Saturday, March 25, 2023

My Custom Not Lego Japanese Machiya House


Hello brick fans!  I recently made a Japanese style Machiya style house made from not Lego.  It's a continuation of my Japanese building series that I've been obsessed with lately.  

It started with the Japanese Crab/Seafood restaurant, followed by my custom Fujiwara Tofu shop.  Also in my collection are the trio of Cada brand Japanese shops designed by exesandbox.

You can find all my reviews for those buildings by the using the term "japanese style" in the search box of my blog.

The machiya house sits on a raised 16x32 stud baseplate and is two storeys tall.
In case you're not familiar with Japanese architecture, a machiya is a traditional townhouse with a narrow frontage, with earthen walls and baked tile roofs.

The front of the machiya traditionally served as a retail space with sliding or rolling shutters that could be opened to display goods and wares.  See the wikipedia entry for machiya if you'd like to learn more about this topic.

I looked at a lot of pictures of Japanese shops and machiyas so I tried to replicate some of the key design elements for my modular building.

I chose natural earth tones such as gray and brown for the machiya.  The black accents and highlights gives the building a modern vibe.  There is a takoyaki shop on the main floor.  I plan to add a kitchen and for the second floor, living quarters later on.  

I'll provide more details about the takoyaki shop a bit later.

Just like the inside, the rear of the building is still a work in progress.  I'm thinking about relocating the back door to the right hand side to put it under the stairs.

I might also refine the roof structure a bit, but it's sturdy enough and provides a decent looking slope, so I dunno, maybe, maybe not.

In modular form, the rooftop, second floor and first floor are easily accessible.  I have installed a staircase to the second floor but as mentioned earlier the interior is empty at the moment.

Here is the Takoyaki shop.  The front door has a very contemporary look with the wooden slats.  It provides access to the inside of the shop and also to the second floor via the stairs.  I put a small planter and a frog statue on either side of the doorway.  The fabric banner attaches to the underside of the awning.

In lieu of regular windows like in all of my other modular buildings, I used a rollup garage door for the front of the shop.

I bought the roll-up doors from Aliexpress.  They come with all the hinged door panels as well as the tracks on either side so that they can be opened or closed. Here's the link if you are looking for them.  

If I ever finish the interior, I'll put some minifigures behind the shop counter.   When the shop is closed the takoyaki would be moved inside.  There's room on the counter to  install a display case.

Most of the signage is stickers with the exception of the fabric banner and they all come from the small Sembo Takoyaki stall building set 601065 that I bought back in March 2020.  Even the takoyaki are stickers.

I took the set apart a couple of years ago, but luckily I still had the banner and stickers.  Here's my original Sembo Takoyaki set review.

I replicated the upper window design from the Fujiwara tofu shop but put blinds in the windows instead of glass.  The wooden slats on the right side of the second floor serve to protect the fan/ventilation unit.  I wanted to keep the sidewalk more open so I put the takoyaki sign on the wall of the second floor.

Here's the new machiya building next to the Fujiwara tofu shop on my ever growing Japanese street.

Let me know what you think of my latest creation, thanks for looking!  Bye!

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Changes to my Custom 7-11/KFC modular building in 2023

Hello brick fans!  Let's take a look at another one of my MOCs, this one being a modular building consisting of a 7-11 convenience store with an upstairs after school learning centre, and an adjoining KFC fried chicken pop up shop.

The last time I made changes to this building was way back in 2019 and then later I  integrated the 7-11 and KFC shops onto a single base plate.  Both of these shops have gone through a number of modifications from their humble beginnings.

In this latest change, I've put the buildings on a MILS base plate and changed the sidewalk colour from dark gray to light gray.  

In order to include a bike share, I placed the KFC as far back as possible and raised it up for visibility.

There is a mailbox, an ATM, a garbage bin, a vending machine, a map of the city, and a bike-sharing station equipped with three bike slots.

The overhead signage for the 7-11 and KFC are from stickers that I bought from Aliexpress.

The second floor over the 7-11 is an after school space for kids to do extra activities.

The staircase is used to reach the second floor.

Service door to the 7-11 is located in the back.  Kids can park their bikes and scooters under the staircase.

Here's some pics of the 7-11 interior.

Now, a few pics of the KFC ...

The colonel is outside promoting his famous fried chicken.

