Number 5 is alive! A huge congratulations to Rogel Dela Fuente, aka RJ Brickbuilds, on his 'Short Circuit' inspired design of Johnny 5! Fans of the movie will love this motorised creation as much as we do. Show some love for Rogel and Johnny 5 in the comments!
- Who are you?
Rogel Dela Fuente.
- Where are you from?
I currently live in Queensland, Australia but I am originally from the Philippines.
- How old are you?
- What do you study or do for a living?
I am a Chemical Engineer.
- What hobbies do you have?
I am into LEGO building. Mostly, motorised MOCs with LEGO elements which also involves video taking, video editing, photography, photo-editing, digital modelling through Stud.io, and creating build instructions for my LEGO MOCs. I am also into indoor rock climbing and other simple fitness stuff like running and biking.
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
I have a YouTube Channel ‘RJ BrickBuilds’ where I post videos of my LEGO MOCs.
- Have you created any LEGO MOCs (my own creations) that you’re particularly proud of? What is it, why are you proud of it and do you have a photo of it?
Yes, I am proud of most of my MOCs but I made a motorised egg-laying hen I called Freakin’ Chicken which I’d like to mention. There’s a video of it working in my YouTube Channel if you’re interested. Here’s a photo of it.
- How and when did your interest in LEGO come about?
As a kid, I was into LEGO building when my parents bought me a lone small set which I treasured. I no longer remember what set it was and how I lost it but I clearly remember how I liked playing with it. My dark ages came after that. When my daughter turned two, my wife bought her several Duplo sets then some of the ‘Friends’ sets. She also started collecting the modular building sets and bought other sets for herself and our daughter. I helped them out building sets occasionally but I started really getting back into LEGO building when my wife started disassembling the increasing number of LEGO sets that we have and sorting them into parts. This was more than a year ago - when I started making LEGO MOCs.
- 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.
LEGO building is a family bonding for activity for us. My wife, daughter and I are all into LEGO, which is why the user name is RJ BrickBuilds. RJ BrickBuilds is a family project. RJ stands for my name Rogel and my wife’s name Jacky. Our daughter’s name is Rylee Jayne.
LEGO building is also my creative outlet. I love toy making, even now as an adult. As a kid, my parents would get mad at me for breaking moving and motorised toys given to me. I was always curious - trying to figure out how they work and would think of ways to redesign or create another toy from them. LEGO bricks give me an avenue for this without the need to make the moulds.
- 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 like Technic builds. I’ve always been fascinated with making remote-controlled toys and LEGO Technic is perfect for this. The mechanisms, use of motors and building styles that that are structurally stable inspired my building style.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set ever? Why?
The Liebherr 9800 Set 42100 is currently my favourite set both because of its mechanical complexity as well as the versatility of the set for making MOCs. I’ve made several alternative MOCs of this set which included a version of Johnny 5. I still have alternative MOC ideas for this set which I’m planning to build one of these days.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
It’s the humble 2L black pin. They are very useful yet so unappreciated such that when The LEGO group updated its mould, nobody noticed. I didn’t notice as well but I have an excuse – I was just starting to get back into LEGO building.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
Jason Alleman. I like how he makes MOCs that are both aesthetically pleasing as well as mechanically sound.
Akiyuki. The complexities of his Great Ball Contraptions and the mechanisms he comes up with 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 mostly visit various LEGO Facebook groups, Bricklink and Rebrickable.
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
I’ve always been interested in robots. As a child, the movie Short Circuit and its sequel Short Circuit 2 sparked my imagination, and they were those types of movies that got stuck in my head. The sequel also had a scene where Johnny 5 made toy versions of himself. I remember back then that the thought of having a Johnny 5 toy made me excited but that did not happen. So, when I got back to LEGO designing, I thought I’d make a motorised LEGO version of Johnny 5.
- 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?
It’s hard to say now that I have made several versions of Johnny 5. I initially made a version that’s made out of solely the parts from the Lego Set 42100, Liebherr R 9800 Excavator. It was an idea I had when I bought the set which I put on hold until I can figure out how to customise the controls. When the Powered Up App came out, I made the Johnny alternate build of the 42100 set. The research I made was just internet searches of Johnny 5 images and videos on his movements and design details. It took me about 2 weeks to get the initial design done.
The testing and redesign that followed to make took a bit longer. I put this Johnny 5 alternate build of set 42100 on Rebrickable which became very popular with AFOLs. Then I decided to improve this model, this time without the limitation imposed by an alternate build – I decided to ‘Bricklink’ parts I thought I needed to build a Johnny 5 that looks as close as I can make it to the original design. I made a lot of changes to the internal mechanisms, especially in the arms and the base, to accommodate the changes to the appearance. This took maybe two months, but it was hard to say. I also made 2 versions of it before settling on the final design. I took out the Set 42100 Johnny 5 alternative build from Rebrickable after I submitted my Johnny 5 LEGO Ideas entry. That left some people disappointed that the alternate build was no longer available but also others excited at the prospect of a possible official Johnny 5 LEGO Set.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
It was probably the torso section of the build. This section holds the mechanism for both tilting and turning the head. The combination of these two movements made it challenging. I had to work with the motor at an angle while the head is vertical.
- If you could talk to yourself before you started on this project, what would you tell him? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
I enjoyed creating Johnny 5 out of LEGO elements and the challenges that went with it were part of the fun. I don’t think I have any advice to say to my younger self when it comes to creating and building Johnny 5.
- 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?
I’d say the time it took to reach 10,000 supporters was faster than I expected – less than 2.5 months! There are lot of AFOL Johnny 5 fans out there. I’d say that the time I spent promoting the Product Idea is roughly the same as creating the model. In that span of time I made several memes, promotional images and two videos of the Johnny 5 model. In one of the videos, I had Johnny 5 cleaning our house, much to my wife’s dismay when he broke the LEGO Tree House. I still have some more ideas for memes and videos that I ended up not making, since I actually planned to promote it for 2 years.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
Excited of course! Achieving 10,000 supporters in less than 2.5 months was quite unexpected.
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
Roughly 2,700 parts.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
I am very happy with how the head tilt and turn mechanism worked out. It was the most challenging part of the build.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
I built the model both as a real model and as a digital one. I used Stud.io to build and render the digital model.
- If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
I did not use stickers or prints for my design.
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
I think, to reach 10,000 supporters, you need to have an idea that appeals to the LEGO fans out there. While promoting my project, I had to bear in mind that in order to support my project, these prospective supporters will need to log in or even sign up to LEGO Ideas website. While it doesn’t seem like too big of an effort, it is much easier to just continue browsing through or ignoring your promotion. Thus, what you’re promoting has to be good enough to have them make that effort.
Most importantly though, it has to be worth your effort - you have to have fun while creating and promoting it since that’s the point of this hobby.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
I created memes, promotional images and videos and posted them on YouTube, Facebook and other social media. I tried to make them as fun, entertaining and aesthetically interesting as I can. I also made some of these memes remind people of the Short Circuit movie.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
I like the piano and the way it was designed and built. With regards to overlooked product Ideas, I think that LEGO Ideas overlook technic-built and motorised product ideas.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
What attracted me was the opportunity to have my creation as an official LEGO set.
- Do you have plans to submit any other Product Ideas in the future? If yes, can you give us a hint of what that might be?
Yes, I do but I’d like to keep it private for now until I upload it.
- 10k club
- 10k club interview
- product idea
- rogel dela fuente
- motorised johnny 5
- rj brickbuilds