28 July 2023

LEGO® part 4190: The Pagoda Plate

Posted by Thomas Jenkins
As soon as the first images of sets 21060 Himeji Castle and 10315 Tranquil Garden surfaced, we spotted a new plate that required our attention. With set 21060 now in hand, I take a closer look at the new element we are calling the "Pagoda Plate".

I love a good LEGO roof technique. I’ve built a few in my time as a New E. contributor including shrines, fishmongers, and Hobbit holes. So, if you’re anything like me, you’ll love this exciting new LEGO element! Join me as I take a closer look.

Products in this article were provided by LEGO®; the author's opinions are their own.
LEGO® Architecture 21060 Himeji Castle
US$159.99/ £139.99/ 159.99€/ AU$259.99
2125 parts
1 August 2023
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This new element coming in August has a Design ID of 4190, and the Element ID for Dark Stone Grey/ Dark Bluish Gray is 6447212. Its official TLG name is Plate 2X2X2/3, Bow, Inverted Bow.
We predict sites like Rebrickable and BrickLink will have a challenge deciding its name! The New E. team had a passionate debate about it and ended up with Plate 2 x 2 Curved Double Concave... but we all ended up calling it the Pagoda Plate, given that the element was designed specifically to represent the upturned roof corner typical of traditional Asian architecture, like the ones found in the real Himeji Castle. 

Its design is the result of a collaborative effort between LEGO employees including the set's designer Chris McVeigh and element designer Yoel Mazur. Yoel kindly provided New Elementary with some insight into the creation of this unique new element.
“This element was made as we felt a flat plate or tile wouldn't look good enough. The development was done in close collaboration with Chris, to make sure he can build these parts into the places intended for them, also considering building methods like ‘jumper position, etc.”

Geometry of the Pagoda Plate

The Pagoda Plate has just two connection points: a single stud on top and an antistud on its base. We asked Yoel if they had considered creating a 3x3 footprint, for increased stability?
“When we started the design exploration, we knew we needed an element of a 2x2 footprint to fit the building's scale, so we mainly focused on 2x2 variations.” 

For the sake of safety, the tip of the pointed raised corner has been chopped off. This results in the tip lying just out of the LEGO System grid, somewhere between 2.5 and 3 plates in height. 

 We tried a few different combinations, but still couldn’t quite match it. 

Things began to make sense when we started building with pairs of Pagoda Plates. When the plates are separated by 1 module (you will see above that we tried an Apollo stud/inkwell connection, and a 1x1 Technic brick), the tips of the two plates meet up perfectly. This isn’t accidental, as Yoel points out.
“We made sure that it's below 8mm, so you can build it sideways within 1 module...not sure yet if building this element sideways within 1M is useful, but why not?” 
We think it's useful! This technique might work well for Gothic windows or a microscale castle gatehouse.

 But why stop at a single pair? We can make even more beautiful shapes with multiple plates. 

The dimensions of this tablescrap may make it difficult to fit into a MOC but it could look pretty.

Which parts match with the new part 4190?

But now we’ve got a bit ahead of ourselves: how about that curve?

"We tried to use existing curves as reference for the element's sides, so the element would have strong ‘LEGO DNA’."

Turns out it’s a perfect match for 3x3 Curved Slope Double (73682, above left, shown in Black) and 1x3 Arch Inverted (70681, shown in Bright Light Blue), plus it is a near-match for the larger 1 x 5 x 4 Inverted Arch (30099, above right).

We've saved the most satisfying little tablescraps for last! Given it matches the elements above, that means there's a whole family of curved slopes that nestle snugly into the arc of the Pagoda Plate...

Slope Curved 2 x 1 No Studs (11477) in Bright Light Orange and Slope Curved 4 x 1 Double (93273) in Lime fill the gap beautifully.

Perhaps even more satisfying are the baby wedges, Slope Curved 2 x 1 with Stud Notch (29119, 29120) shown in Orange, which fill the gap on both sides.

Closing Thoughts

LEGO have certainly used a variety of novel techniques to depict the upturned roof in the past; wedges, slopes, arches, claws, garage door roller sections and even bananas!  
It's great to get a new specific element that performs a function that other bricks cannot, and as always I'm impressed with the work the designers put in to ensure compatibility with existing parts. A huge thanks to Yoel for providing us with some more info about how this element came to be.

The Pagoda Plate is a unique decorative element that has a lot of potential for architectural MOCs. I'd like to try using some of the techniques we found to create windows or crenelated castle walls. I could see it used for foliage if it ever comes in shades of Green. Yoel suggests it might make a nice webbed foot for a frog!
"I'm happy with how the element came together, and I see potential for using it in other builds in the future. I hope you will feel the same way, once you get to build with it.”
What do you think about the Pagoda Plate? Will you be using it in any future MOCs? Be sure to let us know in the comments.

We'll return soon with a proper look at the sets this new element appears in: LEGO® Icons 10315 Tranquil Garden and LEGO Architecture 21060 Himeji Castle.

READ MORE: LEGO® Technic review: 42146 Liebherr Crawler Crane LR 13000

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  1. What a fun article. I can’t wait for Tranquil Garden to release! BTW: The NE staff continues to publish interesting, well-researched, and just-plain-fun LEGO content. Thanks for being one of the best blogs out there. I love it!

    1. I agree, this blog rules. Thanks NE

    2. Awwww! Well, I agree too. Our team put so much work in and are just awesome! – really appreciate you commenting <3

  2. Corners always seem to be the tricky area when it comes to aligning sloped parts. This new Pagoda Corner makes me wish for a cheese corner! I'm curious, can you match up any existing slopes to the underside curves of this new part?

  3. Oh, beautiful! Great to see that it matches the geometry of so many other curves and arches. I was a little afraid it would be only 2 plates tall and so wouldn't really match anything. I suppose I needn't have worried, given how dedicated LEGO part designers are to this sort of compatibility!

    1. Well, that recent 3x3 dragon head didn't match anything so I can understand your concern! But I guess LEGO ICONS parts are a different matter.

  4. Oh yay! My initial thought when I saw the part was how it matched up with 29119 and 29120! Excited to pick some of these up!

  5. Great little article, and really looking forward to this part!

  6. I love those part analysis! I think this part will be useful to build faces or helmets, it looks like it could make a nice eye socket.

  7. Thanks for the great article!
    FYI typo: should be 73682 instead of 73683

  8. I love these posts where there is some insight from the element designer and/or set designer! If you happen to talk to the designer of the Porsche bow I'd love a follow up asking if they ever envisioned it used in so many places! I'm curious if it always had this expected life and color variations, or if it was only originally envisioned to be used in a couple of sets.

    1. Yes, will ask if we speak to Stephan! In the meantime - did you read our original interview with him about the porsche bow?