Read on to see what we've built and how we tried to stay true to the classic Lego style while more than doubling the facility.
The main police station was actually the VERY FIRST set that I acquired as a child. It was a Christmas gift from my parents around 1982. The original set that I have was Lego Set 381 but is was also re-released as Lego Set 588-- but they are identical sets. The police station featured in our earlier videos is my original 381 set from 1982, which you can see in this video from 2011:
As I wrote of earlier this month, one of my recent eBay scores was a 588 set, which would make expanding the police station a lot easier as we have some of the specialty pieces necessary to keep the look of the building unified as it grew. We wanted to make sure the new police station would STRONGLY retain the original look of those sets. There is a sense of architectural history in Lego buildings and we tried to be sensitive to that. The new police station would be larger, of course, but I also felt that just making it larger by bashing two sets together wasn't ideal. I wanted the final station to look like it had been lightly updated, or modernized, as part of its expansion-- just like you'd expect a real structure to evolve as a city grows.
The modern pieces would be coming from a combination of TWO sets I had purchased to make the Condo Building in town, which you can see in this video:
Most of that structure (especially all the windows and balcony railings) were from the pair of Lego Set 6398 that I bought several years ago now. This police station update provided the perfect opportunity to use the specialty police doors, jail bar windows, and other pieces that had been sitting unused in bins ever since the Condos were made.
We had a short set of roll-up garage door pieces that came in a garage sale grab bag. The door is actually missing quite a few pieces so they are not high enough to drive a police car through but they are high enough for the motorcycles. Since they are clear and black it seemed natural to include them in the police station when we rebuilt it. However, the limitations of the short height posed a number of problems.
The first complication was the structure of the door itself. In addition to being too low for cars/vans to use, the door requires and a large overhead frame to support it when open and another set of columns to hold up the other end of that frame. By the time a roof were added to cover all those door frame pieces, it would be too deep and dark to get under the original helipad and the added columns would make it hard for anything to drive and park in there, even motorcycles.
Despite the internal problems of the door and its framing, I really liked the way it looked from the street. I could see the side entrance being a very cool place for police motorcycles to come rolling out as part of a motorcade or emergency response. Unfortunately, they'd be rolling out alone as nothing else could drive under the low door! The framing of the door was also so large and deep into the center of the plate that there would be no usable courtyard and I couldn't figure out where the jail cells would go.
From this picture you can see where the wall was opened up and how much deeper the building became by extending it out. There is already-- easily-- 3x more office space. In the quest to go even bigger, however, I was going to need to find our original police station... and strip it for parts.
Again, you can see how the structure has changed. In the end I decided the facade of the new building looked TOO CLEAN and would add back some black overhangs that would pay homage to the way the original station's upper and lower levels were divided, but without changing the interior structure of the the building (white floors are better!)
Compare the office space of the original set-- just two rooms-- with the new station, which isn't even complete yet! Much more space. Time to set up a coffee maker and donut table!
You can see some of the original police station still standing on its plate in the background as I tried to figure out how to integrate the second set of garages. It made sense to put them on the other side of the courtyard so vehicles could drive straight through without turning around. We anticipate that the station will sit on an outside edge of the new tables, so the remaining roadway will eventually be blocked off in some way-- access to the courtyard will be through the garage doors only.
The "L" shaped offices were not working. Not only was it very difficult to come up with a roof structure that was sturdy and made sense, but it left me with the corner by the new garages completely bare. I could not figure out how I could attach a structure there without it being a complete mess. Also, the "L" offices were built on the old black roof pieces so their floors were black.... something I was trying to get away from (even though it was closer to the original upper floor).
One thing I did like about this stage of the design was the addition of those smaller black overhang roof pieces over the front door and lower level windows. The roof pieces gave the building a little less massive a look by breaking up all the white and they also matched the original design better, but without the clunkiness of wrapping a roof all the way around the front corner.
Finally, here's the police station with the original set box behind it for comparison's sake. It now sits on a temporary table while we make our plans for the ACTUAL tables that we hope to start building very soon. If you look closely at this picture you can see the added row for the lower level and you can also see the police helicopter on its pad for the first time. As usual, there's also a video tour available:
Speaking of first times, who do you think gets ARRESTED first??
For more on our COMPLETE Bricksburgh Police Force, check out the COMPLETE playlist by clicking HERE.
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