Tyne and Wear Metro
My biggest project to-date, and I must admit, my favourite! Nexus, the operators of the Tyne and Wear Metro system, wanted a 3 metre long model of a carriage, and they wanted kids involved. The solution was the design and build of one half of the carriage, and the production of instructions for the second – identical – half. A month of design work, a month of reverse engineering to produce instructions, and then a public build event at The Word in South Shields saw 100 kids complete the second half in a week. Great fun!
This is not only the largest model I’ve produced, using 22,000 bricks, but is by far the largest scale, at 1:10. That meant for a huge amount of detail, externally and internally. Almost every control in the driver’s cab is represented. The brilliant Fab Bricks printed the seat pattern on the seats, and the logo on the sides.
There are 90 actual Metro trains, numbered 4001 – 4090. Mine is 4091!
The completed model is on display at The Word until the end of September 2017 at least. After that a permanent home will be found for #BrickMetro!
St James’ Park – summer 2016
Possibly the most loved building in Newcastle – home of Newcastle United Football Club. The Newcastle United Foundation commissioned 3 models of the ground. One was auctioned off in December 2016, going for £3000. The second was sold through a raffle ticket sale, and the third will be displayed in the ground.
The model measures 25×20 inches, and contains nearly 10,000 bricks. The scale is approx 1:430. Lighting is provided on separate power packs, one for the building, and one for the floodlights, where wire LEDs are threaded through Lego pieces. Bespoke printing was used for the club’s crest, names of stands, and the centre circle.
Team Valley Trading Estate, summer 2016
My largest project to date, and perhaps the most unusual! A 60×25 inch, 1:2000 scale model of the Team Valley Trading Estate in Gateshead. The model was commissioned by UK Land Estates, who have premises on the site, and own the land. The Team Valley is one of the largest and oldest trading estates in Britain. Work started in 1936, and there are now over 700 firms employing 20,000 people.
Working at this scale was a challenge. I had to let go of detail! Individual buildings are often represented by just 2 or 3 bricks, so the rough shape and colour was all that was attainable. As an overall piece, the effect is striking. The road layout – grid-like for the most part – allowed an almost exact representation, and I’m really pleased with how it has come out. The model is now displayed in the reception area of UKLE.
Centre for Life, Newcastle – March 2016
Early in 2016 the International Centre for Life approached me about exhibiting my models in a Lego exhibition the following year. As part of that they commissioned a model of the centre. Situated in the centre of Newcastle, near Central Station, the Centre for Life was designed by Sir Terry Farrell and opened in 2000. As a build, it remains one of the trickiest I’ve worked on. The complex, curvy structure contains very few straight lines – a challenge at the scale I was working at!
The scale is approx 1:425, and brick count approx 3,500. The model measures 20×20 inches square and is now on display in the Centre. Lighting is provided by LEDs thread through the build, and bespoke printing of the logo appears on a few pieces. As with all my models, there is no glue, and no bespoke pieces.
Tynemouth Outdoor Pool – autumn 2015
On the southern end of Longsands beach, Tynemouth, there is a derelict outdoor pool that is the subject of a community-led plan to bring it back to use, as a heated outdoor pool and new building containing changing rooms, restaurant and event space. Find out more at their website here.
The site is a 30 minute walk from my house, and I’d love to see the project succeed. So in late 2015 I suggested building a Lego model of the proposed plans. They loved the idea and the resulting model is now being used by the campaign to raise awareness of the project.
The model took a couple of months from approaching the campaign till completion. It measures 20 inches square and uses about 4,500 Lego bricks. It is lit with LED lighting and presented in a display case.
Maggie’s Centre, Freeman Hospital – summer 2015
Maggie’s Centres are support centres for those suffering from cancer and their friends and families. They are each individually designed and aim to feel homely, rather than medical. The Newcastle centre, at the Freeman Hospital, was designed by Cullinan Studios, and features an L-shaped ground floor that looks out over a courtyard, and a smaller upper floor with access to roof gardens. The roof itself is circular and angled – quite tricky to recreate in Lego!
The centre approached me about creating a model to keep on display in the centre, to add to the offering for children, and adults, alike! The build was complex, as it required the interior space to be modelled too. Brick count unknown – maybe around 6,000.
BALTIC centre for contemporary art – winter 2014/2015
The BALTIC art gallery is a converted flour mill that sits on the banks of the Tyne in Gateshead. Opened in 2002 the gallery is a major tourist attraction for the area. My Lego build was a hobby project that ended up being displayed as part of a Lego exhibition at Woodhorn Colliery, Northumberland, in spring 2015 and then in the BALTIC gallery itself over the summer.
The great response and media coverage that this model generated was instrumental in my decision to follow my dreams of working on Lego architectural models as a business, and Brick This was the outcome. The model is currently in my office!