The dynamic mother and son duo from LEGO® Masters reached the top five of season three. However, they were sadly eliminated after the Marvel Masters challenge. Along with other LEGO® fan media, I caught up Emily and Liam for an interview. We chatted about their time on the show and some of the major challenges they faced towards the end. They also gave some insight on some of their prouder moments and their tips on how to get into the LEGO® hobby.
Your last challenge on the show was a tough one. Can you tell us what it was like for you?
Liam: That was a very intense moment. There were a bunch of factors that lead up to that point. One was that my mom had pre-built all these sky sections that we were planning on putting up. Unfortunately, the missile took me so long , I didn’t have as much time to help put those up. When we got to putting them up, we were going so quickly that we ended up putting a couple in the wrong places.
Then, as we were trying to get that back to attach to the base, the studs weren’t lining up correctly. It was a very weird problem because in theory it all should have lined up. The background that we were using was so long. There are a lot of studs along there for it to have incremental errors that add up on the base. Something about it wasn’t going together correctly. I think that was when it was most intense because we were like: “This isn’t working, but it should be working!”
Emily: That actually lead to the panic, and we lost time in there. The edit doesn’t show how much time we struggled with that, getting it to attach right. Then, that’s when we made some missteps in putting up the panels for the wall and not getting everything quite right. It wasn’t a straight wall backdrop like any of the other builds. There was something that had to come through it, and it had to seam up beautifully. It was a struggle, and it was the end of our longest stay of building on set in those 10 episodes. To be honest, it was not our favorite. We didn’t love what we were assigned to build, and weren’t feeling that creative flow. We had our hands a little bit tied with what we were allowed to do on that build. That was a struggle for us.
How does that Marvel challenge compare to other episodes? Was it more stressful than most?
Liam: It was definitely, by far, the most stressed we’ve been on the show. The only thing that came close to it was the dog episode, when we were trying to build Tank. But we had the golden brick at that point, so we were not nearly as worried. This was definitely the most stressed we were. I think it was partly because of the build up of stress over 10 episodes, the long hours, and the intense builds were catching up a bit. It felt like a lot of things weren’t in our favor in that episode in terms of our build. We were struggling a bit.
Emily: There were a number of things going on. We had actually dedicated our castle build to a family member who had passed away. Their funeral was the day that we finished building the castle. When you’re on LEGO® Masters, you are kind of in this bubble. You live there, you eat there, you barely sleep there. You’re in two places almost the whole time, the hotel, and the set. Life goes on without you outside that bubble. It was a little hard for me in that moment knowing that there’s my husband with the younger two sons, trying to juggle it all, and now his stepfather has just passed away. There was just so much going on.
Emotionally, I do think going into episode 10, I was feeling the distance. In the Danish version of the show, they shoot for three days in a week. That’s one episode. Then they have four days off. They get to go see their families; they get to have work-life balance. Can we just say that Europeans are better at it than Americans. We didn’t have that luxury, and it can start to catch up with you.
At one point, I remember waiting to see if they could find the bricks that we needed. We needed thousands of the flat blue ones. There was a big lull, like hours, waiting to figure out will we have these bricks? In that time, I remember feeling there wasn’t enough to be working on, because there was only sky and the missile to work on. It was hard to feel like my head was in the game in the same way. Others had much smaller scenes that they had to recreate. Everything they built out around it was open to interpretation. So, there was a little bit more creative latitude in there. That’s where I think we enjoyed LEGO® building much more on the show.
The short answer is definitely, for sure. We knew that we weren’t the only ones seeing that ours was not exactly the epic movie moment that would have been great to build. I counted up the hours that we built on LEGO® Masters the other day. I was just curious, and it was 106 hours. When I think about that, the 90-some hours before episode 10 were overall really amazing. We woke up every day ready to build LEGO®. We were excited to be there. Of the 106 hours, that last hour, or even the last 12, were not representative of the fun we had on the show. Mostly, it was really a blast, and we were super motivated and excited to be building.
You mentioned that the brick pit didn’t always have the items you were looking for. Did that ever force you to come up with creative solutions or NPU (nice parts usage) you were particularly proud of?
Liam: That’s a great question. As far as pieces that felt like they were missing goes, one challenge was angle plates, or wedge plates. They frequently would have one side, like left or right, but not the other side in a certain color or whatever size you were looking for. We would have to figure out creative ways to make that other side. Sometimes it was using bigger plates or smaller plates and using a bunch of them. Our pirate ship sails, which had to be even on both sides, were a challenge.
As far as creative parts usage goes, I would have to say that last Marvel build, actually. On that missile, we used capes to fill in some odd-shaped gaps. There was this line of lights that runs along the side of the missile. It goes from being thin to having this wider gap between the two lights. There isn’t a LEGO® piece that would fit in that gap. So, we used black capes to fill that space and give it a nice, clean look because they can fill that odd shape.
Emily: For some reason that just reminds me of the Mosasaurus, the gaping mouth. There was that hole that we hadn’t yet fully brick built. I created a bunch of black and slid it in as best I could to close that up. But, you couldn’t use a bunch of black flats behind that space that Liam is describing and have it work the same way. There was so little space in there with the lights. Honestly, all the angles on that missile that Liam masterminded. I was helping him build, but he’d say “Okay, I’ve done this, can you make me 10 of those?” I was like: “Okay, sure, no problem.” LEGO® is not designed to build something with that many different angles. There are angles going in multiple planes. That was really a big puzzle to figure out.
What advice do you have for adults just getting into the LEGO® hobby?
Liam: Well, I’ve never been out of the hobby. If I were to guess what it would be like, I would say just choose something that is really fun for you. Whether you like LEGO® Technic, or LEGO® Star Wars, or LEGO® Friends. Whatever that in point is, just have fun with it. If you just want to build sets, that’s great. If you want to try building your own stuff, you can get pieces in Classic sets, bulk, or just take apart anything you already have and just play around with it. But honestly, building sets can teach you so much. Whatever you have the most fun with.
Emily: It’s so true. And if you love all the themes and don’t know where to start, it never hurts to start with a Creator set. You know, you get your 3-in-1, and it teaches you how you can use the same parts to create something that turns out really different. But I agree with Liam. Definitely go with whatever speaks to your heart. If you are jazzed about an Architecture set or whatever, just go for it. You can have a lot of fun also taking it apart and rebuilding it. See how much you can rebuild from memory. Challenge yourself in different ways. There are so many ways to enjoy LEGO®.
There’s more on the way!
While the LEGO® Masters season might be over, we’ve still got a few interviews lined up with the contestants from this past season. We’ll be sharing comments and thoughts from the top four teams in the coming weeks, so stayed tuned for more LEGO® Masters goodness. Finally, a huge thanks to Emily and Liam for taking the time to chat with us. You can check out more from the mother-son team on their Instagram profiles. For Emily, check out @legomomemily, and for Liam see @brixter.productions.
Until next time,
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