10K Club Interview: Meet Thomas Wosch of Lego Observatory - Mountain View
It all starts with a dream. For this week's 10K Club member Thomas Wosch, a.k.a ThomasW, this certainly holds true as he dreams in bricks. Thomas' beautiful Lego Observatory - Mountain View grew out of a fascination for everything that concerns moon landings, space and the stars. His detailed mindset meant lots of planning, building and re-building before he could present a final project to submit to LEGO Ideas. Even at this point he wasn't quite finished or entirely satisfied as he submitted 20 updates to his project over the course of the six months it took to gather the 10,000 supporters.
Help us congratulate Thomas on becoming a part of the LEGO Ideas 10K Club!
- Where are you from?
I live near Frankfurt am Main in Germany.
- How old are you?
^ Thomas created his own awesome sig-fig. Don't they look totally alike?
- What do you study or do for a living?
I’m a technician for network and computer systems. I work for a chemical company and I’m responsible for servers, clients and measuring systems. I do anything that has to do with IT.
- What hobbies do you have?
My favorite hobby is photography, but if I can find some time (and if I don’t build LEGO models) I love to go swimming or flying with my RC Quadcopter. But most of the time my family is my hobby.
- How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
When I was a child I played with LEGO bricks. I had Classic Space and different knights. Some years ago LEGO released the first Collectable Minifigure series and I collected them all. Meanwhile my daughter was born and now she likes LEGO too. But her favourite is LEGO Friends and LEGO Princess. So we build and play together.
^ Thomas certainly is a big fan of LEGO minifigures. What a collection!
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
I have some favorite official LEGO sets. One is the Ewok Village. I love the size and the details. The colors and the elements fit perfectly to the movie scene.
The second one is The Simpsons House. I also love all the little details, which the designers created in order to design and realize a very good looking house like in the series.
The third one is the Minifigure Series (if you could call it a “set”). I really love to see that so many different characters are added to the LEGO world. The Monsters/Halloween Series was awesome.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
Right now I would say it’s the flat tile 1x2. It looks so great when it’s printed. There are so many variations of this part out there. I really like it in transparent blue. I always think about how it could be produced in clear without any marks or scratches.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
No, I don’t have a favorite designer but all of them do inspire me and every day I learn a little bit more about how to use the LEGO bricks.
- Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
About Your Project
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
Before I built the observatory, I created a Lunar Rover because I’ve always been interested in the moon/moon landing and space. I also created an ESA Rosetta. I was fascinated that a probe could land on a comet. When I was young, I loved to watch the skies and the stars.
The idea to build an observatory came at night and in fact it came just weeks after I had also watched a report about stars and planets. Add to that, my niece had visited a planetarium and I told her “One day I want to go to the Big Island of Hawaii to visit the observatory on the top of the mountain”. I think around this time I also watched some The Big Bang Theory episodes. During one of these nights I “designed” a LEGO observatory in my head. The next day I searched for an observatory made of LEGO and I didn’t find an official one. Additionally, none looked similar to my idea that I had in my mind.Therefore, I started to create one in LDD. This first version I uploaded was OK but not perfect. It was too huge, not playable enough and it could not open at all. Then I started to create a new one and deleted a lot along the way. I also sketched some ideas of a new design. When I started the Mountain View it looked a lot different and then it grew and evolved into this version that I uploaded.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
The most difficult part was the dome, which was designed to open. I spent a lot of time designing a round dome, which was stable, playable and capable of opening on two sides (the sliding doors and the hatch). At this time the observatory only had one floor and the tower with the dome. In the first version the complete tower was able to turn, not only the dome. Then I changed this so only the dome could be rotate, but then the challenge was how to open the building to play inside. I decided not to open the building from the centre, but rather just to do so from the back and leave the front as it looked great.
^ Thomas shows the numerous sketches it took when planning his observatory MOC.
- How long did it take to complete the model?
To create the observatory I needed about, I guess, 100 hours for this one I uploaded. After that I received some requests about the lower level which was unused as well as requests to include some special guests. I don’t know how much time I spent on the updates since I always designed it when I didn’t want to design my other ideas. There were also weeks I didn’t have time or wasn’t in the mood. Most ideas came when I was asleep. Sometimes I dream in bricks and create buildings and details. But I would say I needed an additional 50 hours to complete it.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes?
It was an awesome, crazy and cool feeling.
The last day I woke up and there was only 80 supporters to go. Wow! Then 70, 60, 50 and so on. I was always checking on my mobile phone. And then, 6 hours later - the last 5. I never ever believed that this build could reach 10,000 supporters because there are so many great ideas out there. Why should my creation be one of these? Then it hit the 10K. Minutes later I received some messages on my phone from some family members and friends to congratulate me for reaching 10K. Amazing, awesome and I still can’t express it in words. My heart is thumping every time I go online and see 10K on LEGO Ideas. Even right now, while I write down these words I’m nervous and excited.
I have not seen how long it took until you asked for it. It took half a year. On February 11, 2016 it was approved and on July 22, 2016 it reached 10,000 supporters.
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
The original upload had about 2800 bricks. After a lot of updates and additions/requests/suggestions my observatory consisted of about 2600 bricks.The big part, which is the dome with 600-700 bricks, could be easily reduced if you have the right parts. I think the genius LEGO designers could easily reduce the observatory to 2000 or less bricks.
About LEGO Ideas
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
Think about what you create. When you are done with your model wait a few days before uploading your project. Don’t look at your project for a while and if you still like it then ask some friends or your family what they think about it. There are always changes that can be made.
For me, its details. I love details. I could use hours to place details in all my ideas.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas project (besides your own of course)?
I’ve got 2. It is The Big Bang Theory and Back to the Future DeLorean time machine. Both are great ideas.
- 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 the platform because it offers a rare chance to experience what it is like to be a LEGO designer.
To anyone planning to upload an idea, I think you should make a model of something you’re really passionate about. The model has to be recognisable for what it is, a realistic size (until now, LEGO Ideas sets have never been more than about 800 pieces) but most of all it has to match the high design standard of official LEGO sets and look good along side them on shop shelves.
- lego ideas
- 10k club
- thomas wosch
- lego observatory - mountain view