Product Idea |

Pagoda Gardens

~A Brief Introduction~
I used to take apart my sets and try to build something better, all the time. I was very limited though on what I could build, because I did not like to combine my sets. I wanted to build my own sets. I considered designing it and then using pick-a-brick to get them, but that wasn't going to work. I found a website called Mecabricks where you can design pretty much anything. Almost any piece and every LEGO color is available. That is what I used to design this set.

~The Pagoda~
The Crystal Pagoda is the entrance and main centerpiece of the Pagoda Gardens has fourteen crystals, sixteen geodes, and sixteen split geodes throughout the design. Within the base, there are eight transparent blue crystals and a transparent red one in the center. Each of these are surrounded by thick glass, the red one having a wall with small windows surrounding it. Under each of the four small entrances there is one gold crystal, and the small top layer also has a gold crystal. The sixteen geodes are found as bridge rail caps for each of the bridges to the main Pagoda. There are four split geodes located at the base of each of the small entrances as decoration. On each of the four corners of the curved tiling for the bottom layer there is a sword. The tiling for the second layer, similar in design, has only the blades of the swords, no handles.
~The Garden~
When entering the gardens, there is a path made of flat stones leading to the pagoda. Before making it to the pagoda there is a Torii gate welcoming visitors to the garden. The pagoda itself extends partially over a stream flowing through the area. At the back left section of this plot, there is an elevated section of ground where a spring with a fountain is found that pours over the edge, forming a waterfall that lets its water run as a creek to the stream. Reed bushes and Sakura trees flourish in this section of the garden. From each of the small entrances to the pagoda there are stone paths leading to different gardens within the Pagoda Gardens.

~The Creation Process~
When I first found Mecabricks the first thing I did was build the LEGO NINJAGO Jungle Raider (set 71700), to get familiar with how the website worked and the different tools I could use. I then decided I was going to build a fortress for some knights that would be small and not really that important. When I finished with the base, I decided it looked too much like a pagoda not to be one. I made some necessary changes to make the pagoda concept better. Then I added supports and started on the second layer.

Neither the second nor third layers took very long as they were almost just a smaller scale of the base floor. The top layer gave me a little bit of trouble in figuring out how I wanted the roof and sōrin to look because no parts that I wanted to exist as LEGO bricks. So, I did some reconsidering and found parts that I think look better than my original intention. After that I added bridges directly to the first floor of the pagoda to give it a unique design. The small buildings were simple to design, since I just combined my railings with the roof of the pagoda. The hardest part of this whole set to build was the stairs. I tried a few different ways, but they were always either slightly off, too large, or too small. I debated putting ramps instead of stairs, and it was when I was adding those that I realized I could add slanted pieces to make steps, instead of adding a flat piece to make ramps. I added five individual baseplates beneath the base and each of the entrances.

A few days later I determined to add some background to the set. I placed four LEGO Bonsai trees within each of the four corners of the set. I did want to add my own scenery, but I was hesitant because I was certain I wouldn't be able to create a scene that would look good enough with the pagoda. However, I knew that since I took an already existing set, it wasn't really my own. So, to help me with the overall picture, I planned it on an Excel document, where I changed every block to 20px-20px block. Each block represented a stud, and I planned the basic top view. When I did get around to starting the garden, my internet service was horrible, and it was really hard to get things to line up correctly since it was a larger scale, and my computer was lagging. I did not plan for the Torii gate. Instead, I was going to have two larger rocks with banner poles on them on either side of the path. I am more pleased with the torii gate though. It took about three-and-a-half to six hours of work a day after school, for about a week before it was finished. I then waited on the rendering function on Mecabricks to come back online, so I could get the photos in better quality. When it did come back online, I learned there is a 1,000-brick limit, on the rendering unless you pay. I just used the screenshot function that only screenshots the build and not the tools.

This set was really a blast to design, and even if it doesn't make it as an official set, I enjoyed designing it! Thank you, LEGO!

This is my first ever LEGO set design.
For some reason in the screenshot function, it screenshotted some photos with a black background and others with a white one.
On Mecabricks this set has 2,161 pieces. The pagoda is 723 pieces, and the garden/ground is 1,438 pieces.

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