LEGO MASTERS ‘Final Master Build’: The Brick Fanatics verdict

The final two pairs were decided in the first round, before they faced off to determine who are the LEGO MASTERS – did the Brick Fanatics panel agree that the right team were crowned the winners?

Warning: spoilers ahead for the LEGO MASTERS final.

The first round of tonight’s final saw the children take charge, giving the builders a story to turn into a build. This was the last time James and Jamil would be building on the show, as their model was deemed to be the weakestof the three.

The final masterpiece build allowed ten days of work, which gave Nicolas and Kobe time to build an incredible landscape with Dutch inspired gnomes living in a tree trunk, and Nate and Steve the opportunity to create a lifesized sculpture depicting an adult’s inner child.

Dara O’Briain joined Matthew Ashton to select the winning team, who were crowned LEGO MASTERS. Nate and Steve took the prize, with both masterpiece models set to be displayed in the LEGO House.

This week’s Brick Fanatics panel of Jme, Séb and Graham watched the episode with a keen eye to see whether the judges got it right or wrong, and to share a few final thoughts on the first ever LEGO competitive talent TV show.

Séb

After four very entertaining episodes, this inaugural series of LEGO MASTERS is over. With three teams left they really had to give it their all as every brick counted.

The first challenge was a good one with the remaining teams tasked with creating builds based on a story from the wacky and wonderful imaginations of three children. I thought this was a great idea, and allowed the builders to really explore the surreal, but as each team is assigned one child it’s not quite a level playing field. That said, I thought all the teams made a pretty decent effort with their final builds considering how abstract the information was. Unfortunately only two teams could progress to the last round, meaning we said goodbye to engineering students James and Jamil. I think it was a good effort on their part, but the build wasn’t quite as impactful as it could have been and though they gave it a good shot, they were the right team to be knocked out in a respectable third place.

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The final round allowed the builders to really max out their skills, using everything they’ve picked up along the way to wow the judges. I absolutely loved the concept behind Nate and Steve’s build with the stressed man at a desk and his inner child playing on the floor. It was ambitious enough with the scale, but they also expertly incorporated movement such as the typewriter and jack-in-the-box.

Nicolas and Kobe were the last family standing with Kobe one of the youngest contestants competing in the whole competition. It was a unique idea to go for a build based on Dutch folklore, something that was obviously familiar to them, and allowed for a highly detailed and rather epic scene which also incorporated some movement. There was a lot more hidden detail than Nate and Steve’s model, but I don’t know if it had the same ‘wow’ factor on first glance as the life-sized humans in brick form. I’d certainly enjoy the opportunity to see it up close in the LEGO House and study it myself though.

Overall it was such a close call I really wasn’t sure which way Matthew and Dara Ó Briain would go. I had enjoyed both these teams throughout and their sense of fun and companionship as well as mastery of the brick was clear. I think it was possibly the concept behind the build from Nate and Steve, as well as solid execution week in, week out that got them a well-deserved win. That said, Nicolas and Kobe produced some stunning builds and should feel incredibly proud of their achievement and I’m sure it won’t be the last time we hear from them within the LEGO community.

The format of LEGO MASTERS got progressively better, but I do think if there is a second series they should only knock out one team per week, and stretch out the length with more episodes as well as more focus on the planning behind builds and discussing techniques used in the models. A great start for LEGO in the world of reality TV and I hope we don’t have to wait too long for another series.

Jme

Here we are at the end of the series, and I have to say, I’m a little disappointed. Not with the winners, as Nate and Steve demonstrated their skill time and again throughout the series, but with the cop out way the show handled the prize. The entire series has been leading up to the winners having their build displayed at the LEGO House. In the end both finalist teams ended up having their builds displayed there. That’s nice, I suppose, but it does take the wind out of it. It was also disappointing seeing James and Jamil eliminated after the first challenge this week. They’ve struggled a bit throughout the series, but it felt a little pointless having them move on to this round at all if they weren’t actually in the final.

