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10K CLUB INTERVIEW: Nyhavn - Copenhagen, Denmark by Mathias Julin

Please welcome Mathias Julin (aka MathiasJulin) coming from Denmark and his creation Nyhavn - Copenhagen, Denmark. Nyhavn is one of Denmark's biggest tourist attractions and is one of the most beautiful places in Copenhagen. The set is a miniature section of Nyhavn consisting of 7 townhouses with the appertaining harbor promenade and quay. 

Please do help us congratulate him in the comments down below!


  1. Who are you?
    Mathias Julin
  2. Where are you from?
    Odense, Denmark
  3. How old are you?
    23 years old
  4. What do you study or do for a living?
    I'm almost done with my bachelor's in mechanical engineering at the University of Southern Denmark, and I'll continue afterward to do a master's in Product Development and Innovation.
  5. What hobbies do you have?
    I'm the kind of guy who likes to spend time with friends and family, but besides having LEGO as my main hobby, I'm working out at the gym and watching a ton of series.
  6. Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
    I have an Instagram page, but as I mostly build MOCs for my own joy, I don't often share things, unfortunately. If you anyway want some rare sneak peeks, you can find me as @LegoByMats 
  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?
    I'm off course incredibly proud of my Nyhavn MOC, as it has been my most successful one so far. Often I just spend an insane amount of hours designing a digital version but then I never build it in real life, which is a shame, but I'm still trying to figure out what is my kind of favorite building style.
  8. How and when did your interest in LEGO come about?
    My parents introduced me to this expensive hobby when I was a kid, and I kind of never left it again. I had some friends through state school I used to build LEGO with, but as we grew up, they kind of lost interest in it, so we started doing other things, but I just kept building at home by myself besides. I sound like I've been a kind of lonely type, which is not the case as I'm a really social type of person, but no one in my acquaintance has just really shared my passion for LEGO.
  9. 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 for me a way of expressing my creativity, and it's the most relaxing thing to do. I remember when I was a kid, I saw this giant The Lord of the Rings box in the toy store, and I wanted it so badly. I saved up for a year, and when I finally got it, my mom looked confused at me because I didn't build it after the instructions. I just wanted all the new parts to build something on my own.

    LEGO has most of the time been a I keep this thing for myself kind of thing, and therefore I've always been shy about telling people that I build with LEGO. After I published my new LEGO MOC of Nyhavn, people I've known most of my life were mind blown. The majority of them didn't know about my hobby as a LEGO enthusiast, because I've always seen it as a kind of taboo up thru school. Like most people, I just wanted to fit in, and as a 14 years old teenage boy, building with LEGO is probably not the most awesome thing to brag about in the schoolyard. I learned along the way to feel more confident in who I am and what I like to do, and my Nyhavn MOC is kind of a milestone in my life where I told everybody about my hobby. And surprisingly, everybody thought it was cool. Maybe I had like a comment or two about that's a kids toy, and I guess it is, but who cares.
  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?
    The old Indian and cowboys set has a special spot in my heart. I remember playing with these sets as a kid. The nicely decorated Indian horses, the big barrels to hide in, the tents, the lovely water lake plates, and just everything is just so nostalgic. Unfortunately, LEGO stopped the series, but I hope it someday will come back.
  11. What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
    Luckily I got 2 favorite sets. I remember my parents buying the Red Baron (10024) for me, I guess it was for Christmas, and I wasn't old enough to build it alone yet, so my parents helped me out, and that's probably one of my best childhood memories

    My second favorite is the Ferguson Tractor (4000025). There's something about the simplicity of the model, and as a guy studying mechanical engineering, is a classic piece of engineering. And maybe also because one of the designers behind it is my all-time favorite, as you'll read later.
  12. What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
    My favorite brick is the modified 1 x 2 x 1 2/3 with studs on the side (22885) because you can easily build sideways and it keeps everything in the system without adding a little displacement like the modified 1 x 1 with a headlight (4070 or Erling) does.
  13. Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
    I've always been inspired by the master-builder Steen Sig Andersen. I've had the chance to meet him more than once, and besides being an incredible builder, he's also just the kindest and emphatic person.

    He also just happens to be one of the designers behind my all-time favorite, the Ferguson Tractor from the inside tour, which is the pearl of my collection. 
  14. Is there one or more particular LEGO-related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
    Besides checking out all the new awesome projects on LEGO Ideas, I often check out all the various Facebook groups, where people share their creations or useful tips and tricks. Otherwise, I can highly recommend following Tips&Bricks!



  1. 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 don't specifically know how long it has taken, but from first thought to finished model it's about +100 hours.

    Ever since Cusoo, I've dreamt about having my own official LEGO set released, but at that time I didn't have the skill or courage to do so. So approximately 3 years ago I thought, now it's the time, and I started to think about what I wanted to build.

    The project went through 3 phases: the preparation phase, the ideation phase, and the concept/design phase, which is how I always do projects.

    In the preparation phase, I spend a lot of time reading the rules of LEGO Ideas, studying other successful projects, reading tips and tricks from various forums and reading 10K-interviews.

    Then I outlined 3 criteria’s I wanted this project to fulfill:
    - It should somehow represent something about Denmark, that I wanted the whole world to see.
    - It should not contain any license, IP, or companies, as that would increase the price of the set in the end.
    - It should be something you could display, but still, play with.

