When I came out of my dark age a couple of years ago and started wading into the LEGO hobby as an AFOL, I was intimidated by the library of models that many of my fellow builders maintained. I had a fair number of elements, but they weren’t organized and they tended towards specialty pieces.
I just wasn’t ready to build minifig scale buildings. I didn’t have the bricks (and honestly I still don’t). This lead me to building small and detailed. I went microscale. It was only a matter of time before someone mentioned the Micropolis standard.
Simply put, the Micropolis standard allows anyone to build on a standardized 16×16 stud base and produce a quarter of a city block that can be integrated with similar modules to create a city of unlimited proportions. The lovely thing about a standard like this is that it takes no coordination. Each builder supplies models and they all fit together.
For the novice builder, Micropolis provides a very low barrier to entry. Even a modest collection should be able to yield the necessary parts to build a single module. Once that first module is built, there is an infinite variety of possibilities. The more experienced builder can spend time using subtle techniques to sculpt architectural marvels. All it takes is a walk about town and an observant eye to find more and more inspiration.
Building architecture might not be for everyone. Because of the scale, there won’t be any people. Many other small details be lost to the course resolution of LEGO elements. I find that one of the essential struggles of building in smaller scales is conveying the essence of a thing even when some detail becomes too small to be represented in LEGO.
Though it helps that I am interested in architecture and urban planning, I think that Micropolis is a wonderful exercise for any builder. I use it to explore my interest in green architecture and visions of a living city.
In coming weeks I will write more about Micropolis, but for now I will leave you with a link to the standard.
Keep building and enjoy!