Wednesday, August 29, 2018

LEGO Projects: "Happy Sunny Magical Princess Play Castle" (& its predecessors) 2017

Since my early days of being an Adult LEGO Fan, I've been attempting to build the perfect (to me) LEGO castle.

My first documented attempt was in 2011. I didn't have very many gray bricks at the time, so I thought that if I mixed enough black, gray, and white bricks, the overall effect would be comparable to gray.  The results? Not so great.

In 2012, after acquiring a lot more gray pieces, I built "Fortress By The Sea" and took this MOC to BrickCon.

The following spring, I decided to go in a more "Friendly" direction, and this time built a castle out of pinks, purples, turquoises and the like. The first version of this was dubbed the "Happy Sunny Magical Princess Castle." Here it is at Bricks Cascade in 2013...

Alas, the ultimate defect of both these castles was that they were merely empty husks -- no interior playability. 

So a year later, "Happy Sunny Magical Princess Castle II" was built, and brought to Bricks Cascade in 2014...

This one had interiors, sort of. There was a bedroom, a dressing room, and a few other things. I put in a string of battery-operated lights so that the rooms could be seen through the castle's front windows. But no one playing with the castle could actually access the rooms. "Look but don't touch."

Furthermore, I hadn't yet gotten the hang of building for prolonged stability, so the castle began to crumble soon after the convention.

So I decided to try again. Bigger, sturdier, and with more playability.

HSMPC Version 3.0 took several years to complete. First I drew sketches and planned it out. I built one version of it, got pretty far, then totally scrapped it and tried again. I ran out of tan bricks numerous times and had to buy more along the way.

But, in the end, the Happy Sunny Magical Princess Play Castle was finally complete!

Yes! It opens.

I'll start from the top left corner and describe some of its play features:

This castle was inspired by several of my favorite classic stories and characters, and is basically a mishmash of all of them... it's not a castle for any one particular character.

We'll start with the tower on the left, where Merlin studies magic by moonlight...

Below that is a bedroom for servants or knights or whoever:

A technic-geared crank on the left operates a pulley system that can bring a bucket up & down the side of the castle:

Next to the servants' bedroom we have the library:

Belle approves.

The "glass" floor Belle is standing on serves as a sort of skylight for the room below. (Any way to get light into the lower rooms is a plus!)

The castle has an "all-purpose" room here, which can serve as an extra bedroom, an attic, an armory, or whatever.

Every good play castle needs some secret storage space. There are several "hidden" doors around the place.

Just in case some nefarious individuals are trying to break into this room, there's a booby trap...

 The trap door (look next to Minnie's feet) platform is built like a teeter-totter across a Technic axle, with one side weighted on the bottom, so that after a minifig "steps" on the platform and falls through the emerging hole, the platform can return to its original place. (I was inspired by the vintage Fisher-Price Little People Castle and Sesame Street Clubhouse, which also had this feature.)

Here's where Minnie's going to end up:

Yes... three stories below, in the dungeon. (Photo taken via the secret dungeon exit -- more on that in a bit.)

To descend from the highest parts of the castle in a safer manner than booby-trapped doors, there's a pole slide... or a rock-climbing wall...

... or there is a continuous path/set of stairs that flows in & out of the entire castle. Unlike frustrating dollhouses of yore, all the major rooms of this castle (towers not included) can be accessed by some form of stairway.

Next we have the King/Queen's bedroom. Nothing too fancy, but on the left is a secret panel that can open and lead into...

The kids' bedroom!

Why so many secret passages? Well, one, because secret passages are awesome, and two... I was watching a lot of Reign while building this. So yeah.

To the left of the kids' room is a landing and the castle's main staircase.

And on the far left, there, is a ladder that goes up to the servant's quarters.

So this room is the main entrance, but it could also be a dining room.

There's a set of double doors leading outside, here, but also a side door, which can lead to an optional add-on kitchen....

Next to the entrance hall we have a fairly simple throne room...

Next to that is the dungeon I mentioned earlier:

Naturally, nobody wants to spend too much time in there, so if you've been in there a while, just ask your merry men to get some black powder, and you can blast a hole in the side to escape...

So that's about it! I'm happy with how the castle turned out, though it took a very long time...

Here's how it appeared at Bricks Cascade in 2017, with a "birthday party" scene placed in front:

I hope you enjoyed taking a look at the castle! Thanks for visiting! :)