Bravo! Another fantastic contribution to the 10K Club today from Ganpat the Celt! This set is inspired by Asterix the Gaul, offering endless hours of playability and fun, set in the iconic comic-book world of Asterix. Show Ganpat some support for his amazing creation.
- Who are you?
My name is Ganpat Berrevoets. On the LEGO Ideas platform, I am better known as Ganpat the Celt.
- Where are you from?
I live in the Netherlands but originally, I was born in India.
- How old are you?
I am 39-years-old.
- What do you study or do for a living?
My professional background is that of a theologian and, now and then, I work for different churches as a pastor. I am currently working as a writer on a Dutch translation of an American fantasy book series called Chronicles of the Nephilim.
- What hobbies do you have?
I very much like to be creative in different ways. I like writing, clay modelling and building LEGO sets. Another hobby of mine is reading novels and comic books - especially Asterix comics. Furthermore, I like to watch good movies and good tv series. I sometimes take the opportunity to be on film sets myself as an assistant or as an extra. If there is still time left, you could find me on a football field with friends or with my nieces, who love to play football as well.
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
You could have a look at my Flickr account but it will mostly show my Asterix the Gaul LEGO designs: flickr
- 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?
To be fair, my first LEGO MOC is Asterix the Gaul, which will be discussed below. But there is another that one should perhaps view as MOD/MOC. In December 2020, I made a Nativity scene based on the LEGO 40410 Charles Dickens Tribute. I used the images of it for a Christmas card. Besides this one, I’m also very happy with my Paisley Park Gold Experience MOC. This is a recreation of the stage from the music video GOLD from O(+> - better known as Prince. You can find this MOC also on my profile. Fun fact about that one is that Morris Hayes, the keyboardist on the left side of the stage, and some other music artists, are very enthusiastic about it.
I am also proud of my small Seaside build. It is based on a small beach in Zeeland, the province where I grew up. When I was a child, I went there with friends to find shark teeth. I have tried to capture that adventure in LEGO form.
Apart from the Asterix the Gaul project, I recreated one of the teaser images from the latest Asterix comic ‘Asterix and the Griffin’ (2021, and bestselling book in France of that year) with LEGO. I was very happy to see that it was appreciated by French comic artist Jean-Yves Ferri who, together with Didier Conrad, has been given the task to continue the legacy of the late Goscinny and the late Uderzo.
- How and when did your interest in LEGO come about?
It all started when I was a child. My first LEGO set was a Fire Station (6382). I think I got it for my 4th birthday and that kindled my interest in LEGO products. Through the years, my parents bought me several sets and we built a complete LEGO village on a large wooden plate on small wheels that I could roll from underneath my bed when my friends came to play. Later on, the LEGO Pirates, Forestmen, Wolfpack and Knights gained my interest. It all faded away somewhere around 1993, but in 2012 I went through a ’LEGO revival’ when LEGO Lord of the Rings came about.
- 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.
To me, LEGO building is playing through creativeness. It also means having a good time building a nice LEGO set together with my wife, who happens to like LEGO too. For me and her goes building time equals quality time. It’s actually where the idea arose of taking part in LEGO Ideas. Not surprisingly this plan came up during building our IDEAS set: Central Perk F.R.I.E.N.D.S.
- What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
Can I pick two? LEGO Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit and LEGO Jurassic World because they are based on two of my favourite films. If it comes to the building style, I think that the LOTR theme has inspired me the most. I am a great fan of the way the castles, fords, houses etc. shows close affinity with the movies. They capture the atmosphere of all six films quite well. What also inspired me was the playability of these sets and I always consider that, besides the building fun, as a very important factor. My compliments to the designers of these sets. You brought me back into LEGO building!
- What is your favourite official LEGO set ever? Why?
That would probably be The Mines of Moria (9473) because it has everything that I like about a LEGO set: 1. A good and fun building time 2. The right (mysterious), ancient looking atmosphere 3. A lot of play features i.e.: a high story and playability factor 4. Good looking minifigures and a cave troll 5. It can be extended quite easily with your own creations 6. A nice set for brickfilms and photography. Speaking of photography, I recreated one of the early Movie Posters of The Hobbit with minifigures of that particular theme.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
During the designing of my Asterix the Gaul hut, I have come to like element 30137 - the log brick. It forms an important part of the roof of Asterix’ hut.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
As I already mentioned briefly above, I definitely admire the LEGO designers of The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit sets for their work. I enjoyed watching their videos in which they explained their sets. I do not remember their names but I do remember their faces. The two of them knew/know how to make LEGO adaptations of these famous movies.
- Is there one or more particular LEGO-related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
I often visit Bricklink, Bouwsteentjes, Brickset and Zuzammengebaut. Besides these, I’d like to watch various LEGO YouTube channels like Club Brick.
