In today's 10K Club interview we introduce Ben Croot aka bencroot19. We welcome Ben to the 10k Club for the first time and this is due to his creative thinking, which gave rise to this iconic British racing car - 4½-Litre 1927-31 Bentley ‘Blower’.
- Who are you?
My name is Ben Croot.
- Where are you from?
I am from a city in the UK called Wolverhampton.
- How old are you?
I am 19 years old.
- What do you study or do for a living?
I am currently finishing my first year in Architecture at University.
- What hobbies do you have?
My main hobbies are building LEGO, painting/drawing people's portraits, and making videogame/film character masks.
- 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?
My favourite moc has to be this project because I have come so far with it on LEGO Ideas.
- How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
I believe my interest in building things all began from playing with building blocks at an early age. LEGO entered my life when I was about 9 years old, with my first set being the 3221 LEGO truck.
- 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.
LEGO is special to me because it has always kept me interested. LEGO means spending a long time in my bedroom playing around with bricks. Now that I'm older I’m able to get more technical and involved with the projects I do, and it's really nice to see that kind of development coming from my childhood toy.
- 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 favourite theme has to be LEGO Technic because I love making models of cars that mimic real features like drive shafts and steering. My ideal model would perfectly combine normal LEGO bricks with Technic parts to create a model in between the Technic series and Creator series vehicles.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
My favourite LEGO set is the 76023 Bat Tumbler because it combines my passion for cars as well as for Batman!
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
I don’t have a favourite brick as such, I am drawn to LEGO wheels though because they have a large influence on whether a car model is successful.
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
The Bentley Blower is the late 1920s/early 1930s British racing car. I wanted to build a car that was a British classic, something with history to it, and when I saw the Bentley Blower I could see it working in LEGO bricks.
- 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 entire process lasted around eight months. My first stage was all about collecting images of the car. I bought the Haynes car manual for the Bentley which gave me a closer look at the car's structure. Prior to building, I always like to draw out the cars’ chassis and body on paper using my LEGO wheels as a base point for the scale.
I am someone who has to have the parts in my hand to develop my designs, and so my building phase is never digital. Countless design iterations eventually ended in a model made up of multi-colored parts from my own sorted brick collection. I spray-painted the necessary parts green and designed my own stickers to complete my first LEGO version of the Bentley Blower.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
The steering was the hardest task by far because I wanted the model to mimic a steering function known as ‘worm and wheel’ in a way I haven't ever seen done in LEGO before.
- 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 often find myself being too much of a perfectionist, a problem I face in my studies as well as in LEGO! So the lesson I would tell myself is to have a go at all the other sections before trying to completely perfect the current one so that you can develop the model as a whole.
- 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 Bentley took about a year and 10 months to reach 10,000 votes, a lot longer in comparison to my build time of eight months.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
I worked really hard trying to reach the magic 10,000 and when it did it just felt incredible. I feel as if I have come on a journey in gathering the support: I have met new people, learned new skills, and even got to see the Bentley in person so it has been very worthwhile regardless of whether the project gets approved.
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
There are about 1300 parts to the model.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
I think that my favourite part of the model is the steering assembly because I have managed to make it look and work in the same way as the real one does.
- If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
My stickers were digitally hand-drawn on my iPad using a program called Procreate. I drew out the dials on the dashboard with reference to images of the real ones.
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
In my opinion, a successful project will only come if you are really passionate about what you are building. You have to really want it yourself. I have also learned you need to be very persistent and you have to keep pushing for support even when the chances seem low.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
I tried everything I could think of to promote my idea: I contacted classic car-related websites and social pages, I got into the local newspaper, joined LEGO Facebook groups that were linked to general MOC creations/vehicles, and set up an Instagram account specifically for sharing the model. I got into Autocar magazine and also contacted Bentley Motors for their help, which eventually led me to visit and see a real Bentley Blower.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
My favourite LEGO Ideas product is the 21307 Caterham. A past idea I would have loved to build was the Land Rover series 3 by Dadandlad, titled ‘Landrover 4x4’ on LEGO Ideas. I think it captures the essence of the car so well and is built with elegant simplicity.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
I love LEGO Ideas because it gives us as fans the rare and very exciting opportunity to influence the world with our creations. When uploading an idea I think it's vital that your front image captures your concept as best as possible. I wish I named my project ‘The Bentley Blower’ rather than the long name I gave it, so my other advice is to keep things clear and simple.
- 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 will definitely be submitting to the LEGO Ideas platform again. I don’t know whether it will be a car this time but it is very likely to have moving Technic parts.
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