Ahoy there everyone! Today, I have the task of introducing the next episode of Classic-Pirates.com's 'Behind the Helm'...but I'm the
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IK: Hello! Welcome to this episode of Classic-Pirates.com’s ‘Behind the Helm’.
I’m Izzy Kilmartin you might know me as Cutlass_Iz. Today I’m interviewing the man with all the hard questions, the Host of this show, Mr. Connor Hicks or, your very own Captain Zuloo!
IK: Welcome to the show Captain!
CH: Hello, it feels a bit weird to be having YOU interview me. I’m sure questions will be answerable.
IKK: Yeah I hope so, Quite a number of people have been asking for a chance to get to know the host of the show a little better, and this is their chance. So we’ll start of with something simple, like; What is the meaning of life?
CH: Ah, you know how I said something about answerable question… [laughs] Don’t worry about it, I do know the answer to that question but it is at a level so high you wouldn’t even begin to understand it.
IK: And you don’t want to share it with the rest of the general public? No? That’s fine, seriously though, when did the Lego obsession start for you?
CH: It was quite a while ago, so I couldn’t exactly give you an exact time, but probably when I was five or six, I mean I had Duplo before then, I remember my first Duplo set , it was a Police Helicopter. That really created a monster, that one. So I enjoyed Duplo for a while then I moved onto Lego, my first set was the Crossbone Clipper, so I really got into the Pirates line straight away. I don’t know why people give the Clipper so much lip, I think it’s a great little set, the rudder turns and everything. Everybody says it’s terrible and I’ve never really understood that.
IK: No, each to their own opinion I guess. So how many LEGO sets do you own?
CH: I’ve thought about that in preparation if I was asked this and I have no idea. I honestly have no idea, I have so many random bricks and lots of boxes of stuff, but I’ve never actually kept a good record of what set I actually do have. That would just be impossible to give you a decent answer. But I’ll try anyway, I’ll say we have probably well over 100 sets.
IK: Very nice, that is a lot of Lego. But you always want more don’t you.
CH: Of course, what fan doesn’t?
IK: When did you become a part of the LEGO online community?
CH: Ooh, I joined Eurobricks of the 19th of July in 2007, and I was looking for more information on that never released massive online multiplayer game, Wake of Destiny. I don’t know if you ever saw that.
Not myself, no.
CH: It was a game that was being developed where all the characters were Lego Pirates, it looked really cool, there were all these different quest and things but that was a while back but it still hasn’t come out. I think sort of it ended up being planned as a military game. So it went from Pirates to modern warfare, then to non-existence.
LK: [laughs] So EB was the first site you found and you never left? Or was there any other sites?
CH: Ahhh, I don’t know when I became relatively active on MOC Pages, that has since died down since Eurobricks, but I did have a few creations on MOC Pages, when I joined EB I wasn’t really active, it was only since about mid 2008, that I have been an active members of the online community.
IK: Okay, fair enough. How do you afford your LEGO and where do you buy it?
CH: Well the simplest answer to the first part of that question is, I can’t. [both laugh] I can’t afford Lego which kind of makes it a little tricky to buy it. I design website as source of funding for my sets and parts. I’ll just stick in an add for myself, if you ever have a requirement for a website design it’s www.zulooweb.co.cc so that’s the best website designer you can find. Anyway back to the interview.
IK: [scoffs] Nice plug.
CH: [laughs] Back to the interview yeah, I pretty well rely on Christmas and Birthdays presents for my sets. But when I do have money to throw around I buy Lego pretty much wherever I can. You know, even though Lego seems to hate Australia, as we have no official Lego store down here. But we do have department stores like, Kmart, Target, Myer and David Jones, they are all pretty good for getting Lego. But some purchases I make at Shop-At-Home on the Lego website. But a few months ago I was searching for some track for my layout Blocksford, I don’t know if you’ve seen that?
IK: Er, no. Do tell.
