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Bruce's CCCV Contest Thoughts

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Bruce's CCCV Contest Thoughts

Postby Bruce N H » Tue Jan 29, 2008 6:23 am

Hi all,

To continue with my personal tradition, I'd like to offer my thoughts on CCCV. For three months I've been unable to comment on all of the great MOCs that have come out, since I was judging. Rather than dig through and resurrect fifty old threads to add my comments, I'll collect them here in one thread. A few notes:

-If I do not comment on a MOC, it does not mean that I didn't like it. I know I may not live up to this standard at all times, but I try not to add simple "cool MOC" responses to threads - instead, I try to post when I think I have something to add to the discussion. The same goes here. I'll comment on MOCs if I think there is some neat detail or building technique to point out, or to highlight why a MOC succeeded or failed, IMO. I simply cannot post on all 200+ creations in the contest, so please don't take offense if I had nothing to say about your MOC.

-That said, I do try to mention my favorite two or three in each category, but the rest I mention won't be in any particular order.

-My comments are mine alone and do not reflect on the thoughts of any other judges. You can bug them to start their own 'contest thoughts' threads. :P

Some global comments:

-One thing I love about this contest is learning new things. Every year I'll find out something new about the castle era through people's MOCs. The legend and history categories were particularly good for this in CCCV.

-One thing that I didn't see this year was an overall cohesion to anyone's entries. In the past there have been some builders whose whole body of work somehow went together. For instance, a couple of years ago Stephen Wroble (I think) did a slew of creations for the Black Falcons that went together. Last year all of Jens' MOCs fit together. Nothing really of that sort this year. Yes, there are people with consistant building styles (DARKspawn and Athos spring to mind), but that's not quite the same thing.

-Perhaps my favorite thing about this contest is how it brings new builders to this site and to the Castle theme. This year was no exception, including category winners like Giorgio and Noddy.

Anyway, on to the MOCs.

Bruce
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Postby Bruce N H » Tue Jan 29, 2008 6:24 am

First up, Medieval Legends

As I mentioned before, I love learning new things through the CCC. So while I expected a lot of Arthurian or Beowulf MOCs (and there were several great ones), I particularly appreciated those builders who brought out some more obscure or local tale.

[url=http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=291426]Image
Tom Snellen's Bakery of Eeklo[/url] was certainly a delightfully fun story that I'd never heard before. This was a great winning entry and also my personal favorite. When I saw the first image with a line of people out the door and a head hanging over the entryway, I thought this was going in a much more macabre direction. Seeing the inside and reading the story really made me laugh. The best build detail is that fireplace, incorporating little flourishes like the 1x1 plates with clip light and the lion heads, the ladders as grills, and the light-up feature. Setting it at an angle was exactly the right move. Fig placement is great, especially the lettuce-head guy wandering blindly and the headless fig picking a new head. Other great details include the guy rolling out dough with one ball of dough and one flattened, the knife block, the little flag curtains, the salt and pepper shakers, the chandelier, rat with cheese, and the little patterning with 1x1 cylinders and slopes along the top of the wall.

[url=http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=288690]Image Image
Piotr's two dragon entries[/url] were my second and third place picks. This is probably because I'm a sucker for brick-built beasts and these two dragons are awesome. Great head and claw designs and very fluid organic shapes. I hope Piotr posts more close-up pictures of these. Is there flex tubing running through as a spine? The wings are a weakness, IMO, but offset by the overall shape (and the photo angle de-emphasizes the wings, wisely). Cute variation on a sheep design in Wawel Hill (the yellow one). In Last Adventure (the white one), the great dragon almost made me miss the SNOTted ground, which moves seamlessly into the SNOTted bridge. Rotating those tall slopes allows for a unique 15 degree slope in the bridge railings. SNOT design also gives a nice shape to the carriage (though here I think a different color would suit better.

Others, in no particular order:

[url=http://flickr.com/photos/13713152@N05/sets/72157603277202869/]Image
Daria's Betrayal of Gwenievere and Lancelot[/url] is one that really shows how presentation really makes the MOC. The low angle on the close-up pic (the one in the thumbnail) really sets the scene. Also perfect face choices and fig placement, with an angry Arthur, an upset Gwen, and a smirking Lance. Hilarious that Lance apparently keeps his armor on in the heat of passion. Using half of a hinge plate as the fringe on a hanging tapestry is a nice build detail.

[url=http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=284389]Image
Sir Brithead's Holy Grail[/url] is a really neat idea, drawing on a medieval painting for inspiration. Image I really like the background black sky with trans stars (reminds me of work by Kezzart), and the floating angels are effective. While I've used hippogriff wings for angels before, here the use of wedge plates gives some wing variation and makes the space considerations work much better.

