One team has just missed out on the LEGO MASTERS Australia final – Brick Fanatics speaks to the eliminated builders to find out how it felt to come so far
Tim and Dannii are the only married couple to have competed in this year’s LEGO MASTERS Australia, with Tim starting out as the expert and Dannii as his assistant. Their roles developed throughout the series, until they met a challenge they couldn’t overcome with the night and day UFO.
With just one episode of the season left, Brick Fanatics speaks to Tim and Dannii about building upside down, the challenge of Star Wars and shaking those bricks.
What was the trickiest thing to adjust to when building competitively?
Tim: Everyone will say time. 100% a nightmare. But another thing people don’t think of is being able to adapt and make the things you’re not good at on the fly. Are you not good at making Space, like us? Are you not good with Technic? Well buckle up, because you get a crash course in a short number of hours, and if you flop, that could be it. You need to adapt and shunt aside your insecurities, and knuckle down and just do it.
Dannii: I had never built independently. So suddenly I had to work out my own style and problem solve my own build segments as I couldn’t rely on Tim to manage my every action anymore, like at home. In fact, in the first challenge, my first try at creating a land feature 0 the crystal cave – totally flopped as it constantly caved in and wouldn’t look the way I hoped. Eventually I realised that I was good at creative parts usage and created some pretty cool mushrooms, mermaids and rock golems.
Which was your favourite challenge?
Dannii: I loved the ‘Make and Shake’ challenge. I just had so much fun building it. I feel like the whole room would have seen an actual lightbulb appear above my head the moment I thought of popcorn. The entire shift from no aesthetics, to me going rainbow out of boredom, to exploding popcorn bag was just such an enjoyable process that it still has me smiling ear to ear.
Tim: Hanging brick. Our idea was the weirdest and most abstract one in the room, and it really set us apart from everyone else. I wouldn’t be wrong in thinking some people doubted us, and even at times, the thought came to us too, but we kept telling ourselves, “if we pull this off, this will be amazing,” and I believe we did just that.
What was the toughest challenge for you?
Tim: Star Wars. Everyone thinks it would be easy to do, and for diehard fans, you’re probably right. But a few things were really stacked against us. Space isn’t a strong suit of ours but can be fun to build. Combining that with a strict guideline of how ships are supposed to look, little movement on creative flexibility, and then making it fit someone else’s creative vision, and it’s a mess.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Star Wars, but the ships aren’t what interest me; it’s the powerful narratives and smaller stories in a larger universe that interest me – it has nothing to do with the ships. Heck, even the biggest Star Wars fans in the room had some troubles! I would have much preferred the LEGO MASTERS USA challenge of making droids as that’s more creatively flexible to me.
Dannii: Star Wars was an absolute mess. I don’t think I have ever been so stressed in my life. I didn’t understand the content, Tim couldn’t explain the details and my stress-induced attitude made communication impossible. I am still waiting on someone to explain to me how flat panels on a dark side ship create thrust or momentum on a spaceship!
Are there any particular stand-out moments that made you laugh?
Dannii: I think Hamish being suspended right by out building station was the funniest few hours of the entire series. Coupled with his humour and his genuine interest in the builds around him, it was a time of laughter and bonding between the host and contestants.
Tim: When I was talking to the other contestants about my Dungeons and Dragons hobby, I mentioned that I do different voices and accents. Some of the contestants, Alex in particular, loved them. He liked the voice of a character I introduced in to my game – ‘the Door’ – a magically enchanted, insane, door. When I was enjoying myself too much, or the room was too quiet, I’d jump into an accent by habit, and I’d hear from across the Brick Pit, “oh my God, it’s the door,” and we’d have a good laugh about it.
What was the best thing about participating in LEGO MASTERS?
Tim: The people. We went on this amazing journey together that nobody else can explain or experience – and I’ve made lifelong friends with people I would have never met by any other happenstance. We all come from different walks of life, with different experiences, challenges, issues with health, our own pains, losses, successes and dreams. I cannot express how well we all got along, and how much I love these people.
Dannii: It was amazing to spend so much dedicated one on one time with my husband. We have two daughters under the age of three, Tim works full time and I teach on his days off. Having the opportunity to reconnect and work together, made us feel like we were back in high school goofing around- especially in-between episodes hanging out with the other contestants. We were all just a bunch of goofy kids when we got together.
Did you learn anything new, about yourself or about LEGO creativity, through being a part of the show?
Dannii: I jumped in the deep end of the LEGO world when I became a contestant. I didn’t even know how to SNOT build in episode one. By the end of the series, I was building at crazy angles, nothing was falling apart in my hands, and I worked out a seriously complicated Technic mechanism. I am super excited to take all that knowledge and use it in my STEM education as a teacher! I never thought I had any kind of science brain, but it turns out I might have made a decent engineer – who knew?
Tim: Man, I need to work on making LEGO Space stuff. Jokes aside, you learn quite a lot on the show, but the biggest lesson you learn is that you still have learning to do. Whether you are eliminated first or make it to the finale, everyone learnt that they could improve. And we constantly raised each other up to be better, and still do to this day!
The final episode of LEGO MASTERS airs on Nine at 7.30pm, May 18.
More LEGO MASTERS Australia coverage
Interview with host Hamish Blake
Interview with judge Ryan McNaught
Meet the contestants
Summer and Iona
Jackson and Alex
Trent and Josh
Jay and Stani
Jennifer and Jodie
Tim and Danii
Andrew and Damian
Annie and Runa