The airplane, which made its inaugural flight in March 1969, was the result of a successful collaboration between British and French engineers to develop a commercial craft that could go supersonic (faster than the speed of sound). That goal drove its design elements, from the delta wing—so named for its resemblance to the triangular Greek letter—to the extra long, pointy “droop nose,” which the pilot could lower when taking off and landing so it didn’t block their view of the runway.
LEGO designers worked especially hard to make sure the LEGO Concorde evoked the strength and sleekness of the original. “The wing is something we spent a lot of time on,” senior designer Milan Madge said in a LEGO blog post. “The whole midsection of the aircraft is built sideways, so the brick studs are not in their usual orientation. That allowed us to create a strong wing, and it also allowed us to get a smooth underside to the LEGO model.” You can see that smooth underside when the Concorde is sitting on its inclined display stand, meant “to enhance the idea that Concorde was weightless,” Madge said.
As light as it may look, the LEGO Concorde definitely isn’t tiny; it measures nearly 42 inches long and 17 inches wide. At 2083 pieces, the plane doesn’t quite make the list of LEGO’s biggest sets—but LEGO does consider it one of the most difficult structures to build.
At least you won’t have to worry about revenue when you’re finished, though. For all its beauty and speed, the real-life Concorde was never profitable. As Vox reported in 2016, a number of reasons kept it from achieving widespread success: Noise pollution from its sonic booms meant it had to stick to ocean routes, for one thing, and scientists worried its high altitude would damage the ozone. It could also only carry some 100 passengers, which contributed to exceptionally high ticket prices. In 2003, the Concorde was discontinued.
Its LEGO model, meanwhile, is just beginning to take flight. The set, which retails at $200, is currently available to LEGO Insiders; and it goes on sale to the general public on Thursday, September 7. You can check it out on LEGO’s website.