Leaving LEGO Masters S2: We sit down with the third place team [Feature]

The final episode of LEGO Masters Season 2 has aired. Three teams remain going in to the finale and they were given 24 hours to create any thing they desired. However, each model has to incorporate lights for a “day” look and a “night” look. The winning team will take home the $100,000 prize and rights to the title LEGO Master.

Today, our own Norm Harper sat down for a talk with the third place team along with our friends from Brickset, BZPower and True North Bricks.

If you haven’t seen the finale, you may want to turn back now! Our third place team for LEGO Masters US Season 2 is Caleb & Jacob.

What was it like competing against the other two teams of brothers in the finale?

Caleb It’s crazy because each of these teams bring something very unique to the table. We have Mark and Steven, who are the expert detailers. They literally inspired some of my earliest castle builds. They can polish a build and make it look beautiful in no time at all. On the completely other end of the spectrum, we have Zack and Wayne, who can make these elaborate technical functions that I have no idea how to replicate. I don’t even know where to start. Jacob and I fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum. We have more technical skill than Mark and Steven, and we have more aesthetic ability than Zach and Wayne. But we are nowhere near either team in terms of their strengths. It was intimidating. Which field are you going to fight on? It was hard to make that choice and I don’t know if we really went one way or the other. We were the middlemen. We were the underdogs. We stayed in the middle with our finale build. We blended the aesthetics with some movement.

Jacob We took the technical approach during the finale build by flipping it upside down. What we really tried to embrace to make ourselves stand out was just trying to be risk takers in all of our builds. Early on with the Make and Shake, we put in that shake plate idea. Or with the hat, having the part that falls off and making it incredibly heavy on my head. That was all Caleb’s fault there because he didn’t have to wear it. We just decided to take risks to make ourselves stand out; flipping the night scene upside down, making the castle look like it was falling already. Stuff like that made our technical and aesthetic advantage, I guess.

What were some of the details from your final build that did not make it onto the show?

Jacob I had a lot of fun with the details, like in the night section, which is what I covered. I added tiny little stories all around. I had minifigs riding bats, minifigs just exploring the area up there. I also had a bat-man, so someone that looked like a bat, but he was a minifig. It was kind of for Will. Little things like that. Down on the bottom, the interior of the city had some rooms that Caleb filled with his rave lights that he was so excited about. We had little detailed stories all around the build.

Your most famous moment prior to the finale was your demolition car driving off the table. What exactly happened with the sunshine wagon in episode six?

Jacob Well, driver, what do you have to say? [laughs]

Caleb You know, I always knew that was going to be a great episode. It’s so funny the way it panned out because that was the first time where Jacob and I knew: “We can win this thing!” We definitely did not win that thing at all [laughs]. That was a tough night of having to deal with the guilt of what had transpired. Jacob was pretty upset about it too. But looking back on it and getting to see that episode play out was an absolute joy. My fiancé had no idea what was going to happen, and I was cackling as it was going off the edge. She was like, “Oh my gosh, you’re going home!” [Laughs] It brings a lot of fond memories. I love how much joy the sunshine wagon continues to bring to people. It’s the first thing people talk about when they see me. They’re like: “Oh, you’re the guy who drove that car off the edge!” Hey, that’s me [laughs].

The two of you seemed to have a lot of fun and positive energy throughout the season. What made you different from other teams who seemed more anxious as time went on?

Caleb Perhaps one of the biggest contributors to that was our performance in episode six. After that episode, everyday was a gift. To some extent, we thought: “We can do anything at this point, let’s go crazy because we have nothing left to lose.” Having that feeling was so liberating. It freed us up to do some really unique builds. I think that’s why you see us really peak in the second half of the show. Jacob and I went in with the mindset that we were going to do the best we could and try to survive the first three episodes. That would have been cool. Every win, and every non-elimination really, was such a morale boost. Jacob once said, it’s just like playing together back when we were kids. There were so many good memories associated with what we were doing. It just felt right. I think that’s why we were able to carry through so much positivity to the very end.

Jacob Well said.

Were there details from your other builds that did not show up on TV?

