10K Club Interview: Meet Christoph Ruge of the International Space Station idea
Today we're pleased to feature long time IDEAS member Christoph Ruge (XCLD) and his International Space Station. Christoph has submitted over a dozen product ideas since he joined in 2014, many of which feature spacecraft and facilities from both American and Russian space programs.
Please help us congratulate Christoph, in the comments below, on joining the exclusive LEGO Ideas 10K Club and for sharing his story with us!
Here's Christoph in his own words:
- Where are you from?
- How old are you?
- What do you study or do for a living?
I am a computer engineer working for a company that builds trains.
- What hobbies do you have?
Well, despite the obvious: LEGO and space, I enjoy riding my bicycle, programming my home-automation system and composing soothing electronic music.
- How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
I returned from the “dark ages” a couple of years ago: A very good friend asked me to be a mentor for his son doing a project at school. He was making a stop motion film using LEGO bricks. That’s when I explored the options of building with LEGO without actually having bricks at home. But it wasn’t long until I started buying real bricks to bring my models to life. Now they are all over my place...
- What is your favorite official LEGO set? Why?
6872 - Xenon X-Craft, Probably because, the 928 - Space Cruiser and Moonbase set was too expensive for me at that time and the other one came along with an additional fresh touch. I used it later as a basis for several upgraded version. The latest of which is still on display in my gallery.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
93273 - PLATE W. BOW 1X4X2/3 - I don’t really know why I like this one more than all the others, but I try to have it in as many of my models as possible. It is a kind of a game for me. Therefore it is of course included in my above mentioned upgraded version of 6872!
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
Alatariel – her models are inspiring in simplicity and meaning. And she holds probably the all-time-record of most projects brought to the review phase and got realised!
Nathan Sawaya – he managed to make a living as an artist building with LEGO bricks!
About Your Project
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
My interest in the International Space Station came a long way. It probably started with the Space Shuttle missions that started building the space station back in the eighties. It is an engineering marvel and a great achievement of peaceful international cooperation. There are so many countries involved over such a long time working together – that is unprecedented in history! Let alone all the experiments and exploration carried out up there!
I studied the International Space Station for several years while building my larger model (which hit the 10K some years ago). I was amazed to see how ingenious it was designed. Especially the totally modular concept is like playing with LEGO bricks in space. They are indeed rearranging the modules of the station up there every now and then - and that’s what you can do with the model down here as well!
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
This time it was a smaller scale, so the challenge was to keep as many details as possible and to catch the essence of the station and the play-value. As with the larger one the most difficult part was the overall stability of the structure. It is very fragile which is not a big deal in a zero gravity environment. But it is down here on Earth!
- How long did it take to complete the model? Did you finish it fairly quickly, or did it take a long time?
This one took me just four days. I consider that very quickly! But you have to take into account that I had built the larger very detailed version which took me about three and a half years. So I didn’t need to do any further research for the smaller version.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
That was a very exciting moment! It took five months to gather the first 5,000 votes and another three to complete the deal. In the end there were a lot of fans watching the crossing of the finish line. That was flattering and fun to see. Thanks a lot to everyone voting for this project!
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
My current version is made of 843 bricks.
About LEGO Ideas
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
Do something you love – not only because the project will stick around with you for quite a while, but because if you love it it shows and then others will love it too! You can genuinely see the love someone has put into their model and those are usually ranked higher at LEGO Ideas. In terms of how to successfully pass the review? I don’t know yet...
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas project (besides your own of course)?
Wall·E. Followed closely by NASA Apollo Saturn V.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
I really like the idea of getting the fans involved and using the crowd not only to vote for a favorite but also to help making it better. And the outcome are some truly extraordinary models!
Tip: Give it a catchy name and a well done main picture – you can do updates later on, but you can’t change the main picture which is your one entry-point for the fans to your project!