Dream job: LEGO’s Master Model Builder

For his “interview,” Johnson, right, competed in a LEGO build-off.

Andrew Johnson has the job you wanted when you were 6 — and likely still covet now. As the new Master Model Builder of LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago, the 23-year-old designs 3-D LEGO models for the families that visit. Last week, he completed his first display since starting full-time at the beginning of the month.

“I just made a cardinal — that’s the state bird of Illinois,” he tells us. “It’s a lot of fun to be able to design something and watch it come into creation so fast.”

Plenty of aspects of the job could be described as “a lot of fun,” which is why the position isn’t easy to come by. There are only four Master Model Builders in the U.S. and an additional eight abroad. Johnson landed the gig after competing against eight other finalist applicants in a “build-off,” during which he created a replica of Chicago’s Daley Plaza Picasso sculpture, a model of the Lorax using less than 40 LEGO pieces and an especially tricky audience-member request: a violin and a hands-free harmonica.

For now, Johnson — who is one credit shy of a degree in history from DePaul University — isn’t concerned with big-picture career questions or especially eager to join his friends in the cubicles.
“It’s one of the only toys I can think of that you don’t grow out of,” says Johnson of LEGOs. “I’m going to stay here as long as I’m having fun — which I can see being a long time.”

His building style

Johnson has been playing with LEGOs since he was a child, but sharpened his skills while working at a camp where the toys were used to teach architecture and engineering. “There are people who have a lot of kits, but I’m more of a free-builder — I haven’t used instructions in a long time,” he says. “I don’t buy kits, just the basic building blocks. It’s a lot of trial and error.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

News

Mets mascot Mr. Met target of Bill Clinton…

Mets mascot Mr. Met has told how he ended up in the crosshairs of a Secret Service sniper rifle. The man behind the Mr. Met…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

NHL

Rangers draw first blood against Flyers in Game…

Brad Richards and Derek Stepan scored power-play goals 47 seconds apart to lead the Rangers to a 4-1 win.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.