It’s Jurassic June – and that means it’s a chance for all of us Jurassic Park and Jurassic World fans to really come together and highlight some of the coolest things which our community have accomplished over the past year.
Now, any of you who know me well enough will know that I am a massive fan of LEGO – with some truly great LEGO Jurassic builds out there on the internet. I’ve seen people do it all – from intricately detailed Velociraptor Paddocks to full-scale recreations of the Visitors Centre. There really is a ton of creativity in this community.
The other day, however, I stumbled upon something which goes above and beyond – over on the Beyond The Brick YouTube channel. I have been subscribed to these guys for long-time thanks in part to my love for LEGO – so imagine my delight when a fantastic LEGO Jurassic Roller-coaster popped up! Capturing the essence of Jurassic World perfectly, I got in touch with the creators of the channel to get hold of details for James – the gentleman behind this project. Here’s what he had to say about this fantastic project:
Hey James, thanks for sitting down with me. I’ll kick it off light – how did you get into Jurassic Park?
Hey, you’re welcome – thanks for getting in touch with us. First and foremost, we are a group of friends and LEGO nerds from Portland, OR. We belong to a few recognized LEGO clubs in the area, specifically Great Northern LEGO Railway. We put on displays at community events a few times a year, like comic cons model railroading shows, or community/fundraiser events at museums.
One of our club members has been obsessively collecting LEGO dinosaurs for the past few years. On a whim about two years ago, we started putting a bunch of his dinosaurs out on our town display for a model railroad show. The kids absolutely loved it. Even though we had put all this effort, blood and sweat into creating LEGO renditions of real-life trains, the kids paid most attention to bunch of dinosaurs we just kind of placed around randomly on our layout. The idea grew from there, and ignited the idea of building a whole proper LEGO Jurassic Park.
I notice the great uniforms – do you guys cosplay in your spare time as well? Any involvement with other fan groups, such as the JP Motorpool?
A few of us cosplay as a hobby, but the uniforms idea came about to get attention at public events, and like most of our ideas, just snowballed. For the recent event in Vancouver, BC, we all picked roles we wanted to play – Park Ranger, Security Officers, Emergency Techs – and put together the uniforms accordingly. One of our club members, Davey Olson, came up with the standards for shirt, patch placement, etc.
We found that cosplay is a match made in heaven with LEGO. Not only do kids get to come see cool LEGO displays, but they also get to talk to a real-life Park Ranger. We really wanted to make people to get an immersive experience.
Now we are talking Jurassic LEGO – have you got all the LEGO sets?
I don’t personally, but Bob Day is the club member I’d mentioned before, who obsessively collects the dinosaurs. He has at least one copy of every Jurassic Park / Jurassic World set released, and in some cases, dozens of copies. He’s even gone back and collected at least one of every dinosaur LEGO has ever released, dating back to the early 2000s. I have most of them, but not nearly as many as Bob does.
Which one is your favourite?
I really like the set # 75932, Jurassic Park Velociraptor Chase. It was launched as part of the 25th anniversary of the original films, and you get minifigures of Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler, Lex Murphy, and Tim Murphy.
The build itself is amazing – do you have an estimate on how many bricks are in it?
Thank you! It’s a collaborative build, so quite a few of us had a hand in it. We estimate there’s probably about 150,000 LEGO pieces in.
The build includes many dinosaurs not in the ‘Jurassic’ line – can you explain to Jurassic fans where those come from?
LEGO first began releasing specialty-molded dinosaurs in the early 2000s. This would be excluding brick-built dinosaurs – so we’re talking specialty pieces like heads, torsos, arms, etc. One of the first was an “Adventurers” sub-theme called Dino Island. Most of those dinosaurs were pretty primitive-looking, without a lot of details such as printing or articulation. Later, there was an educational series that contained mix-and-match elements where you could make your own dinosaurs, such as a Brachiosaurus, from a few specialized parts. LEGO made two licensed sets in 2001 as a tie-in to Jurassic Park III, but those were primarily brick-built dinosaurs and honestly, pretty heinous.
There was a short-lived theme in 2005, called “Dino 2010,” and then another theme in 2012 that was simply called “Dino.” The 2012 Dino theme was the predecessor to the modern, “Jurassic” lines you see today. The molds were much more detailed, they had better printing and articulation, and overall, just looked a lot cooler.
Jurassic World sets first appeared in 2015, and then again in 2018, as tie-ins to Jurassic World and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, respectively.
What was the most time-consuming part of the build?
The landscaping! Landscaping with LEGO takes a tremendous amount of parts. LEGO is squared off edges and very “blocky,” so to make convincing landscaping is very time-consuming. You’ve got to put a lot of work into making it look random.
How did you go about recreating the Visitor’s Centre? Did you use lots of reference material?
That was one of my builds I contributed. I pulled a lot of reference materials from image searches online, and collect them all into shared photo albums. There are some visitors centers that people have already built and posted online on Flickr and Instagram, but I didn’t see a whole of actual physical builds – most were just built digitally and rendered. I really wanted to try to get as accurate a representation of the Visitors Center as possible, because it’s such an iconic structure.
After getting my reference materials in order –honestly, I just began free-building. I’d grab bricks I had on-hand, even if they weren’t the right color, and just start framing out how I wanted the center to eventually look. Free-building can be rewarding, but also really frustrating. I probably built and rebuilt the whole thing about 4 times.
I’m pretty satisfied with how it turned out. I really like the open back so you can peer in through the actual center itself. I’d like to do a version 2.0 and put in proper basement, and finish up the rear of the building. Then maybe have it open up in the back, dollhouse-style.
You have a great ACU Building – was this inspired by Jurassic World Evolution at all?
You caught me. Yes – 100% inspired by Jurassic World Evolution. The game has some great reference material for LEGO builds. I actually put that ACU building together in one evening.
Another great source of ideas and inspiration for structures is Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis from the early 2000s. The graphics are already a little blocky, so they translate well to LEGO.
If you could add one more thing to this build, what would you choose to add?
If I had unlimited resources and money – I would love to build an entire surround mountain range, like the mountains of Kualoa Ranch in Hawaii, where parts of the movies were filmed. It would take so many LEGO pieces to make, but it would look amazing.
If you could get one new dinosaur in LEGO format, what would it be and why?
Sauropods! Particularly a Brachiosaurus. LEGO has only released one, in the early 2000s, and it’s got a face only a mother could love. I would like to see an updated, modern Brachiosaurus to complement the other current dinosaur designs.
Where should LEGO Jurassic fans watch for your next build?
We will take LEGO Jurassic Park up to Seattle, WA, for BrickCon October 5-6. BrickCon is a LEGO fan expo / event that’s held every year. We already have quite a few new surprises in the works. You’ll be in for a treat.
James – thank you so much for sitting down to talk to us, and for taking us through just a taste of this fantastic build! There is so much to it – from the automated Gyrosphere track, to the fantastic tour train which echoes both the Ford Explorer and the Jeep Wrangler from the original film here. The team here really have packed this build full of incredibly intricate details – so I really do recommend checking it out. We will link the Beyond the Brick video at the end of this article.
For now, thanks for reading guys – we hope you enjoyed this spotlight. If you want to share your own builds with us, please do – either in the comments below, in our Facebook group or by Tweeting at us.
Take care – and enjoy this Jurassic June!