Wednesday 31 July 2019

Letting Off STEAM

It feels like a lifetime since I last posted (here). On that occasion I was preparing to finish up my railway station MOC in preparation for its appearance as part of a display of modular buildings at the Great Western Brick Show a.k.a. STEAM in Swindon. I'm pleased to report that all the elements that I ordered from Bricklink to complete the build duly arrived as promised, and the MOC (below) was completed in good time for its public unveiling.

In addition to completing the sides and rear of the station, a couple of modifications were necessary in order to accommodate the transition from my LEGO city layout to the STEAM display. Firstly, I needed to mount the build on baseplates and tile around the edges. Then I needed to figure out what to do about the area under the two arches at the front of the building. In my city layout each of these arches encloses a stairway which descends to a subway platform on the lower level, but this wasn't an option for the STEAM display which is on a single level. In the end I blocked off each arch with a door, using reddish-brown tiles to mimic a wood effect as you can see in the picture below.

The rear of the building (below) follows the LDD design that I shared in my previous post. It's something of a temporary solution - while in place in my city layout the station has track running behind it, and the plan is ultimately to build a station platform at the rear of the building together with a canopy over the platform. Also, if I hadn't been in such a rush to complete the build for STEAM then I'd have embedded a few more skylights into the roof; unfortunately this'll have to wait until I have more time.

The left and right sides of the building take their design cues from the front, with almost identical designs employed for the various windows, sills and decorative lintels (below).

With the build complete it was time to pack up the station in preparation for the drive down to Swindon. I was planning to separate the building's four floors and pack them into a pair of large rectangular crates, but it turned out that the crates were too small to accommodate the ground floor so I ended up wrapping that section in an old bed sheet and carefully wedging it in the boot of my car. Thankfully all sections survived the journey and arrived at the venue relatively unscathed on the Saturday morning. Many of the exhibitors had already arrived and set up the day before, so I had the simple task of locating the station-sized plot in the almost-complete modular display and re-assembling my build in the allotted space.

You can see the station in position above (thanks to Jamie Douglas for the picture). As well as mobilising Brickish members such as myself to contribute a variety of modular buildings, display organiser Simon Kennedy did an impressive job of recruiting members to construct sections of brick-built road and pavement, vehicles, trees and various roadside structures which really brought the display to life. The lime green Porsche 911 that you can see in front of the station in the picture above was taken from set 75888 Porsche 911 RSR and 911 Turbo 3.0 and is the very car that I built for my Brickset review of the set. More pictures of the completed modular display, together with images of other LEGO creations that were shown at STEAM, can be found here on Jamie's Flickr stream.

Embarrassingly, it's taken me so long to write and publish this post that the 2018 event has long passed and the 2019 Great Western Brick Show is now fast approaching.... I'm pleased to report that thanks to the positive reaction to the 2018 modular display there will be an improved and expanded modular display on show at the 2019 event. This will feature a number of new modulars together with modified versions of some of the existing buildings, and there are also plans to add a canal, a railway and working street lighting. As a result of the inclusion of a railway I've been asked to modify my station to include a platform at the rear. As it passes behind the station the track will be elevated, so my next challenge is to figure out how best to attach a platform halfway up the rear of the building and somehow integrate it into the overall structure. STEAM 2019 will take place on the 5th and 6th of October so I'd better get on with it....