Blog |

10K Club Interview: Jacob and Marc, creators of the Gravity Falls The Mystery Shack

We're back with a new round of 10K Club Interviews and this week we're meeting the dynamic duo behind the Gravity Falls: The Mystery Shack creation. Please welcome and help congratulate Jacob (Toplego8) and Marc (Minibrick Productions). 


About Yourself

  1. Who are you?
    Toplego8: My name is Jacob.

    Minibrick: My name is Marc.
  2. Where are you from?
    Toplego8: I am from Heath, Ohio.

    Minibrick: I am from California.
  3. How old are you?
    Toplego8: I am 15 years old, although by the time this releases I’ll be 16.

    Minibrick: I am 19 years old.
  4. What do you do for a living?
    Toplego8: I’m currently a high schooler, so no specific study yet.

    Minibrick: I’m currently a second-year university student studying engineering.
  5. What hobbies do you have?
    Toplego8: I love to participate in my school’s cross-country and track and field programs. I also have interests in drawing and art, video games, and, of course, LEGO.

    Minibrick: I love designing anything LEGO, including custom minifigures, sets, MOCs, etc. I also do the usual including playing video games and binging shows.
  6. Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
    Toplego8: Yes I do, I currently have an Instagram, @toplego8, where I post custom Minifigure drawings, as well as any updates on Ideas sets.

    Minibrick: I’ve got a few - I’m active on Instagram @minibrickminifigs, as well as on YouTube as Minibrick Productions where I post many MOCs, figure drawings, and much more LEGO-related content.
  7. 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?
    Minibrick: I’m super proud of all my LEGO Ideas projects - those as my best and favorite MOCs. I’ve also designed a few sets for my YouTube channel, and I’m pretty proud of my Fortnite one especially.
  8. How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
    TopLego8; My earliest memories of LEGO come from when I was about 3 or 4. My older brother got me into LEGO, as he had a lot of the city sets.

    Minibrick: My interest for LEGO came at a very young age when my brother and I were both given LEGO sets as children. We loved building sets and playing with them - our favorite theme was by far Star Wars, and we would constantly recreate battles of good versus evil. Since then, LEGO has always been a part of my life. I still buy several display sets a year (especially anything prequel-era or with fantastic figures) to expand my collection.
  9. What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
    Toplego8: While I most often purchase sets from the Marvel and DC lines, I would say that LEGO Ideas is honestly my favorite LEGO theme! It’s so neat to see all of the different themes and properties that are all rolled into one single line! The theme however that inspired my building techniques would probably be the Modular line as I used it as inspiration when creating the Mystery Shack model.

    Minibrick: There are so many themes that I love so much, with my favorites being Ideas, Star Wars, and Harry Potter. Ideas is unique among them in that it’s always different and no two Ideas sets are super alike. It’s always interesting to see what gets accepted and what doesn’t. 
  10. What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
    Toplego8: My favorite LEGO set is probably a tie between the 2012 Arkham Asylum Breakout and the 2019 The Upside Down sets. The Upside Down has one of my favorite building techniques and it looks beautiful on display. The figures and new molds are also very neat, one of which we used in our model! However, the Arkham Asylum has a special place in my heart and is a fun play set!

    Minibrick: My favorite sets are the UCS Millennium Falcon and the Saturn V rocket. They’re amazing display pieces and are extremely detailed.
  11. What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
    Minibrick: My favorite element is #4457. It’s not a very useful piece for building MOCs, but I’ve always liked how the mold creates a smiling face when it’s flipped upside down - that’s why I chose it for my profile picture.
  12. Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
    Toplego8: I often visit Instagram and YouTube to keep up on the latest LEGO news as well as to see reviews of sets that I’m thinking of purchasing. I also love to see custom CMF drafts from Ashnflash and my fellow co-creator, Minibrick Productions.

    Minibrick: I visit Instagram the most - the community is huge on Instagram, and there’s so many different kinds of LEGO accounts, such as MOC only accounts, photography, minifigure drawings, etc. I highly suggest that LEGO Ideas create an official account on Instagram - it would perform amazingly on that platform! Aside from Instagram, YouTube is also a huge platform for LEGO content that I visit daily.

About Your Project

  1. Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
    Toplego8: Ever since its premiere, I have been a big fan of Gravity Falls. While it was on the air, I managed to watch every single episode during its debut, (except for Land Before Swine), and the show is my favorite of all time. I’ve always thought that a LEGO Gravity Falls set would be a dream come true, but we sadly never got one. After creating a CMF Draft based off the tv show, I knew that I wanted to try and make a Mystery Shack set on Ideas so my dream could maybe become a reality.

    Minibrick: I’ve always enjoyed watching Gravity Falls, especially back when it premiered on Disney; it’s such a great show with an amazing story, and the Shack is such an interesting building that would be amazing as a LEGO set. I have to admit, however, that when Toplego8 reached out and asked to make the shack, I was actually a little hesitant at first - the Shack is huge, and it would require some interesting building techniques to tackle. However, it was summer and I always love to challenge myself when it comes to LEGO building, so I went for it, and a month later we were both extremely happy to have an amazing result! Moreover, I think this would be a perfect time for LEGO Gravity Falls set. With the 10 year anniversary in 2022, it would be a great time to release a LEGO Mystery Shack for the extremely active Gravity Falls fanbase to enjoy! 
  2. 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?
    Toplego8: The process for creating the Mystery Shack was a shorter one than most, taking only about 1 month and 4 days to create. It only took a few days for us to make a general blueprint, and we mainly just went from there. There wasn’t a ton of preparation that went into the creation, and as for research we just used images we found as well as rewatched the show once or twice through ;).

