The newest addition to the grand list of Coolest Things Ever is being unveiled in New York today: the Lego X-Wing, the largest Lego model ever built.
The model of the classic Star Wars fighter being unveiled in Times Square has a wingspan of 44 feet and comes complete with R2-D2 and a full range of sound effects. It’s a super-duper-sized version of Star Wars Lego starfighter set #9493 and was made with 5,335,200 Lego bricks. That, according to Lego, makes it the largest model ever built, eclipsing the Lego robot at the Mall of America by some 2 million bricks. This replica of the Rebel Alliance dogfighter is 42 times the size of the Lego version we’ve all built and a bit bigger than a real X-Wing. (Yes, yes, we know they’re not real. Just go with it.) The X-Wing Luke Skywalker and his fellow rebels flew was about 41 feet long, 2 feet shorter than this Lego masterpiece.
The X-Wing was built at the Lego Model Shop at the company’s facility in Kladno, Czech Republic. It took 32 “master builders” (Note: This is a real job, and we’re preparing our resumés.) 17,336 man-hours to construct the X-Wing. Plans for the model were created using Lego’s proprietary 3-D design software, and the construction team had to work with a team of structural engineers to ensure that the model was safe, master builder Erik Varszegi told Wired.
“This has been a wild and exciting project for us, and it’s taken an international team of designers, engineers, structural consultants, model builders, and logistics personal over a year to bring this model from a conception to reality,” Varszegi said in an email. “In one respect, designing it was the ‘easy’ part, as we were creating a scaled version of an actual toy construction set.”
Once completed, the model — which weighs 45,980 pounds — was broken down into 34 pieces to be shipped to New York by boat (the voyage took two boats two months to complete). Lest the West Coast feel left out, the starfighter is coming to Legoland California after its tenure in Times Square and will remain there until the end of the year. Twenty-three tons is a whole lot of anything, especially Lego bricks, but much of the model’s weight lies in the model’s steel skeleton, which it needed in order to withstand the vibrations from the subway that runs beneath Duffy Square in Manhattan and any seismic activity it could face in Southern California.