If I go through my collection and count how many LEGO sets I’ve built or that I have on deck to build, I will be busy for quite some time and then aghast at how much money I’ve spent on thermoplastic bricks.
Pushing that mental number out of my mind, for now, I thought back to the first sets that I built and their general rudimentary nature.
That lead me down the rabbit hole to where most designs start and the place where your imagination has the most room to soar while you’ve got bricks in your hands that you need to keep right-side up.
We all know what happens when the beginning of a new assembly lets go; pure chaos and anarchy, with a side of begrudging understanding that it’s time to play 52 pickups and start over.
How do you start those new buildings, especially if they’re freestyle or you’re just playing around? So glad you asked because no one ever does, and I can finally share some answers.
No one ever talks about the unsung hero of the LEGO universe.
Say it with me: Baseplates
Now that we’ve said it together and know that we can articulate what we’re thinking in unison; let’s give ourselves a round of applause and begin to break down the pieces that never get enough love for literally holding down the fort.
Bottom Line Up Front
LEGO Baseplates come in a variety of colors and sizes. I’ll break the dimensions down later alongside the color scheme because they correlate. Weird, right?
Speaking from personal experience when building a large set, a baseplate is a LEGO mainstay because a base is essential in any building and a spot to reposition and reconvene the pieces in mid-build.
I know in my case, I’ve used baseplates to create a foundation for a slightly shaky build to grab onto, and I’ve used baseplates as a way to separate pieces from each other that require a little extra work with the Brick Separator 630 (which are a saving grace).
If you’re new to building, I bet there’s probably a slight look of confusion across your face, wondering why I’m thrilled about squares of flat LEGO space.
That’s also why you’re on this article, because the sheer necessity of the plates doesn’t get the attention they deserve, and the creative freedom allows builders to complete a rudimentary design or use baseplates to connect entire worlds. See that magic?
Size Matters (Kind of)
Depending on the color baseplate you choose, you will be looking at different dimensions. Sizes of baseplates are measured in centimeters, but a quick look for dimensions is counted out by the studs on the plate, making the buying process easier.
The largest single baseplate available is the Gray Baseplate coming in at 48×48 for an incredible landscape. Link a few of those together, and now you have a field rife for playing, building, and anything else your heart desires. Blue, Green, and White baseplates are available starting at 32×32 and moving down in sizes.
Sizes below 32×32 are slightly harder to find and frequently are not needed or used as much as the 32×32 models. Those are your baseline baseplates, and here we have our focal point.
At the heart of any LEGO builder is an appreciation for the functionality of a product that develops opportunities for more creativity within the greater scope of a full set. I’ve yet to come across a set that lacks a base plate-like piece.
When I built the World Map, I spent hours with pieces like this, creating plate after plate. Are they traditional LEGO Base Plates? No. Does it serve as a realistic way of looking at the piece at hand? Yes.
LEGO Art is rapidly taking over as a big playing field for adults to flex their creativity. In the realm of building complex pieces that attach to create a city, the versatility of the baseplate is timeless.
The precursor to LEGO Art and the aftermath of its success has given the LEGO building world a new place to flex its creative muscles and push boundaries. That starts with the MOC.
MOC (My Own Creation)
The range of builders in the LEGO community starts in childhood with larger blocks and ramps up to adults and beyond, with rooms adorned in thousands of dollars worth of thermoplastic art. Look up #LEGOMOC on Instagram, and the results are astounding.
Baseplates sized in the typical 32×32 are the current go-to for a MOC masterpiece. Builders like Bricksie J are Baseplate royalty. Bricksie has found ways to connect their cities in ways I wouldn’t have dreamed of (until recently).
In addition to by-the-box builds, the creations that come to life upon the baseplates would be impossible if not for a solid anchor to keep them together.
Virtually any piece can link two baseplates and create something unique. Smaller baseplates in a MOC give rise to a multi-tiered approach; my friends, it is quite the sight.
Frequently Asked Questions – LEGO Baseplates
Question: Why are sets no Longer Coming with Baseplates in Each Box?
Answer: An inherent belief that sets aren’t coming with baseplates is because they lack compatibility with newer box sets.
To me, that makes no sense, as a LEGO is a LEGO; they’re made to go together. By my standards, as long as the brick clicks in it works. There was a rumor that LEGO was discontinuing baseplates, but that’s not the truth. At the time of publication, baseplates are sold separately 95% of the time, which is okay too.
Question: What is your Favorite thing about Baseplates?
Answer: The versatility that they provide the builder. While they’re virtually the plainest, most boring-looking piece to exist in the LEGO universe, they can create so much. Bringing two together with a hinge joint behind the plates gives the illusion of walls to fashion a room.
As I said, having a grounded piece to hold small bricks down to pull them apart with the separator is also a huge benefit. Though not super interesting to look at, they serve a vital purpose in creating a cohesive look to LEGO sets that would otherwise stand alone.
Question: Is the Price for a Pack of Baseplates Fair?
Answer: Considering baseplates are the least expensive bricks on the market aside from the in-store “pick a brick,” I’m going with a hard yes.
The price per plate is reasonable, and although it can seem like a small hike because you need to buy the plates in conjunction with the set you’re getting, it’s a small price to pay for growth.
With baseplates on your side, there’s always room to expand and build a never-ending, absolutely incredible LEGO world, just waiting for more.
To say that a significant amount of diverse information about LEGO Baseplates is available would be a lie, and I’m not a fan of spinning a tangled web of possible truths. The reality with a baseplate is that you get what you need from it.
For me separating pieces on a baseplate is something that I can’t begin to explain my appreciation for. To have a solid foundation in the effort to pull apart the trickiest pieces is as close to a LEGO miracle as I’ve seen thus far. Give it time.
The brick wizards out there are coming up with new and creative ways to outdo previously been done. Creating villages, cities, and entire worlds atop baseplates is a talent. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what comes next.