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Can we talk baseplates?

flordflord CanadaMember Posts: 560
Of the few things that annoy me about Lego (and very little does) is how the company decides when to produce and sell certain things. We all know about how there are no base plates included with Insult on Hoth and that's fine since kids like to pick up sections and move them around. What annoys me though is that plates aren't made available for purchase separately. Maybe Lego intends to put one out soon, I don't know, but the general approach to base plates is confusing. They should be available for purchase along with matching themes. For instance, a separate blue base plate would go along perfectly with the Deep Sea Exploration theme from last year, or even Prison Island. A white base plate would have gone well with the Arctic theme, etc. To my mind base plates in standard colours should remain in production. Wouldn't these be reliable money makers for the company? I could buy other base plates on the secondary market but they are ridiculously expensive like this:

https://www.amazon.ca/LEGO-Bricks-Building-Plate-32x32/dp/B002RL7VNY/ref=sr_1_11?s=toys&ie=UTF8&qid=1459710395&sr=1-11&keywords=lego+baseplate

It also doesn't make sense to me that I can buy tan and green 32x32 plates (which is great), but I can't buy grey in 32x32, only 48x48. Why?
oldtodd33kiki180703
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Comments

  • Legopassion8Legopassion8 North CarolinaMember Posts: 1,137
    Um....I'm not sure there is anyone here qualified to answer your questions accurately...   ;)
    SumoLegokiki180703
  • catwranglercatwrangler Northern IrelandMember Posts: 1,614
    I remember that there was a lot of discussion about baseplates generated somewhere in the last couple of months - perhaps by a post on the main site (though apparently not the Classic Castle ones, which is where I thought I'd seen it). People were very polarised for/against moulded baseplates in particular (like the one that has a sort of oubliette moulded into it), but all sorts of points were raised against baseplates in general. Does anyone have the link?  One of the things that came up was that apparently TLG are moving away from doing vacuum-formed stuff (like traditional baseplates) now - I think they perhaps no longer do it in-house, and this adds to the expense?  
  • dinogirl1375dinogirl1375 FloridaMember Posts: 6
    I am in 1000% agreement with you.  I had to buy off-brand "Lego-Compatible" white baseplates from Amazon to put together my winter village.  I am now working on 2 MOCs and am in desperate need of of gray 32x32 and green 48x48, which is the opposite of what's available.  Wouldn't it make more sense to make available what people want???
  • catwranglercatwrangler Northern IrelandMember Posts: 1,614
    What was the clutch power like with the off-brand ones? I'd be tempted, as I don't think I've ever even seen a white baseplate made by TLG, and I can think of a few uses...
  • Bricklover18Bricklover18 PA, USAMember Posts: 678
    I have a red 32 x 32 baseplate, but I'm not sure if it's lego or not. 
  • AllBrickAllBrick UKMember Posts: 1,353
    Lets not mention the shade change TLG made to the green BPs.

    Whoops.
    MynattsnowhitieAyliffeRainstorm26kiki180703bobabricks
  • DadsAFOLDadsAFOL USAMember Posts: 563
    I have a red 32 x 32 baseplate, but I'm not sure if it's lego or not. 
    That's from the Palace Cinema set.
    SumoLegokiki180703mak0137
  • mr.pigglesmr.piggles Snow FortMember Posts: 326
    Definitely miss baseplates. I've bought knock-offs in large sizes for making art pieces. I honestly think they'd sell quite well if they were made available in larger/varied sizes and in a wider array of colors. 
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,419
    I'm in the anti baseplate group for most models. I do use them, but only really for mosaics so don't really care about colour. But for display models, I prefer plates to baseplates. I find 4x 16x16 plates look nicer than a baseplate, and cost about the same as a baseplate. Plus by using spare plates underneath you can get a nice border for the model, you are not restricted to regular square display pieces and you can pattern your ground. 

    Of course, I am not against Lego selling them individually (but prefer not to be 'forced' to buy them if they come in sets) but I imagine their is not a good business case to have many colours available at once.

    I have read that they are no longer made by Lego but sub contracted out, which may be one if the reasons they tend not to include them in so many sets these days.
    graphitedougtsAanchirkiki180703
  • Bricklover18Bricklover18 PA, USAMember Posts: 678
    I think my red 32x32 is an off brand it's doesn't have the right lego feel to it.
  • legomentallegomental UkMember Posts: 304
    SumoLego said:
    I'm just going to note my long-standing objection to the selection of road plates.  

