One bright early morning, passerbys around the Speedstick noticed something unusual standing tall behind the pane of glass – a massive yellow castle built entirely out of Lego, complete with its own monster that keeps it under guard.
This is the work of Guy Rimmer, an East Sooke resident with a penchant for Lego, medieval buildings and architecture, who just happened to drop by the coffee shop and asked if they would like to display his stuff.
Thankfully, they said yes.
And since he’s been collecting Lego for 30 years, you can imagine he’s got quite a lot of it. It’s not surprising to hear then that this particular castle has around 30,000 pieces.
Rimmer says it started out as a hobby, dedicating a couple of hours every day after work for three years.
“It’s hard sometimes to count the pieces because often you end up building something six times to make it look right by taking away pieces, adding, taking away, adding again,” he says, adding similar in a way to how a sculptor will start with a crude hunk of rock and chips away at it to mould it into shape.
Funny thing is, he didn’t even intend to build it as a castle, but as a little three-stories-tall “gladiator academy” of sorts, where gladiators would get hardened before heading into the arena – as such, the structure takes shape more so as a fortress; not to necessarily keep people out, but to keep them in. As such, there are numerous dungeons, one in which a terrifying creature (known as Knuckles) haunts up and down.
There are also several mess halls, gathering areas, and dwellings for little Lego people to walk around in — and all of it is built to be fully-accessible.
“I like building full-size with Lego people, makes it a bit more realistic and detailed,” Rimmer says, adding little things such as the building’s big column pillars going up the corners is what gives it the distinctive design.
“I make sure there’s lots of long lines in there so you get the shadows, makes it look taller.”
The rock formation on which the building stands on is a piece of work even by itself, as every rock face of the cliff had to be randomized and “built to look wild” since Mother Nature doesn’t necessarily build in patterns or straight lines.
If you look close enough, you’ll even notice a cave system cut into the side of the cliff — there you will find a lowly creature sitting by the fire (which actually lights up thanks to four LED lights hidden underneath).
Rimmer’s yellow castle is part of a larger collection of dioramas he’s built, including a Roman gathering (or Rome in a box, as he calls it) complete with a marketplace, even a Christmas diorama complete with everything from the tree itself to the very punchbowl.
But as his inspiration come from within, it also originates from the outside: his job as an equipment operator gives him a good idea of how buildings are built, and how architecture works.
And surprise, surprise, he’s building another castle – four times bigger than its yellow predecessor. Apparently this one will be built on the side of a sheer cliff (which he will also build from scratch) similarly to the Poenari Castle (known as the original Dracula castle) in Romania, only much more dramatic.
Next up is a two-metre medieval chair that has more than 40,000 pieces in it – something that would put the Iron Throne of Game of Thrones lore to shame and would undoubtedly belong to no one else but a royal king or queen. And yes, you can actually sit in it.
Rimmer hopes to get around a dozen creations and put on his own Lego show for all those Lego Sookies out there, where it be at an art gallery or school.
“I’d like to charge admission and donate to somebody, do a fundraiser type thing,” he said.