Ryan ‘Brickman’ McNaught counts down the top 5 Lego Masters builds


Brickman says: “What’s amazing is the sheer scale of this model. It’s roughly three times the size of Poseidon. I was instantly attracted to the big purple house on top, where the evil scientist lives, right on top of a craggy mountain, at eyeline level, and then there’s the story. You can look at that model for the best part of half an hour and still not see everything. Minifigs are the chief storyteller in the vast majority of our builds and the options they give you are great. Everyone who plays with Lego has minifigures, so that makes a story instantly relatable. Those guys really pushed that. They’re panicking, hands in the air, funny faces. There are so many little stories. It was the culmination of all the different things they’d done. If you look at all the previous challenges across different areas, this was the first time they’d put it all together in one build.”

Strum King – 80s Rock Star by Owen & Scott (season three)

For Brickman, this interpretation of an original arcade game was a home run with loaded bases.

The challenge: In Arcade Game, contestants had 12 hours to build an original arcade game based on a blind minifig choice

Brickman says: “The main reason this blew me away was the technical challenges that Scott and Owen overcame to make that thing work. It actually lit up, it did things, there was a sequence to the way those things happened. The way they achieved that I had never seen done before. If there was ever a home run with the bases loaded it was that one. Looking back at that one, we went on the ride with them – ‘What’s going to happen here?’ It was either going to be the most incredible epic fail or be unbelievable. Technical builds take up a lot of time on the clock and require a lot of trial and error – none of which they had. The hardest part of Lego Masters is asking our contestants to be creative on the spot. That’s really hard. With the pressure they’re under the only way you can do that is if you’re enjoying yourself.”

Tiger in a Tree by David & Gus (season three)

Building Tiger in a Tree, David and Gus were up against creativity, design, engineering and gravity.

Building Tiger in a Tree, David and Gus were up against creativity, design, engineering and gravity.

The challenge: For Out on a Limb, teams had 10 hours to dress an empty tree branch

Brickman says: “This was a game changer for Lego Masters. We simulate all the challenges ourselves before the contestants do and we have a fair idea of what they’re capable of doing, but I would never have attempted that myself. As well as creativity and design our contestants were up against engineering and gravity. The risk was off the charts. Does someone simulate being Hamish in our tests? That is cruel and unusual punishment and we would never do that to anyone. With the tiger, not only does the features of a face have to look right – the eyes, the nose – it’s also about the emotion. Think of us as humans: a slight movement of an eyebrow can give a whole different response. Raising the corner of your mouth changes a look from angry to smirk. Often our contestants play with one brick and move it around to get different types of emotions. That’s the next level.”

The Forest by David & Gus (season three)

The decision to not use minifigs made “The Forest” a next-level challenge.

The decision to not use minifigs made “The Forest” a next-level challenge.

The challenge: For the grand final, teams again had 28 hours to reflect integral technical criteria through a design of their choice

Brickman says: “Minifigs are the Lego world and that’s what everybody knows. To make a very distinct choice not to be in that world, I won’t say you’re tying your hands before your back, but it’s a couple of fingers at least. You’re not using something everyone relates to. That pushes the build into a different realm, and in this case it becomes a still life or a painting. The anticipation of the wolves coming, the look on the faces of the deer, really pushes the difficulty level into the stratosphere. This captures a split second and what you’re doing, as part of the story, is imagining what the next scene might be. You worry for the deer. Will they escape? What’s going to happen? That’s the story playing out. With the white speckling they are essentially creating a painting, so if you do that you have to make it accurate as you possibly can. If you start getting things wrong, or make it chilly with the wrong colours, it’s going to detract from the moment. The Brick Pit took quite a beating in that episode. They used every type of tree part we had. There was nothing green or brown left after that build.”

Lego Masters is on 9Now. A new season starts on Nine on Monday, April 18, 7.30pm.

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