Last edited 26 Jan 2021

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The Institution of Civil Engineers Institute / association Website

Basement and sewerage LEGO set

Over decades LEGO has released thousands of sets covering an innumerable amount of themes - but there’s never been a realistic sewerage-themed set. A fan designer is aiming to change that now.

Sewerage lego 1.png
LEGO has never released a sewerage-themed set - this fan submission could become the first


[edit] Introduction

LEGO IDEAS is an online platform where fan builders can submit their own models.
Once the voting phase starts, they aim for gaining as many 'supporters' as possible, trying to reach the ultimate goal of 10,000 votes. Only a few projects make it this far and advance to the 'Review' stage, getting the chance of being released as an official LEGO IDEAS retail set – granted the jury deems the model exceptional and well-made, suitable for the brand and marketable.

[edit] The first of its kind

Being an 'AFOL' (Adult Fan Of LEGO) building my own projects for many years, I submitted the first-ever realistic sewerage-themed model 'Basement & Sewerage' on the IDEAS platform under my alias MOCingbird (in the LEGO world 'MOC' stands for 'My Own Creation) in September 2020. My set not only focuses on a theme LEGO has never covered before with any release, except for some 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' play sets, this model is also the first-ever underground extension for the brand’s popular 'Modular Buildings' line.

Sewerage lego 2.png
LEGO sewerage workers

[edit] Paying tribute to underground workers

Initially I was going to design only a basement, but soon I realized the model’s front needed something really worth seeing instead of just a dull basement wall. So I came up with the idea of integrating a sewerage at the front. It proved to be the perfect solution.

First of all it looked very nice, secondly it was something LEGO had never done before. And last but not least it provided a good opportunity of paying tribute to all the men and women working underground every day, keeping everything running down there – that’s why I decided to also include two sewerage technicians on their routine check, making them the main protagonists of the set.

In the end I wanted to incorporate a funny aspect, too, that’s when the (hidden) albino alligator got into the game. It took several months of designing, building and revising until I eventually finished the model and could finally make the project ready for upload on LEGO IDEAS.

Sewerage lego 3.png
LEGO basement sewarage model

[edit] A set for everyone

'Basement & Sewerage' can be used as an underground extension for LEGO’s 'Modular
Buildings' and as a stand-alone set as well. It makes for a nice display piece for adult LEGO fans, but I also designed it sturdy enough and playable for kids to have fun with – moreover there’s the educational aspect as children learn something about the urban underground while playing. Besides the sewerage section, there’s a complete basement at the back, of course, with different compartments, a mechanical room, a janitor’s room (including the mysterious janitor and his cat), a secret 'Safe Room', hidden stashes and much more to be discovered. The basement also has removable outer walls, so you can access and see everything perfectly even from the sides. It’s up to your own imagination what stories might happen in the sewerage or the basement, or which way you would like to display the model.

[edit] ...and with lots of modification options

Of course, apart from the prototype standing beside me, all of this would remain nothing but a fan designer’s big dream, as long as I didn’t convince 10,000 people to hit that crucial 'Support' button on the LEGO IDEAS project page. When I started promoting my submission on different online platforms, I was really surprised about how enthusiastic people from very different groups started commenting and supporting the submission right away. It was as if this was something they had always been waiting for (which actually is the case because the whole underground extension concept is an all-new idea no LEGO set and no IDEAS submission has ever addressed before). Supporters also pointed out dozens of additional modification options for the set – ranging from train tunnels (front) to underground garages (back) to all kinds of movie settings like bank heist films or scenes from 'Ghostbusters' or 'The Mandalorian'.

[edit] How to gain 10,000 supporters

In a recent discussion about my project in a Facebook group, one member who liked the sewerage angle of the model told me that he and three of his friends had been designing waste water infrastructure for many years, and he mentioned that from his point of view my project was worth sharing with ICE. So I thought; alright, even the professionals like my model, so why not give it a try and just reach out to ICE? A few days later I got a friendly reply, telling me they liked my 'Basement & Sewerage' too. Furthermore I was invited to to write an article about my project for their website blog (which is what I’m doing right now).

If you like my model and want to see it as an official LEGO set soon, feel free to vote for it by hitting the Support button here. Otherwise LEGO will most likely never come up with a set like this of their own accord. So it’s up to all of you now to let them know there’s actually a demand and to make them think about it by pushing my submission into the 'LEGO Review'. More than 4,000 votes are already in, but it’s still a long way to get to the required 10,000.

This article originally appeared as 'What every child wants for Christmas: support designs for an official 'Basement & Sewerage' LEGO set' on the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Civil Engineering Blog on 15 December 2020. It was written by MOCingbird, LEGO Fan Designer.

--The Institution of Civil Engineers

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