Land Ahoy! Captain Ralf Langer, aka Ralf Ranghaal, presents this marvelous piece of LEGO engineering. A beautiful, curved map demonstrates his famous mastery of LEGO building. Find out more about this fantastic project here.
- Who are you?
- Where are you from?
- How old are you?
- What do you study or do for a living?
I am developing software for a Cologne-based company.
- What hobbies do you have?
Apart from LEGO building, of course, I am also playing guitar in a band called “Killing Suzy”.
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
You can find high quality pictures of my models on Flickr and I post my models, additional content and many tutorials on Instagram:
- 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
Magnum Opus Fachwerkus
I have built a lot of tricky models but this one is extreme. It prominently features some different ways to achieve half-timbered walls. The ground is made out of chain links and looks pretty much like mud. I tried to integrate as much detail, tricks and building techniques as I could this time. The result is a look that is different from what people expect a LEGO build to have. The name is a bit silly: the word Fachwerkus does not exist. I made it up to sound like bad latin and it is derived from the German word for half-timbered buildings.
Fishing in Muddy Waters
I focused more on composition this time. There are lots of round forms here and I think it's really harmonic and one of my best balanced builds. Some of the highlights here are the roof made out of traffic signs and the tower that uses sausages and cheese slopes to achieve a round form.
Living on the Edge
This is another LEGO Ideas entry. Sets designed for LEGO Ideas have to be designed differently; they have to be reproducible in easy steps, you can't use older colours or use certain tricks. Nevertheless, I tried to incorporate some of my trademark techniques here: the rock pattern on the wall or the plants on the roof for example.
This is only a small fraction of a large build that was called ‘The Future is Bright’. This build was the first time that I have used the bending technique also used in several other models and finally in ‘Land Ahoy’. Originally, I had a closed ring, but I reworked it for an exhibition.
There is not much to say about the tape, I guess. I included it to have some variance and not only showing decaying houses.
And yet another LEGO Ideas project. This was easy and one of the fastest models I have done. I think it would be an excellent parts set.
To the Sky
I wanted a lot of colour this time but for it to still remain a gothic atmosphere.
A Light in the Dark
There is no special lighting here. Just pure sunlight. Using muddy colours all the way makes the entrance glow by itself. This is one of my many builds with half-timbered buildings. This time I mixed half-timbered structures with peeling off wand colour. Again, I have used chain threads for the ground.
This is my only city build, I guess.
- How and when did your interest in LEGO come about?
A few years ago, a colleague of mine showed me an online picture of the VW transporter. This finally resulted in me buying a 42009 technic truck crane, following a used UCS imperial shuttle and then the Parisian restaurant. The restaurant was by far the most interesting and pleasing build, so I bought other modulars. Well, eventually I bought a used 10 KG (22 Pounds) collection of bricks. I spent almost two years only buying collections, building up my stock and selling the parts I (supposedly) would not need - what a waste of time in retrospection. Eventually I had a real large collection without haven't built anything yet.
- 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.
It gives me an opportunity to express myself artistically.
- What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
My favourite theme is probably “Pirates of the Caribbean”. I don’t care for themes when building, so it hasn’t really influenced me. As a child I was a huge fan of the space theme and sets like 918/928.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set ever? Why?
That’s maybe Medieval Market Village. Apart from looking good, it is quite flexible and can be easily extended.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
My most used element is the 1x2 plate. But my most loved one is most probably the quarter tile. Because of its asymmetry it allows easy organic effects. I just wish they would be available in olive green. It’s annoying that the LEGO Group doesn’t offer the most important parts in all colours. At least to me the quarter tile is an essential part.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
I think the origins of my building style derive from the builds of the mighty triumvirate of Luke Watkins Hutchinson, David Hensel and César Soares (who became an official LEGO designer). Those ones got me started. My most important influence in the first years was Simon Hundsbichler though.
- Is there one or more particular LEGO-related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
I love the new elementary site. It’s so nerdy! By far the best site for advanced builders.
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
I already made some similar models; I just love to achieve effects and looks people do not associate with LEGO bricks. Here it is the round form, of course.
- 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 was quite fast and easy. No research necessary.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
I had to do some workarounds because some basic elementary parts did not exist in the colour I needed them. Apart from that it was fairly easy. A challenge was to do a video showing me swinging around the model in the air.
- 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?
Instead of the map I tried to do a landscape before, which had much less water. It didn’t really work out aesthetically.
- 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?
It was finished in a few days. Maybe 3-4? Photography and tutorials to promote it took more time than that.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
It took a few months. Maybe 4. I was more relieved than excited reaching 10000.
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
Maybe 2000. Hard to tell. I don’t count when building.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
The bending mechanism, of course.
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
Don’t try to be original. LEGO Ideas is almost all about license themes. Choose a TV show or a license theme that hasn’t been put out as a set yet. The popularity of the theme is much more important than the build.
Don’t use real bricks. The majority of people visiting LEGO Ideas prefer digital builds with lighting effects over real ones.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
Mainly Instagram posts. The build was reposted in diverse social media channels.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
I think the Ship in a Bottle was really stylish and also provided great parts
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
Don’t use real bricks. Digital builds with flashy effects do better.
- 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?
I am not sure yet. Usually, my builds are too complex for LEGO Ideas, and I am not sure if I am going to design some more models especially for LEGO Ideas again.
- 10k club
- 10k club interview
- product idea
- ralf langer
- land ahoy
- ralf ranghaal