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10K Club Interview: SWEET HONEY by RobertVII

Welcome to another 10K Club Interview. Today we meet our newest member, Travis Schalhaas, a.k.a. RobertVII, and his bee-tastic SWEET HONEY. Inspired by his love of beekeeping, Travis seeks to recreate his passion in LEGO form and share it with AFOLs across the world. Show Trevor your support in the comments!



  1. Who are you?
    Hello, my name is Travis Schalhaas.

  2. Where are you from?
    South Dakota, USA.
  3. How old are you?
  4. What do you study or do for a living?
    I am an Application Support Analyst for a health care organization so basically I administrator access for our employees to third-party websites so they can bill insurance.
  5. What hobbies do you have?
    Having kids brought me back into the LEGO world big time, so that’s our biggest hobby. I now run a Bricklink store with the help of my wife. Aside from the LEGO hobby, beekeeping is my biggest hobby but I also enjoy video games and board games. 
  6. Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
    I have an Instagram profile: bobs_building_bricks.
  7. 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?
    I have modified versions of a small Tardis and Dalek as well as the 10th and 11th doctors (big Doctor Who fan but sadly can’t submit more Ideas on that IP). I also created an openable Pokeball for my son that was fun experimenting with the SNOT technique.
  8. How and when did your interest in LEGO products come about?
    As early as I can remember we had LEGO bricks growing up and that was my go-to thing. At first, I would play with my older brother’s space sets (I still have them today) then started accumulating my own.
  9. What is the LEGO hobby to you? What does it mean to you? How does it fit in your life? E.g. build, display, meetups, play the games or 'just' watch the cartoons.
    As a kid, LEGO bricks were just a form of play for me and I stopped as I “grew out of it”. Having kids brought back its joys. I believe it’s one of the best things for a kid to learn through play. For me now it’s more of a medium for art that I enjoy putting together and displaying or making my own.

  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?
    This is one that has changed over time. I loved Rock Raiders as a kid and had almost collected all the sets and even had the PC game. Now I really enjoy the Ideas sets as a lot of these I find inspirational and fun to build and display. However, I’m very excited to see what the upcoming Sonic sets bring.
  11. What is your favourite official LEGO set ever? Why?
    This is hard to pick because I have very fond memories of the Rock Raider Tunnel Transport (4980) but the Tree House (21318) brought me back to buying LEGO sets for myself as an adult and helped inspire me to create my own sets.



  1. Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
    I think it's clear my inspiration came from beekeeping. My grandpa was the one that helped me get into beekeeping. Despite having been overly afraid of them in the past, I now love maintaining my hives and have learned so much about them. My goal was to find a way to bring my two passions together so this is how I show that.

  2. How long was the process of making the project, 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 process seemed to be drawn out as I could only work on it here and there, and even had to take breaks from it when I hit a roadblock a few times. It made it feel like it took a long time. I knew beekeeping well enough and had done all the steps first hand so I didn’t have to do any further research on that but playing around with LEGO brick designs and making changes and modifications took some time to fine-tune things.  
  3. What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
    There were 2 main challenges that took more time than the rest. First, I need the comb to be a very distinct hexagonal shape and I felt like the axle connectors did a great job for that, so then finding a way to anchor it to the base and top was a bit tricky. Then I really didn’t want to just have the comb, I needed it to be filled and thought double-sided would be even better in how it makes it more like the real thing. I had to try many different methods to get what I was aiming for. It ended up working very well and allows for customisation with the bees and the honey/wax. 

    The more challenging part, however, was the honey extraction plate. At first, I couldn’t make it work and so I submitted my idea without it originally. Every attempt I came up with was way too large in comparison to the minifigure. I really felt the set was missing a big part of beekeeping without it so I continued tinkering with it and I finally found what I wanted after many attempts to build the extractor in a way that was not clunky or overly large and still have the ability to spin the frames inside.
  4. If you could talk to yourself before you started on this project, what would you tell them? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
    I would tell myself that promoting my set to the right groups so others can find it from day one is super important. I knew I had to get it out there for others to see and support, but I missed the mark on where to share it. I did figure out my target audience along the way but getting that early momentum could have pushed it along faster. 
  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? 
    Hard to say as I had to build this in my spare time and as a father of 4 with way too many house projects to do, it ended up being a bit here and there. From start to finish it was probably around 6 months. I submitted the Idea before it was truly complete as I added the extractor plate about 2 months after I initially submitted it. Compared to the promoting, I spent an hour or so a day each month finding my audience and sharing it with them as well as responding back to all their comments but that was very exciting to hear back all the positive feedback. 

  6. How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take? 
    In fact, I’ve been incredibly thrilled since my creation was posted in LEGO Ideas. But when I got more and more supporters, eventually hitting 10,000, that was definitely very exciting! I had watched it very regularly so I was fairly confident it would make it to the final milestone eventually, given how it was growing pretty steadily. Having that many people like my set enough to take the time and support really feels amazing and I’m so grateful for them. 
  7. Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
    There are about 1,340 parts used and 2 minifigures.
  8. What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
    I like so much about this set obviously, but I would say the thing I like the most is what really brought this set to life, the beehive. Being a beekeeper and AFOL I wanted a LEGO beehive, so the openable beehive was technically my first part of this set but added in later. I had created it with physical bricks to sit on my desk with the CMF beekeeper. When I set out to create this idea I started with the Honey Frame but I really wanted to also bring in my hive and a playability side to it somehow and that spawned the idea of the hexagon plates for each stage of beekeeping.
  9. If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
    I did build it all digitally as well as sections of it with physical bricks. I used Bricklink’s studio for rendering it.
  10. If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them? 
    I only had one custom print/sticker and that’s for the name on the honey stand. I used Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to help put that in place. 



  1. Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
    Building something you're passionate about goes a long way. When you hit those roadblocks or frustrating sections it helps you keep the momentum needed to finish the set. You then also need to find a way to bring it to those that share the same passion. Being a beekeeper, I wanted this to be something that represented it accurately so that adults could enjoy it and kids could play and learn from it.
  2. What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support for your Product Idea? 
    Primarily Facebook groups. I shared my idea periodically in both LEGO-themed groups and bee/beekeeping groups. Originally, I went after LEGO groups only but those that shared the same passion for bees and beekeeping also helped launch this idea. 
  3. What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
    As I mentioned before the Treehouse (21318) is probably my favourite as it brought me back to buying LEGO sets for myself as an adult.
  4. What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
    The Ideas platform gives me a chance to create something that’s missing in the LEGO Group's massive collection. Aside from a small Friends set and Minecraft’s version of Beekeeping, we haven’t seen a true beekeeping set and so I have the opportunity to create that for others to also enjoy.
  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?
    I do have other ideas I’m hoping to submit at some point. It's been exciting to see one come to 10,000 so I don’t think ill stop with just 1.

  • 10k club
  • product idea
  • 10k club interview
  • travis schalhaas
  • sweet honey

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