When my fellow GeekDad Tony Sims posted about Dorling Kindersley’s attempt to break the world record for the largest Lego Mosaic in London, I knew I had to go along. It was half term week after all so we needed something to do to fill up those school free days, and it’s not everyday you get to be part of a world record! The event ran all weekend at Shoreditch Town Hall and by the time we got there on Monday morning for the final day, the mosaic was almost complete.
We were handed our printout to recreate (tile number 1396, for row 24, column 16), a standard 32×32 stud green base plate and shown to a workstation laden with boxes of 2×2 flat bricks in all colours.
While we’re on the subject of numbers here are the stats;
- There were 25 rows and 60 columns in the design, making a total of 1,500 tiles
- As they’d decided to go with the 2×2 bricks, that meant that each tile would need 256 to complete it, making a total of 384,000 bricks for the whole picture.
- If they’d gone for the ‘higher resolution’ version and used all 1×1 bricks it would have needed over 1.5 million of them!
- Each base plate tile is 25.5cm square, so by my calculations the final size of the mosaic was 6.375m x 15.3m or 97.54 square metres, which beats the previous record of 80.48 metres square, held by The Toy Museum in Ohio, USA (but not by as much as DK are claiming).
As we started to copy our pattern onto the base plate, I called up the image of the completed mosaic on my iPhone and tried to work out where our piece would fit. After a bit if cross-referencing with the giant mosaic on the floor behind us, it turned out that we were making the nose of a speeder bike – mostly black and brown, with a few greys and one little beige highlight!
I’d joked with a fellow dad earlier in the queue about how awful it would be to end up with a completely black panel to build, and felt quite sorry for a boy next to us who ended up with exactly that. Every tile is as important as the next though, and as he diligently pressed on his 256 black tiles to his base, he turned it into a little game – first going around the edges and then continuing in ever decreasing circles until he reached the centre.
Once all of our 256 squares were in place we checked our work and handed it over to one of the members of the Brickish Association who were on hand to help out and he carefully laid it into place on the floor with the other completed tiles. By this point the mosaic was almost completed, but there were still lots of eager builders waiting in line. I heard rumors that some of the tiles where going to be pulled up and taken apart, just so the people in the queue had some to do!
On our way to the stairs to the viewing gallery we passed by the small DK stall, where they were selling copies of their new-ish range of Brickmaster Lego books, at a small discount. There were four in the range: Pirates, Castle, Atlantis and of course Star Wars, plus the Lego Star Wars Visual Dictionary and the historical Lego Book/Standing Small. After a small amount of badgering from the little Lego builder, I gave in and got her the Brickmaster Pirates and I have to say I was quite impressed with it, even if it was a little on the pricey side. For your money you get a good selection of bricks (140 for the Pirates one) and 2 minifgures, instructions to build 16 little models plus a hardback book with fun facts and some nice photography which was really good for starting off the storylines that the little pirate and soldier got embroiled in later.
One final treat before the doors – a goodie bag with a certificate, discount vouchers, a bookmark and a free Star Wars Lego T-Shirt, which of course had to be put on straight away – much to Mummy’s disgust later on in the day, but little girls can’t always be dressed in pink can they? Also on this last table was a (very full) collection bucket for the Kids Company‘s Toys for Christmas Appeal – they’re a London-based children’s charity who provide practical, emotional and educational support to vulnerable inner-city children. You can support the Appeal by donating a gift online via www.johnlewisgiftlist.com – buy a gift and enter the Gift List No. 432477. They’ll also be getting all the bricks used in the mosaic, worth over £50,000!
Now in the proper attire we ascended to the viewing gallery where the full size of the mosaic can finally be appreciated. The photo at the top of the post is actually a composite of three shots – it’s the only way I could get it all in! From this distance you can start to see more of the detail in the image, though not nearly as much as in Hungarian Star Wars fan and photoshop master, Zoltan Simon’s original “SagaPoster” which the mosaic was based on. I was wondering why there was no picture of Vader in the mosaic, but looking at the original you can see he’s there, ominously blending into Anakin.
My thanks to Hannah and all her colleagues at DK, and the people from the Brickish Association for a fun day out, check out the @DKBooks twitpic archive for some more photos, and to the DK site for a cool fisheye shot of the finished mosaic and to see one lucky kid putting in the final piece.