(WVNS) - The world's largest Lego replica of the doomed Titanic liner was built over 700 hours -- 11 months -- by a 10-year-old boy from Reykjavik, Iceland, who is on the autism spectrum.
It will make its American debut Monday at the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
Brynjar Karl Bigisson, now 15, built the replica with 56,000 Lego bricks. It's 26 feet long and 5 feet tall.
Brynjar remembers playing with Legos for hours when he was 5. "I sometimes built from instructions, and sometimes, I used my own imagination," he said.
At the time, he was obsessed with trains, but that changed when his grandfather Ludvik Ogmundsson took him fishing on a boat, sparking an interest in and appreciation for ships. By the time Brynjar was 10, he knew everything there was to know about the Titanic.
"When I traveled with my mom to Legoland in Denmark and saw for the first time all the amazing big models of famous houses and planes, locations and ships, I probably then started to think about making my own Lego model. By the time I was 10, I started to think about building the Lego titanic model in a Lego man size," Brynjar said.
The project was a family affair, with grandfather Ogmundsson, an engineer, and mother Bjarney Ludviksdottir helping out. Ogmundsson scaled down the original blueprint of the Titanic to Lego size and helped figure out how many tiny toy bricks would be needed to create the model.
Ludviksdottir served as his personal cheerleader. "If she had not supported my dream project, it would have never been a reality," Brynjar said.
Donations from family and friends enabled him to buy all the Lego bricks.
Brynjar says he was able to embrace his autism through building the Titanic replica.
Before starting the project, he had difficulty communicating, which he says made him unhappy and lonely. Now, he has confidence and is giving interviews about his accomplishment.
"When I started the building process, I had a person helping me in school in every step that I took, but today, I'm studying without any support. My grades have risen, and my classmates consider me as their peer. I have had the opportunity to travel and explore and meet wonderful people," he said.