Today we share the penultimate interview from this review period! Meet Tobias Roloff, a.k.a. MontyMatte and his fantastic WILLOW - BATTLE OF TIR ASLEEN project. Fans of the 80s movie, this could be the LEGO Ideas set you've been waiting for. Fans of Castle, will be sure to love it anyways! Leave a like to show your support!
- Who are you?
- Where are you from?
I live near Hanover in Germany.
- How old are you?
- What do you study or do for a living?
I’m working as Technical Purchaser in the construction industry.
- What hobbies do you have?
Besides the LEGO hobby; playing football (soccer), watching movies and (especially) spending time with family and friends.
- 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 of it and do you have a photo of it?
A few years ago, I built my own version of the "Prancing Pony" from Lord of the Rings. Very detailed, with interior design and quite large - I was proud of that and was able to try out a lot while building.
In the meantime, it has been dismantled.
- How and when did your interest in LEGO products come about?
As long as I can remember, I was fascinated by LEGO bricks. It's a great "toy" and a fitting addition to my fondness for fantasy and science fiction movies. These two passions were mutually reinforced through the classic Castle/Pirates/Space series.
As an adult, my interest was rekindled when I got my driver's license. I got a small LEGO car as a gift and a few weeks later the LOTR sets came out.
- 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.
For me, the LEGO hobby means two things in particular:
First, it's for relaxation - even sorting the parts helps. And of course, it's great to be creative. When you create something from your imagination. Some people draw, some make music, and for me it's LEGO building. How often I pursue this hobby varies, but several hours a week after work.
- What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
My favourite themes are those with historical content like Castle or Pirates. Of course, the old castle sets were an inspiration (I even built a Classic Castle Edition). Without them, this project would probably never have happened.
What I like about the current series is the increasing consideration given to adult fans. This applies to nostalgia sets as well as to 18+ recommendations.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set ever? Why?
That’s definitely 6285 Black Seas Barracudas - it's just iconic! My brother and I had this set as kids and it was the starting point for many sea battles and great stories.
The homage that appeared a few years ago immediately reminded me of that time. Very nicely done!
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
It's difficult to single out only one element. The 1x2 Masonry brick comes to mind spontaneously. If you replace the standard brick with this one, the model gets more details without much effort and looks more appealing. I like using this part.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
There are so many great designers, if I have to name one here, it is certainly not a disparagement of the others.
But to name at least one: I’m impressed by @InspektorSchrecklicherTeller's work. Always innovative, inspiring and very detailed. And in addition to the spectacular buildings, he also gives a look behind the scenes. Admittedly, many of his techniques will remain a mystery to me.
- Is there one or more particular LEGO-related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
There are several sites I visit regularly – I’d like to highlight "Tips N Bricks": An interesting and diverse mix of content. I particularly like the articles about building techniques. They help to improve your own building skills.
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
Willow was a favourite movie of my childhood. While re-watching the movie and as a LEGO castle fan I thought it was a great combination.
- 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?
My first step was to watch the film and especially the scene at Castle Tir Asleen several times. I captured a lot of screenshots that could help me to develop a draft and also took a closer look at well-known sub-scenes and details that I wanted to implement. It was important to me to achieve a high level of detail without being overloaded, as known from some kind of MOCs. That shouldn‘t be meant in a negative way - there are so wonderful creations out there, but I was thinking about what the LEGO Group would just allow.
The whole process took about three months - a few hours, every few days. After building with real parts I recreated it with stud.io and adjusted a few colors.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
One of the most challenging parts was definitely the Two-headed monster. I’ve rebuilt it three times and there is definitely room for further improvements.
The helmet of the general (skeleton warrior) doesn't totally convince me either. It’s very iconic in the movie and no new parts were allowed.
- 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?
As a newcomer to the LEGO Ideas community: It takes a lot of time to work on the project and collect votes. So you should think twice about whether you want to spend your time that way.
- 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?
At least 90% of the time was spent on the promotion.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
I was very proud that so many people supported the project. 10,000 - unbelievable! Of course, I'm also honoured to be part of the 10k Club now. It was shortly before Christmas and therefore a very special gift.
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
It contains about 3000 parts.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
Stud.io from Bricklink. A really handy and easy-to-learn program. It is very user-friendly software. Easy to learn and use, with nice results.
- If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
I used a picture editor to create the designs and the PartDesigner to add them to the parts.
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
Decide on a project that you are enthusiastic about.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support for your Product Idea?
I’ve shared my project on social networks, mainly Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In addition to the main project, I built other MOCs around the project and the movie. This allowed me to post new, relevant content and to stay active.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
I love the Medieval Blacksmith! This brought back further memories of childhood. Of course, many other great ideas made it - and others (unfortunately) didn't, although they deserved it as well.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
It's a great way for fans to be part of the LEGO brand and history. There is also a nice sense of community between the Ideas participants and users. The first tips I would give to newcomers: have passion for your project, be patient and stay active. Oh yes. And fun, that's the most important thing.
- 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?
If I get permission at home - maybe!
- 10k club
- 10k club interview
- product idea
- tobias roloff
- willow - battle of tir asleen