Welcome back to the next round of 10K Club Interviews! What better way to begin than with a fantastic submission from Solenne Jackson, a.k.a. ItsABricksLife626. LILO & STITCH: BEACH HOUSE will be sure to please almost anyone, and will enthral fans of the iconic movie. Let us know how much you love it in the comments!
- Who are you?
- Where are you from?
- How old are you?
- What do you study or do for a living?
I am an undergraduate student studying Math and English at Yale University.
- What hobbies do you have?
I love playing tennis and basketball, running, cooking, performing theatre, and going out dancing with friends. I also play the violin and experiment with jazz piano!
- Have you created any LEGO MOCs (my own creations) that you’re particularly proud of? What is it, why are you proud of it and do you have a photo of it?
As a kid, I created a massive school complex that I was proud of. It had classrooms for each subject, a cafeteria, a gym, a playground, a principal's office, etc. I loved all the accessories it entailed and how many Minifigures could fit into the space.
- How and when did your interest in LEGO products come about?
My interest came about at seven years old when I got my first mystery LEGO Minifigure packet in WHSmith. I was disappointed to find the demolition dummy character (as I really wanted the blue scuba diver) and bought a Minifigure packet each week until I finally got it. (That was before I realised you could feel the pouches for the character you really want!). With a handful of Minifigures, it was only a matter of time before I started building sets.
- What is the LEGO hobby to you? What does it mean to you? How does it fit into your life? E.g. build, display, meetups, play the games or 'just' watch the cartoons.
Growing up, I created a LEGO city wherein I’d imagine stories based on my friends as Minifigures. Our LEGO counterparts would live in LEGO Creator houses, vacation in the Winter Village, and drive a flying green convertible to Hagrid's hut or a Ninjago dojo equipped with dragons. I loved going off the grid, using the foundations from the instruction manuals but customising playable components and adding a lot of interior design (such as giving each character a personalised bedroom). Ever since, my hobby has manifested in an interest in problem-solving, architecture, and storytelling.
- What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
My favourite LEGO theme has to be LEGO Creator. It has the perfect balance of guidance and innovation as it often offers 3-in-1 designs. I particularly love how the buildings are designed to connect together to make a city and have always dreamed of having them all! I also have a soft spot for LEGO Ninjago, especially Cole’s Earth dragon (which I suppose is vintage now!).
- What is your favourite official LEGO set ever? Why?
I always dreamed of creating the Ninjago City set. I love that its three levels explode as if they’re going to topple over. I also love all its moving parts and hidden gems: the elevator, the sushi conveyer belt, the crab grill, and the money dispensing ATM! It’s so playable and gorgeous with vibrant colours. I love its new complementary set as well, the Ninjago City Gardens.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
I love them all, but if I had to choose it would be the 1x1 Round Transparent Blue Plate. I love how they shimmer like water and light up any design.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
When I was deciding to design my set, I looked up to the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs set proposed by Hanswasyellowfirst and Ratatouille: Open the Doors by BRICK PROJECT. I thought both sets stayed close to the original cartoons and showed scrupulous attention to detail that only true fans would be able to appreciate. They’re both really skilled builders and I aspire to their level of design!
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
I’ve been obsessed (an understatement) with Lilo and Stitch since I first saw the film at age three. Then, when the LEGO Ideas Minecraft set came out, I learned that LEGO does crossovers with third parties and dreamed of seeing Lilo and Stitch’s beach house on shelves! The house always captivated me in the cartoons and I thought it would be the perfect LEGO set as it’s so playable.
- How long was the process of making the project, and what did you have to research as well. What kind of prep, research and design phases did you go through to produce your creation?
I started putting together designs as early as 7th grade. I’d sketch it on the grid paper of my math notebooks and search LEGO’s Pick a Brick for hours without ever following through on my basket. Then when the Stitch Minifigure came out in the first Disney Minifigure series I thought to myself, come on it’s only a matter of months before they make a set out of this! Finally in lockdown, after a Live Action Lilo and Stitch film was announced (now for 2024) I dug up my old sketches and taught myself how to use the digital LEGO designer, Mecabricks. I rewatched the movie several times, screenshotting any scene that gave insight into the interior and exterior of the house. I spent a long time deciding on dimensions before diving in to make sure I wouldn’t need to adjust the entire model later on. The building process itself took two weeks and I loved it, working late into the night and waking up at 7 am without an alarm to keep placing bricks. Finally, after the model was complete, unbeknownst to me, I learned my design had to be rendered which took me another week to learn how to do!
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
I was inspired by the elevator in my beloved Ninjago City set to recreate the elevator from the futuristic version of Lilo and Stitch’s beach house (after the first house is destroyed by a fire). However, it was difficult to find technology to apply to a rounded platform, and that would fit inside the house. I settled on a simple yet effective design that I’m still thinking of ways to enhance.
- If you could talk to yourself before you started on this project, what would you tell them? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
I would tell her that you have no idea what you’re getting yourself into! However, I wouldn’t change any part of my process because each new challenge offered a new obstacle to overcome and the funny stories that came with them.
- How long did it take to complete the model? Did you finish it fairly quickly, or did it take a long time? And how did the build time compare to the time you spent promoting your Product Idea to reach 10,000 supporters?
It took 3 weeks to complete the model (which I thought was quite fast) and just shy of two years to reach 10,000 supporters (which was not quite as fast!).
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
It felt amazing. Just shy of two years later, after running around LEGO stores in London, Boston, Connecticut, New York, and Disney World Floria with QR codes to my product idea, it felt surreal reaching 10,000 supporters and like the end of an era!
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
My design is approximately 3,000 bricks.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
I really like the green foliage under and surrounding the house. I think it accurately reflects scenes from the cartoon that depict the house in the forested outskirts of Hawaii. I also love the revolving wheels on the spaceship cars that are also just like the cartoon!
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
I used Mecabricks to build and Blender to render my model.
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
Build that set which you always looked for on shelves but never found! Chances are if you’re wishing for it to exist, someone else is too, and you can be the one to create it!
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
During the pandemic, I used social media platforms such as Instagram, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook groups, and cold-emailed the LEGO Group or Disney websites asking for them to promote my idea. Post-pandemic, I went around LEGO stores and college campuses with Stitch-themed QR codes that simplified the voting process and got people excited about the set.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
I love the Winnie the Pooh set — it is certainly an inspiration! It is so simple and yet perfectly true to the story. I also love LEGO’s job on the custom Minifigures. Also, on a personal note, I think Legohaulic’s Stitch has been overlooked not once, but twice! It is so clear that the LEGO community wants to see Stitch!
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
I love this platform because everyone roots for each other and everyone’s ideas are valid. At the end of the day, it’s up to the LEGO Group to decide which sets they think will sell, but it’s fun to feel a part of the sets you see on LEGO shelves regardless! If you’re thinking about uploading an idea, only do it if you’re prepared to see it through for 2 years and never give up!
- Do you have plans to submit any other Product Ideas in the future? If yes, can you give us a hint of what that might be?
I’d love to build Stitch’s spaceship cruiser. Also, with the Lilo and Stitch Live Action film coming out, there might be even more things to build! However, maybe some inspiration will come about that isn’t Disney-related!
- solenne jackson
- lilo stitch
- beach house
- 10k club
- 10k club interview
- product idea