*SPLOSH* *SPLASH* Is that a huge LEGO sea serpent? Let's ask jackotrebel and REBELJACKOT, a.k.a. Marlene Rebel and Tonko Bossen, the latest members of the 10K club themselves, and find out more about THE LEGEND OF THE SEA SERPENT. Show your support in the comments, folks!
- Who are you?
Marlene Rebel and Tonko Bossen.
- Where are you from?
We are from Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
- How old are you?
Marlene: I am 56.
Tonko: I am 23.
- What do you study or do for a living?
Marlene: I am a writer of children’s books.
Tonko: Currently, I am in my final year studying Cinematography at the Dutch Film Academy. I make a living through commercial-voice acting.
- What hobbies do you have?
Marlene: Writing is my work but it feels like a hobby too. Also, I like to draw and read books, I like running and in general, I like to be creative - that’s why building with LEGO bricks appeals to me.
Tonko: I suppose I take after my mother, since creativity is also a big part of my day-to-day life, whether it’s playing the guitar, telling stories through imagery or working with my voice. If I’m not doing any of these things you can find me in my racing simulator or watching a movie.
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
Since the Legend of the Sea Serpent is our first MOC, we only recently started building with LEGO bricks again, so we don’t have a website yet.
- 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 we said, The Legend of the Sea Serpent is our first MOC; we only recently started building with LEGO bricks again, so we don’t have a website yet.
- How and when did your interest in LEGO products come about?
LEGO building has been a big part of both of our childhoods, being introduced to it at a very young age by our bigger brothers.
Marlene: My big brother did not want me to play with his LEGO bricks and my mother thought that LEGO bricks were for boys only - it was the sixties, haha. But some days I managed to get a hold of the big box of beautiful red, white, yellow and blue bricks and built houses and cars.
Tonko: For me it has got to be Star Wars. The movies have been a very important part of my childhood, being able to play them out with LEGO bricks kind of came naturally. Maybe that’s partially where the love grew from. However, I’ve also always loved building things, whether that's with blocks, wood or bricks. So LEGO building kind of appealed to both of these passions perfectly.
- What is the LEGO hobby to you? What does it mean to you? How does it fit in your life? E.g. build, display, meetups, play the games or 'just' watch the cartoons.
Building with LEGO bricks together, for us, is a great way of expressing our creativity.
- What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
Marlene: I like LEGO sets in which I see a story, in which I feel that something exciting can happen at any moment. I also like all kinds of vehicles: ships, cars and planes, as long as they are not real and stimulate my imagination, such as the Batmobile 1966 and the Ghostbusters Ecto-1, and the LEGO Ideas the steampunk airships by BrickHammer and Castor-Troy.
Tonko: Star Wars, duh. I don’t think it really inspired my current building style, however, in the past it must have. Building countless made-up spaceships, stations or planet surfaces inspired by the ones I’d seen in the movies.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set ever? Why?
Marlene: I don’t have one set that stands out for me, there are so many sets I would like to build and have on display in my house. Well, okay, I will name one: I would really love to have The Upside Down - Stranger Things set one day!
Tonko: (7153) Jango Fett’s Slave I. Probably because it has the biggest nostalgic value out of all the sets I own, with hands down the most hours played. I always thought Jango (and also Boba) Fett were some of the coolest characters in the movies (after Darth Vader of course). It’s also one of the rarer sets in my collection and the only Jango Slave I LEGO set ever released, making it even more unique to me. However, if I’d ever get to own the UCS Millenium Falcon, it would snatch the crown.
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
We sometimes feel like the model built itself. Initially, we wanted to keep it simple, so the idea was just a house on a rock. But as the build developed, so did our ambition. When one of us thought it would be cool to make a serpent arise from the water, attacking the house, that's where the story more or less started.
- 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?
