Hello, and welcome to another episode of 'Behind the Helm', Classic-Pirates.com's exciting interview program where we go behind the screen names and meet other LEGO enthusiasts! I'm your host, Connor Hicks aka Captain Zuloo and today I have the pleasure of interviewing a brilliant LEGO army builder, Michael Evans, better known in the LEGO community as michaelozzie.
C-P: Welcome to the show Michael!
michaelozzie: Thanks mate.
C-P: To kick things off, how did you start out with your Barbie hobby?
Captain Green Hair: No you idiot Zuloo, wrong episode! You're meant to ask Admiral Béjaune that when we interview him later!
C-P: Oh. Oops... Take 2: To kick things off, how did you start out with your LEGO hobby?
michaelozzie: Well I started my LEGO hobby when I was very young in the early 80's. I can remember my first sets were the Knights Procession and the Auto Service Truck. Ive been collecting LEGO sets ever since. Definately 2 of my favourite themes have been Castle and Pirates. I remember when the first Pirate sets were released. I bought 2 the first day which were the Bastion and the People Pack. I found this a great theme because I was always interested in history and particular the Napoleonic age. The soldiers were perfect for making French armies. My collection today is pretty large, I have a wardrobe full of LEGO. Now I'm alot older but I still enjoy the worlds you can create with this toy. And my wife is very understanding of my hobby which helps. Of late I have been focussing more on the customising of minifigs. This was helped by the re-release of the Pirate theme. My goal is to create a whole army of Napoleonic French troops as historically accurate as they can get and showing all the various troop types.
C-P: So far you've done a great job. Just check out some of these he's created recently: French Gendarmeries, Custom Minifigs, Napoleonic Army and Napoleon's Imperial Gaurd. These are all excellent creations with a distinct pattern - they are all French. Why do you prefer making French troops Michael?
michaelozzie: I chose the French mainly because I think they had the best uniforms of the period. There are so many troop types to choose from. And it follows on from the first LEGO Pirates whose soldiers I would always act out were French when I was younger.
C-P: What do think about the great debate on Red VS Blue? Are the Bluecoats French and the Redcoats British? Or do you agree with me that they are on the same side with the Redcoats being the army and the Bluecoats being navy? Or do you have another opinion all together?
michaelozzie: I think they can be any combination you want. In the end it's up to the individual's imagination. Myself, I always saw the Bluecoats as French (post the revolution) so naturally when the Redcoats were released I used them as British. But as the British navy wore blue and their Marines and Infantry wore red, they could be used that way too.
C-P: Do you remember what your first LEGO set was?
michaelozzie: My first LEGO set I remember getting was the Knights Procession. I had other LEGO before that but it was just a mixed collection of bricks my Grandfather gave me.
C-P: What caused the inner Pirate to claw its way out?
michaelozzie: Its always been one of the hardest choices, which theme to work with. Certainly Castle, Town and Space were always fun. But I never forget the day I saw the first pics of the Pirate LEGO theme in the yearly LEGO catalogue (I've kept every catalogue still from 1984 till 2004). It was my instant favourite. Pirates are such a cool theme and offer so much fun. The sailing ships and the cannons, swords and muskets, all of this I loved.
C-P: What are your thoughts on the new Pirates line?
michaelozzie: Well I was excited to see the return of the Pirates theme. It was long overdue. I like the new pirate figures and it's nice to see the backs on the new torsos painted too. The new sets offer a lot of good playability and my fingers are crossed some Bluecoats come out soon or the Armada soldiers.
C-P: What do you think of Classic-Pirates.com and the Crew?
michaelozzie: I'm still quite new to this site but I'm finding it a great place. There are many creative talents out there who have made some amazing mocs.
C-P: Living on the Gold Coast of Australia, you face the same problem as myself and our other Aussie members - there is no official LEGO shop in Australia! Where do you buy your LEGO?
michaelozzie: Yes it is frustrating not to have a LEGO shop here. Have to settle for the department stores like Target, Kmart or Toys R Us etc. The problem always being they are slow to get new lines in. Still waiting to see alot of the new Pirate sets in stores here. Alot of the time I buy items online at LEGO Shop @ Home or parts from Bricklink.
C-P: Indeed it is frustrating! We hear all about these lucky people in the US and Europe with LEGO shops just down the road...
Captain Green Hair: That's what you get for living in Kangaroo Land...
C-P: Where do you plan to go with LEGO in the future?
michaelozzie: Well at the moment I'm really enjoying the customizing side of things. I guess it all depends on what sets and themes continue to come out in the future of LEGO.
C-P: What sets and themes are you hoping for in the future?
michaelozzie: More Pirates! I've read alot of requests on here for a large Imperial ship and I agree I'd love to see that. The return of bluecoats to the theme would be fantastic too. I like the new Town and Castle sets too and I hope they continue down the path they're currently on.
C-P: That sounds like a pretty neat wishlist! To wrap things up, where did you get your screen name from?
michaelozzie: Well Michael is my first name so that one's pretty easy. Being an Australian or Aussie I just worked that in there to make a unique name.
C-P: Ok, well thanks a heap for joining me today Michael, I really enjoyed talking with you!
See you all next SPECIAL EDITION episode! It won't be long to wait at all...