Monday, June 10, 2013

Building a major MOC using LEGO - Part 3: Raise it up

Most people who have built anything on a standard 10 inch baseplate have probably suffered through the frustration of parts popping off when you go to actually move your creation. While these large plates offer a great continuous surface to work with when building, they are a little flimsy. This is an issue I knew was gong to be a problem as soon as I started this project, mainly because I was going to be using a LOT of tiles on the base. Those 1x2 tiles have a habit of just coming off when you don't want them to, especially mounted on a baseplate.

You may have noticed that a lot of MOC builders often present their finished product on a raised display stand. This feature really serves two purposes. First of all, it offers a decorative flair to the area beneath the MOC. Second, it makes it easier to move large projects around after construction is complete, minimizing the risk of pieces coming loose when there's a change in the tension as the plate bows ever so slightly.
For this project, I went with the standard baseplate as the bottom layer. I then used a mix of 2x4 and 2x6 brick around the perimeter. Stacks of two 2x4 bricks were then placed at intervals inside the square, which allowed me to essentially tile the baseplate with a mix of 6x8 and 2x6 green plates. The finished product ended up being extremely stable, making sure my tiles for the roads and sidewalks remain firmly in place when this has to be moved. I'm not personally setting this up at Brickworld this weekend, so I wanted to make the process as easy as possible for the person who will be doing the heavy lifting.

Now, you may ask why I bothered going two bricks high on this. You can get a similar added stability by just adding normal building plates on top of the baseplate, without messing with all that extra 2x4 brick. The reason is actually the third benefit of using a raised base for a large project.

As I continued work on the Capitol building, I realized that there was going to need to include a mechanism to help mount the Capitol on the base at an angle. The building I'm modeling this project after is actually a hexagon, with an angled entry way between each of the four wings of the building. In addition, the property actually sits as an 'X' inside the square block it was built on. The wings themselves actually point toward the four corners of the property.
Most MOC builders know that mounting anything at an angle can be quite difficult. This is especially true if you are building a larger project. Fortunately, turntables exist. I went with a 4x4 turntable, which rests two plates below the surface layer of the project. This allows the building to actually rests on the tiles on the top layer, while still having the central turntable as a connection point to the base. The use of a turntable also gives me the ability to shift the entire building at once, so I have some extra freedom when lining up the different angles.

For the roads and sidewalks, I used a double row of black and then a single line of light grey. Microfig scale does provide some benefits in terms of space, although I'm still using a ton of tiles across four baseplates.

You will notice the heavily tiled section near the top edge of the picture. This is sort of the plaza in front of each wing of the building, which each edge will rest on. The green 2x2 tile that's sticking out is there to support the building along the edge to the central section of the building. I honestly lost track of how many tiles I have used at this point. I know that I cleaned out at least three different sellers on Bricklink though. I guess the upside is I may never need to order 1x2 light grey tiles ever again.

Next up, I'm going to talk about domes

If you're just stumbling on to this series, be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2.

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