Please welcome Diego (Fargo73) to 10k Club! He presents his LEGO Modular Expansion Pack which can be used with any Modular from LEGO or custom creation and offers endless combinations. The idea started somewhere in Paris...as a small corner park to put on the side of the restaurant...
- Who are you?
- Where are you from?
- How old are you?
I’m 48. I actually turned 48 the day my project achieved 10K supporters.
- What do you study or do for a living?
I’m a telecom engineer.
- What hobbies do you have?
Apart from LEGO, I like photography, hiking, traveling, and read comics.
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
I don’t have a real portfolio, but I have a Flickr page where I showcase my creations.
- 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?
Well, I'm really proud of my LEGO Modular Expansion Pack, although I think it really cannot compete with many of the other 10K projects I saw, which are stunning. I like most of my modular creations, and I have many ideas in mind that I still have to fully develop.
- How and when did your interest for LEGO products come about?
I started playing as early as 3 years old. I had a lot of LEGO sets of my older brother. Back then LEGO models were a lot simpler than today’s LEGO models, and I particularly loved to build airplanes, as my family used to live near the Heathrow airport, and we could often spot the Concorde. As I grew up I was particularly fond of Classic Space, and LEGO was my election toy 90% of the time; I could spend hours and hours building every day.
- 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 lifetime companion for me. I never stopped buying, collecting, and playing with it. I don’t do meetups and displays, I only share some photos of my LEGO town, which is still WIP. I would say I’m an old-school AFOL. Basically, I still feel like a child when I play with LEGO bricks.
- What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
In the past Classic Space was by far my favourite theme, I basically only asked for new Classic Space sets for Christmas and birthdays. Then growing up I fell in love with Creator, all sort of Creator. Lately, my favourite theme is for sure the Modulars. I also love Technic sets, but I would never be able to build anything without instructions.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
Probably LL928, the Galaxy Explorer. I did not have it as a child, but I could find one some years ago, and building it for me was really like going back to my childhood. As for the new ones, it’s hard to pick, as there are several awesome sets, but I would go for the Parisian Restaurant.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
Any element that allows SNOT is welcome, so all pieces with studs on sides, but also tiles, as they allow to create that "it does not even look like LEGO" effect. And, as a lover of the modulars, I love the light bluish grey ingots, that allow creating that stony effect on the walls.
- 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 paved the way for the modulars, which is probably the most loved theme by AFOLs.
- Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
Flickr and Facebook
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
I was looking at the couple in the Parisian restaurant, at the table on the balcony, with the guy making his proposal with the ring in hand, and I thought that they would deserve a nice view, instead of the wall of another building. So the idea started as a small corner park to put on the side of the restaurant, then I started developing it into something more modular in nature, so it became a bigger park that can be split in two, and then all the tiled parts to allow for more open spaces in LEGO cities, and room for all the accessories I had created for it.
- 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’m very slow, so it took me several weeks to get to the final design. I spent a lot of time on the tree, and I was never happy with the result; even now, I’d probably change something on it. Then I spent a lot of time on the kiosk, as I wanted to look the most similar it could to the one I took as inspiration, a real one in Paris. Also, the rickshaw took me some time to develop; now there’s a specialized part to do it, but when I designed it, it did not exist, so I had to use some particular techniques (all well hidden) to use a normal bike as a base.
- What special challenges or frustrations did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
As I wrote in the previous answer, the tree was the main source of frustration, as I had set some specific restraints for it. It had to be small enough to fit in the park (small or big version), it had to have branches to cover on one side (so that they could provide some shade to a bench, for example), but it also had to fit in one angle, without any part exceeding the sides of the baseplate, so that it could be used in any modular. Finally, it had to be removable so it could be placed anywhere, not only in the park.
- If you could talk to yourself before you started on this project, what would you tell him/her? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
Believe in your project from the beginning, but be realistic at the same time. If you don’t see enough support from the early days, it simply means that your project is wrong and it is better to move on to something new or different.
- 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 me some weeks, probably months, I can’t remember exactly. I’m a very slow and perfectionist, and I don’t really like to work too much on Stud.io, although that is the only way to achieve what I want. I spent a lot of time promoting my project, more than I would have wanted, but it was necessary.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
It took about one and a half years, so not very quick. It reached 10K on my birthday, which was particularly sweet.
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
I think it is about 2,700, but if you take off the tiled bases, it is probably 1K less. Realistically, if produced with only two baseplates for the squares, it would be around 2,200.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
It is all hidden, but the rickshaw is pretty complex inside; I had to use all my ingenuity to make it look like it is. Also on the tree and the kiosk I used some nice SNOT techniques. I also like the flowering trees, as they are simple but they are very nice looking.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
I used Stud.io.
- If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
I used some imaging software and stud.io Part Designer.
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
First of all, do something you like, not something the others will like. Pay attention to the details and presentation, and promote it the most that you can, and the more visibility your project will have, the more supporters it will get.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
Mainly on Facebook, on LEGO-themed groups, especially in the ones specialized in modular buildings. I also used Flickr a lot, while I’m very bad at using Instagram and Pinterest.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
Among the ones on shelves, I would mention the Old Fishers Store and the Saturn V.
I also like a lot the work of Lepralego and Bricked1980, among others. The Post Office would really deserve to be produced!
I’d also like to mention Estebrick, a very young and talented builder; I particularly liked her Watermill.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
Well, it could someday fulfill a lifelong dream, be somehow an official LEGO designer, even if it is a one-off like it is in LEGO Ideas. That’s the driver to make a project, for me. As I wrote before, do something you like, but also be realistic and understand when it’s time to move on to something different.
- 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?
Yes, I do. But I’m very slow and perfectionist, so it might take weeks or even months. It will be a building, it will be modular, it will have to do with travelling and, as I always like it, it will also be totally modular, so that it can be used in different ways. Don’t hold your breath, though… I’m super slow!
- 10k club
- 10k club interview
- lego idea
- modular building