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Meet the Ideas Test Lab Fourth Build Challenge Winners

Meet the Ideas Test Lab Fourth Build Challenge Winners

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In early April, we had the pleasure to announce the four amazing winners of the LEGO Ideas Test Lab Fourth Build Challenge (we might need a shorter name - even L.I.T.L.F.B.C is a bit of a mouthful) and have since been in touch with all four creative masterminds to hear more about them and their experience participating on this short but enriching journey with us. 

As part of their prize, building instructions for the Kids Vote winners' models will be featured in LEGO Life in the near future.

Keep reading to learn more about what drove their desire to participate in the challenge and what inspired their particular models!

First Place - Scary Scorpion! by rjhanson36

  1. Can you tell us a little more about yourself?
    I’m Richard Hanson, age 45, English, but living and working in finance in Switzerland.
     
  2. Why did you decide to participate in the Test Lab Challenge?
    I enjoy competitions as they give you an initial idea to work towards. This challenge had the constraints of building from a single set which I think forced you to be creative in how you use the pieces. I also thought that this was a very open and fair competition as everyone had the same bricks to use and enough time - you didn’t have to have loads of bricks and build something huge – the challenge was really on being creative. It was also good to be involved on an online forum with other builders at the same time where you could see their ideas and discuss LEGO related topics.
     
  3. What inspired you to build your particular Fourth Build?
    I’m a big dinosaur fan, and I have a number of the older LEGO Dino sets too, so this set was the obvious choice for me to start with. I thought the set also had a good mix of pieces; the joints would let me to create a playable and movable model and there were also enough coloured tiles and bricks to make it look good. I started by building the T-Rex Dino from the official instructions to get a feel of the set and what I could use, and when I’d finished the model, my wife said the tail looked a bit like a scorpion’s tail – and that was the spark I needed to get creating.


    ^ Mind blown! Richard built himself, building his Scary Scorpion. We're especially big fans of Wall-E hiding in the back!
     
  4. What challenges did you face when building your Fourth Build?
    The first step was to build the curved spiked tail as for me this defined the key look of the scorpion, this was the easiest part. I then checked that I had enough parts to build the six middle legs with the small ball/socket joints and claws - it worked out OK but only after I had joined two legs together and added some dark green tiles underneath the legs to give them some more stability – the legs also had to be strong enough to support the whole model.

    The front pincers were fun to create, there’s some sideways building techniques in the claws to add some bulk to make them large enough to look scary and using the darker green parts gave them a nice colour contrast with the body.

    The body was the biggest challenge – I knew that it had to be solid and stable (so it doesn’t come apart easily) and be in scale with the rest of the model. I also wanted the body to have a smooth finish on the top and so the curved elements were great for this. Working on the body took me a couple of hours to get it looking right. It was then a simple task of clicking the legs, pincers and tail onto the body. In the update phase of the challenge I decided to use the leftover tan pieces to make a small rock with a flying insect so I ended up using most of the pieces in the set.
     
  5. There were so many incredible Fourth Builds! Did you have a favourite Fourth Build among other submissions that might not have advanced to further stages?
    In the top 10 I liked the ‘Aquatic Bird’ as it was such an elegant looking build and a good use of the cockpit pieces to give a curved shape. I also liked the ‘Shark Diver’ in the Top 40 as this really captured the sinister look of a shark with the large fin and piercing eyes. It’s interesting that these two sets were both from the Air Blazer set which I think was more difficult than the Dino
    set to use given the more limited parts choice. Also I like the fact that they both changed the vehicle model into an animal.
     
  6. What are you going to do with all the LEGO Creator 3in1 sets you’ve just won?
    I have obviously selected quite a lot of Dinosaur sets – some to build and display myself, but also some to give to friends with the digital instructions for my Scary Scorpion build.

    I’ve also selected enough robots for a small robot-army, maybe I’ll see if I can incorporate EV3 or Power Function bricks in them to control them remotely.

