Lee B. of Perth received his first LEGO set in the late 1970s when he was around eight years old. He was an avid collector of Classic Space (or Space as it was then) until the age of fourteen when he entered his Dark Ages. An act of generosity made him give away his entire collection to a single mother colleague when he was in his early twenties. He’s pretty sure he felt noble at the time but the thought of rebuilding his collection via Bricklink brings tears to his eyes.
Although now a re sident of Perth, Western Australia, Lee was originally born in Nottingham, UK and emigrated with his family when he was five years old. Despite some early career temptations to move to Melbourne, he is firmly established in Perth with his kids and grandchildren. It was watching his children, four years ago, build a maze for a remote control T-Rex out of Duplo that finally delivered Lee out of his Dark Ages and on the path to becoming an AFOL.
Lee’s storage philosophy centres on whatever cheap tubs will fit the parts he is trying to store, as well as divided trays and small tool trays from the local hardware store. In Lee’s own words, “it’s rather unwieldy and dispa rate”. He believes this is possibly a physical manifestation of his building method – “a bit of a part-rummaging frenzy.” His preference is to store by part rather than colour and he has a giant tub for all of the weird and/or enormous parts that won’t fit in tiny tubs.
As an author, Lee believes his regular creative outlet is intensely textual and, as he can’t paint, building with LEGO bricks gives him the opportunity to be visually creative and this is one of his favourite things about being a LEGO fan. Another of his favourite things is being able to build his own creations and he’s still, after all these years, obsessed with space fighters and swooshable ships. Coming into the hobby and discovering Vic Vipers, Starfighters and GARCs is like being a kid in a candy shop.
The isolation of being an AFOL in Perth (the most isolated capital city in the world) is Lee’s least favourite thing about being an AFOL. Lee says “there are lots of us in Perth but I’ve found opportunities to be in a face-to-face LUG and to get into displaying have been severely limited, and it seems like the social aspects of the hobby are highly rewarding for really organized LUGs like MUGs”. He believes it’s changing slowly thanks mostly to the Perth LEGO User Group (the Facebook LUG) who have semi-regular meetings. Lee recently had the opportunity to exhibit for the first time at the Bricktober display in Perth and he’s now really excited about displaying at Brickvention in Melbourne in January – a chance to meet other AFOLs and to share his MOCs which he rarely shares, as his photographic skills are not good enough to upload his work to Flickr or MOC Pages.
Photos courtesy of Lee B.