MOC: Palace of Westminster

Posted by ,
View image at flickr

We don't normally cover MOCs (my own creations) here at Brickset; we leave that to the experts over at The Brothers Brick, but we're making an exception for this absolutely stunning model of London's Palace of Westminster, otherwise known as the Houses of Parliament, built by Brickset member and forum regular paperballpark, AKA Jamie Douglas.

The model will be making its first public appearance at Bricktastic in Manchester, July 1-2 2017, organised by, and for the benefit of, our favourite charity Fairy Bricks.

Read our exclusive interview with Jamie and view more images after the break.


Brickset: What inspired you to build the model?

Jamie: As soon as I saw the Big Ben model revealed last year, I knew the full Palace of Westminster had to be done. I figured that it might as well be me that did it!

How did you go about planning the build?

There are a couple of plans of the building on the internet, and I used them to work out the foundation of the whole build – the base of the building. Planning the base was the critical thing, as I didn’t want to get half-way through and realise that sections didn’t line up where they should do.

View image at flickr

The planning took about 20 – 30 hours, and that was just the base, as I didn’t plan the build any higher than that, I just built it as I went along. I didn’t use LDD or any other digital designer for planning any part of it, as I prefer to build with bricks.

I mostly used Google Maps for reference, as it has a 3D section of London, with a really good representation of the building. That was very useful for working things out, such as lining parts of the building up. I was also down in London at one point during the build, and I took a load of photos of the outside of the building while down there, which helped a lot with the detail.

View image at flickr

How many parts are in it and where did you get them? Which part is used the most?

It uses about 50,000 pieces in total. I opened ten Big Ben sets, in addition to the set used for the Big Ben section itself. I had about 13,000 pieces left over from the sets, but I also ordered a total of about 11,000 pieces from Bricklink, as well as using an estimated 6,000 pieces from my own collection.

The part I used the most is the Trans-Black 1x1 brick (6102359), which is used for the windows – I used almost 5,400 of those. Next up is the Tan 1x1 plate (4159553), of which I used almost 4,000, and there are also over 3,000 of the Tan 1x1 bricks (4113915) in there.

View image at flickr

Did you know before you started exactly what parts you needed, or did you start building and source more as needed?

I had a rough idea of the kinds of parts I’d need, but I had no real idea of how many. I was able to get quite far just using the bricks from the sets, but there were sections which needed elements not in the sets, and with other elements it became clear quite early on that there wouldn’t be nearly enough of them in the sets, so I had to get more from Bricklink. For example, I estimate I used nearly 1,300 Tan 1x2 bricks (4109995), but there are only 28 of them in each set.

What scale and size is it, and how will you get it to exhibitions?

It’s the same scale as the Big Ben set, so it’s 177.6cm (222 studs) wide, 100cm (125 studs) deep, and about 70cm high.

It splits down into six main sections for easy transportation to and from shows. I couldn’t have built it all in one piece! It takes about half an hour to put it all together

View image at flickr

Were there any particularly tricky areas of the building to build and/or get looking right?

Westminster Hall – the oldest part of the palace, built in 1097 – is at an angle to the rest of it, which was tricky to join to the rest of the building! If that wasn’t difficult enough, there’s a small section next to Westminster Hall which is at a different angle again.

There are some small compromises with scale at various points in the building, due to the limitations of representing such a complex building in LEGO. Some of these caused a few headaches when planning it, but there were no major problems.

The Central Tower was also quite tricky, given that it’s octagonal, and also sloping at the bottom and near the top. It took me a total of 12 hours just to do that tower.

How long did it take to build?

I knew this would be a question everybody would ask, so I kept track of how long it took me. It worked out at 234 hours, not including the 20 – 30 hours of planning. I built it over the course of 5 months.

What part of it are you most proud?

There’s actually two parts I really like. The first is the Victoria Tower (the main tower at the opposite end to the clock tower), mainly because of how detailed I was able to get it, and how solid the construction of it is. The second is Westminster Hall, partly because it’s a very recognisable part of the building with quite a bit of detail, and also because architecturally it’s completely different to the rest of the building. I think it’s turned out very well, and I’m very pleased with it.