Jacob In episode 11, there was one big thing that we were sad to see was missing. On the top right corner of the big cliff, we made a micro-scale sunshine wagon driving off the cliff. It was a nod to Caleb’s driving skills from episode six.

Caleb On that build as well, there’s actually a lobster you can kind of pick out on the underside of the bridge. That build, we were really in our element. We were doing ridiculous things; it was so much fun. The sunshine wagon was a choice addition of my brother’s.

Your builds got better and better throughout the season. What do you attribute that to?

Caleb I think a good chunk of it has to do with the fact that Jacob had actually been in his dark ages for at least the last seven years before going on the show. As we warmed up to each other, we started feeding off each other and our best instincts. We were able to really get into our strengths by the end. We were working almost completely silently on the same page all the time. It was just fun. I also think the inspiration aspect of being around these incredibly talented builders all the time helped. I was always drawing inspiration, especially from Dave and Richard, who had some crazy, unique ideas. They were a big inspiration for us to think outside the box. What can you really do with this challenge? How can you take this to the next level and make something no one is expecting?

Jacob To add onto that, going into the competition we were stressed and nervous. As we got farther, instead of being more stressed the closer it got to the finale, we were having more and more fun. That is really what got our best builds. I think it started with our floating island build. That is probably where we had complete fun and we weren’t stressed about time. We were enjoying the whole process and it came out looking great.

You were the only team that made it to the finale without having to use the Golden Brick. Where does that rank as an accomplishment this season?

Caleb I think to make it to the finale without having to lean on the crutch of the golden brick is perhaps the biggest flex of all. Not that Mark & Steven really used it. You know we would have loved to have had the Golden Brick and definitely would have used it on episode six. We didn’t see that coming and probably would have lost it. We would have lost it in some dramatic fashion, that’s kind of how we were. It’s probably best that we didn’t even get it, we wouldn’t have put it to good use.

Jacob We did go into the bottom two a few times. I worry we would have been losing it without using it. Now we can just say we made it there without using it. I think that’s the story to stick with. It happened the way it was meant to be.

If you could have added two hours to any of the challenges, which would you have picked?

Caleb I would have loved an extra two hours on the Make and Shake challenge. Never were we so frantically throwing things onto a build as we were on that challenge. We had no idea if the build was going to work, and we had to try to cover up the big multi-colored box that we made with something that loosely resembled a story. It didn’t work out in the end [laughs]. Two hours more would have been nice.

Jacob That one was one that definitely came to mind. The other one that comes to mind would be episode ten, the ski resort. We could have incorporated those snakes a little better, completed the buildings and everything, build up our baseplate more. We tried to fill up the whole thing, and that really hurt us on the timescale.

Caleb I will say that we’ve had months to think about how to use snakes and I still have no better ideas than dumping them in a volcano and calling it a day.

Were there any fun behind-the-scenes moments on the show?

Caleb There’s a lot of great moments. I guess my favorite moment with the cast was after episode six, we took a trip to a local park, and we did some hiking together. It was so fun, just the group of us all masked up, hiking up this mountain. There were some really good vibes going on. I love that even that far into the competition we were closer than ever. Every time we were off set, we were geeking out about the latest kits coming out. No one ever lost their love of LEGO or had it driven out of them. Our experience on LEGO Masters only made us more avid fans.

Jacob Every moment off set, we were enjoying each others’ company, talking about LEGO, life, everything; getting to know each other quite well. We were all very close by the end of it. We just got closer throughout the competition; we didn’t become enemies.

Looking back at all the episodes, which build were you most proud of?

Caleb In episode 11, our collapsing castle. It came together like nothing else did on the show. The colors, the story, it’s all that we could have wanted. More so than in any of the other challenges, Jacob and I were totally in sync there. We were throwing crazy ideas like: “What if there was a giant fish on the end? What if there were two guys jousting and one of them is really, really bad at it?” It was great. I’m so happy with how that build turned out.

Jacob Episode 11 was definitely our culmination of everything. All the story tips we got, everything just combined into one great, fun, weird build.

How proud are you of your win of the “Castle Bros” title in episode 11?