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Jokkna's Sigurd Fafnisbane[/url] - The splitting of the anvil is cleverly done here.

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Robert Black's Morte D'Arthur[/url] - Some positives and negatives here. The shoreline is a little too blocky and non-organic. Also, the figs on the boat seem very static. The legs on Arthur and ____ (dang, forgetting my Arthurian lore, time to pick up Mallory) are cool, but the photography doesn't highlight it. What should be the emotional center of the scene is almost off the edge. What really sets this MOC apart, though, is the cool water surface and the great underwater lighting effect it gives. Great Lady of the Lake design (Moistened bimbos distributing scimitars is no basis for a system of government!).

[url=http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=284932]Image
Athos' William Tell[/url] - One thing I always appreciate about Steve's building style is the classic LEGO feel. You could easily imagine this as a set in the golden age. The colorful roofs and shutters/doors brightens this scene up. Nice bonus that the interiors are all fully accessible and at least partly furnished.

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Crises' Saint George and the dragon[/url] - Nice detail on the very long spear. I assume that is a careful positioning of a spear and a 4-long bar held together by the fig's hand?

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Barbara's Snow White[/url] - Perfect use of the large trans chest as the glass coffin. Gorgeous trees, especially the dark green.

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DNL's Roland's last stand[/url] - Very natural fig placement here, especially the archers on top of the ridge. I almost wish this MOC had been saved for the Battles Contest as that would be a better fit. One critique - when the action of the figs is much busier, as here, I would make the landscaping less busy. Maybe stick with just dark gray with a few light gray accents so that the figs would then show up better against a more solid background.

[url=http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=290373]Image
DarkTide's Macbeth[/url] - All of the blood details are awesome here - streaks in the floor, on the bed, hands, arm. Great to use a fleshy head for the dead king and I like the upset servant. Other great build details are the spiral stair, the stained glass, the floor rug, and the little wall accents with cheese slopes. My one complaint here is the completely empty and bland downstairs. Some of the details such as the statues and the spiral stair get lost against all that light gray. I think this MOC would be tons better if the upstairs were preserved (the bedroom and the hallway), but turned into a stage with a crowd of groundlings watching this as a play.

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Giorgio's Blondel[/url] - Nice variety of plant life here and details in the castle like the torture chamber, the arrow slit, the various arch details, and the portcullis. I hope more pictures are posted so we can see this in greater detail. The opening up for interior play is great; is this held together with magnets? One question, shouldn't the king be looking out a window in the front to hear the minstrel?

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Phil's Green Knight[/url] - I just wanted to echo all who loved the Green Knight fig. That's just perfect. The round table is also quite nice.

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Szww's Sword in the Stone[/url] - The foliage on the tree is great (also the nesting bird). Brick-built fig is a cool idea, though perhaps color variation might make it stand out better.

[url=http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292468]Image
Micah Berger's Grendel[/url] Grendel is a little cartoon-y for me, but the mayhem in this scene is awesome - the fig cut in half by a shield, the one impaled against a pillar, another embedded in the wall, and the snake entrails. The mosaic in the doorway showing the road receding into the distance, the city wall, and the far hills, is amazingly cool.

[url=http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292641]Image
DARKspawn's Beowulf versus the dragon[/url] - The non-square footprint of this is great, as is the landscaping of the mountain (including the mushroomsand the snow). Cool dragon design.

Bruce
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Postby DARKspawn » Tue Jan 29, 2008 8:42 am

Fantastic, Bruce, your contest thoughts are one of the best things about this contest (I think I may have said that before), it's great to get an insight into what appeals to at least one judge ;) Keep it coming!
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Postby MrTS » Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:56 am

Ah yes finally Bruce his Thoughts! :) I really was looking forward to this thread. I really enjoyed reading it last year. What i like about your comments is that i get the feel of it that you really have carefully studied all of the entries. You point out all kinds of little details i would have missed in some MOCs. Thank you for that! :)

Also its sooo cool to be named as your favorite entry, haha! :oops: I'm really happy with your comments. Thank you.
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Postby DNL » Tue Jan 29, 2008 1:50 pm

DARKspawn wrote:Fantastic, Bruce, your contest thoughts are one of the best things about this contest (I think I may have said that before), it's great to get an insight into what appeals to at least one judge ;) Keep it coming!

I agree with you. this is a great tradition :)
i can't wait for your thoughts about the other categories.

