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Bruce's CCCV Contest Thoughts

Discussion of personal LEGO Castle creations

Postby Stone Goblin » Tue Feb 05, 2008 7:34 pm

Bruce N H wrote:
[url=http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292564]Image
Stone Goblin's Call to Arms[/url] - Really cool idea to break up the space into three scenes that lead one into the other, wrapping around the base. The mosaic backdrop is a really cool idea. In the first scene, my favorite detail is the man on the right talking to his son. I can imagine him saying something about how his son will be the man of the house until he returns. Bedrolls on the back, and one hat tipped back, are nice details, as is the kimono design with the handle plate. In the snowy scene, the snow-covered bamboo is really nice, and those two capes really look like the wind is blowing. I almost missed the lurking ninja. In the final scene, what is up with the naked guy in the back? Also I don't know what the custom is with the exchange of letters before battle. Neat flag design. I like that better than simply using the soft plastic flags from the ninja theme. Cute cameo by Stone Goblin.


Thanks for the comments. The naked guy is one of the villagers changing to his military uniform. The blue army has a thing for non-raggedy looking soldiers. :lol: All three villagers are suiting up for the possible coming battle. The exchange of letters is actually about the armies exchanging each others terms for their surrender.
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Postby MrTS » Mon Feb 11, 2008 11:23 am

I just wanted to bring this topic back up since i dont want it to get burried under all those 'entry topics'. I'm still very interested in your thoughts Bruce, please keep them comming!
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youp, keep em coming

Postby Giorgio Chronas » Mon Feb 11, 2008 3:33 pm

good work Mr. TS.
Bruce, we are all yours... :lol:
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Postby Bruce N H » Mon Feb 11, 2008 7:12 pm

Hey,

Sorry, life has gotten really hectic for the past several days, but I haven't forgotten about this. Hopefully by the end of the week I'll be able to put up the missing categories.

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Postby Bruce N H » Sat Feb 16, 2008 11:48 am

Next up historical event

My personal top three:

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Stone Goblin - Battle on the Ice[/url] - Another category where I get to learn from the MOCs, and this battle is a great example. The broken ice over the blue tiles is very striking, and there are some great slope combinations in making the cracks. I really like the white/gray/silver faction you've created - my only complaint is the two knights with red don't fit as well with them. The other faction is less coherent. Good action with the tipping ice blocks and drowning figs (and horse), and the one arm reachingout to grab a spear. The brick-built flag is very nice. Nice attention to detail - along the side you can see the edge of the ground sloping up to meet the shore underwater.

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Robert Black's Black Plague[/url] - This one really demonstrates the importance of presentation. If this were just the photo from above and the close-up of carrying the body, I would have ranked it lower. But the street-level view is outstanding. I feel as if I'm in this city, and if I went around that corner the city would go on. The flags give a nice color accent and have a variety of connections, and the lamp is also a nice design. The baby design is kind of creepy. One suggestion - a blue sheet or towel as a backdrop would improve this, since in the street-level view you see the red wall and maybe a chair substituting for the sky.

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Peppermint Pig's Gutenberg[/url] - Very nice outside. The dark red and tan is a great color combination, and the tiles, details around the main door, black cylinders, and that combination of smaller red arhes inside the larger tan arches are all nice. What makes this, though, are the details inside, with those great printing presses, the box of type, stacks of paper, jars of ink and very nice candle stands. Not sure about those carrot things (the new black carrots would help).

Others, in no particular order:

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Maedhros' Stockholm Bloodbath[/url] - Very clean finish with the studless design. Great gallows. Bishop in the shadows is very ominous. Great chair design. My only complaint here is that it feels kind of empty.

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Artizan's Fall of Constantinople[/url] - I really like the wall design, though the gray studs of the wall kind of meld into the gray studs of the ground. This would be greatly improved by a different color ground, either more tan, or green. Here's that interesting hat design we discussed previously. The huge cannon is great, as is the breach in the wall. What's with the Twilek head? Falling guy on the far right is good action.

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Steve's King's Servant[/url] - Nice overall scene. I particularly like the heads on pikes and the fact that the castle has an interior. Executioner is very good. Only complaint is that it feels a little empty. The crowd should be bigger and have some more action, IMO.

