10K Club Interview: Meet Stefano Cazzaniga of NF-15B Research Aircraft
As an aerospace engineering student, it should come as no surprise that this week's 10K Club member, Stefano Cazzaniga a.k.a. Mammalucco, decided to build and submit his NF-15B Research Aircraft to LEGO Ideas. Naturaly, as an inspiring engineer, it was of course also necessary to delve into the details of this aircraft ensuring as much detail and functionality as possible.
Help us congratulate Stefano on joining the exclusive LEGO Ideas 10K Club and for sharing his story with us!
- Where are you from?
I’m from Italy, I live near Milan.
- How old are you?
I'm 20 years old.
- What do you study or do for a living?
I attend the second year of aerospace engineering at the Milan Polytechnic.
Not long ago I had the opportunity to design and build a puppet with LEGO bricks for a toy store together with my brother Andrea.
^ Stefano testing the flight capabilities of his NF-15B Research Aircraft. Will it lift-off?
- What hobbies do you have?
Obviously building with bricks; I also like watching movies and playing five-a-side football. Even if it's not a real hobby I love snorkeling when I have the chance.
- How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
It was Francesco, my older brother, who got me interested in bricks. At home there has always been many sets, which were continuously disassembled and reassembled following our creativity. In a short time, the interest turned into passion and we have been spending hours building our first MOCs.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
I really like 7298 Dino Air Tracker set: impressive, detailed and playable. Another set on which I spent a lot of time is the Creator 4955: I remember having disassembled and reassembled the truck several times.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
44728 Angle plate 1x2 / 2x2 is definitely a useful piece in almost all buildings, however I’m not sure I can define a favourite piece. What I value most about building MOCs is developing the ability to choose and assemble the right brick in the right position to get the best result.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
When I was younger I had been enchanted by the M61A1 Cerberus by Brad Edmondson seen on MOCpages. I had also tried to reproduce it but with poor results.
- Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
I sometimes visit bricklink.com, mainly to buy some pieces. I have occasionally frequented some Facebook pages and groups while trying to sponsor my project on the net. For a short time I have been browsing MOCpages.com too.
About Your Project
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
I have always been fascinated by the fact that planes, despite their weight, can fly. The choice of this particular aircraft – the McDonnell Douglas F-15 – was driven by its harmonious shapes. Furthermore, the coloring scheme of the NASA prototype enhances the grace of this model.
^ The NF-15B Research Aircraft displayed at an event including a highly informative presentation
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
While designing with LDD I had to stop several times to study in-depth different solutions to reproduce some parts.
The ones that gave me the most trouble had been the landing gear and the radar nose; actually they were not designed by LDD but I went on by building attempts over attempts. Initially I wished to make retractable landing gears, including shock absorbers, nevertheless able to bear the weight of the plane ... After numerous attempts I had to give up the shock-absorbing feature, preserving the retractility along with a reasonable sturdiness.
Even for the radar nose I had to try countless versions before getting a satisfactory solution to make it possible to open for inspection.
Another challenge had been reproducing the plane livery without using stickers. That impacted in particular the wings: after several attempts I was forced to assemble the plates vertically rather than horizontally. At the end I’m proud of this solution and it has also been much appreciated by several LEGO Ideas supporters
- How long did it take to complete the model?
To make the first model - the original one portrayed in the photos on LEGO Ideas - I spent about one year, but it derives from a previous smaller project that took two years. During the long path towards 10,000 votes I have redesigned the entire internal structure, simplifying it and reducing the number of pieces. In total therefore, it took just over two years.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
It was certainly a beautiful moment, I was very happy to have succeeded in completing the first step of the challenge. The project took one year and a half to reach 10,000 votes. During this period I participated in some exhibitions to sponsor the project. One of the nicest things was getting people's appreciations either online or live.
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
The first submission was made of about 5000 pieces. Given such high number, I worked to reduce it: the version of the last update has about 4150 pieces.
About LEGO Ideas
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas project (besides your own of course)?
I love the Pneumatic Backhoe project. But there are many others that I like much too: "Hammerhead V" Steampunk Sharkship, LEGO Insects Project, The AFOL Brick House, Defender, Cockroach. Unfortunately, the last two mentioned have already expired.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
It is the possibility to present an idea that could – rarely to say the truth - become a real set and be sold worldwide. And this is a huge opportunity for any AFOL.
Being based on what I value most in the projects, I would give these suggestions:
- Start from an original, not trivial idea
- Build the final model with real bricks (personally I don’t like ideas documented with just virtual renderings)
- Never stop improving the project by uploading updates
- Exhibit the model in any events dealing with LEGO bricks: for my project this was very useful to gather support
^ Visitors showing off the details of his NF-15B Research Aircraft to visitors at one of the exhibitions Stefano attended
- lego ideas
- 10k club
- stefano cazzaniga
- nf-15b research aircraft