Thank you for all of your questions and comments!
I will do my best to answer all the questions below but I have to get back to building.

Please watch for another AMA in the future!

I’m Canada’s only LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Master Model Builder. Yes, that means my job is to literally build fun things out of LEGO bricks. I’ve built everything from small builds to LEGO Mosaics to a Guinness World Record-breaking 21-by-11 ft. LEGO Canadian flag. AMA!


Comments: 1680 • Responses: 66  • Date: 

TB200151959 karma

How did you apply for a job like this? Is it an art portfolio or some kind of in-house training? What kind of prior skills are you expected to have?

NoelMMB3424 karma

At LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, we have something called Brick Factor. It's a huge competition where we go through different rounds of building challenges. At the end, there can only be one chosen and that's how they pick the Master Model Builders. We do receive some additional training but a lot of it is based on our own skill. I've been building since I was really young, and entering LEGO competitions since I was 7 or 8.

benoliver999240 karma

Can people try to oust you?

NoelMMB416 karma

Nope! It is still like a regular job.

sgtblast176 karma

The years of wasted training I didn't even know I had! I threw it all away for a college education.... I could have been a Master Builder all along DX

NoelMMB307 karma

Ha! I actually went to U of T and got my degree is psychology. This is...a little bit different :)

AydinGuy7 karma

Finally! Thanks for the response

NoelMMB18 karma

Sorry for the delay :)

sgtblast104 karma

59 minutes questions answered. AT LEAST ANSWER THIS ONE!

NoelMMB211 karma

Sorry! Mini LEGO emergency in our MINILAND. Our cool new TIFF addition had to be fixed before we opened the doors to the attraction :)

parrottail126 karma

No, no. You can't leave us with that. Exactly what constitutes a "Lego Emergency"?

NoelMMB236 karma

If the LEGO model is broken, I have to fix it. Especially before the attraction opens because I don't want kids and families to see something that's not properly together.

BassNick60 karma

We all came here to ask this! Seems like a dream job to all us big kids.

NoelMMB99 karma

It's always been my dream job too! I was super lucky for the opportunity :)

Kherlimandos1 karma

He was sick at building lego with experience since childhood, how did you think he applied?

NoelMMB6 karma

I wasn't always that good! I had to really practice. I always loved to build sets but once I built it, I would take it apart and then try to come up with my own stuff. We always kept the instructions though, just in case. My mom still has a huge binder of them somewhere.

ARC_27_5555-1765 karma

Can you request new parts or colors to satisfy a need on an official build?

NoelMMB2624 karma

LEGO only produces certain colours and parts before that specific piece is discontinued and not produced any longer. I have access to the pieces currently produced and, yes, I can order any piece from the current list. I can't request a new mold or piece to be made.

babygrenade1121 karma

What is your favorite brick shape?

NoelMMB2113 karma

The classic 2x4 brick. You can't go wrong with it.

Dng521096 karma

I’ve always wondered, what do you use to stick LEGO bricks together so they don’t fall apart? Is it really just glue?

NoelMMB1603 karma

The secret is........... a specific glue that you need to be trained to use. Can't divulge more than that! :)

Reddit_Bork919 karma

I have a 10 year old son who would like to spend his entire life being you. Can I apprentice him like they used to do in the old days? To sweeten the deal, he'd also wash your car.

NoelMMB1331 karma

Every years, I select a group of 10 kids that help me with models and learn from me for the whole year. We have a contest to be a part of that going right now.

socialnetworkhobo827 karma

How long is the process from idea to finally build?

NoelMMB1182 karma

Depends on the build! Smaller builds can take only a couple days from idea to determining the best design, to actually building it. Because I work at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, I also do more than just build. I'll teach classes to the kids, or run parts of the attraction so it can depend on how busy we are. We just broke a Guinness World Record though for largest LEGO brick flag in the world, and that took a solid 4 months from conceptualization to build.

benoliver999744 karma

NoelMMB728 karma

Yup! My pride and joy.

