Congratulations to Nick aka sNICKers77 coming from the USA and his first 10K Club creation Traditional German Cottage inspired by architecture at the edge of the world-famous black forest where Nick's family roots reach.
- Who are you?
Hey, y’all! I’m Nick Amann.
- Where are you from?
I’ve lived my entire life in South Texas, USA, where there is lots of Spanish and German influence.
- How old are you?
I recently turned 16.
- What do you study or do for a living?
I don’t study anything specific, but since I’m still in high school, I sure study a lot.
- What hobbies do you have?
Competitive swimming is a big hobby of mine. I am currently on 2 swim teams, and I swim about an average of 3 hours a day, 4 times a week. When I’m not in the pool, I like hanging out with my friends, kayaking, and basically playing any type of sport and, of course, designing and building with LEGO bricks!
- 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?
I don't have a large number of LEGO MOCs, but I do customize and modify a lot of official LEGO sets that I buy (particularly the interior.) My current favorite is my modified interior to the Pirates of Barracuda Bay (21322) set. I upgraded the beds to double bunk beds, added a room with two firing cannons, ammunition crates, and torches, and upgraded and moved the tavern.
- How and when did your interest in LEGO come about?
It really all started when I was at a friend’s house roughly two years ago. He had the LEGO NINJAGO Movie Destiny's Bounty (70618) set displayed. This set really caught my eye as I had never seen such a large and detailed LEGO set. After I saved up some money I decided to buy this set myself. I had such a fun time building it and the finished product was equally as amazing. Over the past few years, I’ve collected many more amazing sets but to this day the NINJAGO Movie Destiny's Bounty is still my favorite set!
My interest in designing LEGO MOC’s came a little over a year ago when my friend (@BrickityBrickBoy15), who is just as passionate about LEGO, introduced me to the LEGO Ideas platform and showed me his first MOC for one of the contests. I thought it looked quite fun and since I had a lot more free time than usual I created my first entry. I had such a good time designing, submitting, and reading comments from my entry that I continued creating LEGO MOCs ever since, hoping one day that one of them would reach 10k supporters.
- 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 favorite theme is LEGO Ideas. Not only do fans help create the set, but the Ideas theme has recently been one of the best ways to get expired themes such as Pirates (Pirates of Barracuda Bay 21322) and Castle/Medieval (Medieval Blacksmith 20325).
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
My all-time favorite set is the LEGO NINJAGO Movie Destiny's Bounty (70618). As a boat fan, I have never seen a more detailed ship. Another plus is the brick-built hull and the amazing interior. I especially like how LEGO has incorporated traditional Chinese designs into the ship and its many features.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
I find part 3062 (1 x 1 cylinder) very useful and underappreciated as it can be used for a wide variety of LEGO designs such as roofing, pillars, cannonballs, pipes, tree trunks/branches, wall texture, and much more.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
I am always very impressed with the designs by BrickHammer as they are incredibly detailed and complex. I hope that one day, some of his many 10k sets get selected to become official LEGO sets.
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
My dad was born and raised in a small village (named Kolbingen) in Southern Germany, near the black forest. Every time we visit I admire the traditional architecture, from the catholic churches with gothic designs to the many bakeries to farmhouses and much more. Inspiration for my product idea came from the historic homes that can be found throughout the village. Many of them were built based on the traditional “Fachwerkhaus” designs.
- 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?
After working on the initial draft for about a week with limited success, I decided to stop and study the building techniques used for the LEGO Ideas Medieval Blacksmith Shop. I realized that many parts of my initial draft were flawed so scrapped it and started from scratch. It took me about a month (1-2 hours/day) to design the exterior and another couple of weeks (1-2 hours/day) to come up with the interior. The inspirations and ideas, however, came from the many trips we took to Germany, and the ability to look at all the traditional buildings up close and in person.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
One of the hardest parts of this product idea was to stay under the designated 3,000 piece limit, especially since the roof already took up many pieces to create. So for the rest of the build, I had to find creative ways to limit the number of pieces I’d be using without compromising the number of details I wanted to include. As for the actual building steps, the most difficult part was to create the round shingles roof in the front of the cottage.
- If you could talk to yourself before you started on this project, what would you tell him/her? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
I would remind myself to save, save, save the project file often! Roughly halfway through the design of the model, the app crashed and I lost a day’s worth of work. Luckily, it didn't take me as long to recreate the lost sections since I already knew what to do.
- 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 roughly 2 months to build the model and another week to render the images and upload them to LEGO Ideas.
I didn’t spend too much time promoting my idea, but I posted a few updates to help keep the popularity level of my design steady.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
Altogether it took a little over 2 months to reach 10,000 votes. When my product idea reached roughly 9,000 votes in June 2021, I was getting excited and hoping to see it reach the 10,000 mark on my birthday in July. Once it reached the 10,000 mark a week before my birthday I was thrilled. To celebrate, my family and went out and bought chocolate milkshakes (my favorite dessert).
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
My favorite building technique is the shingled roof technique. Most German homes are made with dark orange tiles and I really wanted to capture the looks of these tile roofs correctly in my design. I spend a good amount iterating on the design of the roof before I was happy with the way it turned out.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
I built my model on LDCad (which I highly recommend) and then rendered the images on Bricklink Stud.io (which I also highly recommend).
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
Yes, I would advise everyone to spend the time necessary to perfect the build and pictures. Never rush anything, no matter how unimportant or small the task seems to be. Also once you finish the submission, don’t be too pushy with getting people to support it. That might just drive people away.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
I actually didn’t advertise my product idea at all. Previously, I was always under the impression that a product idea can only reach 10k with the help of advertising on social media, and only if the person who created the model had a lot of followers on that particular social media account. I am happy that this is not necessarily the case. I believe that if someone creates a well-designed and appealing product idea it can reach 10k without any advertising help outside of the LEGO Ideas platform itself!
- 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 official Ideas set is Pirates of Barracuda Bay. However, I recently ordered the Treehouse and I’m really looking forward to building it.
As for product ideas that are not official LEGO sets, I really like the “Fantasy Castle” by LEGO Monkey and the “Viking Village” by BrickHammer.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
The ability to share designs with other LEGO fans and the ability to comment and support them is what I like most about the platform. Of course, the ability to win prizes and rewards is a huge bonus!
A tip I would give to someone who is thinking about uploading an idea would be to “think outside the box”. I mean this metaphorically and literally. Try not square builds with 90-degree angles. Instead add some sections that are round, triangular, pyramid, etc. Refrain from making a simple “box” shape.
- 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?
I sure do! My next product idea is going to stick with the theme of culture and traditions from different areas around the world. I’m hoping to create a design that incorporates many traditional Japanese architectural features.
- 10k club
- 10k club interview
- product idea