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10K Club Interview: BOEING 747 COCKPIT by DarrenJones

It's Wednesday, and that means another interview! Welcome, DarrenJones, to the 10K Club. His BOEING 747 COCKPIT will be sure to satisfy LEGO and aviation enthusiasts alike. We can see this build boasts incredible detail, but what else will we discover about Darren's build? Find out for yourself here!


 

ABOUT YOURSELF

  1. Who are you?
    My name is Darren Jones.


     
  2. Where are you from?
    I’m from Brisbane, Australia. 
     
  3. How old are you?
    I’m old enough to be considered an AFOL (by a few decades). 
     
  4. What do you study or do for a living?
    I work in Information Technology, though I started my career in aviation (primarily avionics). 
     
  5. What hobbies do you have?
    The LEGO hobby is an obvious one – both building and occasionally designing. I also enjoy photography and travel, though the latter has been a bit problematic in recent times. I also enjoy some 3D printing and home renovation. 
     
  6. 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?
    Yes, there are two I’m proud of: 
    The Time Machine
    This was my previous Ideas submission (and learnt a lot from the process). I tried to faithfully recreate the 2002 movie version which has nearly 3,000 pieces and incorporates dual spinning mirrors (each mirror assembly have mirrors which spin in opposite directions) and could be motor driven. I built a working model as well and was certainly a highlight to see it function.  
    Explorers of Mars
    I also love this MOC as I recreated several visitors to Mars (Mariner 4, Pathfinder, Viking 1, Spirit/Opportunity, Perseverance) which could be displayed separately or combined for bookshelf display or coffee tables.


     
  7. How and when did your interest in LEGO products come about?
    Like many have mentioned, I was fortunate to receive a few LEGO sets when I was younger (I think my first was the Fork-Lift Truck set 850 – now I’m giving away my age!). After a long gap, my wife bought me the 75105 Millennium Falcon for Christmas a few years ago. That was it – I was hooked!
     
  8. 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.
    I enjoy buildings things and seeing how things work – LEGO building fits that perfectly. It’s something I enjoy in my own time and it’s great conversing with like-minded people within the LEGO community.
     
  9. 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 grew up being blown away by seeing the original Star Wars at the cinema, so it’s been a part of my entire life. This theme wins hands down when looking at my LEGO collection. I also love Technic and Creator Expert themes so my MOCs take on similar aspects to both.
     
  10. What is your favourite official LEGO set ever? Why?
    The UCS 75192 Millennium Falcon. It is probably the most iconic spaceship ever created and takes pride in my study (mounted vertically too – not easy to do!). It is huge and one of my favourite builds – it has the most appeal for me.
     
  11. What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
    It really is interesting to see what people say their favourite element is. For me it’s the 32009 Technic Liftarm (double bent). The element provides so many options and sometimes scratches your head thinking how to make it work. Interestingly, this element is used 8 times in this project. I also happen to like tiles.


     

ABOUT YOUR PROJECT

  1. Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
    I was thinking about creating a new project for Ideas – something that was completely different which no-one had ever thought of, yet would still be appealing to a large market – not just TFOL/AFOL’s (my personal project brief). I saw an aircraft fly overhead, and then thought how cool it would be to be able to build an actual aircraft cockpit! I wanted to ensure I could implement as much as possible: flight controls, yokes, instrumentation, seats, fuselage, and there are even pedals too.


     
  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?
    I originally set out to make a generic cockpit and discovered fairly quickly I am not that talented – I needed a baseline to work from. So, I selected the most iconic aircraft ever – suitably nicknamed the Queen of the Skies which has operated for over 50 years – the Boeing 747 (400 variant to be exact). While originally intended to be generic (and still could I guess), I believe most people would love to see the 747-cockpit created (and potentially many other cockpit types from the feedback I received).  

    I got my hands on as many 747 cockpit photos/diagrams as I could, then starting with the thrust controls, began working out everything else to scale. It was not easy but I got there. I’m the first to admit I’m not an engineer, and as much as I’ve tried to ensure integrity and buildability, I’m sure the fine engineers at LEGO would find improvement opportunities in the design.  

