Brick by Lego brick

Mr Siegfried Boerst, general manager of Legoland Malaysia. Mr Pang Chuen Shuong and fellow model builders assembling the SMRT and SBS Transit Lego model buses.

To build a 1m-long model of an SBS Transit double-decker bus, 5,000 Lego bricks are needed. For an SMRT single-deck bus of a similar length - 3,000 Lego bricks.

These buses are some of the vehicles that will be seen in Legoland Malaysia's (LLM) Miniland, where millions of Lego bricks will form smaller reproductions of Asian landmarks.

A total of 50 million Lego bricks will be used in the building of LLM.

Singapore's section of Miniland will include landmarks such as the Singapore Flyer, the Merlion and the Fullerton Hotel.

The New Paper was given a behind-the-scenes look at the structures being created at LLM's model shop yesterday.

The RM720 million (S$299 million), 31ha park (the size of about 60 football fields) in Johor is slated to open in the third quarter of this year.

It is Malaysia's first international theme park and it hopes to woo families with children aged two to 12.

The park is close enough for Singaporeans to visit, as it is just a 15-minute drive from the Tuas Second Link.

Visitors

It is projecting 1 million visitors for the first year, with about 70 to 80 per cent from Malaysia and Singapore.

Before it opens its doors to the public, however, there are still thousands of Lego model structures that have yet to be completed.

Designs for these structures were created from 2009 onwards after the project was mooted in 2008.

Some are being built in Legoland workshops around the world and others are being built by some of the 33 builders in the LLM model shop.

The SBS Transit and SMRT buses, for instance, were assembled there.

Each bus took three to four days to assemble. The pieces were interlocked, glued and hammered tight.

Said model builder Pang Chuen Shuong, 32, a Malaysian: "The pieces need to be hammered to close up fine gaps between the bricks and compress them."

He is part of the first batch of model builders who were selected during the LLM model builder-hiring competition in July 2009.

He was then sent to the Legoland office in California for 10 weeks in September 2009, where he learnt the techniques of building, gluing and designing the model structures.

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