    Can I just buy two of the same road plates per package, please?
    My biggest 'gripe' with lego.  How many road junctions does one town need. 

    And they are very very expensive for what they are
    SumoLegoMynattTXLegoguykiki180703
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 8,284
    ^ I know!  $8.00 a road plate is just crazy expensive.
  • Jern92Jern92 MalaysiaMember Posts: 525
    I think my red 32x32 is an off brand it's doesn't have the right lego feel to it.
    Is the word 'LEGO' written on each individual stud?
    DeMontesLusiferSamkiki180703
  • Jern92Jern92 MalaysiaMember Posts: 525

    SumoLego said:
    I'm just going to note my long-standing objection to the selection of road plates.  

    Can I just buy two of the same road plates per package, please?
    My biggest 'gripe' with lego.  How many road junctions does one town need. 

    And they are very very expensive for what they are
    Agreed. Why make them if they're just going to force us to buy them? Why not just make them in smaller amounts to be sold separately and save the money and have happy customers?
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 8,284
    ^ Well, as much as crab about it - I still buy them.
  • brumeybrumey AustriaMember Posts: 994
    the chinese sell non-lego lego-compatible baseplates at a well known site!

    different colors
    different sizes 16x32, 32x32, 24x48, 48x48

    but no original lego!
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 8,284
    ^ But I would prefer to crab about this.  If you buy Lego clones, it only makes it more expensive for everyone...
    SprinkleOtterkiki180703
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 997
    ^I'd agree if LEGO was actually making baseplates that customers want. If LEGO is not making the plates, they leave the options of buying clones or doing without. By refusing to make the parts available, LEGO is driving customers to buy clones- or track down old sets like #3843 and settle for limited colors.
    MattDawsonkiki180703
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,419
    And if consumers are happy enough to buy cheap clones, then they will buy cheap clones. Would lego selling the same thing but at twice the price stop those buyers buying cheap clones? In some cases yes, but in many cases probably not.

    I have one clone baseplate and to be honest there is no difference in clutch between the fake and the real ones. If anything, clutch is slightly better. So to me, there is no performance issue with clones. Also at the price they are, people don't mind gluing them down to tables or boards for kids to play on.
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 997
    edited April 2016
    But if LEGO does not sell them at all, cheap clones are all we can buy.

    Every time I see a "train table" in the local thrift shops I check to see if it has baseplates built in. I've picked up a couple of them for $5 each just for the tabletops with baseplates. 
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,419
    They do sell them, just not in the colours you want. Presumably because not enough people buy the odd colours (or they don't think people will buy them).

  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 997
    Most of the clone baseplates I have seen were no more than 25% cheaper than the LEGO equivalent (when one was available at LEGO.COM), and some are pricier than genuine LEGO. Either the clones are setting prices high because LEGO offers no competing product, or the plates were being sold at a fairly thin margin. Blue is not really an odd color, but the blue 32x32 is no longer available on LEGO.com.

    On the bright side, you can order baseplates in a few more colors via Bricks and Pieces. 
  • TkattTkatt MNMember Posts: 193

    I've been waiting for road plates that will work better with modular buildings.The current plates need a lot of tile to look good with the modulars, and the sidewalk ends up really wide.  I want a 32x32 plate with 2 studs. It would have two 14 stud wide lanes. It would really save on the amount of tiles needed. It would have space for wider cars and a bike lane.
    In the meantime I just make my own roads out of laminated paper.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,419
    Most of the clone baseplates I have seen were no more than 25% cheaper than the LEGO equivalent (when one was available at LEGO.COM), and some are pricier than genuine LEGO. Either the clones are setting prices high because LEGO offers no competing product, or the plates were being sold at a fairly thin margin. Blue is not really an odd color, but the blue 32x32 is no longer available on LEGO.com.

    On the bright side, you can order baseplates in a few more colors via Bricks and Pieces. 
    Was that the old US prices, as they were very low.  In the UK you can get clones for about 45% of LEGO RRP.
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 997
    I'm seeing $8 for 32x32 from LEGO.COM, and $6 for most clones of the same size.
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 797
    Yeah, I don't think there's any big secrets here.  The demand for baseplates sadly isn't high enough to warrant them making them in many colors.  Kids aren't usually all that picky about the color they get, and AFOLs are kinda divided on whether they want to use baseplates at all-- not to mention that they want a very diverse selection color-and-size-wise.  Sometimes, we're lucky enough to see strange colors of baseplates in sets (like the Palace Cinema, say), but mostly not.

