Polska Kontroluje Akcja

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

14 thoughts on “Polska Kontroluje Akcja

  1. Matt Bace did some similar landmark maps for Europe and the U.S., but it seems he deleted his Flickr account, which is a damned shame because he was one of my favorite digital builders.

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    1. Damn, Matt Bace is gone? He used to have some great stuff, I agree that it’s a loss….he had those huge naval vessels and a vast catalog of really interesting subject matter. I had no idea he had a map too. I was looking for his urban assault RV from the movie “Stripes” for this weeks fights, but I substituted the meth wagon when I couldn’t find it. It didn’t occur to me that he was gone completely, that really sucks…I wish we’d had a heads up, somebody could have archived his models. I see that some of his stuff is still out there on blogs, maybe I’ll try and round up whatever is left out there.
      http://lego.gizmodo.com/analog-equalizer-made-with-analog-brick-1679975970

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    1. Hmmm…could you be more specific? According to the translation programs it reads: Poland controls the action. In any case, no offense was meant, and hopefully none will be taken. I think the rest of the text makes it clear that I admire Polish builders.

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  2. Whenever I see a map like that, I always think of ‘Risk’ board game.But I like the idea using it for historical rather than war purpose, plus it makes a great educational tool.

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    1. Yes, Risk!, precisely. The map makes me want to get out the dice and start brawling immediately. You’re right, it does make for a great educational tool, I’d like to see more interactive projects like this, stuff that’s big, colorful and fun…but with a purpose beyond just looking cool.

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  3. Great focus! I’ve always really appreciated the builds out of Poland. Like many Eastern European countries, they have never forgotten the importance of both art and the arts as a discipline. Their music, fine arts, fiction… it all caries this quiet dignity and incredible dedication to producing work that is rooted in their long artistic history, while still weaving a vibrant ribbon of modernity throughout.

    I so dig how you are tilling this ship, Keith…looking beyond the fog to the more interesting shores seldom seen.

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    1. So much truth in a single comment! Not only the glowing praise of Polish art (check out their interpretations of movie posters, they are a whole entire genre!) but also the Captain’s direction here.

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      1. That poster is creepy-awesome. I’m actually a fan of both films, I think it’s one of the rare instances of a remake adding something to the original source material. Sorcerer has an amazing mood to it, the kind of dread that only Freidkin was capable of in his prime. It’s got problems, but it’s also got Roy Scheider and some really cool trucks. I’m surprised you’ve got no love for Sorcerer. The bridge scene? That weird post-apocalyptic nightmare ending? Good stuff while taking nothing away from the original. At least we agree about the original.

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      2. Yes! I love those posters! I remember reading that in Poland, Italy and a few other countries there is still a small physical lithography industry in place that bucks the tide against the nearly complete global migration to digital lith. There is something about the small bleeds of colour that go beyond the emulsions and matte blocks and the subtle inconsistencies of the colour etc that give the prints such character. Thanks for sharing!

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      3. Spot on Gil! There’s a rule in art that says, “the most interesting results happen only once.” Their posters really capture that philosophy and run with it.

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    2. Well said Gil, it’s such a refreshing change from the North American perspective. I’ve got to get over there some time and check it out in person. “a vibrant ribbon of modernity”…another instant classic, are you sure you were not a liberal arts college prof? Maybe you should be. I’m glad you’re digging the deep cuts, anyone can play the A-side but it’s the true officianado who loves the B-side.

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