It seemed as if the tracking updates couldn’t disclose enough timely information for Derek as he anxiously awaited his package from Lego to arrive. When we returned home from running a few errands, the unassuming brown box with his name on it was a delightful surprise. He dashed up the stairs and ripped open the box with a beaming smile on his face while admiring the packaging. Derek’s desire to create with his puzzly brain brought back memories from building countless lego sets as a kid.
(Precious photos shared from 1992-1993 by Derek’s mom, Sawako, forever the family’s archivist. Aunt Jackie was also a supporter of Derek’s lego-building by gifting him with many of these sets.)
Building Groot was the chance to relive some of the lego magic that comes from creating a masterpiece out of a colorful pile of tiny blocks. As huge Marvel fans, Groot is one of our favorite characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s overarching storyline over 23 films in the Infinity Saga. At the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1, Groot, the extraterrestrial tree creature, sacrifices himself to save the rest of his space crew.
In the post-film credits it is revealed that the adult Groot grows back as a twig in a pot as Baby Groot. Disney+ recently released a small collection of short films starring Baby Groot on his adorable adventures as he reclaims his stumpy legs, gets into mischief, and has a dance off with an alien look-a-like all the while repeating his catch-phrase and his only known words, “I am Groot!”
Derek popped open Groot’s box of legos and sorted through the contents of three phases of construction. Building a lego character is a lot like piecing together a 3D puzzle with 162 steps in the instruction manual. The inventory alone of such tiny pieces is extraordinary.
Sprout was immediately fascinated by the project and sat through much of the opening preparations until she became a little too invested in picking up the legos with her teeth and had to be persuaded to move elsewhere.
Multiple layers of legos are necessary for each key component of the structure making this project much more difficult than what first meets the eye. I was called over to take pictures whenever Derek had accomplished a series of steps proudly resulting in the physical forms that built off each other. He also requested my assistance for a steady hand when applying any and all stickers so that they would be correctly aligned with each other instead of crookedly pressed on.
Phase 1: The Mix Tape
Derek was determined to continue the project all at once. With the first phase completed, he opened the second bag without delay and sorted the pieces according to the lego inventory. I realized just how complicated a lego character can be when each milestone was actually hidden as an internal component within the figure of Groot’s armature. The entire development of Phase 2 built the torso and appendages of Groot’s body brick by brick.
A few hours into the project, I left to buy ingredients from the grocery store to prepare dinner. When I returned, Groot was a headless tree zombie hovering from the weight of his stumps with twiggy fingers outstretched to his maker as Derek assembled the next stage of legos.
Phase 2: The Body of Groot
I think Lego saved the best for last with the final stage of construction for Baby Groot. The head had several intricate pieces conjoined in a sequence of steps that weren’t always easily recognizable from the instruction manual. We downloaded the Lego app where the lego bricks were simulated in 3D animated visuals for improved understanding.
Over 5 hours into the project, Derek turned on The Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack Spotify playlist and hunkered down to click the last few pieces together as the sun went down. Sprout perked up as her dinnertime approached and we celebrated Derek’s victory of completing Baby Groot!
Phase 3: Groot’s Head
After clicking all 476 bricks together Derek was proud to position Lego Groot in the living room for permanent display. I am still amazed at the realistic depiction of the cassette tape and the 3D nature of Groot that were built from the tiniest lego bricks. While it looks like a toy, Groot is still somewhat fragile. As I scooted him over ever so slightly to take a photo, one of his twigs popped off and Derek shifted back into operation mode to fix him. Nevertheless, he sprung back to life as an extraterrestrial superhero would. I am GROOT!