Commissioned by Honda, this model of the 2019 Honda Civic Type R is built entirely with everyday LEGO pieces and was unveiled at the 2019 Twin Cities Auto Show in Minneapolis, MN.
This model of the 2019 Honda Civic Type R contains 47,786 LEGO pieces and took 263 hours to design and construct together with my assistant Meghan. I wanted to provide many opportunities for your eye to break past the outer shell of the model, whether by catching a view past the rims and into the wheels, or by seeing reflections or refraction in the “glass”, or by catching a tiny detail like a body panel seam.
These visual moments help provide depth and visual interaction as you walked around and experience the model.
I spent a lot of time working on reflection, transparency, and refraction to help make the model look less “plasticy” and more realistic. Above you can see four prototypes of the tiny orange turn signal on the side of the car. Each is made with transparent-orange LEGO pieces, but with different opaque colored LEGO pieces behind the transparent ones. The final design (upper-right) has two colors — orange and black — behind the transparent pieces to mirror the real one, which has thicker plastic along the edges and looks deeper (and therefore darker) in the center.
Above are two prototypes for the windshield. We decided to cover the black LEGO pieces with an extra layer of translucent-smokey colored pieces to give a bit more sheen and depth to the glass. This also helped set it apart from the black plastic elements of the car, which often frame and outline the windows. (Especially the side windows.)
Above you can see the effect as the smokey-pieces are being laid in place. After this, we also added a third layer of studless, smooth translucent tiles (below) to further make the windshields look glassy and smooth.
I spent three days designing and building the headlights by referencing photos of the real car online. As the “eyes” of the car, it was important to me that the headlights not simply end up a flat mush of translucent-white. I built in various shapes, colors, and textures behind the outer translucent pieces of the headlight lens to replicate the real shapes found on the actual car’s headlights.
Below, for the side-view mirrors I played with some LEGO elements that create a good bit of refraction. This helped the mirrors look more glassy than the rest of the car, yet also different than the windows and headlights.
Above, a close-up of the rims and brake shoes. In designing the model, I wanted to provide many opportunities for your eye to break past the outer shell of the model, providing depth and visual interaction as you walked past the model.
Two small steel bars run the length of the model to prevent it from flexing when lifted or moved; but other than that, the model is built entirely with 100% off-the-shelf LEGO pieces.