View image at flickr

Is there anything inside?

A lot of bricks and cross-bracing to support the structure! Most of the building is too small to do any kind of interior. I considered doing the inside of Westminster Hall, but I realised I couldn’t without severely compromising the structural integrity of that section.

There is, however, an interior of sorts at the base of the Victoria Tower, because you’re able to see inside the base of the tower when walking past it. Photos I took while down in London came in very handy when building that.

What advice do you have for someone looking to build a similarly sized model of a local landmark?

Oh blimey! Plan, plan and plan some more. The more you plan, the less you’ll have to re-build later. Take lots of photos if you can, and using plans of the building would be best, although whether there are any publicly available will depend on the building.

Also, you may think you have enough bricks, but you probably don’t. I used my entire supply of 1x1, 1x2, 1x3, 1x4, 1x6 and 1x8 Tan bricks when building this, and I had a LOT of them.

Where will you be exhibiting it?

It will be shown in public for the first time at Bricktastic in Manchester, UK, on Sat 1 – Sun 2 July. All proceeds from the event go to the charity Fairy Bricks, which is a really good cause. I hope to see you there!

Thanks Jamie!

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

You can view more photos on flickr.


More information about Bricktastic and Fairy Bricks

Giant Westminster model to be unveiled at Bricktastic

Manchester’s very own LEGO brick show Bricktastic, hosted by children’s charity Fairy Bricks, returns in July with a bang, including the first chance to see an exclusive giant brick-built model of the Palace of Westminster.

Now in its third year, Bricktastic has become the must-visit LEGO brick show for the north of England. Every year the event boasts some of the best creations from some the UK’s hottest LEGO builders – and this year is no exception.

Taking centre stage for 2017 is a giant detailed model of the Palace of Westminster from builder Jamie Douglas. Constructed from over 50,000 bricks, this amazing creation spans over 1.7 metres long and 1 metre deep. Not a single detail has been omitted from this architectural masterpiece as Jamie confesses to having spent 30 hours planning it before even starting the epic 234-hour build, which has been built exclusively for Bricktastic.

“The model has to be seen to be believed,” said Fairy Bricks ‘Chief Fairy’ Kevin Gascoigne. “This is a fantastic opportunity for the public to view this unique and stunning model for the first time.”

Bricktastic has proved over the years that it is the perfect day out for every LEGO-loving family. Visitors can experience an amazing array of giant models from fans and professional LEGO builders Bright Bricks, they can spend hours creating in the free play areas, get involved with the robotic world of LEGO Mindstorms, and not forgetting the opportunity to pick up a bargain from the array of traders.

Bricktastic 2017 is back at Manchester Central on Saturday 1st July and Sunday 2nd July 2017. Tickets are available from www.bricktastic.org

About Fairy Bricks

Fairy Bricks is a registered charity that has one simple objective, to provide LEGO to children in hospital. Our charitable aim is very simple and straightforward, and as a charity we act in a very similar way.

From humble beginnings and a single hospital donation in 2012, Fairy Bricks now delivers LEGO with a retail value of approximately £5000 per month throughout the UK and sometimes beyond. In the later half of 2017 we are hoping to increase that to £7500 of sets each and every month.

Play is a vital part of the recovery process when children are in hospital. It provides comfort, distraction and is even used as an educational tool by Play Specialists to assist children with procedures they have to endure. LEGO itself as a product is perfect for this. It is an item many children are already familiar with and can provide an instant escape at a very difficult time. Then by its very nature when tomorrow comes it can be rebuilt to help the same child with something else or move to another child to start the process all over again

38 comments on this article

Gravatar
By in Japan,

Absolutely stunning.
As a resident of London, I always love seeing this incredible building, and this MOC is simply an outstanding representation.

Gravatar
By in Gibraltar,

Amazing! Simply amazing!

Gravatar
By in Puerto Rico,

I am astonished by this creation.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Magnificent - great job, Jamie!

