Build­ing a rep­u­ta­tion

COME AND HELP BUILD

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - FRONT PAGE - Tanya MacNaughton

RYAN McNaught is one of just 13 cer­ti­fied Lego pro­fes­sion­als work­ing as a full-time Lego model builder. His tour­ing ex­hi­bi­tion will be in Perth this April.

IT was only re­cently that Ryan McNaught’s eight-year-old twin boys re­alised what it meant for him to be one of only 13 Lego cer­ti­fied pro­fes­sion­als in the world and how dif­fer­ent it was to the jobs of other kids’ dads.

“And one of them re­ally likes his Lego be­cause I do it, while the other one thinks it’s un­cool be­cause I do it,” the 43-year-old Melburnian said.

McNaught ac­tu­ally has his twins to thank for his ca­reer change from IT, where a ‘baby­moon’ trip to Florida with his wife Melinda started him on the path to full-time Lego mod­el­build­ing and his sub­se­quent tour­ing ex­hi­bi­tion, Brick Man Ex­pe­ri­ence.

“We both had see­ing NASA’s space shut­tle launch on our bucket list,” he said.

“The weather was lousy and we never got to see it launch, but while we were there we found a Lego shop.

“It was 2007 and be­cause the Aussie dol­lar was just awe­some com­pared to the US, Lego was un­be­liev­ably cheap and I saw this French restau­rant Lego set.

“It was the coolest thing I’d ever seen and I told my wife I had bet­ter get it ‘for the kids’.”

McNaught got hooked and rang his mum to see if she had his old Lego set, which she did, in­clud­ing his first Lego – a 29-cent lit­tle blue boat his grand­mother Hazel had bought him when he was three years old.

He then found a Lego club and was at one of its exhibitions when ap­proached by Lego of­fi­cials who had heard about soft­ware he had

writ- ten en­abling chil­dren to con­trol their Lego Minds­torms sys­tems wire­lessly through an iPad.

McNaught will be in Perth for 14 days of Brick Man Ex­pe­ri­ence at El­iz­a­beth Quay from April 7 to 20, fea­tur­ing 60 orig­i­nal works and an in­ter­ac­tive build­ing zone.

“Not only will we have these awe­somely amaz­ing, re­ally big and grand Lego works, which is kind of the in­spi­ra­tion an­gle for it, but there’s a lot of stuff we need your help to build,” he said.

“There will be lots of ac­tiv­i­ties for peo­ple to come along and help us with. Hope­fully we can in­spire them and they have the chance to prove their Lego met­tle too.”

McNaught said his favourite model in the ex­hi­bi­tion was the Colos­seum, which took six weeks to build and is split in half, with one side set in its prime in 100AD with glad­i­a­tors and the other how it looks today with tourists climb­ing all over it.

“We tend to bring our mod­els to life, adding a lot of fun and colour to them,” he said.

“If you look at the lit­tle de­tails, it will keep you en­ter­tained for ages.”

Lego cer­ti­fied pro­fes­sional Ryan McNaught.

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