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Interview With LEGO Pioneer – Alex Nunes

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Hello, Alex. Thank you for giving us this opportunity to ask a few questions about yourself as well as this hobby that we share along with other people around the world. We’ve watched a lot of your YouTube videos and are amazed at how much time, effort and creativity you’ve put to set up such a huge and complex city. So, here are a few questions that we’d like to ask, and I’m sure followers and readers would also like to learn.

Can you share a bit about yourself? Please also share your social links with our readers so they can follow you after reading this post.

I am married and have two boys. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Finance.  I am a Workforce Manager for a large company.  I love baseball and Formula 1.  I love taking road trips with my family.  We take a lot of trips to Southern Utah and visit the many National parks we have in our beautiful state.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/821472141632988

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alex.u.nunes/

YouTube Channels:

GoodCleanFun – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCB2aswhxzHz9o1A-xblzf3Q

LEGO – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoc-LK5qpDi4fZjiufx8Apw

How did you get in to LEGO?

My earliest memory was on a family trip to my grandparent’s home when I was 10-year-old.  When we got there, my dad bought me a LEGO Cargo Ship as a gift for being good for the ten-hour drive. I remember doing nothing else but playing with that cargo ship for the rest of the trip.  The amount of versatility and playability in this single set allowed me to escape into my own world for hours on end. From then on, I would only ask for LEGO sets for any special occasions. 

Of the different LEGO themes, which are your top 3 favourites?

My favourite has to be Modular buildings.  These sets are a heaven send for city builders, such as myself.  My second favourite would be LEGO IDEAS.  I love the variety of sets we have seen come from this theme.  I especially love the fact that most of them fit well into my city.  My third favourite has to be Space.  More specifically, the Space sub themes of the 90’s.  Those got me through my teen years. I destroyed them so much in space battels that I actually memorized how to put them all back together.

We are subscribed to your YouTube channel, such great content! How did you come about starting your channel?

Thanks for subscribing!  Before I was able to build my city in our new home, I would always look at other collections on a website called Brickshelf.  I also posted many pictures of my collection at the time.  In fact, those pictures are still on there and were all posted before I began my city in our current home.

Once my city was setup in our new home and college was finally behind me, I discovered a few YouTube videos of LEGO cities. This intrigued me because up to that point I had only used YouTube for school.  Seeing those videos inspired me to post a video of my own city.  It was such a crummy video with terrible quality, but I noticed a lot of interest in it.  People wanted to see more?!  I quickly realized that there is a massive LEGO community out there and that my channel has allowed me to play a small part in it, for which I am very grateful.

Your videos feature different themes but the main attraction and content is based on your city. How did you start your city and eventually expand it, to how it is today?

Having a LEGO city has been my passion ever since I discovered LEGO.  To me, it was a world I could escape to and a great way to deal with the stresses of life.  When my teenage years ended, my LEGO ‘dark ages’ began.  It wasn’t until years later when I met my wife, Mindy, that I was able to find some stability and get back to collecting LEGO.  I would buy the occasional LEGO set, but not nearly what I would’ve liked to buy; money was often tight.  I also had no room in the small apartments we could afford to live in.  

One day, my mother-in-law offered one of the spare rooms in her home to me so I could build my city.  It was a decently sized bedroom and I was very excited to build my LEGO city that I hadn’t seen in 10 years.  This was about the time Café Corner came out.  I worked on it whenever I had spare time, and I filled every corner of the room with LEGO.  Despite it being quite small (compared to what I have now), I was very pleased to see that it had grown significantly, even with the lapse in time.

When we were shopping for a home, I made it clear to our real estate agent that we needed a big basement for my LEGO hobby; Mindy fully supported this dream.  I knew we would be in this home for a very long time and wanted to make sure there was room to grow.  After we bought our home and moved in, there was still some planning and waiting to be done.  I was working and finishing up college, so I decided it was best to wait until I had completed school so it would not be a distraction.  Talk about motivation!  Once I got that final grade, I went right to work on building my tables.

Eventually, I finally let loose and started planning and building my dream LEGO city according to its full potential.  As I built, I became super focused on building the largest LEGO city that I could possibly build.  This was also around the time I posted my first video on YouTube.  I quickly found joy in sharing my LEGO hobby with others, which got me more connected with other AFOLs.  This newly found LEGO community would provide me with endless ideas on expanding and improving the layout.  And that’s how it got to be where it is today.

Alex Nunes City 1
Alex Nunes City 4

Which part of the city is your favourite? Any specific areas or buildings that you like the most? (you can specify more than one, if you want)

This is a tough one to answer because I really try my hardest to make each section shine.  Once I complete a section, it becomes my newest favourite. If I had to pick a consistent favourite, it would have to be the downtown area.  I just love seeing the taller buildings hover over all those amazing modular sets.  

Alex Nunes City 5

With the size of your city, how do you keep it clean? Are there any techniques that you could share with other LEGO fans?

Keeping any LEGO city clean is a challenge.  What makes it more challenging is the fact that LEGO sets have so many nooks and crannies, which are impossible to dust using conventional methods.