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
The interest and inspiration came from the worldwide famous comic book series of René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo: Asterix the Gaul. The indomitable Gaulish hero and his best friend Obelix are renowned from the whole of Europe to India and from many other Asian countries to New Zealand and Canada. Asterix is a worldwide phenomenon and the comics have been translated into at least 86 languages, so it is surely not limited to Europe. Asterix has conquered not only Rome, he has conquered the world. Since I was a child, I have been a huge fan of Asterix and Obelix. When I started to think about a LEGO Ideas project, I asked myself: If you could choose a new LEGO set that does not exist (yet), what set would you choose to be the next one to buy and to build? It would certainly be an Asterix the Gaul set, so I picked this great nostalgic theme from my youth for designing a LEGO play and display model for young and old, mainly based upon Goscinny’s and Uderzo’s very first Asterix comic book ‘Asterix the Gaul’ (1961), hence the name of my Ideas project.
- 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?
Quite long. I do not exactly know how long but I took the time to prepare the build. First of all, I had a very good time reading all the Asterix comics again, watching the animation films from the last century and watching the live action movies and new animation films from this century. Then, I thought by myself, what particular building from the images in the books would be perfect for a LEGO set? What would fit in a LEGO box? And importantly, what would kids like to see; build; and what would they like to play with when it comes to Asterix? What would AFOLS like to build and to display? I concluded that the hut of Asterix and three smaller builds, the tree, bridge and bonfire would make a fine, attractive, and colourful set.
When that was settled, I looked them up in the comics, studied Uderzo’s drawings closely and tried to combine all the pictures of Asterix’s hut into one. Starting point for the hut was and still is the first comic book of Asterix the Gaul in which the hut occurs many times. I had to fill in the blanks from the other books though. I blended Panoramix/Getafix’ tree with the tree in Asterix’s front yard. The addition of iconic Asterix and Obelix scenes, props from and different hints to the comics and movies followed. For example, the bridge is a nod to a scene from ’Astérix et la Surprise de César’ (1985) in which Idefix/Dogmatix must deal with a frog. As a reference to France where Asterix was born, I could not leave out a baguette (French bread) and a croissant. That may sound stereotypical but that is what Goscinny and Uderzo liked to do sometimes in their Asterix comics.
Once I got the picture in my head and on paper (some drawings), the idea of sliding set pieces came to mind. I wanted to make different panels that people can switch whenever they like for different purposes: playing, displaying/showcasing, filming, photography etc. For example, the tree can be placed next to the hut in the left corner of the front yard. But you can easily slide it away and place on the other side. The same goes for the interior part, the living room. You can place it behind the front facade of the hut and easily remove it from there to replace it with the back part of the hut. Another swap feature is that one can swap Panoramix’s cauldron for the magic potion with the wild boar on a spit. This can be done both on the bonfire panel and under the chimney.
I also took some time to figure out what minifigures I should include besides Asterix, Obelix and Panoramix (without him no indomitable Gauls!). There needed to be at least some antagonists, as well, to play a real Asterix story with this set - and Obelix always wants Romans! I had to include the Roman spy who is hiding in a tree trunk because every fan of Asterix knows him. Besides the comic strip ’The Big Fight’ (1964), he also occurs in one movie and in Asterix video games. The LEGO costume tree trunk (35827) made it very easy to create this character. Fans of the project wanted more but for me the real main characters of the story of this set idea (also based on the story of ’Asterix the Gaul’) are Asterix, Obelix, Panoramix, the cow merchant and the Romans. The reason why I chose the name Panoramix instead of the English version Getafix and Idéfix instead of Dogmatix is as follows: Panoramix and Idéfix are the original names given by Goscinny and Uderzo. The Dutch translations also retained these names.
The next phase was the actual building process that started soon afterwards. First, I created the designs in real bricks and later on, when I ran out of bricks and when someone suggested to me to build it in a digital LEGO building program, I built it in Studio. This was a long and instructive process because it was a whole new world to me: digital designing! Working with this software gave me the possibility to add Obelix’ menhir workshop or quarry to the build and a little part of his front door. I certainly enjoyed it especially when the rendered images appeared on screen. For me that was the moment that the world Asterix was another step closer in becoming a LEGO Ideas product idea. It was also the moment that the graphic designers Peter de Smet and Rolf Smit came on board to enhance the images with the print designs. When that work was finished, the Asterix the Gaul LEGO Ideas product idea was completed.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
When I was building my design with real bricks I ran out of (the right) bricks, so I could not build everything that I had in mind. Luckily I had already started to build the hay cart digitally and with all the feedback that I had received from others, I began to build the hut, tree and bridge in Studio. One of the most difficult thing was how to incorporate the chimney and make it suitable for roasting wild boars and for brewing the magic potion.
