The_Cook

Eurobricks Citizen
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About The_Cook

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    Piratical Project Manager

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  1. The_Cook

    How to make a black castle less boring

    I'd go for accents rather than texture. The given examples of texture all work because the base colour is light and therefore the texture creates shadows on the light surface. Shadows on black are harder, with black texture you're typically looking for highlights from carefully placed light sources. The examples of "all black" models tend to be from the sculptural space, I don't have links but I seem to recall an all black recreation of The Alien from "Alien" and also an all black Haunted House. Others on the forum might remember where those images are. For examples of accents there is plenty of existing TLG reference material, 6085 with grey buttresses or 8877 with dark red lining around the base of the parapets.
  2. The_Cook

    [Moc] Guarded Inn

    I have a soft spot for the Guarded Inn, I've recreated it on a number of occasions in different guises; notably Trolls' Guarded Inn. For an ideas submission my personal opinion is that it's too fiddly; if it gets the support and passes then all that wall greebling in and on the stonework will have to be simplified in order to make the set buildable. Which is what happened to the recent Blacksmith ideas set; TLG simplified the original design to make it buildable and certain sections of the fanbase were quite vocal with their opinions (Eurobricks History forum was actually the most sensible corner of the internet for a few days; respect is due to the Eurobricks membership for behaving like grown-ups!). The challenge, the balancing act, is that it's the greebling that sells because the "following the instructions" group want something that looks like a detailed MOC but don't realise they can't have it because it's almost impossible to create build instrucions for. Reduce the number of bricks and it becomes more sellable because the price point will appeal to a greater section of the buying public. Try to limit yourself to legitimate build techniques; the plates on the door arches wouldn't pass TLG quality control. Could a 35789 or a 62361 provide the lip that you're looking for? Popularity at the expense of buildability, or buildability at the expense of popularity? Logic actually dictates go for popularity because to begin with this is a popularity contest; but be prepared for a backlash when the buildability has to be factored in at a later date. Despite my comments and criticisms I do think it's a good idea and I will be heading over to Ideas to register my support.
  3. If you're building a MOC for your own personal enjoyment; use whatever you've got. If you're building something for Ideas; use parts that are in current production and legitimate build techniques. Less likely to see the design massively reworked if it wins (see Blacksmith arguments elsewhere on the net ;-) You can probably get away with rare colours because they can produce part in new colours whereas resurecting old moulds isn't likley to happen. If you're building a MOC to sell instructions use parts and colours that are in current production. Avoid rare parts and colours because that limits the number of people that can build you MOC and therefore buy your instructions.
  4. The_Cook

    [Retro MOC] Hilltop Tower

    I’ll see what I can do. Most of those images were taken on and old device and are now in deep storage (a backup DVD somewhere) rather than being instantly accessible. I’ll see what I can do; could take me a few days to arrange. Worst case scenario I dig the original Mocs out of storage (I know which box they’re in ;-) ) and photograph them again.
  5. The_Cook

    [Retro MOC] Hilltop Tower

    Ah, yes you need 10 posts or something before you can send PMs. I've PM'd you a link to a zip file containing the LDD's for most of my Retro MOC models.
  6. The_Cook

    [Retro MOC] Hilltop Tower

    Yes, MocPages appears to have gone. I’ve not had time to transfer the photos for my Classic Castle Mocs to an alternate image hosting platform and I haven’t found any alternate host for the non-image data such as the .lxf files. I still have the original sources; if you know which ones you want then drop me a PM and I can see if the Eurobricks attachment system will let me transfer them.
  7. The_Cook

    The Three Head Problem

    The Ninjago Troll Torso and Legs in definitely something I'll be obtaining. I'll probably swap the yellow eyed head for one of the Red Eyed variants. The coloured heads aren't of as much interest to me; my Troll aesthetic is very much Sand Green but others may have more mileage. The blue head in particular with it's mouth looks like it's drawing upon the Troll prints from 10 years ago.
  8. The_Cook

