It’s a familiar sight in Churchill, Manitoba. No, not the polar bears. The Tundra Buggy.
Winnipeg photographer Dan Harper has brought out his inner child to mimic the popular sightseeing vehicle completely out of Lego. The model is based on the vehicle Frontiers North Adventures uses to safely take tourists out on the ice to see polar bears. Harper is a commercial contract photographer for FNA.
“Like most kids I was big into Lego. I had several sets, many that stayed together, many others broken down for parts,” he said.
Harper completely built the model from scratch over the span of two months and ordered parts online from Europe, Canada, and the U.S. using websites such as BrickLink and Brick Owl.
The model began with the tires and grew from there, but had to closely resemble the vehicle on a much smaller scale.
“Having worked in the tourism industry as a photographer for years, I wanted to make something never made before, but also very Manitoban. That’s where the idea to make a Tundra Buggy came from.”
The custom build is a first for Harper and took about two months or 10 hours to complete. He said the opening of the Lego Store in Winnipeg last spring really sparked his interest in getting back into the hobby after a visit to Polo Park Shopping Centre with his two-year-old son.
And if you think such a model just sits on a windowsill somewhere, you would be mistaken. The buggy is of the Lego Technics variety, meaning it has moving and working parts, such as a functional drivetrain, double suspension, working headlights and is operated by an infrared remote control.
The cost to build the approximately 1,915 piece model was about $750. Harper estimates that if most of the parts weren’t bought individually, a similarly configured set would range between $350-$400 in a store.
The Lego model was unveiled to staff from Frontiers North Adventures at a Christmas party a couple months ago and received rave reviews.
Harper plans on sharing the design on the Lego Ideas website in hopes the company will make something similar. Each design requires at least 10,000 votes before Lego will even consider looking at it.
Next on the agenda for Harper is a replica Lego model of one of his other client’s vehicles, a Johnson Waste Management garbage truck.