Lego Masters Season 2 Winners Tell Us About the Builds, the Bricks, and Sweating Bullets

io9: That goes to my next question, actually, which is what is the camaraderie like on and offset? Did people hang out, did you make friends, how did things work with the other teams?

Mark: So I’ve got to give props to the casting department of the season because everybody was so great, so awesome, so nice. They were all really fans of Lego, right? We really amazingly got along with everybody on set. Everybody really enjoyed each other’s company. We still have a huge group chat that we chat with on a daily basis. So we are just buddies. We even say extended family levels of friendship.

Steven: That’s what we call each other, yeah.

Mark: And also probably the fact that we were in a covid situation. We were basically in a bubble. It really, I think, actually contributed to our being so close. We were all together and we weren’t really allowed to talk to anyone else. So when you’re trapped in a room with somebody, you either hate each other or you’re best friends. And we all became best friends.

Amy, Jamie and Will on set.

Time to dish on the judges.
Image: Fox

io9: That’s awesome. What was it like working with Will Arnett, Jamie Berard, and Amy Corbett?

Steven: So Amy and Jamie were awesome. They get some flack online, but they really know their stuff, they’re really good at what they do. We knew from the start, from any experience we’ve had in a challenge or a contest, you listen to the judges. You really pay attention to what they say. And that’s what we wanted to do. They had a lot of great advice, which was really nice to have.

Mark: They spoke with each contestant multiple times during each challenge. You don’t always get to see that in the final edit, but they were always giving us feedback on what they were looking for and what they were hoping to see in this challenge. So, yeah, if you could listen and find a way to implement their advice, you immediately were going to do better.

io9: And Will?

Steven: Ahhh, Will was awesome. He’s a big celebrity, a big comedian. It’s a professional job. He’s larger than life but very professional on set. You’d be surprised. You think he’d be a goofball all the time, but he really knew his stuff. [It] was a lot of fun to interact with him. I will say it was, especially at first, it was a little harder for us to talk and kind of identify almost with Will because he was just so off the wall. It’s actually easier with Amy and Jamie because you could almost talk shop with them about Lego techniques and colors and story.

Mark: Eventually though we got more comfortable with the celebrity guy we know as Lego Batman.

Steven: Yeah, we all started to warm up each other and a little easier as we went along.

io9: And they’re obviously not there the whole time right?

Mark: Most of the interactions you see are on camera, some of them obviously don’t make the cut, but they also would only be on the set for a while. They’d look at stuff, talk to people, then they’d head off for a while. They had a separate back area where they were able to access the live camera footage and then watch everybody. So they were paying attention 100% of the time to what we were doing. But they weren’t always in the same room. They were often off by themselves.

Steven: Because they were a bit of a distraction, honestly. You’re paying attention to where they’re looking. So they understood that and exited when they thought it was appropriate.

the contestants stand for a final elimination

The final elimination.
Image: Fox

io9: So ultimately, what does winning Lego Masters win to you guys?

Mark: Okay, so my big takeaway is we’ve been building Lego for 20 plus years, both of us. Before everyone was interested in what it was I building I’d go to a convention and people would say “Nice build!” I’m like, “Thanks, bro” and they’d keep walking. No big deal. Now they don’t care about the build as much, they’re like “Oh, you’re on Lego Masters!” It’s a completely different situation. So it’s been really exciting, really interesting, and really wild to have that kind of huge switch in how people interact.

Steven: Yeah, the artist has outrun the artwork essentially for us, which is really weird, but I’m sure we’ll get used to it pretty soon. But for me, as cliche as it sounds, it really was a dream come true because I always kind of pondered, like, way back, 10-15 years ago, “I wonder if Lego will ever really take off? Will it be seen for what it is? Will it be in the public eye as something really interesting and exciting?” For a long time, it was a niche thing. It was just for kids until Lego decided to expand. To be a part of that expansion…holy cow, who would have thought, you know? It’s fun to look back and go back into your memory and just to see where it’s all come. Yeah, it’s amazing.

io9: Yeah, Fox has a TV show in primetime about Lego, right?

Steven: Exactly [Laughs]

io9: And what’s next for you both?

Steven: Well, not just all the fun stuff that comes with winning a TV show but I wrote a book. It’s called The Inner Workings of a Lego Mind. It’s a gallery book of some of my bigger builds. It’s on Amazon. And also my website, and I hope to do more technique books. And it’s fun to bring the community to kids and stuff. They really enjoy it and see it because that’s what happened to us. We saw the Masters do their thing 15 years ago and felt like we’re going to do this, too. So I want to be that for the next generation of kids as much as I can. But, Mark, you got some stuff too.

Mark: I work at a store that sells Lego. I design stuff related to Lego every day. So I’m just keep on keeping on and keep it up. [Note: Mark also has an incredible website.]

io9: All right. Last thing. Online you’ve been known as “The Castle Bros” but you lost the title on the show to Caleb and Jacob. Are you officially giving up the title of Castle Bros as per your agreement?

Steven: We really are. But, you know, it’s funny, I have a little backstory—you’re the first person to hear about it. So on set, especially near the end, right after that whole Castle Bros thing, there was a couple of days before it was all over. During that time, Jacob specifically, he has a very dry hilarious sense of humor. He’s great. He’s a really funny guy. But he said, you know, “We got that Castle Bros title.” He was starting to rub it in our face a little bit. So I said, “Well, maybe we’ll trade it in for Lego Masters.” I totally got him with that and guess what? It happened.

Lego Masters season two is now streaming on Fox and Hulu.

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The Most Wonderfully Over-Engineered Way to Fix a Broken Clock

The Most Wonderfully Over-Engineered Way to Fix a Broken Clock

In this case, it’s something as innocuous as a broken clock, which could be busted, or simply out of batteries. Either way, bringing it back to life was probably a simple fix, but not an entertaining one. Why pop in a fresh pair of AAs when you can instead throw a considerable amount of engineering and other technology at the problem? Developer Hendrik’s solution was to employ a DIY robotic arm they’d developed which the internet had helped named Serworm Michael simply because Serworm (it looks like a servo-powered worm) and Michael both got the most votes.

The structure of the arm can be created using a standard 3-D printer, but it’s brought to life using a series of Dynamixel XL330-M288-T servos, which can be found for about $20 each, as well as an Arduino MKR WiFi 1010 module and a Raspberry Pi. You’ll need to supply the electronics, but all of the other details needed to build and program your own Serworm Michael arm can be found in Developer Hendrik’s GitHub account.

The arm’s functionality is basic, but its use of servos gives it a level of precision that, as demonstrated here, can be used to accurately advance the hour and minute hands of a clock so it can perform its sole task once again. Could an army of these little arms be used to bring your boss back to life too? It’s hard to say, but the movie version of that experiment will be fun.