Phoxtane

Long Term Modular Layout, Phase 1

36 posts in this topic

I'm taking a page from UrbanErwin's book and building my own large, detailed layout, based upon my 'Perfect Loop' track design and the MILS standard discussed by Hispabrick Magazine.

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Each 32x32 baseplate contains 1x4 Technic bricks at the corners as well as a lime green 2x2 brick (the 'identifier' as discussed in the MILS standard), with the aim being that each baseplate can be separated from the rest without too much hassle. This provides the flexibility to move the layout around as needed as construction progresses, or if I decide to take it to displays.

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It turns out it's actually cheaper by a fair amount for me to buy 64 green 4x4 plates instead of four 16x16 plates, 16 8x8 plates, or even 128 2x4 plates - as such, the supporting structure in each module consists of a grid of 2x2 bricks in the most abundant color I have, with 1x2 bricks on the edges to maintain the spacing without crossing over into another module. While I can avoid using these plates underneath the straight sections, I can't really avoid that for the curves, as the tiles need to attach to something, so I've only plated over the sections that I absolutely need to for now.

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Here's a demonstration of how the modules split apart. Since this photo was taken, I've moved over two having two Technic pins for each connection (for a total of four pins between any two module edges) and it's helped them stay together much better.

The straight track is actually stuck down to the modules, unlike the curved track. I assume that it's one of the features of the setup that won't change too often, so hopefully it won't be a pain to deal with.

Overall, the entire setup is projected to be 6 baseplates wide by 11 baseplates long - however, due to the shape of the track, I won't be filling in the whole rectangle; overall I need 49 baseplates for this project, of which I have seven. This is about 5 feet (1.5 meters) by 9.2 feet (2.8 meters), so it's going to take a while!

The other big advantage to building in this manner is that I have the freedom to create depressions in the landscape as well as holes, without having to fill up the the entire module with bricks. In addition, the empty space below means that I can potentially run wires underneath everything - if I wanted a 9V loop in the future, the power drops would pop up right where I want them.

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Looks cool. I have read a lot of material about HO layouts which lift up the base using 2" foam board. By using Lego bricks it looks like you have done the same in Lego, and as you mentioned it should improve scenery and provide a place for wiring.

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Since this photo was taken, I've moved over two having two Technic pins for each connection (for a total of four pins between any two module edges) and it's helped them stay together much better.

I do not have experience on MILS but our LUG uses very similar module (no baseplate, framing done with TECHNIC bricks, bit higher than MILS) and we have noted that in larger creations there is no need to use pins everywhere. If pins are used everywhere, assembling and disassemling anything larger than 3x3 becomes a chore. We usually "pin in" only the sides and corners of larger creations, plus some sections crisscrossing the whole assembly (like roads in city made out of 100+ modules).

Edited by TheQ

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I feel flattered to be a source inspiration :blush:

You are of for a great start, if I can suggest a thing, replace the green plates underneath the ballast for those of other (cheaper) colours. I can't wait for more updates. :thumbup:

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Good luck, I just pulled part my modular train set what took me 2 years to build.

This was just based on a single comment from a fellow clube member and now onto something new. bigger and better.

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Work continues, especially now that I'm on my winter break.

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At this point I've run out of baseplates, so I'm considering whether or not to pull the trigger on an order of ten from Lego (unless anyone feels the need to get rid of some?). I'm also waiting on some Bricklink orders to arrive, which are taking FAR longer then they should have, as the highways were closed for a couple days due to excessive snow. I've also expanded my building space by commandeering the second folding table, and I now have room for multiple projects at once, one of which is parting out my Horizon Express sets into my general parts collection after three years in service!

I've used up all of my red 2x2 bricks and have moved on to my second-most numerous color of that part, yellow; you can see exactly where I ran out of red and switched over. I also realized that I have quite a few yellow 1x4 Technic bricks which I could be using at the joints on each module, so once I run out of the gray ones that came in this Bricklink order I'll use those up next.

I'm also considering adding a small slope in the corner next to the curve, on the outside edge, in order to give myself something to do while parts arrive and add some visual interest to a rather empty layout.

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BQuD4Nq.png

You can't escape from me broken lego....

Looks very nice! I'd love to have a layout of my own but I need to finish other projects first....

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Hope to see more of this soon! If i had the choice, then i would love to wait a week longer for my BrickLinkorders to arrive, due to excessive snow... haha.. What is you final aim, what size will it get in studs?

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Interesting topic, and nice to see that WIP coming along.

My experience with the same type of modules is that tiles on top easily holds the modules together when they are many enough, and far easier to assemble/disassemble on shows. That is why a Brick separator is always in the pocket :laugh:

Keep the pictures coming, and I wish some of the snow could fall her where I live.

