Monday, July 14, 2014

First Church of Springfield MOC (Simpson's church)

First Church of Springfield MOC (final version)
This is my first entry to a LEGO MOC contest. Entries had to be a landmark of the Simpson's Springfield created in microscale with no more than 300 parts. I used exactly 300 pieces although my first finished versions greatly exceeded the 300 limit. I had to make a lot of changes and leave out some details that I wanted to include. It was quite a challenge. I chose the church because I thought the roofs would be a challenge.

Below are some photo's that I referenced with links to where I found them. It was very difficult to find good photo references. It was even harder to find actual screenshots of the church in actual episodes.
 photo found here
 photo found here
 photo found here
 photo found here
photo found here


Here is my finished MOC from various angles

 I really wanted to use finishing tiles on the small roofs and the parking lot surfaces but I had to remove the tiles so that I wouldn't exceed the 300 piece limit.

 I had to experiment with different ways of creating stain glass windows to reduce the number of parts used. There is more info about the stained glass windows later in this post

The green roof was a real problem. The smaller brown roof would stay in place with a brick or plate attached to the bottom of it. Because the green roof is so steep the green plate kept falling off.

 Here is my solution to the problem. The pieces shown in this photo hold the green plate against the steep slope
 The large brown roof in the back caused me a lot of grief as well. This is my final solution. I didn't realize that brown slopes of this size (only 2 bricks tall) were this uncommon. I had to open a set that I had planned to keep sealed to extract a few more brown slopes.

 I love using SNOT techniques and have learned alot from building the mini-modulars set.

The roof and arches posed some problems and I had to change things around until I was finally able to close the roof with no gaps.

Here is the back wall with the roof removed

 My biggest problem was creating the slant of the two parts of the front roof (slopes standing and slopes on their side). The windows in the front needed to be different sizes and be positioned close to the roof. To complicate things even further I discovered that light tan (is it also called brick yellow?) of this size are fairly rare... and the SNOT technique that I used for the roof created a gap above the 2nd and 3rd window that could not be filled with a tile.

The picture to the left is from an EARLIER version of my MOC (not my final version of 300 parts)

I attempted to fix the problem by filling the gap with a "wall element 1x4x1"

I was amazed that the width of the "wall" of this piece actually fits into the gap created in this case but it didn't stick out as far as the wall so the gap was still visible AND I had to build a platform to fit this piece into the proper spot for the gap which added to my piece count. 
 Here is what the wall looks like WITH the gap
 Here is my final solution for my completed MOC

I used to call the grey parts ("angular bricks 1x1") shown headlight pieces when was a child.

When attached to the bottom of the portion of the wall shown in this manner the top of the wall portion is elevated so that the gap in the wall is filled completely!!!
Here is this wall portion before it is fitted into the proper spot

Stained glass windows consumed a large portion of my piece count.

I considered leaving the windows empty (not depicting the stained glass) but I felt that they were too important for this building.

In the beginning I used plate pieces which I think looks great because there are more small parts making up the windows but this greatly increases the piece count so I had to switch to bricks and less colors in each window

The windows on the front wall were done with simple bricks. I had to use two 1x1 and one 2x2 because using four 1x1 bricks in each window took pieces. I didn't have any 1x2 red translucent bricks so I used the 2x2's 

My next to last version had far too many parts with stained glass windows using translucent plates or bricks stacked on top of each other so I had to experiment with different ways to create stained glass windows.

Here are the 7 windows of the back portion of my finished version.  The actual church on the TV show had more than 7 windows here but I had to simplify things for a microscale version.

I used translucent panel pieces that are two bricks high. I used these panels and 1x1 bricks and plates and placed them on their side to create the windows that you see here. I like that the variety that is created with the thin plates, bricks and panels. This allows a greater variety in sizes of window fragments and allowed me to keep my piece count low.

These colorful windows are held in place by the 2 clear panels that are shown here on either side. The tallest window is held in place be the "corner" brick.
Here is the technique used in greater detail.

First portion dropped into place behind the clear panel

Second smaller portion dropped into place. The one long clear panel holds both portions in place

Here is the other side using the same technique

Instead of a large clear panel I used a smaller clear panel for these windows.
This is an earlier experiment for windows without actual arch pieces
Another experiment using SNOT technique (requiring too many parts)

My finished version does NOT have a cross on the front but this is cross that I considered using.
Here is the door that I used for my finished version.

It consists of two of these detailed bricks on their side

One of my favorite details in my finished version is the pink welcome mat. I took artistic liberties to add the mat. Pink is a very common color for carpets on the Simpsons so I felt it was appropriate to use pink here. I like the little splash of color that it adds to the finished MOC.

Here is an inside view of the door
Other door techniques that I considered

I like the one with "glass" but it required more parts more than the one that I chose to use in the completed version.

This is how I began planning the build

I surprised how much things changed as I progressed
Early version (NOT final version)
Required too many parts. I quit and started over before "completing" after doing a count of parts used 
Early version (NOT final version)
I thought this would be the final version... but after doing a piece count I realized I had used too many parts.

 I really wanted to used this base but it would require too many parts

I also really like the windows using a SNOT technique but these too required too many parts.

Another picture of the above early version from another angle

I had planned to use tiles to create a parking lot on either side and in the back and then create stained glass windows in this version but after estimating the parts needed to do so I started over again. I began the final version by building a smaller and simpler base

More images final version of the completed MOC can be found at my Flickr account

Thanks for reading.

Comments and advice are welcome. Please credit my MOC if you repost or use the images. I dedicated an enormous amount of time to this project. Online names that I use most often are StClair and ponderingzissou. Thank you to all that uploaded images of the church. Thank you to Toys N Bricks for providing the challenge and competition.

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