Have you always wanted to do as the rebel fighters from "Star Wars" do and pilot your very own X-wing Starfighter? Well, you can’t. But you can gawk at a giant LEGO version of one here on Earth, which is almost as fun.
Thursday, LEGO unveiled a full-scale X-wing fighter in New York's Times Square. At 44 feet long, with a 43-foot wingspan, the massive model plane is the largest LEGO structure in history. It contains 5.3 million LEGO bricks built around a steel frame and weighing nearly 46,000 pounds. It’s 42 times larger than the X-wing LEGO set sold in toy stores, but like its miniature counterpart, this version can be easily disassembled.
The structure took 17,000 hours and 32 LEGO builders working around the clock in the Czech Republic. As part of a display that also includes life-sized LEGO models of Darth Vader, Yoda, and R2D2, it will be in New York’s Times Square through Saturday to promote an array of "Star Wars" productions, including the animated TV miniseries “The Yoda Chronicles” on Cartoon Network, the animated series “Rebels,” and the J.J. Abrams film set to hit theaters in 2015. Following its Times Square stint, the X-wing will land permanently at LEGOLAND California.
LEGO teamed up with Lucasfilm and the "Star Wars" franchise in 1999, just as the latter was gearing up for the release of the first "Star Wars" film prequel (the franchise was recently sold to Disney). Despite a few early hiccups, including overstocking that nearly led to the Danish toy company’s bankruptcy in 2003, it’s been a match made in licensing heaven. As outlined in a Bloomberg Businessweek article Thursday, the partnership connected LEGO and "Star Wars" to two key demographics: young boys and men who played with traditional LEGOS and watched the "Star Wars" films as children (the company calls them AFOLs – Adult Fans of LEGO).
“We have 250,000 known AFOLs in the global community,” Michael McNally, brand director for LEGO in North America, told Bloomberg. “Of that total, we estimate about 60 percent of them would identify 'Star Wars' as their biggest LEGO passion, or who would say that LEGO 'Star Wars' reignited their passion for LEGO building in general.”