All aboard for the maiden voyage, as LEGO launch the epically sized set - the Expert Creator Titanic! We’ll safely guide you through the treacherous waters our designers had to navigate lighting this historical build. Read on... and keep an eye out for icebergs!
It doesn't seem all that long ago that we were all abuzz about what was then the biggest LEGO set ever released - the Expert Creator LEGO Colosseum. It was the talk of the town in terms of size and brick count - that is until now! The Titanic set is officially the largest LEGO set ever released as of this writing (though who knows, maybe LEGO are already working on something even bigger?). Weighing in officially at 9090 pieces, it beat out the Roman icon by just 54 bricks! Perhaps the real colosseum is having the last laugh however... it's still standing! Sorry, dad joke. Couldn’t help it!
Now there was a lot of buzz on the blogs about the LEGO Titanic when it was announced, just like there was plenty of buzz in the newspapers of the time when the real Titanic was announced! Just like demand for a ticket on the real passenger ship was through the roof, we know demand for these special sized sets can be equally high! So it was a bit of a nail-biting process waiting to confirm our order on LEGO.com! Thankfully we were lucky enough to secure a set for ourselves and we set about waiting for our cargo to be delivered. Once it did safely arrive at it’s destination, what first struck us as we got our hands on the box… was just how big and heavy the thing was! 9090 bricks is no joke and a serious workout for any postal worker getting one of these across town, not to mention a lighting designer getting one up several flights of stairs! A real workout!.. we’re not complaining though!
Once our bounty was safely secured however, the real journey of clicking together all 9090 bricks truly began. It took a team of three builders to complete the build, one on each section, together totalling a build time of approximately 10 hours all up. While some other LEGO hobbyists may have drawn out the process and really savoured taking their time with such an epic, mesmerising project, we in part wanted to complete the build as quickly as possible in order to get to the reason we’re all here - the lights! With a light kit as involved as this one, part of the overall challenge is taking the correct amount of time to get it right (and we always do!) but also in a timely manner as we know LMB fans all around the globe are eagerly wanting to light up their LEGO set as soon as possible. It’s a balance we’re constantly trying to strike as closely as possible!
Which leads us perfectly to the next section of this blog - the lighting design! The Light My Bricks design team has been growing of late, adding fresh new talent to the stable. This was the first major project to get all hands on deck with and it was a real thrill to watch the new team in action together. Once the build was complete they went into design mode, attempting to solve the puzzle that is lighting up the biggest ever LEGO set! It makes sense right? The bigger the LEGO set, the bigger the light kit… the bigger the light kit the more cables involved! If you reach a point of having too many cables, the whole thing becomes a mess and an overall unpleasant experience. So due to the size, detail and structure of the LEGO Titanic, our designers really had their work cut out for them!
The first major question was, how to light up so many windows and portholes while keeping wiring to a minimum? This is a scale 1:200 model and is absolutely packed solid with detail as you can see via the genius display cross sections in it’s design. There’s very little room allowed for something like a Strip Light - which is what we initially considered solving the problem with. Then came breakthrough number one. Starting from the bottom and considering how to light level one, one designer had the brainwave to employ one of our Warm White Light Strings! Normally reserved to emulate festive lights, this handy component found a new use as a time efficient way to quickly and easily thread a lot of lights through a small space! This not only solved both issues of cable management and lighting up a lot of detail at once, but also meant far less assembly work for the customer in terms of having to remove far less bricks to insert the lights! What will they think of next!
The Warm White of the light string also worked well in terms of aesthetics, making sure the light kit was true to the time period in which the Olympic Class ocean liner was built. Keeping with this theme our designers we also tasteful in highlighting several of the internal details like the engine room with Orange Bit Lights and then Red and Green Bit Lights for external details like the bridge.
There was some minor disagreement initially about wether or not to incorporate out trusted Spotlights in this build. On one hand, it’s clearly a display piece - exactly what our Spotlights are designed for! But early attempts at including them in the overall design in a uniform way, proved to be clunky and out of place. The question was resolved by using an asymmetrical approach, that encourages the user to decide for themselves wether or not to install them. An added bonus to their inclusion being that they perform dual duties, first shining up on the epic build heroically, in all it’s glory! Then secondly, appearing to mimic what would have looked like the reflection of the moon shining down on the Atlantic Ocean on a frosty evening in 1921.
Finally on that note, it was of course doubly important for our designers to make our light kit as historically accurate as possible. After all, LEGO have done an incredible job recreating the famous ship in 1:200 scale bricks - we were inspired to match them with that same level of accuracy! This mean pouring over as many reference images, plans and historical documents as possible to get a feel for how the deck would have been lit up on that fateful night as well as how well the ships stacks were illuminated.
And that's where this story ends! Out heart will go on... to the next set to light! If you’ve been lucky enough to get a LEGO Titanic and have decided to light it up - let us know on social media, tag us in posts or even just drop us a message. We’d love to hear from you and remember, you can earn Volt points by leaving a review! Let us know what you thought, we always love to hear feedback from the awesome LMB community.