Blog |

10K Club Interview: Meet David Wardle of the Queen Victoria Cruise Ship

This week we welcome the last 10K Club member of this review round, the seafaring David Wardle (aka FlagsNZ) of the Queen Victoria Cruise Ship. As someone who has spent most of his professional career in the shipping industry, David has had special knowledge in recreating this iconic cruise ship down to its little details.

Please help us congratulate David Wardle for his big achievement, in the comments below.


You can also learn more about David and his model through this Creator Commentary video.


About Yourself

  1. Where are you from?
    I was born in Wellington, New Zealand. So I consider myself to be a Wellingtonian although I have lived in Auckland for the last 30 years.

  2. How old are you?
    I am 51 years old.
  3. What do you study or do for a living?
    I have worked in the shipping industry for nearly all of my working life.

    I have spent 22 years at sea in various roles rising to the position as a ship’s captain. I now work at the New Zealand Maritime School as a senior nautical lecturer.

  4. What hobbies do you have?

    I enjoy photography and read lots of books. I enjoy cycling and will grab any chance I can get to go boating out on the water.
  5. How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
    Growing up in New Zealand during the 1970s, LEGO was an expensive toy due to a quite prohibitive sales-tax regime. For a long time, my only LEGO set was the small 614 Digger set.

    The significant turning point occurred on my twelfth birthday. My father was serving in a NZ government research ship which visited Norfolk Island. He bought me two Technical sets: 855 Mobile Crane and 857 Motorbike with Sidecar.

    These two sets transformed my LEGO experience - forever!

  6. What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
    There are several sets that are in my list of favourites:

    For sentimental reasons, 855 Mobile Crane and 857 Motorbike with Sidecar from 1978 hold a special place for me. I still have them.

    I have always liked 8448 Super Street Sensation. This set marked the transition of Technic from the studded version into the new stud-less construction with lift-arms and panels.

    It has the advantage of having a rigid, studded chassis while using the more recent lift-arms, panels and soft flexible axels to give the model an overall look of a sleek, modern sports car.

    I prefer the skeletal look of the older Technic sets. 8448 Super Street Sensation has see-through cylinder heads so the inner working of the engine can be viewed. It is also possible to see the working gearbox, steering and other features. The panels and soft, flexible axels define the outline of the body but does not limit seeing the Technic features buried within the model.

    70810 Metalbeard’s Sea Cow also is a favourite set. It fuses the Pirates theme with Technic. It seems as if the designers for The LEGO Movie sets threw a bunch of Pirate parts into a mix of Technic panels and asked a focus group of youngsters to build a ship. It looks like Metalbeard’s steampunk styled Sea Cow flagship is the result.

  7. What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
    Jumper plate - Plate 1x2 W. 1 Knob.

    I love the release of new parts that enable people to assemble LEGO models with greater levels of texture. I have used the jumper plate (Part design 15573) extensively in my Queen Victoria model.

    It appears in two locations: Queen Victoria has two sections of passenger cabins that are stepped in slightly and the accommodation is narrower than the rest of the ship. Jumper plates have been used to recreate this by making the model 11 studs wide in those locations.

    The jumper plates have also been used to recreate the lifeboat davits. The davits are made with mini-handles (Part design 3839). The handles are half a stud wider than the 1x2 plate they are attached to. Jumper plates enabled me to assemble the lifeboats (Part design 90395) and associated davits.

    The jumper plate is a universal part: it has been around for over forty years. I am pleased that there is now a new 1x3 jumper plate (Part design 34103) that was released in 2017. This 1x3 jumper plate will add stability and strength in modern models. 1x3 jumper plate: Plate 1x3 W/ 2 Knobs.

  8. Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) whom you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
    Jamie Berard.

    I like the Modular buildings, and I am especially interested in seeing the ways in which existing parts have been repurposed in these models.

    The Modular buildings are getting better with an amazing amount of interior detailing. I am sure this is due to Jamie Berard’s influence in these Creator Expert models.


  9. Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
    I am a staff editor at with my username FlagsNZ. I visit this website several times each week. I have been an advocate for LEGO Ideas projects and frequently write articles, called Ideas Showcase, which features promising LEGO Ideas projects.

    I have recently written some feature articles on a promising young MINDSTORMS programmer, Kyle Markland. Kyle is a MINDSTORMS Community Partner and he has recently written a book, Building Smart LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Robots, which I have reviewed. (

    I am a member of several Facebook groups focussing on LEGO related topics. I am usually engaged in comments and posts that pop up from time to time in my News Feed.

