Brick Fanatics counts down to the new series of LEGO MASTERS by speaking to each of the Series 2 build pairs. In this interview, father and son builders Paul and Lewis discuss their LEGO hobby
With LEGO MASTERS back on television for a second series, it is time to meet the builders who will be competing for bragging rights. Paul and Lewis are a father and son team with their eyes set on building the best LEGO models possible. To find out more about their experience with the brick, Brick Fanatics chats to the creative pair.
Are you LEGO fans?
Lewis: We are both fans of LEGO, but my dad’s involvement has mostly been through projects of mine, particularly when I was younger. In recent years, he has not had much involvement with the brick, but LEGO MASTERS was a chance for him to re-engage with the hobby.
Paul: We both love LEGO, growing up in the 1970s I had some LEGO but nowhere near the scale that Lewis does. I do remember seeing a minifigure for the first time.
How would you describe the kind of LEGO fan you are?
L: I love LEGO. I started at a young age, like many fans, and I really became more adept with bricks when I was around 12 or 13 years old. It was at this time that I found myself missing other activities most people my age were participating in, because of my physical disability. LEGO has been a constant in my life. Now my love of the brick had developed into both a hobby and an extreme interest in the company.
P: I only dip my toe into LEGO now and then these days, when Lewis was younger he would often ask me to build things for him, as he grew up and became more proficient at building he would only ask if things were on a grand scale or he thought it would be too difficult to build. I did get a LEGO set for Christmas about four years ago, 42043 Mercedes-Benz Arocs 3245, which kept me quiet for a few days. Hats off to whoever designed that gearbox!
What are your favourite things to build from LEGO?
L: I am the kind of LEGO fan who builds and collects. My true enjoyment comes from building, and finding new and inventive uses for parts. This been said, I do collect some sets. These are generally the sets that themselves use pieces in new and unusual ways, such as the creator expert line, and the ultimate collector’s series of sets. As a 17 year old, I can’t collect every set, so save and invest in the sets I feel are particularly unique.
P: I don’t really have a specific thing I like to build it generally revolved around what Lewis was up to. I have built minifigure scale bombed out streets for one of his projects, landing craft and tanks for another. I like building big – a minifigure scale UK style ambulance is still knocking around somewhere, it was meant to be a joint venture but Lewis got bored of finding the right bricks so it became a solo effort. He was only about eight at the time so I am quite proud that it is something he wants to keep hold of, and not harvest for the pieces.
Do you have any other creative hobbies?
L: I do not have many hobbies. I have briefly gained interest in other hobbies, such as building model kits, but they often end fairly quickly. I see LEGO building as my hobby and one that is diverse enough to consider as many hobbies, such as sci-fi building, building buildings, land vehicles and so on.
What made you apply to LEGO MASTERS?
P: We sat as a family and watched the first series and we kept saying to Lewis that he could do better than some of the contestants, and why hadn’t he entered? The series and was forgotten about until the notices started appearing earlier this year. We applied but the website crashed, we had to reapply and did so on the final day it was open.
L: What I do remember is watching the first series with my family, all of who insisted I could do what the teams were doing. This pushed me to apply. The only other person I knew at the time who could build with LEGO at all was my dad. My brother used to build, but stopped some time ago, only regaining some interest in the months after the auditions.
Had you ever built LEGO creations together before?
L: My dad and I have built together before, and I think my dad only built with me after his brief spell with LEGO in his childhood. The key projects I remember involved school, and my insistence of creating what we had learnt about over each of our projects. The first main one was a small, yellow pyramid (for the ancient Egyptians of course), as well as some other small projects. Towards the end of primary school, we build a bombed out street, from when we learnt about the blitz. I recall it been built on a 48X48 stud baseplate, and had terraced houses with missing roof tiles, and interiors. The main MOC I can recall was the theatre. We were studying theatres at school, so we built the outward façade of one, with proper seating and a stage. For the 60th anniversary of the brick, I am revisiting this project to celebrate my connection to it.
Did you do any preparation for the auditions?
P: We couldn’t really do anything to prepare for the auditions except think of things that we could build with the limited bricks and colours we knew we had.
How did you feel attending the auditions? Did you expect to succeed?
P: It was bizarre attending the auditions seeing so many LEGO fans in one place all with the intention of winning. We flew through the first challenge and actually managed to break up the spider and build a triffid style plant out of the brick separators. We were really happy with our lighthouse we built for the first audition and went home really confident. We were a little less so after the second audition as we didn’t get as much detail in the build as I had wanted.
L: We had no preparation for the first audition, except that we knew what we were building. We tried to plan it on LDD, which was disastrous as I prefer to get hands on with bricks. For the second audition, we needed some plans. The brief said that the build needed a sphere, which we had never built, so we made a template for reference. We also drew around the literal footprint for the boot, as part of our old woman who lived in a shoe build. A lack of planning has been our way through the competition, as it leaves us free to improvise.
How did you feel attending the auditions? Did you expect to succeed?
L: The first audition made us feel extremely confident, as our lighthouse build seemed to receive great feedback from other contenders. The second audition, not so much. The boot was over ambitious in scale, and choosing a realistic brown and black colour scheme left it lacking in visual interest. Fortunately, our lack of planning left us free to add a small interior, and a garden complete with giant mushroom which may have limited time spent on the boot, but added colour and story which may have helped us.
To see Paul and Lewis in action, tune into LEGO MASTERS from November 6 on Channel 4.