So, for just under a month now I have been planning, LDD-ing and purchasing pieces to start building my build for display at next year’s Brickvention in Melbourne. I have decided after tackling Neo-Classic Space in last year’s display, to this time take on another beloved classic LEGO theme from my childhood, Fabuland.

I have been thinking for some time about a way to approach Fabuland as a design style, rather than as a collection of specific pieces, in much the same way that Neo-Classic Space looks to Classic Space as a colour scheme and a set of design conventions. So what would the conventions be for Neo Fabuland?

Using sets 3678 and 3670 from 1982 as examples of the Fabuland aesthetic you can see a lot of the distinctive aspects that make Fabuland so unique. I am going to look at them below and discuss how I plan to apply each aspect in my build.

Primary Colour Palette

One of the things that appeals to me about Fabuland is its limited colour palette. The buildings and vehicles are primarily made up of four colours: red, blue, yellow and green, with some rare instances of white, black and grey mixed in. The full Fabuland colour palette is much broader and includes oranges, browns, lime green and tan. I plan on retaining the original colour scheme as much as possible, mainly using just the three primary colours in my buildings and vehicles (reserving green for grass and foliage) but also incorporating the other more natural colours to represent wood, stone, sand etc. It is important for me that my build reads as Fabuland at first glance, and I believe that keeping the same balance of colours as a original sets will be key to this.

Storybook Style

The seventies picture story book world inhabited by the anthropomorphised animals of Fabuland features buildings, vehicles and implements with an exaggerated, whimsical style not unlike childrens’ books at the time. Door and window frames appear rounded, vehicles have exaggerated, rounded features reminiscent of classic cars, implements are slightly over scale and decoratively styled rather than the more utilitarian designs of standard LEGO town implements. I believe that if I am going to truly capture the Fabuland style I will need to recreate this visual style as closely as possible in anything I build.

Unique Elements

Whilst I plan on using modern building techniques and pieces within my build I do not believe that it is possible to pay homage to Fabuland without incorporating the many original figures and distinctive parts that made Fabuland so unique. My Neo Fabuland build will be inhabited by as many original Fabuland figures and pieces as I can find (Viva la BrickLink)!

Handdrawn Lettering

The Fabuland sets feature pen and ink cartoon-like graphics for signs, house numbers, and even some physical objects. As with the architectural style, the overall style of these graphics is very reminiscent of picture story book illustration of the era and I plan on recreating the style in my own build in the form of custom decals for signage.