We're back with the latest round of 10K Club Interviews as we gear up for what has been a record-breaking review period with 57 submissions. Tune in for almost daily interviews over the next period before the review results arrive.
To kick things off, today's 10K Club Interview is dedicated to our well-known builder Florian (aka BrickHammer) and his latest creations The King's Castle and Steampunk Airship. Help us congratulate him and learn more about his creations.
- Who are you?
My name is Florian. On LEGO IDEAS I go by the name “BrickHammer”.
- Where are you from?
I live in Heidelberg, an old university town in southern Germany, which is often visited by tourists from all over the world because of the town’s beautiful historic center and the famous Heidelberg castle.
- How old are you?
- What do you do for a living?
I am a teacher.
- What hobbies do you have?
Usually, I am an active person. I spend most of my free time training martial arts, mainly Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I also like to go on hiking trips or spend time indoors reading fantasy novels and watching movies.
Since rediscovering my love for LEGO about a year ago, I also consider designing new LEGO MOCs one of my favourite hobbies.
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
I have just recently started an Instagram page to display my MOCs and show behind the scenes pictures of the building process:
- 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?
My favourite MOCs are my “Steampunk Airship” and my most recent creation: the “Wolfpack Castle”!
My “Wolfpack Castle” is an homage to the Wolfpack, one of the most unique and most beloved subthemes ever created! I tried to combine modern building techniques with the classic look and feel of the 90s!
- How and when did your interest for LEGO products come about?
I started playing with LEGO bricks when I was about 3 years old and have loved the product ever since. However, during my teen and early adult years, I partially lost interest and focused more on sports and gaming.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I rediscovered my love for LEGO and creative building: I started by buying the recent “Barracuda Bay” set and then went on to design my own ideas with the digital designer stud.io.
- 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.
For me, LEGO is both my favourite childhood toy and a creative outlet that helps me to express my love for history and fantasy in a unique way.
- What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
My favourite LEGO theme of all time is the classic castle theme.
My love for the castle theme inspired me to mainly focus my LEGO Ideas submissions on medieval or historic themed projects as can be seen by my three 10k projects: “Imperial Island Fort”, the “Viking Village” and “The King’s Castle”!
My two most recent submissions “Wolfpack Castle” and “Forestmen Outpost” also try to capture the spirit of my favourite childhood subthemes: the Wolfpack and the Forestmen.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
My favourite set of all time is the 6086 castle. For me, it is the best official LEGO castle ever created. It combines playability with a lot of features that can be found in real-life castles and has thus a certain degree of realism while still being an amazing toy for children.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
My favourite LEGO elements are all brick modified with studs on the side. During my childhood, LEGO was mostly putting bricks on top of each other and very rarely on their sides. Nowadays building snot constructions is so much easier than when I first stopped playing with LEGO bricks in my early teen years. When I returned to playing with LEGO bricks I was really amazed by the many new creative ways made possible by these new brick modifieds.
- Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
I regularly visit Eurobricks and Bricklink. I can recommend Eurobricks to any AFOL looking for inspiration or simply a good place to talk about MOCs and other LEGO-related things. It is truly an amazing fan forum!
Since creating my own LEGO-focused Instagram profile I have also started to use Instagram for inspiration.
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
I was always amazed by the aesthetics of steampunk designs in movies and video games, so I tried to capture the same look and feel in a LEGO project.
The King’s Castle:
Castles have always been my favourite LEGO sets. However, when I built my “The King’s Castle” there hadn’t been any official LEGO castles for quite a while, so I decided to build one myself! I am super excited that just recently the new creator 3 in 1 castle has been announced and I am really looking forward to buying it!
- 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?
Once I have an idea that really inspires me the actual building process is fairly short and straightforward: Building the “Steampunk Airship” and “The King’s Castle” took me about ten days each plus a couple more days to create the rendered pictures.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
The most difficult part was definitely to find the right proportions. My earlier designs started out with a much smaller balloon, which made the whole build look “unrealistic”. I also struggled to find the right tonality for the build: I started out with a much colour palette but then decided to make the airship look a bit more colourful and child-friendly.
The King’s Castle:
The biggest challenge for “The King’s Castle” was the part limit. It was my first build which actually came close to reaching the 3k limit. My first design had almost 4k pieces so I had to reduce the size of the mountain and leave out some interior features to meet the requirement.
- 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?
Even though I did not do anything special to promote the two builds, both of them gained supporters with amazing speed: “The King’s Castle” reached 10k supporters after only 49 days and the “Steampunk Airship” was even quicker, reaching the magical number of 10k supports in only 34 days!
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
The “Steampunk Airship” consists of 2720 pieces.
The King’s Castle:
“The King’s Castle” consists of 2920 pieces.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
My favourite section of the “Steampunk Airship” is the captain’s quarters in the back of the ship. Even though it is a small room I tried to make it look as special as possible by including three big round windows and a balcony with stairs that lead up to the door.
The King’s Castle:
My favourite section of “The King’s Castle” is the main gatehouse: I just love how the draw bridge and the closing mechanism turned out.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
I use stud.io for all of my designs.
- If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
I used the stud.io part designer to create a custom flag for “The King’s Castle”.
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
I think it is important that you try to design something that you yourself would love to buy or would have loved to have as a child. Do not try to copy others’ designs. Creativity is key.
- 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 IDEAS projects so far are the Barracuda Bay and the Medieval Blacksmith.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
In my opinion, LEGO IDEAS is an amazing opportunity to share your projects with the additional upside of having a chance to become an official fan designer! It is a dream come true for everyone who grew up playing with LEGO bricks and always dreamed about having their homemade project officially released.
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