In today's 10K Club Interview we meet LEGO Ideas member John Cramp aka Bricked1980 and his creation Brick Town Police Station. Please welcome and help congratulate John and learn more about his creation.
- Who are you?
My name’s John Cramp.
- Where are you from?
I’m from Leicestershire in the UK.
- How old are you?
- What do you do for a living?
I currently work for a local heritage centre/museum and I’m involved with graphic design and marketing there. Before doing this I worked as a graphic designer in the print industry for about 20 years.
- What hobbies do you have?
I’ve always enjoyed being creative and aside from LEGO toys, one of my main hobbies is painting and drawing. I’m also interested in history and nature and love spending time outdoors with my family in the countryside.
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
Yes, I do. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter. I also have a Flickr account.
- 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?
Whenever I post images of my MOCs online, the ones that get the best reaction are my modular buildings. I’ve designed quite a few but the one I’m probably most proud of is “Bricks & Blooms” as this was the first one I posted on LEGO Ideas and was lucky enough to hit 10,000 votes last year.
- How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
I’ve been a big LEGO fan since childhood and growing up in the 80’s LEGO was always my favourite toy. As an AFOL my interest in LEGO was reignited in a big way when I became a Dad and started building again with my kids.
- 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 a massive part of my life. Whether I’m building a LEGO set or reading the latest LEGO news online, watching set reviews on youtube or sharing images of my MOCs on social media, I enjoy all aspects of the LEGO hobby.
- 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 current theme is the modular building series and my inspiration from this can clearly be seen in my MOC’s including Brick Town Police Station. I also love many of the vintage themes from the 80’s and 90’s, especially LEGO Pirates, of which I have a large collection of sets.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
This is a tough question as it’s so hard to choose a favourite. I do have a soft spot for Assembly Square. This is my favourite modular building and it was after building this set a few years ago that I felt inspired to have a go at designing my own MOCs. It’s also the largest set in my collection.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
I‘d have to say any parts with extra studs on the side like 87087 are my favourites. These are incredibly useful and having the studs on the side opens up all sorts of possibilities for different building techniques.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
Jamie Berard. The modular buildings he designed are true classics in my opinion and he set the standard really high with his great design skills and obvious enthusiasm for the modular series.
- Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
I get my daily news fix from Bricksfanz, Brickset and The Brick Fan. I also get a lot of inspiration from seeing MOC’s on Eurobricks, the Brothers Brick and Instagram.
About Your Project
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
I’d wanted to design a police station for a long time but wanted to add something extra to make it stand out against the many other police station fan designs already online.
I came up with the idea of including a doughnut shop next door to the police station which I thought was an original and comical idea that I hadn’t seen anyone try before. Of course, this was all before the announcement of the official LEGO police station modular which was released recently.
- 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 looked at pictures of American architecture online but to be honest I didn’t have to do a great deal of research or prep. From the start, I had a very strong idea in my head of how I wanted the model to look. I wanted the police station section to appear as a rather dominant looking corner building. The doughnut store was included to add a bit of colour and subtle LEGO style humour to the model.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
As is always the case when designing projects for LEGO Ideas, the thing I find most challenging is keeping the part count below 3000 whilst still including all the details and features that the model needs.
- 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 about 5 weeks to design the model and create all the images. Overall I’d estimate I spent much longer promoting the model though.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
I was over the moon when the project reached 10,000 and I’m massively grateful to everyone who took the time to vote. It took around 18 months to hit 10K.
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
The model includes 2826 pieces.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
There are several parts of the model I’m particularly pleased with. The vines and flowers growing up the side of the building are not something you’d normally associate with a police station but adding this really helped to break up the square, blocky nature of the structure and is a great technique for creating some continuation between the various levels/modules of the building.
There are some interior details I’m pleased with as well including a water cooler and a tiny typewriter made up of just 9 bricks.
The model also includes a police car and a parking area at the back of the building.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
I built the model using LDD and Mecabricks.
- If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
No custom prints were used in this model.
About LEGO Ideas
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
Take your time building and make sure all your images and description are as good as you can possibly make them. You will likely need to spend many months promoting your project so make sure the subject of your model is something you’re personally interested in and not just something you’ve made because you think it will appeal to other people.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
My main method of promoting this project was social media sites like Instagram.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
At the time of writing this, I’ve just started building Pirates of Barracuda Bay and I’m blown away by just how good it is. Other favourites are Ghostbusters Ecto 1 and the Treehouse.
- 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’ve recently posted my latest project “The Village Post Office”.I’ve got a couple of other ideas in mind for future projects as well, so watch this space.
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