INTERVIEW: Clone O’Patra
How did you start with the LEGO hobby and why Star Wars?
I started with the hobby when I got a little Pirates set back in the day. But I suppose it turned into a hobby once I wasn’t a little kid any more and I was still buying LEGO. Why exactly that happened is hard to say. Why Star Wars? Probably because of the original Star Wars line more than anything else. I wasn’t totally into Star Wars then like I am now, but just as LEGO sets that line was killer what with the cool minifigures and Lightsaber accessories and vehicles that were unlike anything LEGO had done before.
How much time do you spend on LEGO? What do people around you think of your being an AFOL?
It depends on what you mean by time spent on LEGO. If being on EB and other LEGO sites, then a bit of time. But if it’s physical LEGO, sadly I don’t have much time to spend on it any more. People are accepting of my being an AFOL. If anybody questions, I explain it this way – having a LEGO hobby is no different than, say, collecting stamps or action figures, which plenty of adults do. There’s denying that, and since most people actually think LEGO is cool anyway, they like it.
How did you discover Eurobricks and what made you decide to join?
I don’t know how I discovered it, but I was probably looking for LEGO news at the time. I decided to join so that I could join in the Star Wars rumors discussion thread.
You’re known as one of the best reviewers here in EB, how did you start with the Reviewer’s Academy and ultimately become a teacher?
Wow, that’s a big compliment right there! I just try to be lighthearted and fun in my reviews. It’s LEGO after all. Anyway, back when I joined the Star Wars review index wasn’t nearly filled out, so I posted two reviews of classic sets, but my pictures were pretty terrible (I updated one of them after graduating the RA). It was suggested that I join the RA, so I said heck, why not. I became a teacher because, well, I didn’t quit. It took me a while because my picture skills really needed a boost, but I can say I’m quite proud of my progression.
Among all the reviews that you’ve made, which one was your most favorite and why?
That’s tough to say, really tough. I’ve made so many, I can’t exactly remember them all without help (luckily I indexed all of my reviews on my profile page). I suppose some of my favorite are 7110 Landspeeder because that’s one of my favorite original Star Wars sets and I love those minifigures, 3344-3346 Ninja Mini Heroes Collection because I got to play around with Ninja minifigures for a couple of hours, and 30141 (Dude with Large Jetpack) because I went totally crazy in writing that one since there was so little to the actual set. It’s a bit harder to maintain as much silliness with a bigger set (though I still attempt it to some extent)
How did you get the idea to start a single-pane funnies thread? Did you expect it to be as popular/successful as it has become?
As I said in the OP, I was inspired by the single-pane cartoons that pepper The New Yorker. I never expected it to become as popular as it has become, but it also took a lot of effort to make it that way. If you notice, there was about a year-long gap where it died, and I had to rejuvenate it by making a huge batch of funnies and updating frequently. Nowadays, nobody even likes my funnies any more! But that’s life. I’m satisfied that I created something that a lot of people enjoy; I didn’t need to be in the front lines.
Who’s your favorite SW character?
Hmmm… probably Obi-Wan. He’s so suave.
Aside from LEGO, what other hobbies do you have?
I make movies sometimes.
I know you’ve explained this before but for the benefit of those who don’t know, what’s the reason behind your online monicker ‘Clone O’Patra’? And care to explain your SigFig?
The monicker and the SigFig go hand-in-hand. When I joined, I wanted to create something clever for my avatar and name, something distinctive. Like what generally happens when trying to think of things, I just turned to some recent LEGO: the CW clones, and Irina Spalko. The Spalko hair looked pretty ‘Cleopatra’ to me, so stuck on a clone that makes pun #1:’cloneopatra.’ But that wasn’t game, so I styled it like an Irish name; thus: ‘Clone O’Patra.’ The unintended side effect was that some people (specifically Big Cam) thought I was a girl.
What can we expect from CloneyO in the near future?
A review every now and again. You can probably expect a Wolverine review, but don’t count on it. Deciding to do a review for me is usually a spontaneous decision.