Designing a layout for your Lego world can be challenging, whether it’s incorporating official sets are building your own creations. There are several considerations to be made:
- Baseplates or no baseplates?
- Size/space available
- Should it be planned or not?
- Tools to plan your layout
The first thing you must decide is what theme you want to build in: City, Space, Castle, Pirate, or something else. This can dictate how much space and what type of space (fields, hills, water, etc.) you will need. For example, will your City theme layout be on the water or in the mountains? Will you Castle theme have a nearby medieval village? With future/space theme, you can even hang spaceships from the ceiling! Narrowing down your theme is the first step in helping you determine how to think about your layout before you begin.
BASEPLATES OR NO BASEPLATES?
Baseplates are the flat plates produced by Lego that allow you to build structure on them. However, some builders choose not to create on these flat surfaces, and may create hills and mountains by stacking bricks, and creating fully-detailed landscapes complete with waterfalls, tunnels, and more. Others chose to create their own roads by laying bricks down on their sides. For me, I personally like the ease and modular-connecting with baseplates.
How much space you you have available for building your layout (and where) can be one of the most challenging aspects of designing your layout. You can build a highly-detailed city on just one table. But if you plan on building a full-scale city with many, many buildings, you’ll need a good place to put your city. For me, I am fortunate enough to have my own home by myself where I have ample room to create a large layout in my living room. But even without that, a dedicated bedroom, basement, or side of a room can give you tons of building space! Be creative…not everyone can have an airplane hanger-sized building room (I wish!).
Will you be going to many of the Lego conventions that occur throughout the year, are you building for your Lego club’s layout at the local library, or is your collection simply for your own enjoyment? Whatever you decide, it’s best to plan in advance what your goals are so that you can transport your Lego creations with ease (and no breaking!). Baseplates are great for this purpose. A few pieces overlapping or a few Technic pins connecting them make it easy to transport them in your car or SUV, then snap them back together once you’ve arrived at your destination. Take note of your vehicle’s cargo area, and don’t build something that can’t easily be broken into smaller pieces or fit in the back of your compact car.
SHOULD IT BE PLANNED OR NOT?
It’s all up to you whether you plan your layout or not. For some, it’s a great way to remember all the many things you want to build. For others, it could stop you from being creative.
TOOLS TO PLAN YOUR LAYOUT
One of the very best tools available for planning a Lego layout is the free BlueBrick program. The tool allows you to use standard-sized tables, draw areas, create labels, and pick from the selection of new and old Lego baseplates/roads. You can even add train and monorail tracks.
Creating a Lego layout can help you determine how much space you need, what pieces you need, and can also help break down your creation into more portable and manageable projects. I highly recommend using a software tool (or even pencil and paper) to help sketch our your ideas, layouts, and landscapes for your Lego world. Happy building!
Check out my layout created in BlueBrick:
City Layout 2014