sonicstarlight

Eurobricks Citizen
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Everything posted by sonicstarlight

  1. sonicstarlight

    How to Design a Modular or a Non-Modular Building?

    Thanks for the shout out! I'm also going to quote myself from a previous topic. Sometimes I start with the thought of a building type I want to do, and sometimes I start with an architectural style I want to do. For example, I knew I wanted to make an Art Deco building and for me the logical function was to make a movie theater. On the flip side, I wanted to make a courthouse and that made me study Neo Classical for the architectural style. Very often I modify existing sets to make them into modulars - Medieval Market Village, The Burrow, Bike Shop and Cafe - so the style is determined but I want to give them a new function. For example, my bike shop and cafe became a jewelry store and pizzeria with apartments above. Once I have the basic idea of the building in mind, I then decide the size. I don't like to be limited to just 32-studs or 16-studs, so sometimes I go over that (my courthouse is 64-studs and my theater is 40-studs) and occasionally I go under (my bike shop and cafe mods are 14-studs each). I also think about the number of floors, either two tall floors or three standard floors for me as I try to design buildings that look at home with the official ones. A few other things I always keep in mind: 1) Look at real-world examples. Many people in this topic already talked about this, and I agree completely. Take pictures of buildings in your neighborhood you are inspired by and do searched online, maybe saving pictures to a folder. I don't like to copy one singular building too literally, so I try and take bits and pieces from many while still having it look like a cohesive package. 2) It's all about the details. Modular buildings are essentially rectangular boxes, so the goal to to make them look like something more. Don't be afraid to use depth in your facades - mine can be three-studs deep at times - and look for other ways to break things up (roof lines, setbacks, balconies, etc). I've seen just as many builds that have too much detail as too little, so finding the balance it key and it isn't just about tacking things onto a wall that don't make sense architecturally. 3) Don't force it. Sometimes you need to walk away for inspiration to hit and other times you need to just tear the thing down and start over. For example, my courthouse was originally going to be 32-studs wide and I had a whole front facade for it constructed before I hated the way it looked and tore it down to make it wider. You might have and idea that sounds good in your head but it just doesn't translate in real life. One last note: I always build in bricks and don't use LDD at all. This is purely my preference and I have a lot of respect for anyone that can create a digital model first and then order the parts to make it real. For me, I can more quickly prototype things in real bricks (I initially just build in any color I have and then go back later and get the bricks in the final color scheme) but I also have a large collection now to pull from. LDD is definitely the cheaper way to go, especially if you don't have the largest collection.
  2. sonicstarlight

