jan kusters

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About jan kusters

  • Birthday 07/13/1960

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Sittard
  • Interests
    Mostly old style Lego for now, though certainly not a purist. If I have a modern brick that solves my problem, on it goes (much like the old colour blind style of building). But I like lots of studs everywhere, and rather abstract modelling...

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  • Country
    Netherlands

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  1. jan kusters

    How did you come out of your Dark Ages?

    Lego had been by far the most important toy in my youth (sixties, early seventies), but at some point, after several moves, my two wooden boxes and some loose stuff moved in some other direction (little nephew and from there off to other, further horizons). Occasional I would spend some time in front of toy stores, reminiscing, and with the emergence of Internet, I would occasionally read a bit about the flight Lego has taken since my time. About 2 or 3 years ago, I came across Lego Ideas, and the Saturn V proposal. I loved it, but at the same time I thought it would be too limited for the way I had used Lego in the past. And it was too big and to vulnerable for my rather small apartment. Nice to dream about, but not a good idea... And there were a few other ideas I liked as much or even better... I have a more or less standing appointment with a few friends for a 'tinker' evening once a week, and last summer, one of my friends showed up with a big box... Yep, he had bought the mighty Saturn V. Sitting beside him as he was building it, I could not help but grab a few bricks and build some small random stuff myself... You know, just trying... And it was still fun to see what you could get and improve something... I decided to invest in Lego again as well. Not the Saturn V. But age and personal history led to one of those other Lego Ideas I had been keeping an eye on... Yellow Submarine! Just like rockets, submarines were notoriously impossible to build from old school Lego (All rockets looked like towers, and the yellow research submarines from Piccard and Captain Cousteau needed an awful lot of imagination to recognise when build with 2x4 bricks... The set was great. But at the same time, all the limitations I feared from the Saturn V were here too. I do not want to rip this one apart to build something else, it resides on the nautical shelve of my book case, and it will probably stay there. This is display-Lego, not building-Lego. But reading up on online Lego, I came across the trade in old Lego; Bricklink, and -here in the Netherlands- Marktplaats. It turned out to be quite affordable to buy a shitload of random old Lego. It also turned out to be quite easy to find the old bricks I remembered from way back when. I even found the wooden boxes I once had. And perhaps even more importantly: I could find all this information on Lego! Old ideabooks and leaflets (those I had, as a kid, never realising there were actual sets as well), the full history of Lego, even display models I remember seeing as a kid... This forum and the posts of Legohistorian Mr. Istok and a few others on Flickr fueled my love for old fashioned, studs galore, rather abstract Lego again. Old Lego Submarines? Perhaps not the ones I wanted to build as a kid, but I remembered this one from one of those small ideas books. I could never build it back then, due to a lack of the right coloured bricks (i only had yellow macaroni bricks, but no other yellow building bricks, and I hated the usual multicoloured look of Lego projects even as a kid). Now I have more bricks... I'm ba-ack...
  2. jan kusters

    (MOC) Meet Leo the crab!

    A little fun and an accidental build while sorting new second hand bricks and pieces... I prefer my Lego stacked... My proud stash of bricks. I know, it does not look like much, but I have 4 boxes like this (and a little more in a few other Lego containers). Compared to what I had as a kid, four of these boxes is an unbelievable wealth of Lego. I know folks who have complete rooms, attics or basements literary filled with Lego, and compared to them, this of course is rather pitiful. But I am pretty happy about it. And as a bonus, having this limited amount of bricks, I can actually work with these beautiful old wooden Lego boxes. And I have learned that I get most Lego into them by neatly stacking all my bricks. Stacking my bricks also help knowing how much I've got, so any package I get from from Bricklink gets sorted and stacked like this before I put them into boxes. I may not have much, but my stash grows with every order, and I feel pretty rich when I do this! Right now I am working on Lego railroads (https://youtu.be/7lDlfDtJYF8) and I needed a bunch of old school railroad car couplers. No magnets or other modern witchcraft, just the old fashioned hook and hole stuff. Seeing them stacked tickled my Lego! Just add a few bits and bobs, and... HEEeeeeere's LEO!
  3. jan kusters

