Work in Progress

I usually don’t like to reveal the Lego projects I’m working on until they’re done, but I thought I’d let you take a look at the task to which I have set myself and the problems therein.

I’ve been wanting to tackle another building (of my own design) but I realized that the same buildings tend to be made over and over: twee little brownstones and similar big city architecture. I wanted to do something different, and on my trip to New Orleans, I got hell of inspiration.

That’s a shotgun house, mainstay of the south. The ones we saw were renovated, gentrified ones, but that up there is the real deal.

I didn’t want to build a pretty one, but one that was lived in. I decided on a mostly white color scheme, which was fortunate, since I have so many old, dingy white bricks that would be perfect.

Attempting to learn from previous errors, I sketched out the front and tried to make sure my proportions were starting out correct. Here was the beginning:

Not a bad beginning. You can see the proxy pieces already (all the shutters will be green and I’d like for those windows to be black.) This is pretty much minifig scale; those tall windows are by design, as are the tall doors.

Next I moved on to the sides:

And here the scale goes completely off. Those A/C units in the windows come up to a minifig’s neck. (That is, they’re about four feet tall.) You can also see here the “gutters” that I’m in the process of rendering useless with the roof overhang. Oops! No one has ever paid me to design buildings, thankfully.

You also see my idea for a roof, a simple peak with an attic window in it. The houses I looked at as guides tended to have either something like this or a simple squat pyramid roof.

I continued with the roof:

And hit a snag. Can you see what it is?

If you look at the shorter roof jutting over the porch, you’ll see I started to tile it with black 2×2 tiles as shingles. A little too shiny, but they do the trick. To similarly tile the slopes of the roof would require (pause for calculation)

264 more of them

There are two problems with this. The first is, there’s no way I’m getting 264 of them for less than 25 bucks. Nobody on Bricklink has them in anywhere close to that quantity (unless I order from Germany). And Pick-a-Brick sells them for nine cents a pop.

The second problem is, after this project, I don’t really NEED 264 black 2×2 tiles. I suppose I could try and sell them to recoup my cost, but that just seems like a lot of work.

Last night I started to hunt for alternatives. Dark grey 2×2 tiles and black 1×2 tiles were no easier or cheaper, so I tried changing to the other roof type, the squat pyramid.

I started it out, got as far as I could with the black slopes I had (augmenting with some red ones) and then did some math. Once again, I was looking at a pretty significant cost for pieces I didn’t need that many of afterwards.

This is where the project currently stands, but hope is not lost. I have some ideas that I think will thread this needle, some clunkier than others. Antoine will get his house and it will have a good-looking roof, I gar-on-tee.

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