Journal LEGO

Winter Village Update: October 25th 2022

When I started collecting LEGO a few weeks ago, my motivation was to purchase some exciting holiday decorations. I thought they would look more interesting dotted around my apartment than decorations from a big box store. However, as my collection grew, I had a burning itch to create a winter village, complete with mini figures.

This update isn’t extensive as it is in its early stages, but I wanted to share what I have accomplished.

Sets Included

Elf Club House #10725
Santa’s Visit #10293
Holiday Main Street #10308
Santa’s Sleigh #40499
Christmas Tree #40573 (Review)
Tracks #60205

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Design Overview

My village’s design is simple – using most of the winter sets available in late 2022 – I’m aiming to place my built sets on white baseplates with the Christmas Tree as the centerpiece. Admittingly, this isn’t exciting, but it’s where I need to start. Money and know-how prevent me from fulfilling my vision of a fantastic winter wonderland. To me, that’s okay, as I see my village being something I can develop and grow each year.

So, with what I had on hand, I placed my sets inside the train from the Holiday Main Street set. I motorized the train (for which you need parts #88009 and #88011), so I wanted a complete circuit. I also spent a few dollars getting enough track sets to make a circle, so the train has to be included!

To get a feel for how it might look and its size, I set everything up on my dining table. I took a while moving the sets around, trying to find a cohesive story with what I had. Raven, one of my cats, was on hand to be a brick relocation associate if needed.

This design is okay and leaves plenty of areas for further construction. However, I decided the Christmas penguin (review) didn’t fit in the village. It’s not a realistic size to be an animal in the village and sitting there as a decoration didn’t make much sense. I debated building a skating rink in that spot if the PAB wall at the LEGO store had some of the right pieces (it didn’t).

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From the back, I like this setup as I can see inside the buildings, but again there is a lot of space that I won’t be able to fill this year. Gryffin, another one of my cats and Raven’s sibling, was on hand to offer advice. I think he wanted one of the small trees moved.

To minimize empty space, I made the train tracks smaller to better populate the area and keep the footprint smaller, making it easier to move once winter is over. It does look rather cluttered, and my buildings aren’t placed in this photo. It’s only here to highlight the smaller footprint by taking out more tracks.

I went shopping at the weekend to get what I needed to make my village look more like a winter wonderland. With 9 white baseplates in hand (the number I thought I needed), I started to bring my village to life! Having never dealt with putting lego on base plates, I faced some rookie challenges!

First, I didn’t account for the angles needed to connect the buildings to the plate – it can’t be at nice diagonals without additional parts. I may have felt rather foolish, but it’s all a learning process! Such constraints made me go through many iterations, but rather than bore you with such details, here is what I have right now!

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Current Status

Here is my winter village as it stands today! I decided that it made sense for the elves to be away from the town, and I have Santa dropping off presents at the tree in the center of the town.

I added a few minifigs I purchased on Sunday to give it a bit more life. I’d have liked more elves and wintery minifigs, but that’s what the LEGO store had. I used the skis from the Santa Sleigh set to have a skier!

If and when I have the parts, I’d like to build a skiing hill on that free top right corner. I will also get some more white plates to fill in the back.

The PAB wall has some lovely 1×2 and 1×4 white tiles, and I used these pieces to put a snow effect on my tracks. I also used some other random parts to add detail to the village floor. Honestly, I think it looks a bit of a mess, and I will probably remove most f it! I’m still learning about brick building; landscaping is easily a few levels above where I am.

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Planned Improvements

First, I need to buy 3 more base plates to finish the base of the village. Obviously, more minifigs will help improve the town, as would raising Santa and his sleigh up on clear casters so he is flying across the winter village. I also would love to get 4 more reindeer to complete the set, but they are currently out of stock on the US LEGO website.

Realistic Additions

  • Snowmen! The snowman created in Santa’s village is too cute to not replicate. It’s simple, too – only needs two pieces, parts #6221773 and #6052864. The latter is out of stock, so I must be patient.
  • Winter trees. Another feature from the Santa’s Visit set. I think these look stunning and will bring a lot of character to the otherwise flat landscape.
  • Adding animals with Classic Creative White Bricks Set #110112. I bought two of these during my most recent LEGO haul but have yet to build them. Once I do, I can add these little winter characters to hopefully bring more life to my village.
  • Paths! Right now there is no method to walk around the village. I’ve seen some effective paths using a mix of brown and grey round tiles. Likely, I will do something similar, perhaps adding in some white pieces to convey snow.
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Wish List

  • I would love for my village to have an ice rink. I think using the transparent blue pieces would add a feature that would pop out and look fantastic near the tree. Of course, I want to find some skating minifigs too! I did think about buying the Lunar New Year Ice Festival set #80109 to do this, but there are too many pieces that didn’t quite jibe with the aesthetic I am going for. It was tempting just for the mini figures.
  • A mountain ski area would be a dream for me. I’ve watched some videos on making mountains and slopes; thus, with the correct pieces, it does seem obtainable. However, sourcing those materials before the holiday season this year might not be possible. I’ve already invested a decent amount into this new hobby, and that’s before I’ve purchased essential things like a table! So, next winter is a realistic timeline for my ski hill.
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Lesson’s Learned

One benefit of this experience was highlighting how much I do not want trains in my city initially. They seem to be a lot of work and take up a significant amount of space! They also add some layout constrictions that I probably don’t have space for (not that I have my table yet).

The second revelation was that I do not want to light up each model of my village or city. It honestly seems like a lot of work for minimal benefit, and it’s expensive. Instead, I’ll add some twinkling lights outside my village to get that effect. In the future, I might make that commitment, but for now, I am not buying lighting kits for the models.

Lastly, I thought throwing enough bricks at the base plates for texture would eventually make it look pretty good. That is not true. I need to go back to LEGO school for lessons on how to landscape. I refuse to be hard on myself; it was fun to do!

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Final Thoughts

Overall, I’m happy with how the village has begun. My attempts at adding texture look as random as the execution, and I will likely remove them. From here, I will get inspiration online and keep on building!

Thanks for reading, and happy building, everyone!

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