greg3

Ballabreek 2015

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Hi

It's a New Year so it's time for a new topic to chart the goings on in my village (or is it now a small town?) of Ballabreek! I thought I'd start with a quick look at how it looks at the min... This year might see a few changes!! Our sightseeing tour comes courtesy of my latest MOC - a hopper balloon (info for which I've posted in its own topic).

Welcome to Ballabreek's Hopper Balloon Tours, my name's Frank and I'll be your guide....

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Let's go...

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

The old mine has now been back in business for nearly 2 years and has revitalised the local economy. You can see the main road is currently closed so that construction work can begin to improve access to the site.

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

The centre of Ballabreek...

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

The main shopping/residential area. This year will probably see considerable changes here as there are plans to replace at least some of the shops/houses.

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

The beach... I'm thinking that the new Friends lighthouse might look good here!!

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Unfortunately after that last photo, Frank's balloon suffered a heavy landing (OK I dropped it!) and needs some repairs so here's one last shot of the whole layout.

I'm planning to finally adding the back of the mine/hillside (seen here in the foreground) and adding a bit more vegetation/countryside.

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

As always, comments/suggestions are more than welcome.

Cheers and thanks for looking.

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This week I've tried to integrate some of the latest Arctic sets into a town layout in a plausible way. The result.... The Polaris Exhibition!!

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

In my "Lego-verse", Polaris is the name of a company which has been awarded the right to explore a previously unexplored region of the Arctic which has become accessible due to the shrinking ice cap. One thing that sets Polaris apart from other companies in the region, is that they try to combine locating and exploiting natural mineral resources with protecting and recording the fragile natural environment. A big part of this involves a range of educational projects aimed at sharing their work with the wider community... One such project is their travelling exhibition which this weekend is visiting Ballabreek.

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

The aim of the exhibition is to give the public hands-on experience of Polaris' work. As well as being able to talk to real life polar explorers and scientists, exhibits and activities include...

A life sized model of a polar bear which highlights the work being done by Polaris scientists to track and monitor their population and movements in order to better protect them.

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

A typical weather balloon, not only used to record climate conditions but also cosmic radiation levels and the effects of pollution.

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

At the heart of Polaris' work is the aim of finding new mineral deposits that can be used to develop more efficient and powerful batteries and other devices that will eventually make renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and wave power more economical. Large drills such as this are used to get to these deposits which lie under previously unknown islands which in turn are covered in thick layers of ice.

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Inside the covered area is a web-learning zone where people can watch live webcam feeds and find out about the work of Polaris. There are also scheduled web chats and Q&As with Polaris employees currently working in the Arctic. Another area allows people to see examples of the minerals being found, scientists are on hand to explain the importance of these discoveries.

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

There is also a small dispay charting the history of Arctic exploration in this region.

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Many of the activities are geared towards children, an especially popular one is the "Icebreaker challenge" where a remote controlled model ship has to be guided safely through an "ice field". An actual ship's captain is on hand to offer advice!!

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

A future captain maybe?

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Anyway, I hope people have enjoyed this update - I really enjoyed putting it all together (and finally having a use for my spare brick separators!!) And who knows, we may learn more about the work of Polaris later in the year, as at least one of the workers from the local mine has signed up to join the next expedition in the Spring!!

Thanks for looking - comments are always welcome.

Edited by greg3

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Now that's fantastic 'greg3', creating a display of Arctic gear.....gee, I hope that is a stuffed polar bear ? :laugh: (or it's kiddies for lunch and tea :devil::laugh: )

Keep going and Brick On 'greg3' ! :grin:

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That's really cool. I really like the use of the Arctic sets.

On a side note, I wish I could build a Lego town but I just don't have the room/money/Lego for that. :cry_sad:

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This week, work began on improving access to the mine by constructing a new, wider entrance.

First the local logging company cleared the area of vegetation

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

As the loggers leave, a work crew arrive to begin clearing and levelling the soil and grass bank (the removed material will be used to landscape to area behind the mine - yes I'm that short of green plates!!)

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

All seems to be going well until a sharp eyed worker spots something sticking out of the digger bucket.

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Thinking it's just a piece of old pipe he pulls it out only to discover....

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

It's a machine gun!!

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

The police are called and work is halted until a full investigation can be carried out!!

