Cyberattacks against accounting software firm Wolters Kluwer and the City of Baltimore in May showed how the newest wave of malicious hacking can have significant, often...Technologyread more
The European parliamentary election is the second largest democratic exercise in the world.Europe Newsread more
Biden had criticized Kim Jong Un as a "dictator" and a "tyrant" at a recent rally in Philadelphia. North Korean state media responded by calling Biden a "fool of low IQ" among...Politicsread more
Buybacks have gotten a bad rap from both Republicans and Democrats. But stocks would be trading at a massive discount without them.Marketsread more
Microsoft shares have gained 133% since November 2015, outperforming a tech "basket of unicorns" over that stretch.Technologyread more
The president's state visit comes amid tensions with carmaker Toyota over potential auto tariffs. Trump has repeatedly threatened Japanese and European carmakers with tariffs.Traderead more
The IRS is about to release a new draft of Form W-4, which will more closely reflect the changes stemming from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. For workers, that means they'll need...Personal Financeread more
The Mega Millions jackpot has spilled over $400 million. It would be the ninth largest winning since the game began in 2002.Personal Financeread more
Trump was speaking at a meeting of Japanese business leaders in Tokyo during his state visit to Japan on Saturday.Marketsread more
The biggest U.S. gasoline price surge in years is running out of steam just in time for the start of the summer driving season.Energyread more
When commercial real estate investor Manny Khoshbin spent $2.2 million on the fastest production car in the world, he had no idea it would very quickly also become the...Autosread more
Each year Lego creates more than 40 products and buildable figures for every one of its licenses.
With its legions of fans, "Star Wars" ranks among Lego's top five licenses. These products begin to take shape one to two years before their release to toy stores.
While Lego declined to provide specific detail about Star Wars sales, across the industry, more than $760 million worth of Star Wars toys were sold last year, topping 2015 sales by $60 million, according to the NPD Group.
Rob Johnson, a business and marketing manager at Lego who has been with the company since 1988, shared a series of prototype images of one of the company's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" kits during Star Wars Celebration in Orlando last month — Rey's speeder.
Johnson, who worked as a senior art director for Lego's Star Wars division before moving into marketing, gave fans quite a bit of insight into how these toys go from concept art to store shelves.
Here's an inside look at how it was done.
Lego product designers head to Pinewood Studios in London to see the sets and models from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."
The designers sketch various vehicles and set pieces to bring back to the team. In the case of Rey's speeder, the designers noted the color, shape and important features so that the builders could begin creating prototypes.
In this particular sketch, the product designer compared the vehicle to an upright version of Luke's speeder from "A New Hope," and said the shape was reminiscent of an early 20th-century tractor.
To begin, designers free-build, taking Lego pieces and fitting them to get the basic shape of the vehicle.
Johnson said the team tries to find the right balance between accuracy to the set pieces and build-ability. Lego's target audience for these toys are children ages six to nine years old, so the builds cannot be too technical.
This particular prototype is a first pass at capturing the shape of the front end of Rey's speeder. Designers don't pay too much attention to color yet and use already-developed Lego pieces. In the future, they may need to design special pieces just for this product.
Once the builders start to feel comfortable with the preliminary shape, they will begin to add features to the piece, like seats or engines.
Rey's speeder now has a longer nose, more like the actual movie prop, and designers test out how the engines should look.
They will create dozens of different speeder designs like the one below, each with a slightly different shape, until they find the one that is just right.
For Lego, these kits aren't just models to be built and placed on the shelf. They want kids to play with them.
Johnson said the team likes to add "play value" to each kit to enhance the experience. In the case of Rey's speeder, the builders wanted to create built-in storage so the young scavenger would have a place to put all her loot.
The design team added hinges to the panels of the toy that would allow for the section to open and for little Lego bits, or whatever else, to be placed inside.
Once the team builds the "play value element," sometimes the shape of the design has to adapt to the new pieces. The toy will go through several more prototypes before becoming the final product.
The white brick in the center speeder is a placeholder piece. It signifies that the designer needs to create a new element, one that Lego doesn't already have a brick shape for.
Engineers will use graphic prototype machines that take digital designs and make them into a physical piece. Johnson said this process is called rapid prototyping.
The handwriting on the left speeder tells designers what color the piece should be, Johnson said.
Once the designers settle on a final design, all the necessary pieces are placed onto Lego boards.
These boards denote every single piece in its correct color and shape that will be needed to assemble Rey's speeder.
The boards act as a reference for designers and the packaging team. With so many projects occurring simultaneously, having these reference boards ensures that there is no miscommunication as the product transitions from one team to another.
Before the kit is complete, the team must also design the characters. While the face and body pieces will only require a decal change, the hair and headpieces must be hand sculpted.
The sculptors create these molds at a three-to-one scale, and the final design is shrunk down to the proper Lego size.
"It's hard to sculpt at the actual size," Johnson said.
These artists use Sculpey clay and created Rey's signature hair and head wrap.
This is the final Lego product. The speeder has all of its proper decals, accessories and, of course, its figures.
The lower engine twists to open up the two sides of the speeder and reveal the storage area. The final product also includes a full console, with lever controls and a clear windshield.
The product retails for about $20.