In today's 10K Club Interview, we're welcoming animation student Sandro Quattrini, (aka Roses Must Build) and his creation Motorized Lighthouse. Help us congratulate him in the comments down below and learn more about his creation!
- Who are you?
- Where are you from?
I’m from Canada.
- How old are you?
I'm 20 years old.
- What do you do for a living?
I’m currently studying animation for film.
- What hobbies do you have?
I often animate, draw digitally, go cycling, play video games with friends and watch movies. Otherwise, I’m probably rearranging my LEGO collection or building something!
- Have you created any LEGO MOCs (my own creations) that you’re particularly proud of? What is it, why are you proud it and do you have a photo of it?
The MOCs I’m most proud of are the ones I haven’t scrapped to build other, better MOCs! I’ve built a 25-centimetre-deep and 38-centimetre-wide Arc de Triomphe to go along the Creator Expert Big Ben and Tower Bridge. I’ve built an Ali Baba ride to accompany the fairground collection sets. I’ve also built a few 14-wide cars over the years, but the only one that’s still built is a 1956 Oldsmobile. My latest MOC is an extension to the Ninjago City since I’m beginning to run out of parts and am looking for crazier things to build. The Motorized Lighthouse is pretty much the only MOC that I’ve built with the intention of displaying on its own!
- How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
I’ve been building with LEGO since I was about five years old. I grew up with the Toa Inika and the Piraka, as well as a lot of Exo-Force sets. I liked action figures and building, so Bionicle and Exo-Force were the perfect themes!
- 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.
Building with LEGO is an escape from reality for me. It’s a chance to unplug, decompress, relax and focus on building instead of on anything else.
- 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 theme is probably Creator Expert. I don’t really stick to a single theme, though – so if I see a set that is particularly beautiful, like the 1989 Batmobile, Diagon Alley, or the Technic Bugatti and Sian, it will go on the wishlist. My introduction into larger, more complex builds was with modular buildings. I used to collect Star Wars sets mainly, so my room would be one big battleground for the Sith and the Jedi, but there would still be a quiet little street sitting somewhere on a shelf. As I grew up, I started looking for display models instead of playsets, so the collection slowly became more diverse. I guess I base my building style around Creator Expert – since I find Technic to be quite the puzzle, and I love figuring out what would be the perfect piece to represent each tiny little detail.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
There are a few sets that hold a special place in my heart, but my favourite set might be Ninjago City. It’s so dense! It’s tall, it’s colourful, it has the potential of creating multiple scenes with Minifigures – it’s the set I can spend most time just looking at.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
I’ve never used digital programs to build MOCs. I love the challenge of digging through tubs and tubs of pieces, looking for the one that’ll help me capture each shape and detail, and wondering if I even have said piece! Rarely do I order pieces online for a specific MOC, so I’m mostly building with scraps and older, disassembled sets.
Despite being very simple pieces, I must admit that the 1x2 plate and 1x2 jumper have gotten me out of trouble much too often. They’re perfect for filling in all sizes of gaps, adding structural stability to MOCs, and creating textures on walls. I’m currently building a small version of the Arc of Constantine to display with the new Colosseum, but I’ve run out of 1x2 dark tan jumper plates, which I use extensively in this MOC. Now the fun of finding alternative building techniques begins!
- Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
I was introduced to LEGO-related blogs and forums with The Brothers Brick. Looking at all the amazing creations they would share daily from builders with all kinds of styles was a fun way of discovering the crazy techniques people come up with. I love working with details and in micro-scale, so my favourite part of checking out other people’s MOCs was looking for NPUs / Nice Part Usage!
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
I love building tall structures. I think they have a more impressive presence in a room – and I find them easier to display. My mother loves lighthouses, and she has been telling me to build one for years. We once took a trip around the Gaspé Peninsula, a region of the province of Quebec, which is host to lighthouses of all shapes and sizes. We visited enormous stone lighthouses on rocky beaches and small, abandoned wooden lighthouses hidden behind the trees. I guess these structures have always been in some corner of my mind since that trip many years ago. Seeing how different one lighthouse could be from another was impressive. They’re sometimes titanic things that tower over every other building in the town they’re in, and sometimes they’re cosy little houses that calmly sit far away from civilization, in places where all you hear is the sound of waves crashing against rocks. For this project, I wanted to capture that towering essence of tall lighthouses, while also keeping with their solitary nature.
Since most of my parts collection is made up of scraps, older and disassembled sets from my childhood – I have a rather limited array of pieces to work with. Every time my mother would recommend that I build a lighthouse, I would tell her that I simply did not have the pieces for it. However, this time I had a couple of sealed 40251 Piggy Banks lying around, and I thought the 2x3 curved white slopes would allow me to finally build a lighthouse. Now that I knew how I would build it, I began scrounging for every 1x2, 1x3, 2x2 and 2x3 curved white slopes I could find in my collection. I ended up having to “borrow” some from my other MOCs and from a couple of sets to complete the lighthouse! Even the light brick belongs to another set I got recently – 75810 Stranger Things!
