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Where have all the baseplates gone?

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Where have all the baseplates gone?

Postby shmails » Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:56 pm

Dear LEGO:

I have just reviewed the new pictures of the 2009 sets, and one reaction overwhelmed all others: Where are the baseplates or plates used to create a base?

How can you sell us a drawbridge over a moat, when the moat is represented by one 4x8 blue plate? How can you have a set called the Venice Boat Chase, when again, water is represented by one 4x8 blue plate? The set is a boat chase, how can there be one plate to represent that?

In my opinion, this is one major fault that has been going on for some time. Once upon a time, all LEGO sets came with baseplates. Some even had little dots to help with the building placement. It gave each set somewhere to be placed, instead of six separate vehicles or what have you sitting on a desk with no setting under it. The old way also helped with transportation and storage, as I found out after making the Medieval Market on my living room floor, then had to figure out where to put it, and how to keep all the pieces together without being misplaced or lost.

Is it a cost cutting technique? A lack of available molds or pieces? Laziness? I do not know, and would never kill the golden goose, but this has frustrated me for quite a long time. I would gladly pay a few extra dollars to get a full set with baseplate or plates representing the base.

I have more, but do not want this rant to go on too long. What do you think? Am I crazy? I would love to hear what other feel about this. Thanks!

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Postby Sir Kohran » Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:35 pm

Apologies if I'm being ignorant here but weren't baseplates generally quite unpopular with the online community?

EDIT: 1500 posts, woot.
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Postby knight howdy » Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:39 pm

you are right.
i have problems with transportating to(sorry if i wrote it wrong)
take the king castle siege:very nice castle whiteout a baseplate,i't's pretty big so how could you carry it to another room.

and a problem with boats.
if you buy a ship like the skelly ship or viking ship you want a blue baseplate...

once again sorry for my bad english. think you can build with lego.
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Postby architect » Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:13 pm

Production of raised baseplates has been outsourced in the past. This may also be true of flat baseplates. Baseplates are also expensive and reduce the amount of brick which can be put into sets.

Personally I think that some larger models are better with baseplates while many smaller models are fine with plates for the base. Castle models in the 1980's and early 1990's followed this model. Models like the recent hospital set are all raised baseplate and not enough brick. The recent Imperial Fort set likely would have benefited from the raised baseplate concepts used in Eldorado Fortress and Imperial Trading Post.

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Postby Athos » Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:51 pm

I figured baseplates would be one of the cheaper things to produce. The flat ones anyway. Though, I guess they do cost $5 a piece at the store, so they can't be too cheap.

I think it was the raised ones that AFOLs weren't fond of, especially when they used the raised plates as substitutes for actual brick-building.

I would have liked to the Castle Siege or the Viking Fort or the Pirate Fort to have been on some sort of baseplate.

I'm not real fond of the new modular style. Though, I think that's just because they make this modular style and then don't give us anything else that will fit in to make it bigger. The Siege and Viking Fort are connected so funny its very difficult to even make an expansion module MOC.

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Postby shmails » Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:11 pm

I am less interested in baseplates per say, and more interested in plates or bricks used as a base. It is great to sell me a boat chase, but then I have to spend more on bricklink to get enough blue plates to create a realistic MOC out of the original set.

The concept of actual baseplates was never marketed to AFOL's, but rather gave a child a jumping off point for a creative build, as with the original space baseplates. As I said, it is easy for one of us with 100,000 bricks to create a brick-built base, or to just order more, but not for everyone, especially the younger fans.

All it would take is a dozen extra plates per set, not much in cost or effort in my opinion.
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Postby Peppermint Pig » Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:18 am

The thought crossed my mind the other day... couldn't a group like Brickforge get into the market and produce baseplates?? New colors and sizes would be possible.
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Postby timber_wolf899 » Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:54 am

.....long time passing.
gone to accountants every one,
long time passing.

Where have all the accountants gone
long time passing
Gone to MBA's everyone
long time passing

ok SORRY! haha

I'm with Ben on this one.
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Postby DARKspawn » Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:33 am

Baseplates? You seriously miss them?

