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Basic Castle Creations

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Basic Castle Creations

Postby ForestFriend » Sun Nov 03, 2013 3:51 am

Hi LCC'rs . As some of you know, I'm a new Outlaw member for the past two months. Still learning the basics although [hopefully] have some creative and story telling skills. My problem. Need a modest bunch of castle building and landscaping bricks to kick off my [improved] MOC's. Currently have around three hundred mixed colour bricks. Would like around [maybe] two to two and half thousand bricks [including] window, arrow slits, stairs etc. I love Eklunds castles and aim to build a similar but quite small castle , home to maybe fifteen or so mini figs . I haven't found 'complete' small castle plans for this scale of project but am aware of the 'how to pages' links in LCC so there are some helpfull threads here. Would love to buy small 'package of Lego' to achieve this but aren't aware of anything suitable for my quest. As 60 year old [senior]AFOL I need some help to build better MOC's . I'm in awe of the types of MOC's you lads and lasses build. Any advise welcome and appreciated on any of my questions and may assist others starting out in this LCC site. PS Have built up nice groups of forest Outlaws, Loreesis, Forest Knights, mixed old Castle mini figs and half a dozen monks. Have weapons and know how to order more as necessary . Thanks so much. Ciao David
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Re: Basic Castle Creations

Postby Lil_Curt » Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:49 am

As you know you are in the same boat as many of us. My recomendation which I know will be parroted is go to bricklink.com. one word of caution, it is addictive an will drain a wallet quickly!
That being said it is a great resource most of us use. You can buy specific parts that you need/ want an prices are good. Also if you have a lego store near you make use of the PAB ( pick a brick) wall. I have gotten some good parts there, plants, basic gray bricks, slopes, an most recently masonary bricks.

Also, i am building my colection using the LOTR/ HOBBIT sets as well as the kingdoms joust sets and the chess set which is great for mini figures if you can get them. Also dont discount star wars sets as the new ewok village set is great. I plan on getting at least one set my self.

Keep an eye out on craigs list too for some good deals on new and older sets. We all start some place, the most important thing however is to have fun!

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Re: Basic Castle Creations

Postby ForestFriend » Sun Nov 03, 2013 5:34 am

Thanks lil Curt, I'll check that site out.
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Re: Basic Castle Creations

Postby AK_Brickster » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:44 pm

A word of caution, don't buy black bricks to start out with, and set yourself a budget or you will be out of money within a month, lol.

I came out of my "dark age" and went gung-ho into Bricklink to get myself some castle parts. Black was cheap, so I bought about $100 worth of various panels, bricks and slopes, only to find out that black structures are infamously impossible to photograph. All of the black causes you to lose any variations in lighting and shadow. It CAN be done well, but it requires a building and photography expertise that you won't have right off the bat.

My suggestion: Pick a main building color (I chose light bluish gray) and just focus your Bricklink purchases on buying in that color for a while. Other colors will come over time to you via complete sets you buy, as will a lot of great unusual pieces that you wouldn't think to purchase on your own (hinges, unusual slopes, etc).

A few bricks you can never have enough of:

1x2, 1x3, 1x4 bricks and plates
2x2, 2x3, 2x4 bricks and plates
medium and large plates (for floors of multi-story buildings) such as 8x8 or 4x10
large plates (for longer spans) such as 6x12 (these can start to get expensive though, so focus on cheaper parts at first)
1x1x4 arches and 1x2x6 arches (WxHxL)
Various slopes, in both your main color and black or red (for roofs)
Inverted slopes such as 1x2 and 2x2 (great for making windows or doorways.

1x2x2 2/3 rounded windows are also useful, and are pretty cheap in reddish brown. You'll need fewer than you think though, so a dozen of them should be a good start and then just buy more as you need them.

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Unless you really like the style, avoid big panels. They seem like a good way to make large walls, but you'll see that most of the 'advanced' builders tend to avoid them because they just don't look as nice as a brick-built wall (though they have their place in certain applications).

When buying, look for bigger stores that have several of the parts you want in large quantities. It is far cheaper to pay a few cents more per piece and get it in "one stop shopping" than to place a bunch of small orders from several stores, because the shipping costs can be a hidden money pit.

Other than that, be on the lookout for stuff on clearance or for toy sales. If you're patient, you can find a lot of good stuff for at least 25% off, if not 40-50%. I almost never buy anything at full price anymore.

Feel free to ask if you have any other questions :)

I think there is a Bricklink FAQ thread around here somewhere. I will try to find it for you.

EDIT: Here it is http://www.classic-castle.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=23986

PS - Future conversations about buying and selling Lego would be better suited in the Buy/Sell/Trade forum. I am sure a Admin will be happy to move this thread, so don't worry about starting a new one down there :)
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Re: Basic Castle Creations

Postby Bruce N H » Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:11 am

Hey,

As noted above, this best belongs in buy/sell/trade (or maybe just in general LEGO), so I will shift it there.

In answer to the original question, one thing I should note is something that I tell everyone new to the hobby (or at least newly returned to the hobby). Remember that some people here have literally been collecting LEGO for decades, so don't judge your collection versus what others have. Trying to match those large collections will quickly drain your wallet. I generally have a few suggestions:

1. Just plan on buying one mid-sized set a month. This is within most AFOLs' budgets, and what you'll find is you very soon have a lot of LEGO.

