New Star Wars Miniland in Legoland Malaysia

A Darth Vader 'minifig' is led by the hand before the launch of the Lego Star Wars Miniland on Sept 3, 2014. The new miniland will open to the public on September 6 at Legoland, Malaysia.  -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
A Darth Vader 'minifig' is led by the hand before the launch of the Lego Star Wars Miniland on Sept 3, 2014. The new miniland will open to the public on September 6 at Legoland, Malaysia.  -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
The cockpit of the Lego Millennium Falcon at the Lego Star Wars Miniland in Legoland, Malaysia on Sept 3, 2014.  -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
The cockpit of the Lego Millennium Falcon at the Lego Star Wars Miniland in Legoland, Malaysia on Sept 3, 2014.  -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
Musicians in the Mos Eisley Cantina display at the Lego Star Wars Miniland in Legoland, Malaysia on Sept 3, 2014.  -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
Musicians in the Mos Eisley Cantina display at the Lego Star Wars Miniland in Legoland, Malaysia on Sept 3, 2014.  -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
A model display of the interior of the Mos Eisley Cantina at the Lego Star Wars Miniland in Legoland, Malaysia on Sept 3, 2014.  -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
A model display of the interior of the Mos Eisley Cantina at the Lego Star Wars Miniland in Legoland, Malaysia on Sept 3, 2014.  -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
Han Solo (centre) sitting atop his tauntaun entering Echo Base, the rebel alliance facility on the planet Hoth at the Lego Star Wars Miniland in Legoland, Malaysia on Sept 3, 2014.  -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
Han Solo (centre) sitting atop his tauntaun entering Echo Base, the rebel alliance facility on the planet Hoth at the Lego Star Wars Miniland in Legoland, Malaysia on Sept 3, 2014.  -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
Members of the rebel strike team facing Imperial troopers outside a bunker in the Battle of Endor at the Lego Star Wars Miniland in Legoland, Malaysia on Sept 3, 2014.  -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
Members of the rebel strike team facing Imperial troopers outside a bunker in the Battle of Endor at the Lego Star Wars Miniland in Legoland, Malaysia on Sept 3, 2014.  -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
The Imperial shuttle Tydirium in the docking bay at the Lego Star Wars Miniland in Legoland, Malaysia on Sept 3, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
The Imperial shuttle Tydirium in the docking bay at the Lego Star Wars Miniland in Legoland, Malaysia on Sept 3, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
Lego master builder and Legoland Malaysia model shop manager Stefan Bentivoglio adjusting some pieces in the Millennium Falcon display area, on Sept 3, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
Lego master builder and Legoland Malaysia model shop manager Stefan Bentivoglio adjusting some pieces in the Millennium Falcon display area, on Sept 3, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
The only Darth Vader figure in the Lego Star Wars Miniland in Legoland, Malaysia on Sept 3, 2014.  on Sept 3, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
The only Darth Vader figure in the Lego Star Wars Miniland in Legoland, Malaysia on Sept 3, 2014.  on Sept 3, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
Mr Stefan Bentivoglio (above) and his team took about 8,000 man-hours to construct the displays, including Star Wars characters, Lego Imerial AT-AT Walkers and battle droids in formation. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
Mr Stefan Bentivoglio (above) and his team took about 8,000 man-hours to construct the displays, including Star Wars characters, Lego Imerial AT-AT Walkers and battle droids in formation. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
Mr Stefan Bentivoglio and his team took about 8,000 man-hours to construct the displays, including Star Wars characters, Lego Imerial AT-AT Walkers and battle droids in formation (above). -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
Mr Stefan Bentivoglio and his team took about 8,000 man-hours to construct the displays, including Star Wars characters, Lego Imerial AT-AT Walkers and battle droids in formation (above). -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
Mr Stefan Bentivoglio and his team took about 8,000 man-hours to construct the displays, including Star Wars characters (above), Lego Imerial AT-AT Walkers and battle droids in formation. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
Mr Stefan Bentivoglio and his team took about 8,000 man-hours to construct the displays, including Star Wars characters (above), Lego Imerial AT-AT Walkers and battle droids in formation. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

Star Wars fans can view iconic movie scenes at the new Lego Star Wars Miniland in Johor Baru

A new attraction awaits Star Wars fans across the Causeway.

