14 January 2018

The new LEGO® 1x2 Rounded Plate

Posted by Admin
I'm such a tease. I promised to post the first Skærbæk builds today but this post about an exciting new 2018 LEGO® part just came through! It's written by Simon Liu (Si-MOCs), a Canadian builder who is well known for his diverse builds, his enthusiastic participation in conventions and his pivotal role in the popular Flickr LEGO building contests SHIPtember and FebRovery. Welcome, Si!

Fresh for 2018 we have an interesting new piece, shown below left, with Design ID 35480. BrickLink calls it Technic, Plate 1 x 2 with Smooth Ends and 2 Studs. But that's kind of long, and I don't think it's overly accurate so I'm just going to call it a Rounded Plate 1x2 with Through Holes, or 1x2 Rounded Plate for short - as currently there is no other 1x2 rounded plate. [Ed: since this article was published, BrickLink have changed its name to 'Plate, Modified 1 x 2 Rounded with 2 Open Studs'.] Rumour has it this piece was introduced by the Super Heroes team, and some people have lovingly dubbed this piece the "Super Heroes Plate".

The new 1x2 Rounded Plate shares the same shape as the Technic Lift Arm 1x2 Thin (Design ID 41677) shown above right, except the Technic Axle Holes are replaced by Studs with Through Holes. Because this piece shares similar characteristics with Technic Plates I suspect this why BrickLink decided to add it to this category. [Ed: BrickLink have also moved it to the 'Plate, Modified' category.] But in my mind, one commonality that is shared among all the Technic Plates is that there is a Technic connection to them, be it an Axle hole or Technic Pin hole, but this new Rounded Plate piece has neither. Also it's not exactly a Round Plate as they're all effectively circles, or semi circles.  This piece is probably best categorized as a Modified Plate as the rounded edge of the plate shares commonalities with Modified 1x1 Rounded with Handle (Design ID 26047).  So sadly this piece will likely end up being categorized in a non-obvious category for your average BrickLink user, just like Brick, Modified 1 x 2 x 1 1/3 with Curved Top (6091) (or as I like to call it, an 'r' brick).

It should be noted that the this piece is exactly 1 plate thick. Because what you may or may not realize is the Technic Lift Arm 1x2 Thin (Design ID 41677) is actually a bit thicker than a regular plate, as you can see below where I have put a bracket over the 1x2 Rounded Plate.

So for builders such as those drone/tiny mecha builders it’s important to note this piece would be marginally thinner than using the traditional Technic Lift Arm for joints.

Currently this piece exists in Tan [BL]/Brick Yellow[TLG] (Element ID 6212758) in the new LEGO Architecture set 21039 Shanghai, you can get a single one in Red [BL]/Bright Red [TLG] (Element ID 6210269) in 76097 Lex Luthor™ Mech Takedown, and there are several sets that you can get it in Black (Element ID 6210270): 76099 Rhino Face-Off by the Mine, 76098 Speed Force Freeze Pursuit and 21144 The Farm Cottage.

Anyways let's take a look at what we can do with this new 1x2 Rounded Plate!

Building with LEGO® part 35480

I really appreciate the fact this studs are Through Holes which really opens up the possibilities, effectively allowing for a anti-jumper via the hole for a really nice half stud offset.

But of course there are many pieces that can achieve a half stud offset; what makes this piece so interesting is the ROUNDED edges! These allow you to change the orientation away from the standard 90 degree right angles. Using just four you can create a little 45 degree angle change in a really simple and compact solution. If only I had more than four!

While a lot of castle builders have long used 1x1 round plates or tiles in between two regular plates to create curves, with the new 1x2 Rounded Plate there's now a seamless way to do more subtle angles.

But where this 1x2 Rounded Plate really starts to show its utility is when it's stacked and seen from the side. Due to the 1-plate height, it can create a curved surface - if you have enough. By stacking and offsetting 1x2 Round Plates over each other, various curves can be achieved while maintaining a much smoother surface than the traditional 1x1 round plate technique.

Of course, the radius of a round plate matches the interior curve of the 1x3 Arch Brick (Design ID 4490) which you can use to make a nice little well, to put several stacked 1x2 Rounded Plates into.

So those are the more obvious standard applications, but what are some other fun things you can do? Well, because the plates are rounded there are few tricks you can pull that you couldn't easily do otherwise. One is that you can use the 1x2 Round Plate and the tolerances of LEGO parts to stagger several plates.

Where the Rounded Plate plays an important role here is that, since it's rounded, the top and the bottom of this construction can be perfectly flat - if you were to attempt the same slight offsetting technique using a standard 1x2 plate, you would be able to see the corners of the plates poking out.

Another fun technique is to make a perfect triangle by stacking one stud and rotating each plate till you get a triangular shape. Using some rods you can actually lock the triangle shape in place, so if you've ever wanted to build some three barrelled guns, guess what, now you can.

I feel like I'm just scratching the surface and there other interesting techniques that can be developed using this new piece but I leave that to you, dear reader, to investigate and explore. I'll leave you with this one little build.

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  1. Guh! I can't wait to get some of these! I hope Lego is smart and puts these on the Pick A Brick Wall in black or grey at some point. I'd buy at least a small cup of these if I could. So much utility. And I can tell you right now Constraction builders are going to love these as joints because they have the through holes. Not to mention they function very similarly to Boat Studs which are ubiquitous in Constraction MOCing.

    I wonder what the possibilities of Lego producing 1x3 oe 1x4 variants of this are. Lego's made some rounded off plate elements before for technic. So it's not like there isn't precedent for it.