  3. What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
    While designing, I realised I was going to have a problem with the roof trying to ensure the correct curvature was maintained. I remained clueless until The LEGO Group produced the Lamborghini Sian - tapered curved panels to the rescue! It was probably the most difficult section as I wanted to ensure integrity while also being able to mount the overhead console as a single unit.  

    I also went through a lot of variations trying to get the nose to an acceptable standard. Even so, I ended up adding two additional nose options after receiving feedback from supporters. My preference is the extended nose as it provides the most realism, though does extend the build size and piece count.  

  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 have researched how I would promote it beforehand. Even though I knew the market size is massive, I only scratched the surface with promotions through my efforts. Having a plan for where and how to promote is beneficial as I could have promoted more smartly if prepared. 
     
  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? 
    It took approximately 270 hours to complete the model (initially) which was literally a month full time. The time spent doing promotions – when combined – was only several hours, though replying to everyone’s comments and conversing with supporters on social media and other platforms took considerably longer than the time to build. 
     
  6. How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take? 
    It was amazing! Knowing there were so many people who want this and that there were significantly more who forgot to create an account (I forgive you all lol). It was pretty overwhelming and certainly a fantastic feeling for myself and for everyone who supported. 

    It took just over a year to achieve support though could have been much sooner. I slowed down promoting after the initial excellent response as I expected to achieve support from one weekend at my city’s big air show (displaying LEGO and the Idea’s project). However, it was postponed and then cancelled a few days prior due to the pandemic. It wasn’t a good feeling after the preparation and planning involved, so took 4 months off from promoting for myself. When I returned to promote, it was great to see the project had continued to gather support on its own and the last 3,000 votes came very quickly. So, the project could have achieved support much sooner had I promoted differently, but you do get a lot of time to gather support and it isn’t a race. 

  7. Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
    Approximately 1,875 pieces and I believe approximately 380 are unique pieces
     
  8. What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
    I think people would be genuinely surprised to see the build ‘underneath’. The product incorporates quite a few hidden Technic elements which allow the centre console to rise and the main instrument panels to be angled back just like the real cockpit.  

    I also like the idea I proposed for transparent panels used with a light kit (if it would work). It would look fantastic!


     
  9. If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
    It was designed using Stud.io 2.0 and using the inbuilt renderer.


     

ABOUT LEGO IDEAS

  1. Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
    If social media ‘Likes’ equalled votes, the project would have achieved support in under 2 weeks! Obviously that’s not how it works, so I recommend setting realistic expectations to begin with and being aware it could take time and effort. While I don’t have a successful Ideas project (produced) yet, from my experience reaching the achieved support stage: 

    There is no single idea – or LEGO set – that appeals to everyone. Consider potential markets and whether the idea/product would appeal to them. 

    A promotion plan is beneficial.  

    It’s not a race and there’s plenty of time to gather support. Don’t expect a celebrity to miraculously garner their followers to support you – it’s rare and probably not a good thing anyway. 

    Appreciate and thank supporters, ignore nonsense, and focus on constructive feedback. I used constructive feedback to correct some of the build and spent time designing different options for the nose. 

    Be positive!
     
  2. What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea? 
    I primarily promoted to Facebook LEGO and aviation groups plus some other online resources such as specific community sites. I also met a lot of very nice people who helped promote the idea (you can see who on my Idea’s project where I thanked them) and many more who helped share the idea. I also planned to promote at my local air show (previously mentioned) though had to stick to online promotions given the pandemic.  
     
  3. What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
    My favourite would be the Saturn V so thanks so much for producing it! Overlooked ideas – too many to be honest.
     
  4. What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
    A concept that allows anyone to create anything (within reason) using LEGO bricks and seek to have it become a real LEGO set for people to enjoy is appealing. I wish more could get approved! 

    My tip for the project thinking stage – before you do anything, check whether it is acceptable IP (I’ve seen a few social media posts where people had built the entire idea only to find it was not acceptable). Also, would it appeal – I see that suggested a lot.
     
  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 have something I have considered though I’m not giving anything away. Sorry.


  • 10k club
  • 10k club interview
  • product idea
  • boeing 747 cockpit
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32 comments

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