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A replica of Lucas Oil Stadium made out of 30,000 Legos
Article from the INDYSTAR.com
When he heard Lucas Oil Stadium was on the drawing board to be built in Downtown Indianapolis, Brian Alano posed the idea of constructing a LEGO replica of the Colts’ new home to his wife, Becky.
“I didn’t have any clue about the scope of how big it would be,” said Becky, 46.
“I asked her if I could build it,” said Brian, a 44-year-old engineer from Bloomington, Ind. “Lucky for me, she didn’t ask me very many questions.”
Like how much it would cost to order more than 30,000 LEGOs to construct his five-foot-square masterpiece. Brian won’t say how much he spent, just that it was costly. And it took him a long time. He started in April of 2006 and finished it in July 2009.
“It’s a hobby. It’s not his day job,” Becky said. “It’s a creative outlet for him.”
The LEGO Lucas Oil Stadium replica is on display this week on the third floor of the JW Marriott, media headquarters for Super Bowl XLVI. And it’s positioned in a perfect spot, with the real stadium visible in the background. The structure was on display at last summer’s Indiana State Fair. Fans will have to pay to see it at the JW Marriott — access today through Friday to the media floor where Radio Row is situated requires buying a $25 ticket.
Brian had completed LEGO models before. His wife is the Colts fan, so he built her a Fathead mosaic replica of defensive end Dwight Freeney that hangs on the team’s family room wall. He’s also done tissue box covers, condiment holders, a jewelry box and picture box, among other things. The Alanos have a LEGO room in their house.
“I knew this would be a big project,” Brian said. “I didn’t know how big. It’s a significant financial investment.”
Friends associated with the Indiana LEGO Users Group club helped him along with donations. He isn’t sure of the exact LEGOs needed.
“I’ve never really counted,” he said of the 30,000 estimate. “I’ve ordered at least that many.
“It wouldn’t have happened without the group.”
He actually thought of taking it apart for good 18 months ago. He was ready to move on, but was talked out of it.
Brian is glad he kept it so his model could be a part of the Super Bowl experience. As the sunlight splashed through a window on his creation, he gazed out at the real stadium.
“That was the most attractive thing about bringing it here,” he said, “getting the two juxtaposed.”
The replica actually comes apart — the ends usually hang on their family room wall with LED lights while the field and stands split into three parts. That’s how he is able to move it around, although rebuilding takes some doing. A sign on the side of the table reads: “Thank you for looking, and not touching.”
An understated guy, Brian has been besieged by interviews today, one camera after another. He polishes his model with a feather brush, but then shows the critical eye of an engineer. He sees a part that needs adjusted and makes the quick fix.
“There’s a lot that still needs to be done to it,” he said, then explains how the retractable roof closes about 30 percent of the way and his North window mechanism opens and closes but he fears it’s not going to work for long.
“I’m glad people enjoy it. I hope they get inspired by it,” he said.
Colts placekicker Adam Vinatieri walked by on his way to some radio interviews, saw the model and checked it out. Alano asked Vinatieri to sign the model, which the kicker obliged on a roof panel section.
The proud creator beamed. Who would have thought he and his wife taking off a day from work would land them an autograph from a kicker who has won four Super Bowls, two on game-winning field goals in the final seconds.
While his most recent project has been a lot of fun, Brian admits he’s already thinking about his next endeavor. And, hard to believe, it actually sounds more complicated than this last one.“I’m going to use LEGO soccer balls to simulate the carbon energy cycle of the earth,” he said, “and let people manipulate it to see if this can create climate warming or other catastrophies.”