    Old School Lego Castle (lego designed and MOC)

    Thank you! Back in those days. Lego was more 'construction-toy' than 'play-toy', and after building there was little actual play, just showing it to others and at some point taking it apart again for another project. No play except running or crawling through the room going 'Vrroooaaaaammmm' in case of aircraft or car that is. This was long before anything like mini-figures. If there was any scale to Lego builds back then, it was usually defined by doors and windows, and those were H0 scale, 1:87! A door was 3 bricks high... Perhaps I should try micro-figures, I have never seen them for real, but I think they are too small. In another project (train station) I tried H0 figures like sold by train model companies. They are way to detailed to work well with Lego: So for now I use the brick build figures I was pretty satisfied with as a kid: I know this is rather abstract, but in a weird way it seesm to work... I need to get myself more 1x1 plates for faces and headgear... But all in all I rather like them...
  4. jan kusters

    [MOC] Sergeant Detritus

    Great! And I notice he's wearing his brain power headgear too!
  5. jan kusters

    Old School Lego Castle (lego designed and MOC)

    Sadly, not on the castle front I think, at least not for a long time. I think I should wait until I am done with my leaflet/ideabooks rebuilds/modifications (right now working on some trains and wagons). At some point in the future, when I want to go in one direction, I might start investing in grey and tan bricks though...
  6. My pleasure is building old Lego designs and sets, and perhaps trying to improve them a little with modern insight and bricks. Most of my inspiration comes from old leaflets and store display books I find online or (half)remember from way back when. I have been dabbling in the cars and boats and trains, and a few buildings. But looking online, the castles sets (that are from way past my first Lego age) hold a thriving community of lovers, and inspired some very impressive moc-builders. It started to get to me. But I am an old school builder... (Humming as I plod on: We're knights of the round table, we dance whenever able, we do routines in all the scenes... https://youtu.be/q4tWBILtrSU) Now most people would probably think of this as an old school Lego Castle; the 375 set from 1978. Sadly, by then I was deeply involved in drivers licence, girls and all other kinds of rubbish, generally known to Afols as 'the dark ages'. It has mini figures, horsies, hinges... Nah, to modern for me. . Some of the old timers might even remember this one from 1970 or there about: the Weetabix promotional castle. I must admit, this is much more old school Lego, and had I known of this castle in 1970, I might actually have tried to build it. I mean, multicoloured, studs galore and all; this is old school Lego indeed. But this was from the UK or America, in the Netherlands, I never saw this one. When I grew up, there was only one true Lego castle I had even seen, and only in picture: Now this is what I'm talking about. The oldest Lego Castles were not sold as sets, and they were not to play with. They were about the joy of building. This is, as far as I know, the oldest example. This castle was not available as a set, to buy and build, it was available for retailers, as promotion and display material for their shop window. This one is from a retailers-catalogue from 1959. One sees where the Weetabix castle came from... I like it. It has the simplicity and directness many designs from the fifties had. It kept things small, cheap and available to aspiring castle building kids. I saw castles like this as backgrounds in plays and parades as a kid. While simple, it ticks most boxes for a castle. Yes, this is a castle! Only one complaint about this castle: We have walls. We have towers. We have battlements and we have a gate. We have everything to protect... What? Why is there a castle? What is there to protect? I am missing a main building, a Great Hall, a Keep, a Donjon. Anything... Luckily, the good people of Lego seemed to notice this too, and their 1960 catalogue castle sported a fifth tower and some other improvements... Better, much better. I also like the different heights of the towers, and the fact that the draw bridge now actually crosses something. But sadly the Castle also grew, and while not even that much bigger, it already demands so many more bricks that I can not build this one. Bummer. Side note. I have a lot more Lego bricks now than I ever had as a kid. And yet, even slightly bigger models from these old folders turn out to be far out of reach. It is amazing how much you need, and how fast you run out of certain specific bricks once you start working on something bigger. For larger projects, test building bits and calculating how much of what is needed is always necessary, unless you actually have a room filled with bricks. I must admit, that is a bit of a disappointment. Luckily, ordering specific and well planned numbers of bricks from BrickLink is even within my limited means (and a lot cheaper than buying