The natural wonders of the raised baseplate

I think we can all agree, raised baseplates can be a pain to deal with. Not only are they large and clunky, but these baseplates also come with all sorts of odd features, typically as a result of special molds designed to function best in their original LEGO sets. Bram tackles a raised baseplate from the 1998 Adventurers Sphinx Secret Surprise set featuring a pre-fabricated ramp, off-set staircases, and heavy printing on all sides of its raised platforms. But in Bram’s Ara’Hith Estate, this baseplate virtually disappears into the architecture and seamless landscaping. The baseplate’s wide printed stone ramp transforms into a grand entrance into a shaded portico, and its irregular stud configurations have been cleverly filled in with palm trees and flower beds. Bram has worked around every tricky aspect of this challenge and the result is fantastic. We’re looking at a major NPU right here!

The Ara'Hith Estate

From the back angle, we see the curved platforms of the raised baseplate become the perfect blueprint for the curved walls of the Estate. The otherwise awkward corner macaroni space doubles as a place for a pair of windows. Vines climb up the textured walls made by scattering 1×1 studs throughout the brickwork, a technique that complements the printed stone patterns at the building’s base.

The Ara'Hith Estate

Even the interior is built around the topography of the baseplate. The original trap door recess made for the set turns into space for a dining room floor mosaic. Two of the three molded staircases on the baseplates serve as doorways into the estate.

The Ara'Hith Estate Interior

The Ara’Hith Estate truly embraces the ups and downs of this raised baseplate. Bram integrates its staircases into the floor plan, highlights its printed stone surfaces with the color scheme and brick-built textures, all while creating a fully furnished interior and allowing space for vegetation. As far as tolerating one of the most despised types of LEGO elements goes, I’ve been convinced that there’s some potential in raised baseplates!

2 comments on “The natural wonders of the raised baseplate

  1. Thor96

    Let’s not generalize at the beginnig of a review- many afols love those baseplates and think of them with love and not with a problem point of view. This moc clearly demonstrates why so many of us just can’t get past the fact that lego doesn’t make baseplates anymore-it’s a beautiful building that perfectly uses all thefeatures of this lovely raised baseplate.

  2. Purple Dave

    Like every “useless” part, it’s completely worthless until it’s the only thing that will make your design work. Unlike every other “useless” part, you really have to frame your entire build with these, and the fact that most of them are decorated also puts significant limits on your color scheme.

    I’ve made precisely one MOC that used a decorated, raised baseplate. I used the baseplate from 6199 Hydro Crystalization Station as the foundation for a reef-like microscale habitat that fit into the minifig-scale Moonbase format. I wasn’t as lucky on the color aspect, as the Canyon baseplate tends to involve lots of blues and/or greens, but this one was all in shades of old grey, so I was able to make it work. Without it, though, I would have been left trying to make a comparable shape out of bricks and slopes, and I think that would have fallen squarely between “expensive” and “impossible”. Now, where I started with the idea and had to find a baseplate that worked, this looks like it might have started with the baseplate with the idea gestating out of that.

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