LEGO Masters Australia is now long finished, but there’s still a lot of discussion around the show, the contestants and the incredible builds they produced. It’s been brilliant to watch the show, and I’m still a little sad it’s finished, so I thought I’d keep that excitement going.
During the last week, I’ve been lucky enough to have a good chat with a few of the finalists, and it was a lot of fun! I chatted with the winners, Henry & Cade, as well as Bilsy & Kale, David, and Jordan.
It’s a solid chat, so grab a cuppa, get comfy, and read on to find out what we talked about.
BB: Firstly, a massive congratulations to everyone involved with LEGO Masters! It was an awesome three weeks of TV. I’m sure a lot of people are wondering though – what was the audition process like?
Cade: For the audition, we were told we’d get three hours to build whatever we wanted, and we’d be judged on story, aesthetics, and technical ability. We were warned however, that there would be a twist on the day.
When we got there, there was already a group of five to six pairs building in the next room, and we had to wait. When we got in we were told what the twist was (BB – sorry, no spoilers!), and we built in the room with other teams, each with an identical set of parts.
They had a camera person there, and asked us questions as we built. Afterwards we talked one on one with the producer, and discussed LEGO!
Bilsy: I walked in, did the splits, dropped the mic, and was flown to Melbourne the next day…
Kale: We went in with a plan, the plan went off the rails, we threw away the plan, and improvised! Everything turned out okay in the end. Kind of like being on the show, really!
BB: It’s probably good that it’s accurate to what you’d experience on the show then! Kale, how did it go off the rails?
Cade: He went Kale scale…
Kale: Haha nah, we had gone in with a plan for a specific type of build, utilising brickbending, and then the bricks they presented us with had around a dozen 1×2 plates total. It’s worth saying for the AFOLs that are thinking of applying, building skills was only one of the things they looked for in the audition.
Cade: Just on that though, only the good builds got to met with the producer at our audition, but it was a lot of fun!
Jordan: It also took a pretty long time. It was probably six months from finding about (getting on) the show to when recording started.
BB: What did everyone build for their audition?
Bilsy: A desk sized pinball table.
Dave: G & I did Jack and the Beanstalk.
Kale: We did a couple of figures similar to the image below, based on my partner and I. They were standing on an A-tuin inspired creature looking through a telescope across a mountain that incorporated a revolving sphere.
Cade: We build a boy riding a rocket made from cardboard boxes being held in the air by a half dozen colorful balloons. Below the scene we made a microscale town for a bit of forced perspective and the backdrop transitioned from rolling hills through a sunset to a night’s sky.
Henry: We did a hand grabbing a basket of fruit.
BB: Wow, they sound like fantastic builds! It’s a shame we’ll never be able to see them. Ok, you’ve gotten through to be on the show. What was the first thing you did after finding out you were in?
Cade: I double checked my wife was still ok with holding the fort down for 10 weeks, then packed my bags! I was super excited.
Dave: I waited a little bit in case G hadn’t had the call yet. When he came up to me a little later, we were like “oh s**t!”. I told the wife when I got home, and she didn’t believe me!
Kale: I was devastated that I wouldn’t be able to go through with my original partner, but said yes anyway. I kept it under my hat. I didn’t tell anyone for two days!
I then had other people in the LEGO community congratulate me on getting through, because they’d seen someone else’s acceptance letter! That was awkward…
Bilsy: I got the call that my partner and I had made it. He had to pull out because he was having a kid at the time of filming, but they still really wanted me in and said they were going to find me a partner. A week or so later they told me Kale was my partner.
BB: And the rest is history! By now the readers may have realised that it’s not a single session of building (as you would have passed out!). You would have had meal breaks and sleep, but did you get time for a cuppa during a build? I can’t build without one!
Dave: Nope, no cuppas! Just a lunch break, that’s it. We had water and lollies on set, but they were long days.
Cade: They were very much on top of looking after us during builds, but yeah, just keeping hydrated, and chocolate!
Kale: Oh, make no mistake, they were long builds, but then 15 hours straight of building is frankly my idea of heaven, so…
BB: Haha me too! How were the fingertips and the back though? My back can get pretty sore after a solid LEGO build session.
Dave: Me personally, never better! It’s so much easier than my line of work. Calluses were coming off and my back was enjoying nothing heavy to lift!
