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10K CLUB INTERVIEW: The A-team: Van and Crew and Knight Rider by Henk Van der Linde

Please welcome a new 10k Club member from South Africa Henk Van der Linde (aka HenkvdL05)! In today’s interview, Henk will introduce himself, and his two projects in this review period - Knight Rider: Kitt and the FLAG Mobile Command Unit and The A-Team: Van and Crew.

 

ABOUT YOURSELF

  1. Who are you? 
    Henk Van der Linde


     
  2. Where are you from?
    I am from South Africa, currently residing in Pretoria.
     
  3. How old are you?
    I am 41 years young.
     
  4. What do you do for a living?
    I am a Data Scientist for a prominent Australian insurance company.
     
  5. What hobbies do you have?
    Travelling, Urban exploring, Mountain biking, and within the midst of the Lockdowns, I rediscovered an old favourite hobby of mine, creating LEGO MOCs.
     
  6. Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
    I have a Flickr account:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/191254953@N05/

    Some of my other designs are on Bricklink:
    https://www.bricklink.com/v3/studio/public_gallery.page?idUser=1701594
     
  7. 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?
    There are two LEGO MOCs that I am particularly proud of that are not currently featured on LEGO IDEAS.

    One was my first big project after my rediscovery of the LEGO MOC world. My 5-year-old son had become a big fan of my classic Ice Planet 2002 sets and made a special request to design him new MOCs in order to help convince LEGO to release new ICE PLANET sets. LEGO Ideas was still a new concept to me at the time. So, I created a whole new series of ICE PLANET 2002 REDUX sets which were inspired by the Classic line. After my third submission, I was soon made aware of the LEGO IDEAS terms and conditions. The submission that went through was eventually archived and regardless of the outcome, I enjoyed every moment in creating those MOCs and learned a lot from the experience. 



    The other was a passion project which directly sparked the IDEA of creating the Knight Rider: KITT and FLAG Mobile command unit, which in turn inspired The A-Team Project. It was a project that I knew I would not be able to submit to LEGO ideas due to IP restrictions.
    I happen to be a big fan of the Back to the Future movies and after being introduced to the new 8-wide Speed champions sets. I could not help but wonder what the DeLorean and Doc Browns Van would look like on this scale. So, I created them.


     
  8. How and when did your interest in LEGO products come about?
    LEGO has been part of my childhood as far back as I could remember. I love building my own creations from a young age and my parents fed that passion with LEGO sets as gifts on my birthdays and holidays. Which I would build, take apart and then combine with the elements of my other sets to come up with new creations.

    However, in my Mid-teens my interest in LEGO was subdued due to other sport, academic and cultural activities at the time. Only admiring the sets in my display case in the passing. By the time I finished school, I left for new adventures abroad and all my remaining MOCs and favourite sets were packed up and stored away. Only to be rediscovered 20 plus years later by my son, late last year.       

    After the discovery, my kids wanted to see what the sets originally looked like, so we made it our family weekend project for the following couple of months to restore each of these sets to their original form. In this process of finding set instructions and missing elements, I discovered a whole new world of Bricklink, Stud.io, and LEGO Ideas.  In this period my son’s new favourite LEGO theme became ICE Planet 2002 which he wanted more sets off, and my daughter started collecting Classic Space Minifigures. By the time all restorations were done, I found myself tinkering with new ideas on Stud.io, wanting to build more, and ending up buying the first LEGO set (76895 Speed Champions Ferrari F8) for myself after 20 plus years with many more sets to follow.
     
  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. 
    I found LEGO to be a great medium for my kids and me to socialize, play and learn at the same time. The idea that you can take a random pile of bricks and turn it into an amazing new creation, definitely play’s an important part in their development to think out of the box in order to find their own creative solutions for the random challenges that life throw at us. Personally, I found LEGO to therapeutical. After a tough week at work, building and creating new MOCs helps me to unwind as well.
     
  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?
    I have a soft spot for the classic Space themes, Ice Planet, Blacktron, and Space Police in particular. I have recently become a big fan of the new 8-wide Speed Champion range. I just love the look of these sets, their realistic proportions, and the fact that they are in scale to fit Minifigures. The perfect cross-over theme that would attract all generations, those who love more detailed builds and those who love Minifigures. I believe LEGO has only scratched the surface of the 8-wides design’s potential.
     
  11. What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
    My first big LEGO set as a kid was the 6976 Ice planet 2002: Deep Freeze Defender. I just love the modularity and playability of this set. Without any IPs connected to it, it still managed to capture the imagination of my 5-year-old son 30 years after its release. One of my new favourite sets is the 76895 Speed Champions Ferrari F8 Tributo, which building techniques inspired me to explore and build more MOCs on this scale. 
     
  12. What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
    Do I have to pick one? I enjoy incorporating SNOT (Studs Not On Top) techniques to create more interior space and better-suited angles in my designs, so bracket and hinged elements are essential to my builds. 
     