When I decide it’s time to clean an area, I will remove all the minifigures and vehicles and then use one of three options.  For the easy-to-reach areas, I use a Swiffer duster.  This cleans the flat areas, such as roads or any large smooth surfaces.  It is fast and gratifying work, but usually there is more to be done.  For cleaning between studs or stubborn areas, I usually use a vacuum with a very fine brush attachment.  For areas that are difficult to reach, I use a paintbrush to clean; they are incredibly effective at reaching into small crevasses and cockpits.

When I am reorganizing a section of the city, I usually take that opportunity to do a more detailed cleaning on certain sets that have been challenging to reach based on their placement in the city.

Alex Nunes City 3

With your new series MindyFig Mayhem, please share how this came about and what are the fun and memorable sigfigs that you’ve received so far?

I really wanted to find a way to better connect with the fans of my channel.  I have noticed some channels offer live builds or membership perks, but these represent significant time commitments.  My life is already busy enough with my job and family, so those options weren’t do-able for me.

Over the past few years, I have had some viewers reach out and ask if they could send me a minifigure to put in my city.  I was a bit puzzled by these requests, but I received them anyway, as well as some vehicles.  These subscribers absolutely loved seeing their creations in subsequent videos, so I figured if they loved it so much, maybe others would as well.

I also wanted to involve my wife more and this seemed like a good opportunity to give her a larger role in my channel.  She enjoys the sentiment that comes with minifigs/sigfigs, so this idea was right up her alley.  The series is relatively new, and Mindy and I are still figuring things out, but we have loved the enthusiasm from LEGO fans around the world.  The minifigures have been very fun and creative, from a kid with freckles to a knight-in-shining-armour.  And this is just the start!  We really hope the series does well.  If so, we will definitely keep our PO BOX.  

Have you collaborated with other fans of LEGO to create structures in your city? What creation did you design/build with another content creator?

I have had just a couple of these and they are both very recent.  My first was with a friend by the name of Chris; Instagram @Brickston_lego.  He creates several MOCs of emergency vehicles and fire stations.  I shared my plans to rebuild my hospital and he offered to help design the building.  After a few back-and-forth conversations, he came up with a design that I was very happy with.  The end result looks very similar to the design he created for me.

The next one came from a friend in the Philippines by the name of Kim: Instagram @lego_artisan.  Kim has no shortage of amazing designs for city building MOC’s.  One particular MOC caught my eye, and that was his famous Sit-Complex.  I reached out to him and asked if he would be ok if I built it and featured it on my channel.  I had never done anything like this; it was all very new to me.  Kim guided me through the process and made sure I had the right sets and pieces I would need to create it.  I do not have the tallest Sit-Complex out there, but I am very happy to have such an amazing building from a fellow AFOL in my city.  I need to do these more often!

If you were to collaborate with the LEGO company, what theme or type of design would you choose?

I am going to be selfish here and say that I would love to see an elevated train system, more specifically a new monorail.  We have numberless trains all running on the same rigid track system.  We need something new for our LEGO people to get from here to there.  We could have different monorail stations, some elevated, some ground level. The trains would stay 6 studs wide and offer us various lengths, diner cars, sleepers, etc. It would add a lot of fun character to our LEGO cities, for sure. 

Another idea I have—that is a bit ambitious—is centred around modular skyscrapers. Take the Daily Bugle for example….  What if we had the option to add another floor to it? What if we wanted to add eight floors? Having the option to buy individual floors allows for affordability and flexibility.  The floors would be interchangeable; each floor could be a stand-alone building, as well.  The floor could also be interchangeable to other buildings. Not sure how that would all work, but it sure sounds fun!

What advice would you like to share to our readers who are just starting or are currently expanding their LEGO cities?

Be patient!  Building a LEGO city takes time, patience, and more time.  My city represents decades of collecting.  I would suggest focusing on one particular area to develop and expand from there.  All LEGO cities start at the same spot, and that’s the beginning.  Even if you feel your city is small and not growing fast, work on the details so it is the best LEGO city for its size.

Alex Nunes City 2

We really appreciate taking time out of your busy schedule, before we say bye is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

I have enjoyed answering these questions and it has helped me reflect on the reasons I love building with LEGO bricks. One unexpected and wonderful benefit to having my LEGO collection is how it has helped me connect with my kids; it really is a family hobby.  From building sets together or helping them with their own creations, I have been able to create a lot of fun memories that I will always remember.

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belleve bricks sig fig
Written by Matthew Mitchell
Hey, I am Matthew Mitchell and I am an AFOL from the UK. I have been fascinated by LEGO since I was a child. My two children are in love with LEGO and it's because of them that my interest in LEGO continued to grow, this is how I fell in to the rabbit hole of LEGO MOCs. With every new LEGO MOC I saw I became just a bit more addicted to the endless possibilities that LEGO offers. This led me to creating Belle-Ve Bricks, a platform where talented LEGO designers can share their work with the world.
About Matthew MitchellCUSTOM LEGO MOCs
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