huge sets). Here we go; Based on 2 10x20 base bricks, build all in white, here's the original design from 1959. I didn't have enough alphabet bricks to follow the original design, but this works rather well. In real life, the towers are a bit thin and high, and like I wrote before, I am missing a central point in the castle. But yes, it has that early Lego feel to it, and I would like to see if I can improve on it... I added a simple rectangular Keep with a small round look out tower in the back. And while crude and no where near finished, already the castle looks a lot better to me. Now it makes some sense (Montey Python still singing and dancing in the background though). But now the height of the corner towers really starts to stand out as a problem as they loom over the Keep. They need to be shorter, the Keep should be bigger and I need to loose those weird windows half way up the corner towers. They are too square to be arrow slits anyway. And a door in the keep would not be on ground level... Fetch the Master Mason, we need work done... Lower the corner towers, heighten the Keep, add a square watch tower to the keep as highest point... Yep, it starts to look like a castle. Despite it small size it looks busy, complicated, alive. Two things I am not completely happy with; the battlements along the walls, on the towers and on the roofs are so similar, it looks almost like a standard design castle. This feeling is strengthened by the square and symmetric design. It looks like a catalogue-ordered castle by some king: 'And I want six number 3 castles along that border, a number 2 castle near that river crossing, and can you throw in a few extra battlements?' And it is very white... Now I have none of those modern tan, or grey or brown bricks that Lego castles are made from these days, and I have no where near enough bricks in any other colour to build something like this is. But old school Lego is working with what you have... Time for a way deeper renovation of the old stones... Where I live, castles grew over time, with consecutive owners adding, removing and changing stuff... They are not one fully completed and coherent design. They usually look more like a few very different buildings that crashed into each other by accident, with a few hap-hazard walls to close the remaining gaps, and with a different Master Mason for each tower. I ripped the whole castle apart and started anew. Yay for lego! Once upon a time there was a small building, the first farmer in that area than actually build a house from stone instead of muck and mud. His children build a bigger house against it. And finally, a few generations later, the 'great hall' was started. Throw in a few walls for an enclosed bailey, and rise a few towers to guard those walls, and Bob's your uncle... Some roof bricks to add some colour. Be gone, Disney Castle! No more Mad Ludwich! On with the stone lanes, Mr Flay... I was torn between red or blue slopes. Black would have been best, but uhm, you guessed it; I don't have enough of those... Should I have blue and red for the roofs? I now decided to go with just one colour. A view on the inner court shows the layout and the history I had in mind. At the the back the first stone house, the lowest roofed building. To the right the 'bigger' house' and to the left the Great Hall. Entrances elevated for safety, defensibility and against rising damp. All in all, with reading up on castles in general and the Lego Castles especially, and building, rebuilding and more rebuilding, I have been at this one for 3 weeks. Fun weeks, I enjoyed this little project a lot again. In fact, I am desperately trying to fight the urge to buy a second hand Lego Castle, or a lot of bricks I could use for a castle. No more castles! But I am only half way Gormenghast... (I hope this is the right place for something like this, there does not seem to be a discussions on sixties Lego as such).
  7. jan kusters

    Retrobricker is rebuilding vintage Lego sets.

    The funny thing is I am only now finding out that builds like this plane and the truck you build were sets. When I was a kid, I had the small Idea Books and the leaflets that came with the brick packs, and I always thought the pictures of these were just 'suggestions' on what and how to build stuff. The first 'real' set I got as a kid was a motorised train (set 115), and that was not really a set but more a motor with some 'special' parts needed to build a train, and I thought of it like a large parts set. Back then, I never build any of these exactly like they were supposed to, and it is great to see them now as they should be. On the other hand, I now still have the tendency to first build it as it should be, and then look for things to make it 'better'. Building, rebuilding and improving is my biggest joy right now!
  8. jan kusters

    Retrobricker is rebuilding vintage Lego sets.

    Nice builds Retrobricker, and you are in the same mood as me; I am building old sets and designs from old leaflets as well! I build the Renault earlier this year, and it looks great! Uhm, from the Netherlands? Oops...Things are getting crowded here!