Introduction

All sets reviewed at Clabrisic are placed in a specially constructed sceneries. I wanted this from the beginning, to create a scene with no visible elements of the real world. Chairs, tables and cabinets in the background spoil the very effect that can be obtained from the assembly of different constructions from Lego bricks. The substrate in the form of grass, water or earth and blue sky in the background is essential and completely minimal elements of each scene, which I wanted to build. This is my attempt at mapping the universe of the city, where the main role is played by the characters in the form of Lego mini-figures performing various actions with the disposal of a number of buildings and vehicles as classic Town theme sets of the 80s and 90s. On the other hand, I wanted to be able to easily fold and unfold the substrate in some convenient form. I wanted to be able to put all parts into box and create a different layout out of them after some time again. Experienced modelers create a very nice dioramas using various techniques, plaster, clay, or even more. Undoubtedly they give a very nice effect, but unfortunately creation of a large scenery could be expensive and difficult to store in such way. Although, the most important thing is the ability to combine several types of small parts of ground in the various configurations.
Eventually, I decided to try the paper, as the paper is fairly cheap and you can create new parts relatively quickly. Plain colored paper seemed too artificial, because it was too smooth and too perfect. I needed something that has little roughness with some texture at least. At this point I found tissue (or crepe) paper. I had no better idea, so I decided to take a large block of A3 technic paper and glue it with tissue paper. The effects of this can be seen in my first sceneries eg. in Aeropolis.
In these sceneries I used whole large blocks of A3 technic paper with tissue paper glued onto it. I put them side by side or one onto another to fill the gaps between Lego 256x256mm (10" x 10") baseplates. I've built couple of sceneries this way, but it was not enough. This method was extremely limited. Adding new details was hard and unpractical, Undulating transition between grass and water, or even the beach. I wanted to create something more flexible and durable, to be able to use in a variety of configurations. That's not all, because such a plate had to connect with each other in some way, but not in permanent way. Ideally, the plate had to have similar size to those which Lego offers, which is 256x256mm (10" x 10"). Combining them together would be much simpler. After a few days, or even weeks and after various attempts I managed to develop a system so flexible that it gives me the opportunity to combine prepared paper plates with dimensions of 256x256mm (10" x 10") in each direction. Small paper clip can be used to fix stable connection between them. The effect can be seen in later sceneries of the Bebricton city eg. Aeropolis or Aeropolis.

Troubleshots

The paper is unfortunately quite fragile, even the thick technical paper. After gluing whole block it can be wrapped a little. This can result in small gaps between plates after connecting. The second issue is precision. It is very hard to precisely cut paper at the micron scale, so small differences can popup after connecting various plates. Despite careful cutting it happens sometimes. Paper clips do not combine perfectly two plates so the gap between them is not completely visible.
Paradise photo which you can see above had a few places, where gaps were present between the plates. I had to process them in graphical software later, because I simply was not able to control all the gaps in connections.
Couple of shortcomings remains, which still have to be dealt with. Nevertheless, the effect can be quite interesting. The creation of these plates is pretty cheap, but it requires some patience and skill.

How to start?

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Tools and materials
 
In the first stage you need to prepare materials and tools. You will need:
- Technical cutter for cutting paper
- Pencil for marking and measuring the distance
- Ruler minimum 30cm
- Scissors

Materials:
- Block of technical A3 paper (usually 10 pieces)
- Office glue sticks (preferably in two sizes, large 36g for plates and small 10g for smaller components)
- Rolled tissue paper. What is needed is paper with a minimum width of 27cm. I buy rolled tissue paper in dimensions of 200x50cm, which is quite cheap.
- An old wooden board with a minimum size of 30cm to 30cm (enough to fit one A3 page). This is very important, because we do not want to destroy our desk. You will have to cut something very often with a cutter, so it will be better to do this on old board than on your normal desk. It can be any board, thick at least half of centimeter.

Those materials should be enough to create up to 7 plates.
WARNING! If you have less than 18 years please ask a parent for help. Do not attempt to do this on your own, because technical cutter is very sharp and you can hurt yourself.