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

So what exactly have they uncovered? Are there more weapons hidden beneath Ballabreek? Watch this space to find out!!

Comments (and speculation!) are always welcomed....

Thanks for looking!

Edited by greg3

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Greg, you are a great AFOL and a nice storyteller too. I hope you also have some child to sleep the night...

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Following on from the last update...

The gun uncovered by the construction workers was soon identified by its serial numbers as being a Lewis gun from a WW1 aircraft!! While this meant that it was no longer a criminal matter, it did raise concerns that there may be more ordnance and possibly even human remains at the site so members of the local archaeology group were called in to help investigate!!

First the area was surveyed with metal detectors.

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Finds were identified and sorted

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

After a bit of research, the aircraft was identified as Sopwith Camel B10226 which crashed on the edge of the village (near the mine) while on a training flight in Feb 1918. The pilot was dragged from the burning wreckage by mine workers and although badly injured is believed to have survived (although further records have been lost). The following day, the remains of the aircraft that hadn't been taken as souvenirs by the locals, were dumped on the mine's spoil heap and buried. During the 1960's the spoil heaps were levelled when the road was widened, leaving the wreckage in its present location.

This has left the archaeologists very keen to uncover as much as they can (with the help of the construction workers) in the few days they have been given before work needs to resume on the site.

One key part they wanted to find was the engine.

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Carefully lifted out, it seemed to be very well preserved!

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

By the end of the dig they'd uncovered not just the engine but 3 Lewis guns, an ammunition drum, dials from the cockpit and the pilot's control column...

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Some armour plate, the top of the fuel tank and a section of the port wing.

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Placed together as they would have been

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

How it might have looked before the crash!!

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Untitled by g.nat, on Flickr

The armour plate and unusual weapon mix has the archaeologists excited as it points to the aircraft as having been a rare varient known as the T.F-1 (only 3 are believed to have been made) so the parts are taken away to the local museum for further investigation and the site is returned to the construction company. You can find out more about the T.F-1 in my post about my MODed 10226 here http://www.eurobricks.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=105088

The idea for his update came not only from the desire to link my 10226 Sopworth Camel to Ballabreek but from a memorial I found while out walking near a local village (on which the history of Ballabreek is loosely based). The memorial commemorates a wartime aircrash (in this case from WW2) in which 7 airmen (6 Canadians and 1 British) were killed along with a 3 yr old boy whose house was hit by debris.

Anyway, as always, thanks for looking.... Comments are welcome.

Edited by greg3

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Very nice update! I love how you've made such a detailed history for the town I think it adds a lot. Maybe Ballabreek needs a small museum to display the findings of the dig?

I also love the Polaris display; that is one of the most creative uses of brick separators I have ever seen.

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Hi

The idea for this week's update came from seeing the local lifeboat out on a training exercise last week and wondering if Ballabreek's emergency services are similarly prepared (especially as due to "restructuring" (or being disassembled and put in a box to save space) the Lego Coastguard now leave the responsibility for inshore rescue to the local emergency services).

So with the best way to find out being to put them through their paces, I came up with a training scenario in which an explosion on the pumping station has caused a fire and blown 2 workers into the sea (1 of them with serious burns). This will allow the police, fire and ambulance to practice working together and try out some of their new kit.

16394081956_2d63ffc953_z.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

First the fire brigade use their new boat to bring the fire under control...

16420052915_ab8a9cf741_z.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

The flames are created by burners remotely controlled by the fire chief back on shore..

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The police beach patrol use their jet ski to rescue the casualties and return them to shore. They also use a cutting edge rescue drone to drop flotation aids to the men as they await rescue. The drone was a last minute addition to the scene after I saw an online news article on a real life version.

16394161196_9413b56827_z.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

16419139062_bfc173c68f_z.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Casualty's eye view

16420149795_4b8d53fa5d_z.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

The drone operator alongside it's designer, the head of Octan Industries' "Technology for Autonomous Cybernetic Operations" division. He hopes that a successful test today will allow him to develop his big ideas for future semi and totally autonomous air, land and sea units for rescue and law enforcement.

16394164896_6da81ddf1a_z.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Finally the "injured" man is flown to a nearby burns unit for specialist treatment. The helicopter is another new addition, able to land in small spaces and carry 2 casualties. (Well it will eventually have 2 stretchers but I only had 1 cockpit part and didn't like the official version's open air stretcher!!)

