When it comes to fast cars, gadgets and LEGO building, there is only one agent for the job. Double-O Séb-en goes undercover to bring readers a highly classified event report, for your eyes only
It is a sunny Wednesday morning in London and top field agents from various media outlets are assembling outside the flagship LEGO Store in Leicester Square for what promises to be an interesting occasion.
After the LEGO Group posted several cryptic posts on social media over the past few weeks with the hashtag #licencetobuild, anticipation was building about what the LEGO Group, Aston Martin and the James Bond franchise had been collaborating on. Speculation was wild, right up until the point that the LEGO Group got overexcited and announced the set.
Secrecy is over now, standing next to a pristine-looking Aston Martin DB5, cordoned off with a thin red rope directly in front of the LEGO Store windows. Though it’s slightly disappointing that it is not a Q Branch-designed replica (given the evident lack of gadgets) it certainly doesn’t fail to capture the attention of morning commuters and other members of the public casually strolling through Leicester Square.
Brick Fanatics enters the store to finally see what all of the hype has been building to, and the new set is everywhere. The shelves are full of stylish black boxes containing the new LEGO Creator Expert 10262 James Bond Aston Martin DB5 set. Dotted around the ground floor of the LEGO Store are also various exhibits of the 007 variety courtesy of EON Productions, including some nice props and models from the 2012 Bond movie Skyfall and some classic Bond merchandise from the 1960s.
It seems that the anticipated demand is likely to be high given that almost the entire first floor of usual LEGO stock has been cleared to make room for box upon box of the infamous Bond vehicle.
A sleek marketing backdrop stands behind a table printed with the various stakeholder logos from the LEGO Group, Aston Martin and 007 as well as some more interesting images showcasing design references and blueprints. A completed model of the LEGO DB5 on the table is surrounded by excited guests taking photos and testing the features.
At 9am, an introduction is given by Stéphane Knapp, Head of Marketing for LEGO Retail, who finally reveals (in case it still isn’t clear) the reason for such a high profile launch event.
“It started two years ago when the LEGO Creator Expert team was looking for what is the most iconic car we can develop to give the best building experience to children of course, but also a lot of adults who love the LEGO Creator Expert products,” he says. “And what’s a more iconic and trans-generational car than the Aston Martin DB5, especially if we talk about a James Bond car?”
He soon passes over to LEGO Senior Model Designer Michael Psiaki and Aston Martin’s Director of Design, Miles Nurnberger. They are introduced by BBC Radio 1 film critic and LEGO fan Ali Plumb who hosts a Q&A with the pair.
Michael seems a little nervous with so much attention, recounting interesting details about the build process, making it apparent that all of the parties involved are extremely proud of their accomplishment with the model. A labour of love for several years, it is clear that a lot of hard work has gone into the design of this set with more functionality than initially presumed; the ejector seat and machine gun headlights are certain to prove popular with LEGO and James Bond fans alike.
“I remember there’s a scene in Goldfinger where Q explains the car to James Bond, and I think I watched that, like, 20 times just to remember all the different things and how all the different gadgets should be activated. So that was really the start of the process,” Michael explains. “But really it was just a lot of building with bricks to figure out how all the different parts would work.”
Singing Michael’s praises on their collaboration together, Miles adds, “I’m just shocked, you know, when we went into it I thought we might get one or two gadgets, not everything – and it looks like a DB5. Everything is there. [The] DB5 is a very iconic shape; there is a lot of shape in it and to do that in LEGO is difficult so I think the first time [you showed us the model], you were scared and we were over the moon.”
Once the Q&A wraps up, there is an opportunity to take a closer look at the various props and production documents that are on display.
With the set having had its moment in the limelight, the media are encouraged to return outside the store where the queue that has been filling up since the early hours is now packed with excited fans, eager to catch a glimpse of whatever comes next before being the first to purchase their own copy of 10262 James Bond Aston Martin DB5.
It is now 10.00am, with a large crowd growing around the store entrance. A tall, burly-looking gentleman in a tuxedo is standing by with a large silver briefcase in his hands. The LEGO Facebook event post promised something at 10:07 precisely. At 10:06 all eyes are on the giant model of Big Ben in the window display before a 10-second countdown from the crowd signals something is about to happen…
Seconds later Naomie Harris, the British actress best known for playing Eve Moneypenny in Skyfall and Spectre, emerges from the store front looking very cool and chic. Approaching the man with the silver briefcase, she opens it up to reveal to the world an official LEGO Aston Martin DB5, modelled after the iconic vehicle first seen in the 1964 classic Goldfinger.
“It’s such an honour to be here. To see the iconic DB5 reimagined in LEGO brick form is such an exciting moment to be part of and the attention to detail on the model is truly remarkable,” she says.
After posing for a few photographs and selfies with fans, she is escorted back to a top secret location as the LEGO Store is opened to the public. Michael and Miles take their seats inside as fans head inside one by one to purchase the set and have it signed.
It once seemed improbable that a partnership between James Bond, Aston Martin and the LEGO Group would be on the cards, and yet in 2018 it seems that almost anything can happen. When it comes to surprises and big launches, the LEGO Group demonstrates again that nobody does it better. As long as Brick Fanatics keep seeing sets launch from Billund with love, the finest agents in the field will make sure that readers at Brick Fanatics don’t miss a thing.