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Lego Road Plates in Sets


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#1 The Blue Brick

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 09:45 PM

I was wondering why doesn't the Lego group include road plates in their sets anymore? They used to be in older sets, but why not now. I was mainly wondering this because I'm in the process of making my new layout but need more road plates. I thought that maybe if they would include road plates in sets, it would incline the user to buy more since now they have a couple. Is it the price to make them, or just the fact that it would drive up the price of a set? :classic:
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Edited by The Blue Brick, 03 March 2012 - 09:46 PM.


#2 TheKingOfBuilding

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 10:03 PM

I think Lego only include road plates when they absolutely have to now, not just to save costs but to have more funds going to design the actual buildings/vehicles in the set. A good example is last year's Space Centre. Without the road plate, the launch pad would be flimsy if on a normal baseplate since the road plate covers a much larger area. Road plates for sets like 3661 Bank & Money transfer however are not critical, as the bank would still be stable on a normal baseplate like the one used in the set.

Edited by TheKingOfBuilding, 03 March 2012 - 10:04 PM.

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#3 Lyichir

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 10:58 PM

I think it largely has to do with how limiting road plates can be. Buildings on road plates, for instance, are by definition a set distance from the curb, and by extension, the road. And they mandate that the road the building is on is only as wide as the road plate dictates. It's much easier, cheaper, and liberating to allow the owners of sets to either imagine the road or build their own. While I think baseplates still have their uses (for instance, in the modular buildings), road plates strike me as an outdated idea that limits creativity rather than fostering it.

#4 Joebot

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 04:27 AM

It's not just road plates. Baseplates of any kind are almost an endangered species these days. Sets like the upcoming Mines of Moria would benefit greatly from the inclusion of a baseplate to bring together all the various little bits and pieces of the set, and to give it a sense of place. A lot of sets these days feel empty because they're collections of small structures floating in a void.

As for the road plates, their disappearance wouldn't be so annoying if Lego still sold two of the same style in a package (two curves, two straights, etc.). When they switched to combined curve / T-intersection and a straight / crossroad packages, AND more than doubled the price ... well, I've never bought a new road plate since then.

#5 Palathadric

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 06:44 AM

I find the general lack of baseplates in modern sets quite disappointing. I mean it's nice that the castle sets can be joined together like in the old days and you can add parts to it with every set, that way has its place, but I think that the Castles look a whole lot better when mounted on a raised base plate. :sceptic:
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#6 A2L

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 09:57 AM

View Postpalathadric, on 14 March 2012 - 06:44 AM, said:

I find the general lack of baseplates in modern sets quite disappointing. I mean it's nice that the castle sets can be joined together like in the old days and you can add parts to it with every set, that way has its place, but I think that the Castles look a whole lot better when mounted on a raised base plate. :sceptic:

+1  :thumbup: TLG does dissapoint very often. A sweeping statement I know, but just when you expect more of something, voila its gone. It may be a marketing, production or business decision, who knows.

Road plates/base plates in sets will obviously increase cost, but TLG never shies away from high cost sets. Actually I mostly hear the opposite that more affordable sets are needed.

Having said that, if high cost is the concern, nothing prevents TLG to put out more road plates/base plates separately in the market.

Again if demand is the concern, then why did TLG go ahead and introduce DUPLO plates this year? Won't city road plates sell more than DUPLO building plates? Honestly I don't know.

I don't know TLG's decision making process, and I hope someone can enlighten me. Somewhere on this forum I read that there is a move to encourage joining of smaller plates to achieve the same effect (not valid for road plates of course). So may be thats it. But I'd love to get more base plates and definitely road plates.

Edited by A2L, 14 March 2012 - 11:09 AM.


#7 Palathadric

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 01:13 PM

I suppose the good thing about joining small plates together, to create the surface on which to build, is that it helps one to not need to build too "blockily" especially if you are using the hinge pieces. However, there are still so many conveninces to having baseplate to hold everything together, especially once one's minifigs start getting old and they need to stand on a plate to keep them upright :tongue: . I have a lot of experience with this, but since I don't have too many baseplates, I always just made them stand on 2 x 3 plates. :laugh:
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#8 Lyichir

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 03:14 PM

View PostJoebot, on 14 March 2012 - 04:27 AM, said:

It's not just road plates. Baseplates of any kind are almost an endangered species these days. Sets like the upcoming Mines of Moria would benefit greatly from the inclusion of a baseplate to bring together all the various little bits and pieces of the set, and to give it a sense of place. A lot of sets these days feel empty because they're collections of small structures floating in a void.

