10K Club Interview: Meet Kale Frost of the Food Stand Diners
Please help us congratulate Kale for his big achievement, in the comments below.
You can also check out this Creator Commentary video by Kale, where he talks about his model and his journey.
- Where are you from?
I'm based in Melbourne, Australia.
- What do you study or do for a living?
I studied Graphic Design and work as an Artist.
- What hobbies do you have?
I love LEGO, naturally. I'm a huge pop-culture geek. And I love photography. One of my favourite things to do is to bring those three together. Three years ago I started a LEGO365 project doing that. A photo of LEGO a day, every day, for a year. Which is a lot of fun, and you can see it on Instagram and Flickr (I'm @Frostbricks). The Food Stands started as part of that. I took a shot featuring the Fries Stand that really captured people's imagination and was shared on many LEGO blogs, including The Brothers Brick. It was that reaction that led me to turning it into a full meal, so to speak, and eventually submitting it to LEGO Ideas.
- How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
It was my favourite toy as a kid. but it was the birth of my second son that helped get me back into the hobby as an adult. He was 6 weeks premature and had to go straight to intensive care. Seeing him full of tubes, not having the chance to hold him yet, and not even knowing if he'd live long enough for me to do so, was the toughest moment of my life.
On the way home from the hospital to try and get some rest I picked up a few sets. And when I got home I dumped all the bricks on the floor and just built. It was a way of processing really.My son got better. He's the best thing that ever happened to me. That became the start of my AFOL journey. I attended my first LEGO Fan exhibition with him 6 months later. The AFOL community was so awesome and welcoming. A year after and I was one of the people displaying at exhibitions. And it just kinda snowballed from there.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
My favourite LEGO set? That's tough.
Most of the sets I buy are for the parts or the minifigures to use as part of a MOC. Especially anything with superheroes in it. 'Cos that's the kind of geek I am. Sets like the Justice League Anniversary Party, the Spider-Man™: Web Warriors Ultimate Bridge Battle, or Benny's Space Squad. They're sets that represent the beginning of play, a start to build something much bigger with.
Then there's the sets that make for great display pieces, I love my UCS X-wing for that reason; as well as the Modular buildings.
Then there's sets that represent special memories. Like set 6363, Auto Service Station. That was the first set I ever got. Given to me by my grandfather, and building it with him was one of the happiest moments of my childhood.They're all awesome, just for different reasons.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
The minifigure. No question. What I love most about the hobby is creating small worlds. Telling stories. Creating art really. Especially with photography. And the humble minifigure is the jumping off point that makes that possible.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
There's a few, but I'm going to say Chris McVeigh, whose work was one of the big inspirations for my own LEGO365 journey. It's important to say that in the first photo of the Fries stand (when it was just a fries stand and nowhere near being an Ideas set yet), that the burger in the background is inspired by one of his models.
Chris recently became an official designer with LEGO, so who knows, maybe he'll be the man that helps turn it into an official set, which would be so humbling and incredible.
- Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
There's a lot of creators and accounts that I follow on Instagram and Flickr. I think it's very important to share what we do as creators. To share not only the amazing things we create as fans, but to share the techniques and skills that make those creations possible. Because that's what helps grow the LEGO community, and especially the LEGO photography community. And social media platforms are a great way to do that and to help reach and inspire new people.
About Your Project
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
It started with wanting to create life size food. I'm a foodie, and I'd made a few Cake MOCs for instance, but I wanted to take it a step further. I wanted to create a MOC that both looked like real food and would fit perfectly in a LEGO city.
And that was the seed really. It started with just the Fries stand. I originally wanted it to be part of a picnic setting, with a Hotdog slide and playground. But it slowly changed along the way, and it actually sat on a shelf waiting for the rest of the MOC for a few months; you can see the dust in 'that photo'!Then a friend who owns a LEGO store here in Melbourne asked for a copy of it. And if it hadn't been for Ricks' support in that way, telling me so clearly how much he loved it as a set, not just with words, but by pulling out his wallet, I never would have uploaded it to LEGO Ideas.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
There were a few tricky parts. I wanted each of them to have a full kitchen inside. It's not a detail that's easy to see from the outside, but it's one of those features I thought important, especially when you get up close. The difficulty comes from them being very small inside, but I'm very happy with how they turned out, especially the Burger and Shakes stands.
The Milkshake presented a few other challenges too. I wanted that round, tapering shape that real cups have, but needed to keep as much of the inside clear for a kitchen too, as well as it looking like it had liquid in it when seen from above. In the end I feel like I nailed those aspects, I'm very happy with the results, and it's remarkably sturdy too.
- How long did it take to complete the model? Did you finish it fairly quickly, or did it take a long time?
Each of them were pretty quick. The Fries stand was put together in an hour or two. The Burger took a little longer, but mostly as I was waiting on parts, and that waiting meant I had time to think about the interior a bit more. The Milkshake took the longest. I actually did a few variations, including one that was easier to pick up and hold, by adding a clear 10x10 dish to the top and playing with it having a lower part count overall.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
I was floored and humbled. I barely did anything to share and promote it, sharing it on my own social media a few times was pretty much the extent of it. So to see people responding so positively, sharing it and spreading the word because of how much they loved it; that's so awesome, and I just want to say thank you to everyone who was part of helping that happen.
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
Each stand is between 200-350 parts, and it's roughly 1,000 parts total. 100 of those were trans pink 1x1 round studs poured into the top of the milkshake to give it that bubbly look. I honestly thought was a very cheeky technique at the time, but then we saw that technique used in the official Ship in the Bottle set, so maybe not that cheeky after all.
About LEGO Ideas
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
Build and share. That's it really. I don't think there's a secret formula beyond making an awesome model. And making an awesome model takes practice. So build and share.
Beyond that, I think it's worth saying that you shouldn't try and "market it", or even try and promote it at all. Because either the model, by itself, is good enough to inspire others to vote for it and share, or not. You can't force that.So build and share. Rinse and repeat. Look at what others are building. Think about the techniques they used to do it. Use that to improve your own building. And always remember, it's gotta be about fun first.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas project (besides your own of course)?
Wall-E was one of my first sets. I modded it by motorising the tracks, so I could drive him around at events, and every time I have, I get mobbed by kids wanting to have a turn, which is just so awesome to watch and experience the fun it brings.
It's just a beautiful set that really captures his personality, looks great on display, and provided that jumping-off point to build upon as well; all things I love in a set.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
LEGO Ideas is a great place to share your creations, and especially a great place to see what other creators are doing. And my advice is really to just build and share. To have fun doing it. Create something awesome.
And that might sound too simple, but it's worth saying that whilst the Food Stands only took a few hours to create, I do a lot of other building and creating. We all start somewhere. And it's because of the things I've learnt through that other building and creating that I was able to create them in a few hours.
So build and create. Know that by doing that you will get better day after day. And every now and then go back and look at your old creations to see how far you've come.And LEGO Ideas gives us a way to do that. So build, create and share. Have fun doing it. And I can't wait to see the awesome creations you come up with.