Blog |

10K CLUB INTERVIEW: Movie Set and The Nanny by Lionel Martin and Max Brich

Today's 10K Club Interview is dedicated to two builders Lionel Martin (aka Castor-Troy) and Max Brich, who have in current review not one but two projects The Nanny and Movie Set. As they say, cooperation is not always easy, but it has paid off twice! Help us congratulate them and learn more about their creations. 

ABOUT YOURSELF

  1. Who are you? 

    Castor Troy: My name is Lionel MARTIN but my friends call me “Castor”.



    Max Brich: I prefer to stay anonymous, but Max Brich is not my real name, it is just a silly pun based on the romantic composer Max Bruch. :)


     
  2. Where are you from?

    Castor Troy: I live in a small village in the middle of France.

    Max Brich: I live in Paris.
     
  3. How old are you?

    Castor Troy:
    I am 48 years old.

    Max Brich: I am 36.
     
  4. What do you do for a living?

    Castor Troy: I'm like Chandler (in Friends): IT manager but nobody really knows what I'm doing.

    Max Brich: I am a software engineer.
     
  5. What hobbies do you have?

    Castor Troy: I play LEGO, I play drums in a band (with friends), I like spending time with my loved ones (my daughters, my family, and friends); I am a big fan of Prince. 

    Max Brich: I play the violin. I’m part of a video game modding team (as a programmer). I used to be an avid badminton player, but I had to stop due to injury.
     
  6. Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?

    Castor Troy: You can follow me on:
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CastorTroyLego
    Flickr: Castor Troy | Flickr
    Instagram : lego_castor_troy 

    Max Brich: Nothing more than what is already on LEGO Ideas.
     
  7. 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?

    Castor Troy: One of the creations I'm most proud of is the one I made with my friend Dominique Damerose (Domino39): “Paris Steampunk 1889”. We've been working for almost 3 years on this project which contains 700,000 pieces. When we have the opportunity to assemble the entire diorama at an exhibition, we are still impressed with the result.







    Max Brich: Not easy to answer that question after Castor Troy! It is not really a LEGO creation, but I’m proud of the video I made for our project “The Silver Arrow”. But the creations I’m the proudest of are the ones my son makes and randomly scatters around the house!
     
  8. How and when did your interest in LEGO products come about?

    Castor Troy:
    I have been playing LEGO since the age of 7 with the bulk of my uncles' parts. Then I asked for LEGO as a gift for my birthdays and Christmas until I was 18. I took up my passion again in 2006 with the birth of my daughter Lilou.

    Max Brich: I loved LEGO as a kid, but I completely stopped in my teenage years. My interest came back when my elder son became old enough to play with LEGO. I was looking for parts on the internet to restore some childhood sets, when I stumbled, by chance, upon LEGO Ideas. I immediately liked the concept, and I installed a couple of digital design software to give it a try.
     
  9. 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. 

    Castor Troy:
    LEGO takes an important part of my life. I am a creator and I am the first fan of all other creators. I spend a lot of time on Flickr and I think I have a good historical culture of the creations posted on the internet. I particularly like making large dioramas that keep me busy for 2 or 3 years.

    I decided with friends to extend my passion by creating a permanent gallery in my city which will be dedicated to the exhibition of dioramas and original creations. Our association is called “La Maison de la brique et du diorama” (The House of Brick and Diorama). We hope to be able to welcome our first creations and thus visitors from January 2022.

    Max Brich: At first it was mostly a father and son activity. But now it is also a serious, creative hobby. I like that it requires various skills beyond LEGO modeling, like drawing, 3D modeling, video editing, advertisement, etc.
     
  10. What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?

    Castor Troy:
    My favorite theme is still steampunk. It's a theme that brings together many LEGO enthusiasts. The possibilities are endless, the architectural, sartorial, and technical aesthetics are very rich and very varied. I dream of a very nice LEGO set dedicated to this theme (who knows, maybe a LEGO Ideas project with Max Brich)

    Max Brich: As a kid, I really enjoyed pirates sets (1989) and space (blacktron 1&2). I’m not extremely aware of current themes, but I really like the 3 in 1 creator series. Those are fantastic for creativity and very accessible for kids.
     
  11. What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?

    Castor Troy: Beyond the childhood sets like the LL928 ship or the 6374 Villa, I would choose 2 sets that changed my approach to creation: The modular building "Hotel 10224" and "the Haunted House" 10228. The first one gave the basis of a dream construction theme for all the AFOLs, and the second one incites us to break out the structures and to dare different colors and shapes.

    Max Brich: My favorite set is the Caribbean clipper 6274. This is the set of my childhood. Building it with my dad when I was 5 or 6 is one of my fondest childhood memories.
     
  12. What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?

    Castor Troy: Ref 4070 brick 1x1 with a headlight and 41682 brackets 2x2 – 1x2 centered. 
    The first one is very beautiful by itself with so many possible uses. And the second one is recent that I love to use to create original facades.
       
