Chitty is back! Today we will talk about a double 10k badge holder - Chris aka Norders. His Chitty Flies Again model made it to the review for the second time and Chris presents his latest version of this unusual vehicle.
- Who are you?
- Where are you from?
I’m from Guildford in the UK. Fun fact: The building of Guildford Cathedral in the ’50s used crowd-funded bricks! More than 200,000 people paid £6 each (in today’s money) to sign their name on a brick.
- How old are you?
- What do you study or do for a living?
I’m a mobile software engineer (I write apps for phones and tablets).
- What hobbies do you have?
Loads, but particularly during the pandemic I’ve been doing lots of DIY, as I guess a lot of people have.
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
I don’t really have a big portfolio. I wish I had time to do more building… maybe when I retire!
- 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?
As a 10-year-old (a long time ago) I built numerous models out of my Technic Car Chassis set. One of them was a robot head that had moveable eyes, mouth, eyebrows, eyelids and the whole thing could swivel. It even had a speaker in the mouth that you could hook up to a tape player to make it talk! I was very proud of that one.
- How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
I expect the same as most people - very young, maybe 5 or 6. I think I had a dumper truck and forklift (maybe 622-1 and 425).
- 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, LEGO is a lot like phone and tablet programming. It’s primarily about solving hard problems and making the creation work, visually and technically. Your creation has been perfectly functional but also looks great.
- 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 had loads of LEGO Space sets in the ‘80s - and now have many broken ‘Bennie’ space helmets! I like modern studless Technic, but I actually prefer the original Technic studded beams that blend perfectly with System bricks.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
It’s the original Technic Car Chassis set 8860. It was under the Christmas tree one year and the box was HUGE! I’ve still got all the bits now - I re-built it with my son 35 years on and it was perfect!
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
The original minifig red construction worker’s hard-hat. I think it’s one of my first memories of LEGO in the 70s.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
I’m constantly inspired by everyone the on LEGO Ideas platform. There are some incredible submissions and so many of them!
- Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
Besides the usual suspects, Eurobricks always has something that will make you smile on the front page. Given the times we’re living in, we all need a smile.
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
This is the third version of Chitty on LEGO Ideas that I’ve submitted. The first version did OK, but it expired. The second version was overhauled and I actually built it too, and it hit 10K. For whatever reason, it was not approved, so I decided to give it one more shot. Things change over time so you never know!
- 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?
There were always lots of things I wanted to make better on Chitty. This version gave me the opportunity to get rid of the remaining niggles. She was too wide. The running lights were too fragile. There was no fuel tank. The seats didn’t look as I wanted them, and so on. The revamp took a couple of weeks of pulling the virtual car to bits, honing the parts, and putting it back together.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
When designing the original digital model I didn’t realise some of the parts were not available in the required colours. So when it came to building it for real some painting was required 😱. The wheels for instance are all painted with red enamel. Also, there’s no such part as the yellow 6x6 tile that is used in the wings. So they're painted yellow.
The hardest part of the build was the folding wing mechanism. It took some thinking to come up with that but it works really well!
- 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?
If you’re going to design digitally, build tricky functional mechanisms for real first. I spent far too long trying to solve problems in software that would have been much easier to solve with real LEGO.
- 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?
This version (being an evolution) took two to three weeks. I think the previous entry was well-liked, so the re-submission rose quite quickly on its own.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
It was just that - magical! It only took about 4 months to reach 10K this time, which is awesome.
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
This version is around 2,500 pieces.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
My favourite technique in the model is the ‘bonnet cowl’, which uses two flexible hoses that are bent into a horse-shoe shape. 1x1 clips are attached to the hoses, folded down, and then slopes are attached to the clips.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
I use Studio exclusively now. It’s so easy to use and is being constantly updated, which is great. For me, its photo-real renderer is the best way of bringing your digital models to life, short of building it for real of course!
- If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
There are just a few small stickers in this version that I think make a big difference. There are brass nuts on the wheels, brass vents on the running boards, and the iconic “GEN 11” plates front and back.
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
Make your idea something that is able to stand on its own and be wholly self-contained. The viewer (a potential supporter) needs to be able to recognise what it is right away from the primary image.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
This version of Chitty seems to be a self-driving car 😄, and drove herself to 10K, (ok with a helping hand from some of her supporters). Previously I tried to give the model lots of exposure on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
My current favourite model is the playable mini-golf. I think it has everything that would make a great Ideas set.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
Build it if you can. But if it’s digital, render it in Studio. It’s imperative that the images are photo quality.
- 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 am working on something that I hope will again appeal to AFOLs of my generation.
- 10k club
- 10k club interview
- lego idea
- classic car
- flying car
- classic vehicle