10K Club Interview: Brett Cuviello, creator of The Iron Giant
This week we're (virtually) in California, USA to learn all about Brett Cuviello, aka. BrettCuv. Brett is one of just a small handful who has reached 10,000 supporters for the second time with the same creation. His creation was the impressive The Iron Giant - 20th Anniversary Edition.
Be sure to congratulate Brett in the comments as always, down below!
- Who are you?
- Where are you from?
- How old are you?
22 years old.
- What do you do for a living?
I am an illustrator.
- What hobbies do you have?
Drawing, reading comic books, watching movies, and building with LEGO.
- 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’m particularly proud of a LEGO Iron Giant that I built for the LEGO Ideas x LEGO House Display in fall 2018. I’m proud of this build because it is one of the largest MOC I’ve ever constructed, and it was on display at the LEGO House in Denmark.
- How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
My interest in LEGO products came about when I was three years old. I remember being fascinated by the first wave of LEGO Star Wars sets, and a few years later when I got my first Bionicle figure, I was hooked.
- 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 has been a form of artistic expression. It always allowed me to customize and change my toys to my liking. When I was little, Bionicle allowed me to design and build my own action figures. Later on, if I didn’t like the design of a specific LEGO set, I could rebuild it the way I wanted it to be. Now, as an adult, I use bricks to bring ideas that I have into 3D form. And because new LEGO pieces are always being developed, I’m constantly given new ways to construct and sculpt shapes. Whether I’m refining an old MOC, or starting a new one, I know that there will always be a new way for me to build with LEGO!
- 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’ve mentioned it a few times now, but my favorite LEGO theme has to be Bionicle. I love everything about Bionicle. I love the colors, the pieces, the character designs and the stories told in this world. For me, it’ll always be the ultimate LEGO theme. Another theme I loved was Exo-Force. Exo-Force introduced me to the idea of mecha, giant humanoid machines piloted by people. To this day, my favorite things to build are mecha, and robots. These two themes together might be what made me love the Iron Giant so much.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
It’s difficult to pick a favorite LEGO set, and although 76035 (Jokerland) is a close second, I’ve got to cheat and say the Toa Mahri
and the Barraki are my favorite. Together, there’s an amazing story between these twelve figures. The powerful, energy-infused Toa Inika were transformed to survive underwater as Toa Mahri and battle the Barraki, the creeps from the deep. From the Toa of air’s struggle to live in the water to Matoro’s sacrifice, these awesome, expressive figures tell a story and inspire creativity like no other LEGO set has for me.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
My favorite LEGO elements are 36840 and 36841. They’ve been a great help in packing small details and greater structural integrity into my builds.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
Jason Allemann (JKBrickworks) is one of my favorite LEGO builders. His kinetic LEGO sculptures are incredible. One day, I hope to have half the knowledge of LEGO Technic that he has.
- Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
My favorite places to find inspiration for my MOCs are https://brickset.com/ (I love looking through LEGO themes throughout the years), https://www.reddit.com/r/lego (a great way to see what everyone else is building), and https://www.thebrickfan.com/.
About Your Project
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
My interest in this particular model came from my early youth. When I was little, my parents bought a VHS tape of The Iron Giant that came with a small Iron Giant action figure. One of its most interesting features was that its arms and legs could be removed. I remember playing with that action figure almost every day. Whether I was watching TV, eating breakfast, or coloring, I always had the Iron Giant with me, pulling him apart and putting him back together. I guess in the back of my head, I always wanted an Iron Giant toy that I could build myself.
- 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?
At this point, I’ve probably spent a few hundred hours designing and building LEGO Iron Giants. My process starts with watching the movie. It’s one of the first movies I remember watching, and it’s still one of my favorites. Then I research images of the Giant. Once I’ve gathered my reference images, I start building digitally. Once I’ve come up with a digital design I like, I try to build it!
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
The greatest challenge with this model was definitely keeping it both large and structurally sound. The Giant has very large legs that connect to very narrow points on the Giant’s pelvis. Keeping this connection strong was frustrating, but also a lot of fun. The most difficult part of the Giant to recreate for me was his head. After trying a few dozen different ways to include the fin on his head, I realized the best way would be a print or sticker, since the fin itself is incredibly narrow. Although it’s a small detail, you can really tell something’s wrong without it. Something I kept on his head that I didn’t want to remove was the stud on his chin. I feel like it adds character, and reminds people that they’re looking at a LEGO build.
- If you could talk to yourself before you started on this project, what would you tell her? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
If I could talk to myself before starting this project, I’d tell myself that the project won’t hit 10,000 overnight. The last project I had that reached 10,000 supporters did so in around two months. This project took over two years. I’d like to remind myself that patience is a virtue.
- 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 me a few months to settle on a design that I liked, and then about a week to render and edit images of the Giant. The build time was nothing compared to the time I spent promoting my product, but in the end, it was all worth it.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
It felt great to reach 10,000 supporters. It took over two years to hit 10K, and I was starting to think I wouldn’t reach it at all. Waking up to see 10,000 supporters was an incredible surprise.
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
The model is created with a little over 1,000 pieces.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
My favorite sections of the Iron Giant are his upper arms and legs, and his upper back. I really love how Hero Factory/Bionicle gen 2 parts look as his long, lanky limbs. I also really like how his upper back looks. I can’t really figure out why, but I just think it’s really cool.
- If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
I built my model in LEGO Digital Designer initially, and rendered it with a program called bluerender. Over the last year, I’ve been trying to learn stud.io, but I find it much more frustrating to work with than LDD ever was.
About LEGO Ideas
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
Come up with something that hasn’t been done yet, that you’re passionate about. Projects with a lot of time and effort put into them
always stand out. If you love the project you’ve submitted, others will too!
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
My main method of advertising my project was sharing it on social media and websites like Reddit.com. After that, I let the project stew. It took its time hitting 10K.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
My favorite LEGO Ideas Product Idea is the Exo Suit (21109). It’s one of the coolest LEGO sets ever, in my opinion. One Product Idea that deserves to hit 10k is Automated Garbage Truck by MochiMaster. It’s brilliant.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
My favorite thing about the platform is that it allows anyone to submit an idea for a LEGO set. In a way, it allows anyone to be a LEGO set designer. If you’re thinking about uploading an idea, go for it. Put in time and effort and make it something you’re proud of. It’ll be great!
- 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
Right now, I don’t have any plans to submit any other Product Ideas, but inspiration always hits me from out of the blue. I might even have a new idea for a project by the time I finish typing this… Nope, still nothing. But we’ll see.
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