Remembering that I'm a reporter -- it comes in handy, on occasion outside the world of comic books -- I decided to find out what compels Aaron to build. Our e-mail exchange is below, emoticons and all. If you'd like to see more of his pictures, they're available here.
(1) Can you tell me about your decision to build the ship? And the actual building process (time, design stages, etc...)
I used to Work for Celebrity Cruises back about 1993-1997ish…(Pre- Merger with Royal Caribbean) it was owned by a wonderful Greek Family named the Chandrises. I worked and lived on board, the Fleet then consisted of The Horizon and Zenith (Sister ships, virtually identical) and the older ship the Meridian. Some of the best times I’ve ever had in my life were living onboard the Horizon and Zenith. They were truly “My Home."
I came to Land and parleyed my Design Degree from Durham College (Now Known as The University of Ontario) in Ontario into positions Designing Cruise Ships and Mega Yachts. Designing Cruise Ships is my passion.
Years Later in 2007, I saw a Large LEGO model cruise ship on one of the Carnival ships. It was cool yes, but lacked scale and attention to detail, so I decided to “Put my money where my mouth is” and build my own, but to take it the next step.
So I pulled up the Original GA (Blue Prints) of the Horizon, and scaled them for the Minifigures in AutoCAD, that created a 9 foot footprint in LEGO terms, So I did take a slight liberty in the deck heights to bring her down to 8'2". However she is constructed exactly as her namesake, she has the same amount of Water tight Zones as the Original Horizon and Zenith, even a crash bulkhead in the bow just like the real thing.
I started her in 2007, It took a full year to complete although I took three months off while I got married and bought a new house, So she took about nine months and about 4 hours a day and 8 on the weekends. I tried not to let her take over my life (The Boat not my wife, *laugh*) I guess that equates to about 1,200 hours.
I lost count of bricks, because I was buying and building as I went, she is primarily made from “Re-enjoyed” LEGO bought from Ebay, however I did buy thousands of pieces from the LEGO store. I estimate about 50,000 blocks in total. If and when I ever sell her, I’ll weigh her, and subtract the weight of her mounting board, and divide the LEGO weight, by lets say a standard 2X8 Block and that should give me a fairly accurate count.She is currently Crewed with a Compliment of 100 Minifigures, Officers, Staff, and Passengers.
Well My Ego says I’m the Captain, however if I were to equate a position to it, It would probably be best describes as the Chief Engineer.
She definitely understands it, she actually helped a lot, sorting and cleaning LEGOS from ebay, and the miles and miles of monotonous snapping along the length of her Hull. She’s been very supportive, and she does love the ship as well, but she’s growing weary of the 8’2” Cruise Ship in the Living room, I mean it looks GREAT! But not quite fitting in with our décor LOL
Now if I were to tackle my next Dream Project, it will be a three meter (9’-10”) cruise ship that will be glued and sealed so she can actually float, using the same displacement theory that makes actual cruise ships float…But that is very much a dream at this point, and I have the distinct feeling although she would help me, however this one will be built and live in the Garage ;-)
Not as such no, Cruise Ship Design is very much modular, the cabin modules are snapped in very much like LEGO during her construction, however the passenger spaces are very fluid and organic.
My Favorite set as a kid… Well I am old *laugh* The LEGO sets were very limited back then, I guess my Favorites were the space sets augmented by thousands of straight standard LEGO blocks I had accumulated over the years. I leaned away from the “actual” set to build, and just kept adding to the sets I already had with my imagination. I can’t really recall actually building the LEGO set from the instructions, I always had a “better way” as a kid, that better way was of course “my way.”
(6) Where do you want to see her living now?
I’ve tried over the last year to sell her to a Museum, Theme Park or Other Private but Public collections. Last year was a bad year for all of us, Museums and Theme Parks included, not to mention, after all the hours of design, and time I spent on her, She is worth much more to me sentimentally, and in “sweat equity” than the sum of all her parts. I would like to see her displayed so all can enjoy her, you never know where she’ll end up.