Today's 10K Club interview is dedicated to our LEGO Ideas member and massive Red Dwarf fan, Bob Turner. Following the success of his previous Red Dwarf LEGO idea, he comes with a novelty on the same theme.
- Who are you?
My name is Bob Turner.
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
Yes, www.bobsvintagebricks.com. It features all my creations, the latest news, instructions for some of my previous builds as well as other cool stories!
- 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?
The Blue Midget spacecraft from my original Red Dwarf LEGO Idea submission would have to be the build I’m most proud of. It was extremely difficult to recreate because of the unique design of the craft and it's had many tweaks since its initial creation. It also attracts the most attention when on display at LEGO shows.
- How and when did your interest in LEGO come about?
When I was 5 my dad built my brother and me a purpose-built wooden table to build on, it had base plates mounted to the top of it, opened up in the middle to store LEGO in, and doubled as a coffee table when not in use (not very often!) 33 years later the table still stands in my Dad’s living room practically undamaged and now my 8-year-old daughter and 2 nephews have the pleasure of building on it.
- What is LEGO for you? What does it mean for you? How does it fit in your life? E.g. build, display, meetups, play games, or 'just' watch cartoons.
I don’t think a single day goes by that I don’t talk about LEGO with someone, whether it be talking about my own creations, theirs, or discussing the latest set releases. LEGO for me is a great way for connecting with people.LEGO has become a very large part of my family life now too, during lockdown my daughter used LEGO for her school homework projects and even my wife has taken to creating her very own LEGO Christmas shelf! My next-door neighbor has even test-built my Starbug LEGO Idea from my instructions. I also host a ‘Monday Movie Night’ on Twitter where my followers have to guess the movie builds recreated in LEGO; the creations featured are contributed from AFOLs all around the world!
- What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
As a child, I mainly enjoyed the LEGO Pirates and M-Tron themes the most. These days I mainly collect Star Wars sets. I think it’s good practice to do a random build every now and then, anything from Architecture to Harry Potter, this can help influence you without you even realising.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
My personal favourite set at the moment would have to be Stranger Things -The Upside Down, a very clever build that ties in my love for 80’s nostalgia. I’m also looking forward to the recently approved LEGO Ideas Home Alone House!
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
That would have to be various SNOT bricks and brackets, they make building possibilities endless and I used many different ones when building the Starbug LEGO Idea.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
I’m a big fan of LEGO Masters (UK) series 1 champions Nathan Dias and Steve Guinness. I have had the pleasure of meeting them at various LEGO shows and I have recently joined them as a Northern Brickworks LUG member. Steve has now given up his full-time teaching job to run LEGO-based workshops and activities; I’d love to be able to do this myself one day.
- Is there one or more particular LEGO-related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
The brickarchitect.com’s brick label contact sheet provides a great catalogue of popular LEGO parts, I use it when looking for the most suitable parts in my builds. I also use brickset.com for finding out if certain LEGO parts exist in a particular colour and finally I check newelementary.com regularly for information on new LEGO parts and also existing LEGO parts in new colours.
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
I’ve been a massive Red Dwarf fan since I was a child and have even met several stars of the show. I grew up watching the show evolve, this benefited me greatly when deciding which ‘nods’ to include from the show, such as Talkie Toaster and the Blue Alert Bulb!
- 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?
I went online and found screenshots of the spacecraft from every angle possible, I then printed off all the images as well as printing a list of every single LEGO part available in dark green, these were pinned to my wall as a constant reference. I also researched the many different ways of constructing a dome from LEGO. I always use the same design method, I build from the most accurate source material possible, but I also build what looks best in LEGO and then meet somewhere in the middle.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
I wanted to have accessible interiors to maximise playability, so one of the hardest things was hollowing out the domes whilst still maintaining strength in the build. Connecting the 3 different sized domes together also proved especially difficult, not to mention removing an almost perfect quarter out of the back dome to make way for the engines.
- 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?
I’d probably tell myself nothing! As I believe it’s good practice to learn from your mistakes.
- 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?
The model was built in my very little spare time so took approximately one and a half years to complete. I prepared some of the ways to promote the idea in between building so when the idea went live I had emails and messages drafted and ready to send to magazines and websites.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
The idea took just under 9 months to hit the 10,000 supporters target. Reaching the goal felt amazing but I was thrilled by the fact I’d reached it yet again with a Red Dwarf build! I’d like to personally thank every single supporter for making it happen.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
When building the central dome I had to find a way of connecting LEGO plates together side by side but have them face in opposite directions; to do this I used a building technique that uses 1 x 10 technic plates with toothed ends.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
Bricklink’s Studio, I find it a superb digital designer with a great inventory of parts, not to mention an option to create your own instructions. I have recently discovered how to create sub-models within a build and import custom prints, interesting stuff!
- If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
My partners on the project, Ben Bancroft and Nick Savage are both graphic designers. They created the custom Minifigs and tiles used from screenshots that I emailed them. I was more than happy with the end results as they were exactly as I’d envisioned them.
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
When creating an idea I think it benefits greatly if you’re familiar with the subject matter, as well as researching what’s popular with fans especially if it’s based on intellectual property. I also spent a lot of time deciding on which final colours to use.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
I attended the "Calder Valley Brick Show" back in January 2020 and in turn sent photos to the LEGO Ideas team to use in their ‘In the wild’ feature. I also posted regular updates on the many Red Dwarf Facebook groups, these were a great help, Red Dwarf has a fantastic fan base. I’ve lots of people to thank for helping me to promote the idea, including retweets from the main cast and creators of the show, the official Red Dwarf page, the Official Red Dwarf Fan club, Červený Trpaslík(a Czech Republic Red Dwarf fan page) British Comedy Guide and TV channel Dave. It’s also had write-ups in Blocks Magazine, SFX magazine, and many other blogs and social media pages. Over the past few years, I’ve built up a following on my "Bob’s Vintage Bricks" pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more recently TikTok, Youtube, and LinkedIn which I post regular updates on too.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
The Playable LEGO Piano idea is a truly incredible build, I was blown away when I first saw it. As for overlooked ideas, I would have loved to have seen the Short Circuit Johnny Five idea make it into production.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
The fact that anyone with a small amount of LEGO and internet access can submit an idea! You can team up with your friends to combine your efforts if you wish. As for tips, good photos I believe are a key factor and can really help in bringing your idea to life! I spent a lot of time and got opinions from friends on which photo to use as the primary one in my idea.
- 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?
My next idea is based on a 1980’s movie, but that’s all I’ll say!
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