PlasticCheezus693 karma

Have you ever snuck a Duplo block into one of your builds?

NoelMMB734 karma

Nope :) Rules are rules!

Saurons_Optometrist605 karma

Do you think everything is awesome?

NoelMMB717 karma

...And now that song is stuck in my head again :)

(But of course I do).

apiothyrium549 karma

Do you use Lego outside of work?

How many Lego do you step on without shoes in a week?

EDIT: Removed S from Lego

NoelMMB672 karma

I collect minifigures but I get all my building done at work.

I never step on LEGO bricks, I always wear shoes :)

ArchitectLupton530 karma

What’s your favourite all time Lego set?

NoelMMB779 karma

LEGO set 6762!

Sacred-Snow497 karma

What is the easiest way to take apart two bricks that are stuck?

NoelMMB894 karma

A brick separator! (Never use your teeth, though I used to do that.....)

But fun fact, my fingers are so used to putting together and taking apart bricks that I can usually just do it with my hands.

clamdiggin468 karma

How do you sort and store your lego? Also, how much time do you spend getting your pieces back in the right bin after you tear something down (compared to how much time you spend actually designing and building)?

btw, you have the coolest job in the world, congrats.

NoelMMB567 karma

I have a very organized system grouped by colour and brick shape. I use cardboard crates with self-made dividers to seperate pieces (1:1, 1:2s, etc.). For special pieces (minifigures, etc.) I use a plastic shelving (similar to screw storage) and seperate them by heads, torsos, accesories etc. And by colour/style, of course. This makes clean-up very minimal. Cconcepting and building usually take longer.

rororourboat327 karma

How do you design something so complex using those small Lego bricks? Is it a matter of sketching or drawing your idea then making the Lego's match that? Or do you take into consideration what is available?

NoelMMB450 karma

For some builds, I use a program called LEGO Digital Designer. It lets me build my model on the computer first and see the peices there.
For most builds though I see what I want to build in my head, I use some pictures for guidelines, but a lot of the design is trial and error. I have to take into consideration what I have as well.

Welcome2PlanetMF157 karma

I downloaded and had great fun with LDD a while back. But then i was making a run down fishing shop set brick by brick, the set involved a TON of cladding with flat wood style bits. Got all that on eventually. Then went to put the roof on, which was a board on a hinge and the rotate tool would NOT put it in the right spot.. so i rage quit out of it.

Do you ever find that problematic? the bend thing is also a pain

NoelMMB176 karma

This job is really trial and error. I use LEGO Digital Designer, but primarily I try to figure it out on my own. I'm constantly building and re-building and re-building again. It's my job to figure out ways to work around weird situations (like bends) so eventually I figure it out. Sometimes it can take a while though, especially if I've never built anything like it before.

Montemurro231 karma

What does your average day look like?

NoelMMB446 karma

I arrive at work, put on my music, answer emails, and then start building. Then it's lunch, building, and home.
I also do periodic TV and radio interviews.

reditorian209 karma

When will LEGOLAND be a sovereign state?

NoelMMB188 karma

LOL. Would that make me king?

ogo_pogo195 karma

Are there pieces that only you would have that the public will never see/be able to use?

NoelMMB216 karma

Nope. :)

M1573R_W0LF184 karma

What’s the build that you are most proud of?

NoelMMB247 karma

It's the most recent build I've done: our Guinness World Record for largest LEGO brick flag!

Rhazior162 karma

Which is your dominant hand? Right or left?

NoelMMB164 karma

Right handed

wartknee149 karma

Who decides what you build? Do you have a boss that tells you what to do, or do you have the freedom to chose yourself?

NoelMMB216 karma

I get requests for builds from my managers at the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre. Lots of my builds are to make the attraction a little more "LEGO-fied". Others are built for partners that we work with. There are some times when I build my own creations but I always have them on display.

