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LOM Episode 2: Premonition
Episode 2 at last! Finally, a moc on the 'pages I can be proud of. This is the first one that was not rushed due to a contest and is not obsolete due to old techniques. This is the moc that establishes my style and skill level, and even introduces a new technique or two. Enjoy!
About this creation

The warm, gentle breeze that soothed Dzargon’s skin did little for his mind.

It was a beautiful afternoon. The sun was just beginning to set. He should be feeling serene. But something was bothering him, and it wasn't that he had been eliminated from the Tourney. It was the feeling – and his feelings were uncannily precise – that Ganner was in danger.

The human was his closest friend. He had been tracking his enemy for two years now, but had at Dzargon’s request taken a break from his vengeful quest to watch the Halidran play in the Tourney. Typical of him to be late, but…a letter Dzargon recently received had stated Ganner should be in Carthal today. Somehow, Dzargon doubted it.


Dzargon looked again over the city's outskirts, taking in the view.


Dzargon's gaze passed over the fountain and homesteads to the dense forest just beyond, and the majestic mountains that loomed above it. And he staggered.


A vivid image suddenly burst into his mind, interrupting his thoughts and blocking his vision. It was nighttime, and a campfire cast orange light over the scene...revealing the comatose form of Ganner on the forest floor. Two figures stood above him, one heavily scarred but the other completely in shadow. There was laughter in the air.


In a second, the vision was gone. Dzargon gasped, gripping the railing as he stared at the forest north of Carthal.


He knew who one of those figures was. He just hoped he was wrong. But if Bandon really was involved, Dzargon couldn’t go into the forest alone. He would need help. Preferably a full squad of Mythronian guards. And for that, he needed…


"Halbert!"


The silver-and-blue-clad Mythronian turned. “Yes, Dzargon?” There was something in his voice. His face was impassive as always, but he seemed taut somehow.


“I need...is—is something wrong?” Dzargon said, cutting across himself.

“Yes.” Halbert said curtly. “Something is very wrong, so I hope whatever you need won’t take too long.”

As Halbert hadn’t elaborated on whatever was bothering him, Dzargon decided not to press him. “I’ll need you. And preferably a small squad of Mythron soldiers. A friend of mine will be in trouble in the forest just north of Carthal.”

“Why would you need me?”

“Because you’re a ranking Mythronian! You can help organize some soldiers! I can’t do it alone. This friend of mine—his attacker may be of the Black Lotus.”


“He's WHAT!?” Halbert cried. His eyes were blazing; his jaw set. “The Black Lotus...then you’ve got it, Dzargon. I’ll do it. Oh, yes, and bring a squad too. D'you know where in the forest?”

“Yeah, I think so...” Dzargon faltered, surprised at the sudden, violent change in the usually cool man’s demeanor. “Halbert, what...?”

“It’s King Rowan. The news just came in, he was assassinated by the Black Lotus."


Dzargon stared, thunderstruck. “The King, I don’t...how?”

“I don’t know. Story is he was ranting about taxes and gold, and so it's a good thing he's gone. "Lies, all of it. Slander. Not only have they struck at Mythron's head, they're trying to discredit us as well. And if a Black Lotus operative will be in the forest tonight, I’ll be ready for him. That cult will regret ever setting their sights on this nation. I’ll make sure of it. Now come on!”

----------------------


Well there you go! I know the story's short for such a large-ish/varied moc: I assure you they will get longer and more interesting. But for now, let's talk about the build!

First off, I love it. I took my time, I got some bricklink orders, (I'm way overdue,) but here it is! Three mocs - The forced perspective one, the village, and the forest scene. let's dive right in, starting with the FP build.

The town square, complete with a large fountain (made with a blue crystal; chi would have been better, but I have no Chima sets (and am proud of it :P)) and several houses. The ones closer to Dzargon's minifig-scale building are larger, but you can't see them too well. Still, I get points for attention to detail, right?


The larger houses. I actually really like them, especially the one on the left. It uses a micro-scale version of Luke Watkins's masonry technique to nice effect.


In fact, these guys get a picture of their own so you can view them without a cluttered background. :P


The other houses, which were simple enough but look good. My favorite part of this section, next to the layering and placement of plates/tiles, has got to be the tree design. Exo-Force hairpieces. Nice, right?


The forest. Lots of layering is underneath this. The tan of the village turns to brown which turns to green. I think it looks pretty nice, despite those annoying and unavoidable holes in the cones.


And the mountains. Now I know I've been flattering myself at every turn, but man...I love these mountains. I must thank David . for pointing out that my original mountains looked terrible. They were studs-up and bland in design. With that in mind, I tried to construct something that that really looked like mountains might; the subtle shaping and such...and I really think I succeeded.


I even named them when titling the photos. I wasn't going for any unique name, just something I could use to identify the title with. This one's name is Majesty. Isn't that just what it is? :P


This is Duke. Not as refined or curved as Majesty, but still nice. It uses some cool techniques to get some of those angles, like that slope tilted backward by a cheese and some hinged stuff in the back and so on. Unfortunately the image that showed the back of it turned white when I tried to crop it (and I don't want to upload it again) so you'll have to take my word on this. :P


Now for the building Dzargon is at. It's a hotel or something the Average Gnomes were using (as the Tourney did take place in Carthal, conveniently). And I have to say, for my first building ever, it looks really good.


I did have some help, though - a big thanks to Halhi 141 for his advice when this would have been the final product. He told me to maybe add a window and some colors. I did that and more, and it was immensely useful--thanks man!