    The road plates are an interesting oddity.  Back when Steve Witt was representing LEGO, I believe he told us that they were packaged with "different types together" in order to save on SKUs.  That is, LEGO buys or is allocated a certain number of SKUs every year.  That limits the number of different sets they can sell annually.  So they reasoned that they could save 2 extra SKUs by putting different road plates together rather than like ones together.

    Again, it makes it really annoying for AFOLs that want to build road-baseplate-towns, but at the same time, AFOLs are again pretty divided on wanting baseplates for their roads at all.  So... tough luck I guess.  I know I probably would have bought a few more baseplate packs if they were sold in single varieties, but a lot of AFOLs won't-- many of us actually stocked up on baseplates back in the days when there were green sidewalks (our LUG certainly did).

    I think what would be awesome is if they could do periodic limited offerings for AFOLs.  Dunno if it'd be worth the money, but something LUGBULK-esque, where they build up a running order of (say) white baseplates in a certain size, and then make a big batch in a special sale.  Not normal retail, but some sort of special deal via the LAN (one size/color per year or some-such).

    DaveE
  • KingAlanIKingAlanI Rochester, NYMember Posts: 1,526
    I like the 16x16 real plates in recent sets - they make models sturdier and have an interesting mold underneath.
    www.amazon.com/LEGO-Education-Building-Plates-4570274/dp/B0085Y3YV0 is real LEGO, a 48x48 and 3 32x32 for $35 instead of $39. I got a couple of those on sale for $29 a month ago. The regular price is a deal but not a dramatic one. One of the 32x32's is blue.

    Ditto on road plates.

    I wonder if the knockoffs are any good. Like regular clones, they seem only slightly cheaper. Mosaics put more stress on a baseplate because more is covered, so quality issues with clones might be more of a problem for that use.
  • JooTogJooTog Southern CaliforniaMember Posts: 856
    I also bought two #9286 last month for $29, mostly for the blue plate. I have use for the green plates, but not sure what to do with the big grey one yet :)

    I also would like white plates as well as brown ones.

    Those that like regular plates, #9388 seems to come with six 16x16 plates along with several smaller ones.

    It was also at $29 on Amazon last month, but I did not grab one:

    http://www.amazon.com/LEGO-Education-Building-Plates-4646267/dp/B006Z78LBW?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=ox_sc_sfl_title_14&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER
    KingAlanIkiki180703
  • KingAlanIKingAlanI Rochester, NYMember Posts: 1,526
    I was doing a mosaic that called for 4 more 48x48 (I already had 2). I made it slightly smaller to use 2 48x48 and 3 32x32. I saved a green and 2 blues for some other project. I dismissed #9388 for being a bunch of small plates, but I'll consider that now that I like large regular plates.
  • legomentallegomental UkMember Posts: 304
    Tkatt said:

    I've been waiting for road plates that will work better with modular buildings.The current plates need a lot of tile to look good with the modulars, and the sidewalk ends up really wide.  I want a 32x32 plate with 2 studs. It would have two 14 stud wide lanes. It would really save on the amount of tiles needed. It would have space for wider cars and a bike lane.
    In the meantime I just make my own roads out of laminated paper.
    We've given up with road plates due the expense and the ridiculous junctions and I'm going to paint onto the table!

    Lego actually lose out by packaging them this way
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,419
    ^ they lose out for the few adults that want multiples, but not from the kids / parents that want just a couple of road plates with a bit of variety.
  • brumeybrumey AustriaMember Posts: 994
    16x32   1,64USD per piece
  • scottdd2scottdd2 ADELAIDEMember Posts: 20

    Tkatt said:

    I've been waiting for road plates that will work better with modular buildings.The current plates need a lot of tile to look good with the modulars, and the sidewalk ends up really wide.  I want a 32x32 plate with 2 studs. It would have two 14 stud wide lanes. It would really save on the amount of tiles needed. It would have space for wider cars and a bike lane.
    In the meantime I just make my own roads out of laminated paper.

