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Road baseplates, 1990s grey vs current black.

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Road baseplates, 1990s grey vs current black.

Post by Locomotive Annie on Mon 22 Apr 2013, 5:50 am

At the moment my main Kotanga layout board is undergoing a major rebuild. My original plan was to build it in pretty much the same way as I would build a normal model railway baseboard with constructed scenery and using non Lego materials, ie. card, plywood, scatter material, paint, glue etc etc. But then I changed my mind. The more i got into railway building with Lego the more i found myself wanting to use Lego solutions to create things beyond the railway tracks themselves. So I'm going with the complete coverage of my layout board with baseplates and so far I'm really happy with progress.

Now something I wanted to do was create a goods yard transhipment area with rail tracks either side of a roadway and since I had two packs of black city road baseplates I'd picked up in a sale I thought I would use those........

The construction gang was called out and the big permanent way dept crane's boiler was fired up and everybody got on with the job, BUT things didn't get so far before it was plain that the black City roadway plates weren't right for the job. They were far too wide in the roadway space and they didn't allow enough room for trackwork on either side of the road. So after a little research I thought I'd use the older grey roadway plates instead, - the ones with the dark green lines at the edge of the roadway. The black road plates hadn't been quite the right roadway types that were best for the job anyway so that well and truly put them out of use and back in the storage crates.
Lately I've been buying a lot of older Lego bits from Britain on e.bay as I've been able to get some really good deals from some of the regular Lego traders. I found four plain roadway plates as well as a four way intersection plate being sold by one of the traders I regularly deal with so I put in my bid and I got them

By the way isn't the packaging for these old plates really nice; - the ones I bought weren't sealed MIB they were just loose, but I still much prefer the old artwork over the present City packaging for roadplates.


To my delight the grey roadplates fitted perfectly into the goods yard area and the wider studded margins beside the more narrow roadway made it so much easier to lay track beside the roadway as I originally wanted to do. To my mind these older roadplates are just so much nicer for representing smaller town sized streets and make it so much simpler to integrate roadside tramway type railways into a townscape. Sorry no pictures just yet because my layout is still a real mess with unfinished stuff everywhere, but at least now it's on the way to how i want it to look.
At the moment I'm hunting down more of these excellent roadplates and fortunately for some areas of my layout stained or discoloured roadplates are just perfect for the job which means that I can get what I need at a cheaper price. legohappy

More than likely I'll be selling off those four black City roadplates soon as they're of no real use to me because in my book the grey roadplates are just plain better in every way.

Locomotive Annie
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Re: Road baseplates, 1990s grey vs current black.

Post by PrincessLime on Mon 22 Apr 2013, 6:33 am

i dont have any roadplates at all legosad2 but i think your scene looks pretty nice and the packaging does look heaps better than what i saw in shops lately!

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Re: Road baseplates, 1990s grey vs current black.

Post by Locomotive Annie on Mon 22 Apr 2013, 6:42 am

During the 1990s Lego's packaging and advertising material was much more inclusive of both boys and girls which was really nice. For some reason all that went out the window later on and it wasn't until the introduction of the present Friends line that Lego finally remembered that girls and women might just enjoying building things out of Lego.

Thanks for the nice comments Princess Lime, - even when I'm doing building work in an area of my layout I still like to set the scene with minifigs busy at work and the right sort of tools and equipment set out as well

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Re: Road baseplates, 1990s grey vs current black.

Post by Lightningtiger on Mon 22 Apr 2013, 3:15 pm

The late 1970's saw the old light grey road plates hit the toy shop shelves but I think it's only being since the advent the CITY brand for the dark bluey grey plates (not black) to replace the old ones.
There was black road plates but they were for Blacktron in the space/sci-fi theme.

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Re: Road baseplates, 1990s grey vs current black.

Post by timmyc1983 on Mon 22 Apr 2013, 4:33 pm

Yes i much prefer the old grey plates, like you say Annie, they seem to better suited to the towns somehow. I bought a whole bunch of them for my latest layout from ebay, there are some good deals out there if you look hard enough, and i luckily got most of mine from Aus, so postage wasn't too bad either *<legotoungesmall

And, as you may be able to see from some of my pics, i too have tracks beside some of them, they fit very well and it looks good too imo

Happy building legoeyeshutlaughing

PS I love to see minifigs at work! It's expensive to build their town, the least they could do is help out!!!

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Re: Road baseplates, 1990s grey vs current black.

Post by Lightningtiger on Mon 22 Apr 2013, 4:42 pm

I have a stack of all 4 kinds of modern dark bluey's.....not ever parting with them ! legowink
I actually prefer the darker shades.....more normal Aussie road surface like hence yourstruly using dark bluey grey 8x16 tiles for New Mannum's main street. legowink

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Re: Road baseplates, 1990s grey vs current black.

Post by peterab on Tue 23 Apr 2013, 9:44 am

Locomotive Annie wrote:During the 1990s Lego's packaging and advertising material was much more inclusive of both boys and girls which was really nice. For some reason all that went out the window later on and it wasn't until the introduction of the present Friends line that Lego finally remembered that girls and women might just enjoying building things out of Lego.

Part of the reason it all went out the window was sales didn't match their gender neutral advertising. For most of the last fifty years 95% of LEGO has been bought for boys. When LEGO got into financial trouble it was easier to make more sales to boys than to try and win girls over (they did try and fail a number of times, homemaker, scala, paradisa, clickits, belville etc). So, many themes became far more focused on boys.

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Re: Road baseplates, 1990s grey vs current black.

Post by Locomotive Annie on Tue 23 Apr 2013, 10:10 am

Thanks for that historical background info Peter. I was too busy being a Mum back then and my kids were never into Lego so I missed out on all of that. I really like that picture on the packaging though and if my printer hadn't gone bung I'd have it pinned up on the wall over my layout baseboard.

LT, if you want my road baseplates PM me about them because I'll be selling them cheap.

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Re: Road baseplates, 1990s grey vs current black.

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