What is your first memory as a LEGO fan? What age were you?

As a lifelong fan, many of my fondest early memories are LEGO related. I was just four when I built my first set, it was 6809-1 the XT-5 and Droid. By the following Christmas in 1989, my wish list contained nothing but LEGO and I was lucky enough to receive the Caribbean Clipper (6274), the Eldorado Fortress (6276-1), the Forbidden Island (6270-1) and the Forestmen’s River Fortress (6077-2). It was such an amazing haul; I was building nonstop throughout the holidays. I really wish I still had those sets!

The inspiration to build my own LEGO city came later – during a trip to LEGOLAND Windsor in 1996, I was absolutely blown away by the Miniland attraction. From then on, I was determined to one day create my own version.”

Miniland was definitely inspiring as a young LEGO fan – I wanted to go home and recreate all of the trains I saw!

What’s your favourite LEGO set? Why?

Brickset - Black Seas Barracuda LEGO set

“My Brick-Morpork project crosses over the LEGO and Discworld fandoms and one of the questions I often pose to the community is, what is your favourite Discworld book? Asking an AFOL to name their favourite LEGO set is an equally difficult question to answer!

There are a couple of sets on my wish list that immediately come to mind as ones that I would love to build, the classic Black Seas Barracuda (6285) and the Rivendell set (10316). In terms of sets that I have owned, I was a huge fan of the Crusaders King’s Mountain Fortress (6081) and, more recently, the Horizon Forbidden West Tallneck (76989). I haven’t actually played the PlayStation game but I still think it makes a really eye-catching display piece.”

However, if I really had to pick just one as my ultimate favourite LEGO set then I would have to choose the LEGO House Exclusive 40504 – A Minifigure Tribute. It was a really fun build with some brilliant easter eggs and it is a great display piece. This set has huge nostalgia value for me as Redbeard was always one of my favourite minifigures. I spent my 40th birthday at the LEGO House earlier this year (a gift from my wife) and it is very special to have this set as a reminder of a fantastic day spent at the home of LEGO in Billund.

Image: Brickset.com

LEGO fan model

You have a model on LEGO Ideas, based on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series – tell us about it?

My model on LEGO Ideas is a tribute to the late Sir Terry Pratchett and his series of 41 Discworld fantasy novels, it is called Discworld’s Unseen University Library.

LEGO Anhk Morpork mode on LEGO Ideas - Unseen Library

“The Unseen University is located in the infamous city of Ankh-Morpork on the Disc, a flat planet balanced on the back of four elephants, standing on the shell of a giant turtle named Great A’Tuin. It is home to the greatest wizards on the Discworld, and one or two of the worst! The grounds of the University are permeated with magic, with a particularly high concentration inside the library where there is a connection to every collection of books in the Multiverse.

The project took around eight months to design and create. I wanted to try to capture the feeling of the library, that fans of the series would love, in a display piece with easter eggs such as the .303 bookworm; a small creature that has evolved (in the highly magically charged environment of the Unseen University) to eat books at incredibly high speeds, it can often be found shooting out of books and ricocheting off walls. There is also a tentacle reaching through the bookshelves from the dark and dangerous Dungeon Dimensions and the main figure is that of the much-loved character, Rincewind. He is, for a time, assistant to the head librarian, a wizard who has turned into an orangutan (and resisted any attempt to reverse the spell). The Orangutan can be seen sitting on his desk, surrounded by crates of bananas. Other nods to Sir Terry include the addition of his famous black hat and a bust.

Since LEGO Ideas allows the addition of custom sticker elements, I have updated the initial submission to include some of these to give Rincewind his famous wizZard hat and robe decoration, and have updated the composition to change one of the banana crates into The Luggage – Rincewind’s homicidal travelling companion and a firm favourite among Discworld fans.

My LEGO Ideas model isn’t the first Discworld themed build to be submitted and the chances of it being selected might be a million-to-one, but as any Discworld fan will know:

“Scientists have calculated that the chances of something so patently absurd actually existing are millions to one. But magicians have calculated that million-to-one chances crop up nine times out of ten.”
(Mort)

You can support the Ankh Morpork project on LEGO Ideas here.”

It really is a superb model – every time I look, I can see more details and references to the books.

What have you found to be the most challenging aspect of the LEGO Ideas process?

“I wouldn’t have submitted my build to LEGO Ideas without the support and encouragement of the Brick-Morpork community, they gave me the confidence to give it a go. Although the Brick-Morpork fans appreciate my work from an aesthetic and story-telling perspective, taking the leap into sharing my work with the wider LEGO community left it open to critique from a more technical point of view.”

“As it turns out, I needn’t have worried – the build has gained over 5,000 supporters in just over a month and has been featured as a Staff Pick. I have had some lovely feedback from the LEGO Ideas Community, I would encourage anyone to give it a go!”

Who in the LEGO community inspires you?

I am inspired by anyone and everyone who shares their LEGO creations. I would definitely recommend all LEGO fans to check out the work of Eero Okkonen (Instagram: @eerookkonen) who designs and builds incredible LEGO figures, my favourite of which is ‘Windle Poons’ who comes from the Discworld series. Although the builds are very different to my own, the innovative use of parts and amazing attention to detail are what I strive to achieve in my own creations.”

Wow, Eero has some great creations! Particularly love the folk singer figure.

LEGO fan model

What’s your favourite LEGO element? Why?

“Another very difficult question! My building style uses lots of combinations of parts in order to add texture and an element of realism so to narrow it down to just one piece is very tricky. I think I will have to say the humble 2×4 brick since, to me, it will always be the defining LEGO piece.

It is instantly recognisable worldwide and acts as a great reminder of why LEGO started and why millions of people have fallen in love with it, the possibilities are endless. When I get stuck with a build or need some time to think then playing with a few 2×4 bricks can be a great stress relief.”

If you could bring back a past LEGO theme, what would it be? Why?

Aquazone LEGO set 6175 - Crystal Explorer Sub - image from Brickset.com

My three favourite LEGO themes are Space, Castle and Pirates so it has been wonderful to see that all of these have been featured recently in some kind of icons or GWP set. I would love to see the resurfacing (pun unashamedly intended!) of some Aquazone sets or maybe a cool underwater scene featuring the Crystal Explorer Submarine. I’m drawn to the marine theme and really like the bright colours of the submarines. This question has actually got me thinking about how amazing a MOC would be of a sunken pirate ship being investigated by an Aquazone submarine…”

Image: Brickset.com

What’s your favourite LEGO minifigure of all time?

LEGO minifigure - Captain Red Beard - image from Brickset.com

My favourite official minifigure is Redbeard because, with his peg leg and hook, he was so different to any of the other minifigures in the 80’s. Nowadays of course there is such a huge variety, which I really love, and I appreciate the efforts made by LEGO to improve representation with a more inclusive and diverse range of minifigures.

I tend to use real LEGO parts for any Discworld character that I create but, at the beginning, I did attempt to paint my own figure. So unofficially, my favourite would be my custom minifigure of the character Rincewind. He is a one-off with many, many imperfections but they just make me love him all the more.”

 Image: Brickset.com

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