  13. Is there one or more particular LEGO-related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
    I have taken great inspiration from the designs of Jørn Thomsen, who are responsible for bringing to life many of our classic space themes and designing many of my favourite sets as a child. 6973: Deep Freeze Defender, 6989: Mega Core Magnetizer, 6895: Spy Trak 1. 
    Another is Christopher Stamp and his team who brought us the new 8-wide Speed Champions and taught me new building techniques through their designs. 
     
  14. Is there one or more particular LEGO-related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
    Apart from the many amazing MOC artist on LEGO IDEAS, I also got inspiration from sites such as Bricklink and Youtube channels such as Beyond the Brick. 

     

ABOUT YOUR PROJECT

  1. Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
    As a child of the ’80s, I was lucky to grow up in the time of Iconic TV shows and Movie vehicles such as Knight Rider’s K.I.T.T, the back to the Future DeLorean, Ghostbusters Ecto1, and The A-Team Van, just to name a few. Back then, I use to build many LEGO MOCs of those Iconic vehicles with the LEGO elements available back in the day. With my recent rediscovery of LEGO and my introduction to the Speed Champions sets, I could not help but think what those Iconic vehicles would look like in an 8-wide format today. With a version of the DeLorean and ECTO1 already previously produced via IDEAS, the next logical idea was to create a MOC version of Knight Rider’s KITT. While designing KITT, I started tinkering with the Idea for an A-Team van design.




     
  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?

    Knight Rider: KITT and the FLAG Mobile Command Unit:
    My goal was to design a set that adults and kids can both play and proudly display. The first version of KITT was designed on a Friday evening after I was inspired by a new commercial that featured KITT. While the Knight rider theme was playing in my head, I kept on recalling images of KITT ramping up in the Semi-Trailer. So, I felt I had to design the Iconic SEMI: FLAG Mobile Command Unit as well. I could not recall much of the design of the SEMI or the trailer so I started doing my research by collecting images of all angles of the semi and the trailer that was available on the net. I then started exploring the LEGO elements available on Stud.io to find elements that would closely match the exterior design of the actual SEMI and Trailer and added them to my pallet shortcut on Stud.io.  After that was done, I scaled down the measurement of the original Semi and trailer and converted it to a stud count to use it as a frame of reference to keep the design as close to the real one. Once this scale was set, I started constructing the design.  This process took another two weekends of multiple trial and error and redesigning, till my kids gave me the green light on the WOW factor and I was satisfied with the end result.

    The A-Team: Van and Crew: The goal was the same as Knight rider. Play and displayability was my main focus. I decided the keep the focus on the van and the main four A-team members as I saw an opportunity for an Ideas set that would only consist of 467 pieces, which will make it more affordable and attainable to a wider audience. I followed a similar design process as with the Knight Rider and completed the build over a weekend while rendering the pictures for Knight Rider.
     
  3. What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?

    Knight Rider: KITT and the FLAG Mobile Command Unit: The interior of the Flag Mobile Command Unit was a challenge for me as there were very few references pictures available of the interior of the trailer. There were also three different iterations of the interior over the span of the 4 seasons that Knight Rider aired. I also could not find any reference pictures of what the interior of the kitchen and rest area looked like. Since I wanted the design to be as close to authentic as possible, I contacted the Knight Rider Historians. (www.knightriderhistorians.com/) to find out if they could provide me with more information on what was in that last room in the trailer and if they had pictures of what the interior of the trailer actually looked like. Joe Huth of the Knight Rider Historians was of great assistance and provided me with the information I was looking for, including a list of all the episodes and time frames where that section of the interior appeared in the episodes. After studying the pictures and episodes, I had a great point reference to finalize the interior of the design.



    The A-Team: Van and Crew: I wanted to incorporate a functional sliding,  door. After a couple of digital attempts and not being satisfied, I decided to build a physical prototype. The traditional Van door mechanism did not incorporate so well with the smaller design as it interfered with the external design. I then started playing around with Technic arms and manage to create a functional door mechanism with a Technic pin, 1x2 brick, and a technic arm.

  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?
    The fun part of MOCs is to challenge yourself with creating new designs. So, I would tell my past self: “Have fun, you will figure it out”.
     
  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?

    Knight Rider: KITT and the FLAG Mobile Command Unit: From design to submission, it took 3 weeks.  Promoting took a bit longer.  Due to multiple requests for new additions, and to pay fan service to those fans who supported this project, I created updates at every 1K support gained, which included cameos of KITT’s Super Pursuit Mode as well as new MOCs of Knight Rider’s Rogue gallery of the antagonist, KARR, Juggernaut and Goliath. 