CH: I was going to say it was a layout that I built last year. That was really cool seeing people’s reactions when they saw this big world of bricks and stuff that they have at home. Yeah but, I was trying to find more track because I wanted to expand the layout. I ended up buying 50 pieces of straights and 4 points on Ebay, it was pretty expensive at $500 AU, that was including postage from Germany.
IK: Oh ouch!
CH: Ouch indeed. . I figured it was only going to get more expensive, so I bought it. Recently I have discovered what a fantastic source or parts Bricklink is. I’m not very good at finding the best price. I think I’ve been ripped off. [both laugh] I’m sure I’ll get better with practice but it seems to be a very good source of buying individual pieces. And if you know how to use it I reckon you could get some good bargains on it.
IK: Yes, I think Bricklink is definitely worth looking into. What is your ultimate goal in LEGO collecting? World domination? Owning every set that ever came out?
CH: Um, I’m not entirely sure how I could dominate the world with Lego, er, actually did you know that Lego has already dominated the world, because I think, yeah there are more Minifigs on earth than there are humans. It’s true.
IK: Oooh, imagine if they came alive.
CH: Minifigs present the world’s largest population. It’s true. My ultimate goal, I think now I have discovered how much fun it is to exhibit a layout at a public show, it’s probably just to get bigger with that. To attend more events in Australia, to try to raise awareness of Lego and how totally awesome it is. And hopefully make a difference to the Australian Lego community, in Lego listening to us more, and perhaps a Lego store somewhere, a Legoland?
IK: Yes, indeed! Yea that is something that Australia need to move towards I think, because there are a lot of AFOL’s and families and things that I think would really enjoy having a Lego store, just even a store in Australia. Shipping prices from Shop-At-Home are to much of a deterrent for me at the moment.
CH: I’d probably fly to Melbourne every weekend or whatever if need be to buy some pieces.
IK: [laughs] Yeah, okay! Are there any LEGO projects you are working on at the moment?
CH: At the moment, as I’ve said I have made a Bricklink order or two for a ship that I’m working on. That I have been working on for a very long time. It has been re-built a number of times and never actually finished. And that is the ‘Grandier’, that’s my sigfig’s flagship. At the moment I am waiting on some jumper plates to make the shape of the tumblehome, the hull more round and realistic. I might enter that in Pillage the Village in some forms. The benefit of the staff division is, there is absolutely no rules. I can enter something that I have been working on for ages.
IK: Good idea, speaking of ships, what do you think of the up coming Imperial Ship?
CH: Oooh, I think it’s fantastic for Lego Pirate fans and fantastic for the future of Pirates because even though they have discontinued Pirates, this is a good sign that they won’t be discontinued forever. This is such a huge milestone in the history of Pirates with this ship having three masts with white sails and a complete deck. And an Imperial ship that is bigger than the Pirate ship, so it really shows that Lego is really listening to the community now. But it is not so fantastic for my wallet. Because I don’t have any money, and there are a number of sets on my list. I dunno.
IK: Has this one gone to the top of that list? Or do you think you can wait?
CH: Oh I think it really depends on how soon I can get the other ones on my list. I also want to pick up a couple of the Modular buildings, they might not be around for so long so it might be a matter of getting them when I can and perhaps getting the Imperial Ship that should be around for a while. One thing I have to say I was a little disappointed about though was, I don’t think it has a name other than ‘Imperial Ship’. Brickbeard’s Bounty was, now that was pretty interesting, it had a name.
IK: Nice point, yes.
CH: Imperial Flagship, humph. [both laugh] It just makes you sign when you hear it. A bit boring, you know.
IK: [laughs] Okay, is there anyone that you look up to in the LEGO community?
