In today's 10K Club Interview, we meet a familiar LEGO Ideas member, who has become well known for his hand in the LEGO Ideas Apollo Saturn V set. But this time, he's back with something a little different.
- Who are you?
My name is Felix Stiessen.
- Where are you from?
I'm from Austria.
- How old are you?
I'm 20 years old.
- What do you do for a living?
I'm an engineering student.
- What hobbies do you have?
Besides building with LEGO bricks I like to play video games and the trumpet and reading.
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
You can check out all of my LEGO creations on Flickr.
- 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've created quite a few MOCs and there're a few I'm working on right now but out of the ones that are already finished I'm particularly proud of my motorised narrow gauge trains I completed in 2020 which have been redesigned and improved over the course of 5 years.
- How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
Because of my sister we already had a few LEGO bricks when I was born so I've pretty much been building with them all my life.
- 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, building LEGO models is most of all a great hobby that allows me to express my creativity and pass time. It's always great if you can come up with a special technique to build a certain part of a model and I often find myself tinkering with little builds whenever I have some free time.
- 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 like the Technic theme and what was formerly known as Creator Expert. In general, I really enjoy all models that combine technical functions with great looks. Unsurprisingly, I was also a great fan of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit themes.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
It's hard to pinpoint a particular set. Whenever I get a new set it's pretty much my favourite until I buy the next one.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
As has been said in many previous interviews every element can be useful in particular situations so I can't say there’s a specific one I like the most.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
I really enjoy the official sets designed by Mike Psiaki as they combine functions with great looks. I also really like Jason Allemann's creations for the same reason.
About Your Project
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
I've been fascinated with the world Tolkien created ever since I first read The Hobbit and Peter Jacksons great movies only added to that fascination.
- 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?
I designed some key details of the model like the front entrance quite a while ago but it was only in the summer of 2020 that I finally decided to complete the model when I had about a week of free time. I ended up looking at many renditions of Bilbo Baggins’ home on the internet for inspiration.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
I'd say the biggest challenge was making the model look organic. Hobbit holes are supposed to be carved into the side of a hill so it all had to look very natural which was especially difficult since I hadn't really done any big organic builds before. I ended up using a lot of curved and sloped bricks built at several angles.
- 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?
I built the bulk of the creation within a week. Rendering the images took about another week. I was very fortunate since I didn't have to spend all that much time promoting the project as it got quite a few votes in the initial few days and steadily climbed to 10K.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
Reaching 10k definitely felt amazing. I was also really surprised at how fast it got there since both projects I've been a part of that reached 10k before took significantly longer.
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
The build consists of 2967 bricks. I made sure to stay below 3k from the very beginning.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
I'm quite proud of the front entrance. It took me a while to find a good-looking technique with an openable round door.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
I built the model using the online CAD-program Mecabricks and rendered the pictures using Blender. I really want to say thanks to Nicolas Carlier, Gabriele Zannotti and Michael Klein who created the special images and the virtual tour of the model for me.
- If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
I used some official LEGO decals as well as a few custom ones kindly created by Gabriele Zannotti.
About LEGO Ideas
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
Presentation is a big part of the campaign to reach 10K. Make sure to create images of your project that'll catch people's attention.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
Due to the popularity of the subject, the project didn't need much advertising on my part. I was lucky enough to be featured on some popular LEGO media like Beyond the Brick which helped a lot.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
The premise of one of your own model having the chance to become an official set is tempting for sure but you have to be wary about what you submit because LEGO might be working on a similar project at the same time. We learned this the hard way when Gabriele Zannotti's and my FIAT 500 was rejected and an official LEGO set came out a few months later. Therefore, my advice is not to submit anything that already fits into LEGO's current product line. Also, consider that submitting your project to Ideas and it being rejected means you can't sell instructions for three years afterwards.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
I think LEGO Ideas is awesome as it gives people the possibility to realize their dreams and have one of their designs turned in to an actual LEGO set. It’s just brilliant and no other company engages with their fans as well as LEGO does. To anyone thinking of uploading a project, my advice would be to just go for it. You’ll probably have to spend a lot of time promoting your model and it can be disheartening sometimes if your promotional efforts don’t seem to pay off, but just stick with it and hopefully, you can reach 10,000. Good luck!
- 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 a few ideas for future submissions but I'll keep those secret for now. ;)
- 10k club
- 10k club interview
- felix stiessen
- bag end
- lord of the rings
- the hobbit