One of the most incredible things about LEGO is that you can truly build anything you set your mind to. A good builder can take a pile of squared-off pieces and create something that looks organic. Sometimes a LEGO artist (because that’s what they really are) has that extra stroke of genius that takes a build to the next level and gives it life. If you don’t know about Alex de Jong, you should, because he’s proven this point with his stunning tribute to Disney’s Tinker Bell. We were fortunate to communicate with Alex throughout the build process, and he has been kind enough to share with us exclusive details about the project.
Alex tells us that the larger-than-life fairy stands 3 1/2 feet tall (105 cm) and is comprised of over 10,000 parts. The wings alone make up at least 2800 of that! It took nearly 5 months to build her, and it takes about 3 minutes to put together the 10 sections, which are separated during transport.
Interestingly, Alex’s inspiration came from a smaller figurine of Tinker Bell, which is one of many in his Disney collection. When asked about his favorite part, it’s hard for him to decide. Each section has its own difficulties and triumphs. He says the face and head were the most difficult to build (understandably so).
To be honest, when some of his first headshots were shared, we thought it was slightly terrifying. But Alex’s diligence and faith have been well worth it. The final product turned out to be everything he had hoped for. We couldn’t agree more that it turned out terrific.
Alex constantly gets compliments on how delicate the wings look. But it turns out that they were quite easy to build. He simply stacked loads of 1×1 and 1×2 trans clear plates together. He says finding a good way to attach them to the body was a much more difficult task.
Alex has been making sculptures for a long time, but he tells us that this project really improved his SNOT-technique, as well as techniques for using both curves and non-curved parts to create organic shapes. An example he provided is the use of several of these techniques for the spool of thread.
He used some neat plate-stacking on both the rounded top and sides. He also used Technic Curved Gear Racks to hold it all together. Keeping the studs facing out gives the spool a soft look that works perfectly here.
When asked about display opportunities, Alex says he has already displayed Tinker Bell at several events. Notably, she was at the LEGO World convention in Utrecht, Holland. It was a tight squeeze to get her finished in time for that first reveal, with completion happening the night before the event. Alex tells us that he will be bringing her to many events, but will eventually take her apart. Not to fear though! He’s using a reverse order to create instructions. He’ll draw her in MLCad and then formulate the instructions in LPub3D before using his own instructions to rebuild her. It may seem a little daunting — okay, it’s totally daunting — but he’s done it many times before!
Altogether, Tinker Bell is a beautiful 360-degree work of art. Just watch her spin! That hair is pretty incredible!
Alex would like to remind other builders to not be afraid to try. If you want to build something, go for it! Even if it’s difficult or doesn’t work right away, keep at it until you’ve got it right. Also, he says not to be afraid to learn from others and get advice when you need it. And while it may be cliché, always remember that building with LEGO is supposed to be fun.
We’d like to thank Alex for communicating with us, and congratulate him on a job well done!