Cade: My fingers were sore after the tree build, but after that I was fine. My back was sore on the last build. Brick building the wave on that massive baseplate was tough – constantly reaching over!
BB: Ouch. Were you able to choose a smaller baseplate?
Cade: Nope, I asked.
BB: Bummer. How much regular interaction did you get with Hamish and Ryan? Did they stick around during filming? Were they offering helpful advice and/or cracking jokes?
Jordan: We’d see Hamish and Ryan when they were on set, and after we finished filming each episode they’d come and have a bit of a chat with us.
Dave: They would come in for a visit every hour or two, maybe on set for 15 minutes at a time. Normally they’d chat to all teams for a bit of an update. Hamish would normally go in for the laughs and overview, and Brickman would give you input good or bad. They’d also do those chats in the corner together without us hearing.
Cade: Hamish could also be found in the brickpit building things.
Dave: You mean stealing!
Cade: Ha! I didn’t want to say it…
Dave: He’s openly admitted it to the public already. I’m sure he’ll return it all for season two!
BB: There’s a lot of parts in the Brick Pit, but what parts were not available that you wished were there?
Cade: Making minifigures took forever, as searching for just the right expression in the containers of heads took forever! After the tree build though, it was easy enough to find construction workers – I’d built 50 of them!
Kale: As someone who might be a bit spoilt for choice of minifigures from day to day, the minifigure collection was limited. There were also a lot of odd parts missing. We only had one side of the wedge plates for the first new builds, or the new window arch, but not the arch that it goes with.
But that’s competition right? Adapt and overcome.
Jordan: Yeah, during the first episode it was either left or right wings that were missing that really sucked, but we had most of the essentials. Nothing too fancy when it came to Technic though!
Dave: My biggest gripe wasn’t so much the variety, but when we did the bridge build, all the Technic pins were mixed together and it took ages to sort them out and pick out the ones we needed. Also, to back Cade up there, the minifigs on the walls were not really useable for some builds. They were just thrown together, like girl faces with guys hair and mismatched outfits.
Cade: Oh my god, the Technic pins. That was insane.
Bilsy: The Technic pins were the worst!
Dave: When you use a few hundred it strains the eyes.
BB: I never have enough 1x and 2x bricks. I guess there was plenty of each type?
Cade: Yeah general bricks were practically in endless supply.
Bilsy: And then the 1×1 drawers kept splitting open and mixing!
Kale: 2.5 million bricks sounds like a lot, but, for any given build there were probably 50,000 bricks in use at any given table. That adds up quick, and there were definitely shortages. It’s just something you have to improvise with. And then you build something big in grey, they bring the bricks to you!
BB: Oh, you had runners? Well, Jordy clearly didn’t – what a machine!
Bilsy: Haha he’s talking about our Delorean. They brought out the main supply of grey from the back.
BB: The Kale scale stash!
Kale: Oh, there was an awesome team behind the sorting. Super helpful peeps, who were very friendly. Can not praise their hard work and helpfulness enough.
Dave: There was no runners for bricks on set. They would refill the brick pit of certain basic bricks from the overflow supply room as they were emptied. Think 2x4s, 2x3s, 2x2s etc.
BB: Right. From some of the footage of you guys scooping them out, that would have been often!
Kale: Oh, they worked hard. Never let us help either, though I certainly offered. I felt so guilty about the mess I left behind each time.
BB: There were some great challenges, but were there any that you came up with that would have been fun to do?
Henry: Yeah a Mech challenge.
Kale: A Rube Goldberg challenge!
Henry: A challenge where only one partner builds.
Bilsy: Or one partner builds half, and then swaps and the other finishes.
BB: Cool! Pass the MOC…
Cade: I was expecting more of that kind of thing.
Henry: Building for a kid’s birthday.
Jordan: I would have loved to see a big team up – 4 teams vs 4 teams.
Dave: I would have liked to have seen a robot wars challenge using Mindstorms or remote control.
Bilsy: Yeah! That would have been sick.
Dave: Winner takes immunity.
BB: We need to tell the producers this stuff. It’s TV gold!
Dave: Only for a price…
Bilsy: $100K sounds fair!
BB: Did you take any souvenirs?
Dave: I have two pieces. A burnt 2×2 from the space explosion, and a crushed cross frame from the bridge build, where a kettlebell crushed it.
Jordan: I took a few minifigures and a seagull, but that’s all.
