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Custom theme?

Discussion of custom parts made for the Castle Theme

Custom theme?

Postby Red Bean » Fri Nov 21, 2003 4:54 am

Where to start? Let’s see?

I think the whole point about contemplating a project of such kind is, in the first place, NOT to compete with Lego and become a clone brand ourselves; and secondly, to keep our castle community alive and attract new interests, which I think is essential now that Lego has apparently switched its focus to the Bionicle stuffs instead of buildable castles. Let’s put it this way, I think we’re all here today because Lego, many years ago, has offered us the opportunity and means to construct our own little miniature castle world according to our imagination; and the various themes since the original yellow castle each was able to add to our world a different dimension, some we like more and some less, but in general they were all inspiring and I remember my excitement when I got my first falcon knight and thought to myself that here is someone for my castle to defend against. The same goes for the forestmen whom immediately pledged their alliance to my king, then came along the fright knights to even the scores up a bit. My castle world got richer and bigger as a result of it. What I propose we do, therefore, is to try to keep this tradition alive and show people the fun we have all experienced with our Lego castles. Imagine the alternative, if Castleonicle becomes a trend and kids grow up thinking of Lego castles as robots (or whatever a bionicle is supposed to be), then when we are gone Lego castle as we know it will be gone, too! This is why, as a community, even if nothing comes of it, we should as least think about doing something about it. And designing our own theme, or at least talking about it, would be a good start.

That being said, how to actually go about it? No, we’re not going to make and sell our own bricks and become a cloner; and like architect said, making a custom Lego series that is affordable is not really feasible. But how about really choosing a theme and pooling all our efforts to come up with designs (and instructions) that fit into that theme, to enable people to use their own bricks to build them and we can attract new blood into our community that way? If the interest is there, we can then think about producing our own small accessories (and maybe one or two unique parts) to complement our theme. Here is what I propose:

Possible sets for a Viking theme:

Horse(Ox?) Cart (small set)
Guard Tower (small set)
Farm House (small set)
Longboat (medium set)
Dockyard (medium set)
Forge (medium set)
Temple of Odin (large set)
Military Outpost (Large set)
Longhouse (large set)
Runestone (mini set)

It's certainly something we can all think about doing after the 'Colossal Castle Contest'. In the meantime, let's keep talking about it. :D



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Postby adm_matthew » Fri Nov 21, 2003 5:58 am

Or we could make a LOTR theme ;) j/k

The Vikings theme sounds cool... Maybe a King Arhur Theme? With a Large Camelot Set and stuff... Red Bean or Blasterman could provide the custom weapons :)
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Postby Devari » Fri Nov 21, 2003 6:00 am

King Arthur is well known and loved, so he might be the path to go. Plus, there are hundreds of set opportunities!
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Postby INTENSS » Fri Nov 21, 2003 6:07 am

I've had a King Arthur's faction in my system for about 10 years now. :)

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Postby Red Bean » Fri Nov 21, 2003 6:27 am

I've had a King Arthur's faction in my system for about 10 years now.

Yes, I think one problem we may run into with a King Arthur theme is that we will have difficulties distinguishing it from existing Lego sets. I have also thought about other possibilities such as Ancient Egypt, Greek, and Roman; but it might not be as easy to get the 'right' look for them using only existing Lego pieces. What do you all think? Any other suggestions?

R. B.


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Postby timber_wolf899 » Fri Nov 21, 2003 1:16 pm

egypt we could probably pull off with adventurers tan parts and such. it would be nice to have some tan wall segments with no printing though. also egypt opens up the possability for charriots of all shapes and sizes.

Roman wouldnt be too hard really. we'd need roman looking shields and possibly helmets?
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Postby lemon_squeezer2 » Fri Nov 21, 2003 3:23 pm

I'm with you 100% on the viking theme.

However, would there be a way to actually retail these items (eventually)? It sounds like they would be from actual Lego bricks.

