When I started the layout back at the end of 2019, I got pretty lucky with my first few trips to the PAB wall at my local store. A few cups full of black 1×4 tiles allowed me to quickly piece together a road that ran pretty much the entire length of the layout. I’d never been much of a fan of roadplates, and besides I only had two straights and four crossroads so they wouldn’t have been much use. The black tiled road lasted a full year until I rebuilt everything over Christmas 2020 and by the time the new year arrived I was feeling like it was time for a change.
Brick built roads were one of those things I always dismissed as a ridiculous time and money sink. In fact only one of those statements is true, because they’re actually pretty quick to put together once you’ve spent all your money on grey bricks. I thought I’d stockpiled a decent amount… I was wrong.
The geometry of LEGO bricks means only certain configurations of horizontal bricks will exactly match up to vertical studs. I settled on a design that gave a total road width of 20 studs. Each road section starts with a row of yellow plates sandwiched between rows of dark grey plates. Then there’s seven rows of bricks, followed by two rows of plates which are used for the centre line markings. The opposite side is then seven more rows of bricks, then grey plate, yellow, plate, grey tile. These dimensions work perfectly, and every 20 studs or so I’d replace a tile with a plate clipped into the back of a headlight brick. You can see all this in the photo gallery below.
For me the best thing about this technique the flexibility it offers for details. Different road markings, potholes, cracks, old cobbles, weathering, oil spills… none of these things are possible with roadplates. If you’re thinking about building roads for your city I’d definitely recommend it!