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10K Club Interview: Meet Robert Bontenbal of Boat Repair Shop

The Third 2016 LEGO Ideas Review is underway and again 12 impressive creations reached the necessasry 10K milestone in early January, when the qualification round closed. This earns them a spot in the LEGO Ideas 10K Club. We're excited to share that we were able to interview all twelve 10K Club members, and we'll be sharing these over the next few months. 

The first member to be interviewed should need no introduction to many of you, as he was in fact already featured in the first edition of the 10K Club Interviews for his Old Fishing Store project, which ended up getting selected for production. Please say "Goededag" to Robert Bontenbal, a.k.a. RobenAnne, the talented Dutch fan designer behind the charming Boat Repair Shop

Help us congratulate Robert on becoming a part of the LEGO Ideas 10K Club -yet again!


About Yourself

  1. Where are you from?
    The Netherlands.


  1. How old are you?
    I am 52 years young.


  1. What do you study or do for a living?
    Architectural drafter.


  1. What hobbies do you have?
    I like fishing, photography and LEGO bricks.


  1. How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
    When I was young, I loved to play with LEGO bricks and I remember that my first set was the Firetruck (336 pcs: 77 1968-1970). After getting my two sons, my interest rekindled and we enjoyed playing together with LEGO. Our spare room has been turned into a LEGO room.


  1. What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
    The Ultimate Millennium falcon 10179. I enjoy building the big sets and this set has a lot of details and is not simple to build.


  1. What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
    That’s a hard question. I think the 2x4 LEGO brick, which is one of the older LEGO bricks and can be the basis for a lot of designs.


  1. Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
    Probably Angus MacLane who designed Wall.E (set 21303). His set was really fun to build.


^ Robert poses in his LEGO room with Wall-E, the sneeky robot, making his way into the photo


  1.  Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
    Brick Link (, MOCpages ( and others.  


About Your Project

  1. Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
    Fishing has always been my hobby and I got my inspiration from the HO train model houses, the LEGO christmas houses and sea villages. I started to develop my own LEGO Sea front Village, where the Boat repair Shop is a part of it.


  1. What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
    I think the roof and the wall siding. It took some time to figure out the technique for the wall panels to make them look authentic.


  1. How long did it take to complete the model?
    It was a complicated model and it took some time to design it. After the design was finished, I started building the model and made some adjustments. It probably took me a couple of months to get it exactly as I wanted.


^ Robert's Boat Repair Shop after it got the real LEGO bricks treatment


  1. How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes?
    I was totally excited in the morning when I checked the results and saw that the Boat Repair Shop had made the 10,000 votes - in 8 months! It was also a lot of fun to read the comments and to read that people were interested in the model and started inquiring about the Sea Front Village.


  1. Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
    The building consists of roughly 2460 bricks. However, after building it myself, I reduced the amount of bricks by using some different building techniques in the wall posts and roof plates.

About LEGO Ideas

  1. Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
    ​I like to combine my view on architecture and creativity in realistic LEGO designs. My tips for people who are considering uploading an idea - for starters: just do it! Use your creativity and have fun. Even the more simple models get votes. And who knows what happens.


  1. What is it about the LEGO Ideas platform that attracts you and makes you want to keep posting new projects? 
    When you start out, the fun part is the idea that your model might be chosen to be developed as an official LEGO set. But the process of submitting my projects to the platform, the waiting, the comments from other LEGO Ideas community members and checking out how your model is doing is very exciting. I check regularly on how my projects are doing, but also to see what other cool designs are submitted to the platform.


  1. Are you already planning further projects?
    Yes, after the Boat Repair Shop, I submitted the Boat House Diner, The Dive Shop and The Light House. But I still have some more on the shelf. But I am also working on another sea front theme that is coming soon


^ A lot of planning goes into Robert's models. From sketches to colour palettes!


  1. Your Old Fishing Store project was selected as the next LEGO Ideas set back in September. A big day for you no doubt. Can you run us through your feelings when you got the news?
    When I received the news that my project the Old Fishing Store had passed the review and will become an official LEGO Ideas set, I was very happy and grateful to the fans and support I had from the LEGO Ideas community and other supporters. And we had a family diner to celebrate the big day.
  • lego ideas
  • 10k club
  • robert bontenbal
  • boat repair shop

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