The Base8 Modular Landscaping System

Intro: The Basics

Part 1: Universal Landscape Features

Part 2: Theme Specific Features

Part 3: Landscaping Tips

Part 4: NWMap Display Planning Tool


What's a Modular Landscaping Standard and Why Should I Care?

Small example
Three small Base8 modules, reconfigurable to create 2 different set-ups.
A modular standard is an established format for building small pieces that can be combined to form a larger whole. Lego themselves dabble in modularity; the original Blacktron sets could be separated and recombined to create new models, Cafe Corner, Market Street, and Green Grocer are all built on a unified base and scale, etc.

Having landscape be modular has advantages on multiple levels. On a personal level a builder can reconfigure and add to their own landscaping set-up without having to rebuild to make changes, useful for adding surroundings to their own MOCs, photo backdrops, etc. The main purpose for a modular standard, though, is that when multiple builders put on a combined display they can all build to a unified set of dimensions allowing them to convene, set up, and tear down a great looking landscape fully integrated into their MOCs with minimal effort.

The Core Components

An example 32x32 Base8 module with cliff and stream

Baseplates in dimensions of Base8
Most common baseplates come in 8 stud dimensions.

"8cres"

Base8 Cliff
A single cliff 8cre.
Base8 works by breaking up modules into 8 stud by 8 stud sections called "8cres." Each landscaping feature has a set profile that falls within that 8 stud length. A cliff, for instance, is 4 studs wide at the bottom and 1-2 studs wide at the top, 8 bricks tall, and always flush against the back of an 8cre. Thus if one builder has a MOC with a cliff that comes up to the middle of its Western edge another builder can build a MOC with a cliff that starts in the middle of its Eastern edge and as long as they match up to the same 8cre they should fit together continuously.

BPB

The second core feature of the Base8 standard is the use of BPB. BPB (Baseplate Plus Brick) is a technique for raising slightly the ground level of your landscape to, as the name suggests, one brick higher than baseplate level (a total of 7 LEGOmetric units). There are several advantages to this, mainly that lakes, rivers and streams can be placed lower than ground level for a much more natural look. It also opens up more opportunities for features and elements that you otherwise might not be able to use in a flat landscape (see here for example).

In order to cover a big area economically in a large display it's usually necessary to use a lot of baseplates as ground, however, so to keep a ground level of one brick across all parts baseplates can be laid atop some 9.6mm (roughly 3/8ths of an inch) thick material such as cardboard, foam-core or plywood or BPB supports built from spare plates and tiles. See below for a number of examples.

1 baseplate plus 1 brick
BPB bases made from spare plates and baseplates BPB bases made from spare plates and baseplates BPB bases made from spare plates and baseplates
BPB bases made from spare plates and baseplates BPB bases made from spare plates and baseplates BPB bases made from spare plates and baseplates
BPB bases made from spare plates and baseplates (left), plates and tiles (center), and from two pieces of 8/16" foamcore glued together (right).

Next: Universal Landscape Features >>