If the producers are looking to do another series, there are definitely some things I would like to see them fix. For example, for the final challenge we are told the teams had ten days to complete their master builds. Is that ten full 24 hour cycles? A five hour day? Eight? Ten? We don’t know. Also, at one point Steve mentions he spent four or five days at home working on the design of his typewriter before the challenge. So how much time are the teams really getting to plan things out?

Melvin Odoom.

Steve also refers to ‘no longer following the instructions’, which we’re left to infer that they had things mostly – if not completely – planned out ahead of the still nebulous ten day build time. All of this important to factor in when making judgments about the final builds. Perhaps for most viewers, this lack of transparency in regards to the functioning bits of the show is unimportant. For me however, it’s a substantial issue. I’d also like for the elimination structure to be more consistent, with only one team being eliminated each round. It would be interesting to see how some of the teams who were eliminated in the early rounds would have handled later challenges.

Overall the show was certainly enjoyable enough, even with all of the reality TV trappings of overlong dramatic pauses and creative editing. The teams produced some really interesting solutions to the problems they were faced with. The children fared better than I think a lot of people expected, and didn’t seem to be pushed along simply to keep them on the show. Also it’s about Lego, so y’know, the show has that going for it.

Graham

The first round this week felt a little harsh, with the build time allowed extremely tight. The comments from Matthew Ashton were a little harsh considering the time crunch, which only really allowed the build teams to give a flavour of the stories they were recreating. It felt very close, and although Jamil and James made great little characters the rationale for sending them home seemed fair. Considering they are not on the LEGO convention display circuit, they have been very inventive and did well to achieve the final.

That left two almost annoyingly talented pairs to duke it out for the ultimate prize, although thankfully both masterpiece models will be displayed in the LEGO House which took the sting out of finishing in second place. When the two masterpiece builds were revealed, it was clear who the winners would be. Both builds were large, impressive models, but Nate and Steve’s build had an extra level of clarity to it that made it almost unbeatable.

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What Nate and Steve did was boil down the essence of what LEGO building is for an adult, which is an escape – often considered relaxing and even therapeutic – from the everyday frustrations and stresses off life. By representing so well the pressures of adulthood and responsibility, with the inner child literally having broken through the back of the chair, playing on the floor with recognisable toys, the talented pair executed the concept perfectly.

This combination of a concept that is intrinsically linked with the act of play and an extremely high quality build that was not over cluttered was exactly what was needed in the final stage of such a competition.  It demonstrated an understanding of what is special about LEGO building, and more importantly creativity and childlike joy in general. That is what has carried this duo throughout the contest, understanding the brief well very time – even when there was not one.

Of course the success of Nate and Steve is not to diminish the quality of Nicolas and Kobe’s build, which was full of imagination and whimsy. Seeing the small gnome characters, packed with personality, among the rustic landscape with lovely touches such as the water wheel was fantastic. It is a build that would be a stand out at any LEGO event, but just lacked that special idea that allowed Nate and Steve to pip them to the prize.

Both builds will be exciting to see when the LEGO House opens in a few short weeks, and these three AFOLs – and the AFOL in the making – have proven to be brilliant ambassadors for the LEGO brick, showing just what is possible, educating a wide audience on just how far LEGO elements can be pushed to create beautiful things.

LEGO MASTERS is over after four weeks of brick building action. You can relive the series with the Brick Fanatics coverage that has been published each week. Share your thoughts and impressions of the show in the comments below, on the Brick Fanatics Facebook page or @Brickfanatics on Twitter.

More LEGO MASTERS coverage:

Interview with LEGO MASTERS host Melvin Odoom

Episode 3, ‘Nature’ verdict – did the judges get it right?

Episode 3, ‘Nature’ review 

Episode 2, ‘Movement’ verdict – did the judges get it right?

Episode 2, ‘Movement’ review

Episode 1, ‘Brick Feast’ verdict – did the judges get it right?

Episode 1, ‘Brick Feast’ review

Meet the builders

LEGO SYSTEM A/S

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