The Manifesto has featured quite a few O.G. “Spacers” in its brief history and the next builder in the spotlight is no exception. Unlike many of that first generation of sci-fi builders who ruled the ivy covered halls of LUGNET, Paul Hartzog is still producing thought-provoking work today. In the past few years Paul has been focusing on modular dioramas that incorporate a flexible design system that can be customized to reflect your favorite Sci-Fi franchises. Paul was one of the unsung developers of the first great community experiment in modularity, Moonbase. More than just a building standard, Moonbase was a full-blown mania that helped Spacers from around the world connect and collaborate as never before and it became a convention staple. Paul applied some of the same concepts to the interior design of Sci-Fi settings and while not yet as popular, they are no less striking. Whether you prefer Star Trek or Star Wars, Paul’s system is perfect.
The builder also has variations based on the video game Star Citizen and his own home-brew designs, but the concept remains the same. The walls and floors are detachable panels that can be easily swapped out to suit your individual taste. It allows you to play with combinations to get just the right look and makes it very easy for other builders to replicate the designs to allow for more ambitious layouts. The design also makes it easy to modify as new parts or techniques become available.
I’d love to see a big collaborative effort using the standard Paul has developed, an expansive Moonbase-style layout but with a focus on interior spaces. As you can see in the mosaic of photos below, Paul took a sample diorama to North Carolina’s BrickMagic convention where it hopefully gained a few advocates. The small accessories that go with these scenes are delightful and worthy of their own post. Fortunately you can find isolated shots of the furniture and equipment in the builder’s photostream. Paul is a fascinating guy who I hope to meet in person one of these years and I can’t encourage you enough to check out his website if you’d like to learn more about the multi-talented builder. One of those talents is music, I’m lucky enough to have one of his CD’s but you can check out his music through the site. If you’d like more information on Paul’s modular building standard, head over to the Flickr Group dedicated to the topic and talk to the man himself. That’s one of the great things about this hobby, you can reach out and connect with just about everyone. More often than not, LEGO nerds are very helpful if you approach them in the right way.
Tyler Clites, one of the most accomplished builders our hobby has to offer, put a very similar idea into play for the interiors of his Magellan Modular Starship from 2014. The frame dimensions are slightly different but the concept is the same and it opens up a wide variety of possibilities. Tyler went the extra step of making the entire ship modular and the results were spectacular to say the least. All of the variations look great.
Modularity is not the sole purview of the Spacer crowd, there is also a castle building standard, a micro-scale city standard, LEGO’s official modular building standard, a landscaping standard and a host of others standards too long to catalogue at this time. I hope you’ve enjoyed our examination of the life modular with Paul Hartzog, goodnight constant reader.