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Out of My Dark Age, Into the Dark Ages

Not long after the founding of The New England LEGO Users Group, we had the opportunity to create a storefront LEGO display of a medieval village. This was one of my first forays into non-mechanical LEGO modeling, building purely for form over function. I started out by creating a small white "university" building with a ground-floor classroom, a second-story library, and a pair of ivory towers. At the time, this building stretched my collection of white brick very thin.

This is the only building I have ever made that has an interior. I made the back balcony section of the building removable to make it easier to see the inside. I was especially proud of the teacher's desk, the podium with open book, and the bookshelves in the library. I also put a telescope on the roof.

Right around that time, the Night Lord's Castle set became available for a very low price, and I couldn't refrain from buying 23 copies of it, at the time one of the few good sources of grey brick. It was during this time period that the people in my local toy store started calling me "The LEGO Guy", a nickname which is probably shared by many of you who are reading this page.

Armed with a mound of grey brick, doorways, arches, and archers, I built a much larger castle. As with the university building, I built this entire structure in a few evenings. I didn't really have a plan, just a large baseplate and a fuzzy mental image of what I was trying to build. I built spontaneously, adding whatever details seemed right at any given moment. The instant gratification of this project was really what introduced me to the carefree joys of LEGO modeling.

For the storefront castle display, we decided to make it interesting by building a wall "around" the city and have an advancing army coming to attack. I couldn't resist the urge to pay tribute to Monty Python's Flying Circus by creating a Trojan Rabbit for the advancing forces. True to the original, the rabbit was unoccupied.

Having a little bit of leftover grey brick, I also built a small windmill. I never did get around to putting a motor inside of it, though that was the original plan.

Both the university building and the windmill made appearances on early NELUG train layouts, but that was back before we had a very many good town structures (or high standards, apparently) in the club.

See it on BrickShelf

Back to the Workshop

My castle.
Treachery on every ledge.
A well-defended keep.
Rooftop observatory at the university.
The library.
Apple for teacher.
The maiden of the mill.

Copyright (c) 2003 by Christopher Phillips. All Rights Reserved.
LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO Group of companies, which does not sponsor, authorize, or endorse this site.