Or we could pick up on the idea of making our own in China :wink:
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Postby David Girard » Fri Nov 21, 2003 5:23 pm

Why not just creating sets in the thematic, and make instruction of these. For those who want to build them, they just have to build the piece and build them.

I have many sets which can fit, but I'm not agree with the selling side.

I just thinked that we could create a line and show it to Lego.
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Postby Tadakichi » Fri Nov 21, 2003 5:39 pm

I've been lurking for a little while and have saw many of the posts on this topic. I think Its a great idea ,but I think the best way to go would be to do 2 small sets and a medium set for each culture. Also For cultures such as the Egyptians , where there are an abundance of pieces, we could have one large set. We could use all the cultures that everyone has listed such as, Vikings , Egyptians, Romans. It would also be very easy to create Indian and Chinese factions. I know that its not that organized But maybe we could get a web page, get a list of members who want to participate in this, and get someone to be a leader and keep everything together. Thank you for your time.
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Postby Devari » Fri Nov 21, 2003 6:59 pm

David Girard wrote:Why not just creating sets in the thematic, and make instruction of these. For those who want to build them, they just have to build the piece and build them.

I have many sets which can fit, but I'm not agree with the selling side.

I just thinked that we could create a line and show it to Lego.

That's what I thought as well. I don't like the idea of manufacturing pieces. As to selling the sets in custom kits - I don't think it is a good idea. As the theme would have been a joint creation of us all, such logistics issues such as who would get to sell them, etc could cause much trouble.

As to the base of the theme, I agree that King Arthur is too similar to previous LEGO castle lines. The problem with going ancient is that LEGO might just say "This doesn't fit with anything, into the trash it goes". One thing we may need to do is attempt to figure out what the main buying public (aka the kids) would find "cool". Although we might give anything for an Ancient theme, the current market might be for something Viking.

One historical theme that we would not be able to do would be a Crusades theme. I don't think I have to elaborate on why.

On to another thing. I'm not all that sure if LEGO would be able to get away with making temples. Religious groups might get outraged.

The first question I think we need to ask is wether to go Ancient or Medieval. Both have advatages and disadvanatges.
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Postby LEGOFREAK » Fri Nov 21, 2003 11:39 pm

My own vote is for the viking line, with a medeival flavor. If we start to go too ancient, then the pieces that lego would make (if this works :D ) would be too far out of most of our theme area. I mean - Egyptian for the adventurer line was fun when I got them, but I rarely build anything there anymore. All of my stuff is devoted to the middle ages, or fantasy i.e. dragonlance and tolkien.
I like all of the "sets" that were proposed.
(does this make sense? or did I write this weird? :D )

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Postby Devari » Sat Nov 22, 2003 12:35 am

Makes sense to me! :o

Although I like the Viking idea, I forsee two problems:

1. The Megablocks Dragons line is sort of Viking based.
2. The market appeal of Viking sets may be low.

However, I can forsee fun posibilities such as special Rune tiles in the style of Majisto's scroll or the 1x2 Tile Bricks. The whole storyline could be a LEGO-esque story about a few brave Heroes searching down the Runes of Blah-blah-blah (You get the idea). One thing we might want to stray away from is putting too much history into it. For example, we might not want to call it Vikings, but some other Nordic name. It might be more interesting and fun to kids if it is loosely based on the Vikings. After all, if we put historical signifigance into it, does that not somewhat limit story opporutinites?

- Devari

(Now, did I make sense? :wink: )
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Postby JPinoy » Sat Nov 22, 2003 2:48 am

Dissatisfied of how Castle Lego isn't giving me as big of an army I wanted, I created my own Ancients Theme. Hey, why not the armies fielded during ancient times were far bigger than most of the armies of lords and kings during the middle ages.

The theme I made isn't 100% historically accurate, but the most of the factions and etc. are.

