We chat to Legoland Dubai’s head model maker Muhammad Zahid about Lego Star Wars TIE fighters, Burj Khalifas and the skills you need to be a Lego master
How did you become head model maker?
I was a model builder at Legoland Malaysia for four years. I then moved to Legoland Dubai before it opened, as I wanted a new experience in a new environment as head model maker.
What did you study?
I have a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art, majoring in Product Design.
What does your average day look like?
First my team and I get the park ready for our guests by cleaning models and making any necessary repairs. We then put our creative hats on and start designing and building new models.
What qualities does it take to be a head model maker?
You need to be creative, think outside the box and have a lot of patience.
Did you always love Lego?
I loved Lego ever since I was really young, so the chance to work at Legoland Malaysia was a dream.
Do you have a model-making specialism?
I learned architecture scale model- making when I was an intern.
How much planning was involved in building Miniland in Legoland Dubai?
It took four years in total, from coming up with the concept to completion of the models.
What’s your favourite Lego creation?
In Miniland, it is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
How long did it take to build the mini Burj Khalifa?
It took 5,000 hours and a team of 12 builders.
Has anyone ever tried to knock a Lego monument down?
Yes, but don’t worry! The model has a steel structure inside to strengthen it.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve had to build out of Lego?
A two-metre tall Star Wars TIE fighter.
What would you love to build?
I would love to build a Formula One car to scale.
What should families visiting the park not miss?
Miniland – it is the heart of every Legoland Park and ours is the first- ever indoor and air-conditioned Miniland – so it’s perfect to visit at any time of the year.
What’s your favourite Lego character?
Vitruvius from The Lego Movie.
Do you have any amazing Legoland facts?
The largest Lego model in the Parks (outside of Miniland) is the Icon Dragon, which is made from 395,251 bricks, while the smallest Lego model is the Minilander made from 20 Lego bricks. It took a total of 3,900 hours to build the biggest Lego model in the park, including 1,250 hours for new development and 2,650 hours for gluing and assembly.
What’s the best thing about your job?
I can be creative and build models out of Lego bricks every day!
Can you give us a sneak peek of what’s coming up at Legoland Dubai?
In our first full year of operation, the park will be introducing a signature calendar of events, with activities appealing not only to tourists and first-time visitors, but repeat guests and annual pass holders. The park will be putting on events from Chinese New Year and Easter, to Eid celebrations, Halloween, UAE National Day, the festive season and more.