[url=http://www.clanamnesia.co.uk/aliencat/stopthetrack/moc/CCCV/c6e1.htm]Image
Aliencat's Fall of Jerusalem[/url] - Great use of that baseplate and continuation of the color scheme into the buildings. I really like that angled wall and the fountain design. Falling minaret is good action. I agree with Tony that there should be more figs. Also, those three little flames seem very thin. A lot more fire in that region would have been good, with some more wooden sections and charred black timbers.

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Sir Nadroj's Black Plague[/url] - To me this seems more like Post-Apocalego meets Castle (or Pirate) than the plague. Burning bodies is effective as is the ruined ship. I like the crab, the rat, the skelly on the ship (though how did his skin and clothes rot away and his hat remain firmly in place?) and the little underground crypt.

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Kamzel's Congress of Gniezno[/url] - Great choice of event here. What stands out in this MOC is the pair of stained glass crosses near the top. Crossed swords and axes on the walls are nice.

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Jansen's Leif[/url] - Very nice landscaping here, especially that deep inlet. The green ground could be a little less flat. I like the half-boat and the natives in the trees.

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Quickblade's Vlad[/url] - Creepy scene. Seems like the figs should be less horizontal. Great chair (inspired by Maedhros?).

[url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/wunztwice/sets/72157603582868001/]Image
Chris Wunz's 95 Theses[/url] - Nice details above the door, especially the stained glass, and good use of the scroll tile. The little posts for the fence made of staggered 1x1 plates are good. What stands out here, though, is the great cobblestones, including upside-down plates, fraction of a plate differences in height and cheese slopes.

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Barbara's water seesaw[/url] - Great figs, especially those white collars and the guards with the red hoods. What piece is used in that table? Water running out of the cage is a great effect. That little goat is really cute.

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Josh's Agincourt[/url] - Good fig placement and action. High point here is the horses sinking in the mud.

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DARKspawn's Musashi & Kojiro[/url] This is the least successful of Aaron's entries, IMO. I suppose it's hurt a little for me by my lack of knowledge of the event (I just read the brief description on Wikipedia). For a famous duel, I'd rather see them actually dueling, rather than having a stare-down. The wave also seems static and too straight across. Waves are tough. Nelson and Moko have some good approaches. I do like the rocks and the flowers here, and also the box that frames the MOC makes it seem more of a display item.

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Giorgio's Rivus Altus[/url] This is a beautiful MOC, but it suffered for me as an entry in this category because it seems more about a place than an actual event. Some nice fig action with the workers clearing brush. I like how all of the interiors are accessible and the tile floors are good.

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Tanotrooper's Battle of the Golden Spurs[/url] - Some nice fig action here. The high points for me are the horses coming out of the water and that plate-built flag.

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Luis' Coronation[/url] - I really laughed when I read the bizarre story behind this one. Nice solution for someone seated in a long dress. Also a nice chair design. The non-square base and the columns frame this MOC in a way that is much more interesting than simply putting this on a baseplate with a couple of walls.

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Foresti's Viking invasion[/url] The landscape is nice here and I like the cheese wedge details on the house. Apple tree is nicely done, turning half of those leaves upside down to attach teh fruit. Some good fig action for the defenders. This one does suffer a bit from presenation due to the photography.

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Pkowalcz's 1453[/url] - Nice vig with good action. The high-point here is how the ground is all SNOT, though the all flat top should have been broken up by some height variation, IMO.
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Postby Ebu Deyyus » Sat Feb 16, 2008 1:58 pm

Bruce N H wrote:What's with the Twilek head?


that s supposed to be a saracen turban helmet.
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Postby Bruce N H » Tue Feb 19, 2008 8:11 am

Next up Castle Spaces.

My personal top three:

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DARKspawn's bathhouse[/url] - This was an extremely fun entry and a well-deserved winner. It was fun to go back and look at this one since it's been a few weeks since I judged it and go through all of the additional pictures to find details. This is one of those MOCs where you can tell that all of the figs are actually doing something, rather than just being randomly placed around the scene. I particularly like some of the side action, like the guys catching rats and the old man smoking his pipe. The implied roof works surprisingly well. I think trying to build a whole roof over this would have made it seem much darker and heavier in a way, but to not put anything would have seemed unfinished. The detailing is exquisite, particularly along the tops of the walls. Nice lute solution. The windows are also very good.

