Who doesn’t love LEGO? My 4-year-old son does, my 34-year-old husband does….it’s something that you just never grow out of. Which explains the hours of time and effort that some people put into creating, not just a tiny fire engine, but life-size Lego models, or elaborate dioramas. Yes, these are serious hobbyists and these models are not to be touched by children. Be prepared to be amazed and a little overwhelmed by our Top 10 Most Awesome Lego Models.
10. James May’s House
This first effort was made for a TV show. British presenter James May completed a series of challenges where he built life-size, working models of things using kids’ toy kits. The Meccano bridge and the giant Scalectrix track were impressive, but the most iconic had to be this Lego house, with its Lego furniture to go with it and even a Lego cat. Strangely enough, the idea of the Lego bed never caught on (it’s probably a bit bumpy), and neither did the Lego toothbrush. As houses go, it wasn’t the most comfortable- the soft furnishings were somewhat hard – but it looked good and it was relatively quick to build, although it did require 1,000 helpers and 3.3 million bricks. The house was eventually demolished in 2010, after it failed to find a new owner despite an enthusiastic Facebook campaign to save it.
9. Obama’s Inauguration
President Obama has often shown signs of his geeky side, so I imagine he was thrilled when his (first) inauguration ceremony was recreated in Lego-scopic detail. Unveiled at Legoland California in January 2009, it features a replica of the Capitol Building, along with over 1000 figures made out of bricks (not the minifigs that you’d expect). A Lego Aretha Franklin belts out a tune, while little onlookers queue for the Portaloos. Obama’s presidency represented a huge leap forward in African-American equality, and it was a great way to celebrate that moment, as well as being an impressive feat of Lego construction.
8. Kennedy Space Center
Another American icon next, in this reproduction of the Kennedy Space Center. Using over 750,000 bricks, it took 2,500 hours to build and features replica spacecraft such as the Saturn 1B Rocket. One focal point is the Vehicle Assembly Building, which is 6ft tall by 8ft long and there is also a 6ft high rocket.
It’s all part of a long running partnership between NASA and Lego, which has seen Lego being taken into space, as well as space being recreated by Lego. Leland Melvin of NASA described is this way: “Partnering with The LEGO Group is a perfect fit. We have taken the excitement of NASA’s missions and coupled that with kids’ love of creating things with the iconic LEGO bricks.” In other words, geeky kids love Lego, NASA wants to recruit those trainee geeks at an early age….it’s a match made in heaven (or such should that be “a match made in Alpha Centauri”?) And this project is certainly an impressive result of the partnership.
7. Church of Christ
There seems to be some mystique about the next entry – perhaps appropriate, given that God moves in mysterious ways. In at least one place, it is listed as an internet myth, albeit a true one, and the website of the creator – computer programmer Amy Hughes – no longer functions, with the homepage bearing a message that says “This page is intentionally left blank”. So, information about the intricate Lego church is not forthcoming, but it is said to contain 75,000 bricks, including hundreds of minifigs sitting in pews. There are mosaics, an organ, a pulpit and an altar, and it’s a beautifully detailed work. It’s called The Church of Abston – Abston being a fictional town named after Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, the plastic used to make Lego. Before taking her site down, Amy Hughes also posted some pictures of her cat sitting inside the construction. Maybe it was meant to be a Cat-o-lic church?
Taking on one building is a huge feat – taking on an entire city is another thing entirely. The model of London at Legoland Windsor (just outside London, so not as meta as it could be) took 24,000 hours to build and features such landmarks as the Palace of Westminster, Tower Bridge and 30 St Mary’s Axe ( better known as The Gherkin). Most remarkably, they recreate the London Eye in a perfect circle. even though anyone who’s built with Lego will tell you how difficult it is to achieve any kind of smooth curve. I still don’t know how they did it.
The rest of the model is almost as impressive, with London’s features reproduced faithfully, down to the tiny “Duck Tours” boat crossing Westminster Bridge. Altogether, the Lego London contains 13 million Lego bricks, and covers an area of 330m2. An amazing Lego metropolis!