Wikinews interviews 17-year-old author of 'LEGO Heavy Weapons'

Sunday, June 17, 2012

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17-year-old Jack Streat has accomplished something some people spend a lifetime reaching for: he's a published author. Streat's book, "LEGO Heavy Weapons: Build Working Replicas of Four of the World's Most Impressive Guns", was released in May by indie publisher No Starch Press. The book features detailed drawings and explanations on how to build highly sophisticated working models of 4 assault weapons, including the Desert Eagle handgun, among others. Wikinews interviewed Jack, to learn more about his passion for building.


Jack Streat, with a LEGO weapon model.

 ((WN )) First, how old are you now and how old were you when the book was published?

JS: Seventeen at the moment, as I was when the book was published. I'll be 18 in just over a month, though.

 ((WN )) Who is the publisher of the book?

JS: No Starch Press, who're based in San Francisco.

 ((WN )) How long have you been serious about LEGOs?

JS: Well I can't remember a time when I haven't been building with [LEGOs] to being 'serious' about it (if I haven't always been), the major turning points would probably be when, at age thirteen I posted my first gun online. Incidentally [that one is] also the first gun in the book. I started working toward the book...around October 2010.

 ((WN )) Are there any designers/creators who've inspired you?

JS: Not particularly. This may be due to the fact that most of my work was in replicating existing guns — which, of course, isn't quite the same as being inspired by someone and then designing something else from scratch.

 ((WN )) Educationally, where are you: finished with high school? In college?

JS: Just entering my last week of A2 exams (the last exams in school) at the moment, and then after that (well, in a few months' time) I'm off to university!

 ((WN )) What have your parents/family thought about your passions for LEGOs?

JS: They've always encouraged it. They'd buy me LEGO for birthdays and Christmas and so on, and I always enjoyed showing them the latest thing I'd built — of course I wouldn't be anywhere near where I am now without their support, so they must be okay with it!

 ((WN )) With the publishing world, did you face any challenges in getting your book published?

JS: I was very lucky actually — Tyler Ortman, my editor, contacted me out of the blue (also through YouTube's messaging system) and asked on behalf of No Starch if I'd like to write a book of instructions for them to publish. I'd just started teaching myself how to use some CAD software for modelling LEGO creations, so I was all set, really.
Jack Streat, with a copy of his book, "LEGO Heavy Weapons".

 ((WN )) Are you working on another book at present?

JS: Well I still have a few mechanism/gun ideas floating around in my head, but that's simply ideas for more of the models I've been building personally. I've got to get through university before I even consider the possibility, but after that, who knows?

 ((WN )) Have there been other activities/classes that have helped your LEGO work improve?

JS: Not really. Just time, patience, and lots and lots of bricks!

 ((WN )) Where can our readers see videos or other forms of your work?

JS: My YouTube channel has videos of most of the guns I've built, but with very little textual description. [YouTube] and my MOCpages homepage has lots of information on all the guns I've built; they didn't all end up on YouTube. [At MOCpages] there's descriptive text and a set of pictures for each one.


This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.