Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Interview with L.G. Orlando

We all know L.G. Orlando's models. From his Ultimate LEGO City Hospital to his Toys R Us, its guaranteed that something amazing will be built with extraordinary detail and precision. So today, I asked him a few questions related to his hobby, and here's what he had to say:

Brick Town Talk - When did you first start building with LEGO?

L.G Orlando - I was very young when my dad introduced me to Lego back in the 80’s. My first set was 6073 Knights Castle. I still have a lot of the pieces and minifig parts, all faded of course.

BTT - Did you go along with the Cafe Corner from the beginning, or did it take awhile for you to catch on?

L.G. - Café Corner was an instant hit with me. It changed my building habits overnight. I couldn’t get enough of its potential with great design and color. It was the first Lego set that I ever bought multiples of.

BTT - I notice that it says you're a Structural Engineer. Do you feel like that has had a major effect on the way you construct your models?

Dream Street
Dream Street
L.G. - Lego certainly had a huge impact on my choice to be an engineer. It’s funny to me that I do apply a great deal of structural planning into my models. I usually never build from scratch, I always have a function for a MOC (e.g. Corner House with veranda or inner city post office with rear loading dock). I test the architectural pieces first; like designing my windows and entrances to make sure they function and look interesting; then I build the frame around those parts. I plan color elements carefully I use tons of plates in my designs so If I build in orange then I will have to make sure I can get 1 x 1 or 1 x 2 orange plates. There’s nothing worse for me than trying to build your way out of a poorly organized design.

BTT - As a builder, what pieces or color would you like to see LEGO make more available?

L.G. - I’d like to see LEGO release a pro designer/ architect pack of basic brick shapes and plates in the darks, sands and lights of the primary colors. I’d buy buckets of those! My wish list of parts is windows that are curved and would fit in the larger arches and as set of 1 x 1 or 2 x 2 corner brackets.

BTT - Is there any special organizing method that helps you build more efficiently?

L.G. - I sort by color, then bricks and large plates. I keep all basic bricks together no matter what size separated by color. I do the same with plates but for long 2 x N plates, I stack these into a large set that I use to peel away plates as needed.. I save special use parts in bulk that I use frequently like modified headlight bricks, jumpers plates and cheese in their respective families in large trays. All of the other pieces I just leave in a large tubs by color, it’s pretty easy to find what I’m looking for and sometimes I get lucky by building a neat table scrap idea when I find a part I didn’t expect.

- Are you a Bricklink or Pick A Brick kind of guy?

Sky Victorian, modular house
Sky Victorian
L.G. - I was a big online Pick A Brick guy when the service first started. It helped me really expand my custom builds quickly. Prices increased dramatically some years ago and I went over to bricklink. I wasn’t a fan of used parts but over the years I’ve gotten better at picking great new parts from reputable sellers at reasonable prices. I still use PAB for tiles, rare modified parts and minifigure accessories quite frequently. I save part numbers on a scratch list I keep along with a large baseplate of needed or wanted parts that hangs on my wall where I build.

BTT - What sets would you like to see LEGO produce for the Modular Building series?

L.G. - We could use a nice library or municipal building (town hall, bank, train station) that utilizes some Greek revival architectural elements. You see this kind of stuff everyday in real life and I think this type of realism in café corner buildings really appeals to fans of the series.

BTT - Where do you draw your inspiration from?

L.G. - “The old world in the big city”. I love older buildings that still maintain their charm even in a big city like New York or San Francisco. Back when older buildings were being constructed, builders put a lot of personality in the masonry, windows and entrances. I think Jamie Beard did a great job with drawing on such inspiration too. I see Victorian era San Francisco in the Green Grocer and the early art deco Chicago/New York skyscraper age in the Grand Emporium.

BTT - Are you working on any models at the moment? (If you'd rather keep it a secret, I understand!)

L.G. - I’ve been working on what I call a “Super Stack” modular for the past 5 months or so. The challenge this time is to build a realistic city-scape that functions as a transitional city center that unifies CC scale with the smaller minifig-playscale city corner type buildings. The hard part is I don’t want to eat up a lot of horizontal space like I did with the hospital I built a few years back, so it will only occupy a 32 x 32 baseplate which means I have to plan smart for a nice vertical output. I hope to have it finished before the release of the next official CC modular.

I hoped everyone enjoyed this interview! Please leave a thought or comment below.


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