Original Published on Oct 31, 2022 at 18:40
Brick Lab’ event brings crowds to Prince Albert Science Centre
By Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Prince Albert Science Centre, located in the Gateway Mall hosted their first event this weekend with the Brick Lab.
The Brick Lab was created in collaboration with the Saskatchewan Lego Users Group (SLUG), a Saskatoon-based group of Lego enthusiasts and hobbyists.
“We are just enthusiastic about Lego,” SLUG member Ray Jacobs said. “We love to put on shows and display our original creations.”
Jacobs was one of five SLUG members showing off his creations on Saturday. He said they jumped at the chance to attend after being invited by the Prince Albert Science Centre.
“We are not employees of Lego. We are just enthusiastic hobbyists,” he explained. “We just do this for fun. We like to build and being able to display at a show is even better. Having the public see what we have come up with is very fun for us. We are just volunteers and we enjoy it. It’s just a nice opportunity to come here to Prince Albert and display here,” he added.
In one room they displayed MOCs (pronounced mocks), which stand for My Own Creation which is an original design.
For example, Jacobs built a display called the Legend of the Black Taj Mahal.
“I visited the Taj Mahal when I was a kid,” Jacobs said. “During our tour or tour guide told us that Shah Jahan who commissioned the Taj Mahal his original plan was to make a second one in black on the other side of the river. It never happened because he was overthrown by his own son.”
He also contributed an entire display of cars along with remote-controlled vehicles such as a fire engine. He also built Thor’s Hammer, a Bob’s Burgers display based on the popular TV show, and various Star Wars creations.
The group has around 50 members, most of which live in Regina. However, there are others located in Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Estevan, Melfort, and even a few outside the province.
He stumbled across the SLUG when they formed around 12 years ago.
“I played with Lego when I was a kid and gave it up for a while,” Jacobs said. “About 12 years ago I was looking online and saw that adults were building stuff, very cool stuff and I wanted to do it again. I got some Lego and started building again, things I wanted to make and I searched online for a club and found SLUG.
“We build the stuff at home and pack it up in boxes and bring it here take it out and display it and it’s all built in advance. Stuff can take a couple of hours to make or a couple days or weeks or months to make.”
SLUG members setup a Wacky Races ramp in the second room, and idea which came from their large show in Moose Jaw called Brickspo. It involves a Lego car building competition, where children build their own cars and race them down a ramp.
“Right now, there are kids over there we have supplied them with bricks and they are able to build their own car, try it out and see how far they can get down the ramp,” Jacobs said. “They seem to be having fun with that.”
So which creations took the longest to create? It’s difficult to say, since they all take so much care and attention.
“On average, it will take me a week or two to make a car but the trucks, because they are motorized and have gears, like the bus there, took seven months because there are no instructions,” Jacobs explained. “It is all out of our own head. I looked at pictures of a real bus for reference and then just built through trial and error.”
According to the Science Centre over the two days, there were over 800 people through the doors on Saturday and Sunday.
“There has been a lot of people and a lot of enthusiasm,” Jacobs said. “People are really happy with what they have seen. The organizers with the Prince Albert Science Centre are also pretty happy with what we have been doing so it has been fun working with them.”
The Science Centre’s next event is a Saturday Science Drop in on Nov. 19 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. called STEAM Lab, STEAM meaning Science, Technology, Engineering, Art.