The Polish Lego scene has always been fascinating to me, in part because they don’t seem to have any weak builders. Of course I know that any group that gets large enough to be noticed will have it’s share of weak builders, but LUGPOL either drives them into the Białowieża Forest or confines them to the kiddie-table until their skills have improved. Japan and England rightfully get a lot of credit and attention for their distinctive styles but it’s a shame the builders of Poland don’t get the same level of acknowledgment because they consistently produce outstanding, thought-provoking work.
Usually I’m not too impressed with Lego in-store builds. It always seems to be some large but generic brick sculpture of a Disney franchise character, or it’s small, equally boring models by local builders that are often designed to push the latest product. However, Polish builder the_jetboy recently posted photos of an impressive collaborative build for the first company store to open in Warsaw, and it’s a real eye-catcher. The scale is truly epic, especially when you consider the thickness of the map; this was a major effort that took 4 months and over 700,000 bricks. I love the rivers and the different shades of green and yellow to represent different regions. The giant map is a great concept and it immediately sparked my imagination with war-gaming possibilities. I can’t help but imagine it as a map with micro-scale buildings, vehicles and resource markers. Getting back to the build though, it was designed by Maciej Cabaj and the famous local landmarks were constructed by a variety of local builders. Many of the individual models can be found in this Flickr Group, or you can go directly to the source, Polish website Zbuduujmy to!, but there is not an English option so have your favorite translation program ready.
There is also a list of builders and their contributions on the website if you’d like to learn more about the project. Kudos to everyone involved for a vibrant and educational display that surely delighted the many customers who got the chance to see it. It must have taken a great deal of work organizing the builders, creating the map and arranging logistics, but it was clearly well worth the effort. I know it’s very unlikely to happen, but it would be great to see a convention with several different countries given this kind of treatment.
My favorite of the landmarks is this micro rendition of Solina Dam by Piotr., the largest such structure in the country. The model is very accurate, given the scale and it’s a perfectly condensed version of the real thing. I’m sure it was immediately recognizable to the public, with the iconic spillway and green-roofed power station.
I hope to make it over to Poland some year to take in a convention or a LUG meeting and meet some of these builders, they look like they’re having a lot of fun. Even though the big map has ended it’s run in the Lego store, it’s still going to be used for future events, so maybe I’ll get a chance to see it in person. Twoje zdrowie!