    [MOC] Castle of Lord Afol

    The closer that a set is to TLG's standards then the less they will have to modify the Idea. The less an idea is modified the happier the purchasing public tend to be. Barracuda Bay is one of the exceptions where the changes have been regarded by most as an improvement on the original whereas with many earlier Ideas sets there have been complaints of "that's not what I supported." despite all the caveats from Lego that the Ideas are not the final product. I think the least changed of all has been Fishing Store which the designer deliberately tried to follow TLG building standards. Fixing some of issues now pre-empts potential release day comments of "where's my 14th minifigure?" if it went to production. Yes it does. That's the sort of photo needed in the orginal set to show how it can be played with.
  9. The_Cook

    [MOC] Castle of Lord Afol

    6067 Guarded Inn is also one of my favourite sets but the balance has always been towards some form of conflict. Personally I'm not a great fan of "martial" conflict but it is conflict that drives stories. I don't remember where I read it (possibly an interview with Mark Stafford a few years back) but historically the target audience for Castle was 10 year old German boys. They want a bit of conflict. These days 10 year old German boys tend to want Superheroes; hence the recent lack of Castle or attempts to "modernise" it... There are always going to be exceptions. Could Castle AFOL be one of the exceptions? Maybe; but balance of probabilities is that it needs to be closer to the norm. Opposing factions is conflict that will drive stories. Ninjago City also benefits from having a hit television show to leverage as marketing; TLG weren't taking that much of a risk with such a large set given the success of the Ninjago lines over the last few years (almost a decade).
  10. The_Cook

    [MOC] Castle of Lord Afol

    I'm about to be (possibly overly) critical. Please don't misinterpret this as me not wanting the design to succeed; instead treat it as trying to make the design better. A typical Lego set isn't just about the aesthetics it also needs to consider playability and manufacturability; the more that these are incorporated into the design, the greater the chance of passing the review phase. Incorporating playability and manufacturability is going to result in compromising the aesthetics; that's the trade-off that the designers at TLG have to make every working day. Manufacturing : MOC builders tend not to think about manufacturing; but there's a whole army of "nameless" people at TLG that take the models from the "named" designers and turn it into a manufacturable set. Brick count. 3000 is the limit imposed by the Ideas platform but that puts it into a price bracket which potentially rules out a lot of prospective purchasers. Could you find a way to remove 500 bricks and move into the same price bracket as the Creator Modulars (that average about 2500 pieces), could you find a way to remove 1000bricks and move into the same price bracket as the Flagship Sets (that average about 2000 pieces). Unique element count. Whilst TLG's manufacturing facilities are an absolute marvel; they're not infiinite. The more unique elements (different bricks, different colours) that are utilised the harder the set is to manufacture. Be careful of using the same brick type in multiple colours (I see 98283 masonry profile bricks in a least 5 colours); the packing machines work on weight and can't differentiate between different colours. Printed parts. Pretend that each part adds a dollar to the set (I don't know the exact costs but it's probably close enough) which means higher cost or utilising less bricks to hit a price point. Playability : Buildability - Can it be built? Are all of the connections legitimate? I think I see some studs pressed into technic bricks which is connection that is not typically found in official sets. How do you play with it? Can hands reach inside all parts of the castle? Does it open up to allow access inside? The rooms and central courtyard look hard to access without knocking over towers. The low walls and big courtyards of the early castles might not be historically accurate but it allows play. More modern sets tend to rely on a facade approach of a single wall rather than an enclosing structure. Minifigures. 14? The original line of Classic Castles had 12 at most and more recent castle sets (TLG though of them as castle even if the AFOL community didn't) such as Knighton Castle and Jestro's Lair have 10 or 11. Horses are expensive too. There's $60 of minifigures, horses, barding, swords and utensils before getting to a single brick of the castle. All of which push it out of the sweet spot of the Modular price bracket. What stories does it tell? All of the minifigures appear to be on the same side; which means that the stories that can be acted out with play are somewhat constrained to domestic stories. There needs to be an opposing faction to create conflict. This was implicitly present back in 6080 Lion Castle, 4 lions, 4 crusaders, the armoured knights have blue or black arms to differentiate them; more modern sets it's even more explicit you're told who is good and who is back. Even the domestic Castle sets had a conflict element to them; it was Blacksmith Attack and Mill Village Raid.
  11. The_Cook

