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10K Club Interview: Introducing Harry Finkel of The Legend of Zelda: BotW Stables!

Harry Finkel (aka Hanwasyellowfirst) has hitched his horse in his The Legend of Zelda: BotW Stables! His Legend of Zelda themed creation earned him 10K votes, and a seat at the 10K Club dinner table! See what he has to say about his model, and learn more about him below:

About Yourself

  1. What is your name?
    Harry Finkel
  2. Where are you from?
    London, UK
  3. How old are you?
  4. What do you do for a living? 
    I work as a video games designer
  5. What hobbies do you have?
    I love playing guitar (including the odd video game tune), building LEGO, and designing and playing video games!  
  6. Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
    I have a Flickr page, Instagram account and Facebook page. Feel free to follow me or say Hi!
  7. Have you created any LEGO MOCs (my own creations) that you’re particularly proud of? What is it, why are you proud it and do you have a photo of it?
    Other than my BotW Stables, I have a couple of other submissions on LEGO IDEAS. The Seven Dwarfs House which received 10k supporters but unfortunately didn't get through the review. I was happy with the house and it was the set that provided my entrance to the 10k Club! The other is my new project, The Mountain Windmill. I am pleased with how the Mountain Windmill came out. As it was an original idea and design there were many more decisions to make, so the creative process was different from my previous submissions and there were extra challenges to overcome. I really enjoyed working through the problems and I think the final result makes for a really nice set! I am currently building it and can report it is also a fun build!

    I have various other mocs and builds that can be seen on any of the social pages mentioned above.
  8. How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
    I remember LEGO as amongst my earliest interests. I have an older brother which meant I was fortunate to get an early introduction to LEGO.  

    As a kid I made custom scenes and ships from my favourite movies and games, and as an adult I shifted to mostly buying and building sets. Over the last year or so, however, I have really got back into building my own sets, and my LEGO fandom has never been stronger!

  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 think as a whole the first wave of Lord of the Rings LEGO was really awesome, and it was limited enough that I did actually manage to acquire all of it! That said I would welcome its return... Currently I’m loving the ninjago line, it’s really creative and the sets are crammed with tonnes of great building techniques and piece usage.
  10. What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?`
    I ended up settling on the UCS falcon in the last interview. But I should reiterate I think this question is just too difficult to answer with conviction! There are many sets that have temporarily held that title for me. I just hope that there will be future contenders for the accolade!
  11. What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
    Anything from the ‘SNOT’ family or - Studs Not On Top. They really do allow for a wide variety of problem solving and cool designs! Yum yum.

  12. Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
    Last time I listed Hans Burkhard Schlomer for his outstanding work on the UCS Falcon and the design team for the first wave of Lord of The Rings, and these guys are still right up there for me of course!

    Marius Hermann is a fan designer with some serious style. I love checking out his builds, that Horizon Zero Dawn line is immense! If you haven’t seen him, be sure to check him out. 
  13. Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
    The Brothers Brick post some really outstanding and intriguing builds, I love heading to their site to see the amazing things people can come up with. I was also lucky enough to get featured recently! Other than that I use Bricklink and Brickset to cover my remaining LEGO needs. 

About Your Project

  1. Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
    LEGO Zelda has been a dream since LEGO Star Wars was just a dream. For me to get by day to day, LEGO Zelda is a matter of when not if.

    The Legend of Zelda is my favourite gaming series of all time. The Nintendo 64 was the first console I bought myself and Ocarina of Time became my favorite game. My love for the brand continues today to Breath of the Wild. Running around in-game brought back emotions of exploring Hyrule 20+ years ago!

    Breath of the Wild is so beautiful, I decided I wanted to try and capture some of it in LEGO. I was cooking at the Woodland Stable when I thought, I want this in LEGO. It offered a very interesting and unique design, not unrealistic in scale, lots of playability, recognisable and very representative of the spirit of Breath of the Wild. I also loved the idea you could pretend your stable was whichever was your favourite in the game. So I got to work.

