A team of Lego enthusiasts finally finished their replica of the Statue of Liberty. It only took them a mere 292 hours, five colors and 125 pounds of Legos to do the job.
The 9-and-a-half-foot statue now stands in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., as part of "The Nation We Build Together" exhibit.
The structure is 1/32nd the size of the 111-foot, 6-inch original on Ellis Island. Lego master builder Erik Varszegi, 49, spent 70 hours to design the statue, which was the second time he's built a Lego Lady Liberty.
"We had discussed using the same model here but thought the scale wasn't right," he said. "We wanted to make a bigger impact this time around."
Altogether, an estimated 25,375 Lego bricks were used to build the statue from toes to torch. With a task so big, we needed more answers from Varszegi, who has spent 22 years as a professional Lego builder. Here's what he said:
What was the most difficult part of designing the model?
If I had to pick a most difficult part of the model, I’d have to say the whole backside of her. Very little in the way of photographs exist online of Lady Liberty. Seems like people only like shooting her from the front. I tried my best to get the flow of her robes just right when viewed from the back.
How long did it take to design and build?
We actually had a comfortable lead time with this one compared to some of our other builds starting around the first of the year and putting the last bricks on around late February/early March.
Now that it's finished, what would you do differently?
I had actually started designing the full pedestal underneath her as well, but unfortunately we didn’t have the ceiling height for the full thing.
Is this your most ambitious Lego build?
As far as complexity goes this one was pretty standard. The statue’s robes lent a nice stable base for the build. Characters with exposed legs and skinny ankles pose more of a challenge. Then we have to start thinking about internal steel armatures just so they survive shipping from our shop to the display site.
How many people helped you on this project?
Three other master builders helped build the model.
What do you want to build next? Or, what is the Lego build you most want to do?Is there a "white whale" out there for you?
Ha, I’ve actually already built a white whale! A number of years ago I designed Moby Dick breaching out of the water for an aquarium in Australia. The model was some 15 or 16 feet tall. As far as future projects go? I enjoy building detailed architectural type models. I haven’t built one of those in a while. It’s nice to switch it up every now and again.
Any advice for young Lego builders?
The most often asked question for Lego master builders. I always tell kids just to keep building. I had a few LEGO sets when I was younger but not a whole lot. I’m guessing today’s kids will have a huge head start over me in terms of LEGO experience when they get to be my age. I’m looking forward to see what crazy things they will build.
The model is on the museum's first floor and will be on display through the end of 2017.