10K Club Interview: Meet Chiho Kim of Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
10K Club Interview: Meet Chiho Kim of Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
Rev your engines and give this week's 10K Club member, Chiho Kim a.k.a. ck80, a big LEGO Ideas celebratory (and virtual) high five. His tough looking Jeep Wrangler Rubicon won the hearts of many Jeep enthusiasts out there who instantly could recognise the iconic vehicle!
Help us congratulate Chiho on joining the exclusive LEGO Ideas 10K Club and for sharing his story with us!
- Where are you from?
I am from South Korea. I am currently living in Connecticut, USA.
^ Chiho with his 10K Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
- How old are you?
I am 36 years old.
- What do you study or do for a living?
My academic and professional background is in computational materials science. I am a research associate at a university in the materials science division. I am currently conducting research on how to improve the properties of materials such as LEGO bricks, and am discovering new materials and studying them using computer simulations.
- What hobbies do you have?
In my free time I enjoy drawing, photography, and playing the guitar. My favorite hobby is playing with LEGO bricks with my 6 year old daughter.
- How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
I first started working with LEGO bricks thanks to my daughter. A few years ago, I bought the set ‘LEGO Construction Hauler (31005)’ for her, and we built it together. It is a 3-in-1 set of red and yellow construction cars. The first impression I received was, "How such small number of bricks can turn into the cool cars!" It was simply unbelievable to me. Since then, I realized the creative capacity and versatility of LEGO bricks and began to create my own sets.
^ Behind the scenes of how Chiho's Jeep came together
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
My favorite set is the LEGO Friends series because of my daughter. We like to role-play frequently with each of us playing different characters. I especially like ‘LEGO Friends Livi’s Pop Star House (41135)’ that comes with a cool swimming pool and a cute cookie puppy. It includes a modern style two-floor building, charmingly decorated rooms, a very realistic shower booth, a monitor camera, and a balcony with glass handrail, which are all awesome and detailed. Everything is integrated by only two pieces of 16x16 plates, which is really cool. I like this set because the strong expressive quality of LEGO is reflected very well in this model.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
My favorite LEGO element is the Hinge Plate 1x4 (19954). This small element plays an important role in maximizing the mobility of the design, while being used in inconspicuous places in the model. I like the versatility and design of 19954 very much. In my Jeep Wrangler, eight 19954 elements were used in the side doors, hood, and back door.
^ From sketch to reality - how a LEGO Jeep is born
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
I am a big fan of my 6 year old daughter because the way she builds models is surprisingly creative and innovative. So far, she has focused more on the story behind the model rather than the architecture. She is a big inspiration to me, and I often learn from her how to arrange the elements in such a way to maximize the enjoyment, and always with a fun story.
- Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
I frequently visit the Korean community ‘LEGO Party’ (LEGODANG). There are a variety of members who are amazing creators in their daily lives, such as LDD masters, review writers, shop owners, information purchasing providers, photographers, and so on. It is a diverse and enriching community where I can learn everything about LEGO in one place.
^ Chiho showing off creative use of the Skate 18754 element as both a door and seat adjustment handle.
About Your Project
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
Last fall, I was looking at the cars in my neighborhood because I wanted to buy a new car, and had a chance to visit the Jeep Wrangler that I had been interested in for a long time. The overall shape of this car is very angular and boxy and thus seems to be suitable for LEGO modeling. On the other hand, it has beautiful curves at some parts that meant it could be challenging to model with LEGO as well. I became interested in this specific model because of the unusual shape of the fender and the front hood with an odd number of vertical grill holes. Without a doubt, I was convinced that I could accurately express those design cues in LEGO style. I also thought that it would be a fantastic addition for LEGO fans to put this model beside their LEGO car collections.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
The part that was most challenging to me was building the hood of the Jeep, which has slow curves on both sides and is narrow on the front yet wide in the back. This hood also had to be tightly connected to the fender which was the most difficult part to construct. After repeated trials of reassembling it with more understanding of the dimension of the bricks, I found the parts that joined them together as they are now. Another difficult part to complete the styling of Wrangler was the framing installed from the trunk to the windshield. The radius of the cylinder used for the frame is somewhat small, so the feeling of imperfection still remains. It would be nice if there was a cylinder-shaped part with a 20% larger radius to better suit the design.
^ Chiho's meticulous planning were instrumental in creating the beautiful end product
- How long did it take to complete the model?
In mid-September 2016, I started researching the vehicle, and picked up my first brick in October. It took two months of building before I submitted the project. After it was published, I revised some parts to facilitate color replacement, so the color of the car could be customized. As introduced in the Update page of the project I added the wheel replacement, winch, and lighting options, which took another month to make.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
10K supporters, this is a great honor and accomplishment for me and my family. It felt absolutely amazing to reach the 10K goal. I was shocked when the project hit 2K votes within the first week and could see the possibility of achieving the 10K goal once it shot a 5K milestone, but could never imagine it to reach the goal that fast. I had been too excited to concentrate on anything else. I achieved the 10K goal in 112 days, thanks to continuous support and encouragement from all LEGO Ideas fans and Jeep enthusiasts. It is absolutely one of the greatest experiences of my life, and I am very grateful to all who supported the project.
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
^ One of Chiho's updates gave his Jeep fatter wheels, a winch and extra light options
About LEGO Ideas
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
It would be incredibly useful to browse other LEGO Idea creations and the original LEGO sets, and to look at their stories and fun elements for inspiration. We can truly learn a lot by way of expression using LEGO bricks. I would also recommend to continuously explore the LEGO bricks listed in the part inventory on the LDD or LEGO website. I guarantee that every creator will love that moment when they find the part that they are looking for. Also, if you keep a list of parts in a memory file, it will be easy to recall appropriate bricks fit for your purpose.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas project (besides your own of course)?
As a big fan of Star Wars, I love the diorama project coming with Anakin confessing “I Am Your Father” to Luke hanging on the railing. If it became an official set on a similar scale to LEGO Star Wars Duel on Naboo (75169), I would most certainly buy it. For those who have not seen the movie Star Wars, I think it would be interesting if LEGO would release it with the title "I am your mother"!
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
The LEGO Ideas platform allows our projects to interact with each other like a living organism. The collaboration and feedback aspect of the platform is demonstrated by people posting supportive comments, expressing likes by voting, making updates reflecting fans' opinions, and networking with other projects by following them. I am fascinated by these aspects of LEGO Ideas platform because they help creators improve on their projects. It also has the potential to grow by attracting not only LEGO fans but the fans of the actual object we created. With knowledge of these ideas, a project's success would surely be guaranteed.
^ Chiho displaying his Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, with an updated colour scheme, next to his other LEGO Ideas submission "MJC's Traditional Cuisine"