Anyhow these are the factions:
~Kahilawayans = ancient SE Asia (subdivided into 3 factions)
-Kahilawayan Kaharian (Kahilawayan Kingdom/Empire)
-Bagong Lupa (new land)
-Mgakeramat (the "Holy" ones)
~Hsia = ancient China (sub divided into 3 different city states)
~Harappa = ancient india
~Saba = ancient Arabia
~Judea = ancient Israel
~Egypt = (like I need to explain who they are....)
~Mycenae = pre-classical Greece
~Eturia = italian civilization that predated the Romans
~Samnites = tribal people neighboring the Romans
~Hattusas = the Hittites
~Tyre = the civilization better known as the Phoenicians
~Shinar = Chaldeans aka Babylonians
~Medea = Medes Persia
~Tarkans = Turkic steppe peoples in central asia
~Hsiung-Nu = Mongolian steppe peoples central asia
~Korguyo = ancient Korea
~Gauls = Celtic tribesmen
~Norse = ancient "vikings"
~Mayans = meso-american civilization
~Mauri = pacific islanders, mainly those in modern NZ with whom the Kahilawayans have had extensive contact with
Peoples_General, master of the vast LEGO armies!
Behold! The mighty armies of my ORIGIN theme!
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Postby Red Bean » Sun Nov 23, 2003 3:17 pm

Hi guys,

I think, before going any further, it may be a good idea to attempt to prioritize our objective for this project. In my opinion, I think what prompted this discussion in the first place is that we feel Lego has forsaken its fine Castle tradition by the release of castle-ionicle; and we, as fans of castles in the old sense, want to prolong the old tradition so it doesn’t get replaced by the new stuffs. I hope I am right, therefore, to assume that our no. 1 priority in coming up with our custom theme is to do it as if TLG would, if it were to do a new theme for its traditional castle line. If you agree with me, then perhaps there are the followings we have to consider:

1. It must be easily accessible to as many people as possible, because one of our goals is to attract new members to our community in order to keep castle alive, which is why free distribution of the designs is one thing we should seriously consider. Perhaps another thing we can do is to have a part list of the different bricks used in each designs, so if people think the design is cool, they can check their collection first to see if they have the necessary bricks (if not, buy them from the internet) and then build the sets accordingly. I’m not in favour of building from existing sets because it may hinder creativity.

2. It must be done as if done by Lego, meaning not only in its design, but also market-wise. This is why we shouldn’t each work on our own themes individually, but should collaborate our efforts into making something that is bigger and grander than what anyone of us will be able to manage on our own. We want it to feel not as if it is an individual set, but a new series that is compatible and comparable to that of the forestmen or the dragon knights, with its own unique style and characteristics. This is because, in my opinion, it is the only way to give a feeling that Lego castle is not just having its life painfully prolonged by a handful of individual fans, but that it is actually healthily growing and expanding, full of energy and able to attract new blood from the internet community!

3. The look of the theme must be easily replicat-able by using existing bricks, as well as be able to fit in with existing Lego castle series. This is why I’m a bit hesitant to go into something like the Romans, because not only may it be difficult to replicate their unique architecture with existing Lego bricks (think of their elaborate pillars, columns, and chariots), but it may also be difficult to picture them fighting a group of Falcon knights or a witch. The Vikings, on the other hand, have a certain degree of fantasy about them which makes them easily compatible with existing lines (in my opinion, of course).

In my opinion, the best thing about such a project is that, whether Lego actually revives its Castle line or not, WE as a castle community will be doing our part in prolonging the castle tradition and showing people who have only seen bionicles what Lego castle, during its golden age in the 80s and 90s, is all about. With luck, we may be able to entice them to join our community and share our passion. The key, I believe, is to replicate Lego’s strategy towards castle in the 80s and 90s by coming out with different and interesting themes to give the feeling that the world of castle is expanding (this is why we've had so many discussions about different factions in this forum, because we like varieties). With luck, of course, we may even be able to gather enough interest for TLG to take notice, and maybe even produce castle sets once more in the future. But at this point this shouldn’t really be something we should think about or bet on.

R. B.


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