Harnessing the magnetic power of M-Tron with Paul Hetherington from Vancouver

Story # 27 – The magnetic power of M-Tron!

When I was 21 and in my dark ages, the Eaton’s department store in downtown Vancouver had a deluxe LEGO® display with custom shelves and a huge selection of sets. I was instantly drawn to the space sets, and spent several visits to the store trying to decide whether to buy one or not. I had so many fun memories of building with LEGO® from my childhood but I was hesitant to buy one.  In 1991 I thought I must be the only adult contemplating buying a LEGO® toy.  Regardless I eventually convinced myself it was OK and purchased set number 6877, the M-Tron Vector Detector space set.

This first purchase soon led to many more, and it wasn’t long before I owned the entire M-Tron line. Then I soon added many other sets from the Town, Space, Pirates and Castle themes. This initial purchase has led to a lifetime of LEGO® collecting and creating. 

Paul with his Unchain my Heart LEGO® model

This first purchase soon led to many more, and it wasn’t long before I owned the entire M-Tron line. Then I soon added many other sets from the Town, Space, Pirates and Castle themes. This initial purchase has led to a lifetime of LEGO® collecting and creating. 

The best part about buying that first set is that it opened me up to a world wide community of LEGO® enthusiasts that I wouldn’t have met otherwise.  It has been a pleasure to see the community develop and evolve over the past 30 years. I have met many lifelong friends at my local LUG and at LEGO® Conventions.

In addition, I have also developed my artistic abilities and have been fortunate to have my LEGO® models shown around the world. This includes touring around the United States with Brick Universe, a LEGO® Fan Convention. In 2019 I had one of my designs, Imagine It, Build It, chosen to be a BrickLink AFOL Designer Set; and I was also invited by LEGO® to display my model, We Built This City, in the LEGO® House Masterpiece Gallery. I recently launched a website, www.paulhetheringtonartist.com, showcasing all of my creations and adventures.

Paul Hetherington with some of his work

All these amazing friendships and experiences were attracted to me because of that first magnetic M-Tron space set purchase.  As you must have guessed the M in M-Tron stands for magnets!

Paul Hetherington – Vancouver, Canada

A carta que recebi da LEGO®

Story # 13

Em 2017, para os meus 40 anos, a minha esposa quis oferecer-me algo épico. E algo épico para mim, só podia ser LEGO®.

E em 2017 era um ano importante – os meus 40 anos de idade e os 40 anos do começo da saga do Star Wars! Entao, nada melhor do que comemorar as duas datas com o melhor presente de sempre – a LEGO® UCS Millenium Falcon.

No entanto, o set estava esgotado e não chegaria a tempo do meu aniversário. Quando a minha mulher escreveu à LEGO® a pedir se eles poderiam entregar a tempo, em resposta recebi esta carta.

Até hoje, dos melhores serviço ao cliente que conheço.
E a  LEGO® Millenium Falcon foi o meu melhor presente de sempre!

Fabrice Carvalho – Lisbon, Portugal

Os LEGOs® que eu montava com o meu pai

Story # 12

Eu e o meu pai sempre fomos os melhores amigos e os melhores companheiros de brincadeiras.

Das memórias mais felizes que tenho foi num Natal em que os meus pais fizeram um esforço enorme para me dar uma coleção de LEGO® que eu adorava – uma casa de família repleta de flores. Ainda hoje recordo com carinho a paciência que o meu pai tinha para me ajudar a montar as flores, naquela estrutura verde tão pequenina que as minhas mãos pequenas e desengonçadas não conseguiam segurar.

Photo Credit: CMateus

Tenho os meus LEGOs® guardados para que um dia possa ajudar uma criança minha a montar cada um deles de novo.

CMateus, Lisbon – Portugal

Harmonizing Serenity and Concentration: Insights by James Myers from London

Story #4 – A sense of calm and focus

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with LEGO®.

It was the only gift I wanted for birthdays, for Christmas – for any celebratory occasion really.

What I really loved was the precision, attention to detail and the reward of completing the build. This brought out creative and problem solving qualities which I now value deeply. 

A couple of years ago, I was going through a really tough time professionally and I found myself drawn back to LEGO®. You can probably tell from the picture below.

