Lego bricks are a hot commodity at the Macleod home. Thousands are required to construct a single replica Riviera and Luke Macleod has recently completed his third.
When the ebullient 11-year-old first showcased a Lego model of his family’s 4800 Sport Yacht in an online video, the response from the Riviera community was overwhelming. One impressed viewer challenged Luke to reproduce a 54 Enclosed Flybridge.
“Sure, we thought. It made me feel really happy to see someone leave a comment on our video, like I’d made a new friend,” says Luke.
Not only is he the fresh-faced protagonist in his videos, Luke writes the script, and edits and uploads the finished product onto YouTube. You can watch Luke’s video of his 54 Flybridge here.
Luke draws from the same well of creativity and enterprise to make a Lego Riviera. One of the first things he and his father Andrew consider is size, proportions and their access to suitable Lego bricks.
“We start with a photo of the Riviera from the internet,” says Luke. “Then we figure out which colour bricks we have and work on the hull first, trying to get the basic size right.
“We study the boat’s internal layout on the Riviera website, where the staterooms are, the saloon and the engine room. Once the hull is built, we put in the walls and windows and then work our way up from there.”
The ‘cool’ features are most complex
Luke’s favourite features on the family’s real-life 4800 Sport Yacht, Iluka, are the most complex to recreate.
“The sunroof is really cool, and the tender garage and the hydraulic swim platform are awesome – my sister Evie and I spend hours using it like a beach,” says Luke.
In his approach to ‘tricky’ features, Luke demonstrates perseverance and the same attention to detail that can be found on an award-winning Riviera.
“We sit on the floor in Luke’s room and work on them together. It’s such a nice time to have, it’s almost like being on the boat.”Andrew Macleod
“Luke likes a challenge,” says Andrew. “He really wanted to include the hydraulic swim platform we have on the 4800, for example. My initial thought was, no way. But then we think about it together, look at the pieces we’ve got and try things out, and eventually we get these features into the model. On the 54 he wanted every layer of the model to be removable, so that was another challenge.”
With the 54 Flybridge ticked off, the same YouTube fan suggested Luke try a Belize. The father-son duo took to the challenge with gusto, but with a diminishing supply of bricks, they settled for something a little smaller.
“We have a finite supply of Lego, so that’s a limiting factor,” says Andrew. “Instead of the Belize we decided on a 40 Flybridge, a classic Riviera.”
Hugely popular then as now, the Riviera 40 Flybridge presented Luke and Andrew with another challenge.
“On the model 40 Flybridge, we included the engines and made everything removable to expose the engine room. Then we had to use Lego Technic axles through holes in the hull, with hinges angled down to be able to get the shaft drives poking out at the right angle – it was a tricky one!” says Luke.
Models built to last
Now running low on bricks, the question of dismantling one of the masterpieces is met with awkward silence.
“No comment,” laughs Andrew. “You get attached to them, every one, mainly because it’s something that we’ve done together. We sit on the floor in Luke’s room and work on them together. It’s such a nice time to have, it’s almost like being on the boat.”
Anything that reminds Andrew of being on his Riviera is positive. Iluka is managed by Boating Partnerships, the only boating syndication service officially endorsed by Riviera, and for the Macleod family that gives them more time to enjoy cruising aboard their 4800 Sport Yacht.
“It’s a lifestyle that’s really opened up to us through Boating Partnerships,” says Andrew.
Since the Macleod family acquired Iluka in January 2019, school holidays are spent at Refuge Bay in the Hawkesbury River or Middle Harbour on Sydney Harbour – their favourite spots.
“Being on the boat is my happy place. I feel the cares of the world wash away the moment I set foot aboard. It’s just so relaxing and it’s so well built, so luxurious, everything just works. It’s a wonderful place to be,” says Andrew.
“To be able to share that as a young family with my wife Inga and the kids is wonderful. Of course, we invite plenty of friends and family to come out too. Boating just brings people together and having a Riviera is about family time and bringing people together.
“One of the coolest things for Luke last summer was when we were anchored next to another Riviera and their child called out to us and asked if he was Luke the Riv Kid! Luke was so excited to be recognised.
“We hope that our Lego Rivieras will inspire and challenge other kids in the Riviera Family to make their versions and post their photos.”
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