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Dragon's Retreat

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Dragon's Retreat

Postby Dragonator » Sat Oct 18, 2008 2:35 am

Hi all,

Today I would like to present to you my most recent creation, Dragon's Retreat. This is a small fortified Manor House located in the beautiful countryside of the Dragon Masters Kingdom. Lord Dragonator decided a while ago that he wanted to take a holiday every now and then, and so had this place built as a secure residence for him to stay in.

This was a very challenging build, and I must say I am quite pleased with the end result, as it is only my second serious build. I used a lot of the advice I received on my first build, the Ravine Tavern, to help me with this, so I always appreciate the feedback.

The most frustrating part of building any MOC I have found is getting all the pieces! You will notice that I used mainly 2x1 bricks on all the exposed walls, to try and give it a more 'stone work' kind of feeling. I can tell you, I used every last one I had spare, and I had to tear apart a fair number of things to complete the roof! :lol:

This model was on display at the recent NZ Lego Show in Wellington, and I was lucky enough to win 1st prize for my age category with it. Yay for me! :D Of course, the prize had to be a crappy Mars Mission set, didn't it? :x

Well, enough mindless chatter from me, I think you'll be wanting to see the pictures. Here they are!

An overview of the front.
This shot gives you a fairly good look at the overall model. It is built on a base of two 32x32 stud baseplates wide, and two and a half 32x32 stud baseplates long.

The front
Here it is, front on. I built it with a very symmetrical design, which I wanted to contrast with the random asymmetrical feeling of the landscape. Hopefully I pulled it off.

The front gate
This is the main entrance of course. It is lower than the main castle, which is for defensive purposes, anyone who makes it through the doors would have to fight their way up into the main house. I have used a classic piece of dragon design over the doors, which is to make the castle fit in with the style and theme of other Dragon Masters/Black Knights Castles.

A signpost...
The all important signpost. In this picture you can see one end of the bridge, as well as my favourite piece of greenery, the beautiful cypress tree. I wish I had more than one of those...

The landward side
I really like the angle of this shot, it gives a really neat foreshortening effect.

Lord Dragonator is holding a house-warming party. Looks a bit boring to me, lets get some members in there to liven things up! :P

The Bridge
Here is a little bridge crossing the river on the main road.

The River
Here is a shot of the riverbank. On one side we see a Shepard with his sheep, and on the other is the new cellar keeper taking in a recent delivery.

The River Side
Here you can see the steps leading up from the river and the windows overlooking this side.

The Back
I never like it when the back of a creation is plain and dull, so I decided to do something different here,and I thought, why not try my hand at a stained glass window? I think it turned out pretty good.

Another look over the whole diorama.

Riding to war
I just really like this picture, and thought I would end with it.

Sorry for talking so much, I hope I didn't bore you. Thanks very much for looking, I hope you have enjoyed it. :)

If you are interested, here is a link to the Brickshelf Gallery where you can find the complete set of all 49 photos.

I would really appreciate feedback, as that's how I can learn what to do better on next time. My next major plan is working on a large village that will feature in a game I will be running in late next year called Mystery Castle II. I want to get everything spot on for that, so please, let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. :)
Last edited by Dragonator on Sat Oct 18, 2008 3:33 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Sir Dano » Sat Oct 18, 2008 3:21 am

This is pretty awesome, but you might want to switch to links, as your pics are currently too large. I love the use of the dragon heads in the four corners of the roof, as well.
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Postby Dragonator » Sat Oct 18, 2008 3:25 am

Sir Dano wrote:This is pretty awesome, but you might want to switch to links, as your pics are currently too large. I love the use of the dragon heads in the four corners of the roof, as well.

Opps, sorry, I'm new here, I didn't know there was a restriction on picture size. :oops: I'll fix it, thanks for the tip. What is the maximum picture size that is allowed to be posted by the way?

EDIT: Never mind, I found out. I'll remember for next time. :wink:
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Postby JoshWedin » Sat Oct 18, 2008 4:33 am

This only your first or second Castle MOC? I'm going to be expecting great things from you, as this is excellent. Especially for a "new" Castle builder.

You seem to be grasping the techniques very well. Color me impressed.

Now for some feedback. I know you are new and I usually refrain from this level of critique with new people. However you seem to really want to improve. Some might consider these nitpicks. I think of it as taking your MOCs to a new level. ;)

1. I don't think the "owner" of this manor would have built it against a cliff, as that gives any attackers an easy way to get on the roof.

2. Your path is level with the surrounding ground. Non-paved roads tend to "sink" below the ground, as ruts and such are worn into them.

3. You know how to use the techniques of Castle building now. Try to find something that will make them yours. Try to push the envelope, if you know what I mean.

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Postby Dragonator » Sat Oct 18, 2008 7:27 am

Thanks for your kind words Josh, I appreciate them. I really like it when people point out what can be improved, it gives me something to work on. I'll just quickly respond to each point.

1. You make a good point there. I guess I didn't really think about it when I was building. :lol: I'll certainly keep that in mind for next time. I don't want anyone invading my house!

2. Ah yes, I see what you mean. Would the whole road be sunken down evenly do you think, or would only parts of the road sink down, giving an uneven effect? This is something new to me, perhaps I will experiment a little and then you can tell me what you think when I post it.

