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10K Club Interview: THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE by KaijuBuildz

It's nearly Friday, and today we have the penultimate interview from this review. Welcome, Sam a.k.a. KaijuBuildz and his THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE. Revisiting the show provided some creative inspiration for Sam. Find out more about his cool creation here!


  1. Who are you?
    My real name is Sam, though usually I just go by the name of KaijuBuildz online.

  2. Where are you from?
    The Netherlands. 
  3. How old are you?
    21 years old. 
  4. What do you study or do for a living?
    I’ve recently finished my college studies and am currently working as a graphic designer. 
  5. What hobbies do you have?
    Besides LEGO, I enjoy testing my creative side by writing, designing, or otherwise drawing the many random ideas that float around in my head. I also like going on walks, partaking in sports, going skiing during the holidays and just general nerd stuff like gaming or going to Cons in cosplay. 
  6. Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
    Yes, you can find me on multiple social media outlets including Flickr, Instagram, and Twitter under the username @KaijuBuildz where I share most of my LEGO projects.
  7. Have you created any LEGO MOCs (my own creations) that you’re particularly proud of? What is it, why are you proud of it and do you have a photo of it?
    Probably one of my favourites is also one of my most recent builds. It’s a display base I designed for my custom The Dark Crystal minifigures. I had wanted to design something based on the Jim Henson Classic for the longest time but was never happy with the results. Then of all things, the Menu screens from the recent LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga gave me the idea to go with a circular base and suddenly everything just worked, and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!

  8. How and when did your interest in LEGO products come about?
    Before I can remember. I’ve played with LEGO bricks ever since my parents introduced me to it with DUPLO bricks when I was just a kid, and it never really stopped piquing my interest. I guess it really picked up when I was about 12, when I began building the expert sets which gave me a whole new level of enjoyment, discovering the more complicated techniques and how everything worked.
  9. What is the LEGO hobby to you? What does it mean to you? How does it fit in your life? E.g. build, display, meetups, play the games or 'just' watch the cartoons.
    It’s probably the hobby into which I’ve invested the most time. I usually can get exhausted from one interest before jumping onto the next one, yet LEGO buidling has always just kind of stuck with me. From collecting the sets to designing my own, LEGO has become a relatively big part of my weekly routine and I love sharing it with others.
  10. What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
    I’d say Ideas. There is something about the amount of variation between each release that I really enjoy, it always has me looking forward to what comes next. Ideas sets are also what I largely base my building style on with this one being no exception, always trying to strike that balance between both play and display value.
  11. What is your favourite official LEGO set ever? Why?
    That’s a difficult one, but I think I would have to choose the UCS AT-AT. It’s the one set everyone wanted for so long, but due to the logistics of all that weight being supported on legs, no one thought it was going to happen. And then it DID happen! The fact that the legs are fully articulated as well whilst being strong enough to support a fully accurate interior is a marvel of engineering. 
  12. What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
    Another tough one, it could honestly change any day depending on what I’m building at the time. However, I have always had a fondness for the 1x2 Ingot piece due to the slightest bit of variation or detail it can add to an otherwise bland build.
  13. Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
    There are so many inspiring LEGO artists (both official and otherwise) all around that it would be nearly impossible to narrow it down to one. The endless creativity of this fandom has always amazed me. “But if I’d have to narrow it down, it would probably be users like CM4SCI/Fourstud and Hachiroku24 on Instagram.”. Their builds always manage to impress me with how well realised they are, either through fun play features or clever part usage.
  14. Is there one or more particular LEGO-related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by? 
    Honestly, though not a LEGO-related website, social media platforms like Instagram have been the greatest source of inspiration for me. 



  1. Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
    As I’ve mentioned before, I can jump from one interest to the other rather quickly. One of these interests was Thomas & Friends which I and many others have many fond memories of when growing up. It was only after revisiting the show that I grew to appreciate just the amount of care, love and passion that went into making what others would just pass off as “just another kids show”. 

    I had designed a LEGO version of Thomas a few years prior, and since my interest in Thomas kind of resurfaced again, I thought I’d have another go at it. After a week of designing the build, I was so satisfied with the result that I decided to post it on LEGO Ideas and the rest is history.

  2. How long was the process of making the project, 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?
    In total, designing the project took about 2 months. As for preparations, I looked into a lot of things from official LEGO train sets to the real-life E2 Tank Engine which Thomas was based on. 
  3. What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
    As small a piece as it was, the side rods were definitely the most frustrating part to replicate. Even over time, during the many updates, I kept changing between designs, eventually settling on the first design I came up with. 
  4. If you could talk to yourself before you started on this project, what would you tell them? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
    I’d say the demographic. Not that I didn’t have one in mind, but that it was as widespread as it was. I went into the project thinking I might mainly attract fans of Thomas, LEGO Trains and maybe some general train fanatics as well, but it turned out to be so many more! From parents or grandparents who watched the show with their children to even some people who were just there for the memes, it turned out that the love for Thomas and steam engines was more widespread than I had anticipated. 
  5. 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? 
    The build itself took around a week to design, which was surprisingly quick as I usually take much longer with builds around the same size. However, promoting the project through social media posts, updates and general word of mouth did take a lot more time, but it was all worth it in the end. 

  6. How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take? 
    It took a while, around 16 months to be precise. But the feeling when it finally DID hit that magic 5-digit number felt incredible, though it did take some time to truly sink in. 
  7. Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
    The set has around 380 pieces, give or take some of the alternate pieces and accessories.
  8. What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
    The use of brackets and tiles that creates the red lining that goes around the footplate of the engine. I came across it when thinking about ways to better cover up the wheels and after testing it to see how it looked, I absolutely fell in love with it and have since used it on all my other engines! 
  9. If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
    I used to design and render all my sets.
  10. If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them? 
    Since my build was made digitally, I didn’t need to print anything myself. However, I did design multiple printed pieces for the project using Adobe Illustrator which I then could export over to



  1. Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
    Presentation is everything. A good first impression of your project is 90% of the job to get people to support your idea, especially in the early days of your project.
  2. What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support for your Product Idea? 
    I primarily advertised my project through social media, frequently using Instagram to share it with my followers. However, word of mouth through the supporters of the project itself was a big help for sure! 
  3. What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
    Probably the Apollo Saturn V rocket set. I’m not even really into Space sets, but something about the historical significands and just the sheer presence it carries makes it such a stand-out. Sets like Doctor Who, Sonic the Hedgehog - Green Hill Zone or The Globe are high on my list as well. As for overlooked Ideas projects, most Anime themed sets really deserve more attention than they’re getting.
  4. What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
    I think the thing about the platform that I find so appealing is the amount of variation that can be found on it. From smaller simplistic playsets created by the younger fans to big highly detailed collectors’ items by the adult collectors, there is so much to see and explore on here and still so many new creative ideas to come that I keep on coming back to it. 

    As for some tips, I guess I’d recommend to others to please do your research. Gathering information and data can really help your likelihood of getting supporters. Think about your demographic, the size of your build, the number of stickers and how all those need to be scaled equally to one another. If you design a set that looks like it’s ready to be sold in stores before it even hits 10K, it will make people more likely to support it.
  5. Do you have plans to submit any other Product Ideas in the future? If yes, can you give us a hint of what that might be?
    Oh, for sure! Too many in fact, but I haven’t been able to narrow it down to one just yet. As for some hints, though it may not be related to the immediate next project, let’s just say that my LOVE for Japanese media has been on a resurgence recently so Daddy-Daddy-Do keep an eye out for that…



  • 10k club
  • 10k club interview
  • product idea
  • thomas the tank engine

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