Jacob It’s a great, great win to beat our rivals at something. We’ve been headbutting with them all season. We stole their title of Castle Bros very graciously. They handed it over very calmly. That was very kind of them. I guess now you’re going to see a lot of castles in our future. There were already castles that Caleb had done. But I think we have to post as many as Mark and Steven do. They might have to come down a little bit on the castles.

Caleb It was so fun to embrace this ridiculous feud that we had. To have that all build up to the climax of episode 11 was a great time, for sure. Even though we stripped Mark and Steven of their title, they were quite gracious in handing it over not too reluctantly. Those two are phenomenal builders and we really struck up a rapport. Maybe that doesn’t come across on television when we’re always at each others’ throats. But they really are two great builders. We hope to carry on their legacy as best we can because they set the bar really high. I’m excited to build a lot more castles in the future.

The collapsing castle was the build you were the proudest of, but was there a build you had the most personal connection to?

Caleb I think back to our episode one build, which was very much about us and our lives together. We put a lot of our heart and soul into that one. Despite the build’s flaws, I think we’re still really happy with that one. A lot of the story was distorted in the edit. It was very much about our interests and what really made us who we are: Jacob’s career path, my engagement ring, and of course the LEGO brick at the top of our model, which was what brought us together. Oh, and the pug that popped out. We both like pugs [laughs}.

Jacob Did the pug even make the edit?

Caleb Probably not [laughs].

Jacob There was the floating island one. Caleb had a lot of inspiration for that because of his job. He makes a lot of floating islands for work.

Caleb That’s true.

Jacob Other than that, episode one was literally us telling a story about our lives. It was pretty close and personal.

Early on, you found yourself in the bottom during the Make & Shake challenge. Given how early that was in the season, how did it feel?

Caleb Yeah, that was rough because that was episode three and we were on the chopping block as the second team to go home. It was not a super awesome feeling. I think we were taking ourselves a little more seriously at that point in the competition. We hadn’t quite let loose yet. I was convinced it was us. I had kind of made my peace with God and I was ready to go. We made it through, but it was super intense to be in the bottom that early on. It’s hard, especially with the technical challenges that sometimes boiled down to almost luck. We felt like we just had no control over that situation. That made it all the harder because it wasn’t a build we were super proud of. It was innovative but didn’t look good. It would have been really rough to go home on that one.

Jacob The Make and Shake challenge seemed to be challenging for the three brothers’ teams. Mark and Stephen were also at the bottom of that episode, and Zack and Wayne also used the Golden Brick on that episode. None of us are good at towers, and then we all made really tall things for the finale. We learned, and the finale builds didn’t have to shake. That would have been a problem.

Where do you draw the artistic inspiration for your builds?

Caleb This is kind of a funny answer. I actually work as a Minecraft level designer. That’s my day job. I am constantly surrounded by a lot of very creative, talented people. We build virtual environments. They have really been a great source of inspiration for me. I owe a lot of what we came up with on the show to them. They are always pushing me to be more creative, diversify my portfolio, and build anything and everything. Working along with this great group of people really set me up for success. Just having dabbled in so many different types of architecture and the like.

Jacob Also, the cast. Their builds around us helped encourage, give us ideas, and inspiration of what looks good, what’s cool. Especially for me. As Caleb said, I was in my dark ages for seven years. I needed some inspiration here and there. Caleb was also a huge inspiration for me and showed me the ropes early on until I could go off on my own. Caleb was probably getting annoyed by me asking: “Does this look good? Does this look right?” There was just inspiration all around our builds.

If there was something you could take home from the show and add to your LEGO studio, what would that be?

Caleb Not the clock!

Jacob The 5 million bricks. Not the clock. Their sorting was pretty good too. The sorting containers and everything were so well organized. We could probably use that.

Caleb That was definitely something. As soon as I got home, I was looking up new container ideas and stuff because it was really beautifully organized, and I love the bright colors. Of course, the set and the lighting were extravagant. It’s a very playful, energizing space. I would love to bring that to my rather drab, white basement that I have right now.

Jacob Caleb would also probably grab some of the nice film cameras because that is one of his interests too.

Caleb I would love to have the big camera crane that they had on set, but don’t have room for that one [laughs].

Who is the most intimidating judge, Amy or Jamie?

