Let's meet Simon Scott aka Tvrulesmylife, the designer whose work of art The Nightmare Before Christmas - Halloween Town is part of our latest review. His creation combines several areas of Halloween town from the 1993 Tim Burton film and was not originally intended as a product idea.
- Who are you?
- Where are you from?
Ilkeston, United Kingdom
- How old are you?
- What do you study or do for a living?
Marketing Manager for a Digital Printing firm
- What hobbies do you have?
I’m also a huge film fan and enjoy spending time with my family and friends and walking our Dog, Baxter
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
- 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?
My proudest MOC I’ve made was the first large-scale MOC I created - Tracy Island from Thunderbirds. It was my first time attempting something of that scale having normally created models on 16x16 or 32x32 footprints.
- How and when did your interest for LEGO products come about?
I remember having it as a child but moved away from it in my teenage years. I rediscovered a love of LEGO with the birth of my children and purchasing sets for them soon turned into purchasing sets for me. During the last 10 years, my wife has also joined me in the interest.
- 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.
It’s great to have a joint interest with my wife and family that we can all share together by building sets or going to various events around the country. Through participation in LEGO Facebook groups, I’ve also made a lot of close friends in the community. I enjoy physical & online LUG meet-ups through the ones I’m a member of (Brickish, Gertlug, & Northern Brickworks) and try to display them at as many events as I can get around to.
- What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
I rediscovered my love of LEGO purchasing Star Wars sets for my son, Luke so I would have to say they were initially my favourite. I do also have an affinity for the older Castle sets too but I missed out on collecting them during my time away from LEGO. I do like collecting the Architecture sets though, especially places that I’ve actually visited. The polished style of the Architecture sets does appeal to me as I do like micro builds and tiled finishes to my creations where possible.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
It’s one of the more recent releases, the 1989 Batmobile. Being a fan of Tim Burton films it's such a faithful representation of the movie version. How the curves have been achieved are remarkably well done and the size and detail of the model are awesome.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
I’d have to go with 6091 Slope, Curved 2 x 1 x 1 1/3 with Recessed Stud.
I call them shoulder bricks and love how they create curved corners from straight sides. They are a very handy brick to have to achieve the look for a lot of my builds.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
Ben Adler the creator of the recent Winnie the Pooh set was the first person I was really aware of that had designed a LEGO set. Although we’ve never met in person we’re are in a lot of the same LEGO Facebook groups. It was great to follow his journey from creation, promotion, and succeeding in being chosen to seeing his design on shelves. He was very helpful in offering advice on promoting my project too.
- Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
Beyond the Brick & The Brothers Brick are ones that come to mind but I also get a lot of inspiration from the very talented builders on various social media channels, feeds, and groups I’m a part of.
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
Jack and Sally are two of my wife’s favourite characters along with the film being one of our family favourites too. I remember it from my youth and it’s been great introducing it to my own children.
I wanted to create a display to show off the custom figures my wife had bought before the official CMF Disney series 2 ones were released and the model idea developed from there.
- 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?
The project was never intended to be built for submission to LEGO Ideas. It was something I wanted to build for my wife and kids to play & display at home. I’d had a rough idea of what I’d wanted to build for quite some time - mainly centered around Jack’s house and the Spiral Hill elements of the model. I did re-watch the film several times to get ideas of other areas to help balance out the model. It was my wife’s idea to add the fountain which balances out the model quite well I think.
I don’t usually plan or prep builds – I just tip out my bricks and start. I have a finished look in my head of how the model will be viewed and always try to build with that aspect in mind.
- What special challenges or frustrations did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
Anyone who’s seen the film will know there aren’t many right angles in Halloween Town! Trying to recreate those elements was very challenging. I’m normally quite a symmetrical builder so having to create a haphazard collection of structures was quite fun.
- 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?
Piece count as you go! I’ve had so many questions about how many pieces mine was made of. I tend to free build and don’t keep count. Though I would try to build it digitally as well as using bricks.
- 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 built the whole project in just two weeks. It was combined with a two-week build competition called fjorten dage (14 days in Danish) on a Facebook group of which I was a member. I find having a deadline for my builds helps me focus and do some of my best work under pressure. I reached the 10,000 supporters in 98 days but put an incredible amount of work promoting it to the Nightmare Before Christmas fan groups.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
I hit the 10K overnight and sadly missed the magic number changing, though some American friends told me it was around 3.30 am GMT. It was awesome waking up in the 10K club though.
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
As I free built the project I didn’t keep track but have made an estimation of around 1200 pieces.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
Using the hinge bricks to create the curved fountain statue worked really well I think. I also like the curving wall using alternating 1x2 masonry and 1x1 round bricks.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
I always prefer building with real bricks as I like to use colours and elements readily available to all, but I do use Bricklink Stud.io for designing models and creating a shopping list for parts.
- If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
I didn’t use any custom prints or stickers. I was able to make approximations of the new figures created by combining parts of existing CMFs already produced.
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
My build never started out as a build for LEGO Ideas – it was just a build I wanted to make for myself and my family as fans of the film. So I would say build something you are passionate about. Having that passion will come through whilst you promote and will connect with those your build appeals to aswell.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
The majority of my advertising was conducted via Facebook. I was very fortunate to have a build that appealed to a huge amount of fans across various genres. The film is over 25 years old so has already accrued a legion of fans who love any type of merchandise associated with their favourite film. This also leads to fans of Tim Burton, Disney, Halloween, Christmas & of course LEGO. In total, I identified 168 Facebook sites across these interests and managed them via a spreadsheet posting to each one no more than 4/5 times over the 3-month period.
I created a Facebook page for the project which has over 3600 followers so far with people still joining today. Updating the followers there helped spread the word and reach more like-minded fans that may wish to support it.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
The recent Winnie the Pooh release from Ben Adler is a great release that stayed faithful and improved the original design. The ‘Thunderbirds are Go’ by Andrew Clark missed out in its original review period and was a model I would have loved to be made – however it has given him a chance to redesign it and the new version ‘Classic Thunderbirds’ looks even better.
- 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 variety of builds it attracts from all over the world, it’s a great opportunity for amateur builders to get involved and get it a try. If you have confidence in your build I would advise anyone to give it a try – you’ve nothing to lose!
One tip is to get your pictures right - especially if your entry is made from real bricks. Take your time setting up your model and lighting it correctly. Take way more photos than you need to.
- 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?
I already have another LEGO Ideas submission, ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark – 40th Anniversary’ on the site. As 2021 marks 40 years of the film’s release I wanted to make something to commemorate it (I missed the release of the original sets in my time away from LEGO). I’m very pleased it’s already passed the 5K mark so far.
- 10k club
- 10k club interview
- product idea
- jack skellington
- nightmare before christmas
- tim burton
- halloween town