    The A-Team: Van and Crew: I started designing the A-team van on a Friday evening and got the green light from my kids on a Sunday afternoon. My intention was then to submit the design once the Knight Rider submission was approved. A day after the Knight rider submission approval I noticed another A-team van Submission on Ideas and decided to hold off on the submission. About two weeks later after a chat with my son, I submitted the A-Team Van and Crew project. he told me “This looks too good not to share, send it, the people can decide for themselves if they like it”. I followed a similar process as with Knight Rider to promote the project.


     
  6. How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take? 

    Knight Rider: KITT and the FLAG Mobile Command Unit: I was totally amazed, how quick it was. It only took 39 days from the submission being approved to achieving the magic 10k support required. I was even more amazed at how ecstatic my Wife who is not a fan of LEGO was with each update. My daughter was tracking the daily support activity on a countdown scoreboard and when this project achieved support that Sunday Morning, my wife and kids were yelling with excitement and we celebrated by going out for a big breakfast and getting a couple of new sets at our local LEGO store.

    The A-Team: Van and Crew: Lightning do strike twice. To have two projects reaching the 10k support in such a short period is an amazing feeling. The response and support for this project were fantastic and beyond my expectations. From submission to achieving support only took 57 days. My son’s response was “I told you they like it, can we go and get some new sets at the LEGO store?”
     
  7. Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?

    Knight Rider: KITT and the FLAG Mobile Command Unit: Within Stud.io I used 2178 elements (W/O Minifigures). In my Submission, I did list it as 2648 parts. Once I submitted it, I notice that I had a duplicate copy of KITT and the Minifigures inside the trailer. My intention was to rectify this once I could edit my idea after 30 days. By that time this submission was already close to achieving the 10K support.

    The A-Team: Van and Crew: Within Stud.io I used 420 elements (W/O Minifigures).
     
  8. What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?

    Knight Rider: KITT and the FLAG Mobile Command Unit:
    Designing the semi and the interior of the trailer was my favourite part of the overall design, as it was my first attempt at designing these.

    The A-Team: Van and Crew: The whole design was fun, but figuring out how to create a functional sliding door was my favourite.
     
  9. If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
    Bricklink Stud.io
     
  10. If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
    I designed and created decals in CorelDRAW and applied them via Studio Part designer.

     

ABOUT LEGO IDEAS

  1. Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
    Before you start, Read the LEGO IDEAS house rules and guidelines first. Then you will have a good frame of reference to which IDEAS would be accepted and save yourself the time and frustration of having your idea declined in the submission stage. Do your research on which Ideas have been successful and which ones are currently in the voting, expired or not approved stage. Here is my personal observation and advice, avoid basing your submission on previously approved Ideas. Rather spend your time and effort on a new concept, and if it happens to be similar to an idea that did not make it, make sure that your idea is better in all aspects than the one that came before. Most importantly, ask yourself how passionate you are about the project and how long are you willing to promote it, in order to get the support required. If the answer to those questions are “very passionate” and “as long as it takes” … then what are you waiting for? Submit your IDEA on LEGO IDEAS today. 
     
  2. What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
    Find the audience that would appreciate your idea. I have received great support from the AFOL community on Facebook.  I have also joined the Knight Rider and The A-Team Fan groups on Facebook, where I got involved in conversations and shared ideas. During this process, I got a better understanding and appreciation for the individuals that are also passionate about the theme. They were also able to provide me with great input as to which season of Knight Rider’s version of the trailer interior I should incorporate in the design, and who I should contact to get references pics of the interior in order to complete my final design. Once I submitted my projects, I already had a great support base that believed in my designs and went out of their way to support and share my projects. Big shout out to all the supporters that supported and shared these projects. Thank you to zusammengebaut.com, itakon.it, game-experience.it, afols.pl, Mann.tv and thebrickpost.com who publish reviews of both these ideas on their web pages, and Brick Dangerous who showcased the Knight Rider submission on his YouTube channel. 
     
  3. What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
    My favourite sets are those that both my KIDs and I can enjoy. So, the set should have a great amount of playability and look great as a display piece as well. My favourite Ideas sets to date are Gift with purchase Vintage Car, Pirates of Barracuda Bay, and Winnie the Pooh.
     
  4. What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
    I Love the idea that LEGO, created a platform where fans could submit and share their own creations, with the possibility of that creation becoming an official LEGO set.  I also enjoy visiting the platform to see what amazing new ideas the other members came up with. I have never stopped being amazed by the ideas submitted by our IDEAS Community. If you have a great idea that you would love to submit? Submit it! It’s the best way to improve your skills as you will only gain from the experience.
     
  5. Do you have plans to submit any other Product Ideas in the future? If yes, can you give us a hint of what that might be?



    Yes definitely, I recently submitted a little Rolls-Royce project. Go check it out. As for future product ideas, I quite enjoy designing the interior of the Knight Rider FLAG trailer and it sparks my interest and curiosity to explore designing modular and other buildings.
     
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