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Mestari

[MOC] The Ministry of Brick (picture heavy)

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Posted (edited)

I would like to present to you my biggest modular so far - the Ministry of Brick:

This one is from recent exhibition in Pszczyna, Poland:

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And another one from "the studio":

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I started working on it about 2 years ago. I wanted to build something in the socialist realism style. Since you don't get much of this style represented in LEGO, and I am a Warsaw citizen where you can find quite a number of examples from it, something had to be done :)
The inspiration was the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development that is located on Wspólna street. You can have a look at the pictures here.

I started with visiting this place often to get an idea of what I can incorporate into the build and what needs to be changed or done from scratch. It took half a year of thinking how to place the first brick so that I wouldn't have to take it apart in the middle of work. When thinking about it I also posed myself a few challenges and goals:

- The building had to me monochromatic (tan only), but at the same time the building had to be interesting - to be achieved by texture and detailing only. I allowed myself for different coloured windows - black in the arcades and white in the rest of the building.

- The minifigs had to be able to access all rooms (this is true for all my modulars).

- I wanted to include something that moves or at least some lights. I managed to do both. On one side of the building there is an elevator, mechanical. You need to turn the crank at the end of a 32 - long axle, on which a worm gear is sliding taking the elevator with it. The worm gear uses gear racks to climb up and down. The arcades have lights delivered by the lamps (I used points of 5 light from PF lights), in the space room there is one light powering the side generator (for the lack of a better word ;) ) and one going from the top straight to the reactor. The last one is pointed towards the colonnade.

- Yet another assumption was that since this is the Ministry of Brick, each room had to be dedicated to a different LEGO Theme.

Right next to the building there is a small Brick Square with a accompanying Statue of Brick :P

During the photo session (that my friend Jetboy helped me greatly with) I realized that I forgot to produce a sticker for the red sign. At the end I decided to use some chromed plates in that space since a sticker would be in Polish and plates are international :) And I intend to visit Skaerbaek with that build (if they accept it), so maybe this is better idea.

OK, so here we go, first with the red, unstickered sign...

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And with chromed plated (again from the exhibition)

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And the facade:

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Now, I would to give you a tip how to build in the room where a two-year old is playing. Have a look at the black poles (is it a proper name in English?). Apart from the obvious (protecting minifigs from cars) their other important function was to take the beating from my son and protect the building this way (he would stop there :) ). He used to pick them up everyday, put them in his cars, loose and find them. Once when he lost them for good, I ordered another bunch from BL. I found them the moment I payed for a new lot... Anyway, allowing the children to open and close the doors hundreds times a day helped to protect the rest of the build too and most of all, having it in the open space for several months finally made them accustomed to it so it wasn't that important to tear it apart anymore. Yes, my lovely wife is a monument of patience.

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And here are the lights that I was able to capture best in one of the late WIPs:

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Now, lets have a look at all of the modules together:

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At the base we have the Brick Square with statue:

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At the ground floor there are arcades with the cloakroom (City style), on one side Castle room, on the other the Simpsons:

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On the Simpsons side, there is the office and a public toilet:
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There is also an elevator shaft:
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Arcades with the cloakroom can be best seen in the overall ground floor picture, here is the other side:
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Castle means a throne room and the king. If someone needs to have something done here, one needs to know who's really in charge :)
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Above the arcades there is the Power Functions lights sections. It contains 3 sets of lights. 5 out of 6 light points are used to light up the arcades. Here is a view of the lamps:
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The remaining light points is used to power the generator in space room on the first floor:
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The UFO man is there as well :)
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Going back to PF section - here is how it looks:
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As you can see, the right most bigger cog wheel is an ON/OFF switch.

We have also the Pirates on the first floor. They used all the budget they could for the interior :)
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Above the arcades there is a patio for the restaurant run by the monsters from the Monster Fighters and other halloween creatures (but everyone is welcome to come in :) ):
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And here is the restaurant:
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On the other side there is Western department:
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This table can be opened on a hinge so that I can install a PF cable with light coming from the top and lightening the reactor in space room below. Not very convenient, but aesthetics took priority :)
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Above the restaurant the Lord of the Rings department is located. They have there the right place for Bilbo's book :)
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And lastly above the Western room there is the "engine room" for the elevator:
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It is run by the Santa's elves, but not only them. It is Technic after all!
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This is also the place to turn the second set of lights on. This is the only room (apart from the roof) where a minifig can't enter. The elevator doesn't reach this floor, there are no stairs. But the elves have their ways and maxi fig can climb up :)

The roof is socialist realism style as well, of course :)
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The whole gallery is here: CLICK!

I hope you like it :)

Edited by Mestari

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Cool big MOC. I especially like the decoration on the sides of the building.

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Nice build. Even though the outer facade doesn't have many details it works very well because the proportions are very well done. The interior details are also pretty cool!

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this is beautiful! good job! I love the different little sections, it adds a nice touch. and the fact that it all connects to be one uniform building that looks remarkable on the outside? amazing. hope you do more of this kind of thing... you sure seem good at it.

