How did life-size LEGO supersports come about?

“I used to play with the leg when I was a little boy and have loved cars since childhood. It never occurred to me that I could combine these two things and design great LEGO model cars” says Lubor Zelinka, one of the designers in the LEGO Special Projects department, who was part of the team in charge of the dream job: building the Lamborghini Sian EPK 37.

Lamborghini Sian FKP 37
This hybrid supersport, the fastest and most powerful Lamborghini on offer, pays homage to Lamborghini’s founder (Feruccio breathed life into it in 1963, so only 63 coupes and 19 roadsters will be created) and the recently deceased genius designer and director from VW, Ferdinand Piëch, born in 1937 (hence the model number 37). At its heart, we still find an atmospheric V12, but this time doped with a supercapacitor for ultra-sharp driving reactions.

Photo: LEGO

When LEGO agreed with Lamborghini to create a 1:8 model, a decision was made on the status of the full-size model. And the result is the perfect embodiment of the original

“The task was to create an image of a real car that would emphasize its outstanding features – in Sián’s case, it’s mainly its design,” says project manager Lukáš Horák. The Bugatti Chiron was meant to be mobile and have moving parts, while the McLaren Senna was meant to convey the experience of sitting inside through a sophisticated cabin. Lamborghini relies heavily on its captivating visual style, and transforming its refined wedge-shaped shapes into LEGO cubes was a real challenge.

Why Kladno?
The LEGO Factory in Kladno includes the largest of the four model factories in the world used for the construction of special projects. The local team of modellers is responsible for a number of such projects for Legoland parks around the world and for partners. Full-size car models started to emerge here in 2017 with the single-station Ferrari F1 model.

Photo: LEGO

LEGO projects start with a clean sheet of paper, with hand-painted sketches – just like designing a real car.

“The basis for the design of the LEGO model are 3D car models directly from car manufacturers,” describes designer Lubor Zelinka. “However, work on Siana began when the final car was not yet finished, so we went to Sant’Agata to see a model of the model, complete with photos, drawings and technical specifications.” Next, the designers simply took a blank sheet of paper so nothing could limit their creativity and started creating.

Photo: LEGO

The design study is then developed in graphics programs

As with car designers, the basis is an art sketch, but most of the actual design comes in a special LEGO graphics program, where you can simulate the assembly of existing parts into the desired shape (for example, it does not was not yet available at the time of production of Chiron) ), then you can rotate it and view it from all possible sides, while having a list of all the elements used.

Photo: LEGO

Special LEGO graphics program helps design and then build the model

LEGO projects implemented in Kladno

Photo: LEGO

During the construction phase itself, final design and technical details are addressed

Despite all the modern technology, sometimes all you have to do is pour the cubes on the table and start building by hand – just like designers working with clay models. “The Lamborghini design uses a hexagonal element, so we imagined it. So the first step was to choose the parts from which we are going to assemble the hexagon. Then we figured out how to put all five together. And if we had five, how would we connect twenty and so on. It’s a gradual process, so dozens of these recurring element designs are created,” describes the very beginnings of Ant’s work on Zelinka’s design.

Photo: LEGO

Lubor Zelinka at the presentation of the Bugatti Chiron model

“As for the details, try to imagine a brake disc”, continues Lubor Zelinka. “We know what it looks like and we know its diameter of 398mm, then we try to select the elements from the Technic kits to make a disc with the appropriate diameter. Then, when we have a disc, we try to understand if we can have it drilled or grooved to make it even closer to the real thing.” makes them separate kits.

LEGO Sian in numbers
A total of 400,000 coins were used
A team of 15 specialists worked on it
Design and development required 5,730 hours of work
The construction required 3,290 hours of work
Total model weight 2,200 kg

Photo: LEGO

Some parts of the model were painted directly at Lamborghini

Templates are made of pre-existing elements, but sometimes you need to create something special. “But don’t imagine any magic cube, we can’t have a new shape or size. In justified cases, we can only ask our press colleagues to create an existing piece in the color we need”, emphasizes Zelinka.

For Sián, the Periscopio design element was important, that is, the transition from the sunroof to the glass engine cover. Lamborghini insisted that it be glazed on the model as well – but on models glass is not normally returned. Therefore, they had to make an exception and have the used parts cast in clear plastic. Each Sián produced has a unique color scheme, and therefore Lamborghini helped create the palette for the LEGO model – two parts of the body therefore had to be painted directly in Italy. The automaker also provided the model with original markings and 21″ alloy wheels on which the model sits.

Photo: LEGO

Last detail – original Lamborghini logo

When we need to work out a detail, the modeler just sits down for half a day, rolls out the cubes and tries to fit them together.

After successful design comes the step of composing the model, which is not much easier. If you’ve ever assembled a larger LEGO model, you know how much of a chore it is, even though you have detailed step-by-step instructions. However, this does not exist for full-size models. “It would be quite a thick book,” smiles Zelinka. “We create a computer model for most of the parts, and our modelers can view it from all sides, extract a list of all the elements used, and then build it according to the model. Then we take care of a number of details when compiling so that the result is beautiful and convincing.”

Photo: LEGO

Wheels and emblem are direct from Lamborghini, all other parts are from existing LEGO Technic kits

However, composing is not only visual, as Lukáš Horák points out: “Our life-size models are unstuck, but everything must be solid so that the model does not collapse and withstands transport.” which will show him enthusiastic LEGO fans around the world – and that includes his native Czechia.

Photo: LEGO

Lukáš Horák and Lubor Zelinka working on the Bugatti Chiron model

Where can I see it?
The full-size Lamborghini Sián FKP 37 model is on display at the Westfield Chodov Center in Prague and is available to the general public free of charge. But don’t hesitate, it will only be there until the end of December!
Link to Mapy.cz

Now you probably understand how time-consuming work is. “The duration of the whole project varies depending on the model and what it needs to know and achieve,” continues Lukáš Horák. “Chiron had to ride Technic motorcycles, which took us a long time. At Lamborghini Sián we had more experience with technology, but again there were stricter aesthetic requirements, we also been affected by the pandemic. The Sián project took about a year from the first phone call to the finished car, while the design and four other implementations took about six months.”

So let’s not get too romantic, building life-size LEGO models is hard work. But when you love to compose, such work is also a reward. “I wanted to join the modeling team from the moment I saw the large models of the Star Wars X-Wing fighter and the Ferrari F1 single seater being built,” admits Lukáš Horák. LEGO is truly a dream factory, so for many fans it’s a dream to work here. And what leads to this? “Build!” urges Lubor Zelinka enthusiasts. “Don’t let creativity run out, build and invent new things from dice, because we haven’t even reached the limit of what dice can be built, and we welcome new talent!”

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