Cutting

At the beginning I want to note that the images presented below within the article can be found in the higher resolution at the bottom. The gallery has more pictures from the entire process of the plate creation. I will use european metrics, which are centimeter and millimeter, because I think they are better to use here to be able to get proper precision. It is worth noting, that 256mm are not precisely 10 inches, but 10.07 inches.
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The sketch
With the tools and materials you can start marking lines to cut by pencil.
The first step is to draw the main plate lines as precise as you can get. This is important, because if you cut at least half a millimeter too little or too much, then you will have problems with connecting more than two plates together. The panel should have dimensions equal to 256x256mm. I mark the distance in three points and then I draw a line through them. I check again whether the line is at 256mm distance from the border and only then I cut it out. One fast move with cutter along the ruler pressed firmly to the line drawn will do the trick.
The second step is cutting out tabs that will be glued underneath. Four tabs on each side. Each tab has a dimension of 236mm to 40mm. All internal dimensions are given in the picture above. I figured it specially to fit in one block of A3. In the picture above you can see all the lines drawn, but I did it to demonstrate how to do it. Normally you do not need to draw all of them every time. You only need to mark a distance by dots and cut the appropriate holes along pressed ruler. In the above picture, all the lines that need to be cut are marked with thick line.
The remainder of the paper is enough to create six clips. Clip has a dimension of 18mm to 40mm. 18 mm is important here because the insertion part has to be smaller than the size of the hole in the tab, which is 10mm wide. Two millimeters between inserts of the clip has to be cut out.
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Cutting out
The dimensions of tabs and clips do not have to be precise to the millimeter, even if you cut a 1mm more or less you can still use such an element.
Tabs after cutting must be folded and glued at the ends, to create holes for the clips. Longer part should be folded and glued into smaller to create a hole. I have shown it at the picture below. It is important to align the ends before gluing, so the holes have the same dimensions.
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Gluing tabs
The second step is the glue the tab in the middle. It is better to combine the two smaller tabs rather than one large, because then there is less chance of bending the plate on the edge thereby causing undesirable visible gap.
At the end, cut off from the rest of the two-centimeter element, leaving the two holes in one-centimeter on both sides.
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Clips
The last step is cutting and gluing paper clips. After cutting them out, they should be bent in half and glued. Double-thick paper clips are stronger. After gluing you still need to cut a two millimeter hole between inserts of a paper clip, preferably with scissors. Finally, it is good to cut of insert's corners at a height of approx. 2 mm, as shown in the picture below. Inserting them in the hole will then be much easier that way.
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Clips
It is all when it comes to technical paper. It's time for some color and texture - tissue paper.

Tissue paper

Tissue paper of size 50cm x 200cm is too wide for our plate with a width of 25.6 cm. It is best to cut off the rest of the folded paper before unwinding. You need to leave at least 1-2cm from both sides.
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Cutting crepe paper
This remnant can be useful for creating multilayer plates with transitions. However, to create a single color plates we need a paper with width of 25.6cm.
You need to cut out squares for approx 27cm x 27cm to have 1-2cm left on each side.
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Gluing crepe paper
The next step is to glue the paper. I know from experience that it is better to completely smear the entire surface. Why? Because the paper is quite delicate, and sooner or later, you touch or stand on the part, which has not been glued and it will simply rip off, destroying part of the plate. Glued paper is more durable.
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Gluing crepe paper
Best for this is the large 36g glue sticks. You should smear the top bar plate and start gluing the paper on one side. It is better to divide the process into two steps. After this, you can smear the rest of the plate and glue whole paper. You need a little practice to efficiently glue a whole without bending, but it is not a big problem.
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Inner side
The final step is to seal the sides by folding them underneath.
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Inner side
Once this is done we get glued plate with equal edges.

Tabs

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Tabs
Tabs should be glued in distance of 1cm from both sides and with protruding distance of 1cm in the front. Glue them with the thicker side (holes) to the plate. Smear the glue in the inner part and leave a gap of 1 cm inside. This opening is used for clamping the plates to each other by protuding tabs. The center should also be glued to reduce the space by dividing it into two opening instead of one big hole.
Repeat the operation for the four tabs on each side.
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Tabs

Grinding

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Tabs
Finally, it is good to cut corners of each of the eight tabs to make it easier to insert. However, it is important not to cut the entire length, but maximum of 3 mm.
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Checking holes
Next thing, which is worth to do is to check whether each hole is not glued. They can become stuck inside and you will not be able to insert the paper clip. This is best done with scissors.
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Testing
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Linking
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Linking
Joining plates can sometimes be annoying, because paper clip can jam sometimes, as it can not fit perfectly. It is easier to flip the plates on the back side then.
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The box with tiles
Nevertheless, the effect can be quite cool, and most importantly - the plates can be stored in a box and you can create next layout whenever you like! If you will take care of them, they can serve you for a longer time.

Summary

Creation process of the plates can take some time, but it's a pretty cool thing to do while watching a movie or some scientific or documentary material. The effect that can be achieved is pretty cool in my opinion and sufficient enough. The most important aspect has been met - various combinations of plates layout. There are many possibilities of creating them also due to the availbility of many types of tissue paper in different stores, not to mention they are pretty cheap.
It is worth noting that the paper of each company has a different hue always and sometimes texture differs too. Some paper can even dye your hands while gluing! However, I've met with one such case only. Nevertheless, when you would like to try this method, it is good to buy one tissue of couple of producers and when you find one that fits you, I would advise to use exactly the same with next plates.
If you still have questions, if you feel that something is insufficiently explained, feel free to leave a comment below.
If you are interested in further developing the substrate with technical paper and tissue paper and you want to know more about how to make the undulating transition or hills, write me about it in the comments. If there will be interest in the subject, I will write further guides how to do it.
Thanks for reading and have a good fun creating them!
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