Building the Wrong Taj Mahal

The original Taj Mahal

I saw a post on Reddit about aligning tile pieces. I hadn’t heard the credit card method before, but I might just have to try that. Smooth table surfaces seem to work well for me. Anyway – someone mentioned that the Taj Mahal gave them a headache. I remembered I used to build virtually – so why not try this infamously large set virtually! Alas – I built the wrong one!

The parts imported perfectly; no jury-rigging necessary (like the Titanic, which I see I have yet to actually post here). And once again, digital building was very useful, since most parts were repeated four times (or twice and then mirrored). The finished set, however, didn’t seem to have much of the tiling that seemed so bothersome, so I wondered if I had built the wrong one. At first, I thought I had – since there was an older model number than the one I built – only for me to realize that this classic set had been reissued, originally in 2008 as 10189-1, and again in 2017 as 10256-1.

Studs for days

I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised – there were a lot of studs visible in this one. At almost 6,000 pieces, it’s definitely one of the largest sets out there, though it honestly didn’t feel all that big to me (then again, it might be because I only had to build a fourth of it!).

Architecture is much more smooth and “tile-y”

I decided to complete the set (I mean, technically I already built two versions of the Taj Mahal…right? The original and reissued…? No? Ok, fine.) and build the other one that popped up in my search – an Architecture model from 2021. Aha! Now this one has a lot of tiles. A. Lot. Of. Tiles. And the vast majority of them are 1×1 squares which are notoriously hard to line up. I can definitely imagine building this by hand would become very tedious, and the gridwork they end up creating will definitely look bad if things aren’t lined up. But digitally – this is super easy to do.

The one added difficulty of digital construction are weird rotations. In the original, the four outer columns were nice 8-sided shapes, and the inner dome had 16, so mathematically it worked out well. In the Architecture model, the most frustrating part was the arms holding the pairs of 8-sided plates together. In the end, they’re rotated 341.8° and juggled oh-so-slightly to eliminate collision. Other than that, both of these models were fairly quick builds, each taking only about 2-4 hours of clicking and manipulating.

Another nice view of the stairs and transparent windows present in the original

Another fun trivia thing – it could be a coincidence, but step 33 has you building 33x 2×3 tiled pieces. I found that interesting. It might be nothing, but the kind of designers who are near perfectionists at building these instructions seem like the kind of people who would enjoy numerical coincidences like this.

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