English professor by day, LEGO guru by night – meet Doug Cloud.
Some people spend their free time reading, collecting stamps or looking for virtual Pokémon characters.
Doug Cloud blocks out time to build LEGO creations.
Cloud, an assistant professor of English at Colorado State University, recently combined his brick-laying talent with his job, crafting a strikingly accurate scale model of the newly renovated Eddy Hall, where his department is based.
He says he took lots of pictures of the real building before constructing the miniature version over a two-week period. Details in his LEGO Eddy include a red-headed character resembling department head Louann Reid sitting behind her desk, fellow faculty member and cyclist Tim Amidon on a bike, staffer Sheila Dargon in one of her signature vests, and a worker on the roof, which was seeing lots of repairs at the time.
“It’s tricky to replicate people,” he says. “Sometimes it works if they have a distinctive characteristic. Someone pointed out that one figure looks like the college’s IT director, Bryan Gillispie.”
Cloud included himself, too. “I’m the little guy sneaking off for a hike with my backpack and headphones.”
A rekindled hobby
Like many people, he started playing with LEGO bricks as a kid. By high school he had given them up, but his mother kept them.
“Then my parents were packing up for a move, and they told me to take them if I wanted them,” recalls Cloud, who was in graduate school at the time. “I started working with them again four or five years ago, over a Thanksgiving break. I always tell moms to store their kids’ LEGO sets when they lose interest, because they may come back to it like I did. These toys really last, and they’re not cheap, so parents should keep them.”
Today he’s a member of CoWLUG — the Colorado/Wyoming LEGO User Group. His basement is lined with shelves, drawers, tool chests and even an old library card catalog filled with the miniature blocks and bearing labels such as “hatches and hinges,” “palisade brick” and “stairs and ladders.”
“I can find just about any piece in two seconds,” Cloud says. “When I was a kid, my Christmas list was all about LEGO, and now it’s all that’s on my list again.”
He assembles his displays at Colorado events like Maker Faires, Comic Cons and model train shows. Cloud, whose work will appear at the NoCo Mini Maker Faire Oct. 7-9 at The Ranch Event Center in Loveland, specializes in portraying medieval times.
“I don’t usually do modern scenes,” he says. “For Eddy I made an exception.”