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Nice! It's always great to see rather unusual buildings in a Lego town, and you did a great job in recreating the typical elements of socialist classicism in my opinion. I also like the idea of a "Ministry of Bricks" as such.

One aspect I find especially interesting is the lighting. It's great that you used PF LEDs instead of Nonlego lighting stuff - unfortunately spreading more and more in Lego towns. However, I can't quite figure out how you did the lamps, also because I can't see any wiring. Could you please tell a bit more about that?

Thanks and keep up the great work! :thumbup:

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8 hours ago, ER0L said:

Nice! It's always great to see rather unusual buildings in a Lego town, and you did a great job in recreating the typical elements of socialist classicism in my opinion. I also like the idea of a "Ministry of Bricks" as such.

One aspect I find especially interesting is the lighting. It's great that you used PF LEDs instead of Nonlego lighting stuff - unfortunately spreading more and more in Lego towns. However, I can't quite figure out how you did the lamps, also because I can't see any wiring. Could you please tell a bit more about that?

Thanks and keep up the great work! :thumbup:

Thank you :) I have just uploaded a WIP pictures folder: WIP pictures

I have uploaded there two pictures specifically that should show you how I did that (sorry for the pony :) ):

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If you go to the gallery you can access the photos in higher resolution. But in essence the PF module hides all the wires, has the holes for PF lights in it (the one on the side going to the space room shines through a 1x2 technic brick hole, the other 5 through Technic plates 2x8 holes). The lamps in the arcade consist of two parts. Trans clear Minifig, Utensil Goblet fits right under the technic plate around the hole where the source of light is, then I attached 3x3 trans-clear dish at the bottom of it too. I hope that helps :)

But I also have to tell you that although I do work with LEGO only lighting so far, it is very frustrating to work with. Apart from the fact, that they can have different colours of white, they also take up a lot of space, are very expensive, are just 2 units per set and the light they give is very, very weak. As a result the effect can only be noticed in a dim room. You can forget to show it during the exhibition. People don't even notice the light is on until you ask them to look at specific places when you switch the light on and off. And that need to be repeated sometimes for them to notice it too. I so hoped that with the next generation they would fix that, but they did that even worse with PU. Same old stuff, but more expensive and unable to stack. So going forward I will resign from using LEGO lighting. And I really wanted not to do that :(

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On 8/17/2018 at 8:25 PM, Mestari said:

If you go to the gallery you can access the photos in higher resolution. But in essence the PF module hides all the wires, has the holes for PF lights in it (the one on the side going to the space room shines through a 1x2 technic brick hole, the other 5 through Technic plates 2x8 holes). The lamps in the arcade consist of two parts. Trans clear Minifig, Utensil Goblet fits right under the technic plate around the hole where the source of light is, then I attached 3x3 trans-clear dish at the bottom of it too. I hope that helps :)

But I also have to tell you that although I do work with LEGO only lighting so far, it is very frustrating to work with. Apart from the fact, that they can have different colours of white, they also take up a lot of space, are very expensive, are just 2 units per set and the light they give is very, very weak. As a result the effect can only be noticed in a dim room. You can forget to show it during the exhibition. People don't even notice the light is on until you ask them to look at specific places when you switch the light on and off. And that need to be repeated sometimes for them to notice it too. I so hoped that with the next generation they would fix that, but they did that even worse with PU. Same old stuff, but more expensive and unable to stack. So going forward I will resign from using LEGO lighting. And I really wanted not to do that :(

Thanks for the detailed info! If I understand correctly, the light is transferred to the dishes via the goblets - interesting technique, also because the wiring is completely hidden, I'll surely try that.

Regarding the lighting problem as a whole I agree that PF LEDs are hard to handle when it comes to the lighting of buildings, mainly because of their narrow light beam, I guess. That's why I rather use L&S lights for that purpose. However, LED spots are working nicely as headlights and backlights of vehicles and also as streetlights. On an actual building I'm using them to highlight the entrance section (mixed with L&S) which seems to work quite well.

In any case I agree that the PU LEDs are a step back: they are way to expensive, they can't be stacked, as you said, plus you can't connect them to a train trafo which is absolutely required on larger layouts with lots of lights. But well: As long as we have access to all the lighting techniques TLG has developed so far (even the old 12 V lights are being used on our Route 66 layout) I guess we're able to find more or less adequate solutions for our lighting problems.

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9 hours ago, ER0L said:

Thanks for the detailed info! If I understand correctly, the light is transferred to the dishes via the goblets - interesting technique, also because the wiring is completely hidden, I'll surely try that.

That is exactly how I did it. Thanks for the tips on L&S. I did use that in two of my earlier builds but were not satisfied much. I may simply have much worn out bulbs. I'll have a second try at them before I go to the dark side :)

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Great work! I really like the blackpoles - simple but yet very effective. And I fully agree with you about the LEGO LEDs: sadly, they are just not usable for illuminating anything...

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