The words of an Aaliyah song – if at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off, and try again, you can dust it off and try again – came to me when I was looking at the photos of my dusty childhood LEGO stash and something caught my eye. In the box with the 6073 Knight’s Castle parts, in the top left corner, there is a familiar yet a little MOC-looking (my own creation) chunk of LEGO Castle. At first I thought it was a part of the Knight’s Castle or the 6061 Siege Tower, but it is not. And as far as I can remember, I don’t have other major LEGO Castle sets it could come from. I wonder if I had the 6040 Blacksmith Shop and/or the 6062 Battering Ram, perhaps, but it is not a part of those either.

I came to the conclusion that this must be a part of my last attempt (until now) to recreate the 6080 King’s Castle gate tower and portcullis, hurriedly ripped apart and dumped into storage back in 1990. What a nice find. Seems I had managed to replicate the top part of the King’s Castle tower quite faithfully using only a catalog as my guide – I did miss the details in the top middle brick though, blame the small catalog picture. Where I ran out of parts and made changes were the bottom and the back. In addition to the portcullis, obviously there was – or was to be – also a drawbridge, since I had added the holes for the strings.

If I recall, I had trouble building a wide-enough and thin-enough portcullis from my limited part supply and lack of proper instructions, which may explain why the tower wasn’t of uniform width, but sloping inwards under the top section. This was probably to fit a smaller portcullis. Another reason may be the fact that I was aiming for a stand-alone tower instead of a full castle. I was so keen on creating the portcullis that I was building a tower just for that one purpose. I don’t remember if I ever completed the tower, but I do have a vague recollection of the thick and ugly portcullis. I probably had something up and running in the end, perhaps I even put some of the Knight’s Castle walls around it.

A winch is still there. Was it for the portcullis?

Incidentally, the Aaliyah song starts with the words: it’s been a long time, we shouldn’t have left you. Indeed. Let’s dust these pieces off and try again.