Introducing Marc, aka Minibrick Productions, the creator of Avatar: The Last Airbender! Based (obviously) on the hit Anime, TV Show, Film etc. We're here this week to listen to Marc's journey and all about the model in this interview. This model will be part of the next review.
Please do help us congratulate Marc in the comments down below!
- Who are you?
My name is Marc, but I go by Minibrick Productions on social media.
- Where are you from?
I am from sunny California :)
- How old are you?
I am 19 years old.
- What do you do for a living?
I am currently studying Mechanical Engineering, a major choice which was heavily influenced by my passion for LEGO.
- What hobbies do you have?
A lot of my hobbies center around LEGO - I love building, of course, and I also enjoy digital drawing. I was inspired by Ashnflash, a LEGO YouTuber known for minifigure artwork, and since then I’ve combined my interest in drawing with my passion for LEGO by designing custom minifigures that I post on social media. This hobby has also helped me design Ideas projects, as I now have the skills to add custom prints and minifigures to my projects.
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
My brother and I have a YouTube channel, Minibrick Productions, where we post LEGO MOCs and LEGO drawing videos, so if you’re interested in any of that check us out! I also use Instagram heavily, and you can find me at @minibrickminifigs :)
- 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?
There are quite a few MOCs I’m proud of, one of them being my Vulture creation from Spiderman: Homecoming. It started out as me just playing around with a few pieces to see what I could make, and resulted in one of my favorite models. Another MOC I’m extremely proud of is actually a LEGO Ideas project I posted recently in collaboration with @TopLego8, the Mystery Shack from Gravity Falls. We were both very happy with how it turned out :)
- How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
My interest in LEGO came about at a young age when I received my first set. As a kid, no birthday or holiday would go by without at least some of the gifts being a LEGO set, usually from Star Wars. I used to play around with my brother and friends creating battles between Clones and Droids, and it was a blast. As I grew older I began to buy sets purely for display, and I used pieces from my old sets to create MOCs.
- What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
Definitely Star Wars. I have always been a huge Star Wars fan, and every year my passion for the saga grows with new content and movies being released. A close second would definitely be LEGO Ideas. So many amazing sets have come out of this theme, with sets like the Saturn V being some of my favorites in my entire LEGO collection. It’s also always a fun surprise because you truly never know what you’re going to get out of LEGO Ideas. One year LEGO can release the Central Perk from F.R.I.E.N.D.S, and the next an awesome Pirate Ship! As for inspiration, Ideas also takes the cake because the projects are so different, so many different building techniques and styles are used which can be very helpful when creating my own MOCs :)
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
My favorite LEGO set would actually be a tie between the UCS Millennium Falcon and the Saturn V rocket. Both make for amazing display pieces and are definitely the focus of my collection.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
There’s so many I have in mind, but one of my favorite elements is the one I use for my social media avatar, element 44570. I’ve always liked it as a piece because when you flip it over, the indents make the shape of a face. When I started my YouTube channel, I just knew that I had to use that piece as my profile image :)
- Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
YouTube and Instagram are amazing websites to interact with and engage in the LEGO community. People are extremely friendly and welcoming, and share MOCs and building tips to stimulate creativity and inspiration for my own projects/builds.
About Your Project
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
I had watched the Avatar: The Last Airbender TV show and loved it - the characters, the scenery, the artstyle and music, all of it made the show so fantastic. There was also a sense of nostalgia with the show, having grown up during the 2000s watching channels like Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. So, after seeing the huge support for LEGO to revive the Avatar theme, I figured I had the skills to be the one to bring it back through LEGO Ideas. I got to work, and a few short weeks later this project became the first Avatar project to reach 10,000 supporters all thanks to the wonderful community.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
The face for Appa was really challenging, as there were many curves that needed to be achieved to make it look like him. Although I did the best I could, I’m sure there’s better ways to model it :)
- 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?
The time it took to build this set from scratch, design the figures, and do renders was 9 straight hours of work. It was exhausting work, but I’m really proud of the way it turned out :) There were refinements done after these 9 hours, so overall I believe the total build time was about 12 hours.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
It took just about 2 weeks, which is insanely fast! I owe so much of that to the wonderful LEGO and Avatar: The Last Airbender communities who shared my project across social media, and for that I can’t thank them enough (also special thanks to just2good for featuring it on his channel!). It felt surreal to finally achieve the grand 10,000 supporters - this had been something I had been working very hard to achieve with past projects, and ultimately felt like I was never going to see happen. Being able to finally hit the 10k mark felt like a dream come true - all my work on LEGO Ideas has finally paid off :)
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
My model consists of 970 pieces, which also includes the pieces used for Minifigures and accessories.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
One of my favorite parts of the set is Aang’s glider. I wasn’t a huge fan of the way LEGO approached the original design, using a plastic film, so making it out of pieces was extremely satisfying. If this model makes it through, I’m sure kids will have a blast flying around with Aang.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
Lots of different software go into making my Ideas projects. For the build, I start out using Bricklink’s Studio, which I find to be the easiest to use LEGO building software. Once the build is completed, it is imported into Mecabricks, where I make some minor refinements and pose the model for rendering. After all the poses are finalized, the build is exported into Blender for rendering, and then edited with decals :)
- If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
I design all figures and prints myself on a program called Inkscape. I used Google Images to find reference pictures for characters, and then either traced over them or modified decals I had already made for other figures to best capture the look of the characters :) It’s a time consuming process, but oftentimes minifigures can make or break an Ideas project.
About LEGO Ideas
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
When making a project, make sure you’re passionate about it :) Because I really enjoyed Avatar: The Last Airbender, making the project was fun to make and I was excited to work on it after submitting it, adding in updates and tweaking designs based on community feedback. In addition, make sure to use custom prints if you can, especially for minifigures, which can determine whether or not your project is successful in reaching 10k.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
A huge piece of advice other than being passionate about your idea is to take advertising into your own hands. Oftentimes I see projects where the person who submitted it simply asks their supporters to share the project and leave it at that, but in reality you should be the one sharing the project the most. There are so many platforms online and in person that you can use to share projects, and it’s vital to use them in order to guarantee reaching 10,000 supporters.
In addition, when promoting your set, it is crucial to make the set look playable and realistic if applicable. A big part of my advertising campaign was posing the characters in different scenes from the show to really highlight how one can use this set in a vast amount of scenarios, which makes people more interested in supporting the set.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
My favorites are Wall-E and the Apollo Saturn-V :) They make for amazing display pieces, and are perfect in every way. Some Ideas that I think were overlooked were Ratatouille and the Concorde, projects I would’ve loved to add to my personal collection.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
LEGO Ideas is amazing because it gives the consumer a voice, something that barely any companies do. We, as the community, get to tell LEGO what we want to see and with enough support and legal agreements, LEGO can make that happen. Moreover, as mentioned earlier, one of the best parts about the platform is the diversity in builds - there's projects for rockets, cars, and even your favorite childhood movies :)
As for tips for your project, here are a few that I have:
Make sure to use as many platforms as you can to share your platform, including using social media, going to conventions, and spreading the word to friends and family.
Create a project around something you are passionate about.
Don’t stop sharing your project until you reach your desired goal - if you stop sharing, your project’s progress might stagnate.
- 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?I have several Ideas in mind, but those will be revealed at a later date on my Instagram :) However, I’ve got plenty of Product Ideas on my profile, including Tintin, Full House, and Mr. Bean which could all use as much support as they can get. In addition, I’ve got a collaborative project, the Mystery Shack from Gravity Falls, which you can support through the user @Toplego8’s profile. If you’re interested in any of those, definitely go check them out! :)
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