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From therapy to a new passion: Lego Star Wars superfan earns world record

An Edmonton man recently became the world record holder for the most Lego Star Wars sets. That journey started 23 years ago as a way to recover from surgery and has since become a new life passion.

Frederick Oliver holds the current Guinness World Records certification for the most interlocking plastic brick Lego Star Wars sets, with 858. The previous record holder had 789 sets.

That number only includes official sets designed by Lego. Oliver has more than 1,000 sets total, including some that are still in the box and custom-designed sets made by Lego and Star Wars superfans.

"I buy a lot of custom instructions off of different builders from around the world of sets that I like," Oliver explained.

A few years ago, Oliver had his collection appraised by an expert, who pegged its value around $150,000.

"It's expanded substantially since then," he added. "My entire collection is probably (worth) close to US$300,000."


When asked how many hours he has put into assembling his Star Wars-themed sets, Oliver says he can't even begin to estimate.

"It's a lifetime really," he said. "It's taken up a lot of my time. A lot of leisure hours spent, but I love doing it."

While he grew up playing with different types of Lego, Oliver says he first decided to start collecting Lego Star Wars sets when he was 23. His first set was the original X-wing fighter.

Several different classes of Star Destroyers, some X-wings, and various Clone Wars ships from Frederick Oliver's collection (CTV News Edmonton/Nahreman Issa).

"Growing up, I had just watched the movies and loved them," Oliver said. "I remember listening to the records with my mother as a kid, going through the books. It was just great memories."

But building Lego represented more than just a passion for Oliver.

"I had an issue with one of my hands when I was younger," he said. "In 1999, I ended up having to have hand surgery. So it was recommended to me that I take up something that would help with my dexterity and my fine motor skills afterwards.

"So this was the choice I made to start building Lego sets and never stopped."

A Lego AT-ST set and two custom AT-ATs from Frederick Oliver's collection (CTV News Edmonton/Nahreman Issa).


From the Imperial Shuttle, Slave I, Y-wings, B-wings, sand crawlers, Tie Fighters, podracers, two different Death Star sets, Oliver has it all. He also builds busts of Star Wars characters, including General Grievous, Yoda, and Darth Maul.

"Most people are blown away," he said. "Most people don't even know there's something like this in Edmonton."

Oliver even builds scenes from the movie, including a Death Star hanger complete with the Millenium Falcon. He also has a whole shelf dedicated to just Hoth-themed sets, with a battery-powered motorized AT-AT.

"I just liked building them, collecting them," Oliver added. "Every year, they (Lego) would have a new release, a line of sets. I would buy them. Some of them I would build, some of them I would put away."

Shelves containing some of Frederick Oliver's Lego Star Wars sets (CTV News Edmonton/Nahreman Issa).

Some of the Lego Star Wars sets that Frederick Oliver has still in their boxes (CTV News Edmonton/Nahreman Issa).

For him, smaller sets can take between three to four hours to build in one session, and larger scenes take a whole winter season.

To apply for the world record, Oliver said he had to submit a picture of every single set, create a spreadsheet inventory, and then make a video to confirm all the sets.

Two witnesses had to be present as well, including a person affiliated with Lego.

Frederick Oliver's Guinness World Record certificate (CTV News Edmonton/Nahreman Issa).

Three-and-a-half months later, in May this year, he got word he successfully became the new record holder.

"I'm going to hold the record for as long as I can," Oliver said with a smile. "Hopefully, it'll be a few decades before I have to give it up."

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Nahreman Issa Top Stories


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