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Postby Piotr » Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:52 pm

This tradition is awesome. :)

Thanks Bruce!!
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Postby preterosso » Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:55 pm

I'm new here, and entering CCCV was one of the first things I did -- thanks for making us n00bs welcome, and for your kind words, Bruce. It's inspiring to see all the fantastically inventive work being done here!
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Postby Spongey » Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:30 pm

I've been anxiously awaiting these contest thoughts. Always one of my favourite parts of CCC. Thanks Bruce!
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Postby wunztwice » Tue Jan 29, 2008 6:01 pm

Alright Bruce! I've been waiting as patiently as I can for this. Great coverage so far, I can't wait for more of your intuitive and careful thoughts on even more fantastic MOCs from this year's contest!
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interesting comments

Postby Giorgio Chronas » Tue Jan 29, 2008 6:07 pm

Well Bruce, that were some interesting comments. I somehow envy you cause you were talking about the story behind the Bakery of Eeklo and how funny it was. Maybe you could post some day the funny explanations to the mocs.
As to the Legend of Blondel I will post more detailed pics soon. Currently I am making the pics for my trade entry, Blondel is next. One at a time as I need to dismantle the mocs and make order with the pieces. I hate that kind of work.

To your question about King Richard looking out of the front window. According to the legend, as I understood it, he wasnt looking out of any window. Three pics for the contest were not enough to show Lionheart in the tower. The details will show.

Yes the whole wall is being held by magnets.
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Re: interesting comments

Postby Bruce N H » Tue Jan 29, 2008 6:12 pm

Giorgio Chronas wrote:I somehow envy you cause you were talking about the story behind the Bakery of Eeklo and how funny it was. Maybe you could post some day the funny explanations to the mocs.


Hi Giorgio,

Tom gives a brief summary of the story and some further links (in Dutch) in his original post on the MOC.

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Postby Bruce N H » Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:25 pm

Continuing on with Festivals and Celebrations

[url=http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=287184]Image
Stone Goblin's Market Square Wedding[/url] - There were some creations that completely rose to the top in their categories, and this was certainly one such MOC. Stone Goblin, if you're reading this, I really hope you post more pictures, as there are so many things going on that you can't really see in the three overall shots. First up, I think it works really well to have a fairly basic color pallette with the mostly tan square, and then overlay it with lots of color (flags, awnings, figs). If the surrounding buildings also had a lot of color variation it would have muddled it too much. There are crowd scenes that look like just a bunch of figs, very static, and there are crowd scenes where it is obvious that each fig has a personality and is actively doing something. Here the figs are engaged in all sorts of hustle and bustle-buying and selling goods, watching the acrobats, puppet show, or snake charmer, cheering the married couple, etc. I really like just showing the very entrance of the church and setting it at 45 degrees. There's a great build detail of a doorway edged in a black and white pattern that I really like. Another thing I saw as I delved into this is a new veil design, using a cape around the neck and another atop the head. I'll definitely borrow that at some point. What's with the slave Leia woman on the balcony? She looks kind of mad. In my internal narration I think maybe she was the rival for the love of the groom and isn't happy he's marrying another woman. Again, I'd love to see more pictures of this. There's a side that we really can't see at all.

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Micah's Merry Christmas[/url] was my second favorite in this category. There is just so much detail here that you really have to go through the larger gallery to take it all in (btw, before anyone asks, I try to only look at the 3 submitted pictures before judging, then go back later and go through larger galleries). Lots of fig action such as the angels running around saving the guy falling on ice, taking money back from the pickpocket, preventing the lovers under the mistletoe from getting splashed with human waste. The pagaent is great with the guy putting together a sheep, use of levers in manger and baby designs, shepherd's crook, the hilarious donkey, and what's with the alligator costume - don't remember that in the Christmas story. Other great build details are the snakes as decorations and the wreath made of hands.

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Maedhros' Nos Galan Gaef[/url] was my personal third place. In part this goes back to loving learning new things through this contest, so learning more about this tradition was fun. Good landscaping, and action on the guys leaping the flames (including getting burnt) and reacting to the ghost. The evil spirit design is great. Also a great use of the light-up action. I like how the leaves on the tree are at all different angles. My trees always look okay as long as you don't look straight on where you see all the leaves as parallel lines, so this is a good solution to make trees look fuller.

Others, in no particular order.

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Boses' Vigil[/url] - A neat take on a different "celebration". I think this one works best in the close up pic, as the unfinished edges seen in the broader pictures detract from the experience. Also the cross could have been much better. What I really wanted to highlight here was that interesting window design, especially the slopes turned upside down at the top. Very cool. I also like the little candle holder using what I guess is a wheel hub. Nice detail using a piece that I never even consider using in a castle setting.

