In season three, episode six of LEGO® Masters on Fox, contestants built epic pirate ships. This was probably one of my favorite episodes of all three seasons. I was quite the classic Pirates fan growing up. In any case, we caught up with Liz and Erin for an interview. Sadly, their pizza pirate ship had the Boston duo walking the plank after the challenge. We discussed their time on the show and their advice to other adult builders. As usual, this interview was a collaboration with Brickset and other fan media outlets.
How did you get into the hobby?
Erin: I got into it through supporting my family’s interests. As a family, we’ve been collecting for 18 years, but I was the enabler in my family. I was the one who was going to garage sales on weekends, picking up bulk bricks, and scoping out sales. But I got into it because I opened a LEGO® themed business running birthday parties and a small retail store. I found myself building displays for my store. I’ve always been a very artistic person, but that’s when LEGO® became my artistic medium, building displays for my windows. I started building little sets of my own that I could have events for and that kids could build to take home. I started to print up directions and put together the parts for all that. That’s where I started. From there I kept building more and more.
Liz: I grew up with LEGO®, the LEGO® Movie was my life. The first time I saw the LEGO® Movie, my jaw hit the floor and I was like: “there are others?!?” My brother had a two-car garage with a ginormous LEGO® city that was organized meticulously. I was not allowed to touch it. I’ve grown up with LEGO® my whole life… not playing with it.
When I had children, we got gateway LEGO® for my daughter, the little cases. She played with it and it was really cute. Then my son got it, and my son is obsessed. My son would go on safari at the age of three and look for Nexo Knights sets. I’d be buying stuff that I never even heard of. I had to go down the rabbit whole. My first favorite set was Jestro’s Volcano Lair. I built that sucker and was like: “this thing is SO COOL!”
I loved building for my kids. Then, the more I built, the more I went down the rabbit hole. The more I was on Bricklink and Brickset. Then I found Brick Nerd and SortLUG. One thing led to another, then COVID hit and it was great therapy for me. That’s how I got into it much later in life.
You had to make a big pivot about halfway through your last challenge. What is the biggest lesson you learned from that build?
Erin: We had an ‘unpacking the episode’ recently with the cast, and David said something which has really stuck with me. He said, “we only have enough time to build prototypes.” We didn’t have enough time to build what we would show at a convention. We had such a short amount of time. Otherwise, the pivot would not have been an issue. It was a time crunch. What we ended up pulling off in three hours, I’m so impressed with. I’m so happy with that we did. But it’s all prototypes.
Liz: That’s exactly it. With the dog challenge, we knew we had to figure something out, so we experimented in the beginning to figure out what’s going to have the best look. That paid off because the judges came over and said: “we love that you’re doing this.” For the pirate challenge, we didn’t prototype. We just ran with it because we were panicked for time. Everything is a prototype. If we had more time, we’d probably rip it up and fix it. That’s the biggest lesson, everything is a prototype and you can always take it apart and put it back together again… if you have time. That’s the beauty of LEGO®.
What was the biggest adjustment for you building on set versus building at home?
Erin: Running to the brick pit. I have a level of organization in my house, and I know where everything is. On the show, that learning curve never got a lot better. First episode, everyone was lost. After that, it was like: “I remember it is in this general direction.” I would just go and start pulling out drawers. That ate up time, it was tough.
Liz: I think a major adjustment was building with someone else. At home, I build by myself, or I build with my husband as my assistant. But building with someone else is like: “oh right, you have skills too!”
Erin: It was nice. It was: “what’s your strength? What’s my strength? How can we incorporate these two strengths and make something amazing?” That was fun.
What advice do you have for other adults who are getting into the LEGO® hobby?
Liz: Make a bigger savings account [laughs]. Always plan on more space when you’re making storage. For MOCing, never be surprised at what you can do with bricks. I love NPU. I love using random crap. For MOC building, I get very intimidated with “everyone’s already done this.” If you Google ‘waterfall’, you’ll find 20 other people have done a waterfall. But how can you make it your own? That might be one thing. How can you make something that someone has already done your own?
Erin: I always advise people not to be intimidated by what you see out there on social media. Everyday I open up Instagram and I see what people have built out of LEGO® and I’m like: “WHAT?!?” It’s so amazing. But just because that’s someone else’s LEGO® experience doesn’t mean you don’t get to have your own. You build whatever you want. If you like particular colors, just build with those colors. If you like to build things that move or mechs, just do your thing. There’s no wrong way to LEGO®. Even if you just like sorting, it’s still engaging with LEGO®.
What advice do you have for future LEGO® Masters contestants?
Liz: Definitely be yourself. Imposter syndrome is going to happen no matter what. You’re going to compare yourself to everyone else. Also, don’t be afraid to learn and try new things. I was so scared going on because I felt like I had not done enough. I felt like hadn’t done enough sculpting. Just try to learn new things. Don’t be afraid and don’t pigeonhole yourself.
Erin: I have to agree with that. I’ve actually had a few people ask me for information about how to get on the show. I always remind people that they have to build MOCs and to take lots of photos of those MOCs. That’s the first step. You have to show them that you can build, so you have to have the photos that you can upload. But then, try different techniques. I went through YouTube tutorials, read articles, and learned new things with the intention of getting on the show. I learned new techniques that I might not have tried otherwise. In hindsight, there are a few that I hadn’t thought of, like pirate ships [laughs].
A huge thanks to Liz and Erin for this interview. It was great to chat and hear about their experiences on the show and in the hobby in general. You can continue following their LEGO® journeys on social media! Check out Erin Laundry (@folkiebrick) and Liz Puleo (@lizpbuilds) on Instagram. You can also catch up on everything that’s happened in season three with our complete coverage, complete with team interviews. LEGO® Masters airs Wednesday nights at 9:00 pm EST on FOX and CTV.
Until next time,
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