    [PRESS RELEASE] 10260 - Downtown Diner

    I agree with this completely (and think snaillad is the king at doing this style right). I don't think the proper research went into what buildings of this era really looked like and instead they decided to add some curves and vibrant colors and call it a day. The tan portion makes no sense and its detailing completely clashes with the diner and tower portion. I miss the grandeur of the early modulars. Starting with the Parisian Restaurant, which I did like a lot, every modular has been either left part of the side open or was a combination of two or more buildings. Compare the Brick Bank with the Grand Emporium or this set with the Green Grocer and they just feel so unsubstantial. Yes, I also dislike the random move from the classic smiley faces, and yes I have no idea what to do with another car (thankfully less ugly than the Palace Cinema limo, but then again what isn't), and yes I don't like this new trend of putting random studs on the sidewalks now. But the trend that really gets me down is just the continued shrinking of the envelope. I want another full 32 studs devoted to just one building again.
  3. I haven't posted in a while (nor have I built in a while, sadly) but here is how I go about it. Sometimes I start with the thought of a building type I want to do, and sometimes I start with an architectural style I want to do. For example, I knew I wanted to make an Art Deco building and for me the logical function was to make a movie theater. On the flip side, I wanted to make a courthouse and that made me study Neo Classical for the architectural style. Very often I modify existing sets to make them into modulars - Medieval Market Village, The Burrow, Bike Shop and Cafe - so the style is determined but I want to give them a new function. For example, my bike shop and cafe became a jewelry store and pizzeria with apartments above. Once I have the basic idea of the building in mind, I then decide the size. I don't like to be limited to just 32-studs or 16-studs, so sometimes I go over that (my courthouse is 64-studs and my theater is 40-studs) and occasionally I go under (my bike shop and cafe mods are 14-studs each). I also think about the number of floors, either two tall floors or three standard floors for me as I try to design buildings that look at home with the official ones. A few other things I always keep in mind: 1) Look at real-world examples. Many people in this topic already talked about this, and I agree completely. Take pictures of buildings in your neighborhood you are inspired by and do searched online, maybe saving pictures to a folder. I don't like to copy one singular building too literally, so I try and take bits and pieces from many while still having it look like a cohesive package. 2) It's all about the details. Modular buildings are essentially rectangular boxes, so the goal to to make them look like something more. Don't be afraid to use depth in your facades - mine can be three-studs deep at times - and look for other ways to break things up (roof lines, setbacks, balconies, etc). I've seen just as many builds that have too much detail as too little, so finding the balance it key and it isn't just about tacking things onto a wall that don't make sense architecturally. 3) Don't force it. Sometimes you need to walk away for inspiration to hit and other times you need to just tear the thing down and start over. For example, my courthouse was originally going to be 32-studs wide and I had a whole front facade for it constructed before I hated the way it looked and tore it down to make it wider. You might have and idea that sounds good in your head but it just doesn't translate in real life. One last note: I always build in bricks and don't use LDD at all. This is purely my preference and I have a lot of respect for anyone that can create a digital model first and then order the parts to make it real. For me, I can more quickly prototype things in real bricks (I initially just build in any color I have and then go back later and get the bricks in the final color scheme) but I also have a large collection now to pull from. LDD is definitely the cheaper way to go, especially if you don't have the largest collection. Good luck!
  4. sonicstarlight

    10251 Brick Bank

    It's ok. It still feels very clumsy in the detailing, as did the DO. I don't like how much the textured walls stick out on the ground floor and then suddenly ends at the arches, even if I know why it has to be like that. I also don't like on the second floor how only one side of the corner will have that raked texture and the other side won't - surely they could have found a more elegant way to do that. The proportions are oddly stumpy as a whole and definitely not as grand as a Neo Classical building should be. Gringotts Bank from the Diagon Alley set was actually better detailed in my option. The laundromat part of the facade is actually my favorite part, and I have no qualms with the two businesses sharing a block - happens all the time in New York anyway. I've been waiting for those sand green windows for years now, so that it easily the best thing for me.
  5. 1. Green Grocer - Still the best looking modular in my opinion, and the first to strike the right balance between outside and inside details. 2. Fire Brigade - The only modular that looks about as good from the back as it does the front. I'm American so I have a certain fondness for this one. 3. Parisian Restaurant - I like that it helps break up the block a bit and for a small footprint there is a lot going on. Huge improvement over the two entries before it. 4. Cafe Corner - I'm still really fond of the one that started it all. Not having any interiors is a bit of a downer, but the exteriors are still some of the best in the series, if not the best for me. 5. Grand Emporium - It looks great sitting on the shelf, but it is a rather uninteresting build with the top two floors being nearly identical. 6. Pet Shop - Two unique builds, each interesting in their own way. It was the start of the trend to make the modulars a bit more like the Creator houses (pins connecting floors, 1x1 rounds for flowers), which I wasn't thrilled with. 7. Town Hall - Wacky proportions, elevator is just a regular tile rather than anything designed, and ugly interior details. No interesting building techniques besides maybe the skylights. 8. Market Street - Definitely the odd man out, but for an entry level set it isn't bad. That strange, mostly useless lot next to the main building brings it down. 9. Palace Cinema - I hate everything about this one. Worst car in Lego history, stickers, bare-bones interiors are poorly done, and exteriors are clumsy as heck. Waiting until I have the Detective's Office before passing judgement, but based on the pics it will probably fall between the Pet Shop and Town Hall, closer to the bottom than the top.
  6. sonicstarlight

