If you happened to walk through London’s Leicester Square at around 9:30am on Saturday, July 1, you most certainly would have been privy to more hubbub than usual. Parked a short distance away from the recently opened flagship LEGO store (also covered on Brick Fanatics) was a Routemaster Short (RM54), better known to most people as a red double-decker bus, famous around the world as arguably London’s most iconic vehicle.
Right in front of this you could find the LEGO Group’s newest mascot, Lester the minifigure, walking around in his dapper bowler hat and patriotic Union Jack-styled waistcoat, happy to pose with fans – and LEGO designers – of all ages.
To celebrate the new LEGO set, 10258 London Bus, there couldn’t have been a more fitting sight than a beautiful vintage 1950s Routemaster, adorned in LEGO advertising to really draw attention in a notoriously chaotic tourist hotspot. After several photo opportunities outside, the action moved to the interior of the bus (thankfully no ticket needed) to the upper deck to watch a live broadcast for Facebook. The inside was a bit of a squeeze to fit representatives from LEGO fan sites, as well as employees of the PR firm, the LEGO Group and the broadcast production crew, but it definitely added to the unique experience and couldn’t have been a more appropriate environment given the subject matter of the latest LEGO model.
Radio 1 film critic, Ali Plumb (also a self-confessed LEGO fan and all-round nice guy), was there to moderate a unique Q&A session with the set designer Morten Graff-Wang and Senior LEGO Designer, Jamie Berard. The designers were also keen to show off the new London Bus set ‘in the brick’ for the first time.
Some of the design process was discussed and many interesting points were made about the set, such as it comfortably fitting a minifigure in a seat, though not strictly designed at minifigure scale. A much-coveted Lester minifigure was even used in the example, though, for reasons unknown, was obviously not a consideration for inclusion in the set. The Q&A was shared on Facebook by the LEGO Group.
The event wasn’t just taking place within the bus – with the public able to get involved outside. Bright Bricks, known for gigantic builds and world record attempts, had set up camp at the front of the bus under a covered marquee. A closer look revealed an assortment of tubs containing several different colours of 1×1 LEGO bricks. A familiar sight if you’ve ever attended a big LEGO event such as BrickLive or GWBS, as these are used to make tiny mosaics that are joined together to create one enormous image.
On entering the cordoned area fans were handed an A4 sheet of paper with a colour-coded square pattern corresponding to the different bricks required along with a baseplate. Once completed, you handed it to LCP Duncan Titmarsh (founder of Bright Bricks) who rather excitedly placed it on the giant tableau to see how it fit in to the larger picture. After chatting to Duncan I was surprised to know that they had only been asked a fortnight prior to the event to create the mosaic and attend that day, making it a quick turnaround.
It was hoped to be finished by 3pm when it would be moved to a more permanent home in the LEGO Group’s London HQ. All in all, it would contain a staggering 92,690 pieces not including the backboard; simply awesome.
Safe in the knowledge that my contribution had fitted in as it should, I made my way to the LEGO Store where it was possible to purchase the new set already. It’s worth noting that the mini London Bus set given away last year in a [email protected] promotion was still available for purchase and I imagine will be a permanent set for sale for the foreseeable future in the Leicester Square store.
Given the London-based nature of the new Creator set, the bus will remain exclusive to the five London stores until the worldwide release at the end of the month.
If you’re keen to get your hands on the 1,686 piece beauty before everyone else, you might want to make London your next stop, and having seen it up close, you are unlikely to be disappointed.