Snapping together a working monorail system out of plastic blocks, 5-year-old Thomas Michon of Irvine built himself a reputation as the world's best LEGO designer for his age.
Not content to stop with the monorail, Thomas added a complete transportation center, including a helicopter and spinning windmill, which brought praise from judges during the international LEGO competition Saturday in Denmark.
In a match against young designers from 12 countries, Thomas' design earned him the world championship for 3- to 5-year-olds.
Thomas went to LEGOLAND Park in Billund, Denmark, with the idea of building a monorail, his grandmother Betty Ogg said Monday. But, as he normally does, he used his extra time during the competition to add details.
Judges said after the two-hour competition that Thomas' design was unparalleled among his competitors, Thomas' father, Ted, told Ogg by telephone after the competition.
"He apparently made something quite spectacular compared to the others in the 3-to-5 age group," Ogg said.
Thomas was traveling in Denmark Monday with his parents and could not be reached for comment.
The LEGO World Cup is held every four years in Billund, LEGO Group's international headquarters and home to LEGOLAND, an amusement park featuring a working LEGO roller coaster.
The competition attracted 29 children from Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, Italy, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Trinidad and the United States.
The two other Americans competing also garnered prizes. Neil Nastanski, 9, of Orchard Lake, Mich., won top prize in the 6-to-9 category. Peter Will, 11, from Akron, Penn. won third place for 10- to 14-year-olds.
Building LEGO creations has been one of Thomas' regular activities since his father, an electrical engineer, gave him his first set at age 3.