Welcome, Kevin J. Walter aka SkyWalter to the 10K club! An enthusiastic historian who likes to combine a love for LEGO and a passion for history in his projects. His microscale project is a rendition of the world-famous Colosseum from the time of the Roman Empire which is a symbol of Italy's Roman heritage.
Please do help us congratulate him in the comments down below!
- Who are you?
Kevin J. Walter
- Where are you from?
- How old are you?
Recently turned 30.
- What do you do for a living?
I made a master’s degree in history, primarily with a focus on ancient history. I work in the administration of the University of Freiburg.
- What hobbies do you have?
Aside from building LEGO? Spending time with friends, going out for a walk, video games, and drawing. Aside from that, I have my project Public BRICKstory, which combines my love for LEGO and the passion for history. So basically LEGO again! 😊
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
My LEGO history website www.public-brickstory.com with the accompanying social media channels on Instagram (@public.brickstory) and Twitter (@PBrickstory) & for my personal MOCs my Flickr stream (https://www.flickr.com/photos/skywalter/), Instagram (@kevin.j.walter) and Twitter (@kevin_j_walter). So much to choose from.
- 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?
I am a huge Star Trek fan, and the Klingon Bird of Prey is, since I can think of, my favourite Spaceship-design and as well the one, which inspired me the most in my childhood and all my own spaceship Models.
After completing the BoP as virtual Model (2008-2010), it was always a dream of me to build it some time with real bricks. I am lucky the dream became true six years later in 2016, just in time for the 50th anniversary of Star Trek! This MOC is by far my personal favourite and one of the few models I kept on display!
- How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
Starting with LEGO at the age of three, building with the bricks became an influential part of my life since then. My first LEGO system set was the 6662 Backhoe.
- 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.
LEGO is a way of artistic expression for me. It inspires me, it gives me energy and happiness. But it is also a cure and escape in darker times. It is like the Force for a Jedi in Star Wars.
- 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 really loved the old adventurers' sets from 1998 onwards, with a special interest in the initial Egyptian theme. Later I collected much of the Star Wars sets and nowadays I primarily like the Space sets, especially Saturn V & the Lunar Lander.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set ever? Why?
75192 Millennium Falcon. I really loved the first iteration of this set, but back in the day as a student, I couldn’t afford it and when the second one came out I was finally able to buy myself this amazing set.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
Tough call, there are so many great parts to use as an artist. But I guess I would stick to the classic headlight brick (4070) which offers a wide variety of use.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
So many builders out there who accompanied my LEGO-life, which inspired me, or I had the luck to cooperate and work with. It would not be fair to pick just some of those outstanding names, those in question will know, that they are addressed by me! 😊
- Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
I read regularly Blogs like The Brothers Brick or New Elementary and other websites for information, as well as YouTube channels like Beyond the Brick (to name just a few).
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
As already mentioned, I’m an ancient historian with a particular interest in the Roman Empire. I visited Rome some years ago, and the Colosseum is simply a mind-blowing structure and architectural wonder. I wanted to recreate it with LEGO for a long time.
- 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?
The project started as an entry for the Marchitecture contest 2019 on flickr. So the schedule for this model was really tough –whole of March, one month. The restrictions were simple, create a model in LEGO architecture style with a maximum footprint of 32x32 studs.
I started with basic research on the Colosseum and watched out for reference material (pictures, footprints, 3D models). Not long before the new Harry Potter sets with the new wand parts and the big Hogwarts Castle with the jumper arch launched. The latter one was the seed part for this model and gave me the initial inspiration to toy around with some ideas. Both parts are used on the arcades of the Colosseum, the aspect of the model, that defines its instantly recognizable shape. The model was then built entirely with the Stud.io CAD software before it came to real life. My first step on the build was to create a prototype of the complete Colosseum and its outer façade as it would have looked like in 80AD by its inauguration. From there I removed all parts, that are no longer in existence and added the interior walls and other details. The digital draft was done within approx. 14 days and after collecting all necessary parts the model was built within one day, plus some more days for shooting pictures.
So, the complete project took one month, from early ideas, parts research, building a digital model, turning it into the real one, and photograph it.
- What special challenges or frustrations did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
Getting an elliptical wall/structure done on such a small scale, arranging the many single elements in various small degrees to each other, and getting the model stable, especially in the transition from digital to the real model, was a special challenge.
- 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?
Honestly, I cannot think of anything I would have told myself in retrospect. The schedule on this one with one month was narrow and the decision to start on it virtually was the right one, because it made the collection of the parts for the actual model precise and delivered me a basic instruction – a guarantee for finishing the model in time. The project came out as I intended and planned it and I am happy with the outcome. 😊
- 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?
As above mentioned, the model was completely done within one month – fairly quickly I guess. 😉
To be honest, I did not promote the project intensively. I made some posts on my website & social media but did not put too much energy into it. So, the ratio of building and promoting time is probably around 50:50.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
I could not really believe it at first, because the complete project on ideas was more accidental than intended. I had the luck to win the Marchitecture contest with the Colosseum and the feedback from the jury condensed down to one aspect: “it looks like a real set – put this on LEGO Ideas!”
So, I gave it a try, without having the mere hope of seeing it ever reaching the magical 10K. I am lucky and happy to mark this achievement in my book 😊
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
Exactly 2.149 parts – one of the benefits of building digital, the amount of a precise part!
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
Definitively the use of the jumper arches and the wand pieces for the arcades and columns of the outer facade.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
Bricklink’s Stud.io and the integrated render options.
- If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
I used a custom printed 1x8 tile with “Colosseum” on it, like the ones of the LEGO architecture line. I ordered it in a shop that prints LEGO elements.
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas Product Idea?
Be confident in yourself and in what you are doing. If you are happy with your own work, anything else is secondary.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
I used my network with other AFOLs and friends out there I know, asked them if they might share my idea. And I repeatedly posted it on my social media channels and my website, which are directed towards history-interested persons.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
Saturn V and Pirates of Barracuda Bay.
What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
The endless possibilities of and for ideas! Aside from that, the activities and contests are cool (sadly I did not find the time yet to participate…). As I said above, be confident and believe in yourself. And I think what can be important too, if the model relies on existing colors and parts, so you can build it to promote it. Building digital offers amazing opportunities, but a render can never have the impact of a well-photographed real model.
- 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?
If there is a model I, that might be interesting for the Ideas people, sure. Maybe another historical model in the future. Let us see!
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