April 14th, 2024

City teen docks Titanic replica at grandparents’ house

By Lethbridge Herald on March 4, 2024.

Kaiden Jackson-Tillsley displays his Titanic replica, after sharing his building journey. Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman

Alejandra Pulido-Guzman – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – apulido@lethbridgeherald.com

A local teenager has helped the Titanic reach its destination, at least in LEGO form, after embarking on the building of a replica of the famous ship, during a journey that took months to complete. 

After seeing the ship displayed at a store in Calgary, 17-year-old Kaiden Jackson-Tillsley asked his grandfather if he could have it for Christmas in December 2021, after working on multiple LEGO projects during the COVID-19 pandemic, but he did not receive it that year. 

Because Jackson-Tillsley is also an avid hockey player, his grandparents Terry and Linda Tillsely gifted him a hockey bag the following Christmas, which made the teenager happy, but the smile on his face grew even bigger once he discovered they had hidden the 9,090 piece LEGO Titanic replica in it. 

“I got it out and started on it almost right away. I took it to their cabin in Kimberly (B.C.) and worked on it there,” said Jackson-Tillsley. 

Since this was a project he only completed while at his grandparents’ house, Jackson-Tillsley said he worked on it as much as he could once a week. 

“I worked on it every Friday, about an hour or so, depending on how many packs we could get done before hockey,” said Jackson-Tillsley. 

He had the assistance of his grandmother Linda, who said she was in charge of opening the multiple little packages that came with it, while he put each piece in place, all 9,090 of them. 

“In total we worked on it for about 50 hours but we didn’t keep track of it,” said Jackson-Tillsley. 

Because he was only able to work on it once a week, but not every week, Jackson-Tillsley was able to finish the Titanic replica in August, 2023. 

“If you look it up, according to LEGO, if you work on this 24/7 non-stop, it’s supposed to take 48 hours to complete it,” said his grandfather Terry. 

He said the replica is very detailed, and even though is not on display, Jackson-Tillsley built the engine, and even some very detailed portions of each deck. 

“A lot of the details you don’t see in the outside, you have to build the First-Class rooms, the lesser rooms in the bottom, some restaurants, the grand staircase,” said Jackson-Tillsley. 

His grandmother Linda said it was helpful that her grandson has seen the movie by the time he built the ship, even though the instruction manuals were very detailed. 

“The instruction booklets come with a little bit of history of the Titanic, some pictures of the inside and outside of it, and some of the crew and even some of the blueprints, it’s really neat,” said Linda. 

She recalled the excitement they both shared when the last piece was placed, after months of hard work.  

“We took a picture of him placing that last piece, he was so excited, he seemed so accomplished. It was a good time,” said Linda. 

She shared That even though her grandson started building the Titanic while AT their cabin in Kimberly, that was not where it was finished. 

“He started in our cabin, then most of the building took place in our old house, then we moved here in June last year and he finished it in August,” said Linda. 

She remembers packing the already-built parts very carefully during their move, to make sure all his hard work would survive the move. 

“It came in one big box, but inside it had three boxes, and each of those boxes had a lot of little bags with pieces of a section of the ship,” said Linda. 

Terry commended his grandson’s commitment and dedication to the project, and how focused he was throughout the process. 

“The box says it’s recommended for 18+ and he completed while he was 16-years-old,” said Terry. 

After completion, the 53 inches long, 18 inches high, six inches wide and 32 pounds Titanic replica was placed near a previously built Statue of Liberty replica to “help the Titanic reach its original destination.” 

When it comes to the process of building the Titanic replica, Jackson-Tillsley said even though he has built many LEGO structures, the ship was the biggest so far. 

“The first one was a Ferrari, then I built a Land Rover and also the Taj Mahal, and the Statue of Liberty, among others” said Jackson-Tillsley. 

He said in comparison, those projects took no time at all. And when asked what he wants to build next, he said he has his eye on a replica of the Eiffel Tower, but he needs to find a place to put it before he can get it, as it is bigger than the other replicas he owns. 

Linda said she enjoys watching her grandson build his LEGO projects, as they keep him engaged, focused and helps him develop important skills like being able to follow instructions. 

“As far as what Kaiden has done, he knows he can star something and finish it, and follow direction, he doesn’t look focus. I think it has been good for him, I think Lego is good for everyone. It’s like puzzles, and colouring and all that good stuff that takes you away from technology for a while,” said Linda. 

She said it was also good for them as grandparents, as they were able to have conversations with him and spend some good quality time with him while he was building.

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