Lego Technic: The evolution of the toy car

Dubai - The toy car has evolved into many avatars, including being the educational DIY tools for the young and the young at heart

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By George Kuruvilla

Published: Wed 30 Jun 2021, 7:30 PM

Last updated: Wed 30 Jun 2021, 7:38 PM

From a tender age, even before we took on our adult forms, we were always drivers. Our tiny toddler digits grappled those miniature plastic toy cars and drove them up and down furniture and even on the limbs of our parents. Some of us were also in the habit of taking these wheeled miniatures apart; and when we put them back together, very often we ended with more parts to spare. And these bits either got tucked between the cushions or on the rare occasion, were ingested by a friend or pet.

But as children progress onto their teens or even young adulthood, much like we did, their fascination for toy cars evolves as well. They don’t just want something that rolls on all fours, but something that fuels their creativity and puts their logical thinking and construction abilities to test. Taking ownership of this space in the toy industry for STEM-oriented play is the world renowned and largest construction toy maker LEGO and their Technic collection.

What is LEGO Technic?

The LEGO Technic is an extensive collection of DIY sets that lets even the littlest ones tinker away with their tools. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill LEGO sets that come with just blocks to build a wall or a house. These are often intricately detailed models that often come with real mechanical devices, such as pulleys, lights, working suspension and motors. And when put together, you end up with something as “simple” as a 227-piece Race Truck with a pullback propulsion; or a 4108-piece working model of a Liebherr R 9800 Excavator, equipped with two advanced Smart Hubs and seven motors which allow the super structure to be rotated and the boom and bucket to be operated all via the convenience of the Technic Control+ app. Something like the latter that could take hours to build isn’t just a toy, it is one fun summer vacation activity.

But of course, our focus is automobiles and I’m glad to say they that Technic collection includes a whole list of vehicles, ranging from those with exciting-but-generic sounding titles like 4X4 X-treme Off-Roader to LEGO-style replicas for real production vehicles like the Lamborghini Sián FKP 37, Land Rover Defender, Ducati Panigale V4 R and even Dom’s Dodge Charger from the Fast and the Furious series. Each catering to each a different age group, complexity, and price.

Think it, build it!

To prove the versatility of the Technic collection and that they can make anything out of them, boffins at the Danish factory built a life-size 1:1 scale Bugatti Chiron (also available in a smaller format within the Technic collection). This incredible feat of ingenuity and perseverance took a total of 1,000,000 Technic elements with about 13,438 manhours spent behind it. What was appreciable was that 90 per cent of the replica was built from Technic elements; the other 10 per cent being the wheels, tyres and other stress members presumably. The cherry on top of the icing, however, was that it wasn’t just a showpiece, it could also be driven. And in order to give it the power of propulsion, the life-size toy was equipped with as many as 2304 motors LEGO Technic Power Function motors that together puts out a rather commendable 92 Nm torque and 5.3 horsepower, allowing it to get up to a terminal speed of 20 km/h. And to test its roadworthiness, they even got Andy Wallace to drive it, the chap who test drove the actual Chiron during its development stage. The other challenge they faced was with matching the curvaceous body styling of the actual Chiron for which the designers on board used triangular combination elements which provided them that structural flexibility. And you know this sort of news gets traction, from the millions of views the related videos garnered just on LEGO’s YouTube channel alone.

The moral of the story being, if you got a set of LEGO blocks and you’re ready to build, LEGO assures you that you can make your dreams a reality.

An ode to Dubai, LEGO style!

Earlier this year, adding to Dubai’s exciting stream of events, the LEGO-centric ‘‘Drive What You Love” exhibition was held between March 28 and April 10 at d3’s Atrium seven. On display were spectacular pictures of seemingly life-size LEGO Technic creations superimposed against backdrop of Dubai’s many iconic locations. It was Polish photographer Tomek Makolski who was commissioned to seamlessly integrate these popular car builds like the Jeep Wrangler, Ferrari 488 GTE, McLaren Senna GTR and Porsche 911 RSR into Dubai’s streetside scenery.

Pay it forward!

If you’ve owned one or few LEGO Technic collections and have enjoyed putting it all together and taking them apart several times, perhaps it is time to lend those LEGO blocks to another child or enthusiast, so that they, like you, can enjoy building their dream machines brick by brick.

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