CH: Ah, yeah, there are lots. Everybody, everybody seems to make better creations than me. I admire some many people’s abilities with the brick. It’s a strange sort of thing to be saying, ‘Oh, I look up to up to people that build awesome Lego creations.’ To your everyday person [laughs] But I really think that people building with Lego, you know the way people think, it really shows a lot about people’s intelligence and so on and so forth because Lego isn’t an incredible easy thing to build with. I mean anybody can make a house or whatever, but it is how people use different techniques, they look at pieces in different ways and even make up techniques to come up with a perfect design or a perfect shape. I really find that interesting and very clever, but if I had to say one person, I would definitely say Jamie Berard, who I interview a short while ago, I just felt so intimidated talking to him, [laughs] What if I said the wrong thing to a Lego designer?
IK: He certainly, he was saying that himself about looking at specific pieces from every side, and really trying to think of other way you can use it, rather than the generic, stick it the right way up sort of approach. That really affected my thinking and I went away and started looking at my pieces differently. I think that that kind of information from the people we look up to is really helpful.
CH: It is indeed, which is why I think it is fantastic when people do what Captain Green Hair has done with his Built a Frigate thread. How people share a little bit of, yeah, people share tips of their building techniques. I think that is fantastic, because Lego is very much a community thing as we have seen with Eurobricks and Classic-Pirates.com there is a lot of room for everybody’s ideas to be recycled.
IK: Absolutely, and that is what we are here for too, to get information out to the general public. So, are you happy with where The LEGO Group is heading? What would you like to change?
CH: Ah, like you said, I’d very much like to see Lego come to Australia, it’s quite time I think that we actually get a bit more Lego in our country, we are missing Legoland we are missing Lego stores. You know some people have two Lego stores within half an hours drive. Which is kind of a shame when you consider that we don’t have any. I don’t think that they would be at a huge loss, I think there is quite enough interest in Australia for a Lego store to be worth while.
IK: Yes, and I’m sure the que of people wanting to work there would be magnanimous as well. [laughs]
CH: [laughs] Definitely, I think as far as pieces are concerned I think Lego is moving in the right direction in the variety of pieces. There is so many things you can do with all the different colours and strange shapes of pieces that we have never seen before. But that is the smaller pieces in the sets aimed at adults, like Medieval Market and the modular buildings and the Emerald Night. But sets like the airport, which I wasted some money on I think, because those pieces were just huge. To me Lego is about making something big out of little pieces. Making a shape out of square bricks like the aeroplane nose cone.
IK: There is only so much you can do with it, yeah!
CH: I think I saw one, only one MOC, I don’t really remember what it was for, no, it was on a helicopter type thing, but it was the only MOC where I have seen the aeroplane wings, because they are just to big to do anything with. So that is a shame. Also as far as stickers and things, Lego is getting better there, because they are moving a lot more towards printed parts, but the few sets that do have stickers are only on one pieces, so it is easy enough to take the set apart without destroying the stickers.
IK: Yes, so your role on Classic-Pirates.com is not just the Host of Behind The Helm, can you tell us about what other tasks do you handle?
CH: Alright, well I’m the News Coordinator on C-P.com, which pretty much means I schedule the news that’s written by our team of writers and often by myself as well, I am the one responsible for making sure there is always a new news item every day or couple of days. Usually when I can’t do that, when I am away or anything, Erdbeereis or Zorro take my place for a few days, when need be. Yeah, so I schedule news, I write a lot of it, I probably write an average of six articles a week, [laughs] so that keeps me busy. I also assist with decisions about contest and so on, all that sort of stuff. I like to think that I make a bit of difference on Classic-Pirates.com.
IK: Oh I think you do. You’ve been making a few changes to Behind the Helm recently, are you happy with the results and where would you like to see Behind The Helm go in the future?
CH: Er, well I think I made a huge mistake inviting that Izzy chick along, I don’t know, if I could take that back, I’d probably do that. [laughs] No… no
IK: [laughs] I meant as in the whole going from text to audio…
CH: Just for the record I think the addition… I think you have certainly added something, with an extra personality. People don’t just have to listen to my drivel all the time, which has got to be something; it’s got to be a benefit. But going to audio thing was a big step but I’m glad that we’ve taken. It’s opened a lot more possibilities, we don’t have to rely on people having to sit down and read all the interviews. You can have a lot more personality with audio. People can take the interviews on their iPods or whatever, and listen to them on the go. I think it’s a very big step up but I think it is something that we can maintain for quite sometime. It is something I can see going quite successfully in to the future.
