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Ballabreek 2020

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Posted (edited)

It's the first weekend of the year which means it's time for a new topic for my LEGO town of Ballabreek!!

Later this year, will mark 10 years since I first put 6 roadplates together and called it Ballabreek ("Place of the Brick" in Manx"). Since then it's grown and changed a fair bit as each year I've tried to add as many official sets as possible (often modified to make them fit better). I also like to come up with backstories to explain the changes and add a bit of character to the town and its minifig population.

The first change in the town this year sees the loss of a major employer... the Space Technology Centre :sad:. Last year saw the Centre taken over by a consortium of tech companies with ambitious aims to reach the moon and beyond. As part of their restructuring, they've moved the Ballabreek centre out of the town so it can expand. (it's actually only going on a nearby shelf!) This has left an empty area which an enterprising minifig has turned into a used car lot. Now the locals can get "reliable, cut priced vehicles" for "incredible low low prices!!" :grin:


48340396881_d420f7a0aa_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr


49328782323_83eb2336e5_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Eventually the site will be home to a large tuning workshop/garage :wink:. Unfortunately the current building plans would mean blocking access to the public footpath - the local walkers aren't even happy about having to walk across the car lot!! So until the access issue can be solved, the garage build is on hold (bad news for the garage business owner but good news for the used car salesmen!!)

49329252006_8670292566_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

In actual fact, the delay is because I may have to move house next month or 2. Hopefully I won't but until I'm sure, I'm reluctant to make any big changes/builds that I'll just have to dismantle in a few weeks!  Anyway, for those new to Ballabreek here's a quick tour of the town as it is now...

The industrial area centred around the mine.

49328781893_bcbd49cab5_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Behind the mine is the footpath that's causing all the planning issues...

49329251626_2c10b21062_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Opposite the mine are the recycling area, police and fire stations...

49329474612_e695065649_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

The town centre; tram stop, park, hospital, shop and bank.

49329251931_f9548376e9_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

More shops (and apartments); LEGO store, newsstand, gem store, bike shop and hairdressers.

49329251956_459d09b9bd_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

49329474812_618d4eae4c_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Residential area - a quiet one-way street...

49329092068_4c0f2ca721_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Finally, the harbour area (including a small open air pool)

49329475062_96745be726_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

So what has 2020 got in store for Ballabreek? Well I guess we'll just have to wait and see!!

Thanks for looking. As always, comments are very welcome.







Edited by greg3

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Yes! I always love reading your updates. As you said, the stories you add really make your town come to life. 

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Posted (edited)

Happy new year Greg, nice updates as usual. I look forward to all your stories this year.

Just followed you on Flickr, not sure why I hadn’t sooner.

Edited by gotoAndLego

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This week's update injects a bit of culture into Ballabreek with a new temporary art installation at the park. The statue that usually stands here has been removed for restoration and cleaning so the town council has offered the area up for local artists to showcase their work with a new exhibit each month. This month's is a sculpture created from recycled glass and already christened "The Crystal Snake" by the locals...

49373178888_5dde9d4d5a_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

The local TV news crew are interviewing the sculptor...

49373178648_ef55a67090_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Close up of the artwork itself... (it can be rotated  to create a spiralling effect)

49373631271_950edd7357_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

This was just a quick little build resulting from a play around with the spare parts from the new DC CMF series!! (Those new trans clear parts look like they could be quite useful!!) But now I need to think of some more artworks for the next few months!! :laugh:)

Thanks for looking - comments are always welcome!!

Edited by greg3

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Today we see the unveiling of the town's first public electric car charging point. Using cutting edge technology, it can fully charge a car in 30 mins and thanks to its ultra efficient solar cells is 100% emission free. It's currently being trialled for a few months but the hope is that if it proves popular, then other charging points will be added around the town as more of the locals switch to electric vehicles.

49405181946_3ebb8655ce_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

49405378307_dee426687b_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

As happened last week, the local news team is there to get the story - this time interviewing the CEO of the company behind the technology about his future plans.

49405378932_6461030241_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

49404700118_be7c7bc347_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Finally a pic of it in action - charging one the latest fully electric cars now available.

49405464322_a858ff8fcd_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

This latest mini update was inspired by a local news report about plans to increase the number of public charging points (and by chance I'd just bought the new filling station set!). Eventually I'll find space for the shop and petrol pumps (although they'll have to dispense some sort of environmentally friendly bio-fuel to please my environmentalist minifigs :laugh:)

As always, thanks for looking... wonder what the news crew will report on next week?  :wink:


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This weekend brings a taste of the Far East to Ballabreek as the local Asian community celebrate the Lunar New Year by holding a traditional Spring Festival on the town's streets.

