Lego Tesla Model X
Lately I got to drive a borrowed Tesla Model X from time to time. I’ve grown to love this awesome car, so I decided to build a Lego version to have it sit nicely on my desk.
I digged out my Lego stash under the bed; there weren’t even enough parts to make a car seat. So I bought a set that seems to have lots of car-relevant parts:
Keeping things organized
Since the truck set was predominantly gray, I decided to use gray as the main color scheme. This means all the white & green liftarms from this set are useless to me. On the other hand, there were ~2600 pieces in this set, so I put those liftarms to good use & kept some of the bigger pieces organized:
There are lots of flat pieces; seems straightforward to use them as the chassis.
A bigger challenge is getting the scale right. Since all the wheel are of the same size, I used them to scale every other part. To make sure I didn’t deviate too far from the correct scale, I ended up holding it against my monitor every 5 minutes:
It also helped to build some kind of scaffolding for the entire car, since at this point, I was doubtful that I could build a realistic Model X with existing parts. It was reassuring to see the shape that captures the essense of it.
Hood & seats
Fortunately, the truck set has a few curved pieces that looks surprisingly similar to the hood.
There were special pieces from the set for building nice-looking car seats, but there were only enough parts for 2, and I needed at least 6, so I had to resort to imagination. I tried my best to re-create the subtle curves & contour of a seat with rigid pieces. This later underwent several iterations.
Falcon wing door
This is a big problem, since falcon wing doors & their frames are tilted, and it’s usually not easy to assemble Lego pieces that are not perpendicular to one another; you need extra parts to constrain their movement. The first version of door frame was flimsy as hell:
It took a lot of support pieces to keep everything steady, but then it looked like a mess:
The doors are equally tricky to get the shape correct; the pieces barely fit together in this one:
But it’s still nice to see the falcon wing coming to life!
Just when it seemed that the car was shaping up, new problems arose:
- I almost ran out of liftarms in black or gray, the main color schemes of this Model X.
- The way I built the falcon wings didn’t really work well with other parts of the car. The pieces simply didn’t fit together.
- The scale was actually wrong, and I didn’t notice this until I tried to close the door.
I ended up taking everything apart and started from scratch. Whenever I re-built something, I made sure only the most relevant pieces were used, and saved the important pieces for later. This quickly turned into a resource-management game, and I quite enjoyed this extra challenge.
Unfortunately, it became increasingly clear that I simply couldn’t get this done with existing parts, so I bought a second truck set. I’ve never been a serious Lego collector before, so this was quite a crazy purchase I’ve made in a long time.
Putting things together
Now that I had a better idea of the overall design, and with more parts to spare, I re-designed some major components, such as seats and trunk. I also spent more time studying the specialized pieces in this truck set, and tried using fitting ones as often as possible.
One example is the flexible axle: there were a total of 6 now, so I could afford to use them around the wheels:
The new seats used fewer parts, so I could add a 3rd row:
I think I’ve googled at least dozens images of Model X trunk to get its shape right:
It takes almost a month to build this, but I am quite happy with the end result:
I tried adding front cameras to it, but it looks kinda goofy without actual windshields:
Hand-made props for MCU also looks a bit cheap, but it’s better than leaving it blank, I guess: