It is time for the build teams to get outdoors, as they are challenged to build natural sculptures in the penultimate episode of LEGO MASTERS
Each week, LEGO MASTERS seems a little more confident in its format, with this latest episode perhaps the most entertaining yet. The show has to walk a fine line, offering challenging build tasks so that AFOLs can see how the teams respond, while providing a general audience with an idea of just what LEGO building can entail. That balance is being successfully met in this third episode, making it a shame that the series will wrap up next week just as it has found its feet.
The builders have two nature themed challenges this week – the first unplanned build challenge sees the pairs required to build as many creatures as possible, using just 15 pieces per organism. This is a great, high energy way to kick off the episode and provides a challenge that viewers can easily replicate at home. It would make a fun parlour game.
Seeing the different teams respond to the quick challenge was fascinating. Guy and Abraham struggled to come up with creatures to build, while Jessica and Faolan were determined to use the perfect pieces and lost time. It was heartening to Steve advise the remaining child build team to revise their plan, rather than looking for the exact brick they needed. The challenge showed, after two weeks of big builds, the talent required for mini scale building.
In the previous episodes, every build duo has been profiled except for Nicolas and Kobe. That was rectified, with a look at the father and son duo this week. It was very touching to see how they build together, especially the way that Kobe embraces his father’s constructive feedback in order to continue to improve his builds.
The second challenge allowed for pre-planning, and had the LEGO builders constructing natural models that would be used to adorn a tree. Regular judge Matthew Ashton, Vice President of Design at the LEGO Group, explained that the challenge was to integrate the models with the natural setting, pack the animals full of character and create a scene that is full of life.
Watching the builds come together was a delight this week, as the best work – the tortoise, the lemur, the orangutan, the squirrel – showed the ways that different builders approach different subject matter. Seeing every child in the contest using SNOT techniques demonstrates just how sophisticated the LEGO community has become, showing that a method that was obscure twenty years ago is now a standard even for the youngest builders.
Sean Kenney, LEGO Certified Professional and brick artist, joined Matthew Ashton along with comedian Bill Bailey to judge the models. Kenney’s expertise in block based animals led to his involvement, and he was the best guest judge of the series so far. As someone who actually builds with LEGO bricks, like Ashton he had valuable feedback to give the contestants.
Nate and Steve continue to succeed as they seem to best grasp the brief – consistently, they have understood the requirements of the challenge ahead of them, making it unsurprising that they came out on top again this week. Nicolas and Kobe managed to put their orangutan together just in time to have it on display, but unfortunately it didn’t quite decorate the tree as the judges required.
These shows always like to label contestants, who often live up their brand, but Jamil and James certainly should not be discounted anymore as ‘just engineers’. They are clearly proficient with the brick, and given the AFOLs they are up against have done incredibly well to hold their own. Thanks to their individuality, they also provide plenty of laughs throughout the hour.
It was not terribly surprising to see the two teams get sent home. Guy and Abraham had a fantastic concept, but the execution was not right. It was absolutely fantastic to see Sean Kenney acknowledge their success, telling them they are, ‘officially the best nine year old builders in the world’.
Jessica, as many who have visited LEGO conventions will know, is an incredibly talented builder. It seems that the constraints and demands of the show have not allowed her skills to shine, whereas other teams thrived under the format. Jessica and Faolan’s builds were great, but unfortunately just did not quite fit the brief.
The LEGO MASTERS grand final is next, with the three teams left standing competing for the title of ‘LEGO MASTERS’. Nate and Steve, Nicolas and Kobe and Jamil and James are going to be judged by children on next week’s episode. With the level of talent on display, it is hard to call who will be the winning pair – but it will be entertaining television finding out.
With next week the grand finale, the final three teams will have to build something based on a child’s imagines story, before the final two teams have two weeks to work on their master creation. The episode will air on September 14 at 8.00pm on Channel 4.
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Graham was the BrickFanatics.com Editor up until November 2020. He has plenty of experience working on LEGO related projects. He has contributed to various websites and publications on topics including niche hobbies, the toy industry and education.
Follw Graham on Twitter @grahamh100.