One Friday in late May, I decided we were buying ourselves some new LEGO. Things have been hard of late, & we needed something light & silly to break the gloom. It was money that we really couldnâ€™t afford to spare, but it was justifiable in the circumstances. The LEGO that my brother & I had as children is somewhere at our motherâ€™s houseâ€¦ currently itâ€™s missing, but weâ€™re all hoping thatâ€™s just temporary. LEGO is an investment, which means no LEGO is a waste of money.
My partner is a big LEGO Technic fan, & over the last couple of years heâ€™s expanded his collection with a couple of sets. Itâ€™s a relaxation thing for him. So that night, we left the shops with a couple of small, low cost sets.Â There was a Star Wars Imperial Troop Carrier, simple Pirate island ruin, & a small box of Classic bricks for me, & a Snow Crane for him from the Technic range as a late birthday present.
He was away â€“ I canâ€™t remember if it was SES or Army related â€“ but I was home alone that Saturday. So I opened the troop carrier & laid it all out on the table. I donâ€™t know what prompted it, but I set it up to look like the Storm Troopers were building it & I grabbed my camera for the first time in ages.
What would have easily taken 15-20 minutes max to build, took almost four hours.
But better yet, it was fun.
I felt like sharing the silliness, so I put a couple onto Instagram with ridiculous captions. Not all at once, just one or two per day. I didnâ€™t want to spam. The reaction surprised me â€“ people went out of their way to thank me for them.
â€œThese make my day!â€
â€œOh you crack me up with these picsÂ Gillian DragancaorÂ keep up the amazing work, you make me smile when I see them.â€
â€œMe and my boys love seeing what the storm troopers are up to nextâ€
â€œI’ve been feeling down today, but this, this makes me giggle and peps me right on up.â€
Thereâ€™s a young boy in Sydney whose mum messages me with his reactions to each shot. These are some of the cutest things in the world â€“ â€œBatman needs to use his manner but the storm trooper looks cooler driving itâ€
A friend offered the loan of his childhood LEGO.
The photos are lifting his days too, & he felt sorry for the [hopefully temporary] loss of my childhood LEGO.Â We made the trip to his mumâ€™s house & were handed a large box of LEGO dating back to the early 80s! Easily worth over $1,500, given some of the rarer sets it included (there’s a couple that are Disneyland exclusive!). It was covered in dust & deceased spiders (one of them had all 8 skeletal legs wrapped around a minifig as though it was cuddling a teddybear), but a quick rinse once we had it home & itâ€™s almost as good as new.
I found a garbage bag in the drawer of our daybed, which held my LEGO Football set from the world cup in 2000. It had been an adult birthday present & given it was playable like a tabletop game (similar to Tiddlywinks) it had been kept separate to the childhood LEGO toybox. Itâ€™s spent at least 8 years in that black garbage bag (6 of those years without my knowledge), so most of the stickers are long dead, & once I found the instruction booklets for it I sadly found out it was missing 38 pieces. Nothing critical (unless you count the spare balls as critical), so I was able to rebuild it well enough to be playable again.
Suddenly Iâ€™m back behind my camera, even if itâ€™s only a couple of minutes every couple of days. Thereâ€™s a couple of challenges that Iâ€™ve set myself without really thinking about it. Iâ€™m using natural light through a window of the room that will eventually be the studio, & the winter light is fleeting. Also, none of the scenes use blu-tac or any type of Kraggle (adhesive/glue) – theyâ€™re either holding pieces or they are balanced (sometimes precariously).
I donâ€™t share all of the photos online â€“ most of them I just send to my partner while heâ€™s at work. It boosts both of us & thatâ€™s all itâ€™s ever been about. Not only am I not hating my camera (for the first time in months), but I’m enjoying it again.
Itâ€™s been a much needed lift in this house, & apparently in at least a few others too.
I put some of the photos up on my Redbubble account so that I could get a cushion of my Stormtroopers, & I figured seeing as people are loving the images so much Iâ€™d make them publicly available.
There are t-shirts, hoodies, kids clothes, skirts, ceramic mugs & travel mugs, purses, backpacks, phone cases, tablet & laptop skins, cushions, stickers, framed prints, posters, & notebooks available. Stuff-it-can-go-on galore!
If youâ€™re enjoying the photos, thatâ€™s awesome!
From the look of things, they’ll continue for a while yet =)