A mathematician once set out to discover how many different ways six standard LEGO bricks could be assembled. The answer? There are an incredible 915,103,765 unique combinations. If you consider this, plus the fact that there are 100 LEGO bricks for every person on the planet and one billion new bricks are produced every single week by LEGO it’s no wonder that brick enthusiasts have come up with some pretty amazing creations of their own.
LEGO is a toy that transcends genres, uniting fans of Marvel comics with Lord of The Rings devotees and long-time Simpsons viewers. LEGO has sets for budding scientists, future superheroes, time travellers, and even birdwatchers. The 2015 documentary The Secret World of LEGO goes inside the 83-year-old company’s rural Danish headquarters to see how the thousands of different sets evolve from concept to actual product on the shelf.
But it’s the out-of-the-box things that people bypass the instruction booklets to build that will completely blow your mind. Here are a few of our favourites:
A near-perfect model of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope
LEGO fans liked AFOL (that’s Adult Fan Of LEGO, as you’ll learn in the movie) Gabriel Russo’s project so much that it received 10,000 votes on the LEGO Ideas website, putting his creation before LEGO’s board of creative directors for the chance to become an official LEGO set. While the build failed to get past that final hurdle, we still think the mini Hubble is pretty awesome and totally inspiring to a new generation of space explorers.
The world’s best known works of art, rendered in LEGO
LEGO sculptor Nathan Sawaya didn’t recreate just one highly recognizable painting in 3D using LEGO, he’s made dozens. Enough to have an entire exhibition of his work staged in Times Square. But Sawaya doesn’t just cater to the art crowd, he’s also built life-size pop culture icons out of the bricks, including Han Solo trapped in carbonite and a lightsaber-wielding version of the Statue of Liberty.
Speaking of Star Wars, check out this X-Wing Fighter… built to scale
This life-size X-Wing Fighter, modelled on the actual Star Wars LEGO set only 42 times bigger, is the largest LEGO project ever built. Expert LEGO builders spent 17,000 hours constructing the X-Wing using eight tonnes of bricks (that adds up to over five million pieces of LEGO).
No big deal, just a working printer
Larry Page, Google’s co-founder, once crafted himself an operational inkjet printer out of LEGO—just in case you were wondering what computer geniuses like to do for fun. Perhaps inspired by that, LEGO legend, Leon Overweel built one too. Only Leon did it when he was just 14 years old. Impressed much?
This driveable car
Not only is this car built out of LEGO, it also runs off the same stuff we breathe. Romanian genius Raul Oaida is behind the project. His car required half a million LEGO pieces to build, has 256 cylinders, and runs on compressed air technology. Oaida jokes that the car leaves a trail of LEGOs behind it on the road but you can’t deny that it looks really, really cool.
We love The LEGO Movie as much as the next fan but we have to give a shout out to the legion of LEGO filmmakers who skip the CGI and opt for old school stop motion animation. Called ‘Brickfilms’ these LEGO-based remakes painstakingly recreate iconic scenes from popular movies frame by frame, brick by brick. That is true LEGO devotion.
Can’t get enough LEGO? Tune in to Space on December 20 at 9pm to catch The Secret World of LEGO and find out what goes on behind the tightly guarded walls of LEGO HQ.