Starting Little Brick Township Underground
I’ve written about the challenges of keeping a giant Lego town in a small space, which requires building up and down. Now that my primary three tables are already full and the newest Modular building is set to be announced any day (rumor has it as an art gallery and another hotel like Cafe Corner, though I would have much preferred a school or a hospital), I’m turning my attention to alternate spaces.
In spring 2021, I installed a Lego Cargo Train and tracks underneath my town, on poster boards held up by columns made of of three stacked copies of Dirt Cheap. (When the book’s publisher went out of business, I picked up those copies dirt cheap. I bought more track and extra poster board, which gave me enough space for eight 32 x 32 plates, and buildings atop them, at the track’s widest part. In the narrower parts or on the outside of the track, I placed smaller buildings.
Right now, the center awaits its buildings, of which the new Modular may be one. However, I already have an area between the track and the wall which is best suited for buildings with open backs, like the Sesame Street houses and the new Winter Village Santa’s Visit house. In between them is a modified Creator Toy Shop that I moved to make room for the Daily Bugle skyscraper. For a while, that modified building was the home of my character set for Torch (due out fall 2022), but since then, I built a small house in the woods. Even though it’s not the exact footprint of the house where Lida and her father live, it conveys the simplicity and remoteness of that cottage. Unfortunately, because my Lego collection is growing so quickly, one can see the Winter Village and Sesame Street houses in the background, so the isolation that Lida’s father sought is not the reality in their Lego incarnation.
Tucked in the curved space on the inside of the train track at the opposite side is Dirty War House, the modified suburban house that appeared in a museum show in the Netherlands sponsored by Amnesty International in 2016. Leaving aside the cargo spur, its nearest neighbor is the small police outpost, highlighting the separation between the regular uniformed police and the secret police in authoritarian countries.
On the opposite side of the oval track is the Parallel Station for Little Brick Township, the underground version of the tram station across from the Daily Bugle and the Corner Garage.
Dirty War House aside, I plan to keep the vibe of the underground Little Brick Township similar to that of its above-ground version. It’s a typical small city, with nice people and not-so-nice people, honest leaders and corrupt and/or power-hungry leaders, and the usual complement of public spaces like parks, museums, a fire station, a police station, and Town Hall. We still don’t have a school or a hospital, though. I hear that the City theme is releasing new models of those, so I may use their interiors and build an exterior more in line with the appearance of my town.
In the meantime, I’m facing another challenge with the underground township. The foamboards that I bought last year have warped, so my train bounces along the tracks and the entire installation doesn’t look very good. I’m now looking for alternative surfaces, ones that I can install at the same height as the bookshelf that holds my large baseplates. Like my writing, my Lego building often needs “revision,” with bright ideas on paper that don’t work in real life.