Note: This feature is in the Dec. TT&C 2016 issue.
When he builds his scale versions of big rigs and other motorized equipment, Stephen Wilson might be the first to tell readers one doesn’t need an engineering degree nor experience as a truck driver to mold LEGO pieces into stunning 1/18 scale creations.
But in his case, the combination of an aircraft mechanical engineering degree from Purdue University and several years experience driving double-bottom trucks in California lead to something special when it’s time to produce a LEGO version of an actual truck.
Stephen began by putting together some intricate LEGO kits, but then he saw the work of English LEGO builder Jennifer Clark and was inspired to do more. Stephen, who lives in Indianapolis, Ind., began delving into more complex LEGO endeavors.
He was interested in the possibility of reverse engineering vehicles he saw completed in LEGO form, like those Jennifer Clark built. And his engineering background helped him imagine many pieces in three-dimensional form.
The interest in trucks stems from his family. His grandfather, father and uncle owned an International Harvester dealership from the 1940s through the 1960s called Indiana Equipment Co.
The trucks on the lot became a fun play area for young Stephen. Then, after studying at Purdue, he decided it was time for some adventure.
“I said, ‘Let’s drive somewhere and see what adventures we can find,’ ” Stephen recalls. “I went to California and one of my first jobs was driving a semi with double-belly bed trailers. I enjoyed that job for a long time.”
After a few years driving trucks, his experiences began to blend via the LEGOs. In a real sense, he was able to tie together each of his pursuits. He found the LEGOs were easier to be creative with than the traditional plastic model kits.
“I don’t always have to wear my glasses to use the LEGOs,” Stephen says. “They’re large, so they’re easy to handle. They’re already painted, depending on what you are doing with them.”
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