Another day, another 10K Club interview. Today we meet Luis Saladrigas, a.k.a. SaladBricks, and his fantastic THE GOONIES 360° project. A big fan of the 80's classic, this Idea is his love letter to the iconic movie. Let us know what you think!
- Who are you?
My name is Luis Saladrigas.
- Where are you from?
I live in Miami, Florida.
- How old are you?
I am a 47-year-old father of two amazing kids.
- What do you study or do for a living?
I am a graphic designer and teacher.
- What hobbies do you have?
Obviously, LEGO building is one of my biggest hobbies, but I also enjoy playing hockey and reading.
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
You can find most of my builds on Instagram at @NurseFlimsyStockings and you can find me on Flickr as Luis Saladrigas
- 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 made many MOCs, but my favourite so far is my Rise of Huitzilopotchli build. It’s a build from Aztec mythology that depicts the birth of the Aztec god Huitzilopotchli atop an Aztec pyramid. I was inspired to build it when the amazing Ancient Warrior minifig was released with CMF Series 21.
- How and when did your interest in LEGO products come about?
I’ve loved LEGO bricks for as long as I can remember. My earliest memories of playing with toys were with LEGO bricks. Like a lot of AFOLs, I had my dark ages period from my teens through my early 30s. Becoming a father definitely brought me back to LEGO building in a big way!
- 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.
LEGO building has become a huge part of my life. Aside from it being my favourite creative outlet, I also love how it’s become an activity I can share with my daughter. LEGO building has also been a way for me to meet a lot of amazing people in the LEGO community. For example, I’ve become great friends with my buddy Martin (@MARTY-THE-LEG-OH-PARTY on Ideas) after we started chatting about our entries for a Build a Holiday Challenge on here a few years ago.
- What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
My favourite LEGO theme was definitely Classic Space. Almost all of my sets as a kid were from the Space theme. Despite that, I’ve yet to build a space-themed MOC. However, I most like building MOCs with minifigs, on a minifig scale and I think I can thank my time building spaceports, space resorts, and space stations for my astronaut minifigs for that.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set ever? Why?
Definitely, a popular favourite was Mine as well: The 928 Space Cruiser and Moonbase! I built and took apart that set so many times I could build it without the instructions. Needless to say, I immediately got my hands on the new 90th-anniversary version and I love it.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
I have to say it’s still the classic 2x4 brick. It’s just the part I most identify with the LEGO Group. And with builds and elements getting more sophisticated, I feel they’re a lot less common than they used to be, so I still get kind of excited when they show up in new sets.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
There are too many amazing LEGO designers to pick one, but I will single out @Bricky_Brick as a fan designer I’m a fan of. I love modulars and mining scale builds and I’m always amazed at the creativity, quality and quantity of his builds.
- 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 blog and Instagram are my favourite sources of inspiration. LEGO Ideas too! There are so many amazing builds being shared by so many great builders. I love seeing build techniques and subjects that I’ve never seen done before.
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
The Goonies was (and still is) one of my all-time favourite movies. I’ve watched the movie so many times and enjoy it every time. As a kid, I never had any Goonies toys (though I did put a bunch of hours into the NES Goonies game!) and always thought it’d be a great theme for a LEGO set. So it was one of the first ideas I had when I first thought about building something for LEGO Ideas.
- 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?
The build took me quite a while, mostly because of the challenge I’ll get into in the next question. As far as research, most of it was just rewatching the movie several times. I also had the movie on my second monitor while building and would pause at different scenes for reference. I did a bit of Googling for production photos as well.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
From the beginning, I knew I wanted to include every “room,” trap, and exciting scene from the Goonies' adventure through One-Eyed Willy’s cave. I also wanted to navigate the build in the same order as things happen in the movie. The trick was doing that while still keeping the size reasonable. I went through several variations until finally landing on the 360° version I submitted. Here is a version that I abandoned that I call the “ant-farm” build:
- 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?
Probably the best thing I learned in working with Studio is that there’s a third-party option for including bricks with different lighting effects. While obviously, those aren’t real LEGO bricks, by putting them “off-camera” they helped me get renderings that I felt were more true to life and helped the images look great. I can’t remember where I found that plug-in, but if someone wants to reach out to me directly I’d be happy to help them find it.
- 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 really don’t have a good estimate of hours. I like to take my time with builds. I find that stepping away from your build for a while and coming back to it usually leads to new and better ideas and improvements to the build overall. And that was certainly the case with the Goonies build, as the first version looks very different from the final one I submitted. In the same way, if it gets approved, I’m very excited to see which improvements and changes the LEGO designers make to it. In all my years working in a creative field, I always felt a lot of my best work was collaborative work. Good ideas feed off each other! As for build time vs promotion time, it’s no contest. Many hours compared to maybe two or three.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
It felt amazing! I honestly did not think it was gonna get there. With 7 days left, I still needed 327 supporters and at the rate it was going, at that point, it wasn’t gonna get there. But that day I posted on FaceBook and Reddit and a few friends spread the word on their Instagram stories and by the end of day 6, I had all 10k supporters.
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
The Goonies 360 model is currently right at the 3000-part limit. I had to remove some parts to get there!
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
My favourite technique, if you can call it that, is the 360° layout. I love the playability that it provides. It reminds me of the old Death Star set.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
The model was built and rendered in Bricklink Stud.io
- If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
I had to custom design several of the minifigures as they don’t currently exist (except Sloth) and for that, I used Adobe Illustrator to create the artwork and then Bricklink Part Designer to apply the artwork to the parts.
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
I’d suggest building something you love. Being passionate about a build helps push you through the tough parts of a build. Also, I think it’s great to take your time before submitting so you have the ability to revise and improve your build. I went through several iterations of the Goonies build and each was better than the one before it.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support for your Product Idea?
I actually did not put too much effort into advertising my build. I’d say there were three days over my allotted days where I put some significant effort into getting the word out. On those days I posted my build on some 80s, Goonies, and LEGO Facebook groups and subreddits, and shared my build on my Instagram. Those days definitely helped boost my supporters, especially on the last day!
I have to say, more important to me personally was the amazing support I got from all my great LEGO friends on Instagram. So many of them were so generous in sharing my build on their stories and I am super grateful to all of them. I couldn’t have gotten to 10K without all of you!
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
That’s a tough call. I’d have to say it’s probably either the Motorized Lighthouse, The Medieval Blacksmith, or the Pirates of Barracuda Bay. I’ve never seen the Old Fishing Store in person, but I suspect that would be on my favourites list if I ever do.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
As a submitter, the appeal for me is the idea of sharing something I’ve built with the rest of the world and the dream of seeing one of my builds on LEGO shelves! As a fan, I love the creativity and ingenuity I see on Ideas every time I go to the site. So many amazing builds that I find very inspiring.
- 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 always have LEGO Ideas in mind, but I don’t have any specific plans for an Ideas build right now. The few MOCs I’m currently working on would be too big for Ideas…though I’ve been considering a scaled-down Ideas version. I’ll keep that a secret for now though!
- 10k club
- 10k club interview
- product idea
- luis saladrigas
- the goonies 360