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  • - My name is PJ Catalano.

  • I am a master model builder

  • here at Legoland California Resort.

  • I've been working at Legoland California

  • for eight years now and I absolutely love it.

  • I can't think of doing anything else.

  • I love my work, I love physically building Lego,

  • I love the actual job.

  • [upbeat inspirational music]

  • We wear steel-toed boots here at Legoland

  • because you don't wanna step on any Lego.

  • Yeah, there's a funny joke that we always hear,

  • parents always come in all the time asking,

  • "Do you step on them?" I'm like,

  • "Well, we do step on them,

  • but we have shoes on here so it doesn't hurt."

  • [PJ chuckles]

  • Lego has passed the test of time

  • because it's so diverse.

  • It does everything.

  • If you're mathematical, it's all math,

  • you're counting everything.

  • I don't have odd bricks so I have to make odd

  • out of one odd piece and even pieces,

  • it's all math, but it's all artistic, also.

  • You're like, wait, 'I have to make a round object

  • out of square brick, how do I do that'?

  • So it's left and right brain,

  • and people that can do both love it even more.

  • But it's also creative in a way

  • where you can tell 10 different people, 'build a duck,'

  • and you're gonna have 10 different ducks,

  • but each duck is gonna look like a duck.

  • So when we get a project or a building,

  • the first thing to do is we have to know the size.

  • We need the footprint.

  • So what's, what's that going to be?

  • Once we have that, then we have the basic idea

  • of where to start from, how big it's gonna be,

  • how tall is it gonna be, how creative is it gonna be?

  • So depending on the model that we have,

  • is how we prep for that model.

  • You can see behind me all different shelves of colors

  • and brick that we do have, they are sorted by piece.

  • So that's what we standardly carry in the shop itself.

  • We also have an entire warehouse in the back of the park.

  • Lego now makes 62 colors.

  • There's over a hundred colors in the history,

  • and there's over 17,000 elements that they make.

  • Each color doesn't come in every piece

  • and every piece doesn't have every color.

  • So you want to get down to the basics first.

  • So the very most basic thing is you have plate and brick.

  • Three plates, as you can see right there, equals one brick.

  • So that's the most basic thing that everyone should know,

  • or could know, that's the easiest thing to learn.

  • So once you have that down,

  • you could learn that four plates and a tile

  • will actually be the exact math of two studs.

  • And that is an example of our snotted.

  • Snotted means the studs are not on top.

  • So now you're viewing that Lego from a side way

  • instead of a direct up and down way.

  • So once you know that three plates yield a brick

  • and that four plates and a tile are two studs,

  • you can get real complicated and you can start building

  • things like our snotted letters.

  • And our slotted letters,

  • we can do the whole alphabet and numbers

  • and that's the most basic, smallest, we can do each letter.

  • Then if you look throughout Legoland, Miniland, California,

  • you will see all sorts of snotted and studs out and studs up

  • signs out there, especially using this basic technique.

  • So these are all considered elements.

  • So you can see all these pieces have studs in the top,

  • but also on the side.

  • And once you have all the elements figured out,

  • you have a whole 'nother group of amazing pieces,

  • which could be anything in the world.

  • We've got sloped, we've got angles, we've got wedges,

  • we've got Minifig accessories, we've got rounded pieces,

  • we have the actual mini figs, boxes and containers, angles,

  • support structures, designed pieces.

  • The possibilities are endless,

  • except for the limits of the actual colors and the piece.

  • 'Cause remember, you never cut Lego,

  • and you never paint Lego.

  • I think one of the greatest things about working here and

  • the most fun, is that it's never the same thing.

  • There's many different paths a model could start on.

  • It can be from higher ups, 'This is what we want here.

  • This is exactly the size and the parameters we want'.

  • And from there might be, 'Okay, you design it or

  • we're going to have it designed by another team,

  • and then you guys are going to build it and install it.'

  • Sometimes, it's 'Okay, we want something like this here,

  • and what are your ideas'?

  • And we can a hundred percent creativity go for it.

  • Sometimes, just walk around the park and look at something

  • and say, 'Wow, that needs a rehab. let's go fix it up'.

  • And then we can either copy build it and just do exactly

  • as is, or maybe like, 'Oh, there's new colors.

  • There's new parts.

  • It's an older model, let's redesign it.

  • Let's change the color, or make some new pieces,

  • or make it a little more new age'.

  • [Lego snaps]

  • [Legos clink together]

  • [Lego snaps]

  • [Legos clink together]

  • [Lego snaps]

  • So I am working on a brick-built Lego model.

  • This one is a future project coming up,

  • a Lego dinosaur.

  • Brick-built means basically there's none of these

  • specialty pieces and specialty elements.

  • It's mostly just the brick and plate.

  • And majority is going to be studs up as you're building.

  • So we start from the ground floor and go up.

  • I am working off a file off of this one that was designed.

  • We do it layer by layer.

  • One of the things to remember,

  • is that if there's brick and plate,

  • three plates equal one brick.

  • So you could do every single layer to plate,

  • but they'll take a lot of time.

  • So we do it by brick-by-brick, if possible,

  • and fill in the gaps with the plate to save time,

  • save space, and product.

  • This particular dinosaur took about two,

  • two and a half days.

  • Started earlier this week.

  • Should take about a week, I'd say.

  • So when he's finished,

  • he'll be about that big.

  • [Lego drops on table]

  • We have a system,

  • we want to build the strongest possible models.

  • They gotta withstand kids, elements, weather, animals.

  • So we have a structure called North South East West.

  • So what that is, is every other layer changes.

  • So one layer's will be East/West,

  • one's going to be North/South,

  • and you want to crisscross every single layer.

  • We have to modify that obviously,

  • you can't do it every single piece perfectly,

  • but we do that to the best we can do to make

  • the strongest model.

  • So while I'm looking at it, and thinking about it,

  • I'm like, okay, this way, this way, this way,

  • this model is this, this brick can go this way,

  • this brick an go this way, and then, okay, next layer.

  • North and South, okay, this can go this way,

  • they can go this way, but that's got a modified this way.

  • And do you put a two by plate first or two one by plates?

  • So, literally every brick is a different situation.

  • So you have to think about, what's gonna be the quickest,

  • strongest, best way to build the model.

  • If you were to continually stack brick on top of each other,

  • one direction,

  • and just kind of get your, get the best smile,

  • you want it to look really cool.

  • And if it's really neat design,

  • it's not going to be all that strong,

  • 'cause it could break in many different ways

  • in different positions,

  • but if you have stuff crisscrossed,

  • and now you have less seams going up,

  • it'd be much, much stronger.

  • So, the less seams you have,

  • the stronger your model's gonna be.

  • Every single brick that we use is from a set.

  • Once a month, we actually get an order list,