Having previously enjoyed building the last LEGO Technic supercar collaboration, namely the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, I couldn’t wait to begin piecing together all 3,599 components of the company’s latest creation - the Bugatti Chiron.
To my mind, the complexity of the piece, accompanied by 600 pages of instructions and a 16+ age sticker on the box, justifies the 22 hours that I, an adult man, spent building what is effectively a LEGO set over Christmas!
As was the case with the LEGO Porsche 911 GT3 RS, the Chiron was beautifully presented in a smoothly laminated and high quality Apple-esque box, each section of the build self-contained in a smaller box within, the graphics on each combining like a well-planned 9-post instagram grid to form a photograph of the menacing Bugatti.
Over two years have passed since the LEGO Porsche 911 was launched, and LEGO have gone a step further with the Chiron project, recording a podcast to accompany each section of the build. For a LEGO fan, this truly is an incredible present.
There are a number of very cleverly thought out factors which make these seemingly daunting LEGO Technic masterpieces a pleasure to build.
Firstly, as the pieces required for each section are self-contained in bags in a separate box with instructions to match, the build can be approached in sections whenever one is in the mood, without having to deal with a demotivating mountain of easily lost LEGO pieces every time the build recommences.
The instructions themselves are brilliantly explained, without a single mistake - almost child’s play were it not for the fact that I have firmly decided that this is absolutely an adult project and not a toy!
Another clever aspect is that although this is obviously a (mostly) symmetrical car, and therefore each component to be built has a mirror image, the instructions are laid out in such a manner as to encourage the building of new parts, returning much later on to build any replica components and hence removing any element of immediate repetition with would detract from the enjoyment of the build.
Something else I enjoyed was that it was only after spending time building a seemingly unidentifiable part that suddenly the component’s purpose was revealed - for example the steering assembly.
Granted that having previously built the Porsche 911, certain LEGO Technic methods of building elements of the Bugatti were familiar, there were nonetheless a few surprises this time around.
The W16 engine really is a marvellous piece of LEGO engineering, each piston moving within the 16 cylinders in perfect sync thanks to the precise timing of the three crankshafts.
The engine of course is married to the complex transmission, ingeniously thought-out through LEGO to work in forward, neutral and reverse, complete with differentials.
The steering and suspension assemblies are equally fascinating in their construction, with track-rod ends and hardy-spicer connections just like the real car.
The remarkable aspect of these LEGO Technic supercars is of course how closely they resemble their full-size real counterparts, through the clever use of LEGO pieces and flexible piping to fool the eye and complete the curve or shape required.
From a short distance, the lines, promotions and detailing of the LEGO Bugatti Chiron are incredibly similar to those of the real car - just as a painting only really resembles its subject when viewed from a minimum distance. Optical illusions are just as much at play in these LEGO creations as the engineering required to replicate the mechanical features of the car in question.
Complete with its own unique VIN number and decals, the competed item becomes an ornament to display and a talking point in any living space, particularly bachelor pads of course!