Bricking a supercar: What it's like building the Lego Technic Bugatti Chiron


  • Design
  • Wednesday, 13 Jun 2018

If you ever feel the need for speed, you could always build your own Bugatti Chiron out of Lego.

If anyone tells you Lego cars are only for kids, show them the Lego Technic Bugatti Chiron.

Made up of 3,599 pieces, this latest model in the line’s Ultimate series is a true masterpiece of engineering.

The Bugatti Chiron, of course, is one of the most iconic supercars ever made. And Lego have painstakingly recreated it from top to bottom, from its unique exterior and interior, as well as it W-16 engine, which comes complete with movable pistons and shifting gears.

Measuring 56cm long, 23cm wide, and 13cm tall, the model was developed alongside Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S, and is the second in Lego Technic’s line of supercars, the first being a 2704-piece Porsche 911 GT3 RS released last year.

In conjunction with the release of the set in Malaysia, those who purchase it between now and June 17 will stand to win exclusive VVIP tickets to the Fullerton Concours D’Elegance Singapore Car Show on July 1, with access to the Bugatti car exhibit, as well as an exclusive photo opportunity inside the Bugatti Chiron (the actual car, not the Lego one).

Anyway, on to the review, and to make things simple, I shall go through the entire process the way it was meant to be built, box by box.

Even the box looks too pretty to open.
There are six boxes of bricks altogether, each for a different section of the car.

Box 1: Engine & Gearbox

According to the considerably thick manual (there are two of them, each with over 300 pages!), the Bugatti Chiron’s W16 engine replicated here is the most sophisticated Lego Technic engine yet, featuring 16 cylinders – each one fully movable thanks to two crankshafts, and a gearbox with eight fully functioning gears. While there is no doubt that the engine design is sophisticated, what they don’t tell you is how nerve-racking it is to build, especially for a relative Technic novice like me. Sure, I’ve built loads of Lego sets before, but when it comes to the Technic sets, I’ve only ever built one – the massive Bucket Excavator.

However, as large as the Bucket Excavator was, it doesn’t even come close to the complicated level of details that this model sports. Progress on the first two boxes was painstakingly slow for me, because I was paranoid about getting something wrong, putting a wrong piece somewhere, and having to break apart the whole thing to get to the mistake.

Still, getting this part done was really satisfying – turning the gears to see the little pistons moving was quite a thrill, I have to say.

The Bugatti Chiron's W16 engine replicated here is the most sophisticated Lego Technic engine ever built.
The Bugatti Chiron's W16 engine replicated here is the most sophisticated Lego Technic engine ever built.

Box Two: The Marriage Process

The marriage what? We’re building a car here, not getting married! Apparently, one of the most crucial and climatic processes of assembling a Chiron is when the monocoque shell structure is “married” to the vehicle’s rear end.

Well, trust Lego to give its builders the most authentic building experience possible – they even managed to replicate this process in the Lego version. While it sounds rather grand in theory, the actual build is pretty much the same as when building the engine and gearbox – more small parts, more careful assembling of each intricate part of the engine, and of course, more of that crippling paranoia that you might accidently leave out a tiny gear wheel which would result in the wheels not turning properly.

That being said, the actual “marriage” of the two major parts actually did turn out to be pretty satisfying. The perfect alignment of the gear shafts, the satisfying “click” of the two pieces coming together, the first indication you have of the actual size of the model ... it made the eight hours I spent on those two boxes alone worth it.

But the job was not done yet.

Lego Technic Bugatti Chiron
I now pronounce you engine and crankshaft.

Box Three: Rear Body Work And Deck Lid

With the inner workings of the car now pretty much done, it was time to make it look like an actual car now. To be honest, the rest of the boxes were not as hard as the first two, but they each had their own challenges nonetheless. Box Three, for instance, included the making of the pop-up spoiler, which is also a feature on the actual car. It was here that I made my first major mistake, which resulted in me having to take almost half of what I’d done apart, which was a real pain to do thanks to all the tiny interlocking parts. Trust me, if anyone tells you it’s easy to take apart a Lego model, they probably have not tried taking apart a Technic model.

Box Four: Seats And Interior

By the time I got to this part, I’d already spent the good part of 10 hours just building the first three boxes. My eyes were getting strained from squinting at the tiny parts and searching for the little holes they fit into, and my fingers were getting slightly blistered. Who knew building Lego could be such hard work, eh? Fortunately, things got slightly easier from here onwards, especially the seats and the interior, which are supposed to replicate the luxurious interior of the actual car.

The seats and the interior are supposed to replicate the luxurious interior of the actual car.
The seats and the interior are supposed to replicate the luxurious interior of the actual car.

Box Five: Front Hood And Horseshoe Grille

We’re almost done! All that’s left is to add in the doors, the front hood, the iconic horseshoe-shaped grille, and the car is finished! And you even get to make a little Bugatti overnight bag to store under the front hood. But wait, something’s missing ... oh...

The front hood opens up to reveal a storage compartment for a Lego Bugatti overnight bag.
The front hood opens up to reveal a storage compartment for a Lego Bugatti overnight bag.

Box Six: Rims & Tyres

Apparently, Lego added two new elements to capture the Bugatti Chiron’s aviation-tested wheels, including overlapping rims to create the illusion of the low-profile style, and a disc brake to connect the rims to the chassis. It’s a great finishing touch to a magnificent set.

So, about 15 hours after I had started, I finally had a Bugatti Chiron on my living room. While the build itself was immensely satisfying, nothing quite matches the feeling you get when you’ve got the finished product in your hands. Lego has really outdone itself with this set, and it’s got me really excited – if they could produce a product this impressive, who knows what else they can come up with in the future?

the Bugatti Chiron is Lego Technic's most sophisticated set yet.
the Bugatti Chiron is Lego Technic's most sophisticated set yet.


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