    10246 Detective's Office

    The Town Hall sort of ruined this illusion by including a computer with a flat screen monitor. There have been other details that aren't 100% historically accurate to being pre-war, but that was by far the most blatant.
  7. sonicstarlight

    MOC: Studdington Station

    Wonderful! I like seeing something more modest from you, as much as I am completely obsessed with your trademark Art Deco style. The building itself is extremely charming, but I'm also really impressed with the landscaping and all the other little details going on outside. The various paving patterns are excellent, and those benches are so simple yet appropriate. As always, huge fan and I'll try and get this on BTT tomorrow. Edit: As promised, blogged on Brick Town Talk!
  8. sonicstarlight

    Modular Building Sets - Rumours and Discussion

    I completely agree with that. The Grand Emporium is the least interesting to build, but the final result really looks the part. Building the PC was enjoyable enough - it's just that when you're all done, it somehow doesn't feel like the same sort of accomplishment.
  9. sonicstarlight

    Modular Building Sets - Rumours and Discussion

    I agree with the majority of your issues with the set - the PC is easily the worst in the modular line. I have the feeling that the general consensus on this set was that it wasn't as strong as the rest, hence the fact Jamie has returned to being the official modular spokesman over Astrid. I think there was also some junior designer that helped with the PC - hopefully this was a one-and-done contract. I bought one because at this point I can't imagine having a hole in my modular collection after starting with the Cafe Corner, but I refuse to buy an additional one even thought I would love to have all that dark tan as I don't want to encourage more sets of this quality. Thankfully the PR was a great return to form.
  10. sonicstarlight

    MOC: Beloved Belle (Modular Building)

    In my opinion, this is your best one yet. The ground floor in particular is absolutely stunning - so many subtle details with color and texture. The apartments interiors are also great in terms of layout and furnishing. As always, it's all just very clean and refined. Blogged on Brick Town Talk.
  11. sonicstarlight

    10246 Detective's Office

    This one is sort of sitting in the middle in terms of where I would rank the modulars. Definitely some nice things going on, and I appreciate the attention to detail in the interiors even if I could take or leave the overall narrative described in the video. I am now starting to get concerned that the "grandness" of old may be gone - with half of this only being 2 stories and the PR not taking up the full baseplate, I really want the next modular to feel heavy and solid. Still, this is a no-brainer in terms of purchase.
  12. sonicstarlight

    Modular Building Sets - Rumours and Discussion

    I like this a lot more than the Palace Cinema, but it lacks a certain elegance that the Parisian Restaurant has. I do like that both this and the PR are taking steps to break up the streetwall a bit - having a two-story section is great. It does seem that the modulars are trending towards smaller builds, though, and I would rather the money be spent on the outsides rather than the interiors.
  13. sonicstarlight

