The Making of...

I was cleaning up my computer of files from this model and found some of the in-progress shots that I hadn't already deleted. So, I thought I would share a little bit of the process as it is often fun to see things in time lapse mode.

Ok first, my dirty little secret. Things never seem to look as good in person as the photo. So, at risk of humbling the creation a bit, I'm going to expose the piece a little.

This first image here with the beginning of the first floor. Note the burned window which I later redid. This image also shows the process of adding bricks to the facade. Each 'brick' takes at least 5 or 6 pieces. This was quite a process. Surprisingly, while the walls are entirely 1x1 bricks (headlights as well as normal bricks), they remained pretty sturdy. This is due to 1 stud wide plates behind the bricks attached to the headlights strung horizontally which added a great amount of stability. The terrain was redone, as you will see later, as I needed more room for the tree.

 Much of the walls with bricks now. You can see the corner of one wall has gaps between the bricks. I was not able to resolve this problem until later on while building the second floor. (Shhhhh. Don't tell anyone but I figured the tree and column that would go over there would cover up my mistake and didn't want the hassle of redoing an entire two walls.)

Also, you can see here that I was playing with the notion of curtains. In the end, I thought there were not exactly as fluid as I wanted and they were so obscured by tree and branches that it was not worth keeping. I had also played with using minifig capes for curtains. Here's the thing. While I could have strung the cloth capes together to make a totally convincing curtain, they would not appear 'lego'. For me, the magic is seeing hard bricks transform into something else. That, to me, is Lego.

I was very happy with the base of this porch column. A bit of fancy snotting to get vertical cracks in it as well as horizontal cracks.
Fast forward now to the 3rd floor. (Much of the interim photos were deleted.)

A few things to note here. Firstly, I got rid of the first floor burned out window which looked like a hole, as a friend pointed out. I later revisited this on the second floor when I had another idea how to achieve. This time I was much more pleased.

The landscaping was mostly removed to change the ground to make room for the tree. Sounds like a waste and bad planning, but, I needed to see first off how the effect of levers and droid arms would look in mass. It's sort of like painting a room. That little swatch you get from the hardware store never seems to look the same after you paint a wall. The front ground was sort of my temporary painted wall. Once I 'painted' the ground with many hundreds of levers, I was satisfied that the effect was what I wanted.

I put the tree in just by leaning. I had thought I would need to use some hinges and fancy connecting, but simply leaning it on the wall was all it needed. It never fell or budge either, which was a huge relief. Every morning I'd come down wondering if this would be the day the tree would slip and bring the model down with it.

I was very, very pleased with the shingling on the tower cornice. There is offsetting both horizontally and vertically to get the pattern. In particular, I was able to get a nice clean corner, which was very satisfying.

You can get a good sense of scale here. The window is around 7' high I think.

The tower roof now going up. I had to do this 4 times as getting the corners to meet properly was very difficult. It was not so bad getting the plates to butt up next to each other, but there were tiles on top of it which complicated things for me at first.

The large victorian bracket just below the 3rd floor on right was not the final one. I sort of gave up after a while and left it until I could get back to do a design that was appealing to me. I spent some time digging through Katie (eilonwy77's) beautiful patterns, but I don't have quite that mindset to think through that way and figured I'd get to it later when, hopefully, more advanced.

 One tower facade has been completed here.

One thing I'll point out in this picture is the makeshift porch beam leaning on the wall up to support the porch roof. It is both thematic and real support for it. The columns offer no support at all. I decided to make the columns appear cracked by flipping the pieces back and forth. They connect by a 3mm ridged hose that runs through them.

 More shingling here on the 3rd floor. I ended up redoing the arched window later on. Here it is pictured using 1x2 brick hinges. While the effect was ok for the window on the tower, this one was more ornate and did not hold up as well.

I've added another tree here to soften the side of the house. This makes the transition from building to ground much smoother. It also serves to bring interest to the side of the piece as the branches extend out away from the building.

You'll notice here that I have changed the arch on the 3rd floor window. It's much more cleaner than the previous version (you can see in the previous picture for comparison).

Nearing the end here. The trees do not have the final bark treatment. In addition to the tree, I really needed to smooth out the roof peaks. I've added bushes to the right side which, again, soften the sides of the piece a little. A lot of fun details were added after this picture. This part is were it gets really fun as there is no worry that I might not be able to achieve a particular problem and - while I build at this point - it's really satisfying to look at.

Hope you enjoy!

– mike


Derek said...

Thank you for the look into the process. It looks Awsome! I hope you do one without a tree smashed through it, a sort of before an after.

Katie Walker said...

Hi! You know you have completely knocked the socks off of the LEGO community, right? And I don't think anyone even knows what to say. I read the blog on BrickPop and the writer said that he felt like he should never build anything ever again after seeing this. I have to admit I felt the same way, but not just about me, but about everybody... as if nothing ever needed to ever be made in LEGO again, by anybody, ever.

Anyway! ;-)

So, I was delighted and honored to read that you were looking for my patterns, but laughed to read about the part about needing to get "more advanced". It's just funny how people (at least many people) downplay their strengths and really notice their weaknesses. I know I really do that a lot. I feel like you have all the skills that I don't have: you make actual buildings, and it's so artistic (and non-perfectly geometric). I have a really hard time with making things organic, so to speak. I guess I haven't tried much, but that's because I know it wouldn't be easy for me, and there have been so many other appealing things to do first. I know that when I was young I learned to draw geometrically, and I loved it and was good at it, but it didn't seem truly to be "art" because it was very formulaic and anybody could do it if they followed the correct formula. Your kind of creations are much more intuitive and non-formulaic. It's a style that I envy; but I've also grown to be happy with the strengths that I do have.

I also just wanted to say that I continue to read your blog. It's very well-written. And now I should get back to parenting these ragamuffins... the babies are unhappy. ;(


Chris said...

I just read that you were planning on dismantling these. That would be a real crime.

If you do though, Can you please take pictures as you go, maybe ten bricks at a time, thus creating a phot series that when viewed in reverse could serve as an instruction guide. I and and many others would love this.


mezba said...

What I love about this is that it's simple (mostly 2 colours) and complicated (of course!) at the same time.

It's a very unique concept.


Anonymous said...

May I ask why you took your creations apart instead of selling them or auctioning them? They would have sold for many thousands of dollars.

Mike Doyle said...

Thanks! Sure, I'll explain. Each model probably costs $5k (probably more) in Lego parts alone and takes hundreds of hours to build. Also, they are fragile. If I were to sell, I'd have to take them completely apart, and rebuild and glue back together so they don't fall apart for the buyer. The gluing would take a great deal of time away from building a new creation. By, taking apart and reusing pieces, I can begin anew straight away with a lot pieces.

These are so large that it isn't practical to store them in the house while I wait for the sale. So, with all this in mind, I keep a few chunks that I can sell with prints and then disassemble and file each piece.

Anonymous said...

These are amazing!

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JAKman84 said...

I just want to say I think this is an amazing build and all that you create is awesome. However I run a Lego page and it was brought to my attention several times after I just shared this house on the page that you do in fact use no Lego pieces. Many have pointed out to me in some of your closeup detailed shots there are Megabloks being used instead of Lego. Sad to say I had to remove you amazing art work as Lego does not allow me to share anything unless it is solely Lego. You may want to change the statements on your page that you use all Lego pieces when you do not.

Mike Doyle said...

Whatever… It's all Lego. If you run a site on Lego and are not able to discern then that is a shame.