EPIC Building: Green Grocer

I recently tore down a bunch of Lego creations and had all the parts in a bin, ready for sorting and putting back in their places. But before I did that, it dawned on me that this was a perfect opportunity for some EPIC building!

If you recall, EPIC stands for Existing Pieces, Ignoring Color. It is a method of building in which, armed with instructions, a parts list, and the Legos you already own (more or less), you build a model just for the experience of building, not for display purposes. So the colors don’t matter.

The last time I did this (which was also the first time) I built the Cafe Corner set. It turned out to be a thing of beauty, and I learned some valuable lessons not only about building realistic houses, but about how to better do EPIC building.

This time I went with set 10185, Green Grocer, a similar modular building from 2008. Originally selling for $150 and now out of print and fetching over twice that, this big guy has 2352 pieces and three instruction books!

Let’s see how I applied what I learned before.

First thing was, this time I really did ignore color. Last time I did a lot of substitution, but this time, if I needed a bunch of 1×6 bricks, I just pulled the first ones I found in my bin of torn-down creations. If I ran out of a part in there, I grabbed more from whatever color I had handy that I thought would have some of what I needed. Since I was using the torn-down stuff first, there were a lot of Tenenbaum House remnants in there, so a lot of gray and brown. Also a lot of blue from the Earth Defense HQ set.

I was short some parts and put in a Bricklink order that came to about sixteen bucks. Everything I needed was at one place, fortunately! There was one exception, though. The Green Grocer requires a lot of this piece, which I don’t have and didn’t feel like buying a bunch of, so I decided I would just use regular green 1×2 bricks for them. That sort of worked, for a bit, but I ran out of them and…well, you’ll see.

Incidentally, this set requires 147 1×2 tiles. Not only do I easily have that, I had over half of them in the tear-down bin already.

I had all my pieces, so it was now time to start building!

The Green Grocer has a fancy-schmancy tiled floor. Mine is even fancier and at least 60% more schmancier. Not only had I pulled the first parts I found, but when it came time for a step I again pulled the first ones that popped up and put them in in just the order in which I grabbed them. I wanted to seriously ignore color.

Level one is looking good!

Easter egg! I’ve decided this brick will be in all my EPIC buildings.

Here’s the finished level one. That is some ace design there.

Level two looks a little less crazy because of what I was going to do with the green bricks. I even threw some textured bricks on there. Ultimately, though, it wasn’t really worth it.

Huh! I forgot to take a photo of level three by itself, but here’s the top of it removed, and looking at the grandfather clock (I only have one clock face tile.)

Okay, so let’s put it all together and see what we got!


And the back?


Let’s compare the “real” one to mine:

I can’t tell the difference, can you?

Okay, so let’s look at this and see what more I’ve learned.

1) Take photos against a neutral background.

2) Make a separate, smaller bin for small bits you’re only using a few of. When you’re digging through parts looking for that one 1×1 plate that’s slightly different and you don’t even know what color it is, it’s maddening.

3) I’m still torn on how best to do pieces. Do I make all of the same parts the same color, just to find them easier? Or go with randomness like the above.

4) I have learned a lot about making these types of things, both from my EPIC buildings and my failed Tenenbaum House.

What’s next? I’m going to take a crack at a smaller scale original building (in a “proper” color scheme). I may base it on the idea of the T-baum House, if not a slavish recreation. We’ll see from there.

Now, if all of this disturbs you, there is something you can do! Do you want to make sure the Pet Shop and Fire Brigade aren’t similarly defiled? Then just get me the originals!

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2 Responses to EPIC Building: Green Grocer

  1. David Thiel says:

    Honestly, I kinda like the crazy quilt color scheme. Heck of a project there, Dave, especially considering the piece count. Congrats!

  2. Carolyn says:

    This is brilliant, Dave.