May 29, 2023

Lighthouse (MOC)

While watching the first season of LEGO® Masters, it dawned on me that I am a slow builder. I always considered myself the tinkering type. Generally, I am lucky to churn out one MOC a year. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing, I have a lot more time on my hands. It is amazing how much extra LEGO® time I get from not having to sit in traffic for hours everyday. I built my latest MOC project in two weeks. While still not LEGO® Masters speed, I’m very happy with the progress. I got the idea for this project from Lighthouse Point (31051) back in 2016. I received the set for Christmas that year, but only built and reviewed it a few months later. I left it on my shelf awaiting customization ever since. Now, I finally get to share my lighthouse MOC!

Lighthouse (MOC)
My custom lighthouse (MOC).

Being the tinkering type, I build, tear apart, and re-build in a cycle. Therefore, I have no clue how many bricks or how much time went into this MOC. I know it was exactly two weeks from the instant I took out the first baseplate to the moment I looked at it and deemed it complete. However, I was not building all day, everyday for two weeks. Designing took place mostly in the evenings and on weekends. Some evenings I had to skip. Additionally, there were bricks going on and bricks coming off all the time. So really, who knows?

The lighthouse (MOC) cottage.
The lighthouse cottage.

I have been wanting to build this lighthouse (MOC) since 2017.

Lighthouse Point, and subsequently The Old Fishing Store, had me dreaming of a coastline for my LEGO® city. My original plan was to place the lighthouse on the actual coast. However, after seeing the movie The Light Between Oceans, the solitude and isolation of an island lighthouse inspired me. I also had a bag full of BURPs (big ugly rock pieces) that were not in use.

Staring out to sea on the lighthouse cottage deck.
Staring out to sea on the cottage deck.

Being an island lighthouse, the island needed to be large enough for both the lighthouse and small abode for the lighthouse keeper. Additionally, I wanted a dock to receive supplies boated in from the mainland. Furthermore, being a rocky island, the build required stairs from the dock to the plateau. Given that the center of the island was going to be hollow on account of the BURPs, I decided early on that the stairs and dock would wind through a cavern with a ceiling opening to the island above.

Cavern boardwalk
A boardwalk winds through the cavern, leading to stairs.

The cavern hides a surprise…

To make room for my design specifications, I build the island on two baseplates. One 32 x 32 stud plate and one 16 x 32 stud plate. Additionally, the island is modular for the interior cave to be accessible. Both the house and the hill supporting the lighthouse are removable. Removing the house accesses the boardwalk and the stairs in the cave. Lifting off the lighthouse reveals a hidden side-story. Should Minifigures venture deeper into the cave, it opens into a half-flooded chamber. However, tucked into a corner is a lost relic from the past. Someone else came to this island long before there was lighthouse. They left behind a barrel of treasure, and a body. Dead men tell no tales. So, whoever came here with the gold had help, and left their help behind run through with a cutlass.

My lighthouse (MOC) houses a hidden nod to the Pirates theme.
This cave has a forgotten secret! This is my little nod to the Pirates theme.

With the basic island laid out, I proceeded with the lighthouse. This aspect of the build is mostly true to the original Lighthouse Point set. I liked the colors of the original, and the functional light on top. However, what bothered me about the original set was the closed off modules making the lighthouse. A Minifigure could not climb from the bottom to the top. Therefore, I widened my lighthouse compared to the original. Additionally, I opened the interior and added a ladder from the base to the top floor. Being larger than the original, I also had to redesign the light switch. My version employs a simple cam and follower to press the button on the light-brick inside. I added a wooden staircase leading up the steep slope to the lighthouse door.

Stairs leading to the lighthouse.
Stairs leading to the lighthouse.

The hardest part was designing the lighthouse keeper’s house.

The most complicated aspect of this build was the lighthouse keeper’s house. It went through several iterations. The original was true to the house from Lighthouse Point. However, I designed my version to be larger. I felt it looked a little off on the rocky bluff though. Since I don’t have room for individual houses in my LEGO® city right now, my next idea was to adapt the Apple Tree House set. I made a smaller version of it to fit on the island. However, it felt off too. I concluded that both houses I had built looked too polished.

In the end, I decided that this was an island. That meant getting building supplies to it would be difficult. It is hard to build anything in those circumstances. Additionally, the harsh winds and ocean storms would surely beat it down. Therefore, I took inspiration from The Old Fishing Store and built something a little more rundown. The final product is a wooden shack that is a little worse for wear outside, but cozy inside.

Outdoor shower in my lighthouse (MOC).
Outdoor shower in my lighthouse (MOC).

The cottage features an outdoor shower and toilet.

Additionally, for realism there had to be a bathroom and a shower. I could not figure out how to include these features inside the house without making the house too big for the island. Then it dawned on me to place them outside. This island depicts rustic living after all. Originally, I built a separate outhouse. However, the island was too small to accommodate it and I didn’t want to add another baseplate. I opted instead for an add-on to the shack. Both the outhouse and shower sit in separate stalls right outside the back door of the house covered by a makeshift awning.

Unfortunately, the outhouse doesn’t have a lock.

My outdoor amenities required expanding the island out a little. I installed a deck behind the house to access the shower and toilet. I didn’t want that deck standing in the ocean below, so I pulled out the island cliffs a little to accommodate it. Following that, the rest of my work involved simple embellishments. I added some rock features and small vegetation. Being a windswept island out at sea, I did not want much in the way of plants. It is difficult to take root with the rocky terrain and weather. There are three stunted and bent trees though. The roots of these trees reach over the cliff edges in places, notably at the mouth of the cave. Finally, I placed a beach by the dock. The dock and boardwalk sit higher than the beach because I envisage this beach vanishing at high tide, and the cave flooding.

Lighthouse (MOC) beach.
Sitting on the beach.

I had a lot of fun with this build and imagining the story that goes with it. Additionally, I finally started the coastline I have been talking about here on True North Bricks since 2017. Strangely enough, it took a global pandemic for me to sit down and have the time to build a MOC in a reasonable amount of time. I remember that the infamous Ice Storm of 1998 had a similar effect. Two weeks without electricity resulted in the most epic castle my pre-dark age self had ever built. It really makes you wonder about work-life balance in modern society, or the lack thereof.

Until next time,


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