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10K CLUB INTERVIEW: NASA SR 71 Blackbird by Flavio Cereda

Today's 10K Club interview showcases the work of our newest member, Flavio Cerada (aka BrickerBeard). Welcome aboard, Flavio!

This incredible passion project is inspired by his love for aviation and authentically replicates the iconic NASA SR 71 Blackbird in exquisite detail. Find out more about Flavio's journey here!

 

ABOUT YOURSELF

  1. Who are you?
    Flavio Cereda. 


     
  2. Where are you from?
    Florence in Tuscany (Italy).
     
  3. How old are you?
    I’m just 39-years-old. 
     
  4. What do you study or do for a living?
    I’m a hotel manager.
     
  5. What hobbies do you have?
    Designing LEGO projects and assembling them.
     
  6. Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
    I use my Instagram or Bricklink
     
  7. 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 first LEGO MOC was a Wako – a famous acrobatic biplane and sea plane. It was my first time using digital software for building and it has introduced me to a wide world that I loved immediately.
     
  8. How and when did your interest in LEGO come about?
    My interest in LEGO products began more than 30 years ago, with my first Christmas present. It was the 6783 Sonar Transmitting Cruiser, and my first love. I later had a lot of the 90’s Pirates and Space themed sets. I still love the MTRON series!
     
  9. 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.
    For me, LEGO products are a way to relax and mentally recharge. Working on LEGO projects is a huge part of my life! Even at work when I have free time (which happens in my profession), the opportunity to continue working on my projects with digital software allows me to utilise every free moment I have and take my projects even further. This helps me face life with a smile!
     
  10. What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
    From the 80s and 90s, both the Space theme and the gorgeous Model Team series. My aeroplane is built on the same scale as the model series. I’ve had sets from all the main LEGO themes and LEGO Technic. I enjoy them all. Most recently, my attention is mostly on LEGO Ideas and modular building.
     
  11. What is your favourite official LEGO set ever? Why?
    The Model Team 5590 Whirl and Wheel Super Truck because to me it highlighted an opportunity to build in large-scale with high-quality details. The Model Team series, for me, took LEGO rpodcuts to a whole new level.
     
  12. What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
    No doubt, the LEGO Bracket; it offered the possibility to build in 3D. When I was young, it ws impossible to reproduce some shapes with the traditional LEGO brick. Also, LEGO Technic parts, in general, are indispensable for me in the construction of frames and internal structures. I’m a romantic in respect to the past; in each of my MOCs, I will always use one 2x4 white brick.
     
  13. 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 community of Bricklink; they're a loveable team that connect all the LEGO fans from everywhere and beyond the brick family.

     

ABOUT YOUR PROJECT

  1. Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
    It’s a model of a plane that I have always liked. I studied the aircraft for a long time, and it was quite a challenge to faithfully recreate the sinuous structure of the aeroplane, on a scale fit for minifigures. This aircraft was born in complicated and uncertain years by the will of American aviation. Although it was not necessarily created for the purpose of space exploration, it ultimately provided and provoked many technical solutions for NASA. Interestingly, it’s load consisted entirely of fuel and a camera used to acquire images from over the ocean.

    It was purchased by NASA with the purpose of suborbital tests and to help further technological development in the field of space exploration. It’s final flight was from the West Coast of the US to the East Coast, clocking inn a max speed of over 3500KMPH.

    For me, this aircraft represents pure speed; the human dream of being able to run so fast that you are untouchable by anything around you.




     
  2. 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?
    I have spent many hours studying the projects available to help calculate the dimensions of the aircraft. Once I had the dimensions, I was able to scale it down to fit minifigures. I began to study the engines. Once sure of the proportions, I created my first draft of the frame which was mostly constructed with Technic components. I used them because they have infinite possibilities to reinforce the structure with pins and crossbars. The design was then continued in a very linear way towards the cabin and trolleys.
     
  3. What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
    The creation of the engine cylinders was a challenge from the beginning, I spent a lot of time building a reliable and aesthetically satisfying engine that was also solid. I have lost tens of hours in design and many orders on Bricklink to find the right stability.


     
  4. 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? 
    Luckily, I did not make any major errors in the design of this build – the kind that force to re-evaluate everything, at least – but I would have wanted to get the right solution for the wing thrusters and enclosures first.
     
  5. 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?
    COVID helped me with this one. Due to the forced break in working, I was able to spend entire evenings focused on the project. From calculating scale and dimensions, I moved on to the cabin and engines, without losing sight of the internal frame which had to be strong enough to hold a project of such a weight and dimensions. I believe I have spent about 80 hours designing and making improvements. I was confident in my design so I left the construction of the prototype to my friend, to test if it was user friendly.

    My promotion on social channels has been okay. I am not the most comfortable with social dynamics. I do, however, believe in the potential of this design and I am sure of the ‘wow effect’ a build like this can have.
     
  6. How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
    It was my goal to join the 10K club. To reach 10K on my first project just ten months after it was first published is a dream come true. Whatever happens now, I am satisfied to be among these great fan LEGO designers, as one of the 10K Club.
     
  7. Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
    Less than 1700 pieces.
     
  8. What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
    When I do a digital project, the first thing I care for is the shape. I like that the aircraft I have reproduced is to scale and respects the proportions of the original. This ensures I use all the appropriate construction techniques and also that I use ‘new’ solutions, such as the thrusters and wing geometry.

    I tried to recreate the interior as accurately as possible. I used many LEGO Technic parts that allowed me to build a stable and solid frame. Thanks to this solid foundation, the model – which at its thinnest part between the fuselage and the thrusters is only five plates wide – remains completely sturdy.

    If this project is to be successful, I believe the designers at THE LEGO Group can help fulfil the potential of ‘interaction’ between the different components I have combined.


     
  9. If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
    I started my adventure with LDD, but I chose to move on to studio.io. Now I only work with that.
     
  10. If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
    I used royalty free images available online and I print them. For the rendering, I place the image directly on the parts in studio.io.

     

ABOUT LEGO IDEAS

  1. Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
    Try to build only projects that fascinate you and keep you connected to your PC (or component boxes) for many hours. This is the first step.

    The enthusiasts who would choose LEGO Ideas products are users familiar with the whole LEGO world; they love it and are equally demanding of it. As builders, they are experienced and familiar with many of the techniques needed in the build. As such, they also appreciate the small details. It is especially important to create a strong build and playable model.
     
  2. What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea? 
    The main bulk of my support I achieved with the help of LEGO MOC groups on Facebook, as well as some groups of aviation enthusiasts. 

    After I presented my project across these various mediums, I was contacted by families of pilots and engineers who have really worked the aircraft. I was very surprised by the level of interest generated in these people and the availability of help which they offered me, advising me on some aspects of the aircraft which I did not consider.


     
  3. What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
    I have a huge amount of love for Old Fishing Store and for Voltron
     
  4. What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
    Think big. Create innovative projects in both the sense of design and assembly. Do not be disheartened by the difficulties you face; the LEGO bricks always offer a solution for the problems that arise. I wish the rest of life were so simple!
     
  5. 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?
    Being passionate about flying, in general, I would like to propose my model of Geebee Acrobatico.
  • 10k club
  • 10k club interview
  • product idea
  • flavio cerada
  • nasa sr71 blackbird
  • brickerbeard
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