Sorry we missed out on a column last week: Research for a presentation at BrickCon overtook all else. You will get to read about it heat in a month or two. In the mean time:
Welcome back to Builders’ Journeys, where AFOLs share a set that was influencial in them becoming the LEGO Fans that they are today. If you would like to share your story, send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org
Today, we hear from Jay, an AFOL from Wellington, New Zealand. Jay has been involved in the local community for some time now. As a child growing up in the 1990s, the seeds would be sown for his large town display ‘Brickton.’ But I should let him tell that story…
“Wait! What? How much?”
Earning that big “paperboy” money as a kid in the late 80s I thought I could buy anything… well that was until Mum came home and told me how much it would cost to buy the 7735 Cargo Train Playset that I saw on the back of a sheet LEGO Catalog.
“Wait! What? How much?” With a touch of disappointment and my first LEGO life lesson learnt, I came across another Train scene and instantly fell in love.
It had a train and a crossing, but this one also had boats and, in my mind, a harbour. It was a beautiful scene and I knew that this is exactly what I wanted to create… and best of all the catalogue showed each set I needed to do it.
My second LEGO life lesson came soon after that: given time, LEGO sets retire.
But luckily that was in 1992, and a whole new range of 9V trains and harbour sets was released. This time, my plan was to build my town in the new 90s style as fast as I possibly could.
A few sets followed: 6542 Launch and Load Seaport – which I bought with a large collection of gold coins given to me by my Gran for my birthday (the cashier was unimpressed, to say the least), and 6540 Pier Police, which I received the same year from my parents. A couple of years later, I gotr my first train, a second hand 4563 Load N’ Haul RailRoad, using the new fangled 9V system.
Twenty years later and I finally had my town ready to display. In 2015, my LEGO town, Brickton, was exhibited at a Brick Show organised by the local LUG, Well-LUG. Brickton certainly grew a lot larger than I would ever do again, but was happy that I was able to create my own version of that train scene. Seeing the many faces of the happy people enjoying what I built was a really proud moment for me and even though I did achieve my childhood dream that weekend, it turned out it wasn’t the biggest thing I loved most about exhibiting… it was the people around me.
I met so many amazing and talented people that weekend and created so many long-lasting relationships. You are surrounded by AFOLs enjoying each others company, displaying our crazy displays and participating in such a happy environment together. It is wonderful to be part of, and I want this to continue to grow for everyone else and THIS is what made me the AFOL I am today.
I don’t build much anymore, I find more joy dedicating my time organising shows, growing our clubs and ultimately give everyone the opportunity to experience this great LEGO Community of ours. I love this LEGO Community, I love meeting new AFOLS, catching up with old ones and I always look forward to seeing everyone again, again and again.
Jay tells me that he still has a set from that original catalog shot, still on his wishlist: Railway Station 7824 is the greatest set he never owned, which he attempted to build multiple times from his own bricks. With 9 figures and lots of places to set them up, I can see the appeal.
We will hear from Jay again in a few days time, when I will announce an exciting giveaway that will hold a special appeal to fans of Classic Town.
In the meantime, I would love to hear from you! I believe that everyone has a special set or moment that sets us on our path as a builder – be it realising you can rebuild a set in its own way, gazing longingly at the pictures in a catalogue, or by association with the people you spent time with, as a result of building it. If you have such a set, I’d love to share your story. It can be old or new, big or small. There is no wrong answer here. Drop me a line – either by email or on Instagram/Twitter, and we can find a place to share the story over the coming months.
I’d like to thank Jay for sharing his story. What did you spend hours looking at in the LEGO Catalogs of your childhood? Why dont you leave a comment below, and until next time,