The wall can be removed for photography purposes.


the balcony and floor. Simple but effective.


And now the wall. I really do love the textures and color distribution, and I think having the door be studs-out helped make it look like a door rather than a part of the wall with silver stuff on it.


Now, look here. You notice those wood beams seem to go back, as if they really are beams in the wall and not just on the outside. I labored with connections and pieces to get that effect, as you'll see in the next picture.


The back. I needed the whitewash sections to be sturdy, and for that I needed them connected--by the side as well as the top--to the beams. But I also didn't want those colors showing through. The placement of every brick there is strategic.


Next up, the village. Yeah, I'm saving the best for last--the final scene is groundbreaking for me and more impressive than this.


Overall shot and uncropped main image. You see why I cropped it. :P


Building number 1, which I actually built second. :P






The corner. Harder than it looks, let me tell you. >_>


How I handled that annoying corner...that took some time, and it isn't perfect even now.


LukeClarenceVan once stated something along the lines of any builder worth his salt has invented a technique for making a round wall/tower. I've done that, but that's coming later. My point is I'd like to extend that - any builder worth his salt ought to have a new roof technique. This is mine. I purchased all those brown pieces specifically for it, so I hope you like it. :P


The door, is nothing too special. I tried to add some symmetry right above it - those two round 1x1 plates on either side of the masonry brick - but I don't think it worked out.

But LOOK AT THE PATH. KAI BERNSTEIN HAS USED 1X1 SQUARE TILES IN A PATH. Never thought I'd do it, right? Well, with this type of path it works perfectly. It really is my favorite type - no gaps between pieces or anything, just a cohesive cobblestone path. I believe the original concept came from the great AP, but I added some of my own touches. I quite like it; what do you think?


Texture! Tell me, how did the cheese slopes work out? I have mixed thoughts on it, even if the technique used is pretty neat. :P


And the back of the blue building.

Now for the tan one.


A very different style from its neighbor, the tan building was the first I started and the second I finished. It was tedious. But it all worked out in the end! I do like the shaping and design.


Side shot.


The roof. Nothing too unique, but I like it.


Upper levels. This image gives NO inkling of the hell I went through to make it work, a fact I'm proud of. You'll see in a bit, though.


Texture! I think I like this more than on the Blue. It's less chaotic.


The back. Oh, man, the back. THAT should should give you some inkling. But only an inkling. It was harder than it looks to make that.


Well! Now that I've shown you all that, what's left? Why, the small forest scene of course!


is that beautiful or what? Doesn't that look like a real tree?


Dark green and normal green make a fantastic team.


Remember when I mentioned a bit ago that line about being worth your salt once you invent a round tower technique? This is mine.


I even added some leaves to the underside to cover up the clips, to make it more realistic.


Love this angle.


And the ground. For my first time, I'm super proud of the layering and color distribution. (This picture was taken before I added the campfire).


The fire itself. Terrible picture, really doesn't do it justice. And I never ended up using those brown pieces.


Another shot of the fire.


Parting image, the tree again. I can't get over how realistic it looks! :D



And that is it! I hope you enjoyed this build as much as I loved building it, and I'll be posting the inner workings of that tree on my Behind the Scenes moc tomorrow! Thanks for looking, and please rate and comment! :)



