Sunday, April 26, 2009

Part 3: Grandstand Tests

With a successful scoreboard test completed (granted I still needed to expand the flagpole), I moved on to some grandstand prototypes. Considering I was already in about $100 with only a scoreboard to show for it, I became more aware that efficiency was going to be as important in my design as anything else.

I went through four different prototypes before I settled on a design that offered maximum efficiency without sacrificing strength - after all, these grandstand pieces will eventually hold up the skybox level, press box, upper deck, light towers, etc. so they'll have to be strong and sturdy. They'll also have to seat many hundreds, probably thousands, of mini spectators.

The grandstand sections near first and third base will also have to incorporate dugouts - so I started playing with those designs as well. These pics show the grandstand design that I ultimately settled on, along with some first concepts of the dugout (shown with the top pulled off, but complete with Gatorade bottles on the back shelf) and first concepts of the short brick wall the circles the field. I will likely keep several elements of this dugout in the final design - I'm less happy with the bricks. I will keep trying different colors and approaches to that feature.

Discovering how to most effectively and efficiently build the grandstand was a huge second step. I'll likely tear this one down to build it even more efficiently in it's final design, but that will take only a fraction of the time it took to build this one. Considering the time it took to construct this one, and the three lesser models that came before it, it took about 12 hours to discover how to build the grandstand. This last model would be one of seven just like it. It contains approximately 3500 pieces, including 200 individual seats. Lego only makes a few colors of seats, and green isn't one of them - that's a problem I'll have to solve eventually as Wrigley's seats are dark green.

I've started buying some pieces for some of the other elements to come including the ticket booths, windows, and outside elements that can been seen from the corner of Clark & Addison. Total cost so far is around $400. I'm definitely going to start having to find deals on some old used Legos because the cost of buying them new will grow pretty rapidly. Unless I find some used ones or a new source to buy through, I'm projecting the total cost of the project to push about $4,000! But it is a lot of fun, and a great stress relief.

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