49439717963_89cc2a4367_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

With the roads closed to traffic, the main road now features a brightly coloured gateway and trees bearing messages of good luck for the coming year...

49440418757_4f61e3d99d_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

On the other side of the gateway are stalls selling a range of traditional foods and other goods.... 

49440193001_c2f053f095_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

49440418732_946ee305fd_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

49440418462_1b647b925e_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

The centrepiece is a series of platforms (called jongs) where lion dancers compete by performing a series of jumps and other moves accompanied by traditional percussion instruments.

49440192316_060b12c97b_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

49439719268_4b6c77955c_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Other "lions" bring good luck to nearby homes and businesses by grabbing food (usually lettuce) often placed high up to challenge the dancers athletic skills. Successful lions are rewarded with red envelopes filled with money.

49439718798_8e7d0f1d7c_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Of course the local news crew are on hand to record events... an even find time to interview some of the performers.

49440417792_0d4871b388_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Finally an overview of the scene

49440419007_b525d1638b_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

This is my way of using the new Seasonal Spring Festival sets and I have to say that it might still only be January, but these sets have to be contenders for set of the year (in my opinion at least! Just wish I'd had room to fit the temple into Ballabreek too!). Oh, and until I got the sets and did some Googling, I knew nothing about the customs of the Spring Festival so apologies in advance for any errors in the description/build! 

Anyway thanks for looking!!

Edited by greg3

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10 Years! WOW!

everytime i come to see Ballabreek i get i smile on my face!

Love it!



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I picked up the Lion Dance yesterday too! Can’t wait to build it, and I love what you’ve done here. A ‘Chinatown market street’ with road baseplates is a great way to use those Temple Festival stalls with the A-Wedges that make it so difficult to put them in cities. Not planning on getting the Temple Festival myself (much as I love your idea I just finished reorganising my layout and really don’t want to do so again to incorporate a baseplate or two of Chinatown), but I approve! Can’t wait to see what’s next!

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I don't have a wide layout myself, mostly just shelves, so this looks good.

But I just built the New Years sets as well and I love them, especially the temple "buildings" look great, fit right in with 3-in-1 scale buildings to look pretty impressive next to it, the Temple building being 32 wide.

Edited by TeriXeri

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Thanks for the comments... this week we're off to Ballabreek's small heliport for a glimpse of the future, 1950s style!!

This strange looking contraption is a replica of the de Lackner HZ-1 Aerocycle. A one man "personal helicopter", it was developed in the mid-50s by the US Army for reconnaissance missions (although a civilian version for commuting was also considered *oh2* ) Powered by an outboard motor driving 2 contra-rotating rotors, it could reach speeds of up to 75 mph and was steered by the pilot shifting his body weight (like a modern Segway). The "landing gear" consisted of airbags which allowed it to land/take off from water as well as land.

49476453418_4342f35025_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

49477159322_e330b87d7c_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

This version is the work of local man Diego Diaz a keen mechanic and wannabe stunt man!! After seeing the Aerocycle on a TV show, he decided to make his own, fitting in research and building around his day job as maintenance man. Now he's ready to test it for the first time. As has become common in this year's updates, the local news crew are on hand to capture the moment...

49476937376_8a67f038c7_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

As are the emergency services (just in case!)

49477159917_fbc45bd990_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Diaz also hopes that the test flight and inspection will satisfy the local Aviation Authority and allow him permission to perform in public air displays later in the year...

"So these totally unprotected blades will be spinning how fast...?"

49476581378_e4482ff216_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Finally, ready for take off...

49476937846_4c919faf9c_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

It's working!!

49477159782_96ace7dabf_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

49476938096_2e59177681_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

After a 10 min low level flight around the airfield he returns safely to the ground (unlike the original which was cancelled after 2 crashes cause by the rotors flexing to much and hitting each other!) Now we wait to see if Mr Diaz gets the permission he needs for further test flights and the chance to achieve his dream of becoming a stunt pilot!! (he'll need a catchier name though!!) 

This has to be my first MOC to be inspired by the TV quiz show "Pointless"!! Contestants had to identify a photos of flying machine one of which was the Aerocycle. I'd never heard of it before and as I love weird inventions like this I just had to look it up and have a go at building one. 2 days later and this is the result... it's a bit fragile but I think it looks the part. I might try a more military looking version sometime (there was a prototype with helicopter-like skids instead of the super fiddly struts this one has).