    The Three Head Problem

    Time passes. Civilisations rise. Civilisations fall. Continents drift. TLG releases new sets; which means new minifigure parts are available for customising Trolls. The inspiration here was the Dark Ninja from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; the Dark Red torso fitting neatly with the Troll's colour scheme of Dark Red. An arm swap to Sand Green and the addition of capes and headcoverings gives a set of what I've been calling Ninja Trolls as a nod to the inspiration. TLG's efforts at a better gender balance mean that Troll Town can have a better gender balance as well. On the left the torso is from Shredder from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Whilst not a female torso intentionally I think that the cutouts are on the torso look very similar to the waistline cutouts that TLG uses to represent the feminine body shape. Dress is from the Fortune Teller collectable minifigure. The middle is another amoured female torso. I think it's another Shredder variant due to the purple belt and clasp being similar but it doesn't match the images in Bricklink. The righthand is Magpie from Batman. As soon as I saw the Minifigure in a reivew I knew that I just had to obtain it for TrollTown and purchased the set; which is unusual for me since Superhero sets are not normally something I'm that interested in. The Kanjiklub Gang Member was the starting point for the next two; just a head-swap needed. The Ninjago Skybound Pirates provide the starting point for the next set. I'd picked up quite a few of the Skybound sets in order to get hold of the Dark Orange balloon segments. Another happy observation was that a number of the old Viking torso's are devoid of yellow skin printing; therefore with just an arm swap they become different armour variants for the Trolls. The leather and chain armour of the Viking theme fits with Troll aesthetic. The latest Mad Eye Moody minifigure from Harry Potter provides a long buckled coat eminently suitable for my Dragon pilots; aviator headgear finishes it off.
  12. The_Cook

    Troll Town [photos re-uploaded 04/07/2020]

    My inventory is somewhat haphazard; but from where I'm sat I can count: 2x 7048 Troll Warship 1x Dragon Carrier 1x Small Ship from Graving Dock 1x Sailing Dinghy from Fisherman's Landing I'm fairly sure I've got at least another 2 warships in dismantled; boxed state with parts to build at least 2 more (or into other variants such as the Dragon Carrier). I've been watching Hungarian Horntails slowly increase in price over the last 5 years but careful Bricklinking and eBay purchases mean that I can mount two airborne divisons of 10 dragons each. I have one Trolls Mountain built, two disassembled and several that have been parted out; only the minifigures are unique in the Fortress.
  13. The_Cook

    Troll Town [photos re-uploaded 04/07/2020]

    MOC pages has gone down and I don't have an alternate means of distributing the LDD files at the moment; PM with me with an email address and I can attach the relevant files. Uploading the images to Flickr and updating all the earlier posts is on my list of things to do; but other more immediate concerns keep getting in the way. As to which is best; it's entirely up to you and what you want out of the model. I try to make sure that they've all got some degree of playability in them. If you've got 7048 Toll Warship then the Fishermans Landing, Graving Dock or Prison are all water/boat orientated. If you're more interested in building out a town and the industries within then Blacksmith, Marketplace or Guarded Inn would be more approriate. The bricks you have access to (either directly or through BrickLink) might also be a constraining factor, Graving Dock is definitely the biggest, Marketplace and Blacksmith are much, much smaller. Some pieces are fairly scare and that is reflected in their price on BrickLink, Troll Sails and Dark Brown Viking Hulls are the obvious ones but interestingly the Dark Brown Inv 75 Slope hasn't been used in a set in over a decade so are increasingly scare and expensive.
  14. The_Cook

    Troll Town [photos re-uploaded 04/07/2020]

    Yes I speak English.
  15. When there is no pricing data to go on then an auction is the most appropriate method. The price will be dictated by how much the buyers are willing to pay to obtain the item in question. This isn't Lego specific; this is how it's done in real life from Cattle to Flowers to Fine Art. Usually there is some historic precedent; even with unique items like fine art there is always a similar paint or the artists pervious work that was sold to use as a benchmark. The key is to make sure that you've got the right set of buyers lined up to bid against each other. For these items you'll be wanting buyers that collect rare and prototype pieces.