18 November 2018

Old Elementary: The Modulex Integration Explanation Part 2

Ralf Langer is a German builder who seems to have a real knack for integrating Modulex into his LEGO® creations. This is the second part in a two-part series; read the first part here.

1x3 Modulex Bricks & LEGO plates 

Surprisingly, a Modulex 1x3 brick fits any 2-stud wide LEGO plate (except for the 1x2 plate). Better still, Plate 2x2 allows three Modulex 1x3 bricks to connect, and it fits perfectly.

For all plate sizes longer than Plate 2x2, there needs to be gaps as every second Modulex 1x3 brick conflicts with the tubes under the plates. If that's not you want in your model you may prefer to connect multiple 2x2 plates together, as shown above.

So what can we do with this connection? The Modulex can be inserted to show the studs or the undersides, and both variations can be used vertically or horizontally. The underside pattern reminded me of wooden tiles used in the garden or a balcony, so I made a little scene to demonstrate this technique.

Tight Tiling

I have another interesting trick for you that is a admittedly a little tight: a LEGO tile can be stuck inside a Modulex tile brick. When doing this with force you can see that the Modulex tile will slightly bend. I should point out that everything I am discussing are not legitimate connections and can stress your elements. So while a Modulex Tile 1x2 can hold a LEGO tile, don't push it all the way down! I recommend that your first attempts are with a larger length Modulex tile to get a feel for it, as the longer Modulex tiles are more forgiving.

This technique is perfect for those of you who like things nice and clean as can result in some pretty, decorative strips when you insert the LEGO tiles in between the studs of a LEGO plate, as show below.

Be aware that you have to somehow align the Modulex tile bricks to fit the measurements of the LEGO grid. In my example above, the Terracotta Modulex tiles (centre) have been aligned to the width of the LEGO wall and so you see gaps between each Modulex element. The Mx-Buff coloured ones (above and below the Terracotta) have no gaps between them but consequently are narrower than the width of the LEGO wall. In order to do a line without gaps you would need to use additional Modulex tiles. The alignment itself is easy, since you can simply slide the inserted LEGO tile along thus repositioning the Modulex tiles.

Remember the rows of Modulex held in place by Plate 1X1 W. Upright Holder in part 1?  Well you could also use this technique to create the same 'striped' wall.  Using Plate 1X1 W. Upright Holder has the advantage that you don't have to integrate LEGO tiles inside the wall as these may conflict with the inside structure. The only potential disadvantage is that you can see the Plate 1X1 W. Upright Holder are positioned between the rows of Modulex.

Obscure Connections

I've have summarised a few more possible connections in the image below but I wont go into detail as these techniques seem rather obscure to me, although I have actually used them in my builds.

Time to Showcase

Now let's combine the techniques from both articles to see some real life examples that were not built simply to show off a single technique.

For this building, I used the linked tile bricks technique for the window arches. The rest of the window frame is made out of Modulex 1x3 tiles that are held by some Plate 1X1 W. Upright Holder. It has a really different look from what you can usually do with LEGO elements. Because of the gaps, the effect of wall bricks is enhanced. The green strip is built with 1x3 bricks that are stuck to 2x2 plates. Where is the gap below the Modulex? Well, the whole upper floor is modular and not fastened to the one below, so there is no gap.

I really like this window. It only uses techniques I have discussed. I tilted some bricks and also tilted the arch to give the curved shaping, just as I showed you with the traffic lights and tree builds in part 1.

I call this medieval-themed build 'A Close Call'. The ground is formed from Modulex 1x3 bricks stuck on Plate 1X1 W. Upright Holder to make use of the awesome Modulex colours and to achieve an irregular texture. In the left part of the ground the Modulex is not visible because there are 1x2 tiles on top. This is an example of how to integrate Modulex just as a building trick. The ground is really stable and you can easily bend the tiles in different angles.

In 'Drink atop scaffolding', the Modulex is used subtly. Initially I used only LEGO bricks for the Brick Yellow [TLG]/Tan [BL] roof framework on top of the tower but I wasn't happy with it and felt the appearance was improved with some Modulex pieces as cross beams. (Click/tap image to enlarge.) The point here is that sometimes it might be just a few pieces which make a difference to a creation.

So, what's next for me? 
I guess my next build will feature some Modulex again, since I have some design ideas I haven't tried yet. I think the bendable arcs will offer some nice ways of enhancing buildings. I would really like to build a dome with it but that doesn't seem to be simple.

I hope to see some crossovers from you in the future!

See more from Ralf Langer on Flickr

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  1. When I stopped by my parents' house the other day, they were watching some "history of toilets" episode, and in the section about chamber pots, they mention that this is why men traditionally escort a woman on the man's right arm. Horses and wagons traveled the center of the road, and pedestrians hugged the sides. When emptying chamber pots, you would fling the contents towards the center of the road, so by walking on a woman's left side, a man would shield her from any splash, and would be more likely to take a direct hit if the throw was weak.

    1. Is that also why gentlemen used to wear hats more often? ;-)

    2. @Purple Dave

      Man, you are everywhere! and you know so much, not just about Lego but about things in general. You're just too good, haha.

      (This is The anonymous Hutt by the way, I just can't put that as my name because I don't have an actual account.)

  2. So does a 1x1 modulex brick fit into the antistud of a 1x1 system brick? The1x1s in the tiles are giving me inspiration...

    1. I'd say maybe. I have attached 1x1 modulex bricks into anti-stud of clip plates. A bit of force is required though.