    Max Brich: Ref 2412 grille tile. From a decoration perspective, that part really does so much with so little. It can radically affect the look of your model! Fortunately, Castor Troy is here to restrain me from overusing it in our builds. :) 
     
  13. Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?

    Castor Troy: There are a lot of designers that I love like my friend Domino39, Ochre Jelly, Eero Okkonen, Letranger Absurde, LegoHaulic…but there are 2 that had a major influence on my creation: César Soares and the best of the best Derfel Cadarn. When we see his creations from 2011 till 2015, he goes beyond anything we can see currently. This guy is a genius!
    My first big creation was “the Vampire castle”: if you see it, you’ll understand where my inspiration comes from. It is moreover a creation that I cannot break

    Max Brich: Castor Troy! (obviously)
     
  14. Is there one or more particular LEGO-related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?

    Castor Troy: I really like the Youtube channel of our friend Brickmitri:
    ttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-ZDWS69odM3k6nDfv7udjw

    Max Brich: same!

     

ABOUT YOUR PROJECT

  1. Where did your interest in this particular model come from?

    THE NANNY
    Castor Troy: It's a very special project for me because my youngest daughter is a big fan of the TV show. She loves to imitate Fran Fine. We started with the idea of a very nice New York building with a lot of play-ability and modularity. 

    Max Brich: I was not very familiar with the show, but Castor showed me some early versions of the first two floors of the building, and I was quickly convinced that it would be a great collaborative project.



    MOVIE SET
    Castor Troy: We exchanged ideas with Max Brich to identify the best idea (among our small list): we had to tick the boxes: aesthetics + playability + modularity (and popularity). I said to Max: let's build a set that we would like to buy.

    Max Brich: I liked a lot the idea of combining facades into a single building. Modularity made it also very easy to split the work since each facade could be designed almost independently from the others.


     
  2. 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?

    THE NANNY

    Castor Troy: For a project, there is always a first version that gives the general appearance. Then gradually, we improve the solidity, the details, the aesthetics. We spent a lot of time on this project to find the right combination.

    Max Brich: The minifigs alone took several weeks to design. We spent quite some time selecting the best outfits, so each character could be easily identified.

    MOVIET SET
    Castor Troy: I build facades quite easily and Max also has a strong contribution to the creation: it is not so easy to be 2 to create and you have to know how to listen to the other one's critiques. Once the concept was defined, we completed it with the filming device. I am now creating a large diorama (2 x 3 meters) of an abandoned amusement park (Horrifik Land): spectators will be able to put their smartphone on a wagon and leave with a video on the scale of a minifig. We were inspired by this idea.

    Max Brich: I spent about one month on the model itself, and one month on renderings.
     
  3. What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?

    THE NANNY
    Castor Troy: The biggest difficulty in reproducing a TV show is creating beautiful figurines. Fran Drescher's hair is impossible to reproduce without a custom piece. Max did a crazy job :)

    Max Brich: I also remember that at some point, Castor realized that the building was a few studs too wide, and decided to shrink it. Which of course, required the whole model to be reworked. Anyone who has already designed a model will understand his pain at this particular moment :)

    MOVIET SET
    Castor Troy: The greatest technical difficulty is to bring together the facades to form a single large modular building. It is empty but it can also be used to store accessories.

    Max Brich: The most difficult part for me was to create facades that would not look pale in comparison with those designed by Castor Troy! Another major difficulty for me was designing the main picture of the project. Displaying 8 facades in a single, appealing picture proved itself to be a headache. But I’m really happy with the final result.
     
  4. 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?

    Castor Troy: Frankly, leave creation as it is. If it appeals to LEGO fans and if it appeals to the LEGO team as well, the professional designers will make it one of the most beautiful LEGO Ideas sets

    Max Brich: I would tell myself that the project has potential for great success on LEGO Ideas, so it is well worth trying to optimize the visuals even more :)
     
  5. 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 NANNY

    Castor Troy: First, we had to review the series and identify the rooms we wanted to reproduce. The fans asked us (demanded) to create the Kitchen. There were several versions until we got an original project. In the end, we decided to make a 2 in 1 with the rear facade that turns into a kitchen.
    The promotion was long and we had a lot of great projects competing on LEGO Ideas. With The Nanny, we got a better understanding of how marketing works and I also made mistakes. It took almost 1 year to get the 10k. By talking to Aymeric who is the author of the set “Friends”, we understood that we had to be patient.

    Max Brich: Overall it took about 3 months to release the first version of the project. But then we kept adding new content and new visuals for quite some time.

    MOVIET SET
    Castor Troy: We had to spend 1 month finalizing the techniques and the shape of the facades. Then Max did the renderings and the staging.
    It was the most difficult: showing all the extent of the playability in 1 single photo without putting any text  (please, read the rules! LOL)
    And for the promotion, we were very lucky because the project became very popular immediately. After 5k votes, it took a bit longer but still at a steady rate. We made 4 or 5 posts on FB.

