It was almost two months ago, when I started building the 6080 King’s Castle from my pile of spare parts, only to find out that I lack the requisite 16×22 green baseplates. I did find the 16×32 baseplate and managed to put a couple of hinges on it, but otherwise there I stalled. As you know, I have since then taken a detour or two on this blog, but finally got the baseplates a month ago – and eventually got around to sorting my bricks in yesterday’s post. Now I start building.

Before bricklaying I have to wash the bricks, because they are old and dusty. I have previously washed bricks meticulously using running water, a little soap and a toothbrush – and indeed used the same process for the baseplates. Here, though, I realized I needed to come up with something else for the mass of the pieces, because of their sheer number and small size. I especially didn’t want to repeat that “minifigures almost down the drain” episode, which still gives me the chills. Luckily it was just a scare.

I decided on a “brick pool” on the building table next to me. The pool is a large(ish) container filled with plain water, where I throw bricks to bathe in as I pick the parts for each scene from the brick boxes. Some larger wall pieces and most common smaller bricks I put in there for a longer period. As I build, I pick the needed pieces up from the pool, brush them with a soft toothbrush while they are wet and polish and dry them with a kitchen towel before placing them on the set. This process allows individual attention to each piece that is actually used (without wasting time on unused bricks) and I quickly settled onto a rhythm that didn’t really disturb building that much.

Washing turned out to be the easy part. Something completely different started soon disturbing my building process. The first “scene” in the 6080 King’s Castle building instructions is a fairly simple layout of the 16×22 baseplates, connected by a single LEGO Technic connector peg, and laying the foundations for the castle’s back wall and staircase. I didn’t expect any problems, once I had acquired the fairly rare 16×22 baseplates. Until I got to the foundations for the staircase, that is. In addition to the Technic connector peg and the two holed bricks it connects to, the foundations require two grey 1×3 bricks and two grey 1×2 angled roof tiles. No problem, right? Turns out: a problem.

My lack of inventory management is biting me in the behind again and teaching me a very valuable lesson – just because you have a lot of grey bricks, doesn’t mean you have exactly the right ones. It turned out, my grey brick box had only one castle grey 1×2 roof tile, and already for this first scene two were needed. Originally I had planned on just making notes of any missing pieces (to be acquired and added later) and moving on, since I knew I would be missing some parts for sure, but this was the first scene! I became obsessed with finishing it. I mean, this is not a very special piece – just a very regular roof tile. I had plenty of them in other colors. I even had plenty of the inverse brick in grey. But no, only one grey 1×2 roof tile could be found from my sorted grey bricks.

To the LEGO stash, then. Memories from childhood came flooding back, of my younger self looking for that one tiny piece out of thousands, familiar sound of LEGO brushing against LEGO as my hand plowed through the boxes of bricks-in-storage, raising a plume of dust in the air. The smell. You don’t forget that smell. Nor the sensation, using one hand to try and hold down the avalanche of other LEGO, so that you can get to the bottom of the box. Some twenty minutes later, success! A single castle grey 1×2 roof tile, there, on the bottom of one box, for me to pick up. The familiar elation of finding the brick which I sought. This expedition also netted a couple of dozen more black and grey bricks.

To be continued!