Tuesday 25 September 2018

Modular Row

Remarkably, in November of this year it'll be fully eight years since I booted up LDD and started to design my own LEGO City. To say that progress has been slow would be an understatement of epic proportions - you could probably have built a real city in the time that it's taken me to build mine so far.... My last update, which described the partial construction and installation of a 10224 Town Hall-inspired railway station MOC (below), was posted a year and a half ago, and since then the project has ground to a halt for the umpteenth time as my LEGO room has once again had to serve as a storage room during a protracted period of real-life building work.

Even though my LEGO room has yet to return to normality, an opportunity to work on the project, albeit in a roundabout way, has nevertheless presented itself. As previously described on these pages (for instance here and here), there's an annual event hosted by the Museum of the Great Western Railway in Swindon which showcases LEGO creations built by members of UK LEGO User Group The Brickish Association. As a Brickish member I'm eligible to exhibit my builds at the show, affectionately known as STEAM. This year one of the displays will be a collaborative display of more than thirty modular buildings designed and built by Brickish members. Anyway, I figured that if I signed up my railway station for the collaborative build then I'd have extra incentive to get off my backside and finish it off. It seemed like an excellent idea at the time, so I went ahead and signed up as a participant, figuring that it shouldn't take too much work to make my build display-ready. In hindsight, however, perhaps I should have taken a closer look at the back of my work-in-progress MOC (below) before being quite so dismissive about the amount of work involved....

With no clear idea of how to complete the build I powered up LDD, dug out the LDD file for the build thus far, and had a play with it. Ultimately I'm planning to replace the back of the building with a full length station platform complete with a canopy which will overhang the platform and railway track. With STEAM fast approaching, however, and with elements to source and little time to play with I decided to keep things simple for the upcoming display and follow the design used for the back of 10224 Town Hall, extending it for the full width of the expanded building. The side walls, meanwhile, would take inspiration from the front of the station which I'd already completed. Having settled on a plan of action I went ahead and completed two-thirds of the building in LDD, both to reassure myself that I'd be happy with the overall look, and also to help me estimate what additional elements I'd need; you can see an LDD screen grab of part of the back of the building below.

With the design now sketched out in LDD I was ready to crack on with the actual build. In order to integrate the railway station into my City layout I'd had to mount it on an idiosyncratic arrangement of small baseplates, so my first job was to strip these away and replace them with standard 32 x 32 baseplates. When it came to the rest of the building I thankfully already had most of the basic bricks and plates required to construct the outer shell, but I was predictably lacking when it came to the huge number of windows that I'd need, not to mention the larger white plates for the individual floors and various other bits and pieces. I therefore built as much as I could before diving into Bricklink to order the elements that I didn't have. All told I ended up having to order almost 450 elements to complete the build, but at least I was able to find a single EU-based seller who had everything I needed (thanks, Kepes!)

My Bricklink order duly arrived a few days ago which leaves me with the best part of 2 weeks to finish my railway station. I'll post pictures of the build on Gimme LEGO after the event, so stay tuned. Or better still why not come to STEAM a.k.a. the Great Western Brick Show and see it for yourself?!