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800x452.jpg

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The last of the 4x4 green plates from the second order of this lot arrived today. I filled in some of the remaining empty space, and the day before I completed the hill in the corner. The benefit to raising each module up by a brick means I can add in depressions as well as hills, but I want to add some more baseplates and figure out where the rest of the track is in relation to this corner before I lay down any more landscaping. I've placed some plants as well.

I also ordered a hundred trans-dark blue tiles in order to play with water effects for a section that's further down on a part of the layout that hasn't been built yet!

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This is looking good! Will we be able to see any portion of it at the Laramie Depot show next year?

Also, 100 trans-dark-blue tiles isn't going to get you very far. :wink:

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Is great to see this layout come together and even more so with the MILS standard.

When you have some time it would be nice if you could add a few images of your layout and of some individual modules to our MILS Flickr group!

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Nice start. Like UrbanErwin said, the green hill looks organic. Good touch there.

The way you build is really solid. I have experienced in my own modular builds that I was trying to limit the use of bricks that are underneath to cut costs. However this always leads to issues afterwards when pushing somewhere to hard or moving elements. Best thing to do is to use old used lego underneath, or cheap bricks in colors that are not used often. This will give you more budget on detailing the outside looks.

One small other tip, not sure if this layout is for display purposes, but in the modular layout we have created where UrbanErwin also was participating we made some agreements on how to create the outside border. In our case we always used a black brick as a base which gave a nice line throughout the whole layout.

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Awesome build. I had not heard of MILS, so I just did some research. I am now planning to do the same! I think the ties look fantastic, I have done them the same way. Looking forward to seeing more posts and progress.

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Disaster strikes!

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WHY?!

I built a test piece in order to compare various water effects against each other as well.

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At this point I'm leaning towards dark tan as the shoreline color, but can't decide between the blue or black as the deep water color. Any thoughts or preferences?

I added a small trackside equipment box for something different.

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Looks good! Now you need to work on your tie spacing so that your track looks as good as the scenery!

I'm not sure if I'll stick with the double-wide ties, because those examples look so nice, but this method is a lot more hassle-free; I don't need to put anything except tiles under the curves, and I don't need to use a dark gray ballast color in order to hide the two-wide Lego track ties under single-width ties. It's also a bit cheaper due to less pieces used. I'll have to put more curves down before I commit to one or the other.

Nice start. Like UrbanErwin said, the green hill looks organic. Good touch there.

The way you build is really solid. I have experienced in my own modular builds that I was trying to limit the use of bricks that are underneath to cut costs. However this always leads to issues afterwards when pushing somewhere to hard or moving elements. Best thing to do is to use old used lego underneath, or cheap bricks in colors that are not used often. This will give you more budget on detailing the outside looks.

One small other tip, not sure if this layout is for display purposes, but in the modular layout we have created where UrbanErwin also was participating we made some agreements on how to create the outside border. In our case we always used a black brick as a base which gave a nice line throughout the whole layout.

The only downside is that this method takes up a lot of 2x2 bricks, but given how common they are I can't imagine anything but the more exotic colors amounting to any real cost in quantity.

As for the outside border...

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...I went ahead and changed my border to black as well. Surprisingly, I appear to be running out of black bricks in the 1xN sizes that I need to continue this! I've also blurred out part of this picture due to not wanting to reveal another project before I'm ready to get nice pictures, and because I'm too lazy to move it out of frame. Consider this a teaser.

My next steps are to wait (im)patiently for my order of ten baseplates from Lego to arrive, as well as rummage through my 1xN brick drawers and extract as many 1x4 Technic bricks as I can find so that I can integrate the new baseplates as soon as possible.

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This is looking fantastic. I'd love to do something like this one day but my wallet doesn't comply. :laugh: I'm partial to the blue plate underneath for deep water. :wink:

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My next steps are to wait (im)patiently for my order of ten baseplates from Lego to arrive, as well as rummage through my 1xN brick drawers and extract as many 1x4 Technic bricks as I can find so that I can integrate the new baseplates as soon as possible.

You might be waiting awhile. Lego Pick-a-brick (PAB) orders are shipped from Europe and are notoriously slow - 4 to 6 weeks has been my experience. You should check out Target and TRU. They have (or had pre-Christmas) 32x32 base plates on the shelf and are the same price as Lego ($7.99).

One thing to note is that the new plates you receive will be a different color of green. Your currently using "green" but Lego has switched to "bright green". Hope this doesn't mess with your plans!

http://alpha.brickli...[baseplate]#T=C

Looking good!

Edited by ecmo47

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Disaster strikes!

(snip)

I built a test piece in order to compare various water effects against each other as well.

At this point I'm leaning towards dark tan as the shoreline color, but can't decide between the blue or black as the deep water color. Any thoughts or preferences?

Bah, that's hardly a disaster. :)

As for water effects, I use dark tan edges and reddish brown centers under dark-trans-blue tiles for the water in my MILS modules, and I think it looks pretty good.

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