Monday, Oct. 2, 2006 | Eric Hunter sees life in Lego.
“I’ll be driving down the freeway, and I’ll see the taillight from the new Nissan Altima, and I’ll think, ‘How would I build that?'” he says.
“I think in Lego, I really do,” he says. “Sometimes it gets annoying, but you can’t really get away from it. It’s so much fun.”
Hunter is a builder, but not a typical one. Instead of working with steel, wood and glass, Hunter builds with bricks — Lego bricks. And while the projects he’s worked on have been large in scope — like his current venture, a replica of Las Vegas’s Excalibur Hotel — they’ve been smaller in scale, about one-twentieth of the buildings’ actual size.
Hunter is one of six full-time model builders at the Legoland amusement park in Carlsbad. They are hired to build and maintain the park’s 15,000-plus Lego models that use more than 30 million bricks. They’ve worked on almost everything: a life-sized animated elephant that squirts water from its trunk, symphony musicians playing miniature violins, Volvo station wagons, and even an alien in a holding cell in a replica of the NASA space training center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
But spending 40 hours a week for the last year-and-a-half with thousands of bricks hasn’t turned Hunter off of working with Lego on his own time. He doesn’t think of himself as bringing his work home. Instead, it’s the other way around.