The Worlds Largest LEGO Model Is A Life-Size X-Wing - Video
By Corinne Iozzio
May 23, 2013
This morning, LEGO opened up a gigantic box in Times Square. Inside: a
full-scale replica of an X-wing fighter made entirely of LEGO bricks. Its the
single-largest LEGO sculpture in history, claiming more than 5.3 million bricks
and weighing nearly 46,000 pounds. Last week, far away from the mayhem of
midtown Manhattan, we had the chance to preview the sculpture, learn about the
engineering that goes into a project of its scale, and (most importantly) sit in
the cockpit and high-five LEGO Luke Skywalker.
We met with Erik Varszegi, a LEGO Master Builder based at the companys U.S.
headquarters in Connecticut, in a hanger at Ronkonkoma airport on Long Island.
Varszegi is one of 32 builders who spent a combined 17,336 hours constructing
the model (thats about four months, if you do the math).
Heres how they do it:
Every LEGO model starts as a computer model. Designers use a proprietary
software called LEGO Brick Builder. The software first draws a grid over any
3-D object (a tank, a plane, the Death Star), and then it reinterprets that grid
as LEGO bricks. Corners are corners, while contours and curves become slowly
sloping staircases of bricks.
The X-wing fighter, which stands 11 feet tall with a wingspan of 43 feet, is a
precise 42-times scale model of the same kit you can buy at Toys R Us. That
means for every one-by-one Lego peg on the kit, theres a 42-by-42 square on the
sculpture. (And yes, there is a raised LEGO logo on each of those gigantic
This model has an added complication: after its time in NYC, the X-wing will
travel cross-country to LEGOLAND in California, a state with a set of stringent
seismic standards. The computer models help designers plan an intricate steel
infrastructure that will ensure the X-wing wont shatter in a quake. Its also
strong enough for you to sit in the cockpit or perch atop one of the engines.
After the steel substructure is complete, builders go about constructing the
model one layer at a time. A temp-to-perm solvent binds the bricks
togetherafter theyve been clicked together. Builders put a dollop of glue
inside each of the holes on the underside of a brick; the glue cures overnight,
reacting with the plastic to fuse the two together permanently. Mistakes do
happen, Varszegi admits, so if they catch a mistake the next morning, they can
pry apart bricks with a little elbow grease and perhaps a flathead screwdriver.
The team also added some (literal) bells and whistles to the final sculpture.
The engines have lights and speakers, and so they light up and cycle through a
pre-programmed series of launch and battle sounds. Not to be outdone, R2D2 also
For projects of this scale, LEGO maintains a facility in Kladno, Czech Republic.
Once its completed, the fighter breaks down into 14 separate pieces that are
packed in custom shipping containers and delivered by boat. For the move to
Times Square, it was separated into four segments and was loaded onto trucks.
The X-wing unseats the Herobot 9000 robot at the Mall of America as the largest
LEGO sculpture in the world. Though bot stands about 34 feet tall, it has
slightly less than 3 million bricks and is grossly outweighed by the X-wings
tonnage. Its almost too big, said Varszegi from far enough away, you cant
really tell its LEGO. Sorry Erik, to us thats the best part.
Video and images from:
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