I bought my first Modulex bricks back in June. I'm not quite sure why I finally decided to give it a try but most probably they were terracotta, a nice muted earth tone. I really like using muted colours and the Modulex colour Terracotta is a tone that seems to be suitable for roofs or decorative strips for houses.
I already knew that Modulex had totally different measurements to the LEGO System so I've never expected that some kind of 'real' integration would be possible. My aim was to find some techniques that would lock the Modulex without using the studs; e.g. with bars and clips or even with Technic elements. There are actually many, many ways to connect Modulex and LEGO elements,
as I recently learned, but I am focusing on basic elements here because
The LEGO tile to Modulex brick connection
I originally decided to order a selection of cheap parts; a lot of Terracotta Modulex tiles in a variety of different sizes. Note that the Modulex System has tiles with and without tubes (as shown). If you get a choice, then chose the tubeless version as they are more flexible to work with in terms of positioning.
Further investigation showed that a 1x2 plate did not fit, as the middle stud of the Modulex collided with the tube on the underside of the LEGO plate. Same with a Brick 1x2 (3004) but not with a Brick 1x2 without pin (3065). It seems we can integrate every LEGO 1x2 System element that does not have a pin. This includes: Brick 1X2 without pin (3065), Palisade Brick 1x2 (30136), Ingot (99563) and the most recent 'Jumper' Plate 1X2 W. 1 Knob (15573) – the earlier variations (3794) will not work.
Unfortunately, the '3 Modulex studs to 2 LEGO studs' ratio seemed to be the only one that worked and even then, multiples of the 3:2 ratio do not work, e.g. a 1x6 Modulex brick is much smaller than a Brick 1x4 (3010).
As the colour Mx-Brown is a little darker than Dark Tan, they go together quite nicely. The combination immediately reminded me of cardboard, which led me to my first little scene.
It is important to note that the Modulex brick fits in length but not in width. This is actually useful as the offset portion of the tile remains free for connection to a LEGO plate between the raised studs or to attach a variety of clips to hold the integrated section in position.
The post box to the left of the front door in the image below is an example of this technique. An Ingot (99563) was used instead of a 1x2 tile, and a Plate 1X1 W. Holder (4085) connects to hold the Ingot in place.
The house number is a printed 1x1 Modulex Tile, and this connection will be discussed later.
Modulex between LEGO Tiles in studsThe next technique starts legally, with LEGO tiles held between the studs on a LEGO plate. The gap between each row of tiles can then be utilised for holding Modulex.
Some of these Modulex bricks are connected to the tile, while others are simply held between the tiles with friction. This allows variations in texture and surprisingly they hold very well.
As you can see above, the rows of Terracotta Modulex bricks and tiles are held in place by the Reddish Brown LEGO tiles to give an uneven paved affect.
Modulex tile on the LEGO 1x1 with vertical clip
Now we come to the technique that is probably the most versatile and useful! The Plate 1X1 W. Upright Holder (2555) can be used to hold Modulex Tiles firmly in place. I used this attachment within the house number in the mailbox example earlier. Discovering this technique was a major breakthrough for me, although I later found out that others already knew and had documented this connection.
It is important to note that not all Plate 1X1 W. Upright Holder are the same.
Only those in bold below will fit.
b. Plate 1X1 W. Upright Holder (Design ID 2555) thicker squared-off clip ends
c. Plate 1X1 W. Upright Holder (Design ID 2555) thinner squared-off clip ends
d. Plate 1X1 W. Upright Holder with Center Cut (Design ID 93794)
e. Plate 1X1 W. Upright Holder - Rounded Edges (Design ID 15712)
The most important differences are within those with Design ID 2555. Type a is rounded while b and c both have straighter sides. There is a subtle difference between b and c, but it's important. Type b will not fit as the square clip ends are thicker than c. Thankfully type a is very common despite the mould retiring in 2015. Type e is the current mould used, with improved engineering to avoid stress. The clip arms in the other moulds are liable to cracking and snapping off.
Connecting Modulex 1x1 tiles to a plate is quite useful since the Modulex system offers a wide variety of printed 1x1 letters and digits.
Creating curves in your LEGO models by adding Modulex bricks
You can also link elements and bend them a little. The Plate 1X1 W. Upright Holder offers enough grip to set at angles. So, what do we get when connecting some tiles and angling them? Bendable arcs! This was like a dream come true for me.
1x3 Modulex Bricks with 2-stud wide LEGO platesSurprisingly, a Modulex 1x3 brick fits any 2-module 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.
LEGO Tile inside a Modulex Tile
This technique is perfect for those of you who like things nice and clean as it can result in some pretty, decorative strips when you insert the LEGO tiles in between the studs of a LEGO plate, as shown below.
Remember the rows of Modulex held in place by Plate 1X1 W. Upright Holder? 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 ConnectionsI've summarised in the image below a few more possible connections but I wont go into detail as these techniques seem rather obscure to me, although I have actually used them in my builds.
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