Hey all, long read comming up here. There's something I've been working on for quite a while now, and whether I have any authority to propose something like this or not I'd like to finally share it with you all.
When I first came to c-c.com, it was by way of something I’d heard of called the CCC standard. “This is amazing,” I thought to myself, enthralled by the thought of people from all over collaborating on huge castle. But while the displays that came about as a result of 3CS look great, it seems to me that often there is something lacking in the pictures I’ve seen. We have great looking walls and buildings, but often they're just surrounded by uninterrupted green 32x32 baseplates, the uniform rows of studs throwing off the organic look that is expected of natural terrain. What I believe is that the community would benefit from a Modular Classic Castle Terrain/Landscaping standard.
Now I may not be the best person to put this together, seeing as I’ve never coordinated a large display let alone participated in one. But I have been working this out for some time now and what I have are a lot of ideas. They all start from this basic principle:
Everybody’s got a green 32x32 baseplate or two, right? Maybe some blue ones? If not, you can pick ‘em up for $5 on shop-at-home or about the same on bricklink. So why not when coordinating a display have everybody bring, along with their tudor houses and 3CS walls, any spare 32x32s they have already spruced up (no pun intended) with a few trees, rocks, bushes, and a minifig or thirty (in the case of battle scenes)? All it takes is a few plants and 1x1 gray bricks for rocks and any flat plain can be turned into a decent landscape. Observe:
It doesn't have to be hardly this detailed even. Just a few little things to break up the rigid green monotony is all that's required.
This isn’t all though. There’s something I’ve come up with, and chances are I’m not the first, that for now I’m calling BPPB. It’s a bit hard to say out loud, but it stands for BasePlate Plus Brick. First the reasoning behind it: water. Bodies of water, such as rivers, lakes, and sea, just look wrong when you slap a bunch of blue plates on a green baseplate or line a bunch of blue and green baseplates up next to eachother. What looks much better and more natural is when they’re sunk a little below ground level. So how do you achieve this when laying a display out on a tabletop? Raise the ground level of course.
What I envision is this: every ground-level baseplate should be kept raised on a plate + plate + tile base, something like this:
Nothing fancy, just enough to keep it off the ground. Then, if you were to make a river by taking a blue baseplate and building up the banks with gray and green to the height of one brick, the two should match up flush along the sides. Picture is worth 1000 words so look at these if what I’m saying isn’t totally comprehensible.
Hence, BasePlate Plus Brick is the standard ground level.
Now, for actual standards past that there’s a lot that could be done. Edge standards, like the point where two 3CS walls or moonbase hallways meet, could be made for everything from rivers to roads to cliffs to battle lines. Here’s some initial ideas from just messing around on my own…
Rivers: Blue baseplate base, with ten studs of green along each side and a two-stud wide grey/tan “bank” between the green and blue, leaving 8 studs of blue for the river itself.
Roads: Tan plates broken up by grey and brown on a green baseplate , 8-10 studs wide, making a path from the middle of each edge (11-12 studs of green on either side)
Seashores: Blue baseplates with 4 studs of green, followed by 4 studs of tan along edges.
Cliffs: Cliff bases should start 10-11 studs out from the edge of a plate, and height should be a multiple of seven (one LURP is seven bricks high, 2 LURPS is 14, etc). Cliffs I imagine would mainly be used on the edges of displays, and a decent amount of planning would be required to pull them off. Any subsequent baseplates placed behind cliffs would need to be raised on (multiple of seven) + 1 BPPB bases, like so:
By keeping cliffs within 10-11 studs of the edge of the plate, instead of running down the middle like roads or rivers, it is possible to include them on most other terrain pieces. You could potentially have a road running along the base of a cliff with a waterfall and a bridge all on the same baseplate.
Battles: Define ahead of time what factions will be fighting, what general direction armies will be attacking/defending from, and people can bring terrain pieces with minifigs already in place.
You may be thinking, how do we make non-roman roads that curve around hills, or natural looking beaches instead of something that looks like a checkerboard? Well remember that no one is limited to a single baseplate. As long as the edges match up, you can do anything. People can build whole mountainsides with a river running out that matches up to anybody else’s river pieces, or build their castles with roads running out that match the standard edges. Such is the beauty of a modular standard, right?
If you hit this brickshelf page
you can see a few more images. Note that on the bridge module I ran out of tan plates, but was able to fill in the road with bricks with no visible difference, an advantage provided by BPPB
Now then, I think I’ve rattled on long enough, so, any thoughts?