16394105396_ce9449c7b8_z.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

The excercise was considered a success, although the police force has decided that they need a bigger vessel and are hoping to soon acquire a hovercraft!! However, the star of the show was definitely the rescue drone and talks are now underway to allow Ballabreek to try out some more of Octan Industries' technology.

As always, thanks for taking the time to check out my pics and comments are always welcome. (I might create a separate topic with some close ups and info on the drone tomorrow)

Edited by greg3

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I love your town! It's truly inspirational. I love it that there's so much going on. Lego towns are great, but the ones with a backstory or a story going on. :wub:

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Another great scene and fun story! I hope the burn victim doesn't become an angry, bitter person intent on bringing down the corporation responsible for his disfigurement through acts of sabotage and villany.

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This week's update leads in to a comic type story which will get it's own topic. My eventual aim is to try and link Ballabreek to as many other themes as I can and story telling seems the best way to do that!! Each story will have it's own topic while this one will remains as a sort of "official overview" of the town's real life everyday activities.

Anyway, the story behind this image is that Balabreek's small police force (who usually have little to do other than to deal with speeding drivers and petty crime) have been called upon to apprehend a suspect on behalf of a major government agency...

16474209826_1605542d6a_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Unfortunately, the arrest does not go smoothly!! To find out more check out part 1 of "Ultra Agents: The Gathering Storm" here http://www.eurobricks.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=105728

Thanks for looking, comments are always welcome. I hope to continue the story and add more throughout the year!!

Edited by greg3

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Thanks for the comments..... Over the last few weeks I've been looking at doing something with the rear of the mine. Up 'til now it's just been the rear of the official set (and not too attractive!!) so I've been experimenting with a bit of landscaping and here's the result!!

Before

16826613155_b5b522b30b_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

After

16825375911_203537ab18_c.jpgimage by g.nat, on Flickr

My main aim was to open up an extra area for use in stories etc but as always there's a bit of a back story.

The area behind the mountain currently belongs to the mining company but is unused and overgrown so as a bit of PR work, the mining company has decided to gift it to the community for leisure/recreational use once the building work on the new mine entrance has finished.

16826435845_3d9d8cf9c3_c.jpgimage by g.nat, on Flickr

The citizens of Ballabreek are currently deciding how best to use the land, which also includes a small disused storage building. Suggestions so far have been to create a trail behind the mountain to open the area up for activities such as mountain biking, hiking and climbing. The building may be converted to a snack bar/cafe or a small museum/heritage or nature centre. Or it may be demolished and replaced with something else (I'm considering an alternative energy centre with a small wind turbine, solar panels etc) or the area may just be landscaped. No final decision has been made yet so any other suggestions are more than welcome.

16640324899_f229e4b709_c.jpgimage by g.nat, on Flickr

Once again, thanks for looking... More updates coming soon!!

Edited by greg3

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What a wonderful piece of nature just outside the village. I like the idea of outdoor activities in the area. I guess there is a nice view over Ballabreek from the top.

A nature centre with a café would fit well with the aims to attract more tourists to Ballabreek. On the other hand, a centre for alternative energy might be able to attract new citizens, as far as Ballabreek does not have engineers/technicians living there. Though I guess a wind turbine might be disturbed by turbulence created from the hill/mountain.

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A mini update (couldn't resist setting up this topical little scene)

A few days ago, the people of Ballabreek were treated to a rare astronomical sight.... A near total solar eclipse!!

Just like where I live, at the peak of the eclipse the sun was about 93% obscured by the moon (but unlike here, they had nice clear skies to view it!! (I did manage to get a brief view of the real thing through the clouds - a pretty amazing sight!!))

Heading the warnings not to look at it directly, the Ballabreek Institute of Scientific Research set up a telescope to project the image onto a screen for everyone to enjoy. Here the eclipse is well underway.

16920481185_dea586662f_c.jpgimage by g.nat, on Flickr

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With proper eclipse glasses in short supply, some people made their own pinhole projectors to view the event. (Or used their phone cameras to capture the moment)

16919227542_414a54213c_c.jpgimage by g.nat, on Flickr

Comments are always welcome.... thanks for looking!!

Edited by greg3

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