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Tom's Wizard Tricks[/url] The flying objects and the joke downstairs work really well here. Outstanding details, particularly the windows (note the upside-down arches at the bottom) and the fireplace. Is there a light-up element to the fireplace, or is there just a bright light source behind and clear brick in the back of the fireplace? In either case the effect is good. Placement of random elements and figs is quite good. I like the detail along the roofline with alternating arches and inverse slopes.

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Micah's trophy room[/url] - The room here is nice. I like the color scheme of the green tiled floor and the combination of brown beams and dark green accents on the walls. Let's face it, though. This whole room exists to show off Micah's particular talent - brick-built creatures. It's a great idea to do the ones in all gray as statues along the top, and the posing on those is quite good. The lion is outstanding - one of your best beasts ever IMO. Hidden door is nice and I like the river and cavern on the other side (this could be the Batcave with different figs and accessories around). I'm a bit unclear on what is going on in the cave though. Is that guy skinning a horse to make a new display?

Others, in no particular order:

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Robert Black's royal chambers[/url] - I like the rugs set into the floor and the bed particularly. It does seem a little too open, but maybe that is the height of luxury for royalty, having a huge space rather than a little cramped quarters. Gaderobe is a good inclusion. The spinning wheel is a good design, but maybe misplaced for a royal chambers.

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Maedhros' Undead Strike Back[/url] - Great chair designs and curtain idea. The action of the scene is good - particularly the skelly climbing through the window. The rug is too stiff, inevitable I know, but maybe some actual cloth like a sail or that elephant blanket would be better (or there are different cloth blankets etc from Belville sets, I think, that would be good).

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Giorgio's Edessa Stables[/url] - Like your celebration entry, I really like how there is stuff at multiple levels to look at. The combination of ladders and palm leaves to make that roof is nice. Washing the horse is a good action detail. Great how everything opens up in multiple ways for interior play.

[url=http://www.clanamnesia.co.uk/aliencat/stopthetrack/moc/CCCV/c7e2.htm]Image
Aliencat's Club[/url] - This building has a really attractive interior when put together. I particularly like those brown beams, including the carved bird. Trash midden out back is a nice "life" detail. Interesting battlements. I wish there were some pictures from the other side. In the bar itself there is good action. Man lying drunk on the floor up on the balcony is a funny detail. Is the guy in red beneath the balcony a custom torso?

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Corey's dungeon repair[/url] - Just wanted to point out that the use of those rounded tower panel walls as tombs is a nice idea, including the clip to hold some emblem of the dead to fill the window hole.

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Daniel's Keep[/url] - I love the cut-out section of the corridor where you can see the support beams. It reminds me of that Castle Cross Sections book by Stphen Biesty. In the main room, the plates built up between the arches to make a vaulted ceiling works very well. I also like the rug set into the floor.

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Stone Goblin's Catacombs Church[/url] - Another beautiful MOC by SG. My favorite single section has to be that stained glass window, but there are tons of great details here, like those wall holders for candle sticks, the seated woman in the pews and the detail in the front of the church made of stacked hinge plates. The stairs could easily have been a throw-away section, but they're really well made. I'm less a fan of the catacombs - the pillars made of skulls seem over the top to me. And how cool is it that I have a cameo role in this MOC? Thanks, SG.

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Marcin's Fall of a Kingdom[/url] - This suffers somewhat from grainy photos and seems a bit unpolished in an era when we see so many studless creations. There are some great details here, like the guy pulling down the blue flag and using a statue as a battering ram. By far my favorite detail is the rock catapulted through the window, with little shards of stained glass scattered about the floor. This reminds me of a great vig that Nelson did a couple of years ago.

[url=http://gardenium.org/gallery/v/oddech/Unlucky+Queen/]Image
Iskra's Unlucky Queen[/url] - The action here is great - particularly how the retreating paramour is taking his pants with him. I like the detail with clips along the top, and the rug and bedspread are great, also the curtain and that detail with the bottom halves of hinges. I also really like the decrepit nature of the secret passage, with crumbling columns, broken floor tiles, and dripping water.

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Pkowalcz's Serenade[/url] - I just wanted to point out the railing design, which I'd never seen before.

