So, it was over four months ago that I set the first bricks on plate to build a 1984 Lion Knights’ castle from spare parts and new brick acquisitions. I also warned that “this project is bound to take a while and contain frequent breaks”. Indeed it has and still will.
I am happy to report some progress, though. Last time I actually put bricks on the castle was in May, when I pondered cheating – I have since replaced the cheat-pieces with actual 2×16 plates that I purchased via BrickLink. I did, however, use a pair of 2×1 and 2×2 bricks to replace one lacking 2×3 brick in the castle stairs. Those details aside, roughly speaking my progress includes the rear towers and battlements, as well as the drawbridge.
Following a BrickLink order, I spent a 3.5 hour marathon session (by my standards) of washing and laying LEGO, until I ran out of certain parts again. This time I had made as complete an order as possible, but as not all sellers have all parts I am still at least one order short. I must say this project has been a lot harder than expected. During the last months I’ve built several new LEGO sets, either by myself or with my son, and had a lot of fun, but the need for finding, buying and washing the pieces required for the 6080 King’s Castle does set this project miles apart from the others. It can be quite tedious at times and I often find myself procrastinating.
When I finally restarted actual building, I had trouble settling back to a rhythm. I again had my brick pool set up, and separate boxes for all of my black and castle grey bricks, but the process of picking a brick, washing and drying it and then putting it in place wasn’t very satisfying. The logistics just break the continuity of building and it ends up being all work and no play. After a while I setteled onto a better compromise: Gather all the new bricks on the current building instructions page and throw them in the brick pool for a little bath as you find them. Once all are in the pool, toothbrush and dry the bricks. Finally, build the entire page. This gives the satisfaction of seeing a whole page worth of castle go up.
Obviously, all would be easier if I didn’t wash the bricks, but I want to. Another idea might be to gather all the bricks needed for the rest of the castle, wash them and leave to dry, and then build another day. I might try that in the future.
Speaking of the actual castle, its level of detail kicks in quite a bit once you get to the towers. The overwhelming greyness of the castle hides the fact that it actually uses a lot of 1×1 pieces. By a lot I mean massively: Peeron tells us there are at least 124 examples of various 1×1 bricks in the castle, not even counting any 1×1 plates, clips or hinges, which are plentiful too. This is quite evident in the rear towers, which are an order of magnitude more complex than my childhood’s 6073 Knight’s Castle towers are. And the front tower or gatehouse is even more detailed, with plenty of round 1×1’s, several weapon holders and 2×1 roof tiles thrown in – not to mention the portcullis rails. That’s next.
As always, I had my trusty pair of brick separators on hand. While I didn’t have to twist them much, I found a new use for the thin end: Removing persistent dirt between the studs of old LEGO pieces. Works great!
Note: You can click the images for larger versions.