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LEGO Tips and Techniques - Fence vs. Panel

At first glance, fences may appear to be nothing more than a perforated panel.  You may even be tempted to use them in line to create a certain look.  Besides, the fence is only made in 4L, not 2L or a 1x1 corner like the panel.  It can certainly work fine but be aware of the differences.

The panel is essentially a tile with a half plate wide 2 plate tall wall on it.  The thickness of the wall is 1/5th the width of the lower part (1.6mm vs. 8.0mm).  This is a common ratio as can also be seen on the grill tiles.  If used cleverly in SNOT, this panel can be added to the height of 2 plates to achieve a brick's width.  Or added to a brick's width to achieve a brick's height.  Place 2 panels back to back and you have a 3.2mm thick portion, the same as a plate width.  You can even use it like a pony-ear.

Since a panel wall is a small fraction of a plate width, you can do some cool staggering with it.  This idea is not my own but I'll take credit for being able to replicate it.  The panels rest on each other and are locked in place at the top by a plate or two.  Add an arched window and you have a nice castle wall detail.

The fence on the other hand has a very tricky 2.4mm thickness.  My first thought is that this was made this way to add strength to the perforated wall.  This wall is 3/10th the width of the tile portion or 1/10th of a plate width wider than the panel.  This 0.8mm discrepancy may not seem like much but the eye is not fooled.  At least my eye is not.

You might think it odd to use 2.4mm since that doesn't fall into LEGO's 1.6mm grid very well.  It sort of fits.  I mean, it's 1.5x that grid number.  So maybe you can't get to 8.0mm in brick width very well but if you place two fences back to back you get 4.8mm which is half a brick height.  Tyco anyone?  4.8mm also represents the diameter of a stud for whatever that one's worth.

That lattice is also the perfect size for studs.  This piece can be used for 90° inverted (studs in) SNOT.  Beware that you will be dealing with a plate height on one side (3.2mm) and a fence lattice width of 2.4mm on the other side.  Adding plate widths to the 2.4mm doesn't get you much of anywhere until you add a brick.  The 9.6mm plus the 2.4mm lattice is 12.0mm which is a brick and a half in width.

What ways have you used the fence or panel?

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