It's Wednesday and we're back with another mid-week interview. Meet AndrewClark2 and his CLASSIC THUNDERBIRDS project. Unsuccessful with his first entry the 10K Club with Thunderbirds, Andrew is back with a new and improved iteration! Show some support for Andrew in the comments!
- Who are you?
- Where are you from?
I'm originally from Manchester, England, but I have been living in the US since 2004. I currently live and work in Baltimore, Maryland.
- How old are you?
The answer to life, the universe and everything plus 3 years.
- What do you study or do for a living?
I work at Firaxis Games as an Artist. I create 3D computer models and textures for games. I most recently worked on Marvel's Midnight Suns and Sid Meier's Civilization VI where I created some of the Wonders, such as the Eiffel Tower, Sydney Opera House, Big Ben, Le Mont Saint-Michel, and several more.
- What hobbies do you have?
I enjoy photography, and creating artwork as personal projects, typically 3D models I built that are rendered out. Building official LEGO sets and creating my own designs is a big passion, as is creating LEGO Ideas projects, as that combines several interests.
I combined it even more when I got into Mountain biking. I like being outside in nature, on the trails, and wanted to get in shape. I then wondered if I could make a LEGO mountain bike with the features of the real thing, so I set about building one in LEGO form.
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
Here is my Flickr, that is mostly LEGO builds.
- 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?
My LEGO Mountain bikes, as I managed to get all the features I wanted. Also, this Thunderbirds project, and managing to get the legs on Thunderbird 2, to fit inside the model.
I'm also proud of this LEGO model, as I like, and feel I captured the 50s styling.
- How and when did your interest in LEGO products come about?
I first started building LEGO sets with my brothers. I was around 6 and my older brother had the LEGO Technic 8860 car. Soon he, my younger brother, and I were also buying sets, and we got to a point where we had enough to make what we wanted. We used to build vehicles and smash them together to see which design was strongest! Of course, I would never do that now, I'm like the dad from the LEGO Movie, “don't touch my LEGO bricks!” Around 2014 I started getting back into it and found LEGO CUUSOO, now known as LEGO Ideas.
- What is the LEGO hobby to you? What does it mean to you? How does it fit in your life? E.g. build, display, meetups, play the games or 'just' watch the cartoons.
I enjoy the design challenge of building models that look cool, have interesting features that work well, and building models that are stable. I also enjoy LEGO building as I combine it with my other passions to create a whole project, or product idea by creating 3D models, renders, and photography.
- What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
It might have to be Ideas! as Ideas sets cover a wide range of things. My style is partly highly detailed, so Ideas, and Icons sets I enjoy.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set ever? Why?
Horizon Forbidden West: Tallneck, and Transformers Optimus Prime are my two faves at the moment.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
The Erling Brick (Headlight Brick) But this new one looks great too! Plate 1x1x2/3, w/ 1 Knob, Rounded (3386). Generally though, brackets, and SNOT bricks are my favourites.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?Michael Psiaki. His understanding of geometry and how to create complex shapes using LEGO bricks is impressive, and Sam Johnson is one cool cat.
- Is there one or more particular LEGO-related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
New Elementary, as they examine all the latest LEGO elements, and Brickset for general LEGO news, and reviews.
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
Growing up I loved watching the Thunderbirds with its epic detailed models and effects with exciting characters and missions, and I thought it would translate well into LEGO form.
- How long was the process of making the project, 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?
I was already familiar with the show and vehicles but gathered as many references and images of Thunderbird 2 and the smaller vehicles it can carry as I could. I wanted my models to look authentic and accurate, as that is what any fan of the show would want. I iterated a lot with the design, to find the right scale and the best way to get the tapered, and rounded look of Thunderbird 2.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
Thunderbird 2 has telescopic legs that extend out for landing. The challenge was how best to replicate that feature. After lots of iterating/loops, I replaced my clip-on-legs design, with a design in which the legs of Thunderbird 2 fit inside the model, then rotate and extend out for landing.
- If you could talk to yourself before you started on this project, what would you tell them? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
That creating all my own hi-res digital parts for the renders would be a lot more time intensive than I thought, but it's worth it as every future LEGO render I create will benefit from them.
- 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?
In total, I spent around 100 hours on the designs, graphics and renders. I should have spent more time promoting though.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
Exciting, as now it would be reviewed and had a chance. It took a bit over a year and a half to reach 10K.
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
Around 780, for Thunderbird 2, and all the smaller vehicles, and builds.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
I have two favourites! The cockpit comes off to reveal the inside, with controls, seats and Micro figures, and my solution for Thunderbird 2's legs to rotate and extend out for landing.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
I built it physically and created a digital version that I rendered out using Redshift. Redshift renders using a computer's graphics cards, so it's very fast!
- If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
I created them digitally using Photoshop.
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
Yes! Reading Ideas Rules + Gathering reference + Planning + Passion + Hard work + Persistence in promotion = Best chance for success.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support for your Product Idea?
I posted the product idea link and images on several FB pages/groups, Flickr groups, Instagram, etc that were related to LEGO building, Thunderbirds, and retro toys, etc.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
So many to choose from! Ghostbusters, and Yellow Submarine for nostalgia, Saturn V for Epicness. But really they all have their hook (Pirates of Barracuda Bay, literally) .
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
That a fan of LEGO building has a shot of bringing their design, based on something they love as an IP, or as an original idea, to life as an official LEGO set. Also, the various challenges are interesting.
- 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?
Not yet, but I imagine in another year or so the itch, and idea, for one will hit me.
- 10k club
- 10k club interview
- product idea
- andrew clark