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Thought this might be of interest to anyone creating their own City layout or anyone who wants roads to go alongside their modular buildings or city vehicles.

I decided to have a go at creating my own road plates as a substitute to the standard ones that Lego produce. You can find PDF patterns available online for printing roads but instead of using those I designed these myself as I wanted them to look pretty close to the real thing. I then used a high quality digital laser printer and printed them on to 400gsm card which is the same stuff often used by commercial printers for printing business cards. Each one is cut to the same size as a standard 32x32 base plate and I rounded the corners which helps to prevent them from getting bent or damaged.

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The finished roads are quite thick and sturdy but they are thin enough that the edges can be tucked under the base plates on Modulars and other buildings which helps to hold them in place. They can also be overlapped which is useful for fitting around awkward sized buildings that don't fit the standard 32x32 size. I produced quite a few of these and just like the official Lego road plates, they can be arranged in many ways to create different road layouts.

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They don't have quite the same appeal as the real thing but I'm pretty pleased with the end result. Considering the cost to make these was a tiny fraction of what Lego charge for real road plates, I think this is a good cheap alternative that works well for anyone who hasn't got the space for a large permanent layout. 

Below are some pictures of my printed roads being used on a small tabletop City layout. Let me know what you think. :classic:

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**EDIT** Please scroll to the bottom of page 1 to see my second attempts at creating a more realistic road design.

Edited by Bricked1980

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52 minutes ago, JopieK said:

Alas your images don't show.

Dang! :wacko: Thanks for pointing that out. I've edited the oroginal post so the pics should show now.

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they look great.

although if you don't use the official lego road plates i would maybe go all custom and not make them look the same as the lego plates

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1 hour ago, SollX said:

they look great.

although if you don't use the official lego road plates i would maybe go all custom and not make them look the same as the lego plates

Thanks. For this first batch I wanted to see if I could re-create the same appearance of standard road plates but in the future I might try and do my own design with more realistic road markings and extra things like bus stops, parking bays and maybe corner section that don't have such a sharp radius.

1 hour ago, Johnny1360 said:

Those do look pretty good, for a less expensive alternative. How much would you say they cost to make? 

I'm lucky enough to have access to a digital laser printer at work, so actually they didn't cost me anything at all.

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These look really nice, and they almost look like the real things. It seems like a really good alternative to the ones Lego sells, especially since they combined the kind of roads (t-junction with curve and the crossing with straight road) which is not my favorite strategy for these kind of things. Are you planning to create more custom prints for these? Like a bicycle or bus lane?

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2 hours ago, Brickviller V2 said:

These look really nice, and they almost look like the real things. It seems like a really good alternative to the ones Lego sells, especially since they combined the kind of roads (t-junction with curve and the crossing with straight road) which is not my favorite strategy for these kind of things. Are you planning to create more custom prints for these? Like a bicycle or bus lane?

Thanks! Yes I will probably have a go at setting up some different styles of roads with different features not produced by Lego.

These work well for me. I don't have space at home for a large layout to be left on display permanently so can't really justify spending around £10 each on a pack of road plates only to end up with loads of left over curves and cross road pieces that I don't need. I'd rather put that money towards actual Lego sets. :classic:

Edited by Bricked1980

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Great Idea. Can you do roads that go to the edge of card without the speckle part? Due to the size of LEGO vehicles now being 6 wide the road lanes are too skinny. Also the Modular's have their own footpath so another reason to get rid of the side part.

 

 

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3 hours ago, AllanSmith said:

Great Idea. Can you do roads that go to the edge of card without the speckle part? Due to the size of LEGO vehicles now being 6 wide the road lanes are too skinny. Also the Modular's have their own footpath so another reason to get rid of the side part.

Good idea. I added the speckled stone texture effect at the side of the roads just because I thought it would look more interesting than plain solid grey. There is definitely space to make the road lanes wider though.

One advantage of printing these on card is that you can slide the edges under the baseplates on the modular buildings so that the excess area at the side of the roads can be completely covered up.

44 minutes ago, Blk69 said:

Suggest you laminate your print out if possible.  Will significantly decrease the wear and tear of the paper road plates and assist in cleaning/dusting.

Yes laminating would help to protect them long term, it would also make them thicker and more sturdy so I might try that in the future.

Actually though they are probably more hard wearing than they look. The card is fairly thick and they are printed using laser toner which doesn't run or damage as easily if it gets wet like inkjet prints would do.

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And the great fun with this is that you don't have to stick to the traditional straights and corners etc. 

Me being Dutch i always look forward to (separate) bicycle lanes, or boulevard designs. :classic:

Did someone mention bus stops already?


Cheers!

JJ Geers

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I like these a lot.  It's a shame the way TLG sells these, and it makes creating a big city way more expensive and, as usual, you typically need more straights than anything else.

Not sure I would take this path, but I think it looks great, and I wouldn't be adverse to it at all.  Definitely something to keep in mind.

