It's a dream come true for fans across the entire nerd spectrum, a life-sized X-Wing fighter built entirely of LEGOs. In celebration of the upcoming Cartoon Network series The Yoda Chronicles, the LEGO Group unveiled the iconic Star Wars ship, the largest LEGO structure built to date, in New York City's Times Square. The ship will remain on display in New York for three days, then be transported to the LEGOLAND California Resort in Carlsbad, California for remaining part of the year.
The huge structure is comprised of 5,335,200 individual LEGO bricks. At 11 feet tall, 43 feet long and 44 feet wide, it weighs almost 46,000 pounds. It's a one-to-one replica of the traditional X-Wing retail model, only 42 times larger. From conception to completion, the plane took more than one year to make. After months of brainstorming and computerized design, a 32-person team completed construction over the course of four months in Kladno, Czech Republic. The X-Wing was broken up into 32 pieces and transported to Long Island, NewYork by freight ship.
The project's consultants and creators, Erik Varszegi, who holds the title "LEGO Master Builder," said the designing process was fairly easy. "Essentially, it's just a blow-up of our existing model," he said. "The real feat of engineering here is the steel truss frame that's holding it all together." The plane's travels through New York, and eventually to California, will resemble its original journey. The plane will be broken into pieces and reassembled over the steel frame. Varszegi said the model and its infrastructure are specially engineered to withstand movement, so the rumble of the subway system below Times Square and the potential seismic activity in California won't pose any problems. Visitors in Times Square will get a chance to climb into its cockpit, which again, the ship is made to withstand.
"Aside from the Millenium Falcon, the X-Wing is probably the most iconic ship from the series," Varszegi said. "With all of our retail redesigns of the ship, there have been about four or five since it was first introduced, we always come back and try to outdo ourselves. I think this one definitely accomplishes that." It was a particularly special day for the unveiling: Exactly 30 years ago, on May 23, 1983, Return of the Jedi opened in theaters. Be sure to check out the plane if you're in New York this weekend. If not, it will reside in California for the rest of the year. The first of three episodes of The Yoda Chronicles will premiere on Comedy Central at 8:00 pm EST on May 29.