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Randman's Chapel[/url] - A couple of nice things to point out here are the candle stands and the custom hat for the priest (made from a cut construction helmet, I believe).
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Postby Bruce N H » Tue Feb 19, 2008 9:01 am

Next up Farms.

My personal top three:

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Micah's Home from the Fields[/url] - This is a beautiful little scene, and highlights Micah's strong suit, brick-built animals. In particular, the horse is, IMO, your best animal yet. The rounded base, general landscaping, the fence made of flex tubing, baby wrapped in a blanket (turban) and trees in fall colors (with fallen leaves on the ground) are all great. Those wedge slopes as trees are surprisingly effective. If I have one complaint about this MOC, it is the preponderance of tan. The pig, cow and two figs get a little lost next to the tan ground, roof and hay.

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Marian19's Farm[/url] - New techniques always excite me, so this use of fudgesicles as roof shingles really pushed this one over the top for me. The well made of hinges and the fence with tiles and flex tubing are also nice. Other good aspects are the chickens, the all-plate building, scarecrow, tile-built door, tree trunk, and brick-built bull (interesting piece usage for the legs.

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DNL's Throejh's farm[/url] - This is probably the most organic-looking MOC in the contest, which earned it high marks. In particular I really like the crumbling wall along the back-right with weeds growing through it. Other nice details are the scythe, chopping block, stacked wood, broken shingles on the roof, brick-built cow and lettuce garden.

Others, in no particular order:

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Josh's Clancy's Farm[/url] - This probably wins the "most fun idea" award. Really nice landscaping and plant life, including those roots around his cave.

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Robert Black's plot of land[/url] - The nice detail I wanted to point out here was the plow design and cutting down into the tan dirt to reveal the fresh brown dirt underneath. One minor complaint - if the farmer is plowing, it doesn't seem like crop should be growing yet. Broken fence is a nice detail.

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Sir Brithead's Hobbit Farm[/url] - Very nice duck design. One complaint - for a hobbit farm, shouldn't the main crop be mushrooms?

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Kelderic's Homestead[/url] - Nice landscaping here and a pleasant house. The detail to point out here is the use of levers in the crop being harvested, with some standing up and others cut down. Very nice idea.

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Sir Nadroj's farm and barn[/url] - Really nice landscaping, particularly to the left of the barn. The use of cheese slopes to give shape to the beams in the barn is really good, also the HP troll's vest in the scarecrow.

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Giorgio's Beekeeper Joe[/url] - Some really nice details here are the sunflowers, harvesting the honeycombs, and the trapdoor with a ladder into the attic. The use of tiles on the side of the house and the SNOT aspects to the tree trunk are nice.

[url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/babyjawa/sets/72157603526056998/]Image
Babyjawa's Young farm[/url] - Best detail here is that shingle idea.

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Hopeso009's farm[/url] - Nice bull and chicken designs.

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Troy's Milk House[/url] - A couple of great details here are the trough for cow dung and the feed rack.

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Pkowalcz's black and white[/url] - It's hard to see because of the all-black, but the cuts into the ground where a skelly is plowing are really nice.
Last edited by Bruce N H on Sat Mar 01, 2008 5:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Randman » Wed Feb 20, 2008 1:23 am

[url=http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=293040]Image
Randman's Chapel[/url] - A couple of nice things to point out here are the candle stands and the custom hat for the priest (made from a cut construction helmet, I believe).[/quote]


Yes, the priest's hat is a modified construction helmet. I used a pumice stone to shave it down until it was closer to the size of the head to make it look more like a skull cap. Pumice stones are great for sizing pieces down without leaving too ragged an edge and they give more control on taking off the right amount. Thanks for commenting!
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Postby Shadowviking » Wed Feb 20, 2008 1:33 am

[url=http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=293465]Image
Barbara's water seesaw[/url]

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Thanks for the contest thoughts.
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Postby MrTS » Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:32 pm

great to hear your thoughts about my wizard tricks entry. I'm very pleased you liked it so much :) Thank you.