The Lego Star Wars Miniland, a model display housed in a 900 sq m building, will open tomorrow at Legoland Malaysia Resort in Johor Baru in conjunction with its second anniversary on Sept 15.

Costing RM6 million (S$2.36 million), it is the sixth such Legoland attraction in the world, after those in Billund in Denmark, Gunzburg in Germany, Windsor in England and California and Florida in the United States.

Canadian Mark Germyn, Legoland Malaysia's general manager, said during Miniland's official media launch on Wednesday that the new permanent display is part of the resort's plans to "grow stronger tourism value" and draw more international visitors.

The display will feature one iconic scene from each of the six Star Wars films, as well as one from The Clone Wars animated series.

The scenes depict planets such as Naboo, Geonosis and Tatooine, and there are highlights such as the epic duel on Mustafar between Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker - who eventually becomes the notorious dark lord Darth Vader - in Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith (2005).

Well-known vessels such as Han Solo's starship, the Millennium Falcon, also make an appearance.

The starship was one of the most challenging models to construct because of its complex design, said Mr Stefan Bentivoglio, Legoland Malaysia's master model builder who leads the team of model builders in Malaysia and oversees the building and maintenance of all models in the park.

The vessel, which is made of 15,000 Lego bricks and weighs 37kg, took builders in Germany 143 hours to design and develop.

Characters such as Luke Skywalker, C-3PO, R2-D2 and Princess Leia can be found in various scenes too, although fans will have to keep their eyes peeled for Darth Vader, who appears only once among the seven displays.

To boost the fun factor, interactive buttons at all the displays will let visitors activate lights, sounds and movement of some of the models.

Life-size models of C-3PO, R2-D2 and a 2.7m-tall Darth Vader wielding a lightsaber will greet visitors at the entrance of the air-conditioned indoor exhibition.

Unlike the other Star Wars Miniland exhibits, the display in Malaysia is the only one housed in a stand-alone building. Another unique aspect is the screening of a five-minute animation film, Lego Star Wars: Bombad Bounty, before visitors tour the display.

Said Mr Bentivoglio: "The film will give visitors an introduction to the Star Wars universe... and educate them on what they are about to see."

The 36-year-old German was involved in constructing the Star Wars displays in the other Legoland resorts as well.

He led a team of about 50 to create 1,122 of the more than 2,000 models at Malaysia's Star Wars Miniland. The rest were shipped from Germany and the Czech Republic, where Lego model factories are located.

The team, which started working on the display last year, took about 8,000 man-hours and used more than 1.5 million bricks in total.

One of the biggest challenges was the need to run every single element by Lucasfilm, the company that produced the six Star Wars films, said Mr Bentivoglio, who joined Legoland Germany in 2003.

"The approval processes took long and, at times, longer than expected. The approval for R2-D2 took up to two weeks," he recalled.

However, he commended Lucasfilm's high standards, which, he said, ultimately ensured that the models looked just as they did in the films.

The Geonosis arena from Episode II: Attack Of The Clones (2002) was a challenge to build.

"I had only one picture of the arena from the film and I had to build it based on just that," he revealed.

The model, which was made of 30,000 bricks, took 290 hours to build.

The largest model within the display is a 2.65m-tall building from Crystal City, the capital of the planet Christophsis from Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008-2014). It weighs 120kg and is made of 45,000 bricks.

A retail shop selling Lego Star Wars merchandise, including hard-to-find building sets such as the Death Star, is located within the building.

Star Wars fan Prem Raj, 44, looks forward to visiting the attraction soon.

"To see R2-D2 in Lego form will be something new beyond the films. I am a huge Lego fan too, so it will be doubly amazing," said the project manager.

gurveenk@sph.com.sg