Welcome, John Olson, a.k.a. Commander Brick, and his set The Market Village to the 10K Club. At just 17, this talented, young builder has created a magnificent addition to any Castle set, for in his words "you always need a village for your favourite castle, right?". Leave your congratulations in the comments!
- Who are you?
Greetings! My name is John Olson, a.k.a. Commander Brick
- Where are you from?
- How old are you?
17 (I was 15 when I built the model).
- What do you study or do for a living?
As of writing this, I'm finishing up 11th grade of High School. I occasionally work with my dad in the kitchen and bathroom remodelling business.
- What hobbies do you have?
Other than LEGO building, I often enjoy the outdoors and playing basketball or volleyball with friends. I always enjoy reading a good classic or sci-fi novel.
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
- 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?
My latest favourite medieval MOC is an updated version of the classic 6067 Guarded Inn. I really liked my colour choices and the overall design and details of the model. Another one of my favourites is a post-apocalypse-style LEGO store. The building was inspired by the LEGO store in New York City.
- How and when did your interest in LEGO products come about?
I’ve been building with LEGO bricks pretty much all my life. The first set I remember receiving was the Soldiers’ Fort (6242) from the 2009 Pirates theme. Prior to that, I was building with classic LEGO bricks that belonged to my two older sisters.
- 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.
I've always enjoyed building and displaying my favourite LEGO Star Wars sets. Purchasing a set or building a MOC is usually an every-other-month thing. The past three years have meant a lot to me since I joined LEGO Ideas and experienced so many awesome opportunities. For me, there’s always something exciting to do in the LEGO world!
- What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
Star Wars is by far my favourite LEGO theme. The best part about LEGO Star Wars is the number of different minifigures. It’s insane! I don’t believe any theme has inspired my building style other than perhaps LEGO castle. I'm mainly inspired by fan MOCs. Two other themes that I hold in high esteem are the Creator Expert and Lord of the Rings themes.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set ever? Why?
The Parisian Restaurant (10243) from 2014. It had the most rewarding build, plus it is packed with so many outstanding building techniques and details.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
For me, it’s the 1x2 masonry brick; I use it in almost all of my creations!
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
I really admire the work of LEGO Ideas fan designer Andrea Lattanzio, aka Norton74. His builds blow me away and he’s always coming up with something new to be inspired by.
- Is there one or more particular LEGO-related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
I regularly stay in tune with a variety of LEGO YouTubers. Videos like Top 10 MOCs of the Week by BrickVault or a tour through a LEGO fan convention by Beyond the Brick can be very inspirational. I also use a website called Brick Owl as a very reliable market source for ordering additional pieces and figures for my projects.
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
LEGO fan-made medieval-style buildings have always fascinated me, so back in 2020, I had the idea for a medieval market village to complement LEGO Castle fan’s custom or official LEGO castle. Because you always need a village for your favourite castle, right?
- 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 whole project (building the model, pictures, and publishing on LEGO Ideas) took about three months. I had to order a large backdrop for the photos, so the lengthy wait took up most of that time. When I have an idea that’s not based on any IP, then I just grab the pieces I need from my collection and start building off of the rough sketch in the back of my mind. I rarely do research.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
To be honest, I didn’t have any trouble building this model. One of my main goals was to try and make my MOCs sweet and simple, not complicated.
- If you could talk to yourself before you started on this project, what would you tell them? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
I would tell myself to spend more time on the photos because that’s an important part. I would also remind myself to use less of the old-style pieces, they take away the new and clean look of a model. I’m still learning how to capture better photographs and improve the quality of my creations.
- 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 believe it took me a week or two to complete the model, so it was fairly quickly. Compared to the time it took to reach 10k supporters, well, that’s another story!
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
It was incredible! A while before it reached the magic 10k I had been counting and calculating the number of days left and the number of supporters I needed before it reached the deadline! And the whole process took almost two years.
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
Unfortunately, I’m not quite sure. When I build a highly detailed MOC, I tend to use a ton of smaller pieces. To make it an easier and less-detailed build, I could have used larger pieces.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
I’m really fond of the river and the watermill. They both add so much to the way my Market Village is assembled and make it feel like a real medieval trading centre.
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
Build what you know and keep going even when you’re stumped over a certain area in the process of creating your product idea. I’ve had quite a few frustrations over the past three years with my product ideas and contest entries, but I’m still learning to keep trying and improving them. Obviously, not everything you’ll create will succeed, and that’s the whole point of learning and just having fun; doing what you love.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
I didn’t use any means of advertising this model, nor do I ever with any of my other creations. Amazingly, the LEGO Ideas team chose Market Village as a Staff Pick back in December 2020, and that really helped it reach its current status.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
My favourite would have to be the Old Fishing Store (21310). I really enjoy fishing plus the model looks so realistic and fun. Another thing that makes it special is that I remember finding out about LEGO Ideas when I first saw the set in a LEGO catalogue. As for Product Ideas that have been overlooked, I believe the LEGO Group has reasons for delaying certain ideas that the community would love to see created.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
I think it’s awesome how anyone can be part of a huge community where they can share and support their favourite creations and forms of media. Being able to do what you love and knowing other people who share your same interest is something else, plus LEGO Ideas gives me the perfect opportunity to keep on building with the greatest “toy” ever created. For anyone who is thinking about uploading a product Idea, I would say take care and time with your pictures and make sure your idea-if it’s an IP-is popular with the community.
- 10k club
- 10k club interview
- product idea
- john olson
- market village