Blog |

10K Club Interview: DUCKTALES: THE MONEY BIN by sxavalentine

Welcome, everyone! Today we have another brand new edition to the 10K Club. Meet Matteo Sperati, aka sxavalentine and his DUCKTALES: THE MONEY BIN project. Inspired by the fantastic Scrooge McDuck himself, Matteo's journey to 10K is a comparable journey of hard work and perseverance. Share your congratulations with Matteo in the comments!


  1. Who are you?
    I’m Matteo Sperati, aka sxavalentine here on Ideas. Since no one ever guesses how to read it, it’s the union of sxa (read “Spera”, short for my surname) and Valentine, from the name of the band I had in high-school, the Good Valentine.

  2. Where are you from?
    I’m from Sardara, a small town in Sardinia, Italy. 
  3. How old are you?
    I'm gonna turn 35 this October. 
  4. What do you study or do for a living?
    I'm an IT developer. 
  5. What hobbies do you have?
    I like playing guitar, card games, watching a lot of movies and tv series...and playing with LEGO bricks, of course. 
  6. Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
    I have my Facebook page Scrooge McBrick, but I don't post very often. 
  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?
    Yes, another Disney one: Donald Duck’s house, also with fully decorated interiors: my long-term plan is to build the whole city of Duckburg in LEGO. 
  8. How and when did your interest in LEGO products come about?
    I think I was 3 when I got my first bucket with spare bricks, and shortly after the Highway Patrol 6522, my very first set.  

    My father was really fascinated by LEGO bricks, and I suspect that whenever he got me some was kind of getting a present for himself too. We played together a lot, and it's a memory I'm really fond of. 

  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.
    It means quality time spent with the people you love. Everyone loves LEGO building, no matter the age: I use to play with it as a kid with my father, I play with it now with my girlfriend, and I definitely see myself building with my (future) kids. 
    Plus it’s a great way to relax and unleash my creativity. Being a programmer, I even wrote some small programs to help me make an inventory of the parts I own and keep track of my orders on Bricklink.
  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?
    From the past, definitely Pirates. At the moment I enjoy everything that is minifigure scale. Lately, I’m growing fond of the Ninjago line because playability-wise is the best, and has some really cool minifigs. Plus, being my girlfriend a huge Harry Potter fan, it was really easy to drag her with me into this hobby. Two years ago she never had a LEGO set in her life, now we are running out of space for her modular Hogwarts sections.
  11. What is your favourite official LEGO set ever? Why?
    I would say Black Seas Barracuda 6285, but I only got one when I was 22: as a kid, I stared at the picture on the catalogue dreaming to have one. So I'm gonna go with Black Rock Refuge 6273, which I got for my sixth birthday. It was the biggest set of my childhood and I spent countless hours playing with it.
  12. What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
    I guess you don't get this a lot but... the trapdoor (92107 + 92099). It's an element that screams playability. There is something extremely funny and satisfying in letting a minifigure fall into one. After that, all hinge elements, because they allow movement, so you don't just display your sets, you get to interact with them, live them.
  13. Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
    Here on Ideas I'm a big fan of the work of LEGO Paradise. Such a talented builder: he combines a great sense of aesthetics with a lot of clever mechanisms and play features. On his YouTube channel, I found a lot of inspiration, including how to build the vault hatch for my Money Bin. His one even had a working combination to lock and unlock the hatch, but I didn't want to take credit for such a clever thing, so I ended up with a simplified version of 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 joined hundreds of Facebook LEGO groups where I often find inspiration and learn new building techniques. 



  1. Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
    On top of the LEGO hobby, the other constant of my childhood was Duck Tales, which was aired right on time when I came home from kindergarten. Then once in school, I became a very avid reader of TOPOLINO (Italian for Mickey Mouse), the weekly magazine with the comics of all Disney characters. Scrooge and Donald were my two favourite characters, until at 10 I read “The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck” by American comic-writer Don Rosa, and I completely fall in love with Scrooge. 
    I liked his ambition, determination and how unstoppable he was in his quest for success… despite him being fictional, I still find him extremely inspiring. The Money Bin is the building that symbolises all that: it appears in countless stories and has become an icon ever since. Who wouldn’t like to swim in 3 cubic acres of money? 

  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?
    No research at all, as I said I got all my inspiration from the countless comics I read in my childhood. The moment I decided to build the Money Bin I already knew all the “must include”: the money pool, the number one dime, the trapdoor, the coins bathtub, the bed made of dollars, the cannon… I started making some sketches on squared paper to get a rough idea of the size and proportions. 

    But as I was building it, I realised that all these inner details were pointless if it was difficult to access them. That’s when I come up with the “drawer design”, as I like to call it: all floors can smoothly slide out from the main walls thanks to the groove bricks. So it’s easy to play with them, and you can even display them separately as mini dioramas. 

    You can even display interiors and exteriors separately, stacking the floors on top of each other. I really put a lot of thought into the design, and even once the build was done and uploaded on Ideas I kept looking for ways to improve it till the very last (as you can see from the updates). 

  3. What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
    Probably fitting everything within the 3000-part limit of LEGO Ideas. The original project included even the hill and an underground dungeon to store Scrooge’s ancient treasures, and it was around 5000 parts. I had to cut it out and even then I was exceeding the 3000 limit. I had to spend hours trying to optimize the build using the lowest amount of bricks needed. 

    The one thing I’m not 100% happy with is the dome. Is not even an actual dome (the top is flat), but to make a proper one it would have required extensive usage of technic parts, and I didn’t want to overcomplicate a build that (in my plans) is meant for people of all ages. 

