The Bakehouse is the 18th in a series of MOC's intended to recreate the ambiance of the 80's.
Inspiration comes from the strangest of places. I'd been trying to build a prison complex around some recent designs for a Traitors Gate (which I still need to photograph and post) and it's corresponding Gaol and I kept finding myself wanting a small stretch of castle wall with a door in it. Anyone that's ever explored an old medieval city will know that there are always doors at the end of little passages and strange little alleyways squeezed between buildings. The Bakehouse grew from thatl the want of a door at the end of an alley.
Coincidentally I'd just built up 3739 Blacksmith Shop so I was already in the mindset for creating a civilian building, although I wanted to keep to a Lego group brick budget of around 300 bricks rather than the 600 that Daniel Siskind used for 3739 Blacksmith Shop.
The starting point was the gateway and two panels of adjacent wall. For once I decided to use a square door in a similar manner to 6062 Battering Ram rather than the more usual pair of curved doors. A long green plate forward of that gave me the alleyway even if it only has one of the adjacent buildings needed to make an alleyway. A hinged front facade completes the floor-plan, I opt for a doorway down the alleyway side and a large opening shutter on the front, so I'm very definitely creating a shop, I just don't know what sort of shop yet. A fireplace goes onto the far wall and I start building up the chimney using 3x3 Facet bricks and tall 2x2x3 slopes. The upper story is half timbered with shuttered windows across the front, an attic garret under sloped roof. A smattering of simple furniture. The fireplace is dominant so I decide to make it a baker and decorate it accordingly with round 2x2 tiles to represent flat loaves.
I put the design to one side for a couple of days. When I return I feel that the fireplace doesn't adequately convey that the building is supposed to be a bakery, what it needs is an oven rather than an open fireplace. I start pulling the existing fireplace apart in LDD, the aperture to the fireplace is lifted by a brick and a fold down oven door is provided for the opening. The original neon orange feather flames no longer fit but the fold down door definitely makes it feel like an oven. In many respects I'm happier with the design, but it's going to cost a little more on BrickLink to pick up the needed parts.
Minifigs, a Baker, his wife, a boy and a guard on the wall with the usual set of accompanying tools, weaponry and barrels.
The oven that forms the heart of the bakehouse. With the door open and closed.
Story: Not much. It's just part of the wider medieval life. This is always a problem with the domestic buildings there's no conflict to drive a story unless the daily grind of medieval life itself is the story.
Playability: The front opens to place the minifigs inside and play in the interior but the more I think about it the more I realise that it either needs to be classed as a Display set or a Doll's House style playset rather than an Action style playset.
Build-ability: Nothing complex. Some simple SNOT in the interior but the rest is 80's style brick on brick building.
Cost: The brick count is just shy of 300 bricks which is high for an 80's domestic set. 6067 Guarded Inn comes in at 260 bricks, 6076 Black Flacons Fortress has 360 bricks. At 18 bricks tall it's looks a substantial set so it's size justifies the brickcount, but it doesn't have the width to compare with the fortresses. Minifig count seems appropriate for the size of set.
Consistency: There's nothing in there that wouldn't be unfamiliar to a young builder from the late 80's. My concern with the consistency is am I stepping beyond the design parameters into a more modern building style, for which it's worth taking a slight digression.
3739 Blacksmith Shop really is an interesting set partly because it wasn't designed in-house by Lego. Firstly it's brick, not panel, built. Let's be honest, panels allow bulk and size for minimal cost, those classic castles couldn't be the size they were for the price they were if they'd been entirely brick built. Because the designer of 3739 is an AFOL he's not constrained to the Lego design strictures and the walls are brick. The interior decoration is detailed, fireplaces, beds, tables, stairs, coloured floors and lots of little utensils and props, again a departure from the utilitarian interiors of the late 80's. This style of building won't be seen again until the next millenium with Jamie Beard's designs for the Fantasy Era castle range where the buildings are primarily brick on brick rather than panel, a trend that continues through in LOTR. Although it looks like the 2013 castle line with have a simpler build structure to attract younger members to the genre.
I like this design very much, I think it will add a lot to the interior of my medieval town, but I do have issues with it. As mentioned previously it's borderline on what a Lego set of that era would be. To modern eyes, used to 10193 Medieval Market Village, it may look archaic but the brick-on-brick building and interiors aren't necessarily in keeping with the simplicity of the 80's playsets.