Comments

 I made it 
  June 5, 2014
Quoting ~ Brick I just realized something...it's quite strange Halhi was the only person in town:P
Oh yeah, overlooked that little detail didn't I...
  June 5, 2014
I just realized something...it's quite strange Halhi was the only person in town:P
 I made it 
  April 24, 2014
Quoting Thomas of Tortuga Wow, really nice job! The roof design is stellar, especially wit the brown cones coming out from the plates as thatching, and the FP scene is quite nice. I agree with FNJ that it ought to be larger, however. That tree deserves more of a role than as a shadowy background- the attention to detail and the angles there are really nice. Also, the offsets on the houses are excellent. I need to do some of those houses soon. As for the story, great job on building suspense. Things are starting to come together for your characters, and the flashback is highly effective here. Great work!
Thanks! I agree that a larger scene would have improved the FP, but I didn't have the pieces for it. And I agree about the tree; I have similar thoughts on the village scene. It doesn't play any part other than being in the background, which is unfortunate. I'm glad you like the story, though this and that on my MOCoff entry were decent only; better stuff is on it's way. :P
 I like it 
  April 23, 2014
Wow, really nice job! The roof design is stellar, especially wit the brown cones coming out from the plates as thatching, and the FP scene is quite nice. I agree with FNJ that it ought to be larger, however. That tree deserves more of a role than as a shadowy background- the attention to detail and the angles there are really nice. Also, the offsets on the houses are excellent. I need to do some of those houses soon. As for the story, great job on building suspense. Things are starting to come together for your characters, and the flashback is highly effective here. Great work!
 I made it 
  April 23, 2014
Quoting Professor B. Excellent tree! The buildings are also quite nice too. One thing about the stone work, though. In this picture (http://www.mocpages.com/image_zoom.php?mocid=386007&id=/user_images/92518/13975360327), on the top right and top far left there seems to be a lot of stone that's sticking out a little too far (at least in my mind). But the rest of it is awesome! (Except for the fact that you used 1x1 tiles! :P) By the way, I scrolled through the comments (took a long time) just know. You and Halhi... :P
Thanks! That piece sticks out about as much as a SNoTed tile, but I guess since it's shorter it sticks out more, proportionately. 1x1 tiles, haha...yeah, couldn't help it here. And yes, these convos with Halhi are fun. :P
 I like it 
  April 20, 2014
Excellent tree! The buildings are also quite nice too. One thing about the stone work, though. In this picture (http://www.mocpages.com/image_zoom.php?mocid=386007&id=/user_images/92518/13975360327), on the top right and top far left there seems to be a lot of stone that's sticking out a little too far (at least in my mind). But the rest of it is awesome! (Except for the fact that you used 1x1 tiles! :P) By the way, I scrolled through the comments (took a long time) just know. You and Halhi... :P
 I made it 
  April 18, 2014
Quoting David FNJ Very nice scenes here man! I especially liked the forced perspective shot. If you were to do it again, (if pieces allow) I'd just make the whole shot seeing nothing but the LEGO bricks as it gives a nicer effect if you know what I mean. Nice textures on the buildings! And yes, that tree is excellent! :D
Thank! I agree about the FP, it would have been much better had I been able to make the scene fill the image. Maybe when I have the bricks - some months or a year or so - I'll make an FP landscape for another moc, and do that. :P
 I like it 
  April 18, 2014
Very nice scenes here man! I especially liked the forced perspective shot. If you were to do it again, (if pieces allow) I'd just make the whole shot seeing nothing but the LEGO bricks as it gives a nicer effect if you know what I mean. Nice textures on the buildings! And yes, that tree is excellent! :D
 I made it 
  April 18, 2014
Quoting A M Nice work throughout! That tree is excellent and the texturing is great.
Thanks!
 I like it 
  April 18, 2014
Nice work throughout! That tree is excellent and the texturing is great.
 I made it 
  April 16, 2014
Quoting Armon Russ I need to catch up with commenting. >.> This is one of your best MOCs yet, Kai. I love the FP build. Those two micro houses have suprisingly good detail, and the exo-force hair trees look excellent. The mountains are stunning with the curved edges. Sure, that whitewashed door up front is weird, but not too bad. :P Now the forest scene is another thing. The landscaping is nice, and the tree is breathtaking. It really seems like you put a lot of effort into it. And it paid off. ;) I like how you widened the trunk the closer it came to the ground, and the way you placed those leaves is superb. Excellent. Next is those two buildings. They're awesome. Better than anything I could've made, that's for sure. :P The roof techique is ingenious. I like the light blue color for the building on the right, too. The left building is best, though. With the tan studs and the texture for the stones. The path is pretty good as well. Ok, now that that's through, it's time for the most important part: the story. ;P As always your writing is pleasing to my eyes. So far, everything's going great. I love that 'flashforward' into the forest where Dzargon sees Ganner in danger. Very suspenseful. The addition of Halbert is interesting enough, though a bit random. Is Halhi cooperating with you in this crossover? Are are you going to cover it all yourself? Hope to see the next episode out soon. And again, outstanding work!
Thanks Armon! The story's alright, more of a bridge between the major installments. Better stuff is on its way. :P As for the crossover, it's really just the occasional inclusion of another person's character - Halhi include Dzargon's brother in one of his mocs, and Halbert was the one to enlist Dzargon into the Average Gnomes. there's no real story we're developing, just these not-so-little cameos. :P
 I like it 
  April 16, 2014
