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10K Club Interview: Tomáš Letenay's BMW M1 (E26)

Tomáš Letenay, aka TOMOELL, the creator of BMW M1 (E26)! However he's in a strange position, of already being a fan designer before being a 10K Club Member, thanks to his entry into the Music to our Ears contest: Legendary Stratocaster. But like we said, Tomáš is here to talk about their BMW M1 (E26) model which will be part of the next review.

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

About Yourself

  1. Who are you?
    My name is Tomáš Letenay.
  2. Where are you from?
    I’m from small village near to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.
  3. How old are you?
  4. What do you do for a living? 
    I work as a freelance architect focusing on residential architecture and interior design.
  5. What hobbies do you have?
    Building lego models of course and many more. My wife and son are in the first place of my free time. We like to go on trips, hiking and cycling. Other hobbies are playing the drums with my band, guitar, traveling, books, art, architecture, design and cars.
  6. Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
    No, I don't have my own website, but I share my creations by social network on instagram, you can check it - tomoell_bricks.
  7. 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?
    For example my last creation to the competition of our Slovak LUG - TatraLUG. It's a very nice project of the micro-city, which we want to put together at the next LUG exhibition. I won third place in this competition. I will also mention the RC SCANIA truck, which I designed in LDD and then I managed to build it from real bricks.
  8. How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
    When I was a kid, about seven years old, it was my favorite toy. I was able to play with Lego all day.
  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.
    For me, LEGO is a world of endless variations, possibilities and the starting of creativity. If parallel lives could be lived, then in one of them I would definitely building LEGO from morning to evening to try out the possibilities as much as possible.
  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?
    My favorite theme are vehicles in general and I prefer CREATOR Expert and TECHNIC. I preferred the old theme MODEL TEAM, but I experienced it only in the form of paper catalogs and in children's dreams. 
  11. What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
    It's a difficult question, but I think the current Ford Mustang set, because for me it is a small comeback of the MODEL TEAM theme when more functions appear in the models from the classic LEGO bricks, especially steering of front axle. CREATOR Expert vehicles could go this way in the future, and I would like for a big truck like Black Cat.
  12. What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
    It's hard to say too. I like every elements what I need for a given model, but I really like wheels, because the wheels make a vehicle. 
  13. Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
    Yes, Milan Reindl a.k.a. GROHL, he, his story of how he became a designer, his official sets, MOCs and alternative designs are very inspiring to me. Building a truck MACK Anthem was an experience full of inspiration and skilled building techniques.
  14. Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?I look at various European LUG forums and follow AFOLs on social networks and his YouTube channels. 

About Your Project

  1. Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
    I'm a fan of car design, and the M1 is a very iconic, important for motoring and a beautiful sports car. I've had it on the must build list for a long time.

  2. 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? 
    My preparatory phase does not last very long. I collect photos of the original model from all angles, study the important details that I plan to capture, and I'm going to build. Before building, I don't make any special 2D drawings and recalculations, I only rely on my eye during 3D modeling. 
  3. What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
    I fought the most with the height of the car. The original model is proportionally lower, but I think the final MOC is the lowest than possible. The very difficult part was the end of the rear hood, and I'm not completely satisfied with that either.
  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?
    It took me four months and I worked on it at every spare moment. I can't measure and compare the promotion in time. Basically every day for a while, during gathering supporters.
  5. How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
    I probably still don't realize it enough, but I'm really happy for it. Gathering 10K supporters took almost a year and a half. 
  6. Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
    I built it in a 3D software, so I was having an unlimited number of LEGO parts during creating process. The final model of one car has approximately 1000 parts.
  7. What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
    My favorite part of the model is the rear bumper, where I tried to achieve a curve in two directions.
  8. If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
    I create the model in the software Lego Digital Designer (LDD) and then I insert the model into the software, where I render it.
  9. If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
    I post-produce rendered images in a 2D software for photo editing. I adjust the brightness, contrast, color and add stickers. 


About LEGO Ideas

  1. Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
    The most important thing is to build what you enjoy, you have to love the original model so that you can create a potent MOC and this is the first prerequisite for success.

  2. What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
    I don't think it's enough to just show the created model once and wait for the support. It is necessary to show it, especially to the AFOL community, constantly, to remind them and to thank them. My tactic was to create new views of the model with color adjustments or accessories. Subsequently, the fan community helps you to share your creation further. As a thank you for the supporters, I designed a small M1 model with instructions, you can see it in my project in the update section. 
  3. What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
    Many beautiful cars did not gather 10K and expired, I don't know why. In another theme, I really like Planet Express Delivery Ship by Nicola Stocchi, I'm a fan of the Futurama, it's a pity it didn't approve in the last review. 
  4. What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea? 

    The IDEAS platform is great, whether it's contests or product ideas. It's amazing that TLG offers this chance for LEGO fans. For me, it's a great motivation to create new MOCs and I feel like I'm an external LEGO designer and I'm fulfilling my dream job. I hope the LEGO Ideas platform will work forever. 

    My advice is, if you have your own creation that you are proud of, do not hesitate and upload it. 

  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?
    Yes, I plan to. I have a lot of ideas and some are already under development. Unfortunately, little free time. You can definitely look forward to other iconic vehicles in this scale and I plan to create something from the world of architecture as well. I would like to build more architecture MOCs in the future, I also have a lot of ideas in this theme.
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