As for the road plates, their disappearance wouldn't be so annoying if Lego still sold two of the same style in a package (two curves, two straights, etc.). When they switched to combined curve / T-intersection and a straight / crossroad packages, AND more than doubled the price ... well, I've never bought a new road plate since then.

Actually, in my opinion sets like the Mines of Moria do well not to include baseplates. With a baseplate, most of the structures would be forced at specific angles, usually right angles unless some tricky hinge work is implemented. Baseplates also tend to make sets less playable, since they tie every part of a set together into a singular model. This can be frustrating if, for instance, you drop a minfig weapon into a nook or cranny of the set. With each module of the set separate, it's easy to turn an individual module over and shake the offending part out. Not so much when the entire set is stuck on a single base!

I don't think the complete disappearance of baseplates would be a good thing. The modular buildings, for instance, rely on baseplates to situate each building and its respective curb without raising it up so much that one would have to construct a road to go with it, instead of just imagining it. And terraced landscapes can be hard to construct without the use of BURPs (although the upcoming Lord of the Rings sets show that it can still be done amazingly). But I feel that baseplates are not necessary for every structure, and in fact can detract from models if they force the different sections of a set into a rigid formation instead of allowing for a looser, more free-form arrangement.

#9 tedbeard

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 03:47 PM

View PostJoebot, on 14 March 2012 - 04:27 AM, said:

When they switched to combined curve / T-intersection and a straight / crossroad packages, AND more than doubled the price ... well, I've never bought a new road plate since then.
I hate the combo packs as well. I prefer to buy distinct numbers of the different elements. Thankfully Lugbulk has provided better opportunities for buying road plates.
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#10 Palathadric

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 05:13 PM

View PostLyichir, on 14 March 2012 - 03:14 PM, said:

Actually, in my opinion sets like the Mines of Moria do well not to include baseplates. With a baseplate, most of the structures would be forced at specific angles, usually right angles unless some tricky hinge work is implemented.
This is exactly what I was trying to say, only I didn't get my message across well. :sceptic:
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#11 Legocrazy81

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 05:26 PM

View PostJoebot, on 14 March 2012 - 04:27 AM, said:

It's not just road plates. Baseplates of any kind are almost an endangered species these days. Sets like the upcoming Mines of Moria would benefit greatly from the inclusion of a baseplate to bring together all the various little bits and pieces of the set, and to give it a sense of place. A lot of sets these days feel empty because they're collections of small structures floating in a void.

As for the road plates, their disappearance wouldn't be so annoying if Lego still sold two of the same style in a package (two curves, two straights, etc.). When they switched to combined curve / T-intersection and a straight / crossroad packages, AND more than doubled the price ... well, I've never bought a new road plate since then.
I don't get it either. I have so many useless intersection plates because I needed more straight roads(still do :hmpf_bad:). Come on LEGO, bring back the straight road plates pack!
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#12 sharky

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 06:06 PM

View PostJoebot, on 14 March 2012 - 04:27 AM, said:

It's not just road plates. Baseplates of any kind are almost an endangered species these days. Sets like the upcoming Mines of Moria would benefit greatly from the inclusion of a baseplate to bring together all the various little bits and pieces of the set, and to give it a sense of place. A lot of sets these days feel empty because they're collections of small structures floating in a void.
I agree I don't like it that the pieces are separate.  However, I also agree with others that this could constrain the set in to simply right angles and wouldn't look good.

This got me thinking.  What if they made special base plates where it only had certain studs at the correct places.  Not specific for a particular set, rather some kind of pattern that allowed you to angle smaller base plates on them.  A good example would be the upcoming Mines of Moria.  It would help in other similar sets like some of the PotC sets such as Cannibal Escape and Captains Cabin for instance.  Also, it would be useful in Star Wars sets such as being able to put the Endor sets together at different angles to make a nice scene.  Ditto for all the Hoth sets over recent years like the little Echo Base trench and the Wampa Cave.  It could also be helpful with the Winter Village sets.