Inside is a small fryer, a service counter and condiments dispenser.

Some buckets and boxes are within easy reach of the cashier.  A glass partition protects customers from the cooking area.

Isn't it coincidental that Colonel Sanders looked like Stan Lee when he was younger? Maybe his real name was Colonel Standers!

Kiddies can practice their academic and artistic skills here.

Physical activity and socialization is also encouraged.

That concludes our tour of the 7-11/KFC/Kidscamp modular building.  

It has become increasingly difficult to find the original Hsanhe sets on Aliexpress, which served as the foundation for my customised buildings.  

You might find some similar buildings using the search term "Street View" on Aliexpress.

This was the only Aliexpress listing I could find.

Thanks for looking!  Bye!

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

My Custom Not Lego Initial D Fujiwara Tofu Shop (using the Cada C61033W building block set)


Good day brick fans!  Today's blog post goes out to all you Initial D manga and anime fans.  I hope you like my highly modified Japanese themed Fujiwara Tofu not Lego shop that I made  from the Cada C61033W scenic diorama set

Cada recently held a contest on their Facebook page and I won the gift pack which includes both the Tofu shop facade and the Initial D C55018W Toyota Trueno AE86 car.  I made some changes to the AE86 which I reviewed in my blog post:

*If you are thinking about buying anything off the Cada website, check out my discount code at the end of this post.

In this blog post, I will review the process of transforming the Tofu shop small diorama scene into a complete modular building. However, I must note that Cada offers a Lego style modular version of the Fujiwara Tofu shop (set number C61031W) that I highly recommend purchasing to save significant time and effort. This set includes 1908 pieces and features a complete interior on both floors, which my own creation currently lacks.

This is what I started with, the Cada C61033W set.

My decision to build the modular Tofu shop from scratch was based on the fact that I already possessed the building's front portion. With this in mind, I wanted to test if I could fashion the rest of the building using my collection of non-Lego bricks. 

To construct my own modular building, I first had to decrease the width of the front facade from its original 20 studs to 16 studs. Then, I had to locate all the necessary bricks for the side walls, back wall, floors, and roof, as well as acquire windows, railings, sidewalk tiles, and other accessories for the building's exterior.

While I managed to retain the front windows and doors, I had to downsize the awning. The Tofu shop's name, which is displayed on the awning, is a large sticker that spans the entire width of the shop. I have not yet affixed the sticker as I am trying to determine the best way to do so while achieving a pleasing Japanese themed aesthetic result. 

From the above picture, you can see the entire length of the newly modified Tofu shop.  The box-like roof structure has been extended further back and a new sloped roof has been added to replicate what I've seen in pictures.

I added two sets of windows on the second floor and two smaller windows at the rear of the main floor, one on the side wall and one on the rear wall.

I included three portable wall mounted A/C units, which the original tofu shop doesn't have.  Don't mind the shitty bricks that form the roof back wall, I ran out of bricks.  :(

More windows here too.

This is one of the plainer wall surfaces.  Luckily, I have all these beige masonry bricks to serve as accents on the otherwise plain walls.

Coming around the front again, I stole the utility pole from the Cada Japanese Bun shop which looks a lot nicer than the one that comes with Cada's full modular version of the Tofu shop.  Wires from the utility pole attach directly to the shop.

The tree is one I borrowed from the Funwhole Wood Cabin set.  I was going to make a tree but this one looked pretty good, so maybe I will copy it again one day to replace the Funwhole tree.

The back fence is my own creation, which I copied from the rooftop box structure. 

My modified AE86 sits on the attached parking pad.  I also added some extra bins and boards to my setup.

These minifigures are supposed to represent Takumi Fujiwara and his dad Bunta Fujiwara.  What do you think, yes or no?

Here's a drone shot from above the shop.  Oh wait, drones hadn't been invented yet back in 1998!

Let me know if I should make interiors for both floors of the Tofu shop.  Right now, there's nothing inside.

All three of the Initial D sets are available for purchase on the Cada website. Use my coupon code ITSNOTLEGO to save 5% at checkout.

Initial D Fujiwara Tofu Shop Modular Building C61031W

Well, that's all for now.  Please let me know in the comments what you think of my version of the Lego compatible Fujiwara Tofu shop.  Did I miss anything important that needs to be added or changed?

Thanks for looking!  Bye!