Anyway thanks for looking... comments are always welcome.


Edited by greg3

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Today the people of Ballabreek are clearing up after the effects of Storm Ciara (which has battered most of the UK and here in the Isle of Man over the last day or so). Luckily the damage in Ballabreek hasn't been too bad - the seawall has taken some damage, a lamppost has been blown down and a large amount of debris (rocks, sand, seaweed and a few unlucky fish!!) has ended up on the road resulting in it having to be closed while the cleanup takes place.

49510290198_70decd8047_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

The road might be closed to traffic, but that doesn't stop the locals popping down to have a look at what's going on!

49510801166_2f22014b21_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

As always, the local news team are on the scene! This time, they're interviewing a police spokesperson about the impact the storm has had and the efforts made to keep people safe.

49510290128_949827f4d8_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Meanwhile the town's new street sweeper is being put to work as efforts begin to get the main coast road cleared and reopened. 

49510290123_c0801c532a_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

49511027847_8e6951d7f2_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Repairs to the sea wall and walkway may take a bit longer but I'm confident my hard working minifigs will have Ballabreek back to normal soon!

49510801196_b5134bd4ba_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

This wasn't the update I had planned for this week and was quickly thrown together after going for a walk to see the storm damage here myself (the scenes in Ballabreek are basically what I can see from my window at the moment!!) It seemed a good way to use he new street cleaner too!! Although I'm guessing I'll be cleaning up 1x1 round bricks long after the real storm damage has been repaired!! :laugh_hard:

Thanks for looking... comments are always welcome.


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Hi, ( Ciara has also landed in the Netherlands )

- love the local news scene

as always Great Work!



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Missed a few updates! It’s nice to see Lord Business getting back into the swing of things. Hopefully he stays on the straight & narrow. 

I love what you did with the CNY sets as well. They’re quite tricky to place in a city layout, even in a temporary fashion. I’m still trying to figure out a way to at least put the small gate build from the Lion Dance somewhere. It would be a shame not to show them off. I wholeheartedly agree that these are definite contenders for sets of the year. 

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After last week's storm damage, this week has been rather quiet in the town with the only thing for the news crew to report on being the return of the "Ballabreek Bricks"!!

49545042537_6af1a23536_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

This sculpture depicting 3 golden bricks has been the symbol of Ballabreek for many years combining as it does the town's name "Place of the Brick" and the gold mining upon which the town has prospered over the last few hundred years.

49545042132_9f4cf86c85_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Once the centrepiece of the town, it was moved to the outskirts of the town a few years ago and then recently removed completely due to redevelopment and placed into storage. A number of concerned citizens have petitioned the mayor to have it returned to public display and she agreed (albeit on a temporary basis for the time being). Here we see it in its new position (where it's taking its turn as one of several art installations being displayed over the next few months) and hear from the mayor herself... 

49544814486_1005108c8c_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Haven't had much Ballabreek time this week (hence the short update) but as the prospect of me having to move house has gone away :grin: and I've got a week off work to look forward to :grin::grin: watch out for some bigger updates soon!!

Thanks for looking!

Edited by greg3

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For this week's update we visit the town's newest business... Treads Tuning Workshop. Built on the site of the former Space Technology Centre it offers repairs, servicing and tuning for a wide range of vehicles...

49574112427_bd86f493a6_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

49574111972_ff90b3146c_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

The local news team are interviewing the owners; Terry and Tina Tread (both former racing drivers and skilled mechanics) about their future plans. Prior to running the garage, they're best known for using their skills to build, test and drive a number of more unusual vehicles for record attempts, movies, publicity stunts etc - something they fully intend to continue!! (Here they're discussing a recent commission to build a "Monster truck burger van!" Crazy eh? I guess we'll have to wait and see :wink:!) 

49574109767_81a0de48ea_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

The business should have opened at the start of the year but construction was held up over legal arguments about the public footpath - it has now been rerouted as you can see here.

49573885656_5a696fdf7d_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Finally, the small yard area (home to Jowls the onsite "security" (actually he's a big softy!!). In reality I added this area to fill in the empty space left when the garage door is closed!!

49574110897_0fde608cb0_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

49574016131_e7aaf45886_c.jpgUntitled by g.nat, on Flickr

Anyway, this is one official set that just fitted perfectly in the space available (I usually have to do a bit of resizing!) I have added a proper roof (a pretty simple MOD I covered in another topic) and will be just one of several new businesses that will set up in Ballabreek this year.

Thanks for looking - comments are always welcome.




Edited by greg3

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