In today's 10K Club Interview, we introduce a 3D design student and his creation inspired by Aardman animations - Wallace & Gromit. Tom has been a fan of this series since childhood, as he says, so in his latest build, he combined his passion for LEGO and this animation.
- Who are you?
Hello, my name is Tom Gerardin.
- Where are you from?
I am from the UK.
- How old are you?
I am 21 years old.
- What do you do for a living?
I am in my final year at university and I study 3D Design.
- What hobbies do you have?
My number one hobby is by far LEGO, but other than that, I like to draw and I’m a huge lover of films.
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
I have a personal portfolio that I update regularly every time I make/design something but if you’re interested in seeing my work, I post most of my models on my Instagram account @lego__tom.
- Have you created any LEGO MOCs (my own creations) that you’re particularly proud of? What is it, why are you proud it and do you have a photo of it?
The most recent LEGO series of my making is a series I call ‘Best Friends’. It follows the lives of best friends Billy and Charlie and what adventures they get up to. My inspiration for them are things that I got up to as a child and highlighting the joys and imagination of being a child. Being somebody who loves storytelling I wanted to dedicate a whole LEGO series to that. I am so happy with how they have been received by LEGO fans, I love that people find them funny and also can relate to them too.
- How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
I was only 4 years old. I remember my Mum gave me my first LEGO set, it is from LEGO Star Wars (7200), and ever since then, LEGO has been my biggest passion. 17 years later I still love it, and I still want to be what my 4-year-old self decided, a LEGO designer.
- What is LEGO for you? What does it mean for you? How does it fit in your life? E.g. build, display, meetups, play the games or 'just' watch the cartoons.
To me, LEGO is everything. It’s the tool that I use to bring my imaginative creations to life in a way that I can with no other. It's my escape from everyday life and it is my biggest passion. I interact with LEGO bricks every day in one way or another. Nothing made a mark on me as LEGO did, and I don’t think anything else will ever. I think a lot of us can relate to that.
- What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
Some of my favourite LEGO themes include, Space Police III, Star Wars, Ideas and by far my favourite is Creator Expert (18+ line). This theme is my favourite because of everything; from the incredible storytelling aspects of the sets to the out of this world building techniques and great uses of pieces. And to me, with every release, the sets are getting better and better!
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
100%, mine is the Indiana Jones Temple Escape (7623) I remember I was around 7/8 years old and I was at my Grandparents house watching TV and the advert came on for this set and I was hooked instantly! In my house, we were taught if you wanted something in life, you have to work for it, so I sorted through the toys that I didn’t play with anymore and I held a carboot sale that weekend to make money to buy this amazing set. And lo and behold, I raised £46 to buy 7623, I bought it that evening and was over the moon. I played for it for hours on end and loved every second! This set was and still is my favourite because of it’s play features, size and it’s accurate portrayal of the scene. I don’t think this set will ever be topped as my No1!
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
My favourite LEGO element is the Erling (1x1 Headlight Brick). It is such an amazing element because as a child, it introduced me to building on another dimension which transformed my younger selves builds! Instead of building straight up, I started building on the side and upside down and adding another level of detail to my builds. And as I got more confident with building/playing with LEGO, I experimented with the indented stud and working with half plates compared to whole numbers.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
I remember in my teen years, I used to spend a lot of time looking through Chris Mcveigh’s work. I found and still find his work to be so inspiring, from his brick sketches to his realistic objects. I’m so happy that he’s now part of the LEGO group as he really deserves it and I’m glad that LEGO saw how great his LEGO creations were and decided to turn some into official LEGO products.
Since the age of 4, It’s always been my ambition to be a LEGO model designer, and a few years ago, there was a Channel 4 program about LEGO and it showed Justin Ramsden’s journey of becoming a LEGO designer. The program gave me a huge insight about the process and how it all works and showed me that it can happen and that it was a real job. So it gave me somebody to look up to and want to be like and hopefully one day, go through the same process of getting that job of a lifetime.
- Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
The LEGO website that I would say I visit the most is New Elementary. It’s my number one source that I go to for the latest pieces that have been released and also gives you some inspiration of how you could use these new pieces on a moc.
