Meet the VW camper van built from 400,000 LEGO® bricks

One brick at a time. It’s how you likely built LEGO® models when you were a kid, or with your own children. And it’s exactly how two of the world’s best builders were able to construct a life-size version of a Volkswagen Type 2 camper van from LEGO® bricks in just six weeks.

Unveiled this week at a travel convention in Munich, the Volkswagen van required about 400,000 pieces, with a final weight of 1,543 lbs. It uses real wheels from a Type 2, and like all Volkswagen camper vans has a pop-up roof and sliding door. And the interior is built out just as a camper would be, down to the pair of toothbrushes for overnight stays.

The van was designed and built by Rene Hoffmeister, one of only 12 officially certified LEGO® professionals in the world. Along with colleague Pascal Lenhard, the duo used 3D modeling to assemble a plan for the van, including a precise figure for the number of bricks needed. Beyond ensuring the major flexible pieces like doors worked, the pair also had to ensure structural rigidity in the side walls and other vertical surfaces to keep all the bricks from collapsing.

All of those plans nearly went out the window when they found themselves short 20,000 transparent bricks for the windows.

“Essentially, we would have needed a nine-day week,” says Hoffmeister. “However, as they don’t exist, the only option was night shifts.”

With a burst of around-the-clock work, the model was completed on time. The finished product is some 16 feet long, more than 6 feet wide and just shy of 10 feet tall with the roof popped up.