I need to catch up with commenting. >.> This is one of your best MOCs yet, Kai. I love the FP build. Those two micro houses have suprisingly good detail, and the exo-force hair trees look excellent. The mountains are stunning with the curved edges. Sure, that whitewashed door up front is weird, but not too bad. :P Now the forest scene is another thing. The landscaping is nice, and the tree is breathtaking. It really seems like you put a lot of effort into it. And it paid off. ;) I like how you widened the trunk the closer it came to the ground, and the way you placed those leaves is superb. Excellent. Next is those two buildings. They're awesome. Better than anything I could've made, that's for sure. :P The roof techique is ingenious. I like the light blue color for the building on the right, too. The left building is best, though. With the tan studs and the texture for the stones. The path is pretty good as well. Ok, now that that's through, it's time for the most important part: the story. ;P As always your writing is pleasing to my eyes. So far, everything's going great. I love that 'flashforward' into the forest where Dzargon sees Ganner in danger. Very suspenseful. The addition of Halbert is interesting enough, though a bit random. Is Halhi cooperating with you in this crossover? Are are you going to cover it all yourself? Hope to see the next episode out soon. And again, outstanding work!
 I made it 
  April 16, 2014
Quoting Andrew the Jedi Ninja Wow! Nice textures and techniques. The build was packed full of mini details here and there. I really like that roof too. Keep it up!
Thanks Andrew! I'll try. :P
 I made it 
  April 16, 2014
Quoting Halhi 141 Alright, the round plates are indeed fine, I suppose. And I wouldn't say I do the color transitions in the same way; I tend to do it only at the top and bottom and transition with plates, not bricks. Yeah, I suppose the white house is better, but the other has less flaws. The studs on the tree I don't like because they're too repetitive and orderly, kinda like having a studded roof or something like that. If you didn't have enough dark green, did you have enough regular green...? If not, I guess I understand... Overall, I think we disagree on what's the right amount of texturing and detail - I like more detail and less texturing, whereas you like less detail and more texturing. Don't get me wrong though, this is a great MOC :P
Ah, I see what you mean now. Yes, perhaps I could have used more plates for the transition. I do like how it came out, though. And I guess the tan micro has less flaws, but it was also too simple to make. I put more thought into the other (like the uneven/warped roof and the two levels and such). Studs on the tree...I do see your point. And I'll experiment with it in the future. But probably only if the tree I'm making is wider, or if I'm using x2 plates to make the facets. All the regular greens I was willing to use - I'd already cannibalized another moc to get some - were in the scene. So...yeah, that was an issue. :P On the detail/texture...perhaps. But for the village outskirts with slightly dilapidated buildings, realistically I don't think there would be much detail. But I'll keep that in mind, because I suppose it's better to be aesthetically appealing than realistically boring. And thank you. :P
  April 16, 2014
Alright, the round plates are indeed fine, I suppose. And I wouldn't say I do the color transitions in the same way; I tend to do it only at the top and bottom and transition with plates, not bricks. Yeah, I suppose the white house is better, but the other has less flaws. The studs on the tree I don't like because they're too repetitive and orderly, kinda like having a studded roof or something like that. If you didn't have enough dark green, did you have enough regular green...? If not, I guess I understand... Overall, I think we disagree on what's the right amount of texturing and detail - I like more detail and less texturing, whereas you like less detail and more texturing. Don't get me wrong though, this is a great MOC :P
 I like it 
  April 16, 2014
Wow! Nice textures and techniques. The build was packed full of mini details here and there. I really like that roof too. Keep it up!
 I made it 
  April 16, 2014
Quoting David . I'll say this and become a part of this discussion. :P While I don't really like it when Halhi critiques my creations all the time, I end up appreciating it because it helps (me at least :P ) improve. I can always count on Halhi to tell me what is wrong with my moc, and even if he doesn't suggest possible solutions to the problem, it forces me to think more creatively and, ultimately, build a better creation. Take Halhis' critique as a compliment, it is for the better. (as for the studs and round plates on the sides, those can easily be passed off as texture and knots. See: http://jstookey.com/images/2011/20110921_dwaas_kill_nature_preserve/02_apple_tree_knots.JPG http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large-5/tree-knots-bw-chalet-roome-rigdon.jpg https://yahoov4s1-a.akamaihd.net/sh/135/327162117_b4b4990b97.jpg )
Don't worry, whether I agree completely with them or not Halhi's critiques are always welcome. As to that second bit--exactly. :P
  April 16, 2014
I'll say this and become a part of this discussion. :P While I don't really like it when Halhi critiques my creations all the time, I end up appreciating it because it helps (me at least :P ) improve. I can always count on Halhi to tell me what is wrong with my moc, and even if he doesn't suggest possible solutions to the problem, it forces me to think more creatively and, ultimately, build a better creation. Take Halhis' critique as a compliment, it is for the better. (as for the studs and round plates on the sides, those can easily be passed off as texture and knots. See: http://jstookey.com/images/2011/20110921_dwaas_kill_nature_preserve/02_apple_tree_knots.JPG http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large-5/tree-knots-bw-chalet-roome-rigdon.jpg https://yahoov4s1-a.akamaihd.net/sh/135/327162117_b4b4990b97.jpg )
 I made it 
  April 16, 2014
Quoting Mr. Cab @Halhi: I might have to try that for a tree in the near future, possibly in my UC entry. (Sorry to Kai for conversing like this in the comments of your creations... Maybe we should move it to the LOM general convo.)
No, no, it's fine! I want CC conversations like this in places where I can easily find them! Continue, by all means. :P
 I made it 
  April 16, 2014
Quoting Halhi 141 Hm, I think some sort of twisty tile technique (so that the tiles aren't right in a row) might look more like bark; lines of largish bumps sticking out of the tree aren't exactly realistic. Oh, and Mr Cab, you were right with the last 2 points - it's too hard to critique creations that have too many flaws.
Mabe, but again - it would break the flow of the tree. And I might add something about your Tourney R2 entry's tree... :P On the critiquing--ah. :P
 I made it 
  April 16, 2014
Quoting Mr. Cab I just read through the comment Halhi wrote, and have one thing to say to that: I think the studs out on the tree is really good since it gives the tree the effect of rough bark, at least better than any other technique. I strongly think you should keep the studs out on that. EDIT: I just had the thought that is seems as though the better one gets, the longer Halhi's rundown posts become. :P But maybe his posts are why one gets better in the first place... :P Then again, maybe it is also that the better one gets, the less there is to critique in general, and subsequently people turn to pointing out more of the nitpicks. Maybe it is also because expectations rise as skill-level increases... OK, random train of thought over. :P
I intend to keep the tree design, fear not. :P And yeah...seems like the more we improve, the harsher the posts get. Just look at the rundown on Halhi's Round 5 entry, for instance. :P
 I made it 
  April 16, 2014
Quoting Gilbert Despathens I have the exact opposite opinion on this - the studs look great and the rounds make me think of the knobs and knots of a real tree. One branch two or three studs lower down would have made it perfect, though.
Same. And I'll consider that last bit. :P
 I made it 
  April 16, 2014
Quoting Scene 1
Regarding the building being too short, I had several prospective pictures for each angle, and while one of the others was taken so the building behind him looked bigger (and filled the image), I wanted an image that showed the whole thing. Maybe that wasn't a good idea. :P On the wall, I actually like the transition; I think the round pieces help with it. In fact, seeing as you don't it a different way, I'm surprised you're criticizing that transition. And the cheese wouldn't work--it would cause a stud to stick out, breaking the theme of the wall. Again, I must disagree - the combination of white+tan+brown used throughout that building looks pretty nice to me. As for the window, that's correct that I have no white arches. I've seen the inverted slope idea before and I like it, and also didn't want to copy you. :P On the balcony, I didn't want an all dark brown balcony and then all reddish brown beams on the building, so I made something of a transition. I don't think it's much of an issue. I agree about the height of the building. On the rest of the FP, yeah, it would be fantastic if it filled the images. But as it is, it swallowed up every single one of my green cones and almost all of my green plates, not to mention I wouldn't have enough brown for the tree scene if I'd made it larger. In short: raid Brick's collection for me and I guarantee I won't let you down next time. :P On the houses, my opinion again differs from yours. On the mountains, I fully agree.
Quoting Scene 2
I flat-out disagree about the studs on the tree. Funny, Freeling told me the same thing when he was joking about how he didn't like the moc - trying to see how I could handle criticism - and I'll tell you what I told him. First, the studs look fine in my opinion because it gives the tree texture. And if I added tiles or anything else, it would compromise the shape of the tree. I wanted it to have a sturdy but straight/consistent appearance, and tiles would just interfere with the flow. The round 1x1s also look good as branch stubs or something. As for the color of tree, two things. One, I didn't have quite enough dark greens to do it, and two, I only had those smaller "leaves" pieces, a few of which I used, in normal green. I don't actually think the colors look that bad. Now for the ground. I agree dark green plates would have been preferable, but "not having enough" is an overstatement. I have absolutely none. :P Some foliage or pebbles might be good, I agree, and in the next moc (which will show the full forest scene) I was actually planning on having a river, but in such a small build here it would have been too cramped to add a pond/puddle. Same thing with the fire, if I had it in the middle it would have been too cramped.
Quoting Scene 3
I agree about the buildings and the photos, but the latter couldn't be helped. I don't a face of Halbert's that's angry or at least impassive. Every shot had to show Dzargon and only the back of Halbert for the story to be convincing. Considering that, I think I did pretty well with the angles. I agree about some foliage or a rock or two, but not about a puddle or the brown in the path.
Quoting Building 1
Now, funny thing about the roof. I actually didn't want it to be that wide, but I either had to have a one-stud overhang on both sides or none. None would have looked MUCH better proportionately, but that overhang was an absolute must in order to hide the blockyness of the top of the wall. If you look at the "back view" image you'll see what I mean. I agree about the texturing and the headlight bricks--I don't think they work for homesteads, they're more royal-looking. I'm not sure why I didn't add normal blue; I just kind of like it with the medium blue only. And I think silver is alright for the detailing - closer to Mythron's colors, you know?
Quoting Building 2
Yup, i also really like the texturing. And I assure you, had I made a bigger wall I would have incorporated headlight-brick-offsets as well. I'm a big fan of them. :P As for the upper levels, I wanted a new type of building to keep things interesting. And I don't think it's that overtextured; especially when its sitting on some HEAVILY textured stonework. I like the roof, actually, and am still undecided on the rounds. The corner...yeah, perhaps, but it really would have been impossible to add tan to it without redesigning the whole think, something I was not willing to do. I don't think it's that bad.
Quoting Overall Thoughts
Personally, I think this build surpasses all three in those respective aspects, but all right. :P Thanks for the thoughts/advice, even if I disagreed with about half of it, and thank you for wishing me luck. Given how busy my week is, I will surely need it.
 I like it 
  April 15, 2014
@Halhi: I might have to try that for a tree in the near future, possibly in my UC entry. (Sorry to Kai for conversing like this in the comments of your creations... Maybe we should move it to the LOM general convo.)
  April 15, 2014
Hm, I think some sort of twisty tile technique (so that the tiles aren't right in a row) might look more like bark; lines of largish bumps sticking out of the tree aren't exactly realistic. Oh, and Mr Cab, you were right with the last 2 points - it's too hard to critique creations that have too many flaws.
  April 15, 2014
I just read through the comment Halhi wrote, and have one thing to say to that: I think the studs out on the tree is really good since it gives the tree the effect of rough bark, at least better than any other technique. I strongly think you should keep the studs out on that. EDIT: I just had the thought that is seems as though the better one gets, the longer Halhi's rundown posts become. :P But maybe his posts are why one gets better in the first place... :P Then again, maybe it is also that the better one gets, the less there is to critique in general, and subsequently people turn to pointing out more of the nitpicks. Maybe it is also because expectations rise as skill-level increases... OK, random train of thought over. :P
