Another 10K interview! Today we welcome Jan Woźnica a.k.a. john_carter to the 10K Club. Inspired by a love of sci-fi and the introduction of the LEGO Art theme, Jan has created a visually striking set of images fit to hang on any wall! How would you display them?
- Who are you?
My name is Jan Woźnica – you may know me by the nickname john_carter.
- Where are you from?
I’m from Poland.
- How old are you?
In my late 20’s.
- What do you study or do for a living?
I’m an IT professional, working with cloud technologies.
- What hobbies do you have?
Apart from the LEGO hobby, my main hobbies are board games and science fiction.
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
I do have profiles on multiple sites where I present my builds. You can find them all here.
- 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?
“Tales of the Space Age” is probably the single best MOC I ever created, but I’m quite proud of a few others. For example, the anime-based “Howl’s Moving Castle” is one of my favourites.
- How and when did your interest in LEGO products come about?
I got my first LEGO set when I was a little kid, 3-years-old at most, and got instantly hooked. Been playing with LEGO bricks all my childhood and then just kept building. I’ve never experienced “the Dark Age”, as it’s called in the AFOL community; I’ve never felt too old for bricks. I’ve just changed the way I interact with them!
- What is the LEGO hobby to you? What does it mean to you? How does it fit in your life? E.g. build, display, meetups, play the games or 'just' watch the cartoons.
LEGO building is an important part of my life – my main creative outlet. I try to work on some MOCs every week (sometimes it’s every day a week) and if I’m happy with the results I share them with the community. And the community is great! I’m a member of two LUGs, LUGPOL (a national one) and WAWLUG (local LUG in Warsaw) and try to take part in as many meetups as possible. The exhibitions we display from time to time are also a great motivation for creating MOCs – more builds get finished if I have a deadline!
- 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 the Adventurers theme, especially Orient Expedition, it was so fresh and exciting when I was a kid. Out of the current themes, I like Ideas and Creator (including Creator Expert) the most. I guess it’s not surprising, given those themes include a lot of advanced techniques and are very detail-oriented.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set ever? Why?
It’s very hard to single out one favourite set, but the LEGO® NASA Apollo Saturn V is definitely among my favourites. It’s so well designed and utilizes ingenious techniques to create the overall shape.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
I really like the so-called Mixel joint pieces. They allow for connections at any angle, very hard to achieve using other methods.
- Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
Not a website per se, but I spend a lot of time on several Discord servers – those are great places to discuss LEGO with other AFOLs, share work-in-progress pictures and get constructive feedback.
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
When The LEGO Group released the Art theme, I realised it had a lot of potential, but 1x1 tiles mosaics are not my cup of tea. Then came the “Out of This World” contest on Ideas and since I’m a sci-fi nerd I decided to participate. These two inspirations resulted in the brick-built picture format and the first of the “tales”. There are other sources of inspiration in it too, including classic SF book covers, 80s posters and so on.
- How long was the process of making the project, 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?
The first picture took less than a month from start to finish, since that was the deadline for the Ideas contest. For the other two I took more time, and all three were ready seven months later. It didn’t involve any extensive research, I was mostly building it out of my head.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
I quickly realised that a 2 studs deep “canvas” would work best, but I’d also need a Technic frame inside to make the pictures durable. At the same time, a lot of features (like the 8x8 grey dish in the second picture) needed attachment points deep inside the frame. It was challenging to fit it all inside, but I’m very happy with the result.
- 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?
Actual building from physical bricks took just a few moments since I had prepared the design digitally before. Most of the time I’ve spent creating the project, pictures were just standing on a shelf or displayed in the background on my PC, waiting for tweaks that improve their overall appearance. I believe it’s important not to rush it when creating a MOC – even when finished, it’s best to set the build aside for some time and then look upon it with fresh eyes.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take? It was a great feeling to reach this milestone! I was expecting that if I reach 10k votes, it would take at least half a year, but I was there in less than three months!
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
Around 550 bricks.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
I’m very happy with how I’ve built the crescent moons – it’s a really simple technique, but works here so well.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
I used stud.io as part of the design process. I’ve also used built in renderer. It’s a great tool to quickly check some solutions and different colour schemes, but the final test is the physical build – sometimes colours look very different than on a screen.
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
I have no idea how replicable my experience is, but what I did is essentially as follows: choose a subject matter I’m passionate about, but at the same time is quite popular with the community; come up with a format that is novel, but at the same time allows for convenient display; use techniques that are intriguing, and do not put too many things in a single project.
I guess it can work for other display pieces too, but if you’re creating a playset, you’d need a quite different approach!
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
As part of advertising my project, I shared it on my Instagram profile and a few LEGO-themed subreddits. It turns out it was enough!
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
There’s been a lot of great Ideas, so let me just highlight two that are still gathering support: Sony Walkman* by Jerac and Catan – the Game by XCLD.
* This project has now reached 10K.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
To me, the main attraction is the possibility that my creation can be made into an official set. However slim the chance, it would definitely be an amazing achievement, so it’s worth aiming for!
As for tips, I’d like to encourage everyone to try uploading projects based on their own unique idea. I know that it might be easier to gather 10K votes with a popular IP attached to the project, and some of my favourite Ideas are based on such. But I find it more fulfilling to create a completely new design rather than recreate some design in LEGO form.
- 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?
At the moment I do not have any detailed plans, but I’m sure I’ll find one of my future MOCs suitable for submission. If nothing else, I’ll most likely be creating more pictures in the vein of “tales of the Space Age”!
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