10K Club Interview: Meet Matt De Lanoy of Johnny Five
Many LEGO fans may already know him or have even met him at exhibitions, but there is probably a lot about him you haven't heard before. Today we are delighted to introduce you to Matt De Lanoy, better known as PepaQuin on LEGO Ideas and in the wider LEGO fan community. Matt is the talented fan designer behind Johnny Five, one of the all time coolest robots! Make sure to read on as Matt shares plenty of insights about why he created Johnny Five and how he got into building with LEGO bricks!
Help us congratulate Matt on becoming a part of the LEGO Ideas 10K Club!
- Where are you from?
Downers Grove, Illinois, USA.
- How old are you?
- What do you study or do for a living?
- What hobbies do you have?
LEGO - building and displaying (NILTC).
- How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
Age 5 - cousins grew 'too old' for their LEGO sets/pieces (this is 1983!) and gave all to me. Those, plus all the other sets I got as a kid, were the one toy I never got rid of!
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
Over the years I've realized that much of my build style can actually be traced way back to one small set - 6083-1 Knights Joust. It's very simple, of course, but this set taught me two basic principles:
1) You don't have to build from the bottom up (horse capes and roof awnings both have pieces that are only attached on the top)2) You don't have to follow standard connections (horse ears are tiles stuck between studs)
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
1x1 with a stud on each side ('TARDIS' or 'Travis' brick). Very useful in a wide variety of situations.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
Mark Sandlin and Chris Giddens - part of the 'classic space' crew who pioneered their own styles and became good role models for a large group of young AFOLs.
- Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
The Brother's Brick.
About Your Project
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
As a kid I loved the Short Circuit movie (and, to a lesser extent, Short Circuit 2) and watched it repeatedly. Though I have not seen it in quite a while I still have very fond memories, especially of the robot.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
Well...pretty much everything. The easiest part was probably the body, then the head. Getting the tread assembly to look good was probably the toughest part. There were a lot of failed attempts, but in the end I was pretty happy with the result.
- How long did it take to complete the model?
Two evenings. I was involved in a building competition at the time (Iron Builder), the goal of which is to build as many creations as you can in one month, using a given seed part (used notably as the eyes in J5). I find I can often build quite well in crunch times like that.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes?
A little surprised - I thought it was going to take longer. After a tremendous initial wave of support back in September, things died down until just recently. A boost of support got me to 10k just before the deadline - still not sure where that came from, but I'm not complaining. :)
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
Around 300, give or take.
^ Matt's neatly organised LEGO workshop takes up quite a bit of space!!
About LEGO Ideas
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
1. Promotion is key.2. While this is all about 'ideas', and not 'this is the exact set', your project needs to look good. Take the time to create a good build. Rebuild as many times as you have to. When it's ready, make sure to take good photographs - use plenty of lighting with a plain or appropriate background
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas project (besides your own of course)?
Easily, the DeLorean.
- What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
I believe the big key to getting noticed on ideas is promotion. Share big on social media, and try to find niche populations that will be enthused about your project. I used Reddit and Facebook primarily, and found groups within both to promote J5.
- lego ideas
- 10k club
- matt de lanoy
- johnny five