Today we introduce you to a behind-the-scenes of a model inspired by a global phenomenon, a music group called The Bangtan Boy's and their single, "DYNAMITE". This collaborative project consists of iconic scenes from their music video with authentic details.
Please welcome two passionate students Josh Bretz (aka JBBrickFanatic) and Jacob (aka BangtanBricks), who combined their skills and their creation BTS "DYNAMITE" made it to the 10k Club. Congratulations!
- Who are you?
JBBrickFanatic: My name is Josh Bretz
BangtanBricks: My name is Jacob.
- Where are you from?
JBBrickFanatic: I am from Indiana.
BangtanBricks: I am from New York.
- How old are you?
JBBrickFanatic: I am 20 years old.
BangtanBricks: I am 21 years old.
- What do you study or do for a living?
JBBrickFanatic: I work retail, but will be attending university to study businesses.
BangtanBricks: I am currently studying psychology as an undergraduate.
- What hobbies do you have?
JBBrickFanatic: Apart from building with LEGO bricks 24/7, I love playing instruments and listening to music. I also love nature, so outdoor farm work is a ton of fun.
BangtanBricks: I love to listen to K-pop and music in general. I like building LEGO sets and seeing how I can modify them. I also write science fiction stories and sagas of all sizes.
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
JBBrickFanatic: @joshcre8s on Instagram is where my portfolio of MOCs is located.
- 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?
JBBrickFanatic: I’ve made quite a few that I’m happy with, particularly a mini-scale garage scene/garage items. I got really inspired one day to make a small lawnmower, which led to a weed wacker, and then a tool chest. They look very realistic!
BangtanBricks: I’ve wanted BTS LEGO since I first became a fan of the group so I’ve made quite a few MOCs of them.
- How and when did your interest for LEGO products come about?
JBBrickFanatic: My parents got me Duplo when I was a toddler, and I’ve never grown out of it! It was once I got my own job that I really went all-in on the hobby.
BangtanBricks: when I was young my family loved Harry Potter books and movies, so growing up the original LEGO Harry Potter sets provided a fun family activity that later branched out into other themes.
- 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.
JBBrickFanatic: LEGO is anything and everything! It’s a way to share creativity and spark imagination in the minds of children as well as adults! I build to express myself or to just create something I think is cool. I love inspiring people with my builds, and seeing people enjoying them is just the best feeling.
BangtanBricks: For me, LEGO is a hobby, a passion, and a way to express my creativity and appreciation for various licenses. I buy sets that represent what I like and that peak my creative interests. I grew up playing the EA LEGO games. I have about 30 sets on display in my room at any given time. I also love the Ninjago show.
- What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
JBBrickFanatic: I’m honestly a fan of all themes, however, Creator Expert is the one I collect the most. The builds are more advanced, and after watching the designer videos I get more information on the design process and that’s the best part for me. I love learning about the different easter eggs the designers put into the sets, and that makes me want to work there all the more!
BangtanBricks: My favorite theme is Ninjago. I remember back in 2011 waiting for it to the premier and being wowed by those first two episodes. The sets are always extremely clever with their play and transformative features and still somehow maintain a clean look. It always surprises me to see how each new wave of Ninjago sets raises the bar. The theme inspires me with the Ninjago city sets most of all. I love the idea of large multilevel cities with interconnected pathways and shops. I hope to eventually build my own LEGO city but in the style of the Ninjago, city sets.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
JBBrickFanatic: Can you even have a favorite? There are so many incredible models… one that comes to mind is the 10273 Haunted Mansion. I loved the build itself, and all the hidden secrets just made it so much better. The designers in the designer video looked like they had so much fun designing the set, it felt like I got to share in that fun while building the official model myself!
BangtanBricks: LEGO 21314, Tron Lightcycles. When I first went to high school I entered what many AFOLs refer to as a “Dark Age” where I assumed that I had outgrown LEGO and I stopped collecting and building. Then a few years later I saw that Tron ideas set and the display ability and beautiful simplicity of it reawakened the LEGO fan within me.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
JBBrickFanatic: The headlight brick (4070)! It is so versatile and can be used for various connections. With its half plate high base and the 2 plates thick middle, you can utilize it for so many things. SNOT bricks (Studs Not On Top) are my favorite all around. Whether that be brackets or bricks, the possibilities are endless. I love how the LEGO System lines up with what I call “LEGO math.”
BangtanBricks: Since I first laid eyes on it in 2006 the 8 by 8 plate with four studs in the middle (design number 4151) has been my favorite piece. It’s so perfect for sci-fi settings and rough industrial builds.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
JBBrickFanatic: All of them? I mean c’mon, they’re all fantastic. Specifically folks like Carl Merriam, Justin Ramsden, Mike Psiaki, Jamie Berard, Milan Madge, Tiago Catarino... I met Tiago online through YouTube after he left the design team. He has an inspirational story and he’s a great friend. Jamie is such an icon in the LEGO space and someone I looked up to throughout my childhood. I loved seeing him in the designer videos, and he is partly the reason I was inspired to have the itch to work there. Mike and Carl are an incredible duo, and I had a blast meeting them in Denmark on the Inside Tour. They bring such great humor to everything I’ve seen them in, and they make some VERY cool sets.
