“A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins. Nor is he early; he arrives precisely when he means to.” - Gandalf
Today we bring an interview with the creator of The Shire, The Hobbithole of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins - Till Braun (TB Brickcreator). The Hobbithole was inspired by films that were directed by Peter Jackson, based on the novel written by J. R. R. Tolkien.
- Who are you?
Hi, I’m Till Braun.
- Where are you from?
I’m from Zurich, Switzerland.
- How old are you?
I am 17 years old.
- What do you study or do for a living?
I’m still a student.
- What hobbies do you have?
In my free time I enjoy photographing, working out, playing the trombone, windsurfing, spending time with friends, and of course building models out of LEGO.
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
You are more than welcome to check out my Flickr Account:
- 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?
Yes, I’m really proud of my MOC: “London in the Twenties”. I’m quite a fan of history and architecture and this project encouraged me to get an in-depth insight into this interesting time period and location.
Another one of my MOCs which I’m proud of is "Castle Waterdragon”.
The design and building process took ages but I’m really happy with how it turned out.
- How and when did your interest for LEGO products come about?
My interest in LEGO already came before I was able to walk properly. My parents gave me an airplane of the LEGO Duplo Primo Serie, afterwards came the LEGO Duplo obsession and then of course the change to the little bricks. I have no intention to stop this wonderful hobby anytime soon.
- 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.
Like I wrote above as long as I can remember LEGO has been a fantastic part of my life. As a child, I used to build and then play with my LEGO sets. None the less the way I use LEGO has changed significantly. By now I solely build my own models based on the architecture in the real world, history, books, films, and sometimes just my own ideas. One of the most fantastic things about LEGO is that you can build anything you want. The only limitations that you have are your creativity and your pieces. But certainly, the best thing about LEGO is that I am always able to relax, can be creative, and at the end of the day even if I have just built a little detail, I know that I have made a bit of progress and I’m happy.
- What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
At the moment I really like the architecture theme.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
This is a very difficult question because over time I became a fan of a big variety of LEGO sets. But if I had to choose one it would probably be the Ewok Village 10236. I was and am still a big fan of the Star Wars franchise and the cute Ewoks and their village was always something that appealed to me and I even built an entire Endor diorama around it.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
I’ll go classical with the standard 2x4. But I like the variety of LEGO bricks because they open up so many new building possibilities.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
I think there is a ton of talented designers that are out there and that I can always take some great inspiration from. My favorites probably are Thorsten Bonsch, Norton74, Vince_Toulouse, Hsinwei Chi, and JK Brickworks.
- Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
I really enjoy checking out the models of other MOCs designers on Flickr.
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
I have been a huge fan of the Tolkien Universe for years. Being a fan of all the books and especially of the great films that were made by Peter Jackson the Hobbithole just seemed to me like something I had to build. I was fascinated by the design of this peculiar home with the round door and windows and of the idea of living comfortably in a well-furnished grass hill.
- 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?
There were a lot of different design phases and a lot of improvements. First I had already read most of Tolkien’s work including the Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. With that, I had some knowledge about the background of the complex middle-earth universe. In addition to that, I looked at sketches of the Hobbithole from Tolkien himself. Then I started to analyze the film sequences of the Shire in the Hobbit and the Lord of the Ring’s trilogy. Furthermore, I looked at the Hobbithole in the LEGO Hobbit game. With all this in mind, I tried to draw a map. Afterward, I started with the actual building process. I experimented with a lot of different building techniques for the grass and the interior. In the end, I was pretty happy with how it turned out.
- What special challenges or frustrations did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
I found myself having to choose between the different sources, accuracy, display ability, and accessibility but still I had to be very careful that my model didn’t explode in size.
- 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?
Put a technic axle rod in the mid of your tree. Else it will break every time you try to move your creation. Otherwise, I always enjoy the process of developing a new creation, even if something goes wrong and I have to change things.
- 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?
I don’t know exactly because I let it be for some time and afterward came back again to rebuild some areas, but I would estimate about 6 months.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
It took about 6 months to reach the limit. I felt like the happiest person on earth.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
I really like the grass and tree technique that I used. I also had a lot of fun building and perfecting the interior. The little details mean all to me.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
I think digital designers can be great for planning but for the real LEGO experience, I prefer building with physical bricks.
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
Photograph and describe your model well. A good presentation on LEGO Ideas is the best advertisement. I also would recommend uploading a lot of different ideas and seeing what the community likes.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
Because I’m still quite young and other than my new Flickr Page I haven’t had a platform other than LEGO Ideas to advertise my idea.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
I’m a huge fan of the design of the old fishing store 21310.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
Great people, great projects, and great inspiration. In addition to that, it gives you the chance to try to realize the dream of your own LEGO set. So, I would definitely recommend to everybody not to hesitate and upload his idea.
- 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?
Of course! I already have photographed some of my projects and will upload them here if the time is right. If you already want some further information, I recommend checking out my Flickr Account.
- hobbit hole
- middle earth
- 10k club
- 10k club interview
- lego idea
- lord of the ring
- bag end