Monday, April 04, 2005


Usually when you receive a phone call from a friend asking you to come over and help him put something together, the item requiring assembly is a new Triton workbench, or a particularly recalcitrant piece of IKEA furniture. My friends are way beyond that. On Friday night my friend BA asked me to come over and help him build a Lego Millennium Falcon his wife had bought him off eBay.

Ostensibly the Falcon is for their eight month old son, but as it took us four hours to construct and contains hundreds of minuscule pieces, there's no way he's getting his drool-slathered little paws on it until he's got his PhD, at the earliest. It's the size of a hubcap, weighs even more, and is so densely constructed that it may never come apart.

All geeky fanboy gush aside, it's a beautiful piece of industrial design. The roof opens up like the petals of a flower, via a fiendishly complicated series of hinges, allowing a child (or a thirty year old IT engineer) to play with the little plastic Chewbacca and Han Solo inside. Pull on one hatch and the entry ramp drops down. Pull on the other hatch and you reveal the escape pod. It's like a Faberge egg designed by Ghyslain Raza.

While we were sitting on the rug, snapping the pieces together and getting Proustian flashbacks from the swooshing sound Lego makes when run your hand through it in search of a particular piece, BA's wife was back on eBay, calling out the prices she was finding for other Star Wars Lego sets. US$20 for the Yoda's hut set (560 pieces, ages 8 and up). US$57 for Cloud City (700 pieces, ages 9 and up). US$267 for an Imperial Star Destroyer (over 3000 pieces, ages 16 and up).

We live in a crazy world.


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