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Lego ‘The Love Boat’ Credit: Shirley Way
‘The Love Boat’ crafted from over 130kgs of Lego bricks is fully-powered and features an autograph by actor Gavin McLeod (Captain Stubing). Credit: Shirley Way

For many, Brisbane’s annual city-meets-country show, the Ekka, is not complete without the strawberry sundae.

A self-confessed ice-cream lover, Ryan McNaught was crafting his own vanilla choc-top ice-cream cone for our delight.

“First off, like all good things, I have to sample the product first. I’ve had a few ice-creams in my time which is pretty cool,” he said.

McNaught, the southern hemisphere’s only Lego certified professional and one of thirteen worldwide, was on-site showcasing his skills to an admiring audience of all ages.

He confessed it would have been a strawberry sundae in the making, but he was without pink and red bricks; hence, the chocolate.

“When I try to do these builds that are live, I try to do unusual shapes – shapes that are really difficult to make in Lego – like anything round or spherical,” McNaught said.

Ryan McNaught, the southern hemisphere’s only Lego certified professional. Credit: Shirley Way
Ryan McNaught, the southern hemisphere’s only Lego certified professional, crafts a vanilla choc-top ice-cream at the Ekka. Credit: Shirley Way

There’s a happy buzz all around him as children and adults piece together their own creations or take a tour around his showpiece, ‘The Love Boat’, which features the autograph of actor Gavin McLeod (Captain Stubing).

The metre-high model is over three metres long and comes with fully-powered moving parts to raise and lower anchors, lifeboats and a voracious shark!

As the masterpiece took 500 to 550 hours to construct and contains more than 130kgs of bricks, it’s natural to ask how much Lego a certified professional buys in a year.

McNaught said: “Lots! Lots and lots. Last year we did a bit of a stocktake of how many bricks we had in the workshop. It was about five million bricks.”

McNaught, aka ‘The Brickman’, uses those bricks in his busy and varied schedule.

“The vast majority of my work is store displays for David Jones and Myers. Some of those projects take months and months to make, so I might do some small stuff too.”

He explained there are trade and corporate commissions: “Later this year, I’m doing some James Bond Lego for a big exhibition down in Melbourne: the history of James Bond, which is pretty sweet.”

Picking a favourite project was hard.

“Ooh, there have been so many! I’ve done some work for a museum in Sydney called the Nicholson Museum which has Australia’s largest collection of antiquities – like Roman and Grecian antiquities.

“I had to make the Lego Colosseum a few years ago, which is pretty awesome, and, a few months back, I just finished making a giant Acropolis.”

Lego ‘The Love Boat’ is fully-powered from the main propellers to the lifeboat winches. Credit: Shirley Way
Lego ‘The Love Boat’ is fully-powered from the main propellers to the lifeboat winches. Credit: Shirley Way

McNaught, who has been crafting Lego models for three years full-time and two years part-time before that, explained how he became a Lego certified professional.

“By accident, really, like all good things in life.

“Many years ago I built a big Lego aeroplane for my kids. I took it to the next level and put robotics in it – engines and wheels and all kinds of crazy stuff.

“I hooked it up to a touch-screen computer so kids could touch pictures on the cockpit and stuff would happen on the plane.

“Some guys from Lego really got into it, got in touch and said: “Let’s have a chat.””

More information:
Ryan McNaught (The Brickman): http://www.thebrickman.com
Nicholson Museum: http://sydney.edu.au/museums/collections/nicholson.shtml
Designing 007 – 50 years of Bond style: http://designing007melbourne.com

This article was first published at CitizenJ Australia under Creative Commons licence.

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