  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 say “Lower your expectations, it’s gonna be a long and tough climb”. And “work a lot on your presentation: it can make all the difference in the world”. 

    The main image I started with was really unappealing: the Money Bin seen from the outside is basically a cube (not exactly the most inspired design) and that was all people could see, if they stopped at the first image they wouldn’t even know that inside there were 3 whole decorated floors and a money pool. Luckily I changed it with an animated GIF later, so that they could briefly see all the features and hopefully be intrigued intrigued and look at the other pictures. 

  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? 
    It took me exactly a month to finish the digital project (15th March - 15th April 2021). A really intensive one I must say; I couldn't think or talk about anything else, and every day I came up with a new idea and asked the opinion of my family, girlfriend or friends…they were getting fed up! But compared to the time I spent promoting, the design phase was a stroll in the park. 

  6. How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take? 
    It took exactly 661 days. I never imagined could take that long. It felt extremely satisfying and relieving: refreshing the LEGO Ideas page to check the supporters score became part of my daily routine in the past two years, I’m gonna miss the little red dot of the notifications. But I’m very happy I’m done with it, and very proud, for all the effort I put into it. 
  7. Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model? 
    According to Studio, the latest version it's a 2810 parts build. So there is even room to add more features or improve the existing ones.
  8. What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
    It’s really hard to pick. I like a lot the “drawer design” I mentioned before, or the fact that you can use the Money Bin as an actual piggy bank thanks to the coins slot on the roof (quite fitting the whole concept of Money Bin). 
    But my favourite part has to be the trapdoor mechanism. Most of the trapdoors have a stick under that you have to pull off and then reinsert manually to close them back. Mine opens and closes simply pulling back and forth a lever. It really feels like you are personally activating the trapdoor, I think it gives the build a nice touch of realism. 
  9. If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
    I first built the model digitally using Studio 2.0. That was a necessity since my spare bricks were nowhere near enough to build what I had in mind. After a few days of struggle, I got the hang of it, and I must say it's really revolutionary because it's like having infinite bricks at your disposal. But of course, it's just a tool for design and it will never substitute the experience of building with real bricks: right after I finished the digital project I ordered all the parts to ensure that the model was sturdy enough and all the mechanisms worked fine. It was sturdy, but I did find some minor mistakes that in the digital build weren’t showing, so I promptly corrected them. 

  10. If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
    I used a dozen stickers that I incorporated with Parts Designer. One of them is an oil painting of Scrooge McDuck by his "father", the legendary Carl Barks, and another one is a Scrooge’s family picture by Don Rosa, which I wanted to include to pay homage them and their incredible work.  

    The rest are just simple signals and quotes hanging on the walls that I did with Paint. But for the minifigures of the Beagle Boys, I needed something more detailed, and since I don’t know how to use Illustrator I asked my life-time friend Luca to draw them. 
    We’ve known each other since kindergarten, and we were both avid Disney comic-book readers, so he knew exactly what I needed.  

    He totally nailed them: they have that smirk that is evil, but not too evil. 



  1. Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
    There is no magic recipe, but I think that is very important to find something you are really passionate about: it’s so much easier when you are driven by passion, ideas pop out more easily and consequentially the quality of your work will improve, making your model stand out.
  2. What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
    I shared my project on countless LEGO-related/Disney/Scrooge/Duck Tales groups I found across the world. I believe I wrote posts in at least 11 languages!  It kind of became a full-time job: Monday to Friday, I targeted 5 or 6 groups and shared my build there.  
    Had to think of ways to not sound too repetitive, and create new content, including a few LEGO comic-strips with my build.  That was until I reached 5000, after that I stopped and only posted to celebrate milestones such as 6000, 7000 and so on. 
    Not having social accounts with many followers, I found Facebook groups the most effective way to promote, but I also tried Reddit, Instagram, Twitter, Discord, Flickr, Tumblr and online forums: I haven’t left anything unattempted. 

    I attended some expos in Italy, and coming from an island is not that easy: every time I had to disassemble the Money Build into smaller modules to fit my suitcase and take a plane. Basically, my luggage was 98% bricks and 2% clothes. One time I even got stopped by the X-ray guy at the airport because my luggage looked suspicious! 
  3. What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
    Among the existing ones, it’s an easy pick: Pirates of Barracuda Bay, the one that took me out of the dark age. Among the projects currently climbing to 10K, I’m cheering The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by my good friend Dream’n Bricks, who I met here on the LEGO Ideas platform. He already got to 10K once without being approved, hopefully, second time is the charm.
  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 uploaded this project because I was really proud of how it turned out, and I wanted it to be accessible to all Scrooge/Duck Tales fans across the world. As a LEGO gan and Scrooge fan, is there a bigger achievement you can dream of? As for the tips, just one for the first-timers like I was: LEGO Ideas is a marathon, not a sprint.

    So, don’t get discouraged if your project gains supporters slowly, don’t compare it to other projects that are performing better. 
    You need less than 13 votes per day to get to 10K:  believe in your project, keep promoting it and make sure people see your model and your enthusiasm. With patience and perseverance, you’ll get there. This is basically the great life lesson I learned from Scrooge McDuck: if you work hard and keep chasing your dreams, eventually they come true.
  5. Do you have plans to submit any other Product Ideas in the future? If yes, can you give us a hint what that might be?
    I wanted to upload my Donald Duck’s house last year, but it got rejected due to IP problems. So nothing at the moment, let’s see how the Money Bin goes first. 



  • 10k club
  • 10k club interview
  • product idea
  • ducktales
  • the money bin
  • matteo sperati

Opens in a new window