JANESVILLE - If you can dream up a project - anything, really - chances are it can be brought to life with Legos.
The little blocks have come a long way over the years, and a set of 2X4 bricks is no longer considered 'the standard.' There also are many adults joining in the fun.
"We started building with Legos because we are retired and were looking for a hobby that wasn't really expensive to get started," said Janesville resident Mark Bumpus.
Although Bumpus and his fiancée, Arlene Rybczyk, didn't really have much experience with Legos when growing up, they were officially hooked once they started building.
"It can take a lot of trial and error to get each project's scale right so it looks accurate," Bumpus said. "And sometimes the little things can take a long time to build."
From train sets to a remote controlled Ferris Wheel and moving carousel, Christmas nativity scene and even a lawnmower with rotating blades, the couple has built it all.
"I'm guessing that we probably have at least 100,000 Lego pieces in the house," Bumpus said, noting that all the pieces are neatly organized for ease of access.
Rybczyk most enjoys creating buildings out of Legos, saying she takes particular joy in adding teeny tiny details to each piece for fun.
Her homes, for example, may feature gardens, a cat on the porch and working lights. In a church she built, a tiny Lego baby is seen being baptized.
"I always think about how I can make what I'm building different...when you add the little pieces to it, then you have something really special," Rybczyk said.
Bumpus likes to think about mechanics and engineering when he's building a piece. One of his proudest Lego builds is of a realistic remote controlled semi-truck.
"When you're building, every part has to be made out of Lego and you can't alter pieces," he said. "There's always the challenge to get more and more intricate."
In order to share their projects and pick up tips and tricks from other Lego fans, Bumpus and Rybczyk became members of the Wisconsin Lego Users Group (WisLUG).
The club attracts Lego aficionados from all over southern Wisconsin and even as far as Rockford, Illinois. Monthly meetings are hosted both in Madison and Milwaukee.
"The group has been around for going on seven years, and our membership is primarily adults aging from the late-20s up to the 60s," said Andrew Beckett, WisLUG Ambassador.
Some members of WisLUG have been building with Legos for their entire lives, while others discovered the hobby just as Bumpus and Rybczyk did. All are welcome.
"We have all sorts of people who participate...for some people it's an extension of their career (like an architect), but for many it's just a hobby," Beckett said.
Since Lego building is primarily an at-home activity, WisLUG members also get together to show off their finished creations at special events throughout the region.
"We have a very diverse group with different building interests," Beckett said. "So we have a Lego train set and then others pool together build the backdrop for it."
The train setup will be on display at Hedberg Public Library, 316 S. Main St., Janesville, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. tomorrow. It also will be coming to Beloit in March.
"It's so fun to watch the happiness in the children when they see all the Legos set up," Rybczyk said. "We love being able to travel and meet more people because of WisLUG."
For more information, visit www.wislug.us or 'Like' their page on Facebook. Lego fans can also check out Brickworld, a huge Lego expo, in Schaumburg, Illinois, June 16-17.
Want to go?
The WisLUG train display will be open:
• 11 a.m.-4 p.m. tomorrow at Janesville's Hedberg Library
• 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, March 24 at Beloit Public Library