Smart Cars

LEGO Certified Professional Sean Kenney sculpts much accuracy into these Smart Car models. He has made five copies that are fully glued, which can be purchased for $475, which is quite a luxury to afford.

19 comments on “Smart Cars

  1. Chuck

    Glued?! Butcher…
    Having not heard of him before, I may not have the proper respect, but it seems like there isn’t more than just basic technique here. Compared to the artistry we see here everyday, this is pretty poor.

  2. Andrew

    I’m all for supporting the LEGO Certified Professionals program, and I dare say we don’t feature these LEGO artists enough.

    I’ll withhold judgement on the artistry — think they’re kinda cute, certainly — but I agree with everybody so far. Why glued? Why $475? :shock:

    I’d love to challenge TBB readers to try to come up with a similar design and price it with basic bricks from BrickLink…

  3. Nathan Proudlove

    Hey Chuck, why don’t you prove it by building a better one? Then you can try selling it.

  4. brickfrenzy

    Obviously none of you guys have ever built glued commissions for people. As someone who HAS, I can tell you that non-Lego people prefer their display pieces to be glued, because they aren’t AFOLs, so they don’t care to be able to take them apart. These are not for avid builders, because we can build them ourselves. But what of Smart car fans, who find these neat? They’d never be able to figure out how to make one.

    Also, gluing often takes as long, or even longer than building the thing in the first place. You have to take it apart and put it together brick by brick, and very carefully place the glue so that it doesn’t show on the outside. It’s very laborious and time-consuming.

    I don’t begrudge Sean at all for what he does. He’s one of the highest profile AFOL in the business right now, so he gets a lot of attention. There’s no doubt a market for these at this price.

  5. Starwars4J

    Even if you want to justify the price, have you seen the supposed shipping costs?

    “Shipping within North America is $38 (standard) or $65 (two-day express). Overseas shipping start at $85”

    As someone who regularly ships things, I can tell you that unless each car comes on a plaque of lead something’s fishy there.

  6. Gambort

    The blockiness is probably purposeful. It makes the cars look like LEGO which, for a non-FOL is kind of the whole point of buying a LEGO work.

  7. Will-Will

    Hmmm… crummy model of a crummy car? — or a Death-Star mega-playset… I know where my 500 bucks would go (If I had that much for LEGOs).

  8. Bunbrick

    I’m afraid I’m with castlebuilder100 & Chuck on this one.

    I’m only impressed by the audacity of the price-tag, not in the least by the quality of the build itself.

    Granted, I’m not a big fan of ‘blocky’ (re)creations such as these to begin with, but even despite that I still appreciate some various creations of his that I’ve seen, on the earlier occassions I’ve browsed through his portfolio. This, however, is not one of them, even without taking into account its asking price.

    I understand and don’t mind that he wants to make a living out of this dreamjob, but there are limits when art for the sake of art turns that corner to art for the sake of money.

    If that’s deemed disrespectful to the creator, whom I do still believe has put genuine time and effort (and glue :p) into building this, I’m sorry. But if you have an LCP-title behind your name and call yourself a LEGO artist, put this sort of creation on the internet to be commented on, call it a ‘limited edition’ and then dare to ask fourhundredandseventyfive(!) of my hard-earned bucks for it (indeed not to mention those additional 85 to ship it overseas!), I’m well entitled to give it my fair share of scrutiny. Whether or not I can then build it better myself, is quite irrelevant in this discussion.

  9. Jacob

    I should point out that despite my original comment, I still recognize the quality of the models. I also agree with Gambort- the ignorant masses (oops) expect studs.

  10. pe668

    367 LEGO elements for 475 postage. How much did my Robotics Invention System cost, hmmmm.

    Good to see some of the design was SNOT. Good luck to him if he makes a living from building his own Lego models, I’m jealous.
    I wonder what he does on his days off…….hahaha.

  11. Sean Kenney

    Of course, no AFOL in the world would ever purchase (or has ever purchased!) a LEGO sculpture from me. Why would you? … you could clearly build a model of your own design and have a lot more fun for a lot less money. (You all do!) :)

    My sculptures are commissioned and/or purchased by people looking for a unique “something” to stand out in their home or office… And that’s everyone from auto enthusiasts to brides, dads, corporations, grandmothers… etc. Consider that lots of people spend hundreds (or thousands) of dollars to hang oil paintings in their living rooms. How is what I do any different?

    And brickfrenzy (above) is correct… There’s more to creating a glued, permanent, (shippable!) LEGO sculpture than just making a LEGO model for fun. The cost of LEGO elements is only the smallest expense… you need to account for the time it takes to design, build, and glue the sculptures. I create my LEGO sculptures full-time, and I still need to pay my mortgage… :)

    I challenge each of you to compute your hourly rate at your job, and multiply it by how many hours you’ve spent on your latest creation. It’s amazing how fast MOCs end up “costing” hundreds, thousands, and tens of thousands of dollars! :)

    These little cars are some of the least expensive things I’ve made in years. It’s a bit ironic that by placing them out for sale, I have been getting bashed for the “high price”. :) (What do you think things like these cost?) :)

    I hope you don’t think I’m some kind of money-grubbing elitist … I just sell things for what it costs me to make them. People usually want to buy them, so I suppose all’s well.

    All the best,

  12. Andrew

    ^ Thanks very much for the explanation, Sean. You’re absolutely right that we AFOLs see your artwork and think “Hey, I could do that!” (even if in reality we don’t have your level of talent). Thinking of it in terms of design time and shippability helps to understand where you’re coming from.

    Thanks again, and best of luck! :)

  13. Bunbrick

    Sean, I find it very cool of you that you came and personally addressed the criticism of some of us.

    I’ll again stress that I have absolutely no problem with the act itself of you making money with your creations; I do not consider you a “money-grubbing elitist” (I apologise if you got that impression from my previous comment); and you deserve full praise for having accomplished success and financial self-sufficiency in this of all manners. I’d love to be in you shoes, you’re literally living the dream of everyone who loved LEGO as a kid.

    And I’m not denying you’re talented. I have seen more of your work besides these cars and I like this and that. But these particular babies here… they just don’t do it for me. I don’t find them all that interesting, nor special, and generally enjoy builds with a bit more life, ingenuity and design aesthetics to them.

    That’s all a matter of taste, I know. So if others like them, and perhaps buy them, that’s fine by me. I’m just saying that to me, personally, they wouldn’t be worth that asking price.

    So my main contention isn’t with the price measured in number-of-bricks-used, nor with the price measured in workload, let alone with your ‘usual rates’, but with the price measured in quality-of-the-endresult, of this one particular build. If it’s coming from an LCP and self-proclaimed LEGO artist, and is even a ‘limited edition’, I simply expect to see something more impressive than ‘just this’.

    Which, again, is a matter taste. :)

  14. A Most Serious AFOL

    Sean pretty much sums up why I’d never attempt to make a living out of building Lego models. Personally, I wish him luck.

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