Also cool to to read the other new contest thoughts of yours. O and i guess something went wrong with some off the links in your last post commenting on the farms. Maybe you could edit it and fix it...its a reall pain in the *peep* to view them now! :P

Keep it up!
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Postby Aliencat » Wed Mar 05, 2008 12:55 pm

Bruce N H wrote:About: Aliencat's ClubIs the guy in red beneath the balcony a custom torso?

Yeah Scnicker made that one a while ago and gave it to me when I visited him in december. It's a Turkish Janissary torso.
He's not looking for trouble though, he's just enjoying his ale in the corner.
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Postby kelderic » Mon Mar 10, 2008 10:31 pm

Bruce N H wrote:[url=http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292507]Image
Marian19's Farm[/url]


Ohh wow, I was not aware of the MOC until seeing it here. That roof looks amazing! Does anyone know how it is done, maybe some pictures of the inside. Absolutely fascinating.

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Postby Bruce N H » Mon Apr 07, 2008 2:45 am

I'm really sorry, somehow I let this thread die without finishing my thoughts.

Next up Misc.

My personal top three:

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V1 (Noddy) - Tower of Brothers[/url] - Quite frankly I have nothing to say about this. This is a perfect MOC, a work of art. Some creations demand no comment, only silent contemplation and amazement. Best castle MOC in the contest, best I've seen in ages, maybe best ever.

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DARKspawn - Crown Manor[/url] - Another amazing creation. The only reason this didn't win was that this is more "standard" and squared off (though exquisitely done) in contrast with Noddy's more innovative/artistic organic design. As expected from Aaron, the windows, details along the top of the wall, interiors, etc are all wonderfully done and the whole MOC is very balanced. Favorite build detail is probably the railing leading up the steps to the main keep's entrance. Skelly in a barrel is a funny touch, remniscent of Nelson's Urban Commando. The homecoming scene is appropriately emotional.

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Maciej's Arabian Street[/url] - A lot of action and detail to check out here. I like how there are multiple levels to this MOC. Favorite details include the use of technic beams to add ornamentation to the white building, the brick built camel and donkey, hooka, weges as steps and hanging tiles as a curtain. If I have any complaint, it is probably that I wish the tan baseplate was broken up some, maybe with some landscaping or some cobblestones, or maybe a grassy patch. That would also help set off the tan buildings and camel, that sort of blend in.

Others, in no particular order:

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Dennis Coh's Winter Meeting[/url] - This is a touching little scene - full marks for emotional impact. Nice construction to get all of the non-right-angles on the gate.

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Tom's City Wall[/url] - Nice construction on the wall and a lot of details to look at. My favorites are the fisheman (who seems to have hooked a big one) and the beggar. I'm a little disturbed that one farmer has a wagon full of hands (presumably hay). :O One suggestion would be to make the rock of the river bank dark gray, because in some pics it seems like the city wall goes down to the water with a green stripe ten feet up. I like the plates finishing off the back and sides.

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Sir Nadroj's Troll's Den[/url] - This is certainly a fun entry. I'm a little disturbed by what that one orc is doing to his stuffed bunny. Good inclusion of odd elements (Scala? Belville?).

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Maciej's Corner House[/url] - Very effective achievement of that rounded shape. Beggar is a nice touch. One complaint - the dark gray section of roof should also be black, IMO.

[url=http://www.baronsat.net/pages17/P-Fortified-City.htm]Image
BaronSat's fortified city[/url] - This is a nicely balanced MOC with both martial and civilian aspects. The gatehouse seems very substantial and I like the little bell tower. It looks like the drawbridge is functional, so it would be nice to see it in open and closed configurations. Of course I always love brick-built animals, and the pigs are very well done.

[url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/48243528@N00/]Image
Bluesecret's Trekant Castle[/url] - An interesting shape to this. My favorite details are the little trangular cutouts, the tapestry and the tents. The courtyard area seems a little bare. I agree with whoever it was who noted that there should be some sort of walkway along the tops of the walls for defenders to get from tower to tower.

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Chris Edwards' Island Lookout[/url] - A really unique MOC. The verticality is really striking. Cliff texture is very well done, and the hidden face is hilarious. Texture of the roof (in dark blue!) is really nice. The stacked porches and the pull-up stairs are really nice. Some life would really improve this, with a couple of figs and maybe a boat pulling up below.

