10K Club Interview: Breaking Free with Han Sbricksteen!
Héctor Sánchez (aka Han Sbricksteen) is the first new 10K Club Interviewee this round, with his model Queen: I Want to Break Free! Learn some more about him, his creation here and say congratulations to him in the comments section down below. Especially if you're one of those who supported his project!
- What is your name? And what's your LEGO Ideas username all about?
I’m Héctor Sánchez. My LEGO Ideas username, Han Sbricksteen, is a pun on my three passions: Han is for Han Solo and Sbricksteen is a play on words with “brick” and Bruce Springsteen. Also, my username and my real name have the same initials. My profile picture is a tribute to the cover of the album “Born to Run” with Han Solo as Bruce and Chewbacca as Clarence Clemons.
- Where are you from?
I’m from Salamanca (Spain), but in the last years I’ve lived between Salamanca and Madrid.
- How old are you?
I’m 34 years old.
- What do you do for a living?
I’m a journalist and a writer. I have published two books about urban legends of rock and cinema -“Paul está muerto” (Paul is dead) and “Kubrick en la luna” (Kubrick on the moon) – and I write in several magazines specialized in rock, cinema or comics. I also work as a subtitler for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.
- What hobbies do you have?
I’m always quoting The Simpsons and Friends. I love listening to music, going to concerts, going to the movies, reading books and comics, drinking coffee and eating pizza. And I love building with LEGO bricks, of course!
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
You can see some of my creations on my personal Instagram, account @conhacheyacento, and on my @han_sbricksteen account.
- 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?
Two years ago, I was invited by the Spanish comedian Ignatius Farray to the radio show La vida moderna (Modern life) to talk about my LEGO Ideas projects. It’s a very popular Spanish program and the audience can watch it on their YouTube channel. I designed a model of the radio studio with LEGO bricks and I took it to the set. I included three minifigs of the hosts, Ignatius, David Broncano and Quequé, and a lot of inside jokes of the show. It was a very fun experience and a miracle that the building survived that chaotic program!
- How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always loved LEGO. I started playing with DUPLO bricks and my first LEGO set was the 6658 Bulldozer from 1986. That set was a gift from my grandfather and my father really encouraged my hobby. In 1998, it seemed that I would end up falling into my “dark ages”, but in 1999, LEGO Star Wars collection began and there was no turning back.
- 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 more than a hobby, because building with LEGO bricks helped me a lot during my depression. It was the only way I could focus on something and isolate myself from the problems I was going through. I really recommend building with LEGO bricks as a therapy. It isn’t a complete solution, of course, but it worked for me. Also, I love talking about LEGO with others AFOLs, being up to date on LEGO news, taking photos of scenes and dioramas for my Instagram account and showing my LEGO collection.
- What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
I always loved classic themes like Pirates and Castle, but Western was my favourite theme as a child. Nowadays, Star Wars drives me crazy. And Harry Potter too. In fact, I’m interested in every character or license of pop culture. I’m also very grateful for the LEGO Friends collection and the number of accessories it has created for the minifigures in recent years. For example, when I was a child, my minifigures had to eat with their hands because there were no forks!
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?`
That’s a very hard question! I have a lot! I will say three sets. I am absolutely fascinated by the set 10236-1 Ewok Village. As a Star Wars fan I like the scenarios as much as the ships and I think it is a perfect playset: it has a lot of minifigures and an impressive level of detail. I would like to add the Death Star (10188-1 or 75159-1), but I have always missed a complete exterior with opening walls. My favourite modular building is 10246-1 Detective’s Office, because I love film noir and crime novels and the model has all the clichés of this genre. But my all-time favourite set, and fortunately I have it in my collection, is 6399-1 Airport Shuttle. That’s right! Monorail! Monorail!
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
Food pieces! In real life, food should have the same proportion as the food for the minifigures, like the turkey. Being serious, I think the brick 1x2x1 2/3 W/4 knobs (22885) is very useful. I find all the pieces that allow SNOT techniques very handy. And I love the profile bricks 98283 and 15533 for the textures, but I wish there was a corner brick with this texture too.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
On the one hand, Marcos Bessa designed a lot of my favourite sets: 10236-1 Ewok Village, 10937-1 Arkham Asylum Breakout, 71006-1 The Simpsons House, 71040-1 The Disney Castle, 75827-1 Firehouse headquarters from Ghostbusters… I love his massive and detailed buildings. And Justin Ramsden too, he designed my favourite Marvel set, 76057-1 Spider-Man: Web Warriors Ultimate Bridge Battle and the awesome 75810-1 The Upside Down. On the other hand, the work of the graphic designers is as important as the brick designers work for me and the illustrations of Crystal Fontan are beautiful, but I prefer her designs in brick prints than in stickers! In the fan world, in Spain there are a lot of very talented fan designers like Bricky_Brick, LDiEgo, Sheepo or Corvus Auriac. Their buildings and their techniques are amazing.
- Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
I usually visit some websites like Brickset, Eurobricks, Hothbricks, Brickheroes, FBTB… Also In Spain we have some good websites too, like El Catalejo, Hispalug and ALEBricks. Luckily, in my country there is a lot of interest in LEGO.
About Your Project
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
As a music fan, when the Yellow Submarine project became a real set, it was very good news, The Beatles as LEGO minifigs! I love classic rock so I thought of some of the most iconic music videos and decided to design two different projects: Michael Jackson’s Thriller and I Want to Break Free. Unfortunately, the Michael Jackson project didn’t pass the LEGO Ideas rules, but Queen’s did. After that, I designed some other projects about musicians such as Ramones or Elvis Presley. There are a lot of sets about movies, comics and TV series, but very few about music, and some rock stars are as well-known as Darth Vader, Batman or the Friends gang.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
I can’t remember how long it took me exactly, because I usually work on more than one project at a time. Maybe it took me a month or so. At the beginning of a project, when I am going to replicate a real scene or vehicle, I like to collect all the graphic information that I can. For me, documentation is essential in the process. I guess it’s an occupational hazard as a journalist. I looked for many photos of the scenario, especially of the non-visible angles, and I watched the music video over and over again. The next step was deciding the scene and the size of the set, because in the real video there is another floor. The last phase, and one of my favourites, was designing the minifigures. I love the graphic part of the process and drawing torsos and legs.
- What special challenges or frustrations did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
The model isn’t especially hard to build, but the stairs were the hardest part. However, I didn’t want a static model, so I included a lot of accessories to give it playability. But the real challenge was the fact that the characters of the scene were men in women disguises. Nevertheless, LEGO minifigs love dressing up, like in the Series 18 of Minifigures or like other characters from those series.
- 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?
“Come on, Héctor! Why don’t you add instruments so Queen minifigures can play some music? Where is Brian May’s guitar? And Freddie Mercury needs a microphone!”
- How long did it take to complete the model? Did you finish it fairly quickly, or did it take a long time?
I was a little worried because the project wasn’t growing as fast as other LEGO Ideas proposals. I submitted the project one year before the premiere of Bohemian Rhapsody, and I guess the subsequent Queenmania helped to increase votes and people’s interest. But, it took quite a while for the project to reach 10,000 votes. There are so many proposals on the website that sometimes it seems that only the most recent ones have visibility. I don’t mean just my ideas, but there are a lot of good projects that get lost in the crowd.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes – again- and how long did it take?
Wow! It was very exciting. At last, one of my LEGO Ideas projects reached 10,000 votes! I felt like in Bohemian Rhapsody song: “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?”
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
The model has over 1300 pieces.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
The details and the furniture. The details are one of the most important things in every real LEGO set and I love to recreate furniture on this scale.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
For this model, I used LEGO Digital Designer and LDD to POV-Ray Converter. Now I use Bricklink Studio, because it has its own render and it’s faster. My creations are just digital for practical reasons. My apartment in Madrid was very small; I only had space for the 7965-1 Millennium Falcon and a small Batmobile. The rest of my collection is in my house in Salamanca, so I didn’t have the bricks I needed if I wanted to build something in Madrid. Furthermore, the possibilities of the digital program are unlimited, because it allows you to build whatever you want regardless of the brick limitations you may have.
- If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
When I need special prints, for example the torsos, I usually create them with Photoshop or other vector graphics software.
About LEGO Ideas
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
I don’t have any specific advice. If you want one special set, do it and try it. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
I use my social networks to promote my projects. The fact that specialized pages talk about the project helps a lot too. It’s very useful when other fans share your project on their social networks as well. But I think the most helpful resource is when LEGO Ideas choose your project as Staff Pick.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
My two favourite official sets are 21306-1 The Beatles Yellow Submarine and 21319-1 Central Perk. In the Third 2019 review the competition is very tough, because the level is really high and I love the Planet Express Delivery Ship, because Futurama is one of my favourite TV series ever. The project grew so fast that I didn’t have the chance to vote! One of the most original projects I’ve seen lately is Anatomini. Stephanix did a wonderful job and created a model both educational and fun. It saddens me that Eini’s Blues Mobile project didn’t become a real set. The model would have looked perfect next to the DeLorean and the Ecto-1, and that’s the reason why I designed my own Blues Mobile version a few months ago. We need more classic movies cars! As for LEGO Ideas in general, I wish someday the platform allows some more adult licenses as projects. I’m well aware LEGO is a toy, but we all know the actual audience of LEGO Ideas are usually AFOLs.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea
My dream is to work at LEGO as a designer, so LEGO Ideas is an opportunity to get close to that experience. I would be very proud if one of my ideas became a real set. As a tip, patience is important. Sometimes it’s frustrating to see that a project you have worked on very hard doesn’t grow as fast as you expected. 10,000 votes are a lot of votes and getting them, isn’t easy.
- han sbricksteen
- i want to break free
- queen i want to break free
- 10k club interview
- 10k club