    I like the idea that Breath of the Wild appeals both to long time fans like myself and the new generation of Zelda players. 
  2. 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?
    From the idea to the submission it was a good couple of months. To start with I spent a bit of time in-game, grabbing screenshots of various angles of the Stables so that I had a good amount of reference material. From there, the first thing I tried to tackle was the horse's head. I figured if I couldn't get that looking right, the whole thing would be a non-starter. When I got something I was fairly happy with it also gave me the scale to work with. There was a lot of iterating on the head in the beginning. I then set about making the tent.

    If I got stuck on one problem for a long time, I would stop working on it and instead start working on a minifigure or a play feature/easter egg. This was not only a lighter problem space, but also meant that I had ample things to choose from as potential additions to the set!
  3. What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate? 
    I thought the most difficult element would be the horse’s head, but in fact it was definitely tackling the shape and design of the tent. In the game it is actually a decagon, but I thought that would make the set too large and not minifig friendly, so I reduced it to an octagon. The most challenging part of the build was getting the 45 degree angles of the octagon to meet up and be strong. I had various prototype joints made up on my table for a while until I found a method I was happy with; it ended up being a combination of jumper and snot pieces. This was a challenging process.
  4. 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? 
    It's a tough challenge, but you must keep the dream of LEGO Zelda alive! I also would have said, “start with the tent, not the head”!

  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?
    This was my first IDEAS project and is a subject matter I am very passionate about, so my enthusiasm was very high. Once I had the idea, I was working on it every day for a good few hours until I was ready to publish it. It must have been a month of building I think. I was promoting for longer than I was building, but I was much more relaxed once it was live!
  6. How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
    It took 6-7 months to reach 10k. It felt incredible! All of a sudden I had a shot at getting the first Zelda set made. It would be such a historic moment. I know the odds and the past history of Zelda sets in review so I try to keep a cool head and not get carried away in the fantasy of it… but sometimes I do allow myself to dream…
  7. Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
    The stables uses 1826 pieces.
  8. What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
    In the redesign I made the horse's head front heavy so that I could get the head to angle down naturally using technic pins and bricks. The way it sits is satisfying and much more stable than the original design. I was pretty chuffed when I assembled that for the first time.
  9. If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
    I used to put the final design together.
  10. If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them? 
    I only used pre-existing pieces and prints.

About LEGO Ideas

  1. Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
    You have to find an idea you are really passionate about. The build and the submission are time consuming and hard work, but this is much easier to tackle if you really believe in your idea.

    I always find it really helpful to sketch out ideas first. This way I can throw out an idea or at least identify problems early from trying to draw how it would function.

    Don’t be afraid to reassess your design if you’re getting stuck!

  2. What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
    I started an instagram and reddit account after submitting the idea and found this useful. I also sent the set to a couple of gaming sites and I was lucky enough to get an article published. After that it was picked up by several gaming and lego sites, which was a huge help!
  3. What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
    The King of Red Lions play set by flailx is the reason I first joined LEGO IDEAS! So I feel I should mention that.
  4. What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
    It is fantastic LEGO provides an official platform for fans to share their work and be in with a shot of the prize of a lifetime. I have known about LEGO IDEAS since the Cuusoo days but I only uploaded my first build last year, if you have an idea upload it! It’s a supportive community and now there is so much great software that you needn’t have your ideas restricted by your physical collection.

    Have a set of criteria in mind for what you think constitutes a strong LEGO set, and challenge your idea against those criteria. Does it offer playability? Does it display nicely? Is there something in there with wide reaching appeal? Does it strongly represent the core of your idea? Does it fit LEGO? I find this approach helps me choose my ideas and shape design decisions whilst building.

    Also, the work doesn't stop at submission. You need to send out your build to groups that your set is aimed at. If people like it then you've verified your design and you're on your way! Have fun!
  5. 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?
    I have a few other sets in the pipeline that I am still trying to decide if I will put up on IDEAS. I also have a couple of ideas that fit in the theme of The Mountain Windmill.
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