Really, though, if I could only make one request it would be to bring back the moon baseplates at the Lego store.

Edited by sharky, 14 March 2012 - 06:07 PM.


#13 Legocrazy81

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 10:19 PM

View Postsharky, on 14 March 2012 - 06:06 PM, said:

I agree I don't like it that the pieces are separate.  However, I also agree with others that this could constrain the set in to simply right angles and wouldn't look good.

This got me thinking.  What if they made special base plates where it only had certain studs at the correct places.  Not specific for a particular set, rather some kind of pattern that allowed you to angle smaller base plates on them.  A good example would be the upcoming Mines of Moria.  It would help in other similar sets like some of the PotC sets such as Cannibal Escape and Captains Cabin for instance.  Also, it would be useful in Star Wars sets such as being able to put the Endor sets together at different angles to make a nice scene.  Ditto for all the Hoth sets over recent years like the little Echo Base trench and the Wampa Cave.  It could also be helpful with the Winter Village sets.

Really, though, if I could only make one request it would be to bring back the moon baseplates at the Lego store.
You could just use 1x1 rounds that we all have millions of, stick them in-between the studs on the baseplate and set the section of say, Mines of Moria at an angle. It would sit a bit higher, but hardly noticeable.
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#14 Palathadric

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 10:40 PM

View PostLegocrazy81, on 14 March 2012 - 10:19 PM, said:

You could just use 1x1 rounds that we all have millions of, stick them in-between the studs on the baseplate and set the section of say, Mines of Moria at an angle. It would sit a bit higher, but hardly noticeable.
I love this idea! :laugh:  :thumbup: No, seriously, I do, but I don't have millions of those round 1 x 1. I actually have very few. :cry_sad:
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#15 Aanchir

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 10:46 PM

I can sort of understand why some people prefer baseplates to smaller regular plates (I prefer regular plates myself for most applications). However, in many ways I think road plates are an outdated relic that in many ways we're well rid of. People complain about many modern parts being large and overspecialized (hey look! There's now a filter on that word for oversized, overspecialized parts! Well done, EB staff!), but road plates are some of the largest parts around and they are usually designed to serve exactly one purpose: acting as a road. For TLG, there's always been the option of printing them differently for use as rivers, unpaved roads, etc, but the end user does not have those same options. They are forced to create grid streets with few options regarding the size of a city block, and beyond that, even many classic Town sets were not designed to function well in layouts based on these road plates (it is difficult to connect most "driveway plates" to a road plate without having to drive over a studded curb).

Buildings on individual plates or baseplates can be arranged in any layout, and a more versatile road can be custom-made using newsprint or cardboard and paint. Many AFOLs build their own custom roads using SNOT techniques. I personally believe a road design using parts like these printed with patterns like road stripes and crosswalks would be ideal, as one could create modular 2-lane roadways that are much more customizable than the grid streets with fixed-size blocks that builders are forced to use with traditional baseplates. I even have some sketches on LDD demonstrating a simple design that would allow these smaller "road tiles" to be used with sets from the modular buildings series without having to transplant those sets from their original baseplates.

I'd definitely appreciate it if TLG would actually go to the effort to release a replacement for the old, outdated road plate concept for use with their existing sets. But even then, I think including this replacement in a lot of sets would be a waste-- a supplementary pack would be sufficient, IMO. It's easy enough for kids to imagine a road (they do it with most vehicle sets that don't include buildings anyway), and road plates (being large, printed parts) are without a doubt fairly expensive compared to the smaller, more versatile plates used as bases in many of today's sets. LEGO sets are already extremely expensive, and of all the things to drop from the sets to bring the prices down to more reasonable levels, I think road plates are one of the most expendable.

Edited by Aanchir, 14 March 2012 - 10:47 PM.