Kale: These were my souvenirs – dynamited bricks (who knew LEGO was dynamite proof!), a brick from the bridges, and Bacon Barry (who has a secret story).
BB: What build was your all time favourite? It can be from any team, including your own.
Henry: The cut in half violin, and Poseidon.
Dave: I’m torn between the dog fight and Jaws.
Jordan: I loved Henry & Cade’s violin. They did amazing with the time we had.
Cade: I’d second what Henry said.
Henry: The Wild West build inspired me big time though. It really showed me what I was missing out on! I had never built a building out of LEGO until that point.
Kale: At some point it’s apples and oranges, and I can say something awesome about every one of the builds on the show. I will say though, that Delorean build was some of the best fun I’ve had in my life.
Bilsy: As a team, my favourite was the robot evil lair, but of all the other builds? The violin was sick.
BB: Ok, a more personal question – what is your all time favourite LEGO set?
Cade: 6285 Black Seas Barracuda.
Kale: Tough, but I’m going to say Set 6363. It was my first ever LEGO set, and building it with my grandpa is one of my few happy childhood memories. He passed away not long after, and so it’s also one of my dearest memories of him too. So set 6363, because that’s the one that began my LEGO journey.
Jordan: It would probably be the Saturn V. It’s a great value for money kit that teaches you heaps about techniques.
Bilsy: Best set of all time is a fairly new one – the Technic Porsche. It’s what I was building most nights while filming every show and just loved every bit.
Dave: My favourite kit is 8421 Mobile Crane. I have two, but they are currently absorbed by my large drill rig model.
Henry: My favourite set is the UCS Slave I. It’s the only set I have on display!
BB: Some excellent sets there! What would you want to build if you had a chance to do another free build?
Henry: That’s a hard one. I think our final build was very special, and a lot of people have said that they couldn’t replicate it. So for me, I wouldn’t have done anything different.
Jordan: Probably my main ship a bit smaller, to allow for more story elements.
Cade: That’s a tough question, I think a big part of the free build and anything on LEGO Masters is that it’s a collaborative build, so you are trying to achieve something together and take both parties strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes in to consideration. I’m still thinking what I would make, given the opportunity.
Dave: I would have liked to build something geographical. Like a landmark or place.
Kale: What I’d do in another free build? Well, that one’s a secret. but I’m around 20 hours total in, and it’ll likely be on display at Brickvention.
Cade: Ok, I’m a huge fan of pirate LEGO. I’d love to make a massive skull carved into the side of a cliff that a ship could sail through it’s mouth. On the other side is a ‘pirate cove’ – a town built of broken shipwrecks, where they’re all partying.
Bilsy: I reckon a trojan horse cross sectioned going into the gates, but big enough, so the horse is a lot like the apartment build. There would be a functioning weapons factory / training facility inside.
BB: Oh, exciting! Ok, last question – what’s next after LEGO Masters?
Dave: Well, LEGO wise, to complete a build for Bricktober Perth is my main aim! I need a brick pit.
Kale: I’d be remiss if I didn’t get in a quick plug for my new website: www.frostbricks.com. Also just beginning a YouTube “Tips and Tricks” series for budding builders, no matter their age. And there’s a lot of other cool, LEGO related and top secret stuff too.
Bilsy: Same with me – LEGO content-heavy vlogs.
Jordan: Which project?
Henry: You know which one.
Cade: A flying magic carpet car.
Bilsy: The octopus that explodes.
Cade: And a gatling gun genie lamp.
Henry: Bingo! All my IP now.
Cade: I honestly don’t know where Henry gets his inspiration from. It’s just so good! So original.
BB: It’s an exploding octopus riding a magic carpet holding a lamp gatling gun.
Jordan: I’ve never heard of any of these before.
Henry: And fighting a dragon.
BB: All at Kale scale!
Cade: For me, I’m getting ready for BrisBricks expo this weekend, just finished remaking the Pollinator (bee) for Miss Beehave (bee girl). I’ve made mini bee drones for her construction workers too. After that I have even more exciting LEGO related things coming up!
Kale: I’ll add my weekend will be spent building Kale-Scale commissions. But, gotta keep ’em a little secret, as they were commissioned for someone’s birthday.
Thanks very much to Cade, Henry, Kale, Bilsy, Jordan and Dave for having a chat! I’m looking forward to what comes next for you guys.