    My wish is for a road plate the same thickness as a standard plate. Wider lanes and a bike lane are good too.
  • SiBownSiBown Greater Manchester, UKMember Posts: 4
    You can buy baseplates in several colours on Bricks & Pieces:

    32x32 is design number 3811 - most are around £5-7
    48x48 is desgn number 4186, though they only have blue in stock at the minute and they're a hefty £16.52.
  • bandit778bandit778 Docking Bay 94. Member Posts: 1,582
    I'm surprised tat TLG don't do a set with a couple of blank grey baseplates and a collection of white tiles in varying sizes so you could design your own roadway however you wanted it.
    legomental
  • Toc13Toc13 Member Posts: 609
    I thunk all of my baseplates bar one have been from buying the games in charity shops. £4 for a 32x32 with some extra bits? I'll have that :-)
    AllBrickdatsunrobbie
  • legomentallegomental UkMember Posts: 304
    CCC said:
    ^ they lose out for the few adults that want multiples, but not from the kids / parents that want just a couple of road plates with a bit of variety.
    It's my kid who wants multiples. He wants a whole road to run the cars up and down. 

    I like the creator stuff and modulars personally plus a train or three
    Pippa
  • AllBrickAllBrick UKMember Posts: 1,353
    Toc13 said:
    I thunk all of my baseplates bar one have been from buying the games in charity shops. £4 for a 32x32 with some extra bits? I'll have that :-)
    Same here, thanks Minotaurus and Ramses pyramid.
    Toc13
  • PippaPippa DC, USAMember Posts: 20
    CCC said:
    ^ they lose out for the few adults that want multiples, but not from the kids / parents that want just a couple of road plates with a bit of variety.
    It's my kid who wants multiples. He wants a whole road to run the cars up and down. 

    I like the creator stuff and modulars personally plus a train or three

    Exactly! 

    I love the idea of a build your own roadway set - I'm sure I'd want at least a couple for my son.

  • PippaPippa DC, USAMember Posts: 20
    CCC said:
    They do sell them, just not in the colours you want. Presumably because not enough people buy the odd colours (or they don't think people will buy them).

    Yet they make sets that clearly need other color baseplates - the photos for last Arctic line's boxes actually show the sets on WHITE Lego baseplates.  So maddening!!! 


  • LyichirLyichir United StatesMember Posts: 434
    Pippa said:
    CCC said:
    They do sell them, just not in the colours you want. Presumably because not enough people buy the odd colours (or they don't think people will buy them).

    Yet they make sets that clearly need other color baseplates - the photos for last Arctic line's boxes actually show the sets on WHITE Lego baseplates.  So maddening!!! 


    Hm? The box photos pretty much never show baseplates except for on sets where they're included. What pictures are you talking about?

    Personally, I rarely do large layouts, so I tend to prefer the convenience and sturdiness of regular plate-based bases for most sets. The 16x16 plate (the biggest and sturdiest standard plate available) already comes in a wide range of colors, including White, Bright Blue, Bright Green, Dark Green, Brick Yellow, Medium Stone Grey, Dark Stone Grey, and even useful colors that traditional baseplates have never come in like Medium Azur, Sand Yellow, and Light Royal Blue!
  • PippaPippa DC, USAMember Posts: 20
    Lyichir said:
    Pippa said:
    CCC said:
    They do sell them, just not in the colours you want. Presumably because not enough people buy the odd colours (or they don't think people will buy them).

    Yet they make sets that clearly need other color baseplates - the photos for last Arctic line's boxes actually show the sets on WHITE Lego baseplates.  So maddening!!! 


    Hm? The box photos pretty much never show baseplates except for on sets where they're included. What pictures are you talking about?

    Personally, I rarely do large layouts, so I tend to prefer the convenience and sturdiness of regular plate-based bases for most sets. The 16x16 plate (the biggest and sturdiest standard plate available) already comes in a wide range of colors, including White, Bright Blue, Bright Green, Dark Green, Brick Yellow, Medium Stone Grey, Dark Stone Grey, and even useful colors that traditional baseplates have never come in like Medium Azur, Sand Yellow, and Light Royal Blue!
    Eek!  I should have checked - the pic I was remembering was used in advertising the line and is included on the instructions, and now that I look back at it with a more experienced eye, it looks to be made with various white plates fully covering gray baseplates.  My bad.  I just remember being inspired by the pic when my son rec'd some sets for Christmas and searching high and low for a white baseplate and lots of white bricks so we could build a polar landscape.  This was before I knew about BrickLink and I spent way too much money on eBay and PAB.

    Sorry for the confusion.
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,339
    CCC said:
    I'm in the anti baseplate group for most models. I do use them, but only really for mosaics so don't really care about colour. But for display models, I prefer plates to baseplates. I find 4x 16x16 plates look nicer than a baseplate, and cost about the same as a baseplate. Plus by using spare plates underneath you can get a nice border for the model, you are not restricted to regular square display pieces and you can pattern your ground. 

