January 8, 2012

Brain Picking: YATKUU (creator Lego Winchester Pub)

(creator of the Lego Winchester Pub Set)

Earlier this week,, I posted a picture set of a wonderfully detailed Lego version of the Winchester Pub. The set was designed by a Lego customizer who goes by the handle Yatkuu on Flickr, and I wasn't the only one impressed by his brick homage to Shaun of the Dead. Even Edgar Wright himself re-posted the images on his official site. I decided to contact Yatkuu and find out more about the man behind the bricks. As it turns out, his friends call him "Greg."

ZED WORD: What was your inspiration for your Winchester Pub Lego set?

YATKUU: When I was a kid I used to build the typical stuff any kid would – spaceships, cars, castles… now I’m 34 and when I came out of my Dark Age approximately 2 years ago (The Dark Age is that period in a LEGO fan’s life when he or she sets aside LEGO in favor of other non-LEGO pursuits) I realized I could actually build anything I wanted and it did not have to necessarily fit with the “Classic” LEGO themes. So, I started building stuff from my favorite movies and other stuff that you would typically not picture in LEGO like the concert stages from U2 or post apoc[alyptic] dioramas. The online LEGO community is incredibly active and you can find sites that are specialized in almost any theme – even the zombie genre like on Bricks of the Dead. Shaun of the Dead is an all time favorite for me, so when I started thinking of giving it the Lego treatment the Winchester was an obvious choice; the fact that it had never been done before was also a good reason to give it a try!

ZED WORD: How long did it take you to find all the right components to recreate the Winchester brick-by-brick?

YATKUU: I usually start my new LEGO projects in the same way; first I try to find as much reference material as possible. The “Win” is very well documented on the web and there is always the original movie as first source. I also checked the former tavern with Street View to get the different angles. Once I have enough material I try to evaluate if I have enough bricks to build what I want, if I have the right quantity and colors. My collection is not that huge and for a good part I still use my bricks from when I was a kid, so the final result is usually a matter of compromise. If I’m missing critical pieces for the build, I buy them by the unit on a website named Bricklink.

For the “Win”, from initial thoughts to Photoshop polishing, I’d say the whole thing took me about a month to complete and I only had to buy a couple of pieces I was missing – most of these bricks are really basic ones.

ZED WORD: Edgar Wright posted photos your Winchester Pub Lego on his personal site. How does that feel?

YATKUU: I’m over the moon. I feel like I have been living a dream these past few days. One day I’m doing my stuff in my room and the next Edgar and Simon [Pegg] are tweeting my pictures; as a fan it’s simply amazing.

ZED WORD: If Shaun of the Dead got an official Lego line, what other sets or characters from the movie would you like to see get the Lego treatment?

YATKUU: Well, it’s not a question of “if”.. today we have a chance to make this happen for real. LEGO launched recently a website called CUUSOO where the fans can post their creations. The community can then vote for their favorite ideas and if a project gets enough supporters LEGO will consider making it a real set that could be purchased from their website. With Edgar Wright’ support and the help of the Zombie fan community I’m sure we can make this happen – all you have to do is check this page and give your support!

Now I’d like to mention that the “Shaun” that can be seen in my creation is a customized LEGO Minifig produced by a company called BrickArms. I don’t know how LEGO will consider the possibility to incorporate such custom accessories into an official set but it’s too soon to tell. I guess we’ll try to figure this out all together once the project reaches the necessary support! My dream would of course be to have the full gang customized in LEGO, that would be awesome. It would also be cool to have lots of Zombies as they could be used in other creations. As for another set… I don’t know… perhaps Shaun’s garden shed featuring Zombie Ed playing Playstation?