That_one_Pizza145 karma

Your opinion on pineapple on pizza?

NoelMMB207 karma


BassNick144 karma

Do you design new sets? I notice sets often come with a series of small blocks that could be replaced with a single big block. Is this on purpose to give us more variety? Whats the proccess in deciding how to divide up a required space?

NoelMMB175 karma

Unfortunately I don't. From experience, smaller bricks are usually used to represent scale.

sculptorchris142 karma

Have you ever run into a situation where you needed a brick shape or style that didn’t already exist in order to complete your design? Will LEGO make the tooling and allot some production time to make you a very specialized piece?

NoelMMB230 karma

Nope! Either the pieces are already available, or I plan around it. That's part of my job to make things with the tools that I've got :)

Tris42138 karma

What was the longest build you ever did, and how big was it?

NoelMMB375 karma

It would be our recent Guinness World Record! We broke it just before Canada Day. It's the world's largest LEGO brick flag, about 21 ft long by 11 ft tall. It has 250,000 bricks and weighs half a ton. It took about 4 months to conceptualize and prep for it, but I built it in the course of 4 days with a team of about 10 other people.

sixlounge137 karma

Did you feel like an above average LEGO builder back when you were a child?

NoelMMB131 karma

Yes? :)

Doubleyoupee116 karma

Do you use lego technics in LEGOLAND as well?

NoelMMB129 karma

In our Build & Test station, yes. Most of the car pieces are LEGO technics.

Dontjudgemeforasking107 karma

What did you build for the free-build portion of your interview (that’s still a thing, right?)?

NoelMMB190 karma

During my interview we had 4 rounds that I needed to build something for. They all had themes: Animals, Sports, Around the House, and "Who are you?"
I built a Spider, Skier, Steak dinner, and a Drum set (as I play the drums when I am not at work).

poges92 karma

Is it a stressful job? Do you have to meet hard deadlines regularly or you usually have as much time for building as you wish/need?

NoelMMB130 karma

The job can be stressful but I know how long it will take me on average to complete a project and I just let my managers know so they have an idea of time.

slowcatofficer90 karma

"Do you master build alone or are you allowed to master build with others?" - Justin Willman

NoelMMB95 karma

Lol. I'm the only master builder in Canada but I do get regular helpers when needed!

savv_owlent89 karma

Weird request, but I thought I’d at least try. Could you say hi to my son Zach? He’s five and he absolutely loves LEGO. In his spare time, he reads LEGO manuals I downloaded on my iPad for him and he wants to be a LEGO Master Builder when he grows up. He would think it is so cool if a real LEGO Master said hi to him.

NoelMMB147 karma

Hi Zach!
It is a pleasure to respond to this question. I hope you never lose your love for LEGO. It is such an amazing toy. Keep practicing. I got my job by playing with LEGO and practicing for my whole childhood. I look forward to meeting you if you come to the Discovery Centre in Toronto.

Moose_Hole84 karma

Do you get a discount on LEGOs?

NoelMMB147 karma

As an employee of Merlin Entertainment, yes. Although it isn't as steep as you would imagine. Also doesn't apply to the best of the sets.

Bodaddy8681 karma

What's been your favorite and least favorite builds since you've started there?

NoelMMB144 karma

Favourite: other than the Guinness World Record flag (which I feel like I've answered at a lot with...) it has to be the large-scale minifigure models I've made.

Least: I had to build a LEGO casing around the poles of our benches. It's super colourful but it's a square so not really that exciting.

KaminariGW277 karma

Does it still hurt when you step on a LEGO or have you built an immunity to it?

NoelMMB96 karma

I tend to not step on them, or at least not without shoes. But you definitely build an immunity to it. My hands and fingers are used to putting together and taking apart bricks, which usually can hurt after a while. I don't notice it anymore.

NoelMMB76 karma

Thank you for all of your questions and comments!

I will do my best to answer all the questions below but I have to get back to building.

Please watch for another AMA in the future!