  April 15, 2014
Quoting Halhi 141 My first thoughts: the tree trunk is way too studdy and the 1x1 rounds don't work well on it.
I have the exact opposite opinion on this - the studs look great and the rounds make me think of the knobs and knots of a real tree. One branch two or three studs lower down would have made it perfect, though.
  April 15, 2014
Wow, I think that's the longest comment I've ever written 0.o As to the door on the balcony, dark tan might be best.
  April 15, 2014
So... Here's that rundown you asked for. I'll go in order of appearance, starting with the Balcony Scene.
Quoting Scene 1
The first thing that strikes me about the scene is that you can see above the building in the first picture...which isn't ideal for a building with no roof. It would be best either to crop the photo or to make a roof. Also, I think the round bricks weren't very successful for the texturing - they can work if used sparingly, but most of the whitewashed section of the building looks best as just plain white bricks, in my opinion. Also, the transition from tan to white is blocky - maybe your cheese slope technique used on Build 3 would work to get a smooth transition. I know Gilbert's already harped on you about the white balcony and door, but aside from realism, it isn't aesthetically appealing, either, since almost everything in that section is the same color (white/tan). The window is a nice inclusion, but there's a gap caused by those slopes. I take it you have no 1x4 arches, but there's other methods - Gilbert covers the top sometimes, and I have that intricate slope/bracket technique from the Anniversary Challenge. The railing is nice looking, but it might look better with dark brown tiles on top to match the bars. Finally, I think the building could do with an extra stud or two of height - I find too tall looks better than too short. That's enough analysis of one picture - time to move onto the next one! The forced perspective is good, but yeah, it would look way better if it filled the whole picture (like in my first point...) The white house is probably the weaker of the two large ones; the texturing at the base isn't really appealing in this scale. Maybe just square 1x1 plates would be better. The mountains are overall quite good, especially Majesty; Duke is just a bit too blocky. However, the studs are a detractor at this scale. Now, moving on to the forest scene...
Quoting Scene 2
My first thoughts: the tree trunk is way too studdy and the 1x1 rounds don't work well on it. Also, the tree needs some branches (sorry, the bars aren't really branches...) The green leaves among the dark green ones are probably the main detractor, though; that color combination isn't the most appealing. Staying with the idea of color, dark green would work better than bright green on the ground. If you didn't have enough...well, sand green or olive green could probably also work. Some foliage, at least, would make it better and break up the studs. Speaking of breaking up the studded ground, some assorted pebbles, a small rock, and/or a mud puddle or two would do wonders in this scene. The lighting is pretty good, but not quite perfect; if the fire was in the center of the scene you could get a nice effect with a circle of light shining on the men. Overall, this is probably the weakest of the three scenes.
Quoting Scene 3
This is definitely the best scene here. It's far from perfect, but overall it's pretty visually appealing. Like Gilbert said, the angles of the buildings restrict the photo angles too much; all the photos are taken from the same angle, which looks a bit dull. Angling the tan one in the opposite way (if you know what I mean) would make the cut-off end of the blue one less visible. Also, the brown adds color to the path, but it seems too out of place; tan would look better, I think. Finally, like in the forest scene, some puddles, a small rock or two, and/or foliage would add a lot. Now, let's get onto the buildings themselves...
Quoting Building 1
I'll get this out of the way quickly - it looks rídiculous with the small building and huge roof. Yeah, 1x1 round plates would be better for the sides, not to mention less overhand in the front. The roof technique is interesting, but the panels are too large, I think. Like you said yourself, the lower floor texturing is chaotic, lacking much consistency and flow. Color distribution is a big issue, which is why the cheese slopes don't look all that great. The hollow studs by the door also isn't a design I like - regular studs or 1x1 tiles on headlight bricks would look better. The brown 1x1 rounds leading to the second floor overhang too much, maybe a square plate+round plate would be better. The upper floor is better, though. The first thing that I notice is that the window arches are far more successful than in the balcony scene, with all the ornate details around them. Another thing bothering me is the lack of normal blue: all the other buildings you made have a second color, so why no blue texturing here...? As for the nitpicks, there's a few gaps, the silver isn't the best, normal round bricks would be better than cones, and the round bricks in the timber planks don't look good. Overall, this half is pretty good, though.
Quoting Building 2
The lower floor is way better than in the other building, though the textures themselves don't flow well (headlight bricks, rather than technic bricks, connecting the tiles creates a lesser offset and makes it flow way better). Moving on to the top floor, it looks strange to have the studs-out building when the other building is studs up; I think this building is a bit overtextured and chaotic as a result. The roof is better on this one, but maybe needs more tiles (and take off that 1x1 round) :P Finally, the corner looks awkward - it needs a tan section between the timber planks.
Quoting Overall Thoughts
Overall, the MOC is definitely one of your best. It may not match the refinement of your TT R3, the architecture of your TT intro, or the layout of your TTR1 entry, but aesthetically and technically it's superb. Nice job overall, and good luck on your Elpis defense.
 I made it 
  April 15, 2014
Quoting Lindel Baskin Wow! You've really outdone yourself here, Kai. The street scene is fantastic throughout. Great architecture and texturing. My favorite detail there is your roof technique! Nice effect with the FP scene, and NPU with the larger trees! The mountains are a huge improvement from the original, and look amazing. I actually preferred your original door, though. The lighting in the forest scene is top-notch and really adds to the effect. That tree is stunningly realistic, especially for the scale. Excellent work!