- If you could talk to yourself before you started on this project, what would you tell him? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
It took me a long time. I think it took me five months in total and the reason for that was that I first built it in bricks and later, I recreated it digitally. But promoting it took me even longer. I had to promote it from the beginning until the finish line. In the beginning, I did not do so daily but I figured: that if I don’t, my project would get lost among so many other ideas. I believed and still believe in my project. This is a nice and good idea, kids love it, AFOLS love it and Asterix fans all over the world told me that they love it as well, so I did not want to let it go.
- 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?
It felt like I had taken Panoramix’ magic potion, punched 10,000 Romans like Asterix and piled up all of their 10,000 helmets like Obelix. Just joking. I was amazed, happy and I felt truly grateful to all those 10,000 supporters! It took me 18 months to reach that magical 10,000.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
It took me 148 days to achieve support on LEGO Ideas. I was ecstatic when I hit 10k! I was able to get there right after our New Years celebration, so there was a lot to party about that weekend.
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
The digital model consists of some 2500 bricks. The model that was built with real LEGO elements contained fewer bricks.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
The ‘sliding or switch panels idea’ which gives the hut more space to play out your own stories and adventures with Asterix and Obelix. You have the possibility to place the front, the back and the interior of the hut in a way you like it. You could even use all three parts that form the hut as three different places. The front and the back of the hut could be seen as two different houses. The interior part of the Asterix hut can be changed into Panoramix’ room where he prepares his magic potion. The table and stools from Asterix’ hut can be placed around the bonfire for the banquet of the Gauls. It is even possible to view the side of the interior panel as Obelix’ hut.
Besides this I like the light brick functions and the hiding places in the hay cart and in the rocks behind the waterfall. Kids like to play hide and seek and to hunt for hidden treasures, right?
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
The digital model consists out of some 2500 bricks. The model that has been built with real LEGO counts less bricks.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
I used Bricklink’s Studio for both building as well as rendering.
- If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
I created the belts of Asterix and Obelix with plates and tiles. After I rendered them, I imported the belt images in Part Designer and stuck them on the body parts. The other prints were made by Rolf Smit and graphic designer Peter de Smet who both have been of great assistance and support in this project.
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
- Design something you really like so that people can see that you have a passion for it.
- Gather background information about your idea: do your own research and try to narrow the gathered info down to a central idea.
- Come up with a story around your build.
- Make it cool for both kids and adults.
- Don’t you ever ‘kill your darlings’ even though the critics want you to. Improve them but don’t kill them because those form the heart and motivation of your work and you might have to stay motivated to promote your work for who knows, one to two years?
- Focus yourself on the nice comments and good feedback you get on your project on Ideas and on social media.
- Don’t be discouraged by people that are not so nice.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
To advertise my Product Idea I created a special Instagram account Asterix.LEGO.lois. I also posted the link on several Lego Facebook pages. I used my Twitter account to promote it. Later on, when lots of LEGO fans were a bit filled with seeing the project all over the LEGO social media, I went door-to-door with flyers asking people to vote for my idea and it worked! I also attended a LEGO event called Bricks and More in Belgium where I could showcase the Asterix the Gaul model. During the event, it was very cool to see that not only adults but also many kids liked it. They said: ‘I would like to buy it.’
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
I always tell people who plan to submit on LEGO Ideas to 'create what you love.' It’s important that you create something that you will enjoy. When you have fun and play with your creations, it will come across in the build, and fans will like it even more. Chances are, if you enjoyed building it, others will too.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
One of my favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea has unfortunately expired: “Hervé’s the Adventures of Tintin 90th Anniversary”. It was the very first project that I supported when I became of a member of the LEGO Ideas community. If this product Idea would have reached 10K and would have been approved, for me it would have been an instant buy.
Good question! Too many to mention here but a nice, colorful and nostalgic one is Ducktales: The Money Bin. Another project that I am a great fan of is The Hobbit Middle Earth based upon an old video game. I would suggest having a look at these projects because they are both worth supporting.
What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
The idea that your idea might become real is very attractive. It is definitely one of my dreams. But that’s not the only thing that attracts me. Themes that I like and that are not produced yet, can be found on the platform and also have a chance on becoming a LEGO reality and as a member I can have a little say in it. That’s really cool!
I would advise the following:
- Build up a big group of followers as well on the Ideas platform as outside the platform on social media. “Scroll around the grounds until you feel at home” as the song goes.
- Support other projects and interact with fan designers so that they get to know you.
- Ask others about their opinion before you upload your idea so that you will be able to improve your design.
- Be ready and willing to promote your project for a long time.
- Find the right people who can help you to promote your idea, so that you do not have to do this alone.
- Last but not least, make it a fun and social experience. Perhaps you will make some new LEGO friends here!
- 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 may have an idea but it needs more time to develop …
- 10k club
- 10kclub interview
- asterix the gaul
- ganpat berrevoets
- product idea
- ganpat the celt