Jason was at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center in Schaumburg, Illinois for this year’s Brickworld Chicago. From June 18 to 19, he and the rest of the Brick Show team covered some of the most spectacular LEGO creations built by fans and enthusiasts all over the world, one of which is by LEGO master builder Allen T. Hickmon from Kansas City, Kansas with his awesome LEGO Imperial Dragon’s Gate and impressive LEGO mosaic.
Read on to know more about this prolific builder, and on what inspired him in coming up with this one-of-a-kind MOC. You can find his video interview at the end of the article.
This is one impressive, Asian themed MOC. Can you tell us more about it? What inspired you to build this masterpiece?
Well, for one, this Japanese layout that I built is called the Imperial Dragon’s Gate. This particular build is inspired by Japanese mythology about how Japanese kois transcend or become magnificent dragons. According to the story, the kois will actually swim up the river and once the kois reach that area where the current is really strong, the demons will look at the koi and will think that it was comical to watch them struggle. As a result, the demons will actually raise the stream up reaching towards the mountains. At this point, most of the kois will simply turn around, give up and will swim in the opposite direction going with the flow. The koi that have decided to continue swimming against the current eventually caught the attention and approval of the gods. As a reward for the exhausted koi, the gods transform it into a dragon able to go up to the mountains and into the sky.
You seem to be into Japanese and Asian culture and you managed to combine this with your love of LEGO. How is that?
Right, Japanese culture and LEGO bricks are a big part of my life that I kind of identify with it. For me, the concept of being a master swordsman is synonymous with me being a master LEGO builder.
The scale and intricacy of your LEGO Imperial Dragon’s Gate is really awesome to say the least. Can you tell us something about its piece count, and how long did it take you to build this?
About the piece count, I really can’t tell because when I work in my LEGO studio I’m just using materials that is directly available in my shop. Particularly, since I did this MOC primarily for Brickworld, I didn’t necessarily keep count unlike my LEGO mosaics. I started building the Imperial Dragon’s Gate sometime in January and since I have other events that I’m working on, I really can’t determine how much time I spent in doing this due to the numerous commitments that I have like working with other clients and other commissioned works, plus the LEGO mosaics for Captain America: Civil War that you see also here.
Talking about your LEGO mosaics, what is the story behind your latest Captain America: Civil War mosaic?
Well, this mosaic is the second build that I brought with me here in Brickworld Chicago, and every year I do a mosaic to promote the actual movies around the time of May which also happens to be my birthday month. A lot of Captain America and Marvel movies come around at that time, so this is like the third and largest Captain America mosaic that I’ve ever built. Everything that you see in my mosaics is all pretty much on top of my head. I don’t use any programs or software to map them out. It makes people more appreciative of the creative process that I put into it. The piece count on my LEGO Captain America: Civil War mosaic is around 237, 000 pieces made up of individual 1×1 bricks and cheese wedge pieces. There’s definitely a lot of brick and time in this particular piece.
You’ve been a LEGO builder since you were a kid. Do you still remember your very first LEGO set?
My first LEGO set that I built was the LEGO Castle 375 that was all yellow, so that was really a long, long time ago.
If you have a dream set that you wish LEGO will release, what will that be?
My dream set that I wish LEGO will release would ultimately be something that I built and they choose to make that particular set.