IK: Okay, that’s very good. What do you like to get up to when you are not building with LEGO, or co-ordinating the news on Classic-Pirates.com?
CH: Ooh, what don’t I get up to? I play violin and have for quite a while, I also play bass guitar and I poorly play acoustic guitar, I’m trying to get better [laughs] I’m teaching myself how to play it. I also tap dance, I’ve done that for quite a while, I also have a Tap Exam coming up this next Saturday.
IK: Good luck with that!
CH: Thank You, so yeah actually I have a song, if any one is familiar with the song ‘3 am’ by Matchbox 20, this is a parody of that song, but it reflects very much on my interest with Lego. So here, have a listen.
3:01 AM by Connor Hicks
[Plays guitar intro]
She says she’s out of grey but she needs to build her spaceship
She says she’ll have to Bricklink up some more
Or maybe Ebay or some private reseller
But she only builds when it’s raining
And she needs, some ABS yeah,
She says baby, it’s three days till the contest
She screams baby, I’m scared they’re not gonna make it here on time
She got a little bit of something, God it’s better than nothing
But the colour was portrayed all wrong; She can’t believe that’s all she’s got
She swears the fool done sold her Bley not Grey and She can’t use it
And she only builds when it’s raining
And she needs more ABS yeah
And she screams baby, it’s two days till the contest
She screams baby, I’m scared they’re not gonna make it here on time
She believes that bricks aren’t made up of all that they used to
With crap cheap parts and weird shades of Bley
She believes Lego is about using what you have got
But inside, she’s stopped building
She says baby, I’ve made my entry for the contest
She says baby, they didn’t make it here on time
So I improvised with Bley and now I’m fine
She screams baby, it’s three days until the contest
She screams baby, I’m scared they’re not gonna make it here on time
IK: There you go, very good. [laughs]
CH: I’ll just throw in there that, that was with a five string guitar, one of the strings snapped and I still haven’t got to the music shop to get another one.
IK: No, it sounded good. Songs with Lego lyrics, that’s great, everyone has got to love that.
CH: Hopefully. So that is what I do when I am not building with Lego!!!
IK: Very good! We heard a little bit about the unfortunate story behind your screen name a few weeks back on Captain Blackmoor’s interview… have you had a chance to come up with a better story yet? Wipe the slate clean and all that?
CH: So by unfortunate you mean that I didn’t have one?
IK: I mean you spelled your name wrong… [laughs]
CH: Errr that right, well there is that!
IK: It’s not from Star Trek people!
CH: It’s not Star Trek and if I get another email asking about it [groans] Anyhow, Captain Zuloo was part of The Zuloo Brother’s in the Brick town Circus when he was shot out out of a cannon and discovered his love of Pirates… Nah that is a load of crap!
IK: [laughs] Aww, I was really liking that story.
CH: No Zuloo just came about when I couldn’t spell Zulu at the time when I signed up to EB, but I’m pretty glad now because it make is unique and makes it my name.
IK: Yes, of course, what was the reasoning for wanting to have Zulu in the first place?
CH: Well it was that long ago I can’t remember really. I wanted to be Captain because I didn’t feel worthy of Admiral or anything. If I had have know how awesome I would have turned out to be… [laughs]
IK: [laughs] I didn’t feel worthy of Captain so I didn’t use that. Thanks for joining me on my show Captain. It’s been great!
CH: No it’s MY show.
IK: Oh, aww, I thought you were handing the reigns over to me. Oh sorry.
CH: Not exactly, you know you just make suggestions… different story. Well thanks for having me on ‘Our show’.
IK: Our show? Okay, I think we can work with that. We’ll be back next week with another episode of Behind the Helm. Cheers!!!
Keep an eye out for episode #14 next week, feedback appreciated!