A new era of space exploration with the Space Launch System. Enabling missions to the Moon, Mars and deep-space destinations! Valérie (whatsuptoday), Matthew (Matthew Nolan), and Marceline (Albinolan) built this super heavy-lift launch vehicle NASA's SLS & ARTEMIS at 1:110 scale.
- Who are you?
Valérie Roche Quideau, Matthew Nolan and Marceline Nolan
- Where are you from?
Valerie: Paris France
Matthew: Sydney Australia
Marceline: Wollongong Australia
- How old are you?
Valerie: 52 years old
Matthew: 49 years old
Marceline: 21 years old
- What do you study or do for a living?
Valerie: I currently work at home.
Matthew: I work in finance.
Marceline: I study aerospace engineering.
- What hobbies do you have?
Valerie: The whole design, and of course in LEGO bricks, the photo, and everything related to Nature, Space, Science, Culture, and Discovery.
Matthew: Spending time with my kids, movies, travel, paleontology, genealogy, and space.
Marceline: I enjoy LEGO designing and building, dart soft, piano playing, rhythm games, and gaming in general.
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
Valerie: Yes, my Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/people/129688999@N08/
Marceline: You can find most of my things on my Twitter (@astro_nolan)
- Have you created any LEGO MOCs (my own creations) that you’re particularly proud of? What is it, why are you proud it and do you have a photo of it?
Valerie: Yes, I have created a large number of MOCs, several dozen, here is the photo of our current LEGO family of which I am proud, some elements are missing but I did not have space to display them all ;-)
Matthew: Yes, my rocket garden of MOCs includes many of the current and upcoming launch vehicles.
Marceline: I am very proud of my 1:80 falcon 9 model, particularly the grid fins, octoweb, and side piping as they all required very out-of-the-box thinking to find a solution.
- How and when did your interest for LEGO products come about?
Valerie: Everything started about nine years when my husband found a trunk containing his old LEGO bricks from the 70s, which has given us this family passion for LEGO.
Matthew: Some of my favourite memories as a kid are of playing LEGO. I was very excited to have it reintroduced to my life 18 years ago when my kids joined the family.
Marceline: I have been building and designing LEGO since a young age, however when I first built the 21309 Saturn V it rekindled my passion for designing and problem-solving in LEGO designing, and it’s been strong ever since.
- What is LEGO for you? What does it mean for you? How does it fit in your life? E.g. build, display, meetups, play the games.. or 'just' watch the cartoons.
Valerie: LEGO is the main family hobby, it is a wonderful vector that allows us to create new designs according to our imagination, to infinity or almost!
Matthew: I find LEGO to be a fantastic way to connect with my kids of all ages. It’s also a relaxing yet mentally engaging and challenging way to spend some downtime.
Marceline: All of the above! LEGO is one of my greatest passions as it allows for so much creativity and problem-solving.
- What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
LEGO Space, it’s where our love of LEGO started. We still admire the simplicity and playability of those early sets. The recent line of accurate NASA/Space sets are also fantastic, as we love when our passion for LEGO and aerospace cross over.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
Valerie: I really like the LEGO set: 10220 Volkswagen T1 Camper van because it's a very fun and clever model, well done to its original designer :-)
Matthew: Saturn V by my good friend and co-designer Valerie. So cleverly designed and a beautiful model. I’ve never seen my kids so excited to build a kit!
Marceline: My favourite official set is either the recent shuttle discovery or the Saturn V, as they are both very nice large models with interesting engineering and problem solving used to achieve the design.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
Valerie: If I had to choose a preferred LEGO element, it would be: The 1X1 W, 4 KNOBS #4733 because, to create a new design, this brick is the center and also the ideal starting point. Also, it opens, in 3D vision, the creative space towards the maximum of directions, and it allows to be able to assemble elements together with their female sides, and we can then have studs on several sides. ;-)
Matthew: The unusual or rare piece I’ve never seen before, that after much searching fits the need perfectly.
Marceline: 32952, Brick, Modified 1 x 1 x 1 2/3 with Studs on 1 Side as it allows for very nice studs, not on top building over tall builds (like rockets).