About Your Project

  1. Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
    I received the 10241 Maersk Line Triple E ship for my birthday in 2014. I have used this model as a prop in the classroom where I teach nautical subjects. The model very accurately represents a version of the real ship. I believe it is the first LEGO ship model that had a complete set of navigation lights.

    My initial concept was to create a complementary model for the Maersk Line Triple E ship I so set about creating two new ship models: a red Hamburg Sud container ship San Cristobal as well as the black hulled Cunard cruise ship Queen Victoria.

    USSCo, my original shipping company, has the same distinctive funnel livery as Cunard: a red funnel with two black bands. That was the primary reason I chose a Cunard cruise ship to build. I wanted a passenger ship as a contrast to the cargo ship represented by the Maersk Line Triple E ship.

    In addition to that, the LEGO Group’s founding motto is “Only the best is good enough” (Det bedste er ikke for godt). I believe that Cunard is the premier cruise ship company that matches the essence of The LEGO Group’s moto.
  2. What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
    The model has evolved through four separate stages in the two years since it was uploaded to LEGO Ideas.

    I initially wanted to make the model at the same scale as the Maersk Line Triple E ship. This resulted in a model that looked quite squat.

    It was seeing the LEGO Ideas project Cruise Ferry - MS Bergensfjord / MS Stavangerfjord and also a photograph of my model sitting alongside the builders model of the real ship (taken aboard the real Queen Victoria) that made me realise that I needed to work on my model and get the scale right.

    So initially, it was getting the scale right that was the difficult challenge. To make a model of an entity that exists in the real world using LEGO requires very accurate building techniques.

    Image source: Cunardfan -


    The second challenge was to recreate the distinctive Cunard funnel; this was, after all, the primary reason for choosing a Cunard ship.

    Image by Rory Coase: Ships in Bergen blog

  3. How long did it take to complete the model? Did you finish it fairly quickly, or did it take a long time?
    The model took several months, and four separate Bricklink orders to source the parts, to complete the initial design. At that stage in my LEGO designing, I would imagine the build in my head and then experiment with a few parts to get the assembly right.

    I also over-ordered many of the parts just in case I needed to revise the design at a later stage.

    The model has evolved since it was first uploaded to LEGO Ideas, and it has had three distinct revisions.
  4. How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
    I had been monitoring the supporter progress for several months and knew that it was going to be close getting to 10,000 supporters by the due date (2 January 2019).

    For the month of December I had been posting an update on a few Facebook Groups every couple of days. The model was also on display at a large toy shop in Auckland, Toyworld – West Auckland.

    When I woke up on Monday, 17 December and saw that the project had reached the 10,000 I was over the moon. I was confident of reaching 10,000 supporters but seeing Achieved Support on the product Ideas page was surreal.

    It took two years and 42 days to get 10,000 supporters.
  5. Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
    If the LDD file is anything to go by, the model is made with 2488 pieces. It started at 2061 parts but as the model was updated, extra parts were added.

About LEGO Ideas

  1. Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
    You have to build something that you identify with. A model of something that you are passionate about.

    Spend some time getting design just right so that the model that is uploaded is as close as possible to the final version.
  2. What is your favourite LEGO Ideas project (besides your own of course)?
    I would to help a project that I have been following for some time: Thunderbirds Are Go.

    It is at about 7,500 Supporters with three months to go before it expires and so it would be good if it were to get a boost.

    As a child, I grew up loving the Supermarionation puppet show, Thunderbirds, created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. I really like the way that Andrew Clark has recreated the modern look of the updated Thunderbird 2. I am impressed how Thunderbird 4, The Mole and the Elevator Car can fit inside the Thunderbird 2’s pod.

    By Andrew Clark, the designer of Dr Who and Flintstones LEGO Ideas sets.


  3. What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea? 
    The principle attraction of the LEGO Ideas platform is the potential kudos of creating your own LEGO model that could become a real LEGO set.

    There are many talented amateur LEGO designers out there and some of the projects at LEGO Ideas are impressive.

    Make sure that the model images that are uploaded are as close as possible to how the final model will look. Once the project has been uploaded to LEGO Ideas, you cannot change the description page. The first image on the LEGO Ideas description page will follow you until you get to 10,000 supporters.

    Identify your target audience: join as many Facebook Groups that might help in getting supporters signed up.

    Promoting your project will require active marketing: it is going to be difficult reaching the 10,000 supporter target
  • lego ideas
  • 10k club
  • david wardle
  • flagsnz
  • queen victoria cruise ship

Opens in a new window