    Jewelry Store, Pizzeria, and Bricklyn Bike

    Hello all! I'll admit that I have been missing in action lately. I ended up taking a little bit of a hiatus from all things Lego for a bit longer than was originally planned, but am pleased to say that I am back again with not one, not two, but three new modulars (well, more like two and a half, as you will soon see). I needed something fairly simple to ease back into things, and like always things grew more ambitious as time progresses. I saw 31026 Bike Shop in the Lego Store and knew it had a ton of potential to convert into a modular, as several posters here have also done. I loved the idea of doing a bike shop (it has been on my list of buildings to make for a while), but I didn't think either building stylistically looked right for a bike shop so I ended up doing a new 16-wide that was not based on the set in any way, shape or form. Enough talk - here they are. This is actually the seventh time I have used an official non-modular set as a starting point for a modular MOC, but I think this is the most literal I have been in terms of keeping the details. I liked the original and felt very little needed to be done to make them fit with the official series. The building on the left is a jewelry store while the one on the right is a pizzeria. Apartments are above both shops. I was drawn to the idea of keeping them two buildings with a connector in-between them. This makes each building 14-wide rather than the usual 16-wide, which I felt was actually easier to design facades for (16 studs is an awkward number to space out windows in my experience). To get to the apartment level, you walk through the passageway and take a set of stairs up. Here is the ground floor of the jewelry store. To some, the interiors will look awfully familiar - I took them from my Winter Village Jewelry Store I did for a contest on this site (I think I came in 4th or 5th). I cannibalized some other parts of that set elsewhere, but the interiors were lifted almost as-is and fit in the new space very well. Here is the apartment above the jewelry store. I'll admit to losing some steam with designing these, plus I wanted to try and use parts I had as much as possible. Nothing thrilling, although I do like my little treadmill. Moving on to the pizzeria. This is based on the little hole-in-the-wall places you'll find all over New York City. In fact, this is a mirror image of my old place in Brooklyn (I miss you Ginos!). There is a standard NY-style pizza oven as well as a fridge with soda and a little place to sit. I still need to invest in a couple of the pizza guy minifigures from the latest series to replace the worker and the blank pizza boxes. Above, more apartments. Again, I think I am a little tired of making furniture, so not my best work. And now, finally, the bike shop. I wanted something more industrial looking, and early on decided to go with a large, centered window. It's a very simple facade, but I think it gets across the look I wanted. The back is quite plain, as a building like this should be. I almost never use primary colors in my builds, but I thought a couple stripes of red worked here as you often see old buildings repurposed over the years and adding a splash of color is common. Inside, the first floor has helmets, skateboards, and a little space where workers can do repairs. Upstairs are more bikes, of course. If you want to have something with a little more muscle than your own legs, go up one more floor to find the scooters and motorcycles. And here they are together. Despite being known more for my larger buildings (my diner/theater and courthouse), I've now done six 16-wides. Here they all are together, plus the official sets. More photos in my flickr account in my signature, but I can't imagine anyone needing more after that ! Thanks for looking, and please ask questions if you have any.
  14. sonicstarlight

    Modular Building Sets - Rumours and Discussion

    The first floor of the PR was my absolute favorite part of any official modular build and the entire set is neck-and-neck with the GG as my favorite in the series. Hopefully no one is on the fence about that set - just get it.
  15. sonicstarlight

    (WIP)-City Canal

    I don't usually comment on digital models, but this is some amazing work! I am especially impressed with the little details - those benches and potted plants are both really clever. Can't wait to see anything built.
  16. sonicstarlight

    Jewelry Store, Pizzeria, and Bricklyn Bike

    I have a real love/hate relationship with brick bricks. They seem like such a great way to add some texture to a build, but I have never been able to find a good use for them until now. To me they only work as single rows or columns - the way the texture tiles when you do anything more than that just doesn't work for me. That first floor of the bike shop was the single thing I kept returning to and second guessing myself on, but now that it's done and I'm used to it I'm starting to warm up to brick bricks. Thanks for the kind words and the blog post - you have a great site. Thanks also for those tutorials on how to make instructions, which is something I always felt was overwhelming but now am seriously considering looking into. Only 1, and I don't think buying multiple copies of this set would necessarily be the best way to go as there really aren't a lot of standard bricks for all the walls - easily the biggest chunk of what I had to order to finish it. The Bike Shop is an amazing parts set for modulars in general, though, so there is no harm in getting a second (or third).
  17. sonicstarlight

    Modular Building Sets - Rumours and Discussion

    Well, I just got back from the grand opening of a new flagship Lego store in the Flatiron District in Manhattan. Plenty Parisian Restaurants, Palace Cinemas, and Pet Shops, but not a single Town Hall. The fact that they don't have any at the opening of a new store yet have plenty of the set that came before it leads me to believe that whatever sets are out there floating around are it for the Town Hall - I don't see them making any more. I'm guessing the high price point made a lot of people sit and wait, plus not as many people who like to buy multiple sets got a second or third when they could get one of the others for much cheaper, so they are retiring it early. Again, this is strictly anecdotal, but it certainly isn't promising for those of you that still need to pick up the set.
  18. sonicstarlight

    Taller or Wider?

