This year’s Bricks and Blocks event is set to be a standout, with intricate models from special guest Thomas Hay on display. Thomas is an avid Lego® builder and while creativity is important to his work, precision takes first place. It was his dedication to creating completely accurate and detailed Lego® models that bought Thomas to MOTAT.
Despite working with Lego® since he was around four years old, it wasn’t until 10 years later that Thomas discovered that his passion lay with creating scale models of some of New Zealand’s more unique aircrafts. Starting with the Lancaster and expanding into other military aircraft, Thomas now has his sights set on constructing something much larger; the largest aircraft in MOTAT’s collection in fact – the Sunderland.
The Sunderland sits proudly in the MOTAT Aviation Display Hall site on Meola Road, and this patrol aircraft is hard to miss. Weighing up to 20 tonnes and spanning 26 metres wide and 10 metres high, the Sunderland is known as one of the best built ‘flying boats’ of its kind.
Thomas plans to create the perfect to-scale Lego® rendition of the Sunderland using plans sourced from the aviation blueprint collection at MOTAT’s Walsh Memorial Library. Thomas says having the original plans is invaluable for his work.
“Having access to the original plans and blueprints for the Sunderland gave me a more detailed and accurate view of the aircraft’s sizes and proportions – something that modern day interpretations can’t match. It’s also been helpful being able to view the different aircraft up close. It gives me a better grasp of the scale, so I know exactly how many Lego® bricks I need per metre, for example”.
It’s these details that make Thomas’ models so exceptional and lifelike. Constantly cross-referencing the blueprints and finessing every minor detail, of course, takes time for master-builder Thomas. When asked how long it roughly takes to build a model, he describes how the process timeline differs dramatically depending on the model and Thomas’ busy schedule.
“My yellow Harvard only took a full day whereas my Hudson took around four months, on and off - and that’s not including some redesign modifications!”
Of course, after learning of his long-time love affair with Lego®, finding out which of Thomas’ creations was his favourite was a must.
“My favourite model would probably be my Lockheed Hudson. It is my favourite as it’s my second biggest aircraft and has most technological breakthroughs in terms of design and moving parts i.e. upward titled wing, retractable landing gear, opening Bombay doors and moveable fowler flaps”.
A range of Thomas’ intricate models will be on display at this weekend’s Bricks and Blocks Event.
While adults can admire the detailed models, children can get hands-on in the ‘Build and Bash’ area, where they can build their own Lego® inventions, knock them down, and start again. What can be built is only limited by what can be imagined!
Admission to Bricks and Blocks is included in standard MOTAT ticketing. More information on ticketing prices here.