Matt The Tuba Guy

LEGO Topographic maps

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This is Aoraki Mount Cook, the tallest mountain in New Zealand, built with LEGO.

It has a scale of 1:31,250, or 1 plate = 100m, 1 stud = 250m. The vertical scale is accurate.

This is determined by the dimensions and height to width ratio of a 1x1 plate.

It has approximately 20,000 parts, and weighs about 30kg

It is approximately 80cm x 120cm, covering 6 large baseplates, and splits in to three sections to make it easier to transport.



During this year, I have built three topographic maps with LEGO.

All of them are the same scale, using a 100m vertical resolution and 250m horizontal resolution.

The first is of Banks Peninsula and Lyttleton Harbour on the south side of Christchurch, New Zealand (where I live)

It covers 6 large baseplates, divides into the 6 baseplates, and contains about 5800 parts.

I displayed this at the Southand Brick Show in Invercargill. Unfortunately, not very many people recognised it!



My second map was an earlier version of Mount Cook, with less colours, and covering a smaller area.

It is built on two large baseplates in one piece. it weighs nearly 10kg, and has over 6000 parts.

I displayed this at the Christchurch Brick Show alongside my first map, which was received a bit better.




My third map is the big Mount Cook map.

I didn't get it complete by the Dunedin Brick show, and continued building it there.

I still didn't get it completed by BrickCon NZ in Upper Hutt, and continued building it there as well, completing it at the end of the first exhibition day.

It was definitely well received at that show

It is now on display in Twizel at the Meridian building. Twizel is where I spent the first 8 or so years of my life, and is about 75km south of Mount Cook (you can see Mount Cook form Twizel on a good day)



Edited by Matt The Tuba Guy
adding more info

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What a patience, to clip together 20.000 parts. Wow. Haven't been there yet, but looking at your model makes wanna do a trip down south.

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Since last posting here I have built one and a half maps.

My first one is Mount Cook V3. It is at a scale of 1:25,000, and is 2x8 large baseplates, so about 3 metres long!

It splits into 8 sections, each 1x2 large baseplates. the total piece count is about 65,000 parts, and it weighs around 60kg!

my second one is my current project; Mount Cook V4. It is at a scale of 1:12,500, and is 3x3 large baseplates.

In this one, I have added trans clear tiles over the water, and also designed a new construction method, building everything on 16x16 plates that sit on top of brick pillars.

I still have a bit of work to do on it.


I have two more maps planned at the same scale and size as my current one. They are Taranaki and Milford Sound.


Edited by Matt The Tuba Guy

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These are incredible. I myself live in Christchurch and all of them are instantly recognisable (am a bit disappointed other New Zealanders failed to do so). I can also therefore appreciate the struggle of getting pieces to the bottom of the Earth. 


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In the last year, I have completed the 1:12500 scale Mount Cook map. It weighs about 50kg, and has about 54,500 pieces!



I also built Mount Taranaki, which is at the same scale of 1:12500. It weighs 30kg, and has about 23,500 pieces.



This year's map is Mitre Peak and Milford Sound, which is at a scale of 1:6250. I have partial designs for a much larger area, with the plan to expand the map over the next couple of years.

Changes from last years maps include improved modular sections, new edge pieces to hide the inside, and some internal Technic connections to hold it together better, and try to prevent the gaps between sections that bugged me last year.




It is still very much a work in progress, but I hope to get the mountain done by the Christchurch Brick Show in July, with the other side of Milford Sound as the work in progress.

I am going to Skaebaek this year, and I hope to take a part of this map. I will probably have to do a bit of work to get the weight down, because I have to fit it in 30kg with anything else I need to take halfway around the world!

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Wow! I had not seen your work, what a stunner! I can't even start to imagine the work put behind these. Hats off!

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Seriously incredible work. The dedication of super massive building scale and building 1x1 at a time is astonishing. Mind blown! Keep up the amazing building.

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Impressive, your maps are gorgeous. How do you design them ? Do you use a software, or do you print maps on paper and then use them as a template to build ?

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Everything is planned except for the specific parts.


The light blue is trans clear tiles, and the yellow and orange are structure and filler underneath the final colours.


The process of creating the maps starts with downloading topographic map data, including the contours and land cover.

I use a GIS program (QGIS because it's free) to create pixel line drawings of all the layers. I then import them into Photoshop.

In Photoshop, I fill the layers, then scale them to one pixel per stud. I then work out what is visible and hidden by subtracting contour layers from each other, and using the border function.

After this, I combine the contour layers with the land cover layers in a long tedious process I won't go into other than the fact it takes longer than the actual building to complete.

In this process, the layers will show bottom structure (underneath the 16x16 plates), middle structure (bricks and 4x4 plates on top of the 16x16 plates), top structure (2x2 bricks), filler (plates), and final colours (plates of the appropriate colours, plus tiles on the water)

Once I have completed all the layers, I cut the layers up into the sections (16x16 plates), and upload them to my google drive so I can use my phone to do the actual building.

Basically, there is a LOT of design work that goes into each map, which is why I have done a much larger area (equivalent to 22x32 standard baseplates, or 5.7m x 8.3m) so that I can just continue to expand this map.


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Wow! These are incredibly impressive. The details & scale accuracy are stunning. Well done. 

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This weekend, I finally finished the map of Mitre Peak at the Christchurch Brick Show.


It contains approximately 35,000 parts, and weighs about 36kg.


One News came in and did some interviews, and that night, my map was actually featured in the article about the show!


My next step is to redo some of the pieces to make the map small enough to take halfway around the world to Skaebaek 2019!


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In September, I travelled to Denmark and displayed a cut down version of Mitre Peak:


Setting up was annoying, I ended up at the corner of four tables!

When I got back to New Zealand, I did a bit more planning, then I started building my next map, Milford Sound:


The total area is over 100 16x16 plates.

Edited by Matt The Tuba Guy

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