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10K Club Interview: MEDIEVAL ALCHEMIST by _MrB_

Welcome back to another 10K Club Interview! Today we meet Bram van Valkenburg, a.k.a. _MrB_ and his wonderful MEDIEVAL ALCHEMIST. Bram's unique presentation shines through in his project, and his comedic approach is sure to leave a smile on your face! Show some support for Bram!



  1. Who are you?
    Bram van Valkenburg. 

  2. Where are you from?
    The Netherlands.
  3. How old are you?
  4. What do you study or do for a living?
    I’m a transport planner.
  5. What hobbies do you have?
    I really do like to cook, especially on the BBQ. Furthermore, I’m a sucker for watching series and playing an occasional game on the computer. For the necessary exercise, I regularly play tennis. 
  6. Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
    Well, that would be the LEGO Ideas website itself. Most of my creations can be found here:_MrB_
  7. 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?
    At the moment there are two: 

    The first one is the Red Bull RB18. Being a Formula 1 (and Max) fan I wanted to recreate the 2022 Bull. It proved to be quite a challenge to get the shapes just right in minifig scale, but I do believe this model turned out pretty nice. 

    The second MOC I’m proud of is Frankenstein. With every new design, I get the feeling my skills are evolving and the final model is more refined than the previous one. 

    Fun fact: this model got turned down by the LEGO Group the first time due to me not researching the allowed IPs properly. It started out as a Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde build which crossed the border of not being appropriate. Luckily it was very easy to salvage the model and change the story because of the take-out floors. 
  8. How and when did your interest in LEGO products come about?
    Oh boy, how and when was so long ago that I really can’t remember. Back in the day, there were only two major toy brands and LEGO bricks have always been my go-to toy. I eventually lost interest in my early teenage years. Much, much later when my daughters started playing with LEGO bricks my interest slowly came back. Right now they have become teenagers themselves and entered their dark age, but I guess mine is over for good.

  9. 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.
    Sometimes I treat myself to a new LEGO set, build it and put it up for display on one of the two “special” shelves in my office. I make the process of choosing which set to buy painstakingly long and a huge part of the anticipation.  
    Once in a while, there is an urge to create something new. At that point, I fire up the ol’ computer and spend all my spare time on a design of my own. 
  10. What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
    As a kid it most definitely was Classic space. Regrettably, the famous Galaxy Explorer turned out to be the one-that-got-away for me. Right now I don’t have a particular favourite theme. I prefer the slightly offbeat and bigger sets with lots of interesting building techniques, like the Typewriter or the Upside-Down.
  11. What is your favourite official LEGO set ever? Why?
    This is an easy one: The 8860-Car Chassis
    My parents gave me this set for my seventh birthday. It not only got rebuilt at least a zillion times but the parts became so much more than only a chassis. From forklifts and cranes to hidden walls and trapdoors in castles, and eventually, it became a contraption which could fire projectiles clean through wooden panels. Sadly the last one proved to put so much tension on certain pieces that quite a few of them snapped. This event ushered in my dark age, so the Car Chassis basically defined most of my childhood LEGO years.
  12. What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
    That has to be the one you know you must have, most definitely need, and finally find in a huge pile of unsorted bricks after searching for what feels like hours and hours on end.
  13. 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 absolutely brilliant designers out there and there are designs I do look at with sheer admiration, but I have to be honest. I am not so much invested in the community that I know any of the designers by name. I guess I’m just a consumer when it comes to LEGO sets. A set catches my eye, or it doesn’t and that’s about it.
  14. Is there one or more particular LEGO-related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by? 
    I regularly visit for reading up on LEGO news and read its well-written reviews.



  1. Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
    Actually when I started the design, I really had no idea what the model eventually would become. All I knew was I wanted to do a medieval themed build. It wasn’t until my youngest daughter borrowed her grandma’s flora which was named 'alchemists' that the penny dropped and the story for the build took form.

  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 didn’t keep track, but this project took me about 2 months from laying the first brick to the final renders. 

    There are no special design phases; I just start and see where the bricks lead me. I really like to surprise myself by finding unexpected solutions to unexpected challenges. So, using trial and error, scrolling through the parts database numerous times and killing my darlings on the way eventually lead to a rough model which I deem fit for refining.  

  3. What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
    Hmm... I believe the thatched roof was a bit tricky to get right.
  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 tell myself absolutely nothing! The way I design might not be an effective one, but to me, it’s a little adventure which makes me slowly fall in love with what I’m creating. I wouldn’t want to have any spoilers upfront. 

  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? 
    The model itself took about a month to complete, so that’s fairly quick I guess. 

    I made a half-baked attempt to upload some images to Flickr and made a post on Eurobricks, but that’s about it for promotion. At that point it dawned on me (again) peddling really isn’t my thing. I decided to leave it at that and let the project just run its course.  

  6. How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take? 
    “Job’s Done.” (For the connoisseurs among us:  pretend to hear these words in a somewhat dumb, orcish voice) 

    No, seriously, it’s pretty mindboggling to find out so many people are receptive to your idea and take the time to support and leave a comment. Again a huge THANKS to all of you for being so supportive! 

    It took almost a year to reach the magic 10K. 

  7. Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
    I used just over 2600 bricks for this model.

  8. What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
    That has to be the assistant. I think this dim-witted, likeable minifig really gives a face to the model and contributes hugely to the storytelling.
  9. If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
    Building and rendering were all done in Studio 2.0. For touching up the renders I use GIMP.
  10. If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them? 
    I use GIMP for creating the decals and Partdesigner for wrapping them around bricks.  



  1. Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
    Go and find a four-leaf clover, carry a rabbit’s foot, pick up pennies, cross your fingers, knock on wood and watch for shooting stars. 
    Do avoid black cats, walking under ladders, opening umbrellas indoors and breaking mirrors. Oh and never, ever upload an idea on Friday the 13th!
  2. What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea? 
    The biggest and best answer to this question seemed to be advertising on social media, but since I really can’t be bothered with institutes like InstaBook or TweetFace, I had to delve deeper into the mind of the supporter and spent quite a few evenings on reviewing projects on LEGO Ideas. Making mental notes on the go of what moves the community. Eventually, I had a list of everything I believe supporters really like to see and decided to cram all that into one design. 

    Still, I felt the project needed something more to make it stand out. After having looked at many other projects it dawned on me the majority of them are presented in a pretty serious manner. And I get that! A lot of work goes into a design and one's brainchild is not something to take lightly. 

    If I could turn this around, the presentation of my project would at least be a bit different from others. So I tried to present it with a bit of simple slapstick humour.  

  3. What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
    Most definitely WALL-E! Not only because it’s a very striking model, but for nostalgic reasons as well. WALL-E was the last movie I enjoyed together with my parents before they passed away. 
    I really think "WINNER, WINNER" - A LEGO MAGICIAN AUTOMATON has been overlooked by the community. FunkyB3 made an absolutely fantastic automaton and should in my humble opinion have made the 10k mark with ease.  
  4. What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
    I haven’t given this much thought. The platform just attracts me! If you are thinking about uploading an idea, just do it. The very fact that you are thinking about it already says you want to.
  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?
    Nothing concrete right now, but I’m pretty sure you haven’t seen the last of me.

  • 10k club
  • 10k club interview
  • product idea
  • medieval
  • alchemist
  • bram van valkenburg

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