Lego wonders

Lego wonders

Two master builders have fashioned architectural masterpieces from toy blocks

Owning Beijing's Forbidden City or Sydney's Opera House is beyond your reach. But not if you build them from Lego.

But don't think that fashioning such exquisite landmarks from little plastic blocks is child's play.

It takes lots of patience, practice, creativity and hard work.

From now until May 2, Lego models of 17 famous landmarks from around the world will be on display at Cityplaza. It is Hong Kong's biggest-ever Lego exhibition.

Twenty-seven local Lego fans worked together for more than three months to create the masterpieces. They used some 3 million Lego blocks and paid great attention to detail.

The exhibits include the pyramids of Egypt, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Great Wall of China and other iconic architectural wonders.

Schneider Cheung King-man was one of the Lego enthusiasts who participated in the project. He worked on a replica of Saint Basil's Cathedral of Russia.

"The cathedral has various domes and octagon-shape cones," says Cheung, who has his own studio in an industrial complex, where he works on his Lego creations. "Those are very difficult to build. No books can teach you. I had to come up with my own way."

Building such a complex model with Lego blocks required extensive preparation. "I searched online for pictures of the cathedral [from every angle]," he says. "I needed an all-round close-up perspective of it. I then had to do a lot of calculation to make sure my model cathedral would be correctly proportioned."

Cheung said he worked four hours a day for six weeks on the Lego cathedral. He used some 25,000 blocks for it. "I have used more than 100 different types of building blocks," he says. "It really tested my skills to choose the right pieces so the model resembled the original in every detail."

Cheung also likes to create his own figurines from Lego blocks, including Easter bunnies.

Another Lego wizard, Andy Hung Chi-kin, worked on the Forbidden City. "This is the biggest project I have ever handled," he says. Hung added he needed to use more than 100,000 building blocks and work for three months on the intricate design.

"Creating the two stone lions at the city's entrance was one of the most challenging tasks I have come across," he says. "It took me as long to build a stone lion as to build an entire palace."

Yet in the end both for Cheung and Hung, all the hard work has been well worth it. Fashioning a Lego replica of an iconic building can be just as rewarding as constructing the original.

"Once I've done a unique piece, I feel a sense of great achievement," Hung notes.

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