10K Club Interview: Valérie & Matthew, creators of Blue Origin New Glenn Rocket
Our last 10K Club Interview of this review period showcases the creation of collaborative designers Valérie Roche Quideau (whatsuptoday on LEGO Ideas) and Matthew Nolan (also Matthew Nolan on LEGO Ideas).
Be sure to congratulate Valérie and Matthew in the comments as always, down below!
- Who are you?
Valérie Roche Quideau and Matthew Nolan.
- Where are you from?
Valérie: Paris France
Matthew: Sydney Australia
- How old are you?
Valérie: 50 years old
Matthew: 48 years old
- What do you do for a living?
Valérie: I currently work in the audio visual field.
Matthew: I work in finance.
- What hobbies do you have?
Valérie: The whole design, and of course in LEGO bricks, the photo and everything related to Nature, Space, Science, Culture and Discovery.
Matthew: Spending time with my kids, movies, travel, palentology, geniology and space.
- 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 it and do you have a photo of it?
Valérie: Yes, I have created a large number of MOCs, several dozen, here is the photo of our current LEGO family of which I am proud, some elements are missing but I did not have space to display them all ;-)
Matthew: Yes, my rocket garden of MOCs includes many of to the current and upcoming launch vehicles.
- How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
Valérie: Everything started about nine years when my husband found a trunk containing his old LEGO bricks from the 70s, which has given us this family passion for LEGO .
Matthew: Some of my favourite memories as a kid are of playing LEGO. I was very excited to have it reintroduced to my life 18 years ago when my kids joined the family.
- 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.
Valérie: LEGO is family main hobby, it is a wonderful vector which allows us to create new designs according to our imagination, to infinity or almost!
Matthew: I find LEGO to be a fantastic way to connect with my kids at all ages. It’s also a relaxing yet mentally engaging and challenging way spend some down time.
- What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
LEGO Space, it’s where our love of LEGO started. We still admire the simplicity and playability of those early sets.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
Valérie: I really like the new LEGO set: 21321 International Space Station because it's a very accurate and clever model, well done to its original designer :-)
Matthew: Saturn V by my good friend and co-designer Valerie. So cleverly designed and a beautiful model. I’ve never seen my kids so excited to build a kit!
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
Valérie: If I had to choose a preferred LEGO element, it would be: The 1X1 W, 4 KNOBS #4733 because, to create a new design, this brick is the center and also the ideal starting point. Also, it opens, in 3D vision, the creative space towards the maximum of directions, and it allows to be able to assemble elements together with their female sides, and we can then have studs on several sides ;-)
Matthew: The unusual or rare piece I’ve never seen before, that after much searching fits the need perfectly.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
Valérie: The LEGO designer: Lars Joe Hylding for his remarkable work on NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander and of course the designers of the Saturn V rocket: Carl Thomas Merriam, Michael Psiaki & Austin Williams Carlson, regarding the improvement and optimization of the LEGO Ideas NASA Apollo Saturn-V final design.
Matthew: Jens Kronvold Frederiksen who I met last year after many years of admiring his Star Wars LEGO designs. Jens is a fantastic ambassador for LEGO and a wonderfull person to speak and share LEGO stories with!
- Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
Valérie: I find the Bricklink LEGOwebsite very practical to acquire old or rare LEGO bricks and also, during the creation of a real LEGO brick model, it offers us the possibility of knowing before if these bricks will be available and at what price, in the contrary case, to be able to change these bricks for available others.
Matthew: Aside from many hours on Bricklink, I enjoy seeing the designs on EuroBricks, BrickVault and Brothers Brick.
About Your Project
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
Whilst reseaching for a next project it became clear that New Glenn is going to play a pivotal role in taking us back to the moon and beyond. We wanted to play a small part in that, helping kids and even adults learn about this incredible machine and what it will be capable of doing.
- 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?
Before even picking up the first brick, we spent about 10 weeks finding every reference photo, measurment and piece of information we could about New Glenn. Then we chose the 1:110 scale and decided the key measurements for our build.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
The engine bay of first stage, with it’s six legs and seven engines - the technic to build this remains secret!
- If you could talk to yourself before you started on this project, what would you tell her? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
Valérie: “Sorry, but I don’t understand your question?” ;-)
Matthew: “To be strong enough, this is going to take more pieces than you think it possibly could.”
- 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?
To document, design, build, take & render photos and write text: six months. To promote every day or almost the project and reach the 10K Grail: around nine months!
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
Very happy, of course!
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
Valérie: Exactly, 2948 bricks for the whole set.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
The engine bay is a masterclass in fitting high amounts of detail, combined with stength and functionality for the legs.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
We use LDD software just for the pre design, and after we take photos whitch are reworked and compressed in Photoshop!
- If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
Our original decals are also created with Photoshop at 1/1 scale with a precision of 0.1 mm, then recorded in .pdf at 300 dpi, ready to be printed everywhere ;-)
About LEGO Ideas
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
The design and build phases are important, but don’t forget to show your creation in the best possible way with great photos.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
We spend a lot of time promoting our project online everywhere possible, including twitter, facebook, as well as many space and LEGO fan sites.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
Valérie: The Fiat 500 F design, created by gabriele.zannotti and saabfan.
Matthew: - My favourite is Saturn V, overlooked is UCS AT-AT by Cavegod
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
The idea of crowdsourcing a design and having it made into a real LEGO set that can be on store shelves just seems awesome, and the chance to have that would be amazing.
- Do you have plans to submit any other Product Ideas in the future? If yes, can you give us a hint what that might be?
Sure yes, we have a new collaborative project but it is secret for now, soon to be added to LEGO Ideas, stay tuned! ;-)
- 10k club
- 10k club interview
- blue origin
- new glenn rocket
- valerie roche
- matthew nolan