2. If you have a smaller collection, I generally suggest buying sets rather than bulk bricks. You'll get a lot of random parts, but you may well find that they are useful, and if you can find sets on sale, you'll get a good price-per-piece. When your collection is a little larger, then use things like Pick-A-Brick and BrickLink to get large lots of things like gray 1x2 bricks or other useful parts, and also figs. E-bay is hit and miss - sometimes you can get really good deals, but I think it's harder than it used to be to find these.

3. Use sites like Peeron and BrickLink to look at set inventories to decide if you want the set. Focus on sets with basic bricks/plates/slopes rather than a lot of specialized pieces.

4. Watch for sales. Toys R Us will have buy-one-get-one-half-off deals every so often, and as Christmas approaches you will see coupons and special deals (including LEGO-specific deals). Target will put things on clearance at regular times throughout the year. A month or so ago you might have found stuff on clearance there as they wanted to open up shelf space for Christmas items. After Christmas they will have another good sale, to clean out some of that stuff and open up shelf space for new 2014 items. There are also clearance stores like Tuesday Morning and Big Lots where you can occasionally get really good deals.

5. In the mean time, make your builds match your collection rather than the other way around. If you have a smaller collection, you're not going to build a full scale castle, but you could certainly build a home or shop from the village, a catapult or wagon, a vignette, or something microscale. A clever small MOC is better than a bland and boring big MOC any day.

Most of all, have fun and play well.

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Re: Basic Castle Creations

Postby SSchmidt » Wed Nov 06, 2013 5:38 am

Lots of good advice here! I would avoid bricklink like the plague if it were me. I found bricklink when my collection was really small, and so I just kept buying and buying and buying. When you have a small collection, and you go to bricklink, you realize you can use every piece and you think you need every piece! Bricklink can be VERY addicting! I think bricklink should be used once you get a more prolific collection, to get the specialized pieces and figs you want.

I think sound advice is what others have stated. Start off buying sets. And don't settle for full price either. I NEVER pay full price for a set. Even new sets can be lowered with store discounts, coupons, etc. Chima sets get frequent sales, and you will find they are great sets for castle builders.

If you shop around, you will find great deals on LEGO.

I would suggest looking around for the Hobbit and LOTR sets right now for your collection, in addition to Chima. You can find them on sale most of the time (especially if you can track down the 2012 sets). 2013 castle sets have just started getting price cuts too.

There are lots of options if you are patient and search out the deals. I was embarrassed when I joined this site and saw the massive collections and builds other people had. Then I stumbled across one of Bruce's posts (in a LEGO store thread I made) reminding me some of these people had been collecting for decades.
I have clung to that thought, and cut my spending drastically. Being patient and looking for deals, has saved me considerable money but also given me a personal collection that I would value at over $10,000 MSRP. I didn't pay even close to that, but watching for deals allows me to buy expensive LEGO at much cheaper prices.

$10,000 is by no means a gigantic collection, but it is a very formidable (I think) collection to build with diversity.
At the same time, I can now buy LEGO, and sale off LEGO that I don't need and break even in my budget. You'll notice the longer you collect, the wiser decisions you will make and the more your collection will grow.

But above all, have fun doing it :wink:
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Re: Basic Castle Creations

Postby Falconer » Mon Nov 11, 2013 1:58 pm

another suggestion that I would add is to look on ebay for sets that have the minifigures taken out. People will buy sets, and then sell the figs and parts separate and usually the parts will go for cheap and its a great way to build your collection of parts
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Re: Basic Castle Creations

Postby Buurli » Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:55 pm

Falconer wrote:another suggestion that I would add is to look on ebay for sets that have the minifigures taken out. People will buy sets, and then sell the figs and parts separate and usually the parts will go for cheap and its a great way to build your collection of parts


Or you can just do it the other way: Buy licenced sets (if possible on sale), sell the figures and you got the parts basically for free. Licenced themes are good, because the minifigs are more wanted and very costly to get in Europe in comparison to the way better yellow ones :wink:.
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Re: Basic Castle Creations

Postby AK_Brickster » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:22 pm

Buurli has a good point. The only problem with that is that you have to invest a lot of cash up front until the figs are sold. For example, if Helm's Deep is on sale for $90, I am fairly certain that I can resell the figs for most of the cost, but in order to buy multiples, all of a sudden you're looking at spending a few hundred bucks in one go, with no guarantee that you'll recoup your investment if the figs don't sell, or sell for less than anticipated. Still, it is a good method, and one I've used to greatly bolster my collection.

If you do attempt this, remember that resale value of figs are at their highest right when the sets are released, because collectors haven't had time to get copies of the figs already. Once the sets have been out for a while, there are A) fewer buyers who want the figs and B) more inventory available from other sellers, which drives the price down. This particularly holds true for distinct characters, such as King Theodin, who's value peaked around $20, but is now down to less than half that price. More generic army-building figs won't be worth as much initially, but hold their value better since people want them in bunches.

I hope that helps a bit. :)

As for my top-rated castle collection-building sets, you can't go wrong with Uruk-hai Army and Helm's Deep. If you can find them for 20-30% off and sell/trade all/most of the figs, you can recoup a good portion of the cost, and those sets are full of great castle-building parts, with minimal panels compared to most of the new Castle sets.
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