    Minibrick: I had only watched the first season of Gravity Falls, so for research I binged the entire show and really enjoyed it. It took patience to find detailed reference images from the episodes, but it was all worth it for accuracy. 
  3. What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
    Toplego8: The most frustrating part for me was easily the interior walls. We had to fit doors in such triangular shapes and it was a pain in the butt to do, although it worked out. However the hardest part for me was designing the Minifigures, as I had to try and capture the cartoony shapes and features of the characters into the Minifigure.

    Minibrick: The hardest part for me was creating a layout for the shack. Filling in the rooms was going to be rather easy, but making the layout of the rooms was tricky as we knew size was going to have to be limited and that each room was going to have to be easily accessible in order to encourage play. It took a few days to create a hollow Mystery Shack that satisfied all the criteria; a removable roof to be able to access the second and third floors, removable walls to access the first floor, proper door placement, and much more. 
  4. How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
    TopLego8: It felt great! I was anxious on the last few days as I watched the number slowly but surely lead up to 10,000! But it got there, I felt like I was on cloud 9!

    Minibrick: It was awesome! This is my second project to hit 10,000 votes, with my first being in the previous review period - Avatar: The Last Airbender. It took us a month and 4 days to hit 10,000 supporters, which coincidentally was exactly the same amount of time it took us to design the project! A month is extremely quick to hit 10,000, and we owe it all to the amazing LEGO and Gravity Falls communities.
  5. Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
    Toplego8: Somewhere around 2,510 pieces, although it isn’t exact.
  6. What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
    Toplego8: My favorite building technique I used was when I used part 15429, or Unikitty’s tail, to recreate the ends of the sign for the gift shop. It’s a super simple technique and works really well.

    Minibrick: My favorite part of the project is the fact that we were able to make it into both a beautiful display piece as well as an awesome playset. I love how we were able to make it so accessible by having easy to remove walls and sections that encourage play without harming the set’s displayability for older fans who aren’t really into playing with their sets.
  7. If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
    Toplego8: To build the set, we used Mecabricks and To render our model we used Blender, and added some stuff in using photoshop.
  8. If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
    Toplego8: Mecabricks has an application where you can take files and create prints on parts and Minifigures. We used this tool for most of the figures and pieces, which we drew in Adobe Draw and photoshop. 

    Minibrick: I used Inkscape to design decals I was supposed to create.

About LEGO Ideas

  1. Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
    TopLego8: Try to be original! People love to see original ideas on LEGO Ideas. Although there have been some Mystery Shacks before, there haven’t been as many, which helps it stand out!

    Minibrick: As I mentioned in my last interview, make a project based on something you’re passionate about and would love to see in LEGO. It makes it much more fun to create a project and it shows in the final product. For this project, designing an awesome building from a hilarious and amazing tv show made the experience so much fun and the project that much better. 
  2. What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
    Minibrick: Advertising your project is much more than simply posting: “Check out my new project - support it please!” You have to think about how to keep people interested in your project. What I found successful was to pose different aspects of projects in different ways, such as creating memes with the figures, recreating iconic scenes using the build, and much more. Each post should be different - repeatedly posting different angles of your project without much variation will stagnate support.
  3. What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
    TopLego8: One of my favorite product ideas is the Appa build from Avatar the Last Airbender, done by my co-creator! It’s such a creative project and came out as soon as I was getting into Avatar. Another really great one was the Krusty Krab.

    Minibrick: My favorite LEGO Ideas products are Wall-E and the Apollo Saturn-V.

    They’re awesome display pieces and I really couldn’t improve upon them in any way. As for overlooked projects, I would love a LEGO Concorde - it’s my favorite plane and I would love it in my collection one day.
  4. What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
    TopLego8: Just being able to see so many original ideas and existing IP’s in LEGO. You can’t really see this many MOCS anywhere else! Some tips I would give would be to take your time with your project. People really appreciate a set that has a lot of effort in it. Also try to do something original that not many have tried to make before! It really attracts fans.

    Minibrick: What attracts me to LEGO Ideas is the ease of it and the amount of variation present, and because it’s a site that connects customer to manufacturer, which is not super common in the industry. For someone who wants to upload an idea, my biggest tip would be to go for it! I’m sure there’s people out there who would love to submit an idea but are afraid it won’t do well or believe their skills aren’t as strong to bring it to life, but everyone starts somewhere. Looking back, my first projects were rather rough, but I’ve learned the skills over the years to make them look great and allow me to express my proposal as best as I can.
  5. Do you have plans to submit any other Product Ideas in the future? If yes, can you give us a hint what that might be?
    TopLego8: yes, I have some plans to eventually submit more product ideas of Ideas. A possibility I’ve thought of is a Steven Universe Set!

    Minibrick: I’ve got a few in mind, but I have so many that already published too. I’ve got Tintin, Luxo Jr, Mr. Bean, and the most recent one (as of the time of writing)- the Polar Express! I’m so excited for these projects and would love to see them all get reviewed :)
  • 10k club
  • 10k club interview
  • gravity falls
  • the mystery shack
  • toplego8
  • minibrick