    Max Brich: So that’s about 2 months to complete the project, and then 2 months to reach 10k, which was faster than our wildest expectations!
     
  6. How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?

    THE NANNY
    Castor Troy: in fact, it is our first successful project together and it is the most important for me, for my daughter. When we approach 9,000 and there are still many voting days left, we know we will succeed in reaching the top. There is less surprise but I am particularly happy that this project is qualified. Frankly, we are very proud of the result.

    Max Brich: Extremely happy of course! And especially happy for Castor and his daughters. 

    MOVIET SET
    Castor Troy: We had a drink remotely with Max (via Skype): it's the first time I've seen his face since we've been working together (for about a year and a half). In fact, I think we were relieved and happy to take a break.

    Max Brich: Obviously we felt extremely happy. At some point, it became obvious that the project was on its way to 10k, but even then we were anxiously monitoring the numbers, hoping that the support rate would not tragically drop all of a sudden. :)
     
  7. Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?

    THE NANNY
    Max Brich: We started at around 2500, but the latest additions (tree, 2 in 1 kitchen) brought us pretty close to 3000.

    MOVIET SET
    Castor Troy: 2900 bricks

    Max Brich: But we would gladly have used more! At first, we had ambitious plans to fill the big building with some studios, a dressing room, etc. But we quickly realized this idea would have to be abandoned in order to stay within the limits.
     
  8. What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?

    THE NANNY
    Castor Troy: I am happy with the modularity we offer with the presentation possibilities.

    Max Brich: My favorite part is the rear facade that can be turned into a kitchen.  Some day Castor brought up that crazy idea. I was skeptical at first, but he executed it brilliantly!  

    MOVIET SET
    Castor Troy: The blue house has 5 studs wide windows, the chocolate factory and the bookstore have SNOT columns with 2 different and new techniques, the smartphone cart will be very popular with brickfilm directors.







    Max Brich: I like the turquoise facade the most. I also like the decorations on the chairs of the Brasserie.
     
  9. If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
    Stud.io was used for design, Blender was used for renderings and decorated parts.
     
  10. If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?

    Max Brich: The simplest shapes were directly drawn over the 3D model in Blender. The others were drawn with Inkscape.

     

ABOUT LEGO IDEAS

  1. Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?

    Castor Troy: The first image is like a job interview, it must catch on at the first glance. And read the rules…! I think we have the number of refusals record with Max. (LOL) 

    Max Brich: Aim for the highest level of quality, especially in your visuals. At some point, it can be tempting to just submit a project that is not perfectly finalized, and tell yourself that you can still make some improvements later. But remember: you need to wait for 30 days before being able to edit your project. By that time, it may already be too late! The first days are critical.
     
  2. What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea? 

    Castor Troy: We posted on FB, Flickr, and a bit of Instagram. I tried Vk and Pikabu but it's complicated. For the Nanny project, it was quite difficult to mobilize the fans and get them to create an account. The fans are adults and it is less obvious than with a project dedicated to children or teenagers.

    Max Brich: Our biggest move was to change the main picture of the project. It really improved the support rate significantly.
     
  3. What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?

    Castor Troy:
    I think my friend Guillaume's globe (DisneyBrick55) will be a huge success. We exhibited together in Reims in March 2020 just before the health crisis and he had just had 2x10k (Globe + Mary Poppins): I was 99% sure that the globe would win. I am very happy with his success and he promised me a globe as a gift!

    Max Brich: My favorite is probably The Pirate Bay by Bricky_Brick in its original version. Not that I don’t like the official one, but the original had a different flavor.
    Regarding overlooked product ideas, I think there are many, many good projects that don’t get popular. The most cruelly underrated ones that come to my mind are the creations of Manticore57.
     
  4. What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?

    Castor Troy:
    It all depends on the goals you set: get 1k, 10k, or win.
    For our first project with Max (a steampunk ship: “Silver Arrow”) we spent hours on the project, it's a creation that the public loves on display, exhibition, or on Flickr. Max made a video of a professional level with the music composed by my brother and yet it is a huge fail!
    It has been very hard for us.
    You have to accept that a project that seems totally worthless to you will be appreciated more than yours.

    Max Brich: The idea that anyone can submit a build that may eventually become an actual set is extremely appealing to me. I’m also a fairly competitive person, so trying hard to reach the difficult objective of 10k supporters is definitely something I enjoy :) My n°1 tip would be: enjoy the creative process no matter what. If your project does not get as popular as expected, it may be disappointing at first, but chances are that someday you will look back on it and be happy you made it nonetheless.
     
  5. 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?
    It is already submitted! It is called “Steampunk Explorers”. Make sure to go check it here https://ideas.lego.com/projects/05b47ad9-0b92-493d-a65c-83eb9990e483
  • film
  • cinema
  • camera
  • animation
  • modular
  • nanny
  • 10k club
  • 10k club interview
  • 10k
  • product idea
Published
137 comments
137 comments