Saturday, 24 December 2016

Assembly Square: part two

Now to review the new LEGO® Modular, 10255 Assembly Square, in a different fashion. Last time I examined all the new and interesting pieces; this time I'll take a look at the build. There is, naturally, too much to talk about so I will limit myself to explaining where the completely new LEGO parts are used and some of my favourite techniques.



The new 2x2 wedge corner tiles (Design ID 27263... I think) are mostly used to cover the baseplates and you can tell that LEGO designer Jamie Berard had a lot of fun with these, around the fountain in particular. Note how he also covered regular tiles with the Nexo shield tile and wedge bricks to create the impression of right-angled triangles. Clearly Jamie also had fun creating the pretty tessellations on the three interior floors. It’s a shame he couldn’t/didn’t use Medium Blue 2x2 corner tiles (Element ID 6167572 | Design ID 14719) in the cafe, which have just become available in The LEGO Batman Movie 70901 Mr. Freeze Ice Attack.

The new cutout 45° slope “anti-slipper” (Design ID 28152) is used in two rooms. The musical instrument shop (above) uses two Dark Stone Grey [TLG]/Dark Bluish Gray ones (6168776) on the register and the two White ones (6166894) are used sideways on the excellent basin from the dentist’s surgery, below. The surgery is just superb; look at all the fun, accurate details squeezed into this room! I'm not sure how the dentist will be getting past that moustache, though.


You can also see in the above picture how the new “corner SNOT" bricks in Brick Yellow [TLG]/Tan [BL] (Element ID 6175968 | 26604) are used. Ironically enough, it is to avoid corners...

...the building ( which also contains the bakery and apartment) has a beautiful rounded projecting corner on the first and second floors, sort of like a turret. To help with the rounded effect, stacks of corner SNOT bricks are covered in cheese — those lovely Medium Nougat [TLG]/ Medium Dark Flesh [BL] 1x1 slopes (6167690 | 54200) that are new in this colour — and the stacks sit either side of the windows.

The turret is topped with rare Earth Blue [TLG]/Dark Blue [BL] 75° roof slopes, Dark Stone Grey arched window frames and, right at the very top, “Blade No. 9” in White (6136388 | 24482) which was a part I chose for The New Black. It’s great to have something symmetrical to finish off a spire - the LEGO System is oddly lacking in such pieces. This piece has only appeared in White in two Nexo Knights sets: 70323 Jestro's Volcano Lair and 70339 Ultimate Flama.

The Dark Stone Grey base of the turret, above the bakery door, is especially interesting. To create the curved effect, Jamie has inverted three quarter-dome pieces (Design ID 88293) using a neat 180° reversal technique made possible by the Plate 1x1 w/3.2 Shaft/1.5 Hole (20482) which you can see in Warm Gold [TLG]/Pearl Gold [BL] below; the 3.18 bar section of these is inserted upside-down into recessed studs below. Simple, neat and very secure.


The exquisite bakery window is a garage roller door turned sideways. The 3.18mm pins on the sides are inserted vertically into rows of Technic bricks below which is rather tricky to execute and immensely satisfying as a result. Between them, the two windows use 18 of these garage door pieces in Transparent [TLG]/Trans-Clear [BL] (Element ID 6177175 | Design ID 30061 and for the opaque version, 4218. I only just noticed the official TLG name for the opaque version is “Lamella For Rolling Gate”. How lovely!)

Also note the bakery door in the picture below. This is the new 45° angled door/window frame (Design ID 28321) used here in Black (Element ID 6177156). The next door we add to the model (to the cafe) is a normal frame rotated 45° using 2x2 turntables, as is the window of the instrument shop. Perhaps Jamie is making the point that both approaches have their place.


The two new sizes of macaroni tile are used to finish off the curved corners of floors; the six 2x2s (Element ID 6163990 | Design ID 27925) cover the turret on the righthand building and the four 4x4s (6163989 | 27507) the corner of the lefthand building, shown below. I love how the topmost corner of this building changes shape so dramatically that the final 4x4 macaroni tile is placed facing the opposite direction.

The other 45° frame element is used on this balcony: White (6177157), facing inwards this time. Note how Jamie has exploited the zig-zag shape of this piece to create a moulding above the door using inverted slopes.




For the top of this building Jamie alternates the exotic 1x3x2 half-arch (88292) with a similar shape he creates with a 1x2 inverted slope and the ‘curlicue’ scroll brick (20310).


It now seems to be a 'Modular tradition' for Jamie to create interesting architectural effects near the tops of buildings using unexpected elements. On the central building, six ‘Thor hammers’ (6004729 | 75904) are attached using Erling bricks and rest perfectly in between vertical bars.


The roof of this building (which contains the florist and artist's studio) is simply two upside-down large Technic shovels (6109280 | 18943) which have only ever appeared in 42043 Mercedes-Benz Arocs 3245 and 42053 Volvo EW160E.



I adore the colour scheme in the cafe — I truly want to visit it! — in particular, the funky blue section that carries from the floor to the counter. There’s a lot of colours going on here yet Jamie has made it all coherent.

I like the simple approach to the cafe's yellow and white striped canopy; just 1x1 plates with vertical teeth connected to 1x3 curved slopes.


The teeth are all supposed to be applied to the front of the slopes (as shown above) but I couldn’t resist playing with the ability to attach parts at three different points along the underside of a 1x3 curved slope, and so created a curved fringe for my canopies (below). It doesn’t look very realistic but it was fun anyway.

