Great Buildthrough 1998-2000

During the third and last year of the Gymnasium, my production of models gradually came to a halt, as the preparations for the final exams intensified.
At the same time I slowly realized that with the age of 19, I was too young for a job at Lego, and simply not good enough at building to qualify for a job as designer: The few models I'd made up until then were too few and too much alike: Lego wouldn't need a designer that could only build gray space fighters!
Furthermore the fact that I only had plans and no pictures of the models meant that they were actually useless for demonstrating my abilities, since I would have to rebuild them either at Lego (yeah right!), at home and bringing them with me (and I haven't enough pieces to build them all at once, even today), or photographing them with a borrowed camera.

Models with plans, top row: 02, 03, 04 from 1995 and 08 from 1996. 2nd row: 10, 11, 12 & 13 from 1997. 3rd row: 14 & 15 from 1997 and 16 from 97/98. 4th & 5th row: 17, 18 & 19 from 97/98.

Choosing a path: Trapped with something that was useless in its current state, not good enough to warrant the time needed to "activate" it, and with very little time, I had to put my dream of working at Lego on hold while studying something on the university and getting a bit older, but that was a bit more difficult, as my interests go in two opposite directions: The detective work of understanding the far and mysterious past, or the science of creating the future?
I had had a lot of thoughts about becoming an engineer like my father, due to my great interest in science and science fiction, yet despite having read all his scientific magazines and had lot of aid, I realized that I simply wasn't suited for it during math and physics classes the last year of the gymnasium, as the usual way to teach these subjects is by repeating the demonstrations of all the formulas which I find really boring (and I don't like to repeat something that others or I myself has already made): I'm more of a practical type that feels a lot better about using the formulas rather than proving them and would have been bored to death.

Moving away: So I ended up choosing archaeology, but studying on the university meant moving to the capital, and this raised some questions about the lego: First of all I would eventually have to move all my stuff with me, including the lego (but luckily, this could wait). Secondly, a third of them was my brother's, and it seemed fair to split it up when we both had left home, and in order to do that, there was no way around rebuilding all the official sets to see what belonged to whom, and what was missing. And it would be funny to see how all the sets looked together.

Building: So I started building in the summer holiday of 1998, and by autumn I moved in at my grandparents flat in Copenhagen. It turned out that I couldn't start at archaeology right away, as the demanded grades were much higher back then, so I had to use the next year on qualifying "collecting points" by doing a lot of strange stuff like social work in (I teached computers to elderly people), educating myself by taking extra gymnasium (high school) courses (that were more or less irrelevant to archaeology), and personal growth stuff like attending a højskole (literally highschool, a Danish kind of extra school where you learn cultural and creative things like philosophy, social studies, drawing, making web pages and so forth).

and building: During that year I was pretty busy, especially in the spring semester of 1999 where I had about 42 hours of classes per week (not counting homework and transportation: I had to be at two different schools across town to get enough courses), and I was only at home with my building project in the three holidays (autumn, Christmas and Easter). Needless to say, it didn't progress very fast.

...and building: When the spring semester of 1999 was completed, it felt like collapsing on the beach gasping for air, and the summer holiday seemed sometimes to fly away and other times like it would never end while I waited for the answer from the university whether I'd been accepted or not.

By the 26th of July, the answer finally came: I was accepted! By October I returned to Copenhagen to begin with the studies, so the building had to continue in the holidays as before, and this went on for another year.

This is how 27 kg's of lego look like. Furthermore there were 7 kg's more of "extra" lego (things I didn't have plans for like my railway), which isn't in the picture.

...and stopping!!: Slowly the building process took up pace, as lesser and lesser pieces were left in the boxes and by late summer 2000 it was suddenly over after two years. As I'd realized very quickly that it was be impossible to have all the sets assembled at the same time (about 119 sets with 21.558 pieces), I'd started disassembling them parallel with building new ones, and somewhere along the way I'd forgotten all about splitting the collection up so everything went into a big box.

Results: In the end the buildthrough didn't give the possibility to separate my brother's lego, but this didn't matter much since he decided to let me have it. And I decided not to move it to Copenhagen while I live here by my grandparents, because I don't have enough space, and because the studies would suffer from it: I was already using too much time playing computer, playing with lego wouldn't help on that.

Benefits: But despite the fact that I'd used so much time on it, and begun longing to build my own stuff really badly, I think it was a great success: Although the work isn't completely finished, even today (as I still need to assemble a few things that I haven't got plans for), the project gave me huge leap forward in my development as a builder simply by following, experiencing and understanding the work of the professional designers at Lego on such a massive scale: It's a project I will really recommend to others (although I'm probably never going to repeat it as my collection only grows bigger and my time shorter).
Furthermore I've found out how many and what pieces I'm missing, so I can actively search for them on car boot sales and pick'a'brick's: Currently it's about 168 pieces of which I've gotten 11 so far, but off course I'll miss a lot more when I figure out what sets I'm missing the plans for and begin trying to build them with the "rest portion" of my collection (the 7 kg's I'm currently keeping apart from the rest of the collection).

Sorting: But although a big pile of different pieces is very inspiring as you see a lot of pieces and colours you rarely use, you can't find precisely the ones you're looking for, and I had to sort them into different boxes again before I could start building for real.
This gave me a great opportunity to do it in a more intelligent way than before where I'd sorted primarily by colour (and a bit by type): I'd found out that it's much easier to find pieces when they're sorted by shapes that can't be confused with each other (then you can easily recognize the correct piece with the right colour in the heap).
But figuring out how to achieve this (and sorting the pieces) took all the holidays from the autumn of 2000 to the summer of 2002, and by that time I was REALLY longing to build!

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