In January of this year we featured Ryan McNaught’s (TheBrickMan) king of helicopters, the Erickson Air-Crane Elvis. As many of you have no doubt read by now, Elvis was on public display at Cairns Central shopping center in northern Queensland, Australia when the unthinkable happened: a group of misguided “youths” pushed mighty Elvis to the ground with predictable results.
We’ve all seen accidental damage to models at conventions before, most often caused by enthusiastic butter-fingered youngsters, gawking public day attendees leaning too far over the ropes or rotund builders trying to squeeze between tables…but nothing like this…nothing so deliberate. Fortunately the flight-recorder survived the crash and the authorities are hard at work piecing together the final seconds of Elvis’s life.
TBB reached out to Ryan for a comment and found him in remarkably good spirits considering the scope of this brick-tragedy and very much willing to speak about it. Because of the ongoing criminal trial taking place with 2 youths charged over the death of Elvis, Ryan cannot get into the specifics of the incident.
“I was asleep in bed when the phone rang, you always know when it rings and its late that its bad, and well it was, I drove about 40 minutes into the centre where it was on display and there it was just as pictured (see my Flickr) to see hundreds of hours worth of work ruined is pretty surreal, and something I’ve never experienced before.
To pull down and destroy your own MOC can be very satisfying, I’ll never forget the Brickvention of 2009 where by 9 foot Eiffel tower was brought down at the end of the show Team America World Police style!
Needless to say I had to pack it up that night after the police came and did their thing, and got back to bed at about 2am. The next morning the media were swarming, but of course nothing to see, so that was fun watching the media look like idiots.
Anyway I was up there building a giant LEGO rainforest where people came along built a bit of the rainforest and added it to the display, I felt it was really important to keep that going so that people could still have fun and enjoy it. As people either asked where the chopper was, or came to sympathize it kind of hit home, the usual anger then sadness kicked in, but that was all fairly temporary, because to be honest its LEGO right? anything can be rebuilt, so whilst it sucks to lose such a big model, its not like its a 2,000 year old Ming vase.
So I’m kind of circumspect about it, and a bit relaxed about it now (my wife holds the anger and frustration for me!) and to be honest, when I rebuild/repair it (who knows when I can find the time) it will be just as cool as what it was, and its got a hell of a cool story behind it.
Plus doesn’t rebuilding it stick it up the nose of those who ruined it? To me LEGO has this thing where its cool to return back to its original form and then become something else, so i guess this is kind of like that.”
I think it does stick it up their collective nose Ryan, but for the violent American inside me…it isn’t quite enough. It used to be the most you had to worry about while displaying your model at a convention was the occasional petty theft or jackassy question, but this is a whole new ballgame. Stay tuned to TBB for a follow up on the court case.