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
I've always loved the creations by Aardman animations. As a child, I spent a lot of my time watching the classics such as Creature Comforts and Chicken Run but the Aardman creation I watched the most was Wallace & Gromit. I watched the original 3 shorts so many times and fell in love with them. Even back then I tried to recreate scenes from the shorts out of LEGO, not that my younger selves' creations looked anything like W&G but that didn't matter as a child, I just tried to combine my two favourite things, that being W&G and LEGO. Travelling forward in time to today, I decided to revisit my younger selves dream and try again to combine W&G and LEGO.
- How long was the process of making the project did, 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?
From start to finish, this project took about 2 months-ish? After I had the idea that I wanted to design this Ideas set, I went back and rewatched the 3 original shorts as a refresher and then I took screenshots and created a collage of images of all the characters I wanted to design. I wanted as many angles as I could find as I knew it was going to be difficult recreating these round curvy characters in LEGO which is stereotypically straight edges and lines. When building the characters, It was a long process of trial and error of what worked, what didn’t, was it sturdy? Did it match the character? So many things and I like to consider myself a perfectionist, and I’m really hard on myself when I complete a model, I always ask if it could be better, could this be done differently, etc. I work this way because I want my models to be the best they can be, and as this is a LEGO Ideas project, I wanted the set to be the best it could be and I’m so happy with the outcome!
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
As mentioned before, the style of these characters from Aardman are extremely round and curvy and are clearly going to be a huge challenge if someone were to try to replicate them using LEGO bricks. So the biggest challenge for me was accuracy, the Cooker I think was the easiest as he is very boxy with simplistic details, LEGO friendly. Whereas Wallace & Gromit are just all round on every angel with wacky proportions and shapes which was extremely hard to replicate.
- If you could talk to yourself before you started on this project, what would you tell him/her? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
Part of me would have told my previous self “Stop, build something else, it’s going to be too hard and it’s not going to work” But I’m so glad that I did do it! It has worked, yes it's been had and has come with huge challenges, but I love that. I love problem-solving when it comes to LEGO, because there are so many ways a LEGO problem can be solved. So the other part of me would tell my previous self to “go for it even though it's going to be challenging because you love a challenge!”
- 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?
From start to finish, this project took about 2 months to design and build. And once I got the green light from LEGO Ideas, I instantly promoted it that day on my social media. I had no idea how people would react to this project, I knew people were fans of Aardman and their creations but what happened next was incredible. My project was starting to get shared around by people and they shared it. I honestly couldn’t believe the reaction from my project and in under a week, the project had over 2,500 supporters!
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
Overall, I think it took 6 weeks for my LEGO Ideas project to hit 10,000. I am still in shock that it even hit the 10,000 mark let alone doing it in 6 weeks! So I would like to just take a second to thank each and every one of you who supported the project and got me a step closer to my dream. I can’t thank you all enough and the kind words said and support for this project, it means so much to me!
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
When finished, my LEGO Ideas project consisted of 2,198 pcs.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
My favourite use of part in this set is what I used to create the red lines and shaping for the Cooker’s dials. I used the Minifigure Ice skate pieces in red to create that red line and the shape of a handle, I think this piece worked out well and it is a good representation of the detail in ‘A Grand Day Out’.
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
My number one piece of advice to you if you are thinking of submitting a LEGO Ideas project is to never self-doubt, don’t think you have to have a massive following for people to see your project or support it, I don’t and mine has come this far, if you truly believe in your project and its of something that is close to you are that you love, other people will see that. Build something that you love and want to share with people, build something brilliant!
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
To me, the best way to share something around is definitely through social media, LEGO groups, that sort of thing. And if you don’t have any sort of social media, don’t worry! If any of your friends or family have it, maybe ask them to share it for you.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
So far, my favourite LEGO Ideas product has been ‘Pirates of Barracuda Bay’ (21322) Growing up ‘Hook’ was one of my favourite films, still is, and somebody who had never owned a LEGO pirate ship previously, as soon as I saw this set I fell in love with it. And thank you to my Mum and Dad, they bought it for me for my 21st birthday and wow, not afraid to say that I played with it and made sound effects while watching Hook. Thanks so much Mum and Dad!
- 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 the LEGO Ideas platform because it allows fans to essentially have a say about LEGO products and gives fans the chance to get involved in that amazing process of LEGO set designing. Also, the LEGO Ideas line has given us some amazing sets and fantastic IPs! (intellectual Properties).
- wallace and gromit
- 10k club
- 10k club interview
- tom gerardin