The new LEGO Winter Village Elf Club House (10275) was announced yesterday and it was revealed that AFOL Chris McVeigh was the LEGO designer for the set. If you remember, Chris used to create a lot of festive builds and the Elf Club House is the perfect thing for him to design as his very first Winter Village set. LEGO has done a short interview with Chris where he gives some details about the set and what helped him along the way.
Q: What was your inspiration for the LEGO Elf Clubhouse?
I thought it would be great fun to explore the world of Santa’s Elves. Where do they go after a hard day’s work making toys? What do they do for fun? Do they give gifts to each other for Christmas? In terms of architecture, the set was inspired by both alpine chalets and Tudor-style homes, with a dash of Christmas magic for good measure.
Q: What is your favorite element of this set?
The reindeer, which is all-new with this set! I like to call her Brixen.
Q: Are there any Easter eggs or interesting designing anecdotes you can tell us about the set?
Before working for LEGO, I was known for building old computers out of LEGO bricks. So, I thought it would be a fun nod to my past to include a small brick-build computer in this set.
Q: How do you find your inspiration for the holiday sets?
Christmas has always been a special time of year for my family and so I have many warm memories to look back on. And if I am ever struggling, listening to a Christmas carol like Silver Bells or Winter Wonderland will instantly put me in the right frame of mind.
Q: What is your inspiration for the brick sketch models that you have also been designing?
A few years ago, I was part of an artist’s group on a social media platform, and at the time, a number of talented artists in the group were creating amazing marker sketches on small cardstock as way to promote their artwork. I thought it would be fun to participate, but I wanted to put my own spin on it. So, I created what I called a “Brick Sketch,” which was a LEGO character portrait on a 12×16 canvas. Although the first on I posted was a bit tongue-in-cheek, people reacted so positively that I was encouraged to build more!
Q: How long have you been building with LEGO brick products for?
I spent much of my childhood building towns and cities out of LEGO. But like many people, I set LEGO aside during my teenage years as I focused on school and university. Thankfully, I was given two small LEGO Star Wars sets as part of a gift exchange in 2006. These were the first two sets I’d built in over a decade, and thy put me on a path that would bring me to Billund. (And thank you, Jason, and Stephanie, for 7139 Ewok Attack and 7251 Darth Vader Transformation!)
Q: How did it feel to turn your passion as a LEGO fan into a full-time job?
It has been an amazing journey, really. I feel very fortunate.
Q: How did this opportunity come about/ how did you get LEGO’s attention?
Although many people at LEGO were aware of my work as a fan designer, I went through the normal recruitment process to get my design job.
Q: What is the process you go through when designing a new set like the Elf House?
I like to start by sketching concepts. It helps me articulate shapes and explore different styles. Once I have some solid ideas, I start building physical models. It is then a matter of refining the build and adding lots of fun little details.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge with building a holiday set?
The roof. Finding just the right angle and coming up with a clever way of mounting the roofs is a huge challenge. But it is very rewarding when you engineer something that works well.
Q: Favorite building technique used in this set?
The Elf Clubhouse has several interesting techniques. I think my favorite is using Plate 1×2, rounded to create a wreath. And although it is less visible, I am also pleased with the staggering of the 1x1x5 bricks in the chimney to give it added structural stability.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring LEGO designers?
Keep building! The more you build, the more you understand the full range of possibilities with LEGO bricks. Also keep an eye out for new elements and how you can use them to improve your models. How you present your model is also important, so take time to learn about photography, experiment with lighting, and do not be afraid to trying something different!