The end of the year is approaching and with it, the last series of interviews. We're kicking off the 10K Club Interviews today, which will last until mid-January. Again for the following weeks, we've got plenty to look forward to from the latest review phase!
In today's 10K Club Interview, we meet a familiar LEGO Ideas member, who has become well known for his hand in the recently announced LEGO Ideas Home Alone set. But this time, he's back with something a little different.
- Who are you?
Hi! My name is Alex Storozhuk.
- Where are you from?
I’m from Vinnitsa, Ukraine
- How old are you?
I’m turning 30 this summer, so by the time of publishing this I’m already 30 😊
- What do you study or do for a living?
I’m still working on getting a Ph.D. degree in medicine. Also leading a small team in a freight brokerage company. Please don’t look for a connection between these two, ha-ha!
- What hobbies do you have?
I am fond of many things, but I value those that can be shared with my family the most. These are LEGO and road trips! Aside from that I like playing the guitar, fitness and I really appreciate good animation films.
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
I upload my works both to
- 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?
My Rescue Rangers project was a lot of fun to build, and I think it captures the nostalgic spirit of Disney classics quite nicely. It’s in the gathering support phase 😉 https://ideas.lego.com/projects/c5e0de2d-6837-46fd-82ee-16a1a0d56bc2
- How and when did your interest for LEGO products come about?
I loved LEGO as a kid, and I recall Western theme to be my absolute favorite. A long pause after that and then a single set - Santa's Workshop (10245) has started it all over again! My girlfriend (back in those days) and I bought it for 2016-th Christmas. I accidentally saw a banner with this very cute set and clicked it. I am so happy I did it! I thought that it would be a cool thing to do on Christmas Eve and gave it a green light. Since then, Winter Village became a very special thing to us (as a family of three now) and addiction started to grow!
- 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.
Having common interests with your loved ones is priceless! LEGO is one of those “bricks” :) It gave us a beautiful tradition and a whole new field for creativeness! So much more than just a toy, it actually unites families and people, this is something I really like about LEGO and it's a wonderful community.
- 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 think modular buildings and fairground lines are awesome! And winter village is also a very special theme to me. Aside from all the great details these sets have, I appreciate those little stories designers have put in!
I always try to incorporate some functions and playability into my models and doing that without compromising the overall look is a huge challenge! Fairground and some other “creator” sets from Mike Psiaki and Jaimie Berard are definitely an inspiration to me – they are so good in this aspect.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
It’s hard to pick just one but as a huge 50s era lover I’d probably go with a Downtown Diner.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
All kinds of brackets! These elements solve a lot of tasks.
I also like to collect different minifig utensils. One of the molds I think we are missing is a Les Paul guitar!
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
Looks like I partly answered this above, but I’m also fascinated by JKBrickworks sculptures! I like his simple and elegant solutions for complicated things he does. Also while working on the Home Alone set I had the pleasure to meet a very talented team of designers, I’ll be definitely following their future works!
- Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
Bricklink is probably the most visited one. I also like the Baseplate Journal that my LUG mate runs - https://bpjournal.com.ua/en/
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
When I was somewhere in the middle between “not interested to be an astronaut anymore” and university entrance, I thought that being a coast lifeguard is the best job one can ask for. What teenager doesn’t want to be a hero with a perfect tan running in a slow-mo, right? 😊
The idea came when we were looking through my photographs made during the students exchange program “work & travel” back in 2010-th. I was so close to fulfilling that dream and becoming a pool lifeguard in Roswell GA, but I failed my swimming exam😊. The rest of the summer I worked in a cafe in the middle of the Great Smoky Mountains and it was a fun adventure actually! So these memories made us smile and I just decided to build something as a reminder about this adventure from my past.
- 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?
Every MOC starts differently, sometimes it might be just one single LEGO piece or a real-world object that launches the whole process. This time after the idea appeared I decided to give this MOC the cuteness of Miami Beach huts and the iconic look of those blue Californian ones. So the result is a sort of a combination of those two. Every time I make something based on a real-world thing, I look through numerous pictures and videos and make a list of “must-haves” that I want to include in my design. And then your imagination just starts to build along with the research process – that’s how it works for me.
- What special challenges or frustrations did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
The whole build starting from the first piece was pure fun to me and as far as I can remember the design process was one of the smoothest I ever had. Usually, I rebuild models numerous times before I am fully satisfied with it’s look. It took me some time to find the right angle for the roof though. The yellow truck that you can see on one of the later renders was the most challenging actually! Maybe that’s because I’ve added it after almost 2 years since the shack was done and my requirements for my own designs just got a little higher since then, but this truck combines some fun techniques and I’m quite happy with how it turned out. I’m particularly proud of the back frame build that definitely took me some time to figure out. It was inspired by several truck models from the ’80s + some of my own twists. I find removable doors idea to be pretty cool too 😊
- If you could talk to yourself before you started on this project, what would you tell him/her? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
Ha-ha, I would probably add a caption in bold saying something like “It is not based on Baywatch”. Just kidding, this was the most common question under the project 😊
- 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?
As far as I remember the first concept was done in 3 days and then probably another 3-4 days I spent looking at it under different angles, adjusting details, adding some playability, and optimizing the whole build.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
It was great! This time it wasn’t so fast but it’s a great pleasure to see your original idea made that long way! And looks like we have a tradition to celebrate it with a cake now 😊
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
There are around 550 pieces in the Shack + around 200 pieces in the truck.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
It took me some time to create the truck’s back frame and I’m very satisfied with its look, so I would say this is my favorite technique.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
I always start my MOCs in LDD since I think its usability is great and then I switch to Studio 2.0 because of the parts selection and nice renderer built it.
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
There are so many aspects you need to take into consideration! Reaching 10k is only half of the way. Frankly speaking, it’s all about the IDEA. I know sounds obvious, but this is really it, as simple as that. Of course, good presentation and design, and promotion are important for reaching 10k, but in the end what matters the most – is a widely appealing, unique, and fun idea!
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
I used every social media out there! Non-IP projects are not that simple to promote so I had to do my best to spread the word. I was happy to find my project was warmly received by the lifeguard’s community too! One thing I learned with this project and can recommend to other creators – do not to limit your campaign to just an English-speaking community. For example, there are huge Spanish and Russian-speaking communities out there. It helped me a lot!
- 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 Working Minigolf by LEGOParadise is stunning. It combines playability, interesting mechanics, neat design, and great integration possibilities with existing sets. Bravo!
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
The people! This platform attracts a lot of creative people from all over the world and it is so much fun to discover their visions from the creations they make! To me, LEGO Ideas is a massive part of my LEGO hobby in general. Thank you for existing!
- 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?
Yes, I do have an idea and hopefully, you will see it shortly after this interview is published! It’s going to have a lot of moving parts in it 😊
- 10k club
- 10k club interview
- product idea