020

    Avast, me hearties!! This week's update has a distinctly piratey theme as the town is visited by The Teeval, a modern reconstruction of an 18th Century pirate ship of the same name which sank off the coast of Ballabreek. The wreck was discovered several years ago and has been excavated and mapped in detail in order to create a sea-going replica to help learn more about life at sea in the age of piracy. Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr As well as the ship itself, the archaeologists, divers and scientists involved in the project have brought some of the artefacts recovered from the wreck and the technology used to gather the details needed to recreate the past... Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr The news crew interview the lead scientist... Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr The ship itself is opened up to the public... Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Crew members in period dress explain what life would have been life on board... Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr The ship is named after a character from a local myth... Teeval, the princess of the ocean, was a mermaid who was sleeping on a beach when she was spotted by a warrior who captured her hoping she would marry him. When she pleaded to be set free he couldn't bear to see her so sad and set her free. In return she promised to use her magic to protect him in battle as long as he painted her image on his shield. I thought it seemed an appropriate name for a ship (and matches the figurehead nicely!!) Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr My original idea had been to create an underwater scene using the parts of the Creator Pirate Ship and show the divers excavating it but once I'd built the whole ship I thought it looked too good to "wreck". I did MOD the sails to create a hopefully more realistic "furled" effect. This is the last Underwater Explorer themed update for a while... next week the focus will be on another theme (I just need to decide which!) Anyway, thanks for looking.... comments are always welcome!!
  8. greg3

    Ballabreek 2020

    Continuing with the Underwater Exploration theme, this week the news crew have hired a local boat owner to take them to their latest reporting location... Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr ...several miles offshore. Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr The Explorer-6 is a Dive Support Vessel currently working on a project to develop the future of underwater research. Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Once aboard, the reporter interviews the ship's captain to learn more... Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr He explains that several hundred feet below them, on the seabed, a new underwater research base is being constructed. The first stage (which will provide power using the heat from a hydrothermal vent to spin a turbine) is already in place... Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Today they begin work to add the living/working modules to the structure and the reporters get to film the first of these modules being lowered by the ship's crane... Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Once on the seabed, the modules will be picked up by a submarine and carefully manoeuvred into position... Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Once completed, the base will look something like this and be used for a wide range of scientific activities... Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr So, this week I've been playing around with adapting my "underwater scene" to fit the new Underwater Research Base and I have to say, I really enjoyed putting together a little story of how the base was built. I had hoped to have the new ship to use as well this week but my car needed repairs and I had to spend my "LEGO Money" on getting it fixed!! Still it was good to dig out the old ship and I think it does the job!! As ever, thanks for looking... comments are always welcome!!
  9. Good question... hopefully it'll be a nice straight section and not have any weird angles in it!! (I'm not that familiar with the different parts of Hogwarts fan so I'm not sure which bits we're missing.... a bathroom section for the troll maybe?)
  10. Hi Been having play around with my current official Hogwarts sets to try and create a more enclosed structure. Decided not to worry about movie accuracy or MOD/MOC any parts but to try and use as many official builds as possible. Here's the result... (apologies for the poor photos) Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr A quick tour... The Clock Tower is the main student entrance (I imagine it to be at the end of a long winding footpath). Beside it is the hall and main tower. Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr "Lakeside" boat dock, and vehicle entrance arch (for delivery wagons, carriages etc) Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Formal entrance - Important guests from other schools, The Ministry etc are received here... Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr The Astronomy Tower and green house bring us back to where we started. Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Overall I think it looks pretty good - it doesn't take up too much room, and the interiors can all be accessed. The only sections I didn't use were the moving dancing bit from the clock tower and the Room of Requirement (it wasn't required but can be squeezed inside if needed!!) I might bend my no MODding rule and do something about the open sides/white frames on the astronomy tower and maybe move the small turret above "vehicle entrance" to the other side of the arch to mako it look more balanced. Thanks for looking - comments are always welcome!!
  11. greg3

    Ballabreek 2020

    Thanks for the comment (glad you're enjoying the updates!! ) Following on from last week, the news team have been finding out more about what you can expect from a trip with "Yellow Submarine Tours"... The sub is boarded from the harbour side via a gangplank... Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr The entrance hatch is a bit of a tight squeeze! Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr But once inside there's plenty of room for the pilot, reporter, cameraman (and all his video equipment) Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr The tour itself heads out to an old shipwreck (the remains cargo ship that sank in a storm several years ago - the crew were all rescued by the local coastguard and the wreck is now home to a variety of sea creatures!!) Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr View from inside the sub... Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr The reporter's verdict? The trip is well worth it and should prove popular with the locals!! So for this week's update, I've been experimenting with creating an underwater scene (based around the shipwreck from an older Underwater Explorers set (60095). I wanted to see if I could create a decent looking scene in a small space on a nearby shelf. I think it's ended up looking pretty good and will probably enlarge it at some point (got a few more ideas that involve an underwater setting!!) Here's a pic of the scene without the sub... Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr And the whole set up... Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr As always, thanks for looking....
  12. I recently picked up the new Ocean Exploration Submarine set but didn't like the open back. A bit of MODding has made it more enclosed with a rear observation window. It's going to be used as a tourist submarine in my town (taking visitors on "underwater safaris". (I also swapped the manipulator arms for more spotlights and added some green/red navigation lights too.) Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Rear view Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Interior Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Thanks for looking!
  13. greg3

    Ballabreek 2020

    The town covers about 23 baseplates and is L-shaped (to fit on the desk in the office/study that is my "Lego room"). Here's a pic of the whole layout from last year. Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr For this update, we find out about a new business due to start operating next week... "Yellow Submarine Tours". Hoping to take advantage of the public's interest in the sea life around the coast, the converted research sub (made by Hammerhead Industries) will take paying passengers on an underwater safari starting from Ballabreek harbour. Before being launched, the sub is put on public display... Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr So who's the genius behind the venture you might ask? Well, those who've been following Ballabreek for the last few years might remember his previous local ventures... the Penguin-themed Ice Rink and the Duck Boats... Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Well he's back.... Local businessman Oswald Cobblepot! (here being interview by the news crew) Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Knowing the importance of publicity in getting a new business of the ground, he's even hired Ballabreek's leading tribute band, The Balla-Beatles, to perform for the locals... Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr His plan seems to have worked as most of the Submarine Tours are now fully booked... business is looking good! Unlike other updates, this isn't based on any real-life local event. When the Ideas Yellow Submarine first came out, I had the idea of converting it into a tourist boat for Ballabreek but never got round to it. After buying the new Research Submarine set, I didn't like the open back so modified it. I added a rear observation dome and thought it'd be perfect for "underwater safari" tours (and a chance to use the Penguin and the Beatles minifigs!) Hopefully in the next update we'll actually get to see the undersea world around Ballabreek!! More pics of the modified submarine here Thanks for looking.
  14. greg3

    [MOC] Billsville (My LEGO Town...)

    Here's a link to the current ongoing topic featuring my town (I start a new topic each year so the old ones will still be around on the site - just search for "Ballabreek"... the town will celebrate it's 10th anniversary in October!) Ballabreek 2020
  15. greg3

    [MOC] Billsville (My LEGO Town...)

    That looks great so far... I've tried to create a "classic town" feel using official sets including the creator "mini modulars" in my town too (especially the older closed back versions from a few years ago) The tribute to Bill and Mary is my favourite part though!! (I still have that ideas book) And Bill and Mary's descendants (Bill and Mary jnr.) happen to live in my town and tend to pop up regularly in my weekly updates... here they are are in the most recent one!! Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr Anyway, thanks for sharing - looking forward to seeing more!!