72K LE­GOs used to build trib­ute to ‘D’ sports

LEGOLAND un­veils giant work that pays homage to the 4 teams

The Detroit News - - Front Page - BY TONY PAUL The Detroit News tpaul@de­troit­news.com twit­ter.com/tony­paul1984

Clint Parry started play­ing with LE­GOs when he was 4.

Decades later, he’s built his mas­ter­piece — an­other homage to the num­ber four, as in the four ma­jor Detroit pro­fes­sional sports teams.

On Wed­nes­day at LEGOLAND Dis­cov­ery Cen­ter at Great Lakes Cross­ing Out­lets in Auburn Hills, Parry and staff un­veiled a 1,500-pound gem, fea­tur­ing a giant Old English D flanked by the Red Wings and Pis­tons lo­gos on the left, and the Tigers and Lions lo­gos on the right.

The piece, with un­be­liev­able at­ten­tion to de­tail, will be a per­ma­nent dis­play at Great Lakes Cross­ing, un­less it ever takes up res­i­dency in the District Detroit, which could hap­pen down the road. Pis­tons and Lions of­fi­cials — as well as their re­spec­tive mas­cots, Hooper and Roary — were on hand Wed­nes­day, and came away im­pressed.

“We’ve al­ready been talk­ing to a cou­ple of the fran­chises down­town,” said Parry, 30.

“I would say it’s def­i­nitely a pos­si­bil­ity.”

The brain­child be­hind the project was Adrian Thomp­son, a United King­dom na­tive who moved to Michi­gan to join the ex­ec­u­tive staff at LEGOLAND and SEA LIFE Cen­ter. Thomp­son’s a big sports fan, but his ex­per­tise mostly in­volved, you guessed it, soc­cer.

So when he got to Metro Detroit, he wanted to em­brace the Detroit sports teams, es­pe­cially now that they’re all play­ing within blocks of each other in the heart of down­town.

That’s when he ap­proached Parry, who’s of­fi­cial ti­tle is “Master Model Builder.” He got to work right away, first sketch­ing things out, then re­search­ing dif­fer­ent lo­gos of the teams — for in­stance, he chose the old­school, 1980s Tigers logo — be­fore head­ing to the com­puter to start the ex­haus­tive build­ing plan­ning process.

In the end, Parry re­quired 72,750 LEGO bricks — yes, that’s an ex­act fig­ure — which were shipped from Europe, and ar­rived in Auburn Hills, tak­ing up four full pal­ettes.

The build­ing be­gan late this sum­mer.

“Adrian had this vi­sion, a big Detroit sports project,” Parry said. “And it just kind of started from there. He wanted to show his en­thu­si­asm for his new­found sports (in­ter­est), as well as cel­e­brate The District Detroit. We just re­ally wanted to cel­e­brate that, the Detroit spirit.”

In all, Parry spent more than 150 hours de­sign­ing and build­ing the 6-foot-tall dis­play, which is con­structed around an 800pound medal dis­play (to keep it sturdy, in case it’s slightly bumped, or worse, by some ram­bunc­tious kids).

The LE­GOs, them­selves, weighed in at 700 pounds. The en­tire piece is an­chored by a podium with wheels.

The Red Wings, Pis­tons and Lions lo­gos are the cur­rent lo­gos, in­clud­ing the Pis­tons, who un­veiled their new logo this past off­sea­son. He went with the 1980s Tigers logo be­cause that’s the one he finds most in­ter­est­ing on cloth­ing when he’s talk­ing to peo­ple around town.

Parry started with the mam­moth, all-blue Old English D, which he ad­mit­ted was a te­dious process at times.

“The side lo­gos are all very col­or­ful, all in­tri­cate pat­terns,” said Parry, who lives in Clark­ston. “The D in the cen­ter, it’s all blue, so it did get to be a lit­tle, ‘OK, I’m just go­ing around in cir­cles.’ But over­all, it’s ab­so­lutely a fun process. I love do­ing big projects like this.”

LEGOLAND in Great Lakes Cross­ing opened in the spring of 2016.

Prior to the open­ing, LEGOLAND went search­ing for its lo­cal “Master Model Builder,” and held an open-call com­pe­ti­tion that in­cluded about 100 par­tic­i­pants tasked with a se­ries of pop-quiz build­ing as­sign­ments. Parry was liv­ing in Wauseon, Ohio, about 45 miles east of Toledo, work­ing at a li­brary, when he told his bosses he was go­ing to travel to Detroit for a cou­ple days to par­tic­i­pate.

But when the Jan­uary 2016 com­pe­ti­tion ended, he was the last one stand­ing. And Parry ac­cepted the job. “I de­cided, well, I’ll try it. I just de­cided I’m just go­ing to go and en­joy my­self, and see what hap­pens,” Parry said. “And then it was Sun­day af­ter­noon, and I had to make a very awk­ward phone call — ‘Hey, re­mem­ber that silly LEGO thing I was talk­ing to you about? Yeah, I’ve gotta put in my two weeks.’ ”

Courtesy of LEGOLAND

A giant Old English D flanked by the Red Wings and Pis­tons lo­gos, and the Tigers and Lions.

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