    I have also chosen quite a few of the Buildings sets as these will go into my brick collection as parts for new models as I enjoy creating minifigure scale modular buildings.

 

Second Place - Dino Island Recon Plane by jjrailton

  1. Can you tell us a little more about yourself?
    My name's Jason Railton, I'm 44 years old, and I live in Farnborough in the UK - home of the International Air Show. I'm a software developer for a specialist department within a larger electronics company.
     
  2. Why did you decide to participate in the Test Lab Challenge?
    I've always enjoyed building alternate models from a single set. I miss the old days of LEGO where alternate designs were always printed on the back of the box. Back in 1999 I started buying LEGO again and the first set I bought was the 7130 Snowspeeder. I remember building an Imperial Shuttle, X-Wing, and even a passable TIE Interceptor out of just the parts in that set.
     
  3. What inspired you to build your particular Fourth Build?
    I usually start out by laying the pieces out in front of me, working out what I have in multiples and symmetrical pairs, then move them round until something suggests itself. I didn't want to do the obvious thing and build another dinosaur, and the shapes suggested the curved and tapered wings of a propeller aircraft, so I went with that. I counted the claws and clips to hold them on and figured out a way of making a spinning propeller.

    I also like to look at what hinges, clips and brackets can be used to maybe make a larger structure than the original. I realised that an aircraft would still be in shades of green and tan so I embraced that to style it as a plane for an explorer. And I could use the joints to hold the wings on and make them fold up like an old carrier aircraft.
     
  4. What challenges did you face when building your Fourth Build?
    I'd already started photographing the aircraft when it was confirmed we weren't to use the spare parts from the box in our models. I'd used an extra 1x1 plate that I had to take away. At first it made the nose of the model a bit flimsy; I thought of using the round plates instead but I really liked them as lights on the wings. There wasn't room to put clips inside the nose, and on the tail a clip would stick out oddly to one side. But then I realised I'd used two black rods in the rockets on the side, and was only allowed one. So I added it to the tail and said it was for smoke signals!

    Often I find when you get really stuck or are just a little short of parts, that difficulty inspires you to think harder and come up with something even better!
     
  5. There were so many incredible Fourth Builds! Did you have a favourite Fourth Build among other submissions that might not have advanced to further stages?
    That's a difficult question, as several of the finalists had some brilliant things amongst their other submissions that didn't go through. The one I think I missed most was scarrill, who made a really creepy Pterygotus (ancient sea-scorpion) that looks like it's about to flip into life at any moment. He also made a great Stegosaurus and a Dunkleosteus (ancient armoured fish).
     
  6. What are you going to do with all the LEGO Creator 3in1 sets you’ve just won?
    Well, some of mine will be going to 'Fairy Bricks', a charity that raises money to give LEGO sets to the children's wards of hospitals around the UK.

    As for the rest, a few will be used to build some of the models from this competition. I still haven't built the original T-Rex from the Mighty Dinosaurs set as I didn't want to be influenced by the official models!

    There are some great parts in the Creator sets, and with the hinged town and beach houses it'll be fun to be able to build two of each and put them back-to-back to make complete buildings!

 

Third Place - Mighty Dinosaurs - Green Ankylosaurus by Lord_Mithrandir

  1. Can you tell us a little more about yourself?
    Hello everyone! I am Matteo D'Arsié, or don Matteo D'Arsié. In fact, the "don" in front of my name in my country, Italy, is used to designate Catholic priests.

    I come from a county called Cappella Maggiore, about 80 km from Venice. I'm almost 32 years old and, as mentioned above, I am a priest and I exercise my ministry in four parishes close to my hometown.

    I am a LEGO addict since I got my first boxes of Basic bricks when I was about a year old. This passion has never turned off and to those who asked me: "What do you want to be?" I answered: "A LEGO engineer".

  2. Why did you decide to participate in the Test Lab Challenge?
    I am honoured to have been chosen to be part of the community site Lego Ideas Test Lab. I said to myself “why not try it”! I made four models, one for each set. Then, I had a brainstorm and I designed my Green Ankylosaurus.