Hippydippy42073 karma

You are what my 13 year old son aspires to be. He hides his creations because he’s embarrassed of what his peers will think/say. My question is: Did you get made fun of at all growing up for being a Lego nerd and, if so, how did you handle it?

NoelMMB104 karma

Pulling my heartstrings. I'm really sorry to hear he is getting teased.
From what I can remember I was never made fun of as I was just a kid that loved playing with LEGO. LEGO bricks/models very rarely left my house as I didn't want to loose any pieces so the friends that saw them were usually at my house and that is just what we did for fun.
I always showed my models to my parents and they would always give me lots of support.

iwishihadnobones66 karma

Is this a legit career choice? Does it pay the bills? Whats the route towards becoming a professional lego builder?

NoelMMB131 karma

Pays the bills. Future is unknown but I take it one LEGO brick at a time!

Team-Redundancy-Team37 karma

I haven't touched a Lego set in almost 20 years.

Last week, on a whim, I plunked down almost $150 on a Ferrari F40 kit with over a thousand pieces.

Am I an idiot?

NoelMMB31 karma

Nope! Just be patient. Seeing the final product will be well worth it!

bornwoke28 karma

How do I get the Hogwarts Castle set?

NoelMMB39 karma


ijoinedtosay25 karma

Do people ever try to take your bricks and you have to tell em to lego?

NoelMMB23 karma

When I was younger my brothers would steal my pieces. I would just get them back when they were gone.

ekac24 karma

Why has Lego not made an organic chemistry set?

NoelMMB34 karma

Not sure. Would be great, but unfortunately LEGOLAND is owned by Merlin Entertainments and no LEGO so I can't answer that!

Kays8m24 karma

Do you get told what to make or do you get to choose your own designs?

What is the process from thought to creation?

NoelMMB32 karma

Some builds are directed down, but the majority of them I come up with myself. I usually think of a fun idea and bring it to life using my mind, or for bigger proejcts, LEGO Digital Designer which helps me see dimensions and amount of LEGO bricks.

SaintMarinus23 karma

When you're on a date and they ask what you do. What is your response? How do they react?

NoelMMB58 karma

Happily married! My lovely wife thinks its cool.

GroundsKeeper210 karma

What's your opinion on The LEGO Movie?

NoelMMB16 karma

Love the LEGO Movie.
I really appreciated how they made things like water and smoke out of LEGO bricks.

jammerfish5 karma

What build are you most proud of?

NoelMMB6 karma

Definitely our Guinness World Record Canada flag build!

wartknee3 karma

What was your opinion of the somewhat-recent Lego Movie?

NoelMMB2 karma

I like them all, honestly. The LEGO Movie was my favourite of them all though.

Beboprequiem3 karma

What was your most difficult challenge to date?

NoelMMB5 karma

The most challenging build was probably the when I built the Snowbirds for our MINILAND. Trying to make them all work in formation was difficult, and we had to hang them perfectly.

i_know_4_chords1 karma

Which piece of yours has the most individual bricks, and how many did you use?

NoelMMB2 karma

We recently broke a Guinness World Record for Largest LEGO brick flag. It had 250,000 bricks :)

Thegloriousdead7101 karma

I’m going to be taking my 4 year old step son there for his first time, it’ll be my second time there but it’s been a while since I last went. What are the go to places we should check out per your recommendation? Anything there worth seeing that’s kind of a hidden gem? Thanks for your time!

NoelMMB3 karma

Depends on whether you're going to a LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Toronto or LEGOLAND theme park. If it's a LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, I'd recommend MINLAND, the rides, Build & Test stations, and anything else exciting that particular location offers. :)

VegasRaider4201 karma

How difficult is it to convince whoever you need to convince to create a new block style or type?

NoelMMB2 karma

It's my job to work with the pieces and colours that I have, so I don't do any of that. I always plan and design a model around the tools that are available. There are so many pieces available that it's easier than you think.