Caleb When we were younger, we were the guys watching Jamie reveal Café Corner or whatever else. I was so excited to meet Jamie. He might be small and quiet, but he can be savage when he’s judging a build. I was not ready for how savage some of his critiques were going to be. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a super sweet guy and it was awesome to meet him in person. I met a childhood hero, but he had a spicy side that I didn’t expect.
Jacob Yeah, he definitely did. He got straight to the point with the builds, which actually helped us. I appreciate his honesty. It wasn’t: “Oh, this could be a little better.” It was: “No, this is bad.” Maybe not that blatant. [laughs]

What was your relationship like with Will?

Caleb At first, Will really intimidated us. I’ll be totally honest with you, in episode 1, 2 and 3, I did not like the guy. Whenever he came over, I felt like: “Oh, I’m not ready for this, I can’t do this.” By the end, I felt like Jacob, Will and I were in our element. I loved Will’s check-ins more than anything because we had some pretty great moments. Obviously, the sleeves thing was just priceless. We had a running joke that unfortunately didn’t make the cut. Will would come over and do the check in, and he would turn to the camera and say: “Let’s watch the Sunshine Wagon clip one more time!” He would do it every episode [laughs]. We got along with Will really well.

Jacob As Caleb said, early on he was quite intimidating. He has a lot of energy. We weren’t ready, we were still getting used to the clock, building, all that stuff. When he comes in there with full excitement, oh boy, that’s a lot. Then we got used to it, and it was great.

Is there any challenge from season one that you wish you could have gotten a chance to do?

Caleb There’s so many great artistic challenges from season one. That’s what I missed a little bit in our season. Though, I can’t complain about how anything played out. There were some really fun, unique challenges this time around. But I would have been very curious to see what we could have done with the Cut in Half challenge. That was so bizarre and unique, and everyone had something so different. No two items were alike. It would have been really interesting to see what zany direction we could have taken on that one.

Jacob One that I was thinking about was the finale build. In season one, there wasn’t the restriction of the day and night looks. Also, I would say it kind of shaped our builds a lot. It required a lot more effort and thought with the lights in there and everything. I would have liked to see what we could have done with the build without having to focus on that and see where it would have taken us. A little change could make a lot of difference.

If there was a challenge that was perfectly suited to your strengths, what would that challenge look like?

Caleb Part of me thinks we got that challenge in Episode 11. That’s hard to answer. I’ve done a lot of vignette building, which isn’t great for TV because they’re intentionally tiny. But that would have played to our strengths really well. You know, incorporate some small movement into a really small, really fleshed out, detailed build like that. If they gave us, a 32 by 32 baseplate and said: “Make something with movement.” I think we could have really excelled with that, given some of our smaller detail work.
Jacob Yeah, the smaller detail work is really where we excel. Like the castle and the floating islands too. We really put in those small details. Those episodes had a little bit of technical detail. But the smaller it is, the more suited we are. Zack and Wayne were more suited towards the gigantic builds. We need a little smaller so we’re not encroaching on their territory there.

What is next for you on your LEGO journey?

Caleb Lots of castles, I can promise you that one. I’ve got a lot of things planned in terms of conventions. I’m really excited to get back onto the convention scene and I’m going to be dragging Jacob to as many as I can, whether he likes it or not. I’ve recently started up a YouTube channel so I’m looking forward to sharing some of what I’m doing with that audience there. I’ve got a new LEGO® space that I need to decorate, so that’s another big project. Lots of things going on, but I’m definitely most excited about getting to conventions again and sharing our experiences on the show with the people who have been watching from day one.

Jacob The conventions are the main thing on my plate right now too. It’s going to be harder for me to actually stay connected to LEGO because I am moving nine hours away from where it is at. That’s just going to cause problems there. I’ll still find opportunities to maintain my title of Castle Bros by building castles with Caleb. I don’t want to lose the title for an activity or anything like that [laughs].

Caleb We have to discuss the terms of that with Mark and Steven. I don’t want to forfeit it either accidentally!

Images courtesy of FOX

LEGO Masters airs in the US on Wednesdays at 8pm. Stay tuned to The Brothers Brick for more interviews with the remaining teams.