Episode #163 — Lego Master Eric Hunter

If reality television has taught us anything, it’s that numerous mentions of a specific product lands sponsorship deals and free stuff. Okay, reality television has also taught us that a surprising number of people are willing to watch D-list celebrities attempt to sing and dance. That’s not something we’re willing to do just yet, but surely all our mentions of cult-like cycling workouts, rugged outdoor vehicles, electrolyte-filled water, and drum and fife kits should be worth something. We suppose the true value is in entertaining our wonderful listeners, not in getting free car washes. And we are thrilled to be able to do that every week, at least until Captain’s designer canine clothing line comes through. You haven’t truly lived until you’ve seen a Pomeranian/Poodle wearing a 2000’s-style bedazzled newsboy cap. Trust us.

Also trust us that this week’s episode involves someone with a job a lot of kids dream of. For many of us, building with Lego bricks is a hobby or else an exercise in learning who has the patience to follow the directions so that their build matches what’s on the box, and whose screams of frustration turn to screams of horror as they step — barefoot — on a pile of plastic pain. Our guest this week is Eric Hunter, a man who braved the perils of the bricks and took his childhood love of Lego to become a master model builder at Legoland. If you don’t know much about Legoland, or have never even heard of it, you’ll want to take off for the airport to check out all the model designs after hearing about Eric’s experiences.

Eric filled us in on how he ended up with a job at one of the Legolands and what, exactly, it entails. If you’re curious about whether there is a job hierarchy there, how the structures are designed, and if the Lego stand on their own or have supports, Eric answered all these questions and more. He also shared why glue is an integral part of the building process, especially considering days of hard work could be undone by one bump against the desk someone’s Lego creation is sitting on. (We could almost hear “Noooo!!” as he described one particular moment.)

Legoland was the perfect training ground for Eric, who now runs his own business designing Lego models, sculptures, mosaics, company logos, portraits — you name it, he’s probably designed and built it. (All of his works are impressive, but we’re particularly fans of the Lego bust of Pee-wee Herman pictured on Eric’s website. We’d like to think that Pee-wee would happily live in an entire house made of Lego bricks.)

For those of you who are wondering, we didn’t waste our time with Eric talking about why the plural of Lego is still Lego. He’s a master model builder and is too busy constructing mini model skyscrapers to deal with grammatical idiosyncrasies related to corporation names. And we’re not going to take a “Lego” vs. “Legos” side because we can’t afford to alienate any of our listeners — at least not until Captain’s canine capris finally take off. As for those of you who believe “Lego” should be in all caps, we give up.

If you’d like to learn more about what being a Lego master entails, check out Eric’s website and see photos of the amazing work he builds. He’s also on Instagram and Twitter. His creations might give you some great ideals for other works to commission. We’re currently debating whether to have a Lego depiction of us as Donny and Marie in 1975 performing a medley on their hit TV show, or just stick with our original thought of a Lego Max Headroom to display at the Why? The Podcast headquarters. It’s a tough call.

And if you want to see a gallery of Eric’s work, check out our post of his greatest hits.

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