In a port city of Castonien the “swamp people” have carved out their own section. Creating a place for them to sell their wares to the locals and any traveler looking for something a bit more exotic.
This build is my contribution to the Castonien II community build that has been organized by the Swebrick community.
On Swebrick forums, we regularly organize “community builds” (or “CB” for short). They are collaborative LEGO builds that anyone that participates in the forums can join and be a part of. The CB have its own subforum (board) where all aspects of the CB is discussed (only available for registered forum users).
This particular CB was started by a member Anders67 in June 2020. He suggested a standard for each module to adhere to. While it was discussed a lot, only minor details were changed or added to it.
The standard mostly defines the edges of each module, this is so it will blend in as much as possible with the connected modules. Each module is required to have the water line, main road, and defensive wall at the correct positions. And of course, be built in the correct colors.
But we did also decide on some “inside module” rules. These were added in an effort to try to make the CB look more like one big build and not many different ones put together. Some of the rules were
- A standard roof design that most houses should adhere to.
- How the roads were built. Which pieces were used and the ratio between them.
- How much variation there could be on the defensive wall
The rule that had the biggest impact for my design was the decision that human minifigs should be “fleshies” and not the classic “yellows”. More on that below.
The CB was first displayed at Swebricks annual event 2022, hosted in HÃ¤ssleholm that year. There it won “Best Community Build”.
As soon as the idea for this CB was introduced, I wanted to be a part of it. But one, for me, big obstacle was the decision to use flesh colored minifigs and not the classic yellow ones.
The reasons for that are that I prefer the classic look on my LEGO figures and that I’m very resistant to modify torso pieces. I seldom modify the torsos and if I do, it is to change the hands from flesh color to yellow. I’m of the opinion that switching arms and hands on a torso makes them more loose each time it is done. So I really don’t want to switch parts more than once.
So most of my torsos that would have fit the theme have yellow hands
What solved my problem with the CB was that fantasy creatures were allowed, specifically “swamp people”, minfigs with various shades of green skin. This would allow me to use my Legends of Chima crocodile minifigs in combination with various other fantasy minifig parts.
Early in my design phase I designed a big viking looking longhouse that could work as a covered market. I liked the way it looked, but anything inside would be hard to see for exhibit visitors. So I started to experiment with other builds and ideas, but in the end I returned to this big building.
To make it easier to show the inside, I made the roof detachable. A winning feature for several reason. It made it easier to compact the whole build and transport it, it was useful when I needed to fix something inside the building and removing the roof was used a lot to start an interaction with various exhibit visitors.
My thoughts with the other smaller buildings in my part was to make them just melt into the CB. I did not want them to stand out in any way. Although I could not resist decorating them a little.
Wanted to market to be a bit weird. There was a big chance someone else would add markets to their part, so did not want to make something too similar.
This decision made it much more fun to build the market as I could experiment with colors and pieces.
The ships are based on a Design by Jonas Kramm. I have only modified them a bit to align them to my general design aesthetics and available pieces.
The discarded ideas
I had the idea that the Swamp people should be living underground below the market. I dropped this idea because if thought it would be hard to convey to the viewer.
Busy water market
To save money and not needing to buy new pieces for the water, I toyed with the idea of covering it with canoes and barges used as floating market stands. But I was never satisfied with the designs and when I saw Jonas longships I decided to use them instead.
Asian influenced houses
I tried to throw in a bit of Asian influence in the mix of generic LEGO Castle and Vikings themes I already had, but ended up shelving the ideas for this project. I got a bit to different from everyone else
I might revisit these designs with a stand-alone build depicting a Swamp people village sometime in the future.
Having a marketplace with weird exotic food opens up for a lot of Easter eggs. Mostly quite dark ones I’m afraid.
As far as I know no spectator has spotted them at the various exhibits it has been at. But to be fair, most of them are very hard to see.
The Little mermaid and friends In the covered market there is a stall that is selling mermaid tails. One of the tails is from an Ariel minifig [link] and inside the stall Sebastian the crab can be seen. Ariel’s other friend, Flounder, can be found outside between the ships.
Where do the eggs come from?
The stall that sells eggs might not look so dark at first, but if you notice the reptile eye looking out from one of the eggs and remember that crocodiles lay eggs, you might question the origin of where the eggs come from.
Other sentient creatures
A lot of the pieces used for alternative food items come from various minifigs, suggesting that these Swamp people don’t have a problem hunting other sentient creatures for food and profit.
Two street urchins are happy about an apple. Wonder if that apple came from one of the stalls?
The watcher in the dark
My section of the CB does not have any regular guards, but it has the ultimate guardian.
I don’t have any big future ideas for my participation in this CB. No ideas for expansion or additional sections for it. The only future change I’m thinking about is to add lights to the section so it will look better during a future exhibit’s “Dark hour”.