Thanks! :D Though if it's not too conceited to say, I'm not sure I've outdone myself--more just established myself. :P That new roof technique is really popular; I'm glad all those otherwise not-too-useful brown pieces paid off. I might have kept the original door, but I felt it blended in far too much with the beams flanking it and also just looked bad next to all the white/tan. And yup, that forest scene is the one I'm the most proud of. I took a flashlight, a bit of toilet paper (to soften and distribute the light) and a black shirt outside that night, when it conveniently happened to be a full moon. It's really gratifying to see the professional-looking effects of pretty simple techniques. :P
 I made it 
  April 15, 2014
Quoting Rogue Commander Awesome job!
Thanks man!
 I made it 
  April 15, 2014
Quoting clayton Marchetti Wow! Fantastic job! I love the FP and the micro town with the mountains in the background . I new those parts were useful other than motorcycle seats, awesome roof technique . I really like the buildings especially the stone work. Positively Brilliant!
Thanks Clayton! Haha, I'm glad everyone's digging the roof technique.
 I made it 
  April 15, 2014
Quoting Stormjay Rider You've done a great job here, Kai.
Whoa. Direct praise from you! :D
Quoting Stormjay Rider The building colors made me think that they came from the Market Village set, but evidently I was wrong. The forced perspective doesn't come out well, but works well as a microbuild in its own right. The roof and road techniques are nice (on the subject, I probably could make a roof technique, but I don't care enough to build in castle. :P)
Now that I look at that set again, I see what you mean...but I assure you I made those colors completely of my own accord; I'd forgotten all about that set. :P What about the FP doesn't work? The only thing I can think of is the fact that it doesn't fill the picture: the white/grey background takes one out of an otherwise splendid scene. On the roof and road, thanks. :P (You should make one even if you don't include it in a build!)
 I made it 
  April 15, 2014
Quoting Gilbert Despathens By "whitewashed roof" I meant the balcony. Whitewash and other plaster-like materials aren't often used on floors except on some flat-roofed buildings found in dry places. Most balconies would be made of wood as they are today, I would expect.
Ah. Yeah, at first I wanted some marble-like substance for the balcony, but then I realized the second floor balcony of a hotel would never be marble-ish, nor would the walls, which looked exactly like the floor. So I just went with whitewash. :P On the door, I originally tried brown but it blended in too well with the beams on either side, and I didn't have the dark tan pieces to make it a different way. And you must admit, the texturing looks good if not the colors. :P
 I made it 
  April 15, 2014
Quoting Cheryl P Excellent job on the buildings and tree. Interesting roof technique.
Thanks Cheryl!
  April 15, 2014
Wow! You've really outdone yourself here, Kai. The street scene is fantastic throughout. Great architecture and texturing. My favorite detail there is your roof technique! Nice effect with the FP scene, and NPU with the larger trees! The mountains are a huge improvement from the original, and look amazing. I actually preferred your original door, though. The lighting in the forest scene is top-notch and really adds to the effect. That tree is stunningly realistic, especially for the scale. Excellent work!
 I like it 
  April 15, 2014
Awesome job!
 I like it 
  April 15, 2014
Wow! Fantastic job! I love the FP and the micro town with the mountains in the background . I new those parts were useful other than motorcycle seats, awesome roof technique . I really like the buildings especially the stone work. Positively Brilliant!
 I like it 
  April 15, 2014
You've done a great job here, Kai. The building colors made me think that they came from the Market Village set, but evidently I was wrong. The forced perspective doesn't come out well, but works well as a microbuild in its own right. The roof and road techniques are nice (on the subject, I probably could make a roof technique, but I don't care enough to build in castle. :P)
  April 15, 2014
By "whitewashed roof" I meant the balcony. Whitewash and other plaster-like materials aren't often used on floors except on some flat-roofed buildings found in dry places. Most balconies would be made of wood as they are today, I would expect.
 I like it 
  April 15, 2014
Excellent job on the buildings and tree. Interesting roof technique.
 I made it 
  April 15, 2014
Quoting Zach Lucia All-around exceptional job here! Then that's just me putting down the more Gilbert part of me. That tree is darn excellent, (confidentially how does one build it?) ~Zach
Thanks! Pick that side up and give some criticism, if you want. :P The tree's my favorite part as well, and I'll be posting it soon. Possibly tonight in the Behind the Scenes moc.
 I made it 
  April 15, 2014
Quoting Mr. Cab That roofing technique is pretty nice. Time to develop my own... I have actually already been working on it for some time. Anyways, I really hope you put that tree in your techniques page, because I need to see that. Needless to say that tree is wonderfully done. The buildings all look nice, although the whitewash door is a no-go. The masonry on the tan building in the city scene is very nice. The masonry on the blue building is nice too, but I am not quite sure about the dark tan in there. As for the for the Forced perspective scene, nicely done! The Mountains are really good. The exo-force hair tree has been done before (I couldn't tell if you knew based on what you wrote). The small buildings are nice, and the building is OK, but again, the whitewash door is not very realistic. All in all a great job here, apart from those few things.
Thanks! And yes, I'll be posting that tree soon. :P Thank you on the buildings, but even if the whitewash is unrealistic, I still like the effect. XP Yeah, the masonry on the tan building I like because it's more cohesive. I like the dark tan on the blue building, but the color and piece distribution mixed with he cheese slopes just don't work out as well. I know the hair has been used before - by our own Zach Lucia, too - but I'd already come up with the idea before I saw that moc of his, so to a degree I "invented" it. Thanks for the CC!
 I made it 
  April 15, 2014
Quoting Halhi 141 Haha, Gilbert, most of us also aren't experts on medieval life... I do agree overall though, but it is quite a nice build.
Thanks, and yes. I'm surprised, though - no rundown? Or at least a remark about the stonework? :P
