Sunday, April 14, 2013

Building a major MOC using LEGO - Part 1

Halloween MOC from last year.
Like most LEGO fans, I often mess around with my spare bricks and make little scenes for my own amusement. It's a great way to kill some time and practice building techniques. I have never really done a large scale MOC (My Own Creation) before though. That's mainly because I lack a decent library of spare parts and I really am not a big fan of breaking down retail sets for the pieces. I have been a set collector for most of my life.

I feel that changing a little though. I am still a huge fan of many sets that LEGO is putting out and my want list of official releases is always growing. Some of those sets are purely about the minifigures though and less about the finished product of the build. Honestly, most of the sets with a RRP under $100 just don't excite me as much as they used to. I get a much bigger thrill diving in to a 1,000+ piece set that will take me a week to sit down and complete.

I guess my biggest problem with working on anything massive on my own has been the question of "What would I do with it when it's done?" It's not like I'm going to invite the neighbors over to gawk at some 5,000+ piece scene I have created in the basement. There are LEGO shows that take place regionally, but I've had few reasons to travel to them before. I love my bricks, but travel with family for non-LEGO purposes usually takes priority.

However, I now have an excuse. I joined a LUG (LEGO Users Group) last spring. It's a small group and we are still trying to figure out how to get some local displays going on a regular basis. (If you have tips on this, please leave a comment. I'm interested in hearing what other LUGs do to generate local interest.) But, the founder is a big fan of Brickworld-Chicago and has done displays previously. This year, our LUG will be doing one.

I have volunteered to take on the centerpiece of our display, which will be a scale model of the area around the Wisconsin State Capitol building. We are shooting for a mix between true micro-scale and minifigure scale. Roughly speaking, it will be micro-figure scale.

If you don't know, microfigs are the pieces used primarily in LEGO board games. They are about half the size of a minifigure, with a footprint of one stud. We are not doing true microfig scale. I simply don't have the budget to source the parts for what would end up being a 3ft tall model. However, it's still going to end up being a large build at about 18 inches tall and filling a 64x64 stud footprint.

When it comes to planning something like this, I'm still learning. I'm probably going to dedicate a few blog posts to this topic so I can track my progress and evaluate what steps worked and which ones did not. I have until the end of May to get this done, but I'm really not wasting time. The first lot of parts orders are in and some have already showed up. I spent some of this weekend tweaking my design a little and getting the first few bricks on plates to see what will work and what will not. My goal right now is to have one section done in the next two weeks. After that, completing the rest of the project will just be a matter of replicating the design and filling in parts. At least I hope that's the case. I'm sure there will be a few surprises along the way.

For reference, this is what I'm shooting for: 

I would be more than happy to hear any advice any of my readers have on projects of this magnitude. Please, feel free to leave a comment.


  1. The best of luck to you Andrew with this project, I am embarking on a similar project with my Arkham Asylum MOC, although mine is not a recreation of any particular real world building unlike yours.

    Therefore, my only advice for when constructing a scale model of an actual location would be to make sure to find as many images and plans as you can of the building, and start somewhere from where you can achieve the correct scale (like a doorway etc.)

  2. Good luck with the project. I really relate to what you said about "what will I do about it when I'm done". although the MOCs I've done so far are very modest, it's still a little sad to take them back down. I've started posting photos on MOCpages and Flickr and my own blog, just to have some kind of record of what I've done, but this plan of yours with the LUG sounds pretty cool. I'll be checking back to see how it goes.

    aka dejavu on bricksetforum


Link Within

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...