The LEGO community is full of people doing amazing things with LEGO, and it’s really hard to keep up with it all. The Builder Spotlight series is back, and I’m going on a bit of a tangent this time, with an interview with Bailey Fullarton. Bailey is well known in the Australian LEGO community as a collector of rare and obscure LEGO items. He has amassed an incredible collection, and we’re going to take a look at it, and get to know him more as well.
Tell me a bit about yourself!
Okey doke, I’m newly 21 years old, currently officially in Queensland LEGO User group, but unofficially a member wherever I’m tagged on Facebook.
How did your love of LEGO come about, and how long have you been a fan?
The earliest memory I have with LEGO is when I broke my leg not long after my 4th birthday. With a thigh high cast, and chicken pox at the same time, it’s safe to say I wasn’t the most relaxed kid at the time. The only thing that would take my mind off the situation at hand was this small Tupperware container of bricks my brother had. This stuff was good, it got me hook, line and sinker. I’ve been a fan ever since! In fact, my only pseudo-dark ages came when I had to knuckle down a bit for school and the bricks went back in the cupboard for a few months a year.
Did you go through the dreaded Dark Ages, and if so, what brought you out?
I’d always kept in touch with LEGO anyway, in these quiet spots. It may come as a shock to most but I’ve been in and around the online LEGO community for a good decade as well, I’m a MOCpages and Brickshelf Explorer from way back, and LUGnet once I figured out its controls. I was in the very first round of beta testing on the LEGO Universe game, and had a chance every now and then to speak to the NetDevil developers. I was from a time where you used to be able to purchase what you build on LEGO Digital Designer too, wicked!
Wow! Old school! I was definitely in my Dark Ages then. How did you start collecting LEGO?
I started collecting LEGO in my current interpretation of the word, probably around 2014. Year 12 in high school, my grades are pretty sweet, and I had just happened upon a Eurobricks thread pertaining to these weird bricks that were LEGO, but didn’t have LEGO on the studs. Test bricks of some sort? With my fascination in the production side of things and how things work and come to be, I knew this was a good thing to delve into.
And what a dive it was! Test bricks led me into non-production 2×4 bricks, which helped shape my almost complete colour chart, the most complete in the country at least. The test bricks also led me into the era in which they first came about, the early/mid 60s. The Town Plan, winding back into the HO-Scale vehicles, further into the earliest sets, and the slotted bricks. Every path I’ve taken has been a huge tree branching out and all connect by some other related limb, in what is at least to me, a fairly logical series of events.
Do you have a favourite LEGO theme or subject matter?
My favourite LEGO theme is probably somewhere between Exo-Force and Fantasy Era Castle. Right in the middle of my childhood, with a fascination in history and medieval fantasy/fact (and an avid Runescape player. Ladies, 214 DAYS play time, keep the queue organised), and a recent binge on anime, as is the norm nowadays, these two themes were the perfect series I could sink my head and teeth into.
My favourite subject matter would have to be the good old marbled bricks. They’re like the forbidden fruit of the extended test-brick collecting community. They’re terrible to get into, but so alluring. They look spectacular, and each purchase is usually accompanied by a story. For example, I own a particularly rare marbled slotted brick, a beautiful white brick from the early 50s with a big lime green streak through it. That is one of only three known bricks of this specific mould known to still exist. I know the owners of the other two and we’re good friends, but I can’t help but think they would make great keys to the LEGO equivalent of the pirate brethren court!
How do you find out about these rare and wonderful items?
I find all of my information through networking with other collectors, and just trawling through various pages. Lots of websites with information are only in Danish, German, Swedish, Dutch, etc. I end up just getting pretty good at Google translate. The information is out there, you just have to actually bother to look. No more “what’s the Bricklink listing for this part that could be looked up in possible sets in less than a minute” for me anymore!
What is something you don’t have in your collection that you would love to have?
I’m the sort of person that once locked onto a collecting target, I will reshift focus completely and move heaven and earth to acquire it if it’s feasibly possible. This is the case for many items in my collection. There will of course be things that I will likely never purchase in the next decade either due to cost, or to availability. The quacking wooden duck that everyone who knows LEGO’s early history knows about is on the list as a ‘some day’ item, and I would love to get it, but I have other things to invest my time and money in right now.
How can we keep up to date with what you’re working on and what you’ve done?
I post high resolution photography of most of the stuff I collect on my Flickr album. It’s not just uber rare stuff. I just like to document a whole host of things I do; LEGO-related digital artwork, renders, MOCs, anything worth sharing really. It’s a great spot to keep track of where my head is at, at any one moment. swirly bricks one week, a LEGOLAND bomber jacket from before I was born in new condition the next!
Finally, any advice for fellow LEGO fans or collectors?
One point of advice I would give to people wanting to get into the sort of collecting I do, or even just non-current retail set collecting is to talk! Talk about it, talk to people, get to know people. Help one another, don’t become that recluse with the reputation for dining and dashing on information or advice. This community of individuals is ripe for use, but also abuse, so don’t become the competition, become the ally!
Bailey, thanks very much for letting us peek into your phenomenal collection! I’d definitely recommend following Bailey on Flickr – the collection items that pop up on there are very exciting to see!