A “perfect reflection” mirror element (6103793 | 20193) was introduced in 10246 Detective's Office and has not been seen again, until now. I seem to recall the first one came sealed within peel-off stickers; this time it comes in a ziplock bag, which I don’t ever recall happening in a LEGO set that I have bought before. It feels like TLG have opened a BrickLink store.

Although the mirror is the same size as a regular window glass, it’s really a different element. But hang on… the LEGO Creator line are not allowed to request new LEGO parts; they only build with the available inventory, right? That has changed; nowadays new moulds can be commissioned when the product is licensed. The trapezoid windscreen (Design ID 20431) in 10248 Ferrari F40 was the first and, more recently, 10252 Volkswagen Beetle introduced the 5x5 quarter-arch brick (24599). But the Modulars aren’t licensed, so how come they got a new element? Jamie explained in his Q&A session at Skærbæk Fan Weekend 2016 that this was because the mirror was officially classed in the “textile” category of parts, which meant it wasn’t strictly considered as a new element. Sounds downright sneaky to me, but I'm not complaining one bit.



I love the way the mirror is added to the dance studio. It does not connect to anything; rather, Jamie has made use of the gap in part 4081, between the brick and the projecting clip light. It is then kept in place with rail plates above it.

The artist’s studio contains a camera on a tripod which would have been a perfect build for The New Black parts festival we just concluded! Bar holder with handle (Design ID 23443) and the curved end of the round 1x1 plate with handle (26047) play key roles in creating the adjustable legs of the tripod.

The two staircases at the rear also make use of the bar holder with handle, to affix handrails. I was a little surprised that what I thought was a kitchen above the artist’s studio is in fact an open rooftop balcony which has a well-equipped built-in barbecue. I was waiting to put a roof on it!

Although they are not brand-new in Medium Stone Grey, the teeth tiles (6151688 | 24246) are noteworthy as 46 are needed for the model! Why so many?

They finish off two edges of the first and second floors of the lefthand building, creating a beautiful textured effect. In all honesty, using 1x1 round tiles would have achieved much the same effect and would indeed have been easier to apply than teeth tiles... which makes it all the sweeter that these new pieces were used instead!

The flower stem in this vase in the florist's is a 3-stud long bar, new in Bright Green (6161772 | 17715), which has been pushed down into the parts below to appear shorter.

The other two of these bars are used with the two new Bright Green claw pieces (6177124 | 16770) to create the stems and leaves of the giant flowers of the shop sign, which you can see in the centre of the picture below.


Like I said at the start, there is so much more I could describe but after some 4000 words on the subject (appropriate, given that this is a 4002-piece set), I'm calling it quits here! Hopefully the information about the new pieces and they ways they are used has whetted your appetite. The set is released on 1st January 2017 priced £179.99 / US$279.99 / €239.99.





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8 comments:

  1. Just wondering: how easy/difficult it is to pick this whole model up? Because there are two separate buildings on two lightly-connected baseplates, with just a pergola between them? I would assume it won't be very secure...

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    1. No, the baseplates are not lightly connected, the join is underneath the L-shaped building.

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  2. This set looks truly epic. Can't wait to see how people use the macaroni tiles. Awesome articles

    Chris B

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  3. The tooth tile in LBG has been my fav/most used parts of 2016, so I'm glad there are so many, BrickLink badly needs to be flooded with these. While round tiles in LBG can be found by the thousands, at 1 cent, there are only a dozen of tooth tiles at BL, at 30x the price.

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    1. I bet the same thought crossed Jamie's mind!

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  4. Is the fact that the mirror is classified as a textile the reason why we haven't been able to order the stupid things on LUGBulk?

    Anyways, to be accurate, he shouldn't have used _any_ of the 2x2 corner tiles for the floor, as I've never seen any L-shaped tiles in real life. Something to do with the extreme likelihood of fracturing the tile from the weak spot created by an interior corner, I'd guess. If you want to do an L-shaped tessellation in tile, you'd pretty much have to use 3 squares, a square and rectangle combo, or cut the corners out of your own tiles (and deal with the ever-growing piles of offcuts and broken tiles).

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    1. The LUGbulk selection is always limited, exciting new parts can take a couple of years to appear! I dobut a piece this specialised would ever be offered, but don't honestly know.

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    2. Nah, I don't buy that it's just a matter of waiting long enough. Light-Bley 32x32 baseplates became available in Parisian Restaurant in 2014, and was first available on the 2014-2015 LUGBulk list. Reddish-Brown came in the Detective Agency in early 2015 and first showed up on the 2015-2016 list. Dark-Bley came back in the Ghostbusters Firehouse this year and just showed up on the 2016-2017 list. If the mirror was going to be on the list because it showed up in the Detective Agency, it should have been on both this and last year's lists, but so far it hasn't. If it weren't for this Modular, that element could fall off the active element list in a year or two without ever making it to LUGBulk. And if it doesn't show up a year from now from the Assembly Square, I doubt we'll ever see it. Some parts just never show up at all, including the vast majority of minifig body parts. To date, I can't recall a single fabric element that has ever appeared on LUGBulk, and while that doesn't explain all the minifig elements that are left out, it would certainly cover the mirror. After all, the One Ring has been available for a few years now, so it's clearly not a ban on chromed elements.

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