We started end of August 2021 and finished the build the end of October. Due to work and study, it was hard for both of us to find time to build. However if we did manage it, we’d often find ourselves not only losing track of time, but also losing ourselves in the excitement of the building process.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
Hah! There were quite a few of those. First of all, we faced a lot of technical challenges not only due to a lack of suitable bricks (we only had bricks from old, disassembled sets), but also due to a lack of experience. With the roof, for example, we had absolutely no idea where to start and how to do it. Eventually, we managed to get it to hold in the position we wanted it in, but we can tell you, if you’d see the roof from inside the house, it isn’t pretty. Another hurdle was the serpent. When the idea first came up, we both laughed, thinking it would be impossible for us to make a serpent out of LEGO bricks that would meet the high standards that we set ourselves. However upon splitting the job, one of us would concentrate on the head, the other on the body, it started to become more manageable. The head took quite a few attempts in order to make it appear scary and threatening. Adding teeth, in the end, did the trick. The body was also a tough one technically, because not only did we want to simulate the curvature of a real sea snake, but we also wanted to raise the water where the serpent arises from the depths.
Besides facing technical issues, we also found ourselves in a lengthy debate regarding the colour of the water. First we thought it should be blue. We tried different shades of blue, but each shade made the build feel too tropical for our taste. Then we tried white transparent bricks on a grey plate and while it looked better, however, it still wasn’t quite what we were looking for. That’s when we found the black-transparent bricks at the Pick-a-Brick in the local LEGO store, which, when placed on a black plate suited the style of the build just perfectly, and complemented the menacing theme of the story.
- 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?
After finishing the build we regret not providing the house with a cosy interior. We think it would have been the cherry on top!
And if we would start from scratch again we’d make an attempt to get the three body parts of the serpent removable and connectable, so the serpent as a whole can get out of the water and can swing around the house too. We really think this would add to the playability of the set.
Last but not least: we feel like we should have swapped the gender roles in the story: The mother as the heroine wielding the silver-tipped spear, and the father waving the broom. So as to break the traditional stereotypes.
- 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 us approximately 40-50 hours of building time (not including the many trips to the LEGO store, in search of new bricks) over the span of two months.
Promoting our set also took quite some time, regularly checking if we could find new websites, Instagram or Facebook accounts. Maybe promotion took almost as much time as building.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
Of course, we were excited about reaching the 10K supporters! We were proud of what we made and we had confidence that there would be people who liked it too, but the fact that we had enough supporters in just four months exceeded our expectations! Thanks so much to all of you who supported our build!
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
We estimate that we have used around 2000 LEGO bricks.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
Our favourite technique has got to be one of two things: Using the arm-and-leg bricks of the old LEGO Knights Kingdom Series action figures for the body of the Serpent. Those bricks allowed us to move its body in angles that would otherwise be tough to achieve. Or second: elevating (and slightly illegally) elevating the water bricks to create a sense of the water being lifted by the force of the Serpent emerging from the depths.
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
Looking at all the builds we have seen so far, there are so many beautiful builds, designed with so many technical and/or digital designing skills. We aren’t the ones to give advice; we still have to learn a lot ourselves!
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
We’ve spent quite some time promoting our build. We started with a post on Reddit and we have sent messages with photos to several LEGO Instagram accounts. Some of them were so kind as to post our Legend of the Sea Serpent on their account. Then we started following a few LEGO Facebook groups that allowed us to make a post with a link to Lego Ideas. We also checked the LEGO Ideas website a lot for new builds and we supported a lot of others on their way to the 10K.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
We both really loved Don Quixote fighting the windmill by Hugo Rouschop, The Pirate Tavern by Revan New and The Steampunk Airship by Brickhammer. But there are a lot of stunning Lego Ideas builds!
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
What attracts us is, of course, the dream that comes with this platform: after uploading a project, the fantasizing can start about your own set being sold in LEGO stores all over the world. And what a beautiful dream that is!
A piece of advice: don’t give up when uploading isn’t successful the first time, ha, ha. We tried at least five times to upload our project, but every time our submission was rejected for different reasons: photos weren’t accepted (too blurry, too dark, not enough details, etc) and our text was rejected (we missed the section in the guidelines that we had to state that the project was posted with permission of both of us). We came to the point of giving up but decided to make new pictures one more time and we followed the guidelines word-by-word once again. And that worked. So if your upload is not accepted at once: give it another try and don’t 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?
Yes, we have plans! It will be a scene with a Minifigure discovering a threat to himself and his surroundings. Again there will be a little house in the middle of wild nature, but not on a rock and with no water-hiding sea serpents.
- 10k club
- 10k club interview
- product idea
- marlene rebel
- tonko bossen
- the legend of the sea serpent