 I made it 
  April 15, 2014
Quoting Alex Rode Wow! I love how the one building is slightly angled. The tree is great and the FP really looks like layers of trees. Great work man!
Thanks! I'm glad the FP worked out well.
 I made it 
  April 15, 2014
Quoting Gilbert Despathens I'll start with my favorite parts - the tree is great and the forced perspective is pretty good. The buildings aren't bad for a first time, but they're very far from the level of Luke Watkins or another master. While many of the details of all of the scenes were above the MOCpages average, they still need refinement on several levels. The village scene, as you undoubtedly noticed, does not present any good angles to photograph from because the camera will always reveal that you only built slivers of buildings. The other main detractor is that you don't always think about what the materials you are modeling with your brick are/were used for in real life, most noticeably in the balcony scene. Even if the builders of a house decided to build a flat, whitewashed portion of the roof in the style of desert homes, they wouldn't whitewash over a door, studs-on-side or not. Both you and Halhi tend to use plaster-like materials in unrealistic ways, I've noticed.
Thanks; the tree is my favorite part as well. I agree about the problem of the unfinished look, but it couldn't be helped--I didn't have the means to make either one much larger. I do think the storyline pictures do a good job of hiding the issue, though. And on the whitewash, that's true, I didn't think much about it--I just used what I thought looked good. :P And I still do, despite it being unrealistic. But, whitewash roof? What do you mean? There's no roof over the Dzargon scene. (And if I'd made one, which I now realize I should have, it would've been brown.) Where has Halhi misused it? Thanks for the advice anyway!
 I made it 
  April 15, 2014
Quoting Adam Brunsting Nice build! And I see you are defending Elpis now?
Thanks! And yes, it seems I am...though I doubt I'll get a good moc in, seeing as I have very little time this week to build.
 I made it 
  April 15, 2014
Quoting ~ Brick THERE WERE 1X1 TILES IN YOUR FORCED PERSPECTIVE PATH!!! BURN THE HYPOCRITE!!!!!
Hey, that was microscale. I didn't like it too much either, but there wasn't anything else that wold have worked. :P
 I like it 
  April 15, 2014
All-around exceptional job here! Then that's just me putting down the more Gilbert part of me. That tree is darn excellent, (confidentially how does one build it?) ~Zach
 I like it 
  April 15, 2014
That roofing technique is pretty nice. Time to develop my own... I have actually already been working on it for some time. Anyways, I really hope you put that tree in your techniques page, because I need to see that. Needless to say that tree is wonderfully done. The buildings all look nice, although the whitewash door is a no-go. The masonry on the tan building in the city scene is very nice. The masonry on the blue building is nice too, but I am not quite sure about the dark tan in there. As for the for the Forced perspective scene, nicely done! The Mountains are really good. The exo-force hair tree has been done before (I couldn't tell if you knew based on what you wrote). The small buildings are nice, and the building is OK, but again, the whitewash door is not very realistic. All in all a great job here, apart from those few things.
 I like it 
  April 15, 2014
Haha, Gilbert, most of us also aren't experts on medieval life... I do agree overall though, but it is quite a nice build.
 I like it 
  April 15, 2014
Wow! I love how the one building is slightly angled. The tree is great and the FP really looks like layers of trees. Great work man!
 I like it 
  April 15, 2014
I'll start with my favorite parts - the tree is great and the forced perspective is pretty good. The buildings aren't bad for a first time, but they're very far from the level of Luke Watkins or another master. While many of the details of all of the scenes were above the MOCpages average, they still need refinement on several levels. The village scene, as you undoubtedly noticed, does not present any good angles to photograph from because the camera will always reveal that you only built slivers of buildings. The other main detractor is that you don't always think about what the materials you are modeling with your brick are/were used for in real life, most noticeably in the balcony scene. Even if the builders of a house decided to build a flat, whitewashed portion of the roof in the style of desert homes, they wouldn't whitewash over a door, studs-on-side or not. Both you and Halhi tend to use plaster-like materials in unrealistic ways, I've noticed.
 I like it 
  April 15, 2014
Nice build! And I see you are defending Elpis now?
 I like it 
  April 15, 2014
THERE WERE 1X1 TILES IN YOUR FORCED PERSPECTIVE PATH!!! BURN THE HYPOCRITE!!!!!
 I made it 
  April 15, 2014
Quoting Stephan N The houses look absolutely awesome, very good job
Thanks Stephan!
 I made it 
  April 15, 2014
Quoting David . Three- no, two -Two things. One; The tree is FABULOUS! Two; That roof technique is EPIC! Three; Those mountains are BEAUTY to behold. Gosh diggity that was three... anywho, thanks for the mention, and sweet build, too! :)
Heh, thanks David! And no problem. :P
 I made it 
  April 15, 2014
Quoting Grant Davis Any builder worth his salt is smart enough to STEEl that roof technique, I am worth my salt and will be steeling that very soon. (With credit of course)
Haha, glad you like it. Feel free. :P
 I made it 
  April 15, 2014
Quoting Stephen Boe WOW man, this is one sick build(s)! The techniques used are fantastic! Dat roof is simply awesome! Once I saw if I just wanted to get some of those weirdish slopes. Great textures all around!
Thanks! Glad the roof worked out.
 I made it 
  April 15, 2014
Quoting Freeling ++ Cool techniques everywhere.
Thanks man :D
 I like it 
  April 15, 2014
The houses look absolutely awesome, very good job
 I like it 
  April 15, 2014
Three- no, two -Two things. One; The tree is FABULOUS! Two; That roof technique is EPIC! Three; Those mountains are BEAUTY to behold. Gosh diggity that was three... anywho, thanks for the mention, and sweet build, too! :)
 I like it 
  April 15, 2014
Any builder worth his salt is smart enough to STEEl that roof technique, I am worth my salt and will be steeling that very soon. (With credit of course)
 I like it 
  April 15, 2014
WOW man, this is one sick build(s)! The techniques used are fantastic! Dat roof is simply awesome! Once I saw if I just wanted to get some of those weirdish slopes. Great textures all around!
 I like it 
  April 15, 2014
Cool techniques everywhere.
 
By Kai Bernstein
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