Lego builds more than just child's play for Alisdair

By Alecia Rousseau

Spending more than 15 hours on a Lego build is no small feat.

Palmerston North man Alisdair Collis knows this all too well.

The 47-year-old is preparing for this weekend's Palmerston North Brick Show - LEGO Display, with more than six tables of Lego creations.

Mr Collis, who is an operating theatre nurse, says Lego is way for him to tune out of the day-to-day stressors and engross himself in something he enjoys.

He got serious with his builds after last year's competition and encouragement from his daughters.

"I have done four or five shows since - my oldest girl has come to all the shows with me and my youngest is preparing for this weekend."

Lego has enabled Collis to create a lasting bond with his daughters, and teach them about using their imagination and being creative.

He has collected more than 170 sets and has more than 36,000 bricks.

One room in his home is dedicated to the hobby.

"Once built, some remain but storage is becoming a problem. Some just have to be dismantled."

Among his creations are pirate ships, a very unique mosaic guitar and fascinating underwater scenes.

"You can buy sets and just do those or, you can make plans and create something a bit different. When I was young, Lego was just the bricks - now they have all sorts of weird and wonderful pieces to work with."

Collis has also joined the Wel-LUGs (Lego user groups) - a community network of Lego lovers.

"It is mostly orientated towards adults, but we have some children attend. We also have social events ... it's growing and becoming a really massive thing in New Zealand."

He said the groups consisted mostly of dads whose passion for Lego was reignited after having children.

"You go through what we call the dark ages, between 20 and 30 years old, you're going out and having too much fun to play with Lego. But, after you have kids and get married, out comes the Lego and you're away."

Lego builds also enable Collis to strengthen his mental dexterity, and he's often been surprised by what he can create.

"I think it really comes down to planning. If you've got a plan and you follow instructions, you can't go wrong."

But if you do, the LUGs can help you out.

"We use each other if we get stuck. There are a lot of professionals, scientists and engineers, who can solve problems just like that."

This weekend's show is set to bring more Lego to Palmerston North than ever seen before.

The two-day event will pack out Barber Hall with amazing creations, including a replica Tui Brewery. The entrants have spent many painstaking hours, on nights and weekends, completing their builds.

Palmerston North Brick Show - LEGO Display, Barber Hall, Saturday and Sunday, from 9am. Entry to the show costs $2 and all proceeds will go to Just Zilch.

- Manawatu Guardian

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