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Mind-blowingly good. I wonder if it's based on the big Ben set.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Brilliant! Well done, Jamie! Also excellent photos. Thanks for sharing these. Looking forward to Bricktastic. I bet this will be the visitors' favorite.

Gravatar
By in United States,

(Mouth hangs open) What!?!?!?!

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Superb, it looks stunning!

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Absolutely incredible!

Gravatar
By in United States,

That is amazing! And it's really cool that he built it specifically for Bricktastic!

Gravatar
By in Italy,

I N C R E D I B L E ... I haven't words.

Gravatar
By in Netherlands,

Stunning! What a detailed representation!

Gravatar
By in United States,

Incredible! When I first saw the Big Ben set I figured it was only a matter of time before some incredibly ambitious AFOL tried building the whole thing. This far exceeds my expectations!

Gravatar
By in Russian Federation,

Wow this truly amazing!! But its crap in closer view

Gravatar
By in United States,

Absolutely masterful! I wish I could see this in person someday.

Gravatar
By in Canada,

Amazing build which certainly took a bit of time and dedication! Well done!

Gravatar
By in United States,

When will the Lepin version be available on AliExpress?

Gravatar
By in Belgium,

Thanks for the spread, saw the MOC on the forum and was very impressed, the interview is very interesting too. Makes a nice change.

Gravatar
By in United States,

Absolutely amazing and beautify done. I had the same thought about trying to build the full Palace of Westminster when I first saw the Big Ben set too. A bit of quick research revealed some area of concern. Notable the Westminster Hall, the Central Tower and the Victoria Tower. Maybe day. In the mean time, congratulations on a superb job.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

I saw this on Eurobricks and it is just an awesome MOC that paperballpark has created.
I get more amazed by it each time I look.
I hope to see the model in reality some time. Even if I can't make it to Bricktastic.
My plans to recreate the same model are now over. I simply could not do it better than this.

Gravatar
By in Denmark,

Respect! Thank you for sharing...

Gravatar
By in Sweden,

Amazing. One of the coolest MOC:s of the year.

Gravatar
By in Canada,

Amazing

Gravatar
By in France,

Wow. Just. Wow!

Gravatar
By in United States,

Superb! I especially like that you included the little garden with rows of trees, and the statue outside, as well as the incredibly intricate set of buildings. Mind blown!

Gravatar
By in United States,

Beautiful work of art! Love it.
How does he travel with it? That's another feat unto itself!

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

This is truly breathtaking. Having studied the pictures in this article very closely I can honestly say that I've never seen anything like it. The dedication needed to source the bricks and build this model is remarkable. As for the design itself, the foundations alone are a real work of art. I salute you sir ...

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Simply incredible. Awesome that you will be displaying it at Bricktastic, Jamie.

If someone hasn't done it already I reckon your model should be put forward for a stint on display in The LEGO House Masterpiece gallery when it opens.

Gravatar
By in United States,

Truly fantastic work, and it's great to hear so much behind-the-scenes info, including the astonishing amount of (well spent) time invested.

Gravatar
By in United States,

What an incredible creation, thanks so much for this interview and preview! I just imagine opening 11 Big Ben sets, what fun! And then only to discover you need to place several massive bricklink orders! hahaha...love it, great job @paperballpark!

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

I have tickets for the fairy bricks event in Manchester, looking forward to seeing it.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Inspirational work, Jamie! A brilliantly executed piece. Very well done indeed.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Looks amazing - I can't make it to Manchester, so hoping it will make it to Steam later in the year so I can see it close up... :)

Gravatar
By in United States,

Meh. (joking--it's unbelievable!!!)

Gravatar
By in Australia,

truly a masterpiece!!! all the 1x1 pieces would resulted in sore fingertips but the end result is absolutely stunning! Good job!!!

Gravatar
By in United States,

Wow, this is astounding. It's accurate enough to actually bring back memories of when I visited there when I was 5. Absolutely amazing work! :)

Gravatar
By in Italy,

AMAZING!! fantastic work! great!

Gravatar
By in Sweden,

Stunning and an amazing build. You really have to admire the effort and talent.

Return to home page »