Subject #22 Iain Scott of York, UK

United Kingdom

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Iain Scott of York (UK) was first exposed to LEGO as a young child when he received some older LEGO featuring the Homemaker people and some basic bricks. On his 5th birthday he was lucky enough to receive the Classic Space sets of 918 and 928 and he immediately fell in love with the sets and the minifigure spaceman. LEGO was part of Iain’s life up until the age of 16 when he left school, got a job, and real life took over. Despite abandoning LEGO as a teenager, he still has his childhood LEGO and delights in coming across the odd older piece in his collection. Iain rediscovered LEGO around ten years ago when an accident at work left him housebound for a while and he had to find a new hobby which wasn’t just about watching daytime television. He is currently the LEGO Ambassador for the Northern Brickworks and is a member of The Brickish Association. He is also part of the NerdHerd and his blogging can be found at The Brick Nerd and his LEGO creations can be found at Iainy73 on Flickr.

Perhaps due to his early exposure, Classic Space is still a favourite with Iain. He’s also a fan of Fabuland and reckons Belville and Mars Mission were rather underrated. Nexo Knights is his favourite modern theme.

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In Iain’s own words, his storage method is “haphazard”. He prefers to mostly store by colour but also has some bulky parts stored separately. He uses “Really Useful Boxes” as they are robust, stackable and come in a variety of sizes. He admits that storing by colour can be problematic when trying to locate a specific piece but it reflects his organic building style and enhances his creativity.

Being part of the LEGO fan community brings great joy to Iain – especially when he gets to see the original creations of other LEGO fans whether they be official LEGO releases, kids messing with bricks, MOC builders or professional builders who build with LEGO for a living. On the other hand, he’s not a fan of the politics that can surround the LUGs and he gets annoyed at the expectations of LEGO fans who believe LEGO should give people product for free. He also actively dislikes it when supposed fans share confidential photos and information on social media.

Subject #20 Warren Elsmore of the UK

Edinburgh, United Kingdom

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Warren Elsmore’s early days with LEGO are mostly lost in history. Neither Warren nor his parents can remember what his first set was other than it wasn’t Duplo. Showing signs of his future building talent, he does know he went straight to LEGO System and would have been around 3 years old at the time. As an adult, Warren emerged from his Dark Ages as the result of purchasing the Statue of Liberty LEGO set as a gift. Since then, he’s gone on to become an active member of the AFOL community, a professional LEGO model builder and an author of many books on LEGO building. Warren is a member of Brickish and occasionally posts on Brickset and Eurobricks.

His greatest love is the City theme and this is reflected in his books. One day, he’d like to build a large (10m x 10m) city layout but it may some years before it comes into fruition unless someone commissions him to create his dream.

Now that Warren works in LEGO professionally, time spent looking for parts is time wasted so his LEGO storage is very well organised. Consequently, he has spent a lot of money on his storage set up. Warren and his wife Teresa categorise parts into one of around 10 top headings. Earlier this year, they re-categorised everything int o a new storage system and it’s halved the time taken to pick parts for a model. They use a hybrid of the TLG and Bricklink divisions to categorise their parts – Slopes, Clips, Bars, SNOT elements etc are their ‘top level’ categories. They then break those down, so slopes would have 25/30/33/65/70 degree slopes etc.  Every element is design and colour separated, unless they have very few of a single design. Each part/colour combo is stored in a small square plastic tub, the same as you can buy sets of screws in (Warren contacted the supplier of these in the UK and made a big order!) Those tubs then go into school trays, which are racked around the walls of their studio. This way, they can (theoretically) go to any point in the studio, open one drawer and pick out the right part in the right colour. On top of this, they have the ‘bulk store’, where they keep elements for which they have a large quantity. This section is stored by colour, as they tend to need ‘green plate’ rather than any particular size of green plate. All in, Warren believes they have about 4 million elements in stock at any one point of time.


Being part of the fan community is probably the best part of being a LEGO fan for Warren. With his wife, he has been lucky enough to spend time at events throughout Europe, the US and Australia. Everyone they have met has been friendly and they all share the common language of “LEGO”. It’s even more impressive in Europe where they have ended up hanging out with people from 6 different countries, speaking 6 different languages and having a great time because of their shared love of the brick.

Conversely, Warren sometimes finds the “entitled” attitude of a very, very small minority of fans ruins his love of the community. These are the people who believe The LEGO Group owes them something just because they buy a lot of LEGO. As much as he loves LEGO and makes a living from working with it, it’s still just a children’s toy. The LEGO Group is already one of the biggest toy companies out there, what more would they need from us fans?

It’s Warren’s belief that however popular AFOLdom becomes, we’ll always be an edge case and he thinks we should remember that. Besides, if we could have any element in any colour, then where would the fun be?

Subject #15 Tim Johnson of London

London, United Kingdom

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Although living most of his adult life in London, Tim was originally from Melbourne, Australia. With four older sisters, LEGO was an ever-present toy in his household; Tim and his closest sister were obsessive about retaining boxes and instructions so much so that he still has many of these from his childhood. Despite this early obsession, Tim, like many AFOLs, entered his Dark Age and did not emerge from it until 2010. He was drawn back into the hobby via the Architecture range, specifically Fallingwater, but he didn’t start interacting with the LEGO Fan community until 2012. Since then, he has contributed a chapter of models to the DK’s LEGO Play Book and, more recently, he built models for Friends Build Your Own Adventure and LEGO Awesome Ideas. He considers himself both a ‘builder’ and a ‘collector’ but believes it is more akin to random hoarding than any form of organized collecting. Two years ago he started his blog, The New Elementary, which has become a popular resource for many LEGO fans around the world. In 2015, he was appointed editor of Bricks Culture magazine and this, along with being assistant editor of Bricks magazine, is now his full-time job. As an AFOL, Tim is a member of a number of LUGs including Brickish, Fairy Bricks, London AFOLs and, of course, Bricks and New Elementary which are considered to be virtual LUGs.

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Tim’s storage system was featured in an article in Bricks magazine and can be considered quite a deviation from the style mostly featured in The Brick Room Blog to date. His preference is for thin craft storage trays/boxes that make it easy to locate a particular colour or type of part. Tim lives in a one-bedroom apartment so his bedroom is also his LEGO room. When building, he lays all of the part trays out on the bed and builds whilst standing between the bed and the shelves. Once he has finished building for the day, he packs it away again as space is a premium. He finds the trays make cleanup quite quick. For the most recent of his DK books, he forced himself to set aside time at the end of every day to sort unused parts from that day back into the trays. In his own words “..there is no point having more parts than you can actually manage. Not just space, but also time. If you can’t find the time to sort then you can’t find what you need”.

Lack of time is a major issue for Tim. The open-ended nature of LEGO means there are many things he would like to try but he just hasn’t got the time to try them out. On the other hand, he loves seeing the way in which the hobby is evolving to encompass so many new expressions of creativity.