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
Valérie: The LEGO designer: Lars Joe Hylding for his remarkable work on NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander and of course the designers of the Saturn V rocket: Carl Thomas Merriam, Michael Psiaki & Austin Williams Carlson, regarding the improvement and optimization of the LEGO Ideas NASA Apollo Saturn-V final design.
Matthew: Jens Kronvold Frederiksen who I met in 2019 after many years of admiring his Star Wars LEGO designs. Jens is a fantastic ambassador for LEGO and a wonderfull person to speak and share LEGO stories with!
Marceline: The official designer I look up to the most is definitely Jens from the LEGO Star Wars team, as for fan designers, it's tough to choose between Rebel Builder with his awesome scale ship models, and BigPlanes on youtube for his accurate airliners and other aviation models.
- Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
Valerie: I find the Bricklink LEGO website very practical to acquire old or rare LEGO bricks and also, during the creation of a real LEGO brick model, it offers us the possibility of knowing before if these bricks will be available and at what price, on the contrary case, to be able to change these bricks for available others.
Matthew: Aside from many hours on Bricklink, I enjoy seeing the designs on EuroBricks, BrickVault, and Brothers Brick.
Marceline: rebrickable and the r/lego and r/afol subreddits are my primary sources of information and inspiration when designing new projects along with r/spaceX, r/aviation, and r/space for lots of nice images of aerospace vehicles and systems, however, newelementary provides me with information on all the newest parts that I can use in builds.
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
As we looked for a next project, SLS was selected to be fully funded for its initial round of missions. It was clearly going to play a pivotal role in our space-faring future. We wanted to play a small part in that, helping kids and even adults learn about this incredible machine and what it will be capable of doing.
- How long was the process of making the project did, and what did you have to research as well. What kind of prep, research and design phases did you go through to produce your creation?
Before even putting together the first bricks, we spent about 6 weeks finding every reference photo, measurement, and piece of information we could about SLS. Then we chose the 1:110 scale and decided on the key measurements for our build. The design process wasn’t too long because SLS is a Shuttle derived launch vehicle (SDLV) and we were able to use a few existing designs. The initial design took only a few weeks. Given SLS is aSDLV the first step was to try and modify some of the shuttle parts we already had, then using our existing 9m score stage design to create the main fuel tank. Once the physical model was done we recreated it digitally to allow for further improvements.
- What special challenges or frustrations did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
The top stages have unique angles and curves, along with the need for hollow payload cavities. The grill section at the top of the main tank was also quite difficult as it uses complex SNOT techniques and lots of angled plates.
- If you could talk to yourself before you started on this project, what would you tell him/her? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
This project will be easier than expected.
- How long did it take to complete the model? Did you finish it fairly quickly, or did it take a long time? And how did the build time compare to the time you spent promoting your Product Idea to reach 10,000 supporters?
To document, design, build, take & render photos and write text: six months. To promote every day or almost the project and reach the 10K Grail: around nine months!
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
Very happy, of course!
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
Exactly 2948 bricks for the whole set.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
The rocket body is a masterclass in strength and exacting width to met the 1:110 scale.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
We use LDD software for the pre-design, and after we take photos of our design built-in real LEGO bricks, which are reworked and compressed in Photoshop!
- If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
Our original decals are also created with Photoshop at 1/1 scale with a precision of 0.1 mm, then recorded in .pdf at 300 dpi, ready to be printed everywhere. ;-)
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
The design and build phases are important but don’t forget to show your creation in the best possible way with great photos.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
We spend a lot of time promoting our project online everywhere possible, including Twitter, Facebook, as well as many space and LEGO fan sites.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
The LEGO set # 21323: GRAND PIANO. It’s a very clever, wonderful and great design. 😊
Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
Ha-ha, of course, the LEGO Saturn V Launch Umbilical Tower (LUT).
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
The idea of crowdsourcing a design and having it made into a real LEGO set that can be on store shelves just seems awesome, and the chance to have that would be amazing.
- Do you have plans to submit any other Product Ideas in the future? If yes, can you give us a hint what that might be?
Sure yes, we have a new collaborative project but it is a secret, for now, soon to be added to LEGO Ideas, stay tuned! ;-)
- 10k club
- 10k club interview
- lego idea