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#16 1974

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 11:09 PM

I'm quite sure that majority of Lego users are using regular (road)baseplates and not SNOTing ayway. They are not a relic, they're current in TLGs shop

But as TLG are creating wider and wider vehicles there is problem. Space! (No, not _that_ space)

I'm not wanting wider roads, that would mean fewer studs on the side. We got six studs now, not a lot. I'm not sure what to do? But I sure would like a bigger diversity in roadplates. Check BL, there's a bunch, but they're either green or old light gray. I wish they're would bring back some of the old ones in the current DBG, like this one :

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#17 sharky

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 11:12 PM

View PostLegocrazy81, on 14 March 2012 - 10:19 PM, said:

You could just use 1x1 rounds that we all have millions of, stick them in-between the studs on the baseplate and set the section of say, Mines of Moria at an angle. It would sit a bit higher, but hardly noticeable.
This is why I am not a Lego designer. :laugh:  That's a good idea you have.

#18 Piranha

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 01:48 AM

It is indeed becoming very rare and whenever I get a base plate in a set it is like a special occasion or something now. :laugh:

I would like to see some supplementary packs like for example a new river base plate and others. :oh:

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#19 tedbeard

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 04:13 PM

View PostMacoco, on 15 March 2012 - 01:48 AM, said:

I would like to see some supplementary packs like for example a new river base plate and others. :oh:
Totally with you on that wish!

A couple of years back I bought four of these on Bricklink just to have some sort of river system:
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It would be fantastic to have these done again but without the printing on the middle of the river. Of course a new "corner" would be amazing as well. I wonder if Lord of the Rings could be the venue? Licensed themes get more leeway to create "new" elements. A couple of river elements could be used in sets for at least different scenes: Nazgul pursuit from the Shire to Rivendell, travelling downriver from Lothlórien and the assault on Osgiliath.
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#20 Lyichir

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 07:06 PM

View Posttedbeard, on 15 March 2012 - 04:13 PM, said:

Totally with you on that wish!

A couple of years back I bought four of these on Bricklink just to have some sort of river system:

It would be fantastic to have these done again but without the printing on the middle of the river. Of course a new "corner" would be amazing as well. I wonder if Lord of the Rings could be the venue? Licensed themes get more leeway to create "new" elements. A couple of river elements could be used in sets for at least different scenes: Nazgul pursuit from the Shire to Rivendell, travelling downriver from Lothlórien and the assault on Osgiliath.

Ugh, no. Printed river baseplates are even more restrictive than road plates, and less justifiably so. A river plate can only ever depict rivers of a particular width, with a uniform pattern of eddies and currents, not to mention identical shores, and with a set-in-stone color for both the water itself and the shoreline. In real life, rivers take on organic shapes with an almost fractal-like randomosity, whereas river plates can only make rivers that go straight or curve exactly 90 degrees. Even standard single-color baseplates with a brick-built shore come out looking better than that sort of "river plate", and in terms of set design it's better to simply build two shores and let your mind connect the dots and form a "river" between them. In most cases, such featureless landscaping is better off omitted from sets entirely, as kids are less likely to want to build a bluff or shore than to build actual interactable elements of a scene like boats, bridges or other riverside structures.

#21 Palathadric

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 09:28 PM

View PostLyichir, on 15 March 2012 - 07:06 PM, said:

Ugh, no. Printed river baseplates are even more restrictive than road plates, and less justifiably so. A river plate can only ever depict rivers of a particular width, with a uniform pattern of eddies and currents, not to mention identical shores, and with a set-in-stone color for both the water itself and the shoreline. In real life, rivers take on organic shapes with an almost fractal-like randomosity, whereas river plates can only make rivers that go straight or curve exactly 90 degrees. Even standard single-color baseplates with a brick-built shore come out looking better than that sort of "river plate", and in terms of set design it's better to simply build two shores and let your mind connect the dots and form a "river" between them. In most cases, such featureless landscaping is better off omitted from sets entirely, as kids are less likely to want to build a bluff or shore than to build actual interactable elements of a scene like boats, bridges or other riverside structures.
Granted for a lot of "professional" MOCers the baseplates look simple and almost an insult to intelligence, but for those of us who don't have a whole lot pieces, especially not many green or brown ones, those baseplates can be a lifesaver, believe it or not. I think, for the most part, kids would prefer to just have the baseplates than to have to create a whole landscape.
TLG doesn't still produce those ridiculously small trees, do they? Perhaps they should come up with a bigger coniferous tree. :grin:
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#22 Piranha