- 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 tend to keep my research simple. Whether I’m recreating a specific design from real life or just taking inspiration from a similar existing structure, I just look for images online. I knew I wanted to make the lighthouse as big as I could, and set it on a cliff on an island – so I went with a brick wall texture instead of a wooden one, which is more common in smaller lighthouses. I built the lantern room first – since that’s the most important section. Afterwards, I built two sides of the tower and only then did I think of the turning-light mechanism and the inner structure of the build. After I was done with the lighthouse itself, it was the turn of the microscale house, which was a nice change of pace from working with large subsections to building tiny details with SNOT techniques. The final step was to build the island itself, which was harder than I anticipated. I believe the whole MOC took a couple of months to build.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
Building the island took quite a bit of time and trial-and-error. I had never built landscapes before this MOC, so it was a whole different dynamic than the usual structures or vehicles I’ve built. The final result was much less random and more calculated than I had anticipated because even if the island looks like a mishmash of slopes, there are a lot of large, directional lines and shapes that can be created with different combinations of pieces. There is also a lot of switching from studs-on-top to studs-on-the-sides techniques, so I had to calculate how to fill in every little gap and maintain every angle to prevent the rocks from looking too chaotic and seem more natural.
I find building with a limited amount of LEGO bricks to be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, most time is spent searching for pieces you’re not even sure you have, while on the other hand, you may come across interesting parts that spark new ideas and different solutions. Had I had all the 2x3 curved white slopes I needed, the lighthouse probably wouldn’t have had that many windows or the texture created by 1x3 and 1x2 curved slopes. A lot of compromises must be made when working with a limited parts collection. You might not be able to include every little detail you want, but the limited resources force you into thinking outside the box. It’s a challenging but rewarding experience.
- 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’d probably tell him not to worry about not having enough pieces to complete the model. I was planning on ordering a lot of 2x3 white curved slopes to finish the lighthouse, but I ended up adding more windows and using different curved slopes to enclose the tower, which gives the model a much richer texture.
- 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 a couple of months to build the whole MOC. I had just finished sorting my parts collection by type, so the process of finding the pieces I could work with was a lot quicker than with some of my previous MOCs. After submitting it to LEGO Ideas, I spent a couple of weeks promoting the project on social media, before letting it gather votes on its own. A couple of months after that, the Motorized Lighthouse got picked up by a couple of LEGO-related websites and blogs, which caused a huge spike in supporters, and helped me reach the 10,000 mark!
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
It felt surprising, honestly. After the first couple of weeks of sharing the Motorized Lighthouse, I did not revisit LEGO Ideas for a few months – being busy with work and preparing for University. I came back in late summer to check on the project and found out that it had gained thousands of supporters in just a few days! Websites such as The Toy Locker and Brickonaute can be incredible to promote Ideas projects, and I am thankful that they picked up the Motorized Lighthouse to share.
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
I have no idea but judging from the size and the weight I would estimate around 2000 pieces.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
I’m particularly happy with the rock façade of the island. It’s simply a mix of studs-on-the-sides and studs-on-top techniques, but the real challenge comes with choosing the right combination of slopes to create a cohesive aesthetic throughout the rock walls. It was all about balancing curved and straight slopes to create diverse rock shapes without making it look too messy.
I’m also pretty happy with the SNOT techniques used in the house. Using different bracket pieces and bricks with studs on the sides, you have to calculate and play with LEGO geometry to fill in every tiny little gap of your micro build. It was very satisfying when every door, window and roof slope fit just right, creating some rather flush lines.
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
Even the most beautiful, original and ingenious projects can go unseen if they are not promoted enough. Promote on Facebook, on Instagram, on Reddit, on LEGO forums, etc. The more people you reach, the more people may be interested in your project. Try contacting a couple of LEGO-related blogs, which people visit most often. However, have something new to tell or to show whenever you are sharing your project, that way people will discover something new about it, even if they have seen it before.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
I shared the Motorized Lighthouse on multiple LEGO-related Facebook groups, on Instagram and on Reddit, which helped me gather support in the first few weeks. After that, I was lucky enough to find my project being shared on a few blogs, which reached a lot of people and made me re-share my project on Facebook for the home stretch to 10,000 supporters.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
My favourite Ideas set is the Treehouse. It’s a cozy standalone model that brings some warm colors to any large LEGO collection. I also love that it can be displayed from any side and it still looks good!
I’d love to add more vehicles other than cars to my collection, so EdouardClo’s The Great Fishing Boat really caught my eye when I found out it reached 10K supporters. I was rooting for it to be approved, but I’m sure more boats and trains will make their way to the review stage soon!
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
I love how easy it is to post your own projects. LEGO Ideas’ accessibility allows for an incredibly diverse landscape of MOCs to share and support. If you are thinking of building something and posting it on the website - do it! If you’ve built something you are proud of, taking pictures, writing a short description and posting it on LEGO Ideas is super easy. The real challenge comes afterwards – gathering support, but you can only get to this part if you have a project in the first place!
- 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?
Not at the moment, but if I build something else that I think has the chance of reaching the big 10K, it will be here!
- 10k club interview
- 10k club
- motorized lighthouse
- roses must build
- sandro quattrini