Introduction: Lego FJ Holden
The FJ Holden was Australia's first home grown car, mostly design and built in Australia. Back in the mid 1980's Lego opened a store in Sydney, Australia and within that store was a model FJ Holden.
A couple of years ago, I found the model tucked away in a display cabinet in a museum. After several hours of photographing the model, I decided I would attempt to build one myself.
Working off of the photos, here is the finished product. Approximately 80cm (32 inches) long, at the time it was the biggest model I had attempted.
Since completing the model I have shown it at several Lego shows and car shows in Australia, and now I want to share it with all of you.
Enjoy building this model and most of all have fun playing with Lego!
Step 1: The Original Model
These three images are of the original model, and are actually the images I built the model from. I simply enlarged to photo's to a point where I could work out how many plates and bricks were used.
I was unable to get the model out of the display case, so I had no reference images for the chassis or the interior. This made for many annoying moments throughout the build.
Step 2: The Build - Part 1
So where do you start when you are building a large Lego sculpture without plans? I started off with the tyres. Not too sure why, but it seemed like the thing to do. Once I had one wheel built, I realised that this was going to take more than one night to build.
Moving on from the wheels, I tried to figure out the front grille and bumper bar area. Keeping the same colours as the original model, The first pieces were 'laid down' just after christmas in 2011.
As there were no plans or parts listing for me to reference, I assumed I would have enough parts in my collection. How wrong could I have been. As I worked forward on the model, I found that my collection of red pieces of Lego plate was no where near large enough.
The main parts I kept running out of is the basic 1x2 studded plate. I could not believe how many I had to use. And I had to keep telling myself that the original model was built back in the mid 1980's when part designs were a lot less diverse as it is now.
The other problem I was finding was structural. Because I could only photo the outside of the original model, who knows what lurked underneath. This meant the as I built the top of the bonnet many times over, I found bracing to be a necessity.
At the end of each nights work, working through and Australian summer means 30+ degress C for most of the time, I would take a photo, just incase.
Step 3: The Build Continues
The build started around Christmas 2011, so when did it finish? Well it never actually has. While the original red version was completed in about 3 months, there have been several different versions built since then.
'Red' - as it become affectionately known - travelled to several different Lego shows and even a car cruise. Meanwhile back in the build room, a second version was being built, a flat bed ute (pick up truck for those north of the equator).
Step 4: The Plans
Well, here they are. This is the first time I have released these out to the world. I am hoping to see copies of the FJ appearing all over the place.
Rather than showing each step of building, there are over 4600 pieces in total, I have attached Lego Digital Designer plans of all the different sections.
The main thing that I can say is . . . . . . Be patient when building this model. It is a hollow model and does take some careful balancing, especially when building the roof and bonnet.
Step 5: So What Happened to 'Red'?
After 'Red's' final showing at Brickvention 2013 in Melbourne, Australia, he travelled home to Adelaide.
Did he live on, tucked away on the shelf?
Nope. He was parted out. Destroyed, Dropped, Smashed and all other words to describe being destroyed.
And that's the fun of Lego. You build something. Show it. Then pull it apart and start something new.
So now I pass on 'Red's' soul to you. Bring him back to life in whatever colours and styles you want. I look forward to seeing Fj Holden's popping up everywhere.
Step 6: Appendix A
Well, time heals most wounds as they say. The FJ lives again! This time in race mode. I have built this version just over the last few days for an upcoming Lego show in my home town.
Same size as 'Red' but now with racing stripes and an updated interior.
Luckily the Australian National Motor Museum is about 30km's away, so I took it across for a quick photo shoot with the real thing - an original 1950's FJ Holden.