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 11:25 PM

View PostLyichir, on 15 March 2012 - 07:06 PM, said:

Ugh, no. Printed river baseplates are even more restrictive than road plates, and less justifiably so. A river plate can only ever depict rivers of a particular width, with a uniform pattern of eddies and currents, not to mention identical shores, and with a set-in-stone color for both the water itself and the shoreline. In real life, rivers take on organic shapes with an almost fractal-like randomosity, whereas river plates can only make rivers that go straight or curve exactly 90 degrees. Even standard single-color baseplates with a brick-built shore come out looking better than that sort of "river plate", and in terms of set design it's better to simply build two shores and let your mind connect the dots and form a "river" between them. In most cases, such featureless landscaping is better off omitted from sets entirely, as kids are less likely to want to build a bluff or shore than to build actual interactable elements of a scene like boats, bridges or other riverside structures.

Well I agree that brickbuilt rivers and landscapes look the best, those are some serious part eaters. If you are making a layout that features a lot of green base plates and road plates then a few river base plates running through the layout would liven it up. The same could be said of brick built trees compared to single mold trees, yet those are just as loved as their brick built counter parts (Cypress anyone?).

I actually think a river plate in a set does limit imagination but expands on it. Take for example 6761 and 6763 and compare those to a set that could have used similar such as 4193. See what I mean? The river/path base plates do not limit imagination but they make the set(s) a lot more appealing and fun. :wink:

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#23 Legocrazy81

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 12:40 AM

View PostLyichir, on 15 March 2012 - 07:06 PM, said:

Ugh, no. Printed river baseplates are even more restrictive than road plates, and less justifiably so. A river plate can only ever depict rivers of a particular width, with a uniform pattern of eddies and currents, not to mention identical shores, and with a set-in-stone color for both the water itself and the shoreline. In real life, rivers take on organic shapes with an almost fractal-like randomosity, whereas river plates can only make rivers that go straight or curve exactly 90 degrees. Even standard single-color baseplates with a brick-built shore come out looking better than that sort of "river plate", and in terms of set design it's better to simply build two shores and let your mind connect the dots and form a "river" between them. In most cases, such featureless landscaping is better off omitted from sets entirely, as kids are less likely to want to build a bluff or shore than to build actual interactable elements of a scene like boats, bridges or other riverside structures.
A couple things about your statement. People who want river plates may not have or want to spend the money on pieces to brick build a river(same could be said for roads). Printed rivers don't gave to be just straight or 90 degree angles...they can flow any which way LEGO would decide to print them on the baseplate.
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#24 Aanchir

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 08:45 PM

View PostLegocrazy81, on 16 March 2012 - 12:40 AM, said:

A couple things about your statement. People who want river plates may not have or want to spend the money on pieces to brick build a river(same could be said for roads). Printed rivers don't gave to be just straight or 90 degree angles...they can flow any which way LEGO would decide to print them on the baseplate.
Actually, printed river plates in the past couple decades were always just road plates with different printing, so they always follow the same pattern a road does. The only exceptions are some very old river plates from sets in the Castle theme, which had water actually printed over top of the studs on the baseplates. TLG hasn't done this in many, many years and to be honest I don't know if they still have the molds and printing machines necessary since there have been some significant changes in production since then.

I mostly agree with Lyi. While the value of road plates and river plates for cost-effective landscapes is obvious, there are a lot of inherent limitations to both, and for most kids it's probably much easier to imagine roads and bodies of water than to pay for a road or river plate, which would raise the cost of any set and in a lot of sets would necessitate larger packaging-- all for something that has no impact at all on the actual construction of the set and hardly any versatility outside the intended application. When it comes to background details of sets, I prefer when my money goes towards actual details you build like in 6858, 3648, 4209, and 5766 than towards specialized baseplates that will simply be taking up extra space on my display shelves.

Edited by Aanchir, 16 March 2012 - 08:49 PM.

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#25 Palathadric

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 11:17 PM

When I was a kid I would always play that the blue baseplates, were shallow water and the rest of the floor was the deep water. I never had many green bricks at all, so actually building a landscape would have been well-nigh impossible.
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