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Face of Defense: Marine Sets Lego World Record

By Marine Corps Cpl. Aaron Diamant
Marine Corps Air Station Yuma

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz., Jan. 26, 2012 – While many have a hobby, few have the drive and dedication to turn that hobby into a world record. But Marine Corps Capt. Kyle Ugone not only has that drive, but also the certificate declaring him as the Guinness world record holder for the most completed Lego sets in a private collection, with an astonishing 1,091 sets.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Marine Corps Capt. Kyle Ugone achieved the world record for the most completed Lego sets in a private collection with 1,091 sets. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Aaron Diamant

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

While his record officially stands at 1,091, Ugone actually has 1,251 sets. But some did not count toward the record because they are reproductions or don’t have the original instructions, Ugone explained.

His vast collection started small and at a young age, but has grown in size and number, including one set that contains more than 5,000 individual pieces.

"I got my first set as a gift when I was 5 years old," Ugone said. "It's a windmill, and I still have it today. From there, I kept getting more and more sets."

Rooms in his Yuma home look as if they belong in a Lego Land theme park, containing hundreds of completed Lego sets separated by genre, such as space, trains, castles and “Star Wars” sets, displayed on tables and shelves.

Lego is a line of construction toys consisting of colorful interlocking plastic bricks and an accompanying array of gears, mini-figures and various other parts.

Lego bricks can be assembled and connected in many ways to form vehicles, buildings, and even working robots. Anything constructed can be taken apart to make other objects.

The toys originated in the 1940s in Denmark and have achieved international appeal, with an extensive subculture that supports Lego-themed movies, games, video games, competitions and five amusement parks.

It wasn't until 2009, when Ugone was talking to other Lego enthusiasts online, that he decided to go for the world record.

"I was talking to a guy who said he wanted to build every set Lego has ever made," Ugone said. There are more than 5,000 sets, he added, some of which are extremely rare and others available only in certain areas.

Ugone contacted officials at the Guinness Book of World Records and found that no such record existed. He was told he would need at least 500 sets to claim a record.

"At the time, I had about 600 to 700 sets, but I wanted more," Ugone said. "So I spent a lot of time scouring the Internet to purchase more sets and build them."

After a Lego expert visited Ugone's home to verify his plethora of building-block masterpieces, 1,091 of his 1,251 sets were authenticated for the record, earning him the title as the man with the most.

Now, Ugone is slowly taking the sets apart for storage to regain some of the square footage in his home. He’s taking a break from collecting Lego sets, planning instead to focus more of his attention on restoring a classic muscle car.

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