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17 hours ago, fred67 said:

I like these a lot.  It's a shame the way TLG sells these, and it makes creating a big city way more expensive and, as usual, you typically need more straights than anything else.

Yes, I find the way Lego sells the road plates in double packs to be a bit limiting. It would be better if they sold them individually or in packs of 2 copies of the same design.

The small layout I put together in my pictures actually contains 4 pieces of straight, 1 corner and 2 T junctions. I've just worked out that if I'd bought real road plates from the Lego Store, in the UK this would have cost me just under £63 which is a bit pricey I think. I would also have been left with 1 spare corner piece and 4 cross road sections that I don't need.

Edited by Bricked1980

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They look really nice! My main concern with the basic LEGO baseplates is that they don't seem to fit the modular streets very well and the other brick solutions cost a humongous amount of bricks.

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Thanks to everyone who has commented on my printed road plates. :classic: I have now started work on designing some different roads which will have a more realistic and detailed style with wider lanes, a bus lane and other extra features. I'll be adding photos of these when they're finished so watch this space...

In the meantime, here are few extra pictures of my current layout that I hadn't included in my original post.

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Edited by Bricked1980

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1 hour ago, CCSG said:

Great pictures! Your backdrops are really cool. Do you print those too?

Thanks. :classic: Actually no, the background scene is just photoshopped in on those pics.

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It looks cool and I'm surprised that I didn't notice it was photoshopped. It looks like Lego artwork and gives me some ideas for building my backdrop. 

 

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5 hours ago, Bricked1980 said:

Thanks to everyone who has commented on my printed road plates. :classic: I have now started work on designing some different roads which will have a more realistic and detailed style with wider lanes, a bus lane and other extra features. 

Great news on the new designs. Are you able to print a very long straight road that can fold up concertina (zig-zag) style. Would be great for storage and also less joins on the road. Any thought on selling copies of your roads?

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17 hours ago, AllanSmith said:

Are you able to print a very long straight road that can fold up concertina (zig-zag) style. Would be great for storage and also less joins on the road.

The machine I use to print these can only print up to A3 size. So although I could print them a bit longer than a standard Lego road plate I wouldn't be able to print a long sheet which could then be folded like a contertina. Also I think if I tried to fold them then the print would probably crack along the crease, and once they'd been folded it would probably cause them to no longer lay nice and flat when they're unfolded.

17 hours ago, AllanSmith said:

Any thought on selling copies of your roads?

Well I produced these using the printer in my office at work. It was ok to do this just for a few prints for myself, but I don't think my boss would be very impressed if I used the printer to make copies to sell to other people. So I don't think I'd be able to do that. Nice idea though.

20 hours ago, CCSG said:

It looks cool and I'm surprised that I didn't notice it was photoshopped. It looks like Lego artwork and gives me some ideas for building my backdrop. 

If you're interested in printing your own backdrop to put behind your Lego City then I would recommend looking online. If you do a google image search for "Lego City Background" quite a few decent images come up. You can download these and then providing the resolution is good enough, you can print them out. Here is the one I used on the photoshopped copies of my pics. Obviously I cropped the foreground and minifigs off first though.

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Really cool work with the roads, and they look great, might I say even better than the Lego road plates. 

Any thoughts on selling/sharing your road template that we can print like you did? Not sure if its a photoshop design or something else. 

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On 15/02/2018 at 5:29 PM, zoomzoom78 said:

Any thoughts on selling/sharing your road template

It's not something I'm planning to do at the moment sorry. I designed them using CorelDraw which is not as widely used as software like Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator. Also the files are pretty huge so it just wouldn't be very practical.

There are other road templates available to download online though. I was gonna use one of these originally before I decided to design my own. Here are a couple of links to other sites you can download them from.

https://www.reddit.com/r/papercraft/comments/2xj6yv/lego_city_roads_pdf_template/

https://sellfy.com/p/9eno/

There are also plenty available for sale on Ebay. Here is one example.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/LEGO-8-5-x11-Printable-Road-Plate-Standard-Dark-Gray-PDF-electronic-only/131199578974?epid=1531950807&hash=item1e8c1ab35e:g:-~wAAOxy3yNTgqwW

Edited by Bricked1980

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NEW AND IMPROVED ROAD DESIGNS

Last week I mentioned I was working on some new designs for my roads. I managed to finish these over the weekend and have posted some new pictures below.

The new roads are intended to be more realistic and now feature a printed asphalt texture, different styles and colours of road markings, a bus lane and parking bays. They are still printed on squares the same size as a 32x32 baseplate but this time the roads fill up the full width of the sheets so that the road edge now finishes flush with the pavements on the modular buildings.

Let me know what you think. Do you prefer this style or the more familiar Lego style I had tried to recreate with my first attempts last week? :classic:

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 "Watch Out! That's a nasty looking pothole in the road ahead!"

 

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"Aaargh Heck!"

Edited by Bricked1980

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