Erco Ercoupe: Designing Tessie

Scale model LEGO design starts with an inspiration. With an avid interest in vintage and modern airplanes, there is usually never a lack of inspiration. Reading about one plane, leads to another and another. Once in a while you run across neat old vintage ads, like this one for the the Erco Ercoupe, which could be ordered from a catalog.


The subject is researched online for views from all angles, as well as the basic dimensions. The photos are measured and the dimensions are then used to determine the scale in the photo, which can then be used to determine the rest of the needed dimensions.

Once all the dimensions are found, they are converted to a scale that would create a nice sized piece. That scale is then converted to LEGO studs and the building can begin. This set of measurements is for the Bf-109.

Most of the models featured here are created in “LEGO camo” due to the availability of the right parts to create the right shaped design. To build a custom model in the correct colors, the model is then built in an online LEGO CAD program that has all the available parts in all of their available colors.


This particular plane design was posted for consideration on the LEGO Ideas website, where the owner of “Tessie” found it. Tessie is an air racing Ercoupe.

The CAD version of the Ercoupe needed a color change so it could then be used to generate a parts list to source parts from Bricklink shops. There was not a way to embed a nifty 3D viewer here on this page, but if you’d like to check it out, click here. You should get the Mecabricks screen like this.

This particular model has parts from Holland, Germany, Czechoslovakia, United Kingdom, and more. Once all the parts are delivered, the model can then be built from the CAD version. Photos are taken for each step, to be used to create step-by-step instructions.

Once the model is assembled, custom stickers can be made to fit. Tessie has some tail fins that have a unique design so her tail fin stickers were designed using the real ones and some photo editing to match the color to LEGO blue.


The end result is a custom LEGO design as close to the original as LEGO parts will allow at 1:19 scale.