Interview with Team BTTF

In case you haven’t heard, the results of the Summer LEGO® Review are in, and the next LEGO CUUSOO set will be the Back to the Future™ Time Machine based on the project by Masashi Togami (m.togamiand Minifig Builder Sakuretsu (sakuretsu). But who are these builders? Take a minute to get to know Masashi and the team that inspired the the next LEGO CUUSOO set.

Team BTTF tells us they aim to use LEGO® products to re-introduce the world to the movie “Back to the Future.” With that goal in mind, they created the “BTTF Time Machine.” However, this is only the beginning for Team BTTF; they actually have three other projects in the Idea Stage on LEGO CUUSOO and say they are working on more. Perhaps you have seen the remote control-operated BTTF UCS Time Machine, the micro-scale Hill Valley Courthouse, and the minifigure scale model of villain Biff Tannen’s Ford.

How does the team work together? Masashi Togami is the team leader and in charge of the team’s product concepts and managing PR activities to gather supporters. Sakuretsu is in charge of model building and customized LEGO Minifigures. However Legohaulic built the BTTF UCS Time Machine. Before beginning a project they decide as a team which role each member will take, then they work together, each member bringing their own unique personality and skills to the project.

Interview with Masashi

Sara Moore:How long have you been building with LEGO bricks?

Masashi Togami: A little under 30 years. I first began playing with LEGO bricks at age 5.

SM: What inspired you to build this model and put it on LEGO CUUSOO?

MT: When I was in elementary school, “Back to the Future” was the first movie I ever saw. BTTF, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2015, continues to provide hope and dreams to viewers today.

From the present to the past, and to the future. Since I was a child, I always believed that the BTTF Time Machine was a perfect match for the world of LEGO [bricks]. Using bricks, I attempted to create the BTTF Time Machine countless times. However, I never had enough of the necessary bricks and, as a child, I lacked the building skill necessary for such a detailed project so I never succeeded.

20 years later, after becoming an adult, I met a LEGO minifigure builder (customizer) named Sakuretsu. He listened to my childhood dream, and in 2011 we added the BTTF Time Machine to LEGO CUUSOO.

SM: Did you run into any challenges when configuring this model?

MT: Sakuretsu specializes in sample builds and the customization of LEGO Minifigures so I asked him to answer this question. There are two major points to discuss:

  1. Customized figurine configuration. First, I sketched some ideas for clothing and hairstyle while watching the movie, and tried to reproduce them for a LEGO Minifigure. The hairstyle in particular is entirely handmade and cannot be reproduced. I used a magnifying glass while creating the parts so that they would appear just like those in the film.
  2. Sample build configuration. The characteristics of the time machine change slightly between each of the three movies, which made it difficult to replicate. I edited the gull wing doors and the operation of the tires from part 2 over and over. Personally, I wanted to create it as an actual 2 person car so instead of using the usual size (6stud), I used one size larger (8stud).

SM: You’ve said before the road from publishing the model to reaching 10,000 supporters was long. What did you do during this time to promote your project?

MT: It was a long and hard road to reach 10,000 supporters. In general, we sought to gain supporters through the following three steps:

  1. Improving the quality of sample builds. Several users left constructive comments about the sample build on the project page which Sakuretsu took into consideration. In reality, the quality of the sample build from the debut of the project and that of the sample build from after we gathered 10,000 supporters is quite different.Even after the decision to produce the design is made, Sakuretsu maintains a strong desire for improvement. He went on to develop an even more accurate sample build. See here for more details.
  2. Developing a strong relationship with various media sites. We searched for community sites, blogs, Facebook pages, etc., that have a connection with LEGO or BTTF and regularly contact the managers of those sites with details about Team BTTF. They often post about our team projects on their sites. We keep a record of all articles about us on this page.Famous sites such as Gizmodo, Engadget, and Wired had a huge impact. After they posted articles about our team, we always made sure to express our thanks through an e-mail to help them remember our name and our activities.
  3. Increasing the fan base of Team BTTF. We created a Facebook page at the end of December 2011 and began updating about the status of our projects and support numbers. The people who “like” our page could be thought of as our die-hard fans. As of January 2013 we have gathered more than 1,000 “likes.” We hope to gather 10,000 “likes” in the future.

SM: What advice can you give to other CUUSOO members with active projects?

MT: The film Back to the Future taught us the following:

“If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”
“Your future is whatever you make it.”

If you haven’t yet seen the Back to the Future trilogy, we hope you’ll take the time to see it. In order to make your dreams come true, it is important to always fight for them. Even if you fail you must always view failure as a step closer to success.

We hope that all of your wishes come true.

Editor’s note: Be sure to follow Masashi and Sakuretsu on LEGO CUUSOO and check out other projects from Team BTTF! If you’re looking for more information on the upcoming 21103 Back to the Future™ Time Machine, hold tight please. These things take time and we will share details when they are ready.