[url=http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=286230]Image
MrTS's May Day[/url] Nice action in this one, with lots of different things going on. I like the guy knocking over bottles in the game under the awning and that sausage sliding game is hilarious. Is that really real? One critique is that this feels a little empty. It seems like there should be more figs watching the festivities, waiting for the next turn at the sausage or at the throwing game under the awning, etc. Or maybe if this was just compressed onto a smaller footprint, say 32x48 rather than 32x64. The lamps, edge of the awning and stage up on barells are good build details.

[url=http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=287336]Image
Thomas Wunz's Coronation[/url] - The highlight of this is, of course, that great stained glass window. I also like the look of the tombs underneath, but would like to see more pics. The red and white floor might be a little much with the red and blue figs. Good use of a classic faction. The guard leaning on the roof up top is funny.

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Athos' Cheese Chase[/url] - Does this really go back to medieval times? According the Wikipedia page the evidence for this is spotty. Oh well, it's such a fun idea for a MOC that who cares? Steve gets great action from his figs (especially the white haired guy leaping) and also great face choices and landscaping.

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Josh's May Day[/url] - The use of the long Durmstrang ship banners as the maypole ribbons is inspired and gives a great spiral pattern on the pole, which also works well with the plastic flags on top of the pole. Great purist solution to this problem.

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Quickblade's parade/assassination[/url] - Nice dragon design and I always like seeing more ninja castle MOCs. One issue - the dragon is more of a Chinese thing, right? So it doesn't quite fit with the otherwise Japanese setting. Oh well, it's fun anyway.

[url=http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292138]Image
Tobiasz' Mass[/url] - Another nice take on the idea of celebration. The detail above the door and the stained glass windows are very nice. I also like the collection plate. The cross inside is much more effective than the one on the steeple, btw.

[url=http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292154]Image
Maciej's Judgement Day[/url] - There's a lot of good stuff here. I like the different judgements, with the whipping, throwing rotten fruit at the one guy in the stocks (a couple of green Exo-Force hairs would be good here), and is the one guy having his feet tickled? What's next, the comfy chair? On the green house, the stonework is really striking. Well done. BTW, is that Forestman in the alley waiting to make a daring rescue?

[url=http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292308]Image
Giorgio's Edessa Annual Fair[/url] is a great scene with a lot going on. I like how there is activity at four different levels. The palm fronds as a thatched roof is a good design. I also really like the tight-rope walker. I don't think I've ever seen that done before. The red/dark red fortune-teller's tent is striking, as is the brown/dark red roof. I'd like to see more pictures of this MOC.

Image Image
DARKspawn's Festus Fatorum and Dan Hall's Carnival of Venice kind of go together in my head, as they have some similarities - the water and two more levels above, the flags, the crowd of figs. Actually, these also go with Giorgio's MOC above in many ways. Favorite details in DARKspawn's MOC include the flame eater, the juggler, the strong man, sidesaddle lady and the stiltwalker. The little build detail with tiles and 1x2 plates with handle under the edges of the battlements is very nice. The whole wall in eneral is very balanced and attractive. What does that guy in the water have against the poor ducks?
In Dan's MOC we've got that great use of Batman fig masks. The cobblestone design is great (inspired by a NWBC MOC?). I'd like to have better pictures of the gondola, which is nice. I hadn't seen that flag from the Avatar set before. I'll have to get some of those. The red/white poles are nice and really help set the Venice location.
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...................

Postby The dark tide » Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:27 pm

Just to echo everyone else, this is an awesome tradition. This community of builders has some excellent talent that gets to be recognized even though they didn't win a catagory. One of my favorite one's mentioned here was DNL's "Sir Rolands Last stand". Its just so lush with detail and the fig positioning is excellent.

Thanks for all the comments Bruce, you provide useful insite for builders like me who aren't as seasoned. :D
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Postby Remyth » Wed Jan 30, 2008 1:13 am

I, too, have been waiting for this for a while. I love to see what you think of the CCC creations, and you even tend to point out quite a few details that I missed. Great to have this going again, and I can't wait for more posts!

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Postby LORD DOOM » Wed Jan 30, 2008 6:48 am

The judging of this contest must have been very difficult. I still have barely had time to even see all of the entries let alone analyze them in any detail. I'm overwhelmed by the talent in this community.

We talk about the Golden Age of Lego, but seriously this is the golden age of CC. It's the most expansive contest I've seen here. So far anyway.

I regret not getting to see all of these creations first hand. What an amazing castle display it would be to see them all in one place connected by landscapes.

Bruce, great comprehensive review so far, it's very very cool to hear your thoughts on our MOC's and we all appreciate the time it takes and respect your experienced perspective on CCCV.
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