Seoul Skyline

A Lego MOC Project

As a fan of skyline models I was looking for nice ideas to build a small diorama that would represent Seoul city well. Seoul does not have a very distinct skyline as the most iconic buildings are scattered and of very different height and shape. So basically you would have to pick some of the most important architectural features and historical buildings and put them next to another. Several people did that very well in recent years and I decided to try to build one such model I found on the internet.

This is an ongoing slow project and I thought it would be nice to show the progress and the learnings or difficulties I encounter while doing it.


The model I chose was designed and built by Paterson/studsandtubes and won the monthly “Rebrickable Pro Raffle” for July 2020. You will find all info here. I may or may not make changes to the model while building it and I will try to highlight when and why I do it.


The set has 680 parts and makes use of some colours that are not used in many models or easily available on the market. Actually some parts in specific colours may come at a quite high cost and the overall model in total is definitely on the more expensive side.

I had to pay about 7€ for the small figurine for the statue of Admiral Yi Sun-sin for example (including shipping cost).

The build is not very complicated or difficult and I chose it because the buildings are still very recognisable and not too abstract, as in some other skyline builds. I am not that familiar with the Seoul architecture and I wanted to be able to easily recognize and name all aspects of the model without guessing. The colours and the level of small detail isn’t that great on the other hand. I wish it would have some pleasent features like the blooming parks or more colorful parts of Seoul. This is probably something I will experiment with while building it.

My first attempt to get all required parts from Bricklink by uploading the parts list failed. No one could offer a satisfyingly complete set of parts and I would have to split it into several sub-projects as I do not have a large stock of pieces in all required colours available. So I seperated the model into the base and the individual featured buildings it contains and ordered the necessary parts for the base, the pearl gold figurine for the admiral and parts for the 63 Building first. The 63 Building seemed to use a lot of pearl gold parts that are quite uncommon and I wanted to have those at hand first.

Looking at the amount of (special) parts of the Lotte Tower, my guess is, that this will be most expensive part of the entire model in the end.

Seoul Skyline by Paterson
Seoul Skyline by Paterson

The model features the following buildings or attractions (from left to right in the image above):

  • Sungnyemun (Namdaemun)
  • Statue of Admiral Yi Sun-sin
  • Seoul Station (old building)
  • Namsan Tower
  • 63 Building
  • Lotte World Tower

Step 1 – The Base

The base is built from many plates that I didn’t have at hand and that were also quite rare on the marketplace. It took a while to get the black and light bluish grey plates that are quite long and costly. The base is built from 79 parts, with a lot of brackets to hold the tiles that run around the base to give it a nice frame.

After receiving all missing parts I set out to build the base using the available PDF (see link of the MOC above). It turned out that the PDF is not as detailed and helpful as commercial Lego manuals. It shows you where to place each part to get the required result but not step by step and without hints like when you have to turn around the model for a certain next step. It took me a while to understand how the base is actually constructed, although it turned out to be a rather simple design.

The final result looks pretty nice. The tiles forming the frame or border of the base have rather wide gaps at the corners but this is not going to be a big issue on the finished model I guess.

What bothers me more is the fact that the many long plates underneath several wider plates cause noticable bending. I used new parts only but when I put all pieces together neatly and firmly, then the base curves in slightly. The only solution seems to be to push around the base and shift the tension until it is reasonably correct, even if some parts are then not one hundred percent pressed together. However, it is possible that some of my plates are not perfectly made and others will not experience these problems at all.

The final base.
The frame built from brackets and tiles.
Visible gaps in the frame.
Bending caused by tension of the many long parts of the base.

The parts list for the base:

Step 2 – The 63 Building

This iconic skyscraper is the second one I built, although I will not mount it on the base before building several other elements.

As I mentioned before this building uses many parts in the color Pearl Gold. I thought about ordering Metallic Gold as the photos of the real building look closer to a metallic gold color than a pearl gold color. But I chose to stick with the original design to avoid ordering lots of pieces that wouldn’t look good in the end (I now think that was the wrong decision, though).

After receiving all parts I looked up the pages in the PDF manual and found this building was very easy to build. It took about 5 minutes and the end result looks great.

I couldn’t get the notched bar or lightsaber for the antenna that is shown in the manual (or actually I believe it shows a notched or grated bar – probably a Technics piece). I just could not find a corresponding part on Bricklink and think that a standard Bar 4L looks like an antenna, too.

It seems that some pearl gold plates (2×2) I received are colored differently than others. They look more golden and less orange than the rest. This stands out pretty strongly on the finished model and I am considering to replace them later. The same goes for the two 2×2 plates that also look more metallic gold than pearl gold (but actually are pearl gold).

Also the 2×2 bricks in pearl gold do have two sides shimmering strongly while the other two other sides have almost no shimmer effect and look pretty plain. Fortunately they are used on the backside of the model and only one side is visible, so you can rotate them accordingly to show the shimmering side.

The complete Building 63
The rear side showing the ugly bricks.
X marks the plates that look more metallic than the rest.
The tiles come with a visible "pattern" you should be aware of.

The parts list for the 63 Building:

The 63 Building (Korean: 63빌딩), officially called 63 SQUARE (formerly Hanwha 63 City), is a skyscraper on Yeouido island, overlooking the Han River in Seoul, South Korea. It was designed by Harry D Som and Helen W Som, principals of Som and Associates of San Francisco. At 249 meters (817 ft) high, it was the tallest building outside North America when it opened in July 27, 1985, and remains the tallest gold-clad structure in the world.

The 63 Building was built as a landmark for the 1988 Summer Olympics. 63 is something of a misnomer since only 60 floors are above ground level. Floors 61-63 are restricted areas. The skyscraper is the headquarters of Korea Life Insurance, Industrial Bank of Korea Securities, and other major financial companies.

The design of the structure is based on the Hanja character for person or human being (人 or in) in a subtle reference by the designers to the business of Daehan Life, the insurance company that constructed the building.

The 60th floor houses the world’s highest art gallery and an observation deck known as the 63 Golden Tower, that allows visitors to see as far as Incheon on clear days. The 59th floor features international restaurants called Walking in the Cloud, while the 58th floor houses family restaurants called Touch the Sky. Observation elevators equipped with windows enable passengers to view the city on their way to/from the observation deck. In the evening, some elevators are available exclusively for couples. These are known as Love Elevators which give guests a one-minute ride. The lower floors house an indoor shopping mall with approximately 90 stores, an IMAX theater, and a large aquarium. A convention center and banquet hall are also housed within the building.

The 63 Building is featured in the 2000 computer game SimCity 3000 Unlimited and is featured on its cover. In the game, it can be built as a landmark titled the ‘Korea Life Building’. It also appeared in a sequel game, SimCity 4, as a DLC landmark building.

To be continued…

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