International Tiger Day 2022 Build
Happy International Tiger Day 2022! As you might have guessed, July 29 is an annual event celebrating the tiger, Panthera tigris. Additionally, this is a special International Tiger Day because we are in the Year of Tiger according to the Chinese Zodiac. It just so happens that the tiger is also my favorite animal. Therefore, it was important for me to observe the date in my own way. What better way to show my support than through LEGO® bricks? I decided to build an alternate version of this year’s Majestic Tiger (31129) set. Consequently, today we’ll look at my semi-custom white tiger.
Before jumping into my white tiger build, a word about tigers. International Tiger Day launched in 2010. Countries with wild tigers commemorated July 29 at the Global Tiger Summit alongside the World Wildlife Fund. At the time, their goal was “Tx2”. In other words, double the number of wild tigers by 2022. It is now 2022. So, where is the fanfare and celebration of mankind’s great tiger-saving efforts? I have not seen any. Why? Quite simply, we failed. In 2010, scientists estimated 3,200 tigers remained in the wild. Today, the World Wildlife Fund website puts the number at 3,900. The Panthera Group advertises a more optimistic 4,500. Therefore, tiger numbers have gone up, and that is a good sign after a century of decline. However, they are still pretty far from the goal of 6,400.
Wild tiger numbers are rising, but we did not reach our goal of doubling them by 2022.
I decided to build a white tiger to celebrate International Tiger Day 2022 almost as soon as I saw the Majestic Tiger set. I reviewed that kit here at True North Bricks earlier this year. It is one of my favorite sets of 2022. The build uses amazing techniques and great parts usage to create a wonderfully lifelike creature. As I built my way through the set, I noticed how easy it would be to simply re-color the model with parts I already owned. For the most part, I simply followed the instructions included with the Majestic Tiger. However, anytime orange bricks came up, I substituted them with white.
Of course, I had to make a few other minor modifications as well. Firstly, the Majestic Tiger includes printed 1x2x2/3 orange roof tiles. That same printing does not exist on white pieces. Therefore, I substituted those with cheese-wedges in alternating black and white. Secondly, white tigers have blue eyes. In the original, a cool yellow 1×1 plate with horizontal shaft goes through the center of a round, black 1×1 plate with hole to create an eye. In mine, I used a black 1×1 plate with shaft through a transparent, light blue, round 1×1 plate with hole. I didn’t like the look of the yellow shaft in the blue eye. Finally, the original Majestic Tiger had two exposed pink plates on its underside. I did not understand why, so I got rid of them.
Rebuilding the Majestic Tiger in white was easy, requiring only minor modifications.
The LEGO® Group sent me the first copy of Majestic Tiger that I reviewed. I purchased a second one myself for this recolor. In total, I replaced 210 parts with items from my own collection. Incidentally, the set contains 755 bricks total (though not all of those are part of the tiger). I did not have to order any parts from Bricklink to complete the recolor. With that said, I do have a fairly large collection of bricks. Some of the recolored parts were hard to find, even for me. Firstly, the 1×3 half arch brick with cut-out. To recolor the Majestic tiger, you need six of them in white. That part comes in seven sets. I have two of them… but they were in my massive bin of unsorted parts. They were hard to find…
Secondly, you replace four orange 4×3 bricks with bow/angle with white ones. Finding this part in white is not hard. Afterall, it appears in 34 sets. However, I only have four of those, and two of them remain assembled. The other two? You guessed it: in my bin of unsorted parts. The moral of the story? Sort your parts regularly. Otherwise, I had no trouble finding and replacing orange bits with white.
Depending on the sets you usually collect, some required pieces are hard to find.
Why make a white tiger? Well, it is the Year of the Tiger and International Tiger Day 2022. Additionally, the LEGO® Group did an amazing job with the orange tiger already. However, many biologists argue that the white tiger has no conservation value. Others contend that its coloration makes it too conspicuous, decreasing its odds of survival. The first holds somewhat true, but I doubt the latter holds any credibility. No one has ever studied wild white tigers because there no longer are any. However, many historical accounts exist detailing sightings of adult white tigers. Then we either killed them all or captured them for zoos and menageries. Modern white tigers are all inbred or crossbred with other subspecies. I don’t know if pure white Bengal Tigers exist still in India. Certainly, those in North America have little genetic value for modern conservation efforts. But they are pretty.
In the end, while I do not condone further breeding of white tigers for the sake of having white tigers, they were once wild. They were once a naturally occurring genetic variant. I think it’s important to remember what we did to that natural variant. There is cautionary tale there that will ultimately help all tigers. My LEGO® model and the photos I took of it are my contribution to that memory and story. Hopefully, all this talk of tigers got one or two of you thinking, and maybe even spreading the word wider. Now, go forth and build your own tigers that get even more people talking. Happy International Tiger Day 2022.
Until next time.
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