LEGO® sets

It helped give me an alternative outlet from the stress and intensity of work, a sense of calm and focus. Which I now turn to whenever I feel anxious. And I have no doubt others like me do too.

James Myers, London — UK

#1 – My LEGO® Story, by Marco André – London

How rituals of connection are bridges to simpler times.

Photo by James Pond on Unsplash

Through lockdown, friends told me the same story

‘I went back to painting. I started to garden again. I baked. I built a wooden deck. I wrote a poem. I knitted a sweater. ‘I returned to photography. I made a vase. I composed a song’. 

I. Created. This.

When I asked why, the answer was: ‘I was bored. And it gave me moments of peace’.

For me, I went back to building LEGO®. It was like meeting an old friend that I hadn’t seen in years. Every time we met, it went something like this:

I stare at the box for 2 minutes. I shake it. Definitely LEGO® inside. Turn it around. I shake it again. Just in case.

I place it on the table. Slowly break the seals. Ah, the sound. Display bags, instructions, and stickers. Steal all the bowls in the flat while driving my partner mad. Sorry, sorting is everything.

Open first bag — bricks all over. Do NOT let any piece fall on the floor. DO NOT. Sort by color, then by shape. And so it starts:

Pick. Brick. Click. 

Have the first panic attack when one piece falls to the ground. I summon the whole household to find it. My fingers cramp. Back aches. Shoulder is dormant. Don’t recall any of these when I was a child. Damn. And, when it all comes together with that last brick, that feeling:

I. Built. This.

9 hours into building my Ghostbusters Firehouse

My LEGO® story started way before lockdown. It began at age 3 when I received my first LEGO® Duplo Farm. According to my parents, I called the pig ‘doggie’ and the chickens ‘pigeons’. In hindsight, starting to wear glasses only at age 14 wasn’t the right move.

At age 8, I received my fire station, with the coolest control tower. An all-terrain truck with extending ladder. Hoses and sirens. And walkie-talkies, wonderful devices with no access to email.

And at age 13, I graduated to LEGO® Technic, an intricate mix of beams and gear wheels. It became apparent that I wasn’t cut out for a career in mechanical engineering. The world is a safer place, believe me.

After that, LEGO® disappeared from my life for 25 years. It was like a summer love — you remember how exhilarating it felt, but you can’t recall why it ended. I guess life happened.

And we would have parted ways forever if it wasn’t for a chance encounter with the LEGO® Millenium Falcon. A story for another day.

So why did I go back to LEGO®? Why did my friends get back to their own rituals?

What happens when we have ‘nothing better to do’? Boredom drives us to become children again. We are not concerned about looking good or standing out. Have you ever heard a child saying ‘my drawing isn’t good enough?’ 

It is simpler. We just want to create something of our own making.

I. Created. This

We forget how to be children. Life happens. And through these rituals and moments, we learn it again. 

Scarcity creates boredom. Boredom breeds creativity. Creativity drives connection. Connection creates peace.

Some say building LEGO® is pointless. That you are following instructions, a recipe. That you build it to take it down. That it is not productive.

I respect their opinion, but I know what’s in it for me. When I build LEGO®, outside expectations disappear. No one is watching. I can follow instructions or experiment. I can go fast or go slow. I can build it alone or with family. I can be nervous, happy, anxious, or tired. 

It doesn’t matter because suddenly, it’s only me. Connecting with myself. Everything else disappears. Even if only for a moment, I am at peace. During those moments, Everything is Awesome.

LEGO® is my ritual of connection, a bridge to simpler times. A way to achieve peace. 

Some of us have now stopped doing those things. ‘Life is back to normal’ we say.

It is a Sunday morning, at 11.54 AM. I find myself in the queue for the LEGO® store to open. I stand out: the only adult surrounded by 7 kids. And their parents — as excited as their kids are. I am not ashamed. Each of us is craving the same thing: enjoying our childhood. Or bringing it back.

I know that life happens. But weaving those moments of connection into our busy lives brings us peace. Maybe the last few months have shown us a new, better normal.

LEGO® and I found each other again. And, even if life happens, we will never part ways.

Pick. Brick. Click.

Marco André – London, UK.