Let's meet 10k Club member and creator of British-style Village Post Office model representing rural village life, set during the early 1930s - John Cramp (Bricked1980). The inspiration for the architecture of the building comes from childhood memories and it's packed with lots of details. Find out more about the model he is most proud of and let him know what you think in the comments!
- Who are you?
Hi everyone, my name’s John Cramp, better known online as Bricked1980.
- Where are you from?
I’m from the county of Leicestershire in England.
- How old are you?
40 years young.
- What do you study or do for a living?
I’m a graphic designer working for a local history/heritage centre.
- What hobbies do you have?
Building and designing with LEGO is the hobby that takes up most of my time, but I also love expressing my creativity in other ways too, especially drawing and painting. I also have a keen interest in history and nature and love spending time outdoors with my family.
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
Yes, you can find me on Instagram and Twitter @bricked1980. I also post my MOCs on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/140122416@N02/albums
- 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’ve created lots of MOCs but I’d have to say the one I’m most proud of is this one, The Village Post Office. The main building and lots of the features are actually inspired by memories of my Grandparents' house. This was the house my Dad grew up in and was somewhere I spent a lot of time when I was younger. The house wasn’t a post office but even so, it was the inspiration for the architecture and shape of the building and many of its features including the double chimneys, the plaque between the large upstairs windows, and the gramophone inside the living room. I lost my Dad just over a year ago so it makes me very proud to think I achieved 10,000 votes for a model inspired by memories of him and the house he grew up in.
- How and when did your interest in LEGO come about?
LEGO was always my number one favorite toy as a kid and I grew up in the ’80s which I always think of as the golden age of LEGO. I drifted away from the hobby a bit as I got older but then when my own kids were born LEGO found its way back into my life and I’m now a bigger fan than ever.
- What is LEGO for you? What does it mean for you? How does it fit in your life? E.g. build, display, meetups, play games, or 'just' watch cartoons.
It’s a big part of my life. Even when I’m not building with LEGO, I can often be found reading the latest LEGO news or watching reviews of new sets on Youtube. I also enjoy posting images of my LEGO displays and creations online.
- 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’ve always loved vintage themes like Castle, Town, and Pirates. As an AFOL my favourite theme is Creator Expert.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
I’d pick Assembly Square and Parisian restaurant as favourite sets although these have recently been joined by Pirates of Barracuda Bay. I love that set, a modern-day classic.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
I‘d have said 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 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?
As mentioned earlier, the inspiration for the architecture of the building comes from memories of my grandparents' house. But in terms of the building being a Post Office – I wanted to create a bright, vibrant model with a positive, happy vibe. I chose to base the model during the 1930s when a post office would have served much more as a hub for the local communities and would be absolutely essential for people to stay in touch with each other.
So although the model is set in the past, it has an underlying theme that is very much relevant to the present day. I wanted the model to evoke a sense of community spirit and of people connecting and coming together. This is something many of us have had to do without over the past year with lockdowns and stay-at-home rules in place.
- 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?
It’s something I’d been planning to design for a while and I knew in my head pretty much exactly how I wanted the model to look. I started by making some sketches of the building as I find it helps to have a visual reference to work to. I then used LDD to design the model digitally. I actually designed the red mail van over a year earlier as part of a LEGO IDEAS vintage car contest. I ended up reusing the model as part of this set.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
All of the buildings I’ve designed prior to this one have been modular buildings but for this model, I had to change my building style as I was determined I wanted to create a model that can be viewed as a standalone building and not something that would clash with the modular building series. As a result, the finished model has an open-back design and no modular functionality at all. I found it quite difficult to design the model in this way but I’m really pleased with the result and my hope is that the LEGO review board can look at the model as a unique standalone building in a similar way to The Old Fishing Store or the Medieval Blacksmith.
- 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?
I spent around a month designing the model. At the time we were on lockdown here in the UK so I had plenty of free time to work on it.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
It took just 38 days for the model to reach 10K. This is my third project to reach the milestone and was by far the fastest. I must say I felt prouder than ever with this model because it has personal meaning for me. I’d like to say a massive thanks to everyone who supported the model and helped it to reach 10,000 so quickly.
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
The model contains approx 2262 parts.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
I’m really pleased with how the roof tile technique turned out. Also the cobbled pavement and the flowers growing across the wall and onto the roof all help to give an organic and rustic feel to 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 but then moved over to Mecabricks to add finishing touches and create all the images.
- If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
There are a few custom prints used in the design. The Post Office sign on the main building and the telephone signs on the phone box. I also created a fictional “Brick Post” logo for the side of the van and a matching torso print for the Postman minifigure. I designed the prints using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop and added them to the model using Mecabricks.
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 a lot of time 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?
I mainly used social media sites like Twitter and Instagram to promote it. I must also say a big thanks to Brickfanz.com, Zusammengebaut, The Brick Post, and all the other sites that ran features about the project. Thanks to everyone who helped promote the model by sharing it on social media as well.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
I think Pirates of Barracuda Bay is the best LEGO IDEAS set yet released. I’m also a fan of Ghostbusters Ecto 1, the Tree house and the Medieval Blacksmith which I’m hoping to add to my collection soon.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
To have a set I’d designed produced as an official set would be a childhood dream come true. I’m sure many AFOLs would say the same and the fact that LEGO IDEAS can make that dream a reality is very cool indeed. To anyone thinking of uploading a design, I would say definitely go for it. You never know unless you try.
- 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?
Yes, I’ll definitely be back with more designs soon. I’ve got several ideas in mind which I’m hoping to start work on soon.
- 10k club
- 10k club interview
- post office
- product idea
- vintage car