    I prefer to go wider as a general rule. I like to play around with widths that aren't either 16 or 32 studs - I've done a 40 wide and 64 wide, and I think they really help break up the uniformity of it all than varying the heights (which I also try to do to an extend, having done one and two-story buildings as well).
  19. sonicstarlight

    Modular Building Sets - Rumours and Discussion

    That used to be true about only using existing parts with modulars, but I think the Pet Shop is the one that changed the trend (they brought back sand blue just for that set). I agree that saying they have the next 5 figures out is no more than penciling down detective agency for 2015, police station for 2016, etc. They are probably not actively working on more than two at a time, and I'm sure everything is subject to change. I am concerned that Jamie is taking on more of a manager role than a design one - neither the TH or PC were up to his usual standards in my opinion, and the PR was a true return to form. Until they get someone who understands architecture a bit better, I hope he is still actively involved in the design.
  20. sonicstarlight

    Jewelry Store, Pizzeria, and Bricklyn Bike

    I'm noticing a trend . I did think about this while building, but decided to put the more "impulse" items on the bottom and work my way up to the big ticket stuff. Think of it like a car dealership - they are floor models for close inspection, but if you want to buy one you don't drive it out of the store. Besides, since my entire modular town has about 4 toilets total, taking a scooter down two flights of stairs are the least of my citizen's worries. I do like brick built lettering, but admit I am getting tired of the technique used on the Pet Shop and dates on the FB and TH. Since I am hardcore anti-sticker, this forces me to think of other ways to say what a building's purpose is without spelling it out. I only used one set, but I have a decent collection of bricks now and needed another $100 on Bricklink to finish the three buildings. I did start with just using the parts from the Bike Shop and was honestly surprised how far they went. I was a few windows short as well as a few other odds and ends, but the bulk of the bricks I needed were for the walls and interiors. Thank you all for your comments!
  21. sonicstarlight

    Matt's Masks - a modularized Simpsons house

    Wow, you took one of the most un-modular looking sets out there and brilliantly converted it to something wonderful! Not that I am surprised considering the builder. Really, to keep enough details as to make the source identifiable while still basically starting from scratch to make what it essentially a blank box interesting is a hard thing to balance. As always, a huge fan.
  22. sonicstarlight

    lego bust

    I did very simple ones that are just a head on a 2x2 dish. Click here to see them. I agree with deraven that it would be difficult to get much of a torso on one at minifig scale.
  23. sonicstarlight

    My collection of city MOCs

    Beautiful work - if I had to pick a favorite, it is probably the restaurant (although that train station is no slouch). These are so nicely rendered that I don't think you really need to make them out of actual bricks.
  24. sonicstarlight

    Modular surf shop

    This is really well done! I love the white, vertical elements on the facade with the flowers running up them - subtle, but very fitting. The interiors are also top notch, especially the speakers.
  25. sonicstarlight

    AFOL Modular Experience Report

    Nice little write-up, datune. I agree with most of your opinions. I just moved, so I took apart all the the modulars and put the pieces in bags rather than try and transport them fully built. I spent the last two weekends rebuilding every modular building and it really proved to me at least just how much more I enjoy the Cafe Corner, Green Grocer, and Fire Brigade than I do all those that came after it. The Fire Brigade in particular I feel is very underappreciated - it has the best interiors, the most advanced building techniques, and looks nearly as good from the back as it does from the front. I still like the Green Grocer a little more stylistically, but the Fire Brigade was easily the most enjoyable build. I completely agree that the Grand Emporium is a bit dull. Besides a few flags and a chandelier, there are no real differences between the top two floors. There was also no real "ah-ha" moment - some part of the build that uses some technique that is unexpected or clever. Visually it looks very nice, though. My least favorite was actually the Palace Cinema, despite being my first time building it compared to my second time for all the rest. I think it is the only one that looks better in pictures than it does in real life. I'm also a huge fan of the non-modular buildings LEGO puts out, and many of them are better than the modular line in my eyes. The Haunted House is indeed one of their best efforts, and I absolutely love everything about it. I was also a huge fan of the Medieval Market Village and Diagon Alley from the Harry Potter line and modularized both sets using the official instructions as a jumping off point. Fans of the modular series really need to be sure they branch out beyond those sets, assuming they have the means, as I don't think they have been the most impressive builds for a while now.