    Of course, I am not against Lego selling them individually (but prefer not to be 'forced' to buy them if they come in sets) but I imagine their is not a good business case to have many colours available at once.

    I have read that they are no longer made by Lego but sub contracted out, which may be one if the reasons they tend not to include them in so many sets these days.
    I agree with this for the most part. Regular plates are a lot more versatile than baseplates, both because they're easier to use for things other than as a base, and because they let you vary the shape of layouts or individual builds instead of everything being fixed to a grid. They also hold their shape better, which can make transporting certain models easier.

    I'm not totally a fan of road plates either. Of course, that's a somewhat different case than baseplates since there isn't yet a really parts-efficient alternative. I would love if LEGO made a road system based on smaller elements like 8x16 tiles. That would offer so many potential advantages over typical baseplates... you could put roads right up against sets with a built-in curb like modular buildings instead of having to transplant them from their bases, you could put a crosswalk anywhere along a road instead of just on specific corners, you could vary the length of roads by smaller increments, etc.

    What never ceases to surprise me is how much nostalgia there is for the old raised baseplates. Not only were several of them fairly fragile (which is part of what bumps up their price in the aftermarket), but they were even bigger and more specialized than a usual base, something AFOLs ordinarily tend to be against. They added to the height of models, but they did so at the expense of building. Customization potential was limited by their shape and size, they didn't allow you to make full use of the space below "ground level", and their usual flat, printed sides tend to be a lot less visually interesting than a custom foundation made up of bricks and BURPs (like can be seen in #70728 Battle for Ninjago City, #60130 Prison Island, or #41180 Ragana's Magic Shadow Castle).

    Regarding recent changes to baseplates, I don't feel anywhere near as strongly about them as a lot of people do. The price increase baseplates got in 2015 was pretty much inevitable — the price of a 32x32 baseplate was $5.50 in 1996, so inflation accounts for most of the price increase on its own. And the only thing I really "get" about the outrage over the color change in the green plates is that originally the image of the new green baseplate was misleading and showed it in the old green color. Aside from that, there's nothing inherently better about Dark Green baseplates (classic green) than Bright Green ones. Bright Green has been used as a ground color in Free Style, Creator, Bricks & More, and Friends for many years, so this change could be seen as a long time coming.

    I do, however, understand people's frustration with the blue building plates being discontinued right when Pirates was revived. That was rather unfortunate timing.
    catwranglerdutchlegofan50Lyichir
  • catwranglercatwrangler Northern IrelandMember Posts: 1,614
    Aanchir said:

    What never ceases to surprise me is how much nostalgia there is for the old raised baseplates. Not only were several of them fairly fragile (which is part of what bumps up their price in the aftermarket), but they were even bigger and more specialized than a usual base, something AFOLs ordinarily tend to be against. They added to the height of models, but they did so at the expense of building. Customization potential was limited by their shape and size, they didn't allow you to make full use of the space below "ground level", and their usual flat, printed sides tend to be a lot less visually interesting than a custom foundation made up of bricks and BURPs (like can be seen in #70728 Battle for Ninjago City, #60130 Prison Island, or #41180 Ragana's Magic Shadow Castle).
    As far as my own nostalgia goes, I don't think it's a strictly rational thing - in the last baseplate discussion I ended up being persuaded of their impracticality, but I'm still fond of the Castle ones in a way that transcends questions of how they might get in the way of MOCing. It's that 90s Castle aesthetic that makes my heart skip a beat. :P
    LostInTranslation
  • MattDawsonMattDawson Solihull, UKMember Posts: 1,114
    edited April 2016
    I'm actually in favour of baseplates; I need several for when I eventually get round to building my own town/city ... if only I had somewhere to put it...
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,419
    ^^^For roads in plate layouts, I use the large 8*16 tiles that came with the HP game.
  • deephorsedeephorse West Yorkshire, U.K.Member Posts: 82
     How many road junctions does one town need. 


    Have you been to a town recently?  They are full of junctions.
  • pharmjodpharmjod 1,170 miles to Wall Drug, USAMember Posts: 2,301
    @CCC is that the same type of piece they use for UCS plaques?
  • willobee498willobee498 CanadalandMember Posts: 301
    deephorse said:
     How many road junctions does one town need. 


    Have you been to a town recently?  They are full of junctions.
    Not as many as Lego likes to sell us.
    gmonkey76
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