LEGO model of new icebreaker to tour Australia

LEGO icebreaker
RSV Nuyina brought to life in LEGO bricks. (Photo: Brickman Exhibitions)
LEGO icebreaker cut-away

Australia’s new icebreaker RSV Nuyina has been brought to life in LEGO by Ryan “The Brickman” McNaught.

At 2.8 metres long, the model uses 113,098 LEGO bricks and took a team of three people 237 hours to build.

The inspiration to build the model came to Mr McNaught while he was in Hobart in 2016 and saw RSV Aurora Australis preparing for one of its annual Antarctic resupply voyages.

Mr McNaught learned the ship was nearing the end of its service life and a new replacement icebreaker was under construction.

The new ship, RSV Nuyina, is 160.3 metre-long and will be able to break 1.65 metre-thick ice, and handle hurricane force winds and waves over 14 metres.

She will be the main lifeline to Australia’s Antarctic and sub-Antarctic research stations, able to carry up to 1200 tonnes of cargo and 1.9 million litres of fuel.

The Nuyina will also be a central platform for the Australian Antarctic Program research in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

She is expected to be in use for 30 years and is due to arrive in Hobart in 2020.

Students from St Virgil’s College in Hobart, Tasmania, and Secret Harbour Primary School near Perth in West Australia won a national competition to name the new $1.9 billion ship RSV Nuyina, meaning “Southern Lights” in palawa kani, the language of Tasmanian Aborigines.

Mr McNaught is a LEGO Certified Professional, one of only 14 in the world and the only one in the Southern Hemisphere.

He uses LEGO bricks to create award-winning sculptures, historical dioramas, architectural and engineering models, and mosaics.

Mr McNaught is well known for creating interactive exhibitions that engage and entertain, often with “Easter eggs” (hidden jokes or secret features) included in the pieces – you might just see an alien in an ice block and some angry penguins on the RSV Nuyina!

The RSV Nuyina LEGO model will tour nationally as part of the Brickman Awesome exhibition.

LEGO model of new icebreaker to tour Australia

Video transcript

When one of our exhibitions was down in Hobart a couple of years back I was down by the docks there and there was this big red ship – really unusual looking – and you know they were loading supplies and containers and all sorts of bits and pieces on it – basically the Australian supply ship for Antarctica.

So how we take all of our scientific gear and food and supplies to all of the team that are down in Antarctica.

It’s basically been the lifeblood to Antarctica forever.

And of course it’s gotten older and it’s had a really tough life and all that kind of stuff so it’s time to replace it so years ago they knew about the replacement of this ship and they started a tender process.

So I contacted the Australian Antarctic Division and a fantastic team of wonderful dedicated people down there gave me lots of information – photos, pictures, plans – all sorts of really cool stuff about this amazing purpose-built ship designed for Australian Antarctic operations.

We’ve recreated that in Lego and brought it to life by cutting it in half so you can see everything that's happening with it.

All the scientists are in there doing crazy stuff. You know they’ve hacked away an alien in an ice cube that they’re found down in Antarctica and we've got lots and lots of jokes and fun stuff as well as obviously the serious scientific side to it.

It’s an icebreaker and this thing can travel through metres of compacted ice and ice floe.

It’s the weight that comes down on the ice that causes it to break.

So we’ve wanted to show that off and to do that we've basically got the ship cresting on a wave with its bow out of the water, some huge Antarctic seas, which allows us to show the front of the ship.

So that’s kind of how we’ve tried to bring it to life.

[end transcript]