Calling all LEGO fans! Southern Hemisphere's tallest brick model on display in NZ from today

Auckland Museum is set to host the tallest LEGO brick model in the Southern Hemisphere, all carefully crafted and curated by a legend of LEGO - Brickman.

Built from more than 450,000 bricks and standing a towering 7.5 metres tall, a replica NASA SLS rocket is one of the epic attractions of Ryan "The Brickman" McNaught's exhibition Brickman Awesome: Epic LEGO Creations.

The giant NASA SLS model, built from more than 450,000 bricks will take pride of place in the museum along with nearly 40 other Brickman creations which will be on display from today, December 3, 2020, to February 28, 2021.

The rocket alone took more than 500 hours to build and McNaught pushed the LEGO-building boundaries by installing an in-built lighting and sound system, giving the effect that the rocket is blasting off into space.

"We want to go big, we want to amaze, and stand-out heights are one part of what makes this exhibition so awesome," McNaught shared.

And for those who watched Hamish Blake and McNaught's hit show LEGO Masters and wanted to test their own skills in the LEGO pit, two million LEGO bricks will be available to build the creation of their dreams.

Kiwis can also help contribute to New Zealand's longest LEGO model – currently a giant snake head and tail - that needs Kiwi kids to help build its belly.

The models on display in the exhibition have never before been seen before in Auckland and together showcase some of the biggest, fastest, and tallest things you can construct out of LEGO.

"My team and I have had a great time building all these record-breaking models, so I can't wait to share them with fans and families in Auckland."

Speaking to the Herald from the set of LEGO Masters Australia, McNaught revealed the logistic challenges behind getting these creations from Melbourne to Auckland.

"We built them in large sections, so basically when we get to where we are going it takes two to four days to put them together."

McNaught also shared that due to the pandemic he was left devastated at not being able to fly to New Zealand, which he refers to as a "second home to me".

Instead, he will be working with his team who will re-assemble the creations over Zoom and McNaught will "talk them through" the complicated assembly process.

And complicated may be an understatement, as the models in the exhibition are made from more than two million LEGO bricks and collectively took more than 5,000 hours to build.

Some of the "awesome" record-breaking models in the exhibition include the first life-sized LEGO Harley Davidson ever made, and the largest ever LEGO Caterpillar 797 dump truck.

Other showstoppers are a cutaway replica showing the inner workings of the new icebreaker, the RSV Nuyina, and a 4.5m long Shinkansen train.

McNaught notes that his creations are always subjective, but the self-confessed "plane nerd" casts a 3m long Antonov 225 aeroplane that will be on display, as his favourite.

And while he has his "fingers crossed" for the safe transportation of his painstakingly made creations, McNaught says there have been no disasters of his own doing, but crate issues, rough shipping and a rouge forklift have been issues in the past.

But for McNaught it's not logistics that stop him from creating the LEGO builds of his dreams, it's time.

McNaught went straight to the set of LEGO Masters the day after Melbourne's 118-day lockdown ended and is also working on a secret exhibition which has been "years in the making."

So does Brickman still build for fun? Is his house a LEGO emporium? Or does the idea of taking "work" home with him not fly with potentially the world's coolest dad?

According to McNaught, the LEGO in his own home are for his children and not him. "I create with them and for them, not for me."

But the undisputed LEGO master did reveal to the Herald what is next on his extensive build list.

"Over the years I have had a big long list which I tick off and top of that list right now is a working yacht. Because I can't afford a real yacht, so I'll build one."

This article was first published on the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.