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10K Club Interview: The Fortress - Imperial Army by Brian Steffensen Vestergaard

Let's meet Brian Steffensen Vestergaard aka Piraten, the Danish designer who's our 10K Club member in focus today! His model called The Fortress - Imperial Army will be part of our latest review.

Please make sure to help us congratulate Brian in the comments down below!

About Yourself

  1. Who are you?
    My name is Brian Steffensen Vestergaard aka Piraten.

  2. Where are you from?
    I’m from Kolding, Denmark.
  3. How old are you?
    I’m 38 year’s old according to my driver license. Born in 1982. 
  4. What do you do for a living?
    I work for an insurance company as an appraiser. Primarily with damage on buildings and property. I secure that the customer will get the correct compensation and service.
  5. What hobbies do you have?
    Spending time with the family. I play golf. Used to play icehockey now I just watch it. And build with Lego of course.
  6. Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
    I have my Facebook and Instagram account where I share my builds and stories. 
  7. 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?
    Yeah Caswell point. I have a lot of interest in the colonial-timeage and the US Civil war. Also the Second Schleswig war 1864 with the battle at Dybbøl, Southern Denmark.  And Caswell Point is between the 2 timeages and the added with some piracy eastereggs.. It was an  idea that I have had for long time and I think that the size and playability in the moc is good. I just thinks its great. Several people have asked for instructions… So something is right about it. And it also have and extra dimension with the some of the minifigs that are named after new friends in the LEGO community. 

  8. How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
    I played with lego when I was kid. Like many other. Mostly pirate and castle theme. So that is where my interest came from. Then I had a dark age and started again when my son got the right age for Lego and at the same time my mother was cleaning the attic at her house. My brother and my old Lego then came back into daylight. Its 4 years since and the rest is history until today! I live close to Legoland Billund and we have seasonpass for the whole family and we always take a ride in the pirate boats. Huge inspiration for my builds.  
  9. 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.
    It’s a big part of my life today. Pirates, Castle… Legoland in Billund. All the storys in my head. Also member of Byggepladen (Danish LUG) where I have participated in 2 exhibitions. And all the creations I’m making home in the Lego Room. I’ll just close the door and then go crazy with the bricks and minifigs.

    And the friendships with people from around the world. Everybody talks “LEGO”. I got new friends during this project. And some of the friendships is more than just Lego. 
  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?
    Pirates… The whole theme from the first sets in 1989 and then the Islanders and Armada in the early 90. Just great inspiration. The whole feeling when playing and building these sets. Just true Caribbean feeling. Think the most pirate fans will agree on that. Always a never ending story.
  11. What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
    Really… No clue. There is a lot of cool sets. 6274 og 6260 was my first Pirate-sets as I recall. They mean a lot. Just take a look at the art piece that I got made from my friend Scott in England with the Clipper in the background. And off course theres is some eastereggs that I asked for. And also some made by Scott. He is a Star Wars fan so he had no clue about the pirate theme. But he did well :)
  12. What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
    Plate 1x2. You can basic to build everything with that element. Just need plenty of them. 
  13. Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why
    That’s easy Niels Milan Pedersen. As one of the founding fathers of the pirate theme. Yeah. Really don’t know what to say. I think he and his team did more for the kids of the late 80’s than they are aware off.

    If the fortress get selected I hope that Niels will have the honor to be working on it. I know he was asked about the Barracuda Bay. But I think that it would complete the circle.  
  14. Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
    Eurobricks. A lot of discussions and inspiration on that page.

About Your Project

  1. Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
    From my childhood, I can remember playing with the Lego Pirates with my father. Got the 6274 Caribbean Clipper for Christmas. And the on the first day of Christmas me and my father was playing and building the whole day. I was always the imperial soldiers when I was a kid.

    My friends was always the pirates. So the interest for the Imperial Soldiers started when I was 6-7 years old. And off course I had to make a fortress. 
  2. 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?
    1 year. I had the basic idea for a new fortress. I researched a lot on colors and what bricks that where available in the right colors. I removed the yellow bricks that was used in the original theme. (Got a lot of comments on that decision ) And made the right combination on the soldiers so they looked like the original one. Red epaulettes and the new shako. I focused on that people should recognize the old Eldorado Fortress. They should see it either in the build or the minifigs. And I achieved that. 
  3. What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
    The size… Not too big and not too small. And It also have to fit the minifigs. And finding all the small right parts… from Pick a brick in Legoland and Bricklink. All the Seagulls on the Fortress.. I actually had to purchase the Old Fishing Store just to get them. One of the first comments I got when I submitted was that it should be named something with seagull, because off all the seagulls.  

  4. 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?
    Maybe that I have to save more money for a project like that again. And do it faster and believe in the idea. I made some of the elements/ parts several times. And then I ended up with first idea anyway. 
  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?
    It took 1 year from the idea came up until I uploaded. I was building a huge fort…4 times bigger than The Fortress  and I wanted to scale it down so it would fit  for LEGO Ideas. So took notes and researched and started building it for real in the fall 2019. And in march 2020 I uploaded it.

    And the promotion…. It’s one off the most crazy things I ever tried. Great experience.  Never been more online in that period with photos and storytelling… So I would rather just build more projects.  
  6. How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
    The day the Fortress reached the 10K was a crazy day.. My youngest daughter turned 3 the same day. We were on vacation and visiting a Zoo that day  So the family was first priority. I could feel that it was the day. Made some posts on facebook to push for the last support. Then I turned off my phone because it was so exciting. And when I turned the phone on again and checked  it was 10.000 supporters. I got a cold beer that evening. All the congrats messages from around the world. Crazy feeling! Only thing that was missing that day was my father couldn’t see it. He passed away in 2008. But all the memories that I have for playing with him came up that day. A really emotional day.  
  7. Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
    2800. The trans blue is not a part of the count.
  8. What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
    I think the part I like the most I the office that belongs to Broadside. I like the floor, the map on the wall. A lot of small details. Just a room that I put a lot of small details in. I’m not skilled that I think on techniques. I just build… I like the classic style so I try to make it classic.


About LEGO Ideas

  1. Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
    Passion for your project. If you don’t have the passion yourself.  Then other people don’t see it or will get the passion.

    There is so many things that affect whether you hit the magic mark or not. But build your best and the spread the word. That’s my best advice. 
  2. What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
    Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Eurobricks. Even got 3d-printed gold coins made with my Facebook account on.
  3. What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
    The Old Fishing Store is one of my favorites. Just good vibes. And Big Bang Theory. Love the series. I have both sets at home. Can’t decide which one is the favorite so have to mention both sets.
  4. What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea
    It's just a great place to show off the love to LEGO and off course share ideas. And think that it’s great that everybody gets the chance to hit the10K and then maybe get the chance to get their set made for real. 
  5. 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?Yeah. I started to use Studio. I’m pretty excited with that.  So I have two- three projects that I will submit at some point. Hints… board game and time travel.. And not combined :)
  • 10k club
  • 10k club interview
  • piraten
  • pirates
  • the fortress - imperial army

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