Many avid, life-long LEGO® brick fans will tell you that a brother or sister was the other half of their ‘construction crew’, and that many, many hours were whiled away building cities or spaceships or fantasy castles together. It’s a familiar story to almost any set of siblings, but what will be less familiar to most is continuing the tradition through childhood, past the trials of teenage years, and into adulthood. For the Diprose brothers, however, it’s another day at the workshop.
James and Jack Diprose are part of our Production team at Bright Bricks, and both assigned to our recent Mythical Beasts project. While the brothers did work on a few of these fantastic creatures individually, they did also have the chance to rekindle previous past-times on a much larger scale. “We go right back to my mum’s LEGO,” says James, telling us a little about the projects he and Jack began together. “She had all the old City sets, so we started on that, on building towns and little houses.”
A minifigure-scale town is a far cry from the work that the models in the Bright Bricks workshop…usually to the tune of several hundred thousand bricks. “Obviously, we’d work at a very small scale, with no plans, just to see what fits, but with the hydra…” James trails off as he motions to the seven-headed titan towering above him: a fearsome Hydra, straight from the ancient Greek legends of Hercules.
The complete build is a colossal 3.15m tall, but its shadow doesn’t loom too heavily over the Diproses. It may be far bigger than they – or indeed most fans – can build with their own LEGO bricks, but as James continues, he does not seem too daunted by comparison. “[The hydra’s] very well thought out from beginning to end, so we did know what goes where, but actually when we did the base, we had a bit more freedom.”
“We were always extending the city. It started off very basic, got more and more complicated as we dared.”
The base itself is not so much a pattern, as it was intended to look like a natural plane of craggy stone, with a few pools of trans-light blue water, as if the hydra has moments earlier lurched out of its swamp, and shrugged off the clinging damp. “It was how we first started building: it was completely random, seeing what happens. That’s how we used to build when we were kids; just chuck the bricks down.” The rest is done by eye.
So is it at all weird to be working together professionally now? Apparently, it’s not as big a step as it might sound. “We did used to work together, at a country park. We didn’t think we would again, but then this opportunity came up, and it’s been brilliant.”
Words and photos by Bright Bricks.