BangtanBricks: I find Tiago Catarino to be very inspiring with his small yet detailed builds. I always aim to make smaller MOCs that “do more with less” so I’m a big fan of very clever part usage.
- Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
JBBrickFanatic: New Elementary is a phenomenal source of inspiration. Seeing new parts before they are released just gives me ideas on how to use those parts, so when they do come out I can buy bulk and just have fun!
BangtanBricks: I really like to visit and read articles on New Elementary about new LEGO parts, part recolors, and various part usages. New elementary is very inspiring in that way. I also keep track of my collection through Brickset.
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
JBBrickFanatic: I saw the success of the music video itself, and knew this was a space that needed to be filled in the Ideas lineup. With such a dedicated fan base, the BTS Dynamite music video is just so iconic. I teamed up with my friend to make it the best it could be, and clearly, from the insane amount of support, I’d say we did a good job!
BangtanBricks: I am a massive fan of BTS and I wanted to combine my love for their music with my passion for LEGO. This model in particular is a recreation of one of their recent music videos that always cheers up my day.
- 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?
JBBrickFanatic: Jacob had the BTS knowledge, and he was able to direct my build in the proper way. It took about a day to make the build. I watched the music video over and over and tried to capture its essence in the LEGO bricks.
BangtanBricks: Josh and I worked together on this, where he did the building and design work and I told him what needed to be in it, what details were most important, and how this set needed to present itself. I also sent him many screenshots from the music video. It was a fun process that only took a few days.
- What special challenges or frustrations did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
JBBrickFanatic: The most difficult part was all the little prints and minifigure designs. The outfits each member of the group wears are so unique and iconic I knew I had to do it right. I actually simply rendered out the blank minifig parts and drew on them with an art app on my phone.
- 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?
JBBrickFanatic: Definitely marketing it as soon as it was posted. Once I shared the project to a popular social media app we gained 10K votes in a matter of just a few days.
BangtanBricks: I would remind myself that there is a large BTS fandom that will support this very quickly, so don’t stress about that part.
- 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?
JBBrickFanatic: The funny thing is, they’re about the same time. The build took me from start to finish 2 days, and making a 15-second video to market took about 30 minutes. The BTS ‘army’ fanbase did the rest!
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
JBBrickFanatic: It was insane. Going viral online overnight was something I never thought would happen. I definitely think I waited too long to make the social media video. If I had posted one as soon as the project went live, we could have hit 10K in less than a week
BangtanBricks: at first, for the first 27 days or so I had a lot of trouble gaining traction on social media to get the attention of the BTS fandom (Called ARMY) and it was a real struggle to get to 81 supporters. But then one night Josh made a Tik Tok video to promote the set and it went semi-viral. We hit 700 supporters by the next morning and within 24 hours of that, we hit 7K. I believe our project has the largest growth spurt of any ideas project ever. After that, it only took a day or two to get the rest. So it’s hard to say if it took a month or 3 days.
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
JBBrickFanatic: About 740 bricks total.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
JBBrickFanatic: The record store is super cool as it has a whole vinyl collection inside.
BangtanBricks: I love the donut.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
JBBrickFanatic: I used Bricklink’s stud.io and used their internal rendering software.
- If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
JBBrickFanatic: I actually hand drew all of those using simple photo editing and art software. I’m not too tech-savvy when it comes to graphic design.
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
JBBrickFanatic: Market it properly! You can see from the first 20 or so days that it didn’t gain any traction. It wasn’t until we got the intended fanbase to back our project that it soared past 10K.
BangtanBricks: Don’t give up. I was very afraid our project wouldn’t make it during those first 27 days when I could barely get three new supporters a day but then in just 3 days, we got our 10K.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
JBBrickFanatic: TikTok! Know your audience. You can sell dirt if you market it to the right people!
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
JBBrickFanatic: The 21309 Saturn V is one of the best LEGO sets of all time, so that project is probably my favorite. The Southwest 737-800 by BigPlanes-Customs is just a spectacular build. Big Planes has a YouTube channel and all of his MOCs are so impressive, it would have been amazing to have owned one of his smaller builds.
BangtanBricks: 21314 Tron set is a masterpiece of a LEGO set. I think that a lot of Ideas based around Anime, Music, or video games are overlooked because there’s a big audience for that.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
JBBrickFanatic: The fact that we as fans have the opportunity to become product designers is just incredible. I am stunned at the fact that our project hit 10K, and it makes me excited to think it could become an official set one day. To anyone looking to make a set project, I say to take your time. Make sure you do everything you can to refine your model and make sure you market it properly! Find the target audience and go straight to them.
BangtanBricks: I find the endless possibilities that it offers as well as the sense of community it gives. I’d say whatever your idea is, go for it. Every idea is worth a shot.
- 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?
JBBrickFanatic: I actually have 2 puzzle-type projects on the platform right now that I’m super stoked about. I think they capture the essence of what a LEGO set should be perfect.
BangtanBricks: I definitely want to see more K-pop groups made into sets.
- bangtan boys
- 10k club
- 10k club interview
- product idea
- lego idea