We chat to crazy Lego guy Mark Bassett about thebrickstop.com
We spoke to Mark Bassett about an intriguing project for anyone out there who loves Lego. You NEED to see some of these Lego guns!
When we first saw your video for your upcoming project we got really excited by some of the amazing creations we saw. Tell us about how you got into LEGO:
I have been into LEGO for quite some time, but really it started when I was about 6 years old when my brother and I were given a LEGO castle set (i have a feeling it was for Robin Hood but it was so long ago I can’t remember)! I built and built to my collection inheriting my brothers collection as well, and then around 11 or so stopped playing with it, but then not long after came along my first niece and nephew and out came the Duplo and I was reminded about how much fun it really is and the amazing creations you can build and make.
As my nephew got older we bought him models and some of the new LEGO franchise sets. It’s awesome when you finally get a nephew or niece, you can work to build creations together! In the meantime while this was going on I was getting more involved in testing various peoples projects for not only LEGO, but all kinds of things from website designs, games and peoples code. I have an eye for spotting other peoples mistakes in instructions and following them through.
Randomly I was sent an article about a book showing you how to build futuristic LEGO guns. Considering quite often what boys first make out of LEGO is guns or tanks and they are normally pretty basic (or is that just me?!) it sounded genius so I bought it, got it home and started building some of the models. To my frustration I noticed that there were small mistakes, nothing huge but little things that annoyed me. So I wrote to the author and the publisher who made the book and got a fantastic reply thanking me for finding the mistake and that they would make sure in the reprint it was changed. It was awesome customer service, and really nice to have used my side line gift of testing peoples websites etc.. to help someone who had an awesome book about LEGO guns.
Then around a year later I got an email out of the blue asking me to help out on another LEGO project again for guns, but this time realistic working replicas and for another author, so I jumped at the chance and hey presto that is how I met Jack Streat and became his technical reviewer for his latest book. It was great fun to be able to feedback in a professional manor on how things are built in a serious guide on how to make replica LEGO guns. I loved the juxtaposition of making what look like real life assault rifles but out of harmless LEGO bricks. It also ensured I was crowned as the coolest uncle ever by my nephew!
If you don’t own a copy we are giving some away as one of our Pledges so go pledge and I will sign it for you!
What is thebrickstop.com?
In short, it’s a website for people to buy and sell individual LEGO pieces quickly and easily, as well as buy instructions to make awesome models like Jacks guns, and hopefully loads more.
What kind of LEGO fans will use thebrickstop.com?
Hopefully everyone and anyone! We want the site to be very simple and quick to use, so parents who have lost a small piece of their kids model can easily and quickly buy it, all the way up to hard-core LEGO fans who need 200 of piece X, and finally people who have a load of bricks but want to find out what else they can build with them.
Tell us about the day that you decided to create this project.
It was a rainy gloomy night (isn’t it always in the UK?) when I was trying to buy all the pieces I needed to test a project for someone. I had spent hours manually searching through various auction and trading sites finding the pieces I need and I thought there must be a simple way for people to upload a list of the pieces they need and get them all in one click, or even a decent site for people to share and sell their creations and instructions (there are some awesome models out there for people to build, but often people outside the LEGO community don’t realise and don’t hear about them).
Sure there are trading sites for LEGO and auction sites like Ebay, but they don’t make it easy at all to buy loads of specific pieces quickly as there are often tons of sellers all selling different pieces and you need to mix and match between them. I had an idea about how I would solve this problem, and the very next day I spoke with some designer friends who I have worked on loads of huge projects with, and hey presto the rest is history!
Thebrickstop.com is going to make it better for Builders and enthusiasts to create the designs they have in their heads.
Tell us about some of the builds you have made that you’re most proud of.
I must confess, I love LEGO but my actual creative skills in coming up with a design myself that looks half decent is lacking. But testing peoples instructions is where my skills lay, feeding back on angles of the models they use to illustrate the next steps, the lay lines of elastic bands in moving models and when the model is build where fault lines appear etc.. For example, something I had to work out for Jacks guns were how to describe the elastic bands that you need, as if you have one that is too small it will be too tight, too big and it’s too loose. So I did a few different studies of the optimal elastic band and discovered that they come in “gages” which is defined by its width and un-stretched length. (Nerdy I know, but good fun problem solving it and working it out!). I also love seeing how things come together in the end. For example, Jacks models are put together very much like a real gun, they have LEGO pins that you can pull out to remove panels and working cocking mechanisms that load the gun etc.. Everything is built in pieces and then the last stage is combining it all!
If you had thebrickstop.com when you were making this, would it have been easier?
Thebrickstop.com would have made my life for buying the parts I needed for Jacks book from around 4 hours per model to 10 minutes. A massive saving! It would also offer me the chance to see all the other cool models I can build from the pieces I own that other custom creators have made which I think is really exciting!
Thanks Mark, we wish you all the best in this exciting project!
Check out Mark’s Kickstarter here.