    I never imagined that the latter project could have hope of entering one of the winners of the Challenge.
     
  3. What inspired you to build your particular Fourth Build?
    Dinosaurs have always fascinated me. Looking at the pieces that make up the set Mighty Dinosaurs, I was struck by the teeth of the T-Rex. Why not use them as ridges / bone horns of an Ankylosaurus? From this, the project was born.
     
  4. What challenges did you face when building your Fourth Build?
    In general, the biggest challenge was to create a project with a limited number of pieces. I'm used to using all the pieces I want to.

    Another challenge was working with LDD, as I did not have the right bricks on hand. This model was difficult to realise as it had not been built in real bricks.
     
  5. There were so many incredible Fourth Builds! Did you have a favourite Fourth Build among other submissions that might not have advanced to further stages?
    I voted for several models and there are several I like. However, I find it hard to give a ranking.
     
  6. What are you going to do with all the LEGO Creator 3in1 sets you’ve just won?
    I think I'll build the sets and create new adventures!

 

Brick Vote Winner - Locust/Grasshopper by autoreverse

  1. Can you tell us a little more about yourself?
    I'm Rafik, French, 40 and have 2 kids. My job revolves around water quality in hospitals and retirement homes.

    I was offered my first LEGO set as an adult, 5 years ago (a Mindstorms NXT 2.0) and it has been a passion ever since. The themes I enjoy the most are Technic and Creator.
     
  2. Why did you decide to participate in the Test Lab Challenge?
    Because it was a very accessible contest, with simple rules – the same raw material and a free theme. Of course, the fact that I already owned the "Mighty Dinosaurs" set when I learnt about the challenge also helped.

    What I love about alternate builds is that any given inventory has the potential to express one's creativity. The outcome of this contest says it all: it is outstanding! Browsing these hundreds of inventive entries has been a lot of fun!
     
  3. What inspired you to build your particular Fourth Build?
    This set inspired me toward several alternate builds, but the locust is the only one that took colour consistency with the model into account. At first I thought that the smoothness and glossiness of the black ball element would make a very decent eye for an insect... A green insect? The idea of a grasshopper soon popped up. The building went surprisingly well, and the grasshopper turned into a locust because I could not give it long antennae, which are a distinct trait of this animal. But that's nit-picking, so let's say it's whichever you prefer!
     
  4. What challenges did you face when building your Fourth Build?
    I built the first version of the locust for myself, before I knew about this challenge. So I had overlooked several rules and basic principles, such as that it used several extra parts, the attachment of the antennae would have been considered as an "illegal build" according to LEGO standards, and it was too fragile (the legs especially) to be manipulated by a kid. Turning it into a proper entry was a very interesting exercise that included parts reassignment, compromises to be made between looks and sturdiness and unforeseen solutions popping out. With each iteration, the versatility of these little bricks proved to be very helpful. And the final version turned out to be my favourite in every way.
     
  5. There were so many incredible Fourth Builds! Did you have a favourite Fourth Build among other submissions that might not have advanced to further stages?
    Many of the builds that had caught my eye made it into the "top 40", but many more didn't. No surprise, since the number of entries was impressive and the overall quality level was so high!

    Here are just a few of the many entries that I think deserve some light: Chubbybots' "Green Mech", Leewan's "Mecha", King_Arthur's "Dino Hunter", Tankm's "Pre-historic BAT-man", Vedosololego's "Dragonfly above the lake", Tomik's "Little crocodile", Appabrick's "Microscale Marina"

    But my absolute favourite entry in this challenge is Deviltanaka's "Ammonite". It's so lively and original!
     
  6. What are you going to do with all the LEGO Creator 3in1 sets you’ve just won?
    Build each of them (I can't wait!) then have many more "Fourth Build challenges" with my kids! Offer some to relatives and friends. And boost my stock if there are some boxes left (no doubt there will be).

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