The Wharf is the 12th in a series of MOC's intended to recreate the ambiance of the 80's.
I'd been looking around for another set to castlify after my Market By The Wall attempt and whilst hunting around on eBay for bits one set in particular caught my eye. I'd always been intending to extend my range of sets towards some form of medieval harbour and this one looked particularly ripe for adaption, therefore the inspiration for the wharf should be fairly clear. As ever there are no prizes, but feel free to post if you think you know from whence it came.
Sketches were drawn up on paper based on the source set. Key point's that I wanted to include were that it would be a continuation of the wall but that it's inheritance be fairly obvious. Since it's based around the same raised baseplate as 6081 King's Mountain Fortress that set would prove handy in terms of inspiration and construction technique. The final piece that I knew I wanted to include was a drawbridge down to the jetties, with the path over the drawbridge passing through a defensive tower.
Design proved fairly easy except for two little items that really took a bit of playing around with to get right; the tower at the top of the slope and the position of the building on the jetties.
The tower at the top of the slope was just plain awkward, there's not a lot of space there, the stud connections are limited and it has to have an opening on two adjacent sides. I eventually ended up using a modified version o f the lower level of the tower from 6081 King's Mountain Fortress. From a design perspective it is one of the weaker parts of the structure but it serves it's purpose.
A buidling with a small store in the roof was moved to the near side of the set to allow a tall tower to be place on the far right corner of the baseplate. This tower would be my drawbrige down to the jetties. The drawbridge was the cause of the next problem, with the drawbridge in place where to position the building on the jetties. Placed centrally it was too close to the existing tower so I moved it out to the corner of the baseboard which necessitated a rejig of the supporting arches and a widening of the jetty.
The end of the jetty needed a feature. Cranes are an obvious addition to any wharf, however a medieval crane would be human powered. Trying to build a minifig sized circular structure out of period 80's pieces isn't as easy at is sounds. The key piece was a Technic, Plate Rotor 3 Blade with Toothed Ends and 3 Studs (Propeller), this was enough to support a hexagon made from plates and old style finger hinges. Ideally I would have liked to get the studs inwards so that a minifig could be clipped in but I just couldn't get the plates and dimensions to work.
The boat is a modification of 6057 Sea Serpent. Extended for cargo carry and with lower fore and stern-castles. I also removed the shields from the sides in order to keep the width under 8 studs, important because the stretch of water beneath the drawbridge is only 10 studs wide.
On a set this big 9 minifigs don't go far. The boat crew took 3. Guards on the towers another 3. Dockhands the final 3. Plenty of barrels and chests populate the wharf as cargo.
Story: Not much. It's just part of the wider medieval life.
Playability: Lots of things to do, loading and unloading cargo. Raising the drawbridge to let the boat pass beneath. Hiding crates in the dungeon. Maybe even a little bit of light taxation. What there isn't is any direct conflict, there's no opposing side to start a fight.
My opinion was that the green works better when the wharf is connected into the castle wall, shown below. It makes the join to the water a bit messy, if this were a real lego set then I'd get a fresh screen-print with water on just one side.
Cost: The brick count is on a par with the inspiration set. What that retailed for back in the 80's I don't know. At 650 bricks the nearest modern equivalent would be 7189 Mill Village Raid giving it a modern price of about £66.
Consistency: It fits into the wall well. My photostage can't cope with anything more than the shots already shown. From a wider perspective the raised baseplate gives a bit of height and variantion which stops the wall becoming a line of grey. More industry outside the wall is always welcome.
I'm quite pleased with this one, particularly the boat and the crane. Whilst it might appear to be a "rebuilt in grey", there's actually a lot more thought that's gone into it and the positioning of buildings and such-like.