The Lego idea
Who does not know Lego minifigs?
There’s no doubt, those little men, born in 1930, have now conquered the entire world! I think there’s no person out there who does not know them. This is a basic concept, is the first rule for a successful costume:
If you want to impress people you must go out with something they already know well!
What I have to do first?
Once we decided “what”, as usual, we stuck upon the problem of making the first step. It is always the most difficult part: “what is the first step?”, “where do we start?”. Initially there’s nothing to do: you must study… Personally I dug into my room in search of my childhood games. When I found them I started to inspect and measure dimensions thinking how a real man can fit into those Lego shell.
In addition to what I found by myself I also bothered other people in order to have their minifigsand get a broader view. The result was a series of sketches drawn by hand on paper.
[see attachment 1 – Project for the “Lego” costume]
Drawing on paper is simple… but then how to transform that idea into something real? To do this we relied on handy materials: cardboard and styrofoam. For the cardboard, the trouble is to find just the right size while for the foam the greatest problem is to cut it!
I never thought it was so difficult and physically stressful to cut styrofoam. Initially we used a classic knife but soon that choice proved to be useless, so we tried a hot homemade blade (obtained from an old welder) but unfortunately after a few days of service, it left us… melting itself! After those two bitter disappointments I decided it was the time to buy a real cutter with heated wire. I paid it a little but I considerably increased my productivity.
[see attachment 2 – Necessary material to made a “Lego”]
An immense effort
Now that I rethink about it I wonder if we initially underestimated the effort. We set to work on it in early January, with maximum two nights a week. Then, as time passed, we realized it was not enough and the nights a week started to become three, then four, and I think that in the last days we dedicated every spare moment, weekends included!
It was just a few days before Carnival and we had not yet finished… Panic!
Ideas become reality
Initially we merely recreate what we drew on sheet. Take four pieces of cardboard combine them with tape and watch the result, cut two or three discs of styrofoam and paste them together…
[see attachment 3 – “Lego” minifig takes shape]
These steps, a waste of time for somebody, are instead crucial. They let you understand how the whole thing will be. They give you an idea about sizes and materials needed (cardboard sheets, polystyrene discs, how much paint, etc.).
You cannot think that everything will fit perfectly at the first time! When you have to cut something don’t worry… the first time you’ll go wrong and once cut you cannot undo, you’ll have to start all over from the beginning! It changes a little bit after you’ve the first prototype in place. After the first, the bulk is done, you just have to find more cardboard and you need to cut down styrofoam again!
[see attachment 4 – Real “Lego” details]
Adding details is then something that comes out automagically. When you see that things are taking the right direction all the difficulties disappear and you come up with new ideas. Stones are in place and you should only decorate them! An example: all the clothes that we applied on the cardboard template have been designed on PC almost in one evening! I only drawn all the wardrobe and the typography’s printer done the rest!
A lil masterpiece
Finally I must say that the result was more than satisfactory! We spent a lot of time, but our fourminifigs were just beautiful:
[see attachment 5 – “Lego” ready for prime time]
In addition to the heads and chests, which are the main part, we also prepared legs (terrible to carry around… you can’t walk!) as well as accessories: a wrench for the mechanic, a spoon for the cook, a saber for the pirate and a tablet for the businessman. If you are planning to do the same for your party we recommend you to leave a car empty, possibly a wagon, only to carry costumes!
We went to a disco that night… and despite walking was tricky everything went perfectly. We even kept our costumes intact and also replicated it the following night. Of course, when we arrived we were quite noticed:
After entering the club all the people looked to us! Someone probably thought we were crazy but after a few embarrassing seconds a spontaneous applause began. It was so easy to forget all the hard work of the previous weeks! We were really happy!