    Especially the last criteria were important for me, as LEGO for me is as much a toy as a display object, and the product should not be limited to only adults.

    I did a lot of researching asking international people from my study, family, and friends about what they think is the most iconic place in Denmark that would be nice to own as a LEGO set, and they just confirmed my idea about doing Nyhavn.

    I then moved into the ideation phase, where I started to play with different building styles. Should it be on a minifig scale? Should it focus more on the buildings or harbor? Should it be seen from above, the side, or from every angle? Should it contain some funny gimmicks like being foldable, expanding, or looking special from a specific perspective? I did a lot of sketching and fast mockups trying to catch the essence of Nyhavn.

    In the design phase, I ended up building it on a mini/micro-scale, as I then catch the iconic buildings, colors, harbor, persons, and atmosphere with the fewest bricks. I played a lot with the scale, but in the end, the Erling bricks and persons decided the scale. The finished model is the 17th version, sometimes larger changes, sometimes just smaller adjustments, but I'm glad how the finished product turned out to be. 

  2. What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
    The boat is definitely the hardest part besides figuring out the scale of the whole build. I had always in mind, that the waterfront needed something to break the simplicity of the different watercolors. As the build is made true to reality, I didn't want to just make some kind of random boat – it had to be a recognizable boat, and that's why it ended up being the red-painted 100-year-old lightship ‘Gedser Rev’ (Gedser Reef).

    To me, making a successful LEGO MOC is about taking a complex build with a lot of thoughts put into it and making it seems very simple. People look at this and feel like they can do this too, and that is exactly the feeling I want them to have. LEGO is not science, it's art, and it's for everyone.
  3. 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?
    I probably would have told myself how the finished product should look like when I could have saved a lot of time, but on the other hand, it's a part of the process, and I'm glad how different decisions on the way have impacted the project. If I should have done something different, I would have made the back more playable. Maybe made floors with a small kind of furniture, or put in a hidden message, I don’t know. 
  4. 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 haven't spent too much time promoting the project. Mostly I made some posts on Facebook a couple of times a month, besides having my family and friends supporting it. What helped me out the most was when some big pages on either Facebook or Instagram decided to share, so that's my advice to everybody trying to hit the magical 10K – reach out to larger profiles or pages.

  5. How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
    I felt amazing in a weird way. This project has been a huge part of my life for so long, and suddenly I was done. I still checked in to look for daily supporters weeks after reaching 10K, because it has been such a huge part of my daily routine. Sometimes I knew I didn't have to check, but I just wanted to see the 10K badge again, as it did and still does make me smile.

    I guess it took about 1,5 years, which is fair enough compared to that I've never shared any of my projects before, and I don't have a large follower base.
  6. Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
    The digital version contains 2400 bricks, but the physical is only about 2200 in total. I made an optimized redesign on the wood planks facing the water, which reduced the number of bricks significantly.
  7. What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
    I really love how the windows turned out, and even though the technique used with the headlight brick laying down has been seen before, it adds some more depth to the build. The windows are not in level with the walls, which makes them stand out nicely. 

  8. If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
    I've always been a huge fan of because it houses a lot of possibilities and options which require no specific skill to master. I thought I would change software later on, and even though I'm also sometimes using LDD, nothing beats in my opinion.

    All the renders for Nyhavn are made in too, but I've afterward changed into doing it in Maya, as it allows you to do a lot more, but it also takes a tremendous amount of time to set up correctly, and it takes some skills to master.
  9. If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
    There are 2 stickers in total in the set – the flag on the building and a white stripe on the boat. They're just printed like regular stickers, no magic or witchcraft used.



  1. Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
    First of all, you need to read the rules beforehand. Most of the really nice projects on LEGO Ideas take a lot of time to build, and it would be a shame to put sweat and tears into a project that doesn't comply with the rules.

    Otherwise, you just have to think of doing something new. If you can find it online, maybe you should do something else, or just put your own twist into it. In the end, the idea has to be good, but the presentation and advertising are the deal-breaker. 
  2. What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea? 
    I made a couple of posts on Facebook and Instagram, but what really makes the difference is if some of the bigger pages want to share your project. Just send them a message, the worst thing that can happen is that they say no, and then you write to somebody else. Be determined but polite at the same time. Nobody wants to help a rude person.
  3. What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
    WALL•E (21303) is probably my all-time favorite LEGO Ideas set. Otherwise, I'll just give a shoutout to a fellow Danish LEGO Ideas member, Piraten, who's gathering support to his THE CROWN - A PIECE OF HISTORY submission. Go check it out, because that's a piece of art!
  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 like how the 10k is achievable for everybody who got a decent idea and patience. It takes a lot of hard work, but just like that LEGO is for everybody, I love that the platform is not only limited to a hardcore group of highly talented people, but it embraces creativity among normal people like myself.
  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?
    Maybe sometime in the future, when I get more time on my hand.
  • nyhavn
  • boat
  • 10k club
  • 10k club interview
  • 10k
  • harbor
  • denmark
  • townhouse
  • copenhagen
  • canal
  • ship
  • lego idea
  • sea
  • house
  • city

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