Personally I am glad to see the back of them. I used them a little when I started my "AFOL career," but quickly found that it was just as costly to use plates, and plates have a great deal more usability. I have personally found baseplates to be too restricting & prefer to actually build my bases. I think it's great that LEGO have shelved the idea of baseplates in favour of more actual elements. And raised baseplates? Don't get me started ;)

As for base plates providing structural support for models I haven't found them to be too usefull in this area either. I have less trouble moving a large, well structured, creation on plates than I ever did on the wibbly-wobbly base plates.
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Postby Sir Nelson » Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:08 am

I think baseplates do have a good place in certain LEGO sets: the clear 16x16 plates found in the Creator mosaics were great! For large displays, baseplates are essential.

Personally, I'm not a fan of raised baseplates, but they can also be used well in MOCs. As for themed-sets, I prefer basic plates - for the reasons that Aaron mentioned. Placing the Soldiers' Fort on a raised baseplate would lose the key modularity feature.

That said, it would be very nice to see TLG make some 32x32 baseplates in various colors (dark blue, black, bley, white, etc.) and 48x48 baseplates in green or blue (or just about any other color but bley). Even if they were more expensive, I think they would sell quite well.
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Re: Where have all the baseplates gone?

Postby psu_ericksen » Wed Jan 28, 2009 12:41 pm

shmails wrote:Some even had little dots to help with the building placement.

Hmmm. I think I'd rather have no baseplates than to go back to those dots.

I used to collect raised baseplates when I was a kid and I still think that they have their place in certain MOCs. And whenever I get the pop-up survey on, I always end with the comment to bring back the large blue baseplates.

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Postby tiberium_blue » Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:24 pm

Raised baseplates are ugly and a pain to store. I wish they'd stop using them. More flat baseplates are always welcome though. :)

What I'd like to see is the city road baseplates sold separately. Selling a junction piece with every bit of straight road is just silly. :?
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Postby Heir of Black Falcon » Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:19 am

I think they have a place as well. Even if one is into over-the-top crazy out-of-this world landscapes the baseplates are useful to start with. I also think with massive scenes they are useful to combine various sections. I think the new drawbridge defence could have used a blue one like the Wolfpack tower had.

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Postby Legoist » Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:28 am

The first reason which came to my mind was not cost-cutting for the company but for the customers...

I just thought that TLG may have noticed from customers' feedback that the average LEGO fan already has more baseplates than he needs, considering that each of us has limited space availability at home and is never going to use more than X baseplates at a given time.

So it might be a more flexible solution to buy baseplates separately (there are individual grey and green baseplates in every shops now, plus the roadplates) only when you need them, and just buy the buildings without a plate otherwise.
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Postby Bruce N H » Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:54 am

Hey all,

Random thoughts:

Yes, I'd love to have more flat baseplates available in a variety of colors - green, gray, brown, blue and tan, but others would be nice.

Raised baseplates are a pain both to use and to store.

On road and river plates, the 32x32 baseplates with a non-studded area in the middle printed as a road or river, there have been a variety of stud sizes. The strips of studded areas on the sides have in recent years been either 6x32 or 7x32, sometimes with a strip of 2 studs down the middle of the road. This is a bit of an annoyance when trying to make a city (sidewalks don't line up). Mainly, though, I'm annoyed that there is less build area than when I was a kid. I had some road plates made to go with classic-space sets that had 9x32 strips of studs on the sides. I don't know why they made the roads wider. With 9 stud areas on either side, this still left a 14 stud wide road area, which is room to have two lanes with 6-wide cars. Yes, one stud more or less of width doesn't seem a huge difference, but when you multiply it out, the difference between 9 studs and 6 is 192 studs worth of build space.

Also on road plates, it's great to have a system. Back in 2002, there were four road plates available, and you could buy them all in 2-baseplate accessory packs:
Image Image Image Image
That was the best plan (though these only had a 6-wide build area), because with these four you could mix and match and make any city layout you wanted. The same is true of river plates, though there you really only need straight and curve pieces.

What I'd really love to see, though, is a LEGO brand mat. Some off-brand companies have made these studded rubber mats:
I would love to see these available from LEGO in green and blue. Yes, they have less grip than ABS, but since these are baseplates, you've got gravity working with you, so grip is not the most important. With a big mat it would be easy to set up, for instance, large battle scenes or to quickly assemble big displays, without having to lay out and clip together tons of 32x32's. Large enough mats could also be put on the floor of a children's play area, and then rolled up when play is done. I could see these being very popular with schools, daycare, etc. E.g. my daughter's daycare has an area with these rubbery mat tiles that fit together that have the alphabet, and in another area they have a roll-up rug that has streets printed on them where the kids play with toy cars.

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