3. Thanks! I must say I have still got a fair bit to try, for example I want to tackle building more ornate structures such as a church, and I am hopeless at building brick-built trees. I'm sure there is lots I can still learn about landscaping as well, I really enjoy doing that. I'm sure that as I learn new things I'll think of some of my own stuff to include too.

Well thanks very much for your comments, they were really helpful. I think I'll try doing a few small MOCs to see if I can get this "sunken road" effect you speak of, so when I do get them done, be sure to tell me what you think please. :)
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Postby Blueandwhite » Sat Oct 18, 2008 12:57 pm

Nice work.

This is great work considering it's only your 2nd castle-related MOC. Visually it looks like you've taken alot of inspiration from Rebelrock and others (not a bad thing to do). That being said, for your next work try and develop your own style a bit more. This is exceedingly difficult for builders but it really helps make your MOC stand out from the crowd. You definitely have the technical skills to make an amazing work. A few more castle-MOCs and you'll probably be amongst the very best in the hobby.

As for the MOC itself; it is very nice if not a bit too geometric. What I mean is you have a field that is essentially broken into a series of rectangular blocks. The river runs straight across the moc sub-dividing the field into a small rectangle and a large one. The rectangular manor house sits on a rectangular rock with a rectangular path (8 studs wide) running in front of the manner home. In alot of ways it almost reminds me of an old videogame where all the dungeons were constructed at 90 degree angles.

On the other hand; the architectural detailing on the manor house is fantastic. I really like the diamond shaped element above the archer loops. The figure struggling with the barrel on the staircase at the dock is another nice touch. The rocks are also beautifully done. Overall it's a really good MOC. I really look forward to seeing what you have in store for us next.
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Postby Quickblade22 » Sat Oct 18, 2008 5:11 pm

Very nice. At first glance I thought it was comparible to what I have achieved, then upon further inspection (2 seconds later) I realized that this is way beyond my skill. I like the inclusion of the dragon plumes above the main gate. The cliff face is something I like also. I'm really impressed with the size of the roof. The Brick Forge animals are a nice touch :wink: Having a style similar to other really great builders is something I think is admirable. I can just imagine how much better your already awesome Moc will become once you apply the advice given. Nice photography by the way.
Last edited by Quickblade22 on Sun Oct 19, 2008 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Muskey15 » Sat Oct 18, 2008 5:39 pm

Great job! The SNOT water looks great!
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Postby CastleLord » Sat Oct 18, 2008 9:45 pm

I love it. :D I really do. But what does SNOT mean?

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Postby CVfan13 » Sat Oct 18, 2008 11:05 pm

CastleLord wrote:I love it. :D I really do. But what does SNOT mean?



SNOT. One o' them clever acronyms. :wink:

Anyway, I was blown away when I first saw this. I mean, I knew you were a new member, so I didn't expect anything this spectacular (not to insinuate that "noobs" can't be skillful, but I was just considering my own status... :lol: ).

Well, what I saw... kicked the living Mega Bloks out of what I imagined I might see. I like the river and its "flatness", if you get what I'm trying to express, as well as that bridge, what with it's clever use of goblets. The arches and texture of the actual manor are nice, makes it look very... connected, smooth and... seamless, if you will. One part that really jumps out at me is the little dock and the guy carrying that barrel up the stairs. Don't know why, guess I just like those things

Now, for the tiny bit of criticism. Like Josh said, the placement is a bit unrealistic, but I imagine this within the walls of a greater city... but if not, then it might need a bit more logical thought next time. Other than that, which doesn't really bother me, is the straightness of the river. If you varied up the surrounding land a bit to make it wind and bend it would look even cooler.

All in all, a great piece of artwork.
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Postby Dragonator » Sat Oct 18, 2008 11:52 pm

Thank you everyone for the great feedback, you have all given me a lot to think on for when I start work on my next MOC. I have a fair idea on what I should improve on for next time, such as trying not to make it so geometrical in the landscaping and more thought as to the location of what I'm building. I thank you for all your tips, they have been a great help. :) For my next MOC I want to have a go at making some round constructions, such as towers etc, so perhaps this will give me a chance to try out some of the things you have all mentioned.
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Postby lord azreal » Sun Oct 19, 2008 1:39 am

I really like it, its not the usual stuff I build, but it is at the same time along the lines of what I would want to, some really nice details in there such as the dragon heads on the corners aswell
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Postby Shadowviking » Sun Oct 19, 2008 5:17 pm

This is amazing. Fantastic job.
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Postby Sir Nelson » Sun Oct 19, 2008 6:37 pm

What an excellent MOC. I like your inclusion of the stained glass, the windows, and the 'diamonds'.

My only criticism is the switch to green in the lower right (for earth), when the rest is dark grey... did you run out of bricks? You may also want to cap the river edges with bricks/plates facing up, to 'sandwich' the SNOT river inside, and prevent the overhanging tile in the front and visible tubes in the rear. Other than that, everything is great and this MOC is very much frontpage worthy.
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Postby Jansen » Mon Oct 20, 2008 1:23 am

Wow, what a wonderful creation! The architectural details are good, the SNOT creek is good, and I really like that little farm on the far side of the water! Really, really nice job. My only suggetstion is to add some different colors to the rock, to make it more natural looking, just something I would do.
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