A former Fort Wayne resident is looking to create a complex LEGO replica of the Summit City’s iconic skyline.
Ted Shideler, who now lives in Muncie, has crafted an amazingly detailed blueprint for what the LEGO model might look like, and it’s already caught the attention of hundreds of online followers.
Since sharing his creation in the Facebook group “You are positively from Fort Wayne if you remember …” in early February, Shideler’s LEGO plan is grabbing attention from local residents, past and present.
“I designed a micro-scale Fort Wayne LEGO Skyline series to match up with official releases of San Francisco, Chicago, New York, and so on,” Shideler wrote in his Facebook post. “It would contain 543 pieces if built and would measure about five and a half inches tall. It shows Science Central, the courthouse, Lincoln Tower, PNC Center, and the I & M Center. As a Fort Wayne homeowner living in Muncie I’m anxious to hear your thoughts!”
LEGO’s Architecture series includes famous capitals and tourist destinations. The New York City model includes representations of the Flatiron, Chrysler, Empire State buildings and the One World Trade Center. It also has a green blocky character to represent the Statue of Liberty. The set retails for $59.99. It has 598 pieces and comes with a collectible booklet about the design, architecture and history of the buildings.
Shideler noted that his inspiration was not just to honor what he considers his hometown, but to celebrate Fort Wayne’s memorable outline.
“Especially at first glance, a city is easily defined by its skyline, and Fort Wayne has a great one,” he said.
Using his computer, and the programs LEGO Digital Designer and BrickLink Studio, Shideler crafted what was essentially a blueprint for a future LEGO Fort Wayne. The model stands nearly 6 inches tall, and comprises most of the city’s major buildings, including the Allen County Courthouse, the PNC Center, Science Central, the Lincoln Tower, and the I & M Center.
“I used a design-build process, just creating and troubleshooting it as I went,” Shideler said, “although I had some initial ideas in place of how I wanted it to come together.
“All in all, it took about three hours of looking at pictures, Google satellite views, and trying to capture the scale, along with placing the bricks on the computer.”
One roadblock Shideler faced was that the colors of the actual courthouse and Lincoln Tower buildings don’t really have a match in the LEGO bricks inventory.
“Some of the parts (most of the courthouse and some of the internal structural parts of the Lincoln Tower) don’t exist in the LEGO piece color set as designed at the present time. If they did, they’d cost around $48 to order the bricks online.”
No worries, though. Shideler said he’s altering the design slightly so he can find the LEGO pieces he needs.
“I’m still working on changing those non-existent pieces to ones in colors that can be ordered,” he said. “(When finished) it would look pretty neat on a shelf next to the official LEGO skyline sets of Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Paris and so on.”
Shideler, who is currently a marketing contractor and a student at Ivy Tech studying supply chain management, lived in Fort Wayne until he was 3 years old, and went to what was then Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne for his freshman year of college.
“I live in Muncie now, but have lots of family in the (Fort Wayne) area and am in town regularly. I identify it as my home town.”
Shideler noted that the Facebook post sharing his design idea already has garnered a lot of online attention. “So far,” he said, “I’ve gotten 430 likes and 130 comments. It’s very gratifying.
“The reaction seems overwhelmingly positive,” he continued, “My original post on Facebook has been flooded with people who are impressed with the detail conveyed in such a small format, people happy to see Fort Wayne represented, and people wanting to see it for themselves.”
Could the set eventually win a LEGO-building competition and be put into production? It’s a definite possibility, Shideler said.
“Although Fort Wayne isn’t as internationally-known as Melbourne (Australia), Toronto (Canada), or Sao Paulo (Brazil), I think my model compares favorably to the designs others have submitted of those cities.”
Shideler said he hopes his LEGO creation creates more conversation about the Summit City, as well as a little hometown pride.
“Even though I sometimes take it for granted, I’d hope there’s some sense of civic pride involved in seeing some of Fort Wayne’s most prominent buildings in LEGO form. I think it could bring up an interesting discussion of which buildings were omitted as well as included, and why or why not they were or weren’t.”
“It’d be cool to hear feedback and stoke that civic pride and thought by initiating that conversation.”