The newest season of the FOX reality competition LEGO Masters features a master builder with a local connection. You’d figure the opportunity to build LEGO on national TV would be a dream come true for anyone who grew up playing with the iconic building blocks, but for Milwaukee native Paul Wellington, the previous three seasons have been a case of bad timing
“I was not able to actually apply due to job and family commitments,” Wellington said.
The UW-Milwaukee graduate has worked in social media for libraries since he finished up school, first in his hometown and now for the Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library. But his first passion, and what his Masters degree is in, is architecture. That’s reflected in Wellington’s many LEGO creations: following the example of his very first set, his building specialty is micro scale cities.
“What I do is take what’s in the built world and translate that into a LEGO environment but on a smaller scale,” he said.
Wellington has built miniature renditions of some local landmarks as well, including Fiserv Forum, the Central Library where he used to work, and the Tripoli Shrine Center on Wisconsin Ave. He posts them on his Flickr page to show his creations off to the world.
He’s taking those talents to Los Angeles for the fourth season of Fox’s LEGO building competition show, LEGO Masters, hosted by Will Arnett and judged by two members of the LEGO Group.
“They’ve actually reached out to me every single season,” Wellington said. “May of last year I moved to Cincinnati and I asked my job ‘Can I apply for this show?’ and they allowed me to apply and I happened to get on the show.”
The show features teams of two squaring off in timed building challenges. That means Wellington needed a teammate, and he turned to the person he used to play with as a kid: his sister. Wellington and his sister Nealita Nelson have been playing with LEGO bricks since they were children.
“She had not really built anything since we were both kids so it had been a long time for her. But I will say, she caught on pretty quickly,” he said.
The siblings teamed up to face the challenges handed down by Arnett, which the official description of the show says will include a NASA-themed episode, a tree house challenge, and a LEGO dog show. Wellington said the hardest adjustment was getting used to the timed challenges.
You’ll have to tune in Thursdays to see how the dynamic duo fares, as they compete for 100 thousand dollars, the title of LEGO Masters, and a trophy (Of course, built out of LEGO).
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