Inside the Mind of a Builder: Bryan (aka Gumby) [Interview]

LEGO Giant Crusader Fig Horse

Although he actually completed it last year, Bryan recently announced the completion of a project that he had been working on for quite some time, namely his Classic Crusader Giant Fig and Horse. I thought this would be a good opportunity to pick his brain and share with our readers some of the “behind-the-scenes” information on this creation.

TBB: How long have you been working on your knight and horse?

Bryan: I probably started on the knight and horse back in June of 2006, completing the knight a month later in July. I really dragged out the construction of the horse and finished it in March of 2008 just before the birth of my son. If you add up all the time I actually worked on them, it probably comes out to 3 weeks worth of evenings, for roughly 40 hours?

LEGO Giant Crusader Fig Horse

TBB: People always ask how many bricks are in a MOC like this. Do you have any idea and do you care?

Bryan: I have no idea. Maybe 5000 bricks for the horse and 3500 for the knight? It doesn’t concern me much since there aren’t very many extremely rare pieces in this MOC apart from all that old dark grey.

TBB: Why did you choose to build a Crusader?

Bryan: Although my first castle set was the yellow castle, my favorite castle set was 6080. I went into my dark ages right before the Crusaders sets came out, and after I rediscovered LEGO back in 1997, I realized that the armor piece was so cool. So I’d say Lion Knights and the Crusaders are now my all-time favorite faction.

LEGO Giant Crusader Fig Horse

TBB: I’ve seen other figs in the this scale but I can’t remember ever seeing the armor before. Are you the first to do that?

Bryan: Yes, I think I’m the first person to have such a large rendition of the breastplate armor with leg protection in ABS plastic.

TBB: What was the most difficult aspect of this MOC?

Bryan: The most difficult part of this MOC was the grill on his helmet. The helmet itself is based heavily on the green hat from the official 3723 LEGO mini-figure set, but I had to design the grill by trial and error. What made it especially challenging is the fact that the helmet is 16 studs wide, but the grill is 17, so I had to use a combination of 1×1 tiles and 1×2 plates with 1 stud to make it work. I remember first building flimsy mockups of the grill, and after I had a design I was satisfied with, I had to make a copy of it with structurally sound building techniques (i.e. “overlap technique”). Finally, I built the helmet around the grill.

TBB: Who or what inspired you as you worked on this?

Bryan: Bruce N H from Classic-Castle first brought my attention to a giant Black Falcon minifig on a horse back in January of 2006. Seeing a giant castle-themed fig was cool, but seeing one on horseback really put it over the top: I had to have one of my own.

TBB: I saw that you have acknowledged or thanked several people in your post. Can you elaborate on how they helped you out?

Bryan: Of course there’s Tobias Reichling, who inspired me to build this. He took numerous pictures of his horse for me and they were extremely useful when building the head section. I also got a lot of help from Peer Kreuger, who came up with a method of creating blueprints for mosaics in Photoshop. He provided me with the building plans for the shield, and I would have never been able to pull off the “rampant lion” if it weren’t for Peer. Finally, I also need to thank Jojo for getting me in touch with Tobias.

LEGO Giant Crusader Fig Horse

TBB: If you were to start over, what would you do differently?

Bryan: Now that I think about it, I should have built a helmet with pointed visor instead. I just realized that there exists no minifig with this color helmet and armor combo…

TBB: What do people say when they see this in your house?

Bryan: Not many people have actually seen this – those that have are generally impressed with it, especially the shield. My parents commented “You still have time for LEGO?” and I had to remind them that this was before I became a dad.

TBB: Are you going to keep it together?

Bryan: I’m a huge fan of LEGO sculptures, so I’m definitely going to keep this together.

TBB: What’s next on the horizon for you, Lego-wise?

Bryan: I’ve built “large” castles as a kid/teenager, but now as an adult, with a much larger collection, I’d like to build a large, detailed castle of course. However, with a 15-month old son running around, that’s not going to happen any time soon, so I’ll settle for something much simpler. I’ll try and find some time to put together my copy of 10193 Medieval Market Village, and hopefully learn some new building techniques in the process.

LEGO Giant Crusader Fig Horse

Thank you for taking the time to talk with us, Bryan!

2 comments on “Inside the Mind of a Builder: Bryan (aka Gumby) [Interview]

  1. Bunbrick

    That mega-sized classic horse is my favourite part, so damn cute! Probably also due to the fact i got a regular-sized one standing around on my computer desk at the moment. :-D If only this one had worn a yellow saddle, i’d be even more giddy right now. Ah, these bigfigs always cause a smile.

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