    1. They'd be so great in bulk.

    2. The Technic plates were designed for other purposes, and so sometimes are less compatible as a direct result. The only series in the group (4263, 4262, 4442, and 2719) are fairly functional as plates except that the ends are designed to fit over axles and pins and connect with the old toothed half-bushings, so the ends are devoid of studs. Then there are the two 1x5 Technic plates. One is like the series, but with an axle hole through the center, and the other is like this plate, but with the same axle hole through the center. In both cases, the axle hole prevents it from being attached to anything that has a stud where that axle hole has to go.

      This plate appears to have been designed specifically for Firestorm, and at once is both the largest and smallest range that's useful for that purpose. I can see a possibility that they could make more in the future, creating a range of these parts. I just can't think of what would prompt them to make that decision.

  2. It's gonna be my most used part after the single hollow stud.

    We should make a petition to move Lego towards everything with hollow studs. Especially bracket bricks, only the one with studs on all sides has a hollow top stud, not any of the other ones, including the most recent bracket bricks.
    I know Lego wanna show their logo everywhere, but those bricks generally don't expose their top stud, anyway.

    1. Funnily enough I;ve already read a comment on social media in response to this post from someone who had seen this part before now and assumed it was a clone brand! For TLG I think it's not so much about what studs are exposed in the model so much as what is visible at all.

  3. But he's right - I'm pretty sure I have seen this part before (not sure the studs were hollow, though), whether it was Mega Bloks or Kre-o. It was probably Kre-o, since Kre-o has lots of rounded modified plates, like this exact 1x2 + clip.
    Also, the recent 1x1 round plate+bar we got, already existed in Mega Bloks.

    So it's also possible that Lego doesn't like making parts that already exist in clone brands. But I'm glad they do, because clones have lots of cool parts (especially Kre-o, I digged that this clone doesn't mind going for splitted left/right parts, whereas Lego too often goes for compounds). And I really hope Lego is gonna give us wedge TILES, like clones [Cobi, etc] have. Lego has already started with those cool 2x2 triangle tiles in 2018 [even though here again they shied out, and didn't go for left/right versions), I seriously hope they are gonna bring more.
    Oh, and those nice "cut-out 1x2 slope tiles" we also got last year, they definitely existed in a clone as well [Mega Bloks I believe].

    1. Edit:

      You will also see a familiar 1x2 jumper (but with hollow studs!) by Mega Bloks, here in this blog:

      And, on the same page in the same set, this same 1x2 rounded hollow plate, but *inverted*.

      I also dig that Mega Blok's tiny parts aren't all minifig accessories/limbs, meaning they don't have decoration, while Lego's shapes often get in the way when MOCing.

      And that 1x1 round plate+bar that Mega Bloks had? On the same page, it shows theirs is *hollow* too.

    2. It's hard to find what you're talking about on that blog. Do you have a direct link to the correct post?


    3. Sure:

      also straight to images:





      I hate the stripey/metallic tones those brands generally use, but I must say that quite often they get the parts right, better than Lego.

  4. Kre-O has a couple similar pieces. The first only seems to be available in Trans-Colors and doesn't have hollow Studs. https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Cm12Nt4x8_U/U2trKYVsP_I/AAAAAAAADP0/RmromVYLjkc/s1600/Parts+1.JPG

    The second is double sided and does have hollow Studs. https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-VuwmRDx99sc/Vl7igX3TGEI/AAAAAAAAGeo/vpaVfxh-dec/s1600/Parts.JPG

    Oh and, by the way, that's my blog. :-)

  5. Ah it's your blog, nice.
    Double sided? I'll never understand Lego's reasons not to give us this. I understand that we can't really have a 1-plate thick hollow stud invertor, but 2 studs on each side of a plate, I don't see what could go wrong.
    As well as many other things, like a simple bar 2L, that would make everyone's life easier.

    1. There is a one plate thick stud inverter. It's the minifig ring. The minifig box wrench also functions as a stud inverter.

    2. I've used the One Ring in that capacity. It's imperfect. Not only is the connection less sturdy due to the unpredictability of the chroming process, but also due to the fact that the hole is rounded on both sides instead of having a crisp edge. It's also a tiny bit thinner than a plate, so that all three of these issues add up to make a fairly insecure connection, for a LEGO element. It works a lot better with hollow studs because the lack of a raised logo allows the two studs to fit deeper into the One Ring before they bump into each other.

    3. Ah true. The box wrench variants still work pretty well for stud inversion. Normally when I do the inversion I just stuff the studs into each side of a technic hole.

  6. The only true stud-to-stud inverter would have to have the thickness of a technic plate anyway, thus wouldn't be very useful. The ideal stud-to-stud inverter would have to be 2-plates thick, but stud-to-stud inversion is much less common than hole-to-hole inversion anyway.

    1. (forgot) yes, I've often used the recent 1x1 technic "beams" for stud inversion. Works well, even though I suspect it to be an illegal connection because it stresses the part (that's quite a strong connection). The LDD rejects that for 1x2 beams, perhaps it's a bug, or it's on purpose.

  7. Can't wait to get my hands on lots of these. I second the PAB wall desire of this part, but I will take any at this point just to play with and experiment it's limitless uses.

  8. "THE NEW" it's really funny and sad at the same time that it took LEGO to create a piece that had been around since 80s from alternative toy manufacturers.

    With other words I had these rounded 1x2 pieces back in late 80s and bought more in early 90s when I was a kid still. Someone in Europe was making them in great quality, I would say even better then LEGO back then. They were 100% compatible with LEGO too.

    I still have these packed away somewhere. The colors were basic common yellow slightly faded or lets say lighter color, also blue, red, black and grey. Not sure if they made other colors, didn't see nor have others.

    A decade or so later I seen China started making them too ...

    So yeah LEGO never made these up until 2018 it seems ... figures. You ask one thing and then they deliver 30 years after when we either don't buy LEGO anymore or lots of us are not around ...