Pay attention please, 007,” Q tells James Bond as he enters Q Division, the British Secret Service’s gadget-laden R&D department. “You’ll be using thisAston Martin DB5 with modifications. A nice little transmitting device… revolving number plates. Valid all countries, naturally. You see this arm here? Open the top and inside are your defence mechanism controls... rear bulletproof screen. And left and right front wing machine guns. You see the gear lever? Now, if you take the top off, you find a little red button. Whatever you do, don’t touch it.” And why not? asks Connery’s Bond, nonchalantly. “Because you release this section of the roof and engage and fire the passenger ejector seat. Whoosh!”
Whoosh forward over half a century and Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger, with its myriad gadgets and devilish, villain-slaying bespoke extras, has been painstakingly reproduced in LEGO form, its iconic status assured for the next generation via an exceptionally detailed, 1:13 and 1:14 scale, 1,290-piece “Creator Expert” model kit.
Just how detailed? Incredibly, pretty much all of Q’s full-scale Aston Martin is present and functioning; the DB5 wings, the Straight 6 engine under the hood, the ingenious Boudica-style tyre-scythes, the concealed radar tracker and the door compartment secreting a telephone. Pop a hand inside the driver’s side door, press the red button on the LEGO gear knob and the passenger seat flies through a flap in the roof. “When we started this project, I thought we’d get just one or two gadgets,” admits Aston Martin Director of Design Miles Nurnberger, who worked on the brick-built toy with LEGO Senior Designer Mike Psiaki. “But we’ve actually managed to include all of them.”
“The ejector seat probably presented the biggest challenge of the project,” admits Psiaki, whose research included watching the aforementioned Q-division scene in the Goldfinger movie at least 20 times. “I would have on my desk 10 or 15 different versions of the model, but getting the roof to move and the seat to activate correctly was tricky.” With a Q-like devotion to their invention, the LEGO team used their smartphones to take short films of each ejection, replaying them in slow-motion to find out where the seat was malfunctioning and exactly where it was fouling other bits of the car.
When we started this project, I thought we'd get just one or two gadgets, but we've actually managed to include all of them
Danish toy behemoth and British motoring icon proved to be good fit and a dynamic, synergetic collaboration of great design and technical proficiency. Even LEGO’s company motto “Only the best is good enough” sounds like the title of a yet-to-be-made James Bond movie. “The DB5 has a lot of shape,” says Nurnberger. “We thought those lines would be difficult to reproduce in LEGO, but the core of the car was there right from the very first version. It actually looks like a DB5.”
Balancing deadly functionality with proportionally correct styling was also key for LEGO. “What got me most excited was working on the machine gun function,” says Psiaki, who used to make his own LEGO versions of various James Bond cars when he was a child. “We wanted them to be triggered through the cockpit, just like in 007’s original.”
Now, Bond, try and bring it back in one piece will you?