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Kris' Road, Inn and Black Owl[/url] - A really nice scene that looks like it would be fun to play in. Nice life details like the guy fixing the roof, another fixing a wheel, falconer, wagon with carrots and beets. Cobblestone road is very well done, and I love the design of the fence using gates. I'm not wild about the incorporation of log bricks into the walls of the main inn, and I think it would look better with brown instead of tan above the arch bricks in the building on the left in this pic

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Lord Doom's watchtower[/url] - I like the structure atop the tower, and the texturing of the walls with the randomly snotted tiles is nice. Fig placement seems a little muddled and it distracts that some of the fig action is off of the LEGO base.

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Thomas Wunz's dwarves welcome[/url] - A really nice idea with the castle built into the cliff, leading into an underground fortress. It does seem like this should be the dwarves' castle, and they should be welcoming the Crusaders, though, rather than the other way around. A couple of improvements would be to make the cliff face dark gray to contrast with the light gray walls (or the other way around), and to make the cliff top a little higher relative to the castle walls. Perhaps also to make the landscaping less regular - perhaps it should slope up to the cliff bottom a little more, and the cliff top should be more at an angle rather than a horizontal surface.

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SOJ's Fall of Troy[/url] - A nice idea. I particularly like the Trojan Horse and that collumnade in tan. The lighting effect is really nice and atmospheric.

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Micah's centaur[/url] - I've already praised the horse in the farm entry, and I think the body here is the same. The addition of the torso is nice, though he's got kind of a waspy waist. I'd like to see this guy set into some landscaping illustrating a scene.

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Micah's gnome cart[/url] - More of Micah demonstrating his awesome skill with brick-built creatures. The elf is great, as is the goat. My favorite bit is the goat in the second shot trying to eat the cherries. That hoe/rake is a very simple but effective design.

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DNL's Gorg Castle[/url] - The achievement of shape in this one is really nice. Nice detailing in the courtyard - lettuce head guy is funny. One complaint is that the gate seems too small.

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Luis Baixinho's Pursuit into the Underworld[/url] - The cliff and entrance here is really cool, as is the irregular base. I'm a little unhappy with the fig action. I think this setting would have been more interesting illustrating the story of Orpheus, placed in the legends category, as the entrance seems Greek to me. I could imagine this with orpheus just turning back and his wife looking all ghostly in the doorway. Just a thought.

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Tania Baixinho's Winterfell[/url] - Another really nice entry. The snow effect with the white leaves overtop the dark green leaves is really nice, and my favorite effect is probably the snow on the roof over the balcony, made of white and brown cheese wedges. The SNOT exterior and dark red accents on the building are very nice. One complaint here, though, is that I think that this is another case of a mottled structure against a mottled landscape getting lost. The mottled building would stand out more against a solid background, either rock or green grass, or the ground spotted with snow would hightlight a more single-color structure better.

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Randman's Tower of London[/url] - Good incorporation of the round portion with the straight sides. Tops of the towers are clever, with the saucer pieces and those octagonal bits. Also nice how sections of wall pop out for interior access. I think this MOC suffers a bit in that it's a very good reproduction of what is, in real life, kind of a boring building. Imposing and impressive, but overall very square and regular. More fig action would have helped, including customized Beefeaters and a flock of ravens.
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Bruce N H
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Postby Bruce N H » Mon Apr 07, 2008 2:53 am

Finally, Master Builder. For me it came down to three top builders:


Aaron Andrews/DARKspawn:
Image, Image, Image,
Image, Image, Image

Micah Berger/The Green Knight:
Image, Image, Image, Image,
Image, Image, Image

Stone Goblin:
Image, Image, Image,
Image, Image, Image

Here's what I said in discussing these with the other judges:

It's really hard, as they each play to very different strengths. DARKspawn is all about large MOCs that are relatively traditional builds, but done exquisitely. Micah is pretty much about his amazing talent with brick built beasts. Stone Goblin is most creative in scope, using a variety of different styles.

All of these were great bodies of work and I would have been happy with any of them winning. DARKspawn was my favorite overall, though, and a very worthy Master Builder. Congratulations to him, to all of the category winners, and indeed to all who made this such a fun contest.

Sorry about the delay in getting all of my thoughts out there. Time now to rest up until next year's CCC! :D

Bruce
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Bruce N H
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