Lam Siu Wing is an artist and writer based in Hong Kong who has a keen interest in urban landscape, transport, and culture, which inspires him to always have a wandering eye during his travels. During one of his return trips on an A350 from Tel Aviv to Hong Kong in the summer of 2017, he had a sudden inspiration to build an aircraft made from LEGO. What resulted was a beautiful LEGO model of the Airbus A350 with a wingspan of more than 5 feet.
Siu Wing’s research started with a thought to upgrade the official LEGO Boeing 787 set 10177, but he quickly found that there wasn’t sufficient design information on the real airplane’s interiors. That’s when he decided to instead focus on the Airbus A350. Of course, living in Hong Kong would mean that Cathay Pacific airlines was the obvious choice of an airline carrier. So he began building from the inside out, and had a prototype completed within 2 months.
While the prototype was a satisfactory build, it just wasn’t good enough for Siu Wing. Two parts in particular troubled him: the wheels and the wings. As the wheels are the only three support points for the 8,000-brick plane, their ability to support the model’s weight was key. Similarly, the wings have to support the weight of the engines, which are fairly heavy, in addition to their own weight. Since the wingspan is almost the same length as the body, measuring 170 cm across, and they have no additional support beyond their attachment to the fuselage, the structure needed to be remarkably rigid. It was a complicated task, especially for Siu Wing, who admits he had a lack of experience in structural building techniques. However, he did have a plan.
Because the core structure of the prototype plane wasn’t strong enough to support its own weight, Siu Wing decided to re-work it using Technic parts rather than traditional System bricks. However, he was unfamiliar with Technic, so Siu Wing dedicated six months to teaching himself how to build in the new style before redesigning the core structure.
Finally, he added the exterior cladding of smooth slopes. From start to finish, Siu Wing’s build and research process took one and a half years to perfect the model.
Siu Wing found that he particularly enjoyed the research of the aircraft. Not being an aviation fan, he had a lot to learn while pouring over the maintenance manuals of the aircraft. He also relied on comments on A350 online forums, documentaries from Airbus and most importantly, other non-LEGO models of A350 aircraft.
What’s next for Siu Wing? He claims that with his love for public transport and the general lack thereof in official LEGO themes (with the exception of the London Bus), his next build may be a bus or a train. The lure of simplicity and love for public transportation will continue to be part of his journey.