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Before giving you some personal impressions of the LEGO Star Wars set 75275 A-Wing Starfighter (1673 pieces - 199.99 €) on the occasion of a "Quickly Tested", I give the floor to the two designers Hans Burkhard Schlömer and Jens Kronvold Frederiksen, (Design Director) who worked on this product and who kindly agreed to answer a few questions by email.
Will: How did the idea of offering a version Ultimate Collector Series of the A-Wing, a vessel which a priori is not the most detailed nor the most impressive of the many machines from the Star Wars universe?
|Jens Kronvold Frederiksen: Anything is possible with LEGO bricks, even creating an Ultimate Collector Series format reproduction of a ship like the A-Wing!
We had no particular concerns about fitting the reference model to this scale, even we quickly realized during the design process that the ideal UCS version would require a custom-made cockpit canopy.
We had the opportunity to create this new element and we decided that it was time to create this model based on an iconic ship from the Star Wars saga!
Will: What sources and other documents (photos, models used in the film, other derivative products) were used to reproduce the many aesthetic details of the LEGO version? Did you know the 1/72 version marketed by Bandai in 2017 that many collectors consider to be a benchmark product?
|Hans Burkhard Schlömer: We worked on the basis of photos from the Lucasfilm archives and captures made by us directly from the various scenes of the film.
I actually also sometimes use other products, here the version marketed by Bandai, as a source of inspiration, but the original models used on the screen are the reference versions that we used during the development of this product.
Will: What was the most difficult part of the ship to reproduce in order for this new LEGO model to be as faithful as possible to the version seen on screen?
|Hans Burkhard Schlömer: The sections placed at the front of the cabin and which form the "A" structure of the vessel were the most complicated to imagine and to connect to the internal structure of the model.
These two sections incorporate assemblies of parts pointing in all directions and use Technic elements that allow them to come to attach securely to the rest of the ship.
The difficulty of the challenge was also to maintain a relative ease of assembly and to avoid creating confusion among those who will acquire this product. If everything falls into place gradually but also sometimes in a somewhat surprising way, then I consider that the designer has done his job correctly.
Will: Apart from the usual calculation formulas that we all know, such as the ratio of number of pieces / retail price, how did you define the final scale of the LEGO version?
|Hans Burkhard Schlömer: The public price of the product is indeed the decisive factor in this area because it sets the budget I have and therefore the size of the model, the only real limitation then being the minimum quantity of bricks to put in the box to correspond to the expected price. .|
Will: The product packaging adopts the new “18+” visual appearance also used for the three reproductions of recently released helmets. Putting aesthetic and cosmetic considerations aside, can you promise us that the techniques used on this new model will surprise and entertain even the most experienced of adult fans?
|Jens Kronvold Frederiksen: The classification "18+" is not specific to the LEGO Star Wars range and is simply intended to explain that these products are more aimed at an audience of adult LEGO fans.
These are constructions which can therefore be considered as more complex than others and which offer a challenge of a certain level. This new set is however not more difficult to assemble than the other products stamped Ultimate Collector Series marketed in the past, the new classification "18+" does not change anything on this precise point.
Will: The cockpit canopy is a new element specially manufactured for this set. Was this part imagined first and the final model assembled around or was it created after to fit perfectly into the model?
|Hans Burkhard Schlömer: I had originally assembled two versions of the A-Wing: a first based on an 8 stud wide canopy and a second which used a 6 stud wide canopy.
Both canopies were built using existing elements which gave a fairly realistic rendering, but the model based on the 8-stud canopy turned out to be much too big and we finally decided to keep the version with the solution in 6 studs wide.
After analysis, we came to the conclusion that the solution based on existing parts was not completely aesthetically satisfactory and we therefore decided to create the new part that you will find in this box.
Will: It is clear that the driver minifigure provided is supposed to be a generic character that serves as an additional exposure to the product. However, one cannot help but imagine that it is Arvel Crynyd (Green Leader), a character seen in command of an A-Wing in Episode VI. Why not have clearly identified this character in the set?
Jens Kronvold Frederiksen: We could have identified by name the minifigure delivered in this box, but the ship to be built here is rather a generic version inspired by those who participated in the Battle of Endor seen in the movie Return of the Jedi and we therefore decided that the pilot would also be a generic character.
Hans Burkhard Schlömer: This minifigure is also new, even if it is mainly an update of the 2013 version [75003 A-Wing Starfighter]. The overall design of the figure has been updated with an even higher level of detail than the previous version to give it a look more faithful to the reference outfit. The helmet here also benefits from a metallic pad printing on the sides, which corresponds exactly to the detail seen on the helmet used on the screen.
Today we are talking about the three helmets that will be marketed from April 19 in the LEGO Star Wars range, the references 75274 Tie Fighter Pilot Helmet (724 pieces), 75276 Stormtrooper Helmet (647 pieces) and 75277 Boba Fett Helmet (625 pieces). I was able to ask some questions by email to the three designers in charge of the project, Niels Mølgård Frederiksen and César Carvalhosa Soares, designers and Jens Kronvold Frederiksen, Design Director, and I give you their answers below.
Will: LEGO has already produced two busts of characters from the Star Wars universe in 2019 [SDCC exclusive 77901 Sith Trooper Bust & 75227 Darth Vader Bust], are the helmets launched this year an evolution of these busts or a totally independent concept? Will the idea of busts be declined again in the future with new models?
|Jens: The two busts already on the market are not directly related to the new helmets that we have just announced, they are totally different ideas and projects.
The helmets are therefore not intended to replace the concept developed around busts already marketed and the two ideas could probably coexist in the future. We obviously cannot communicate explicitly on the future evolution of these two concepts.
Will: This new range of products is identified as intended for an adult audience. Apart from the packaging stamped 18+ and the marketing effort that presents them as exhibition models, what other arguments are at work to make these products real models for adult fans?
Jens: These new helmets are in fact part of a range of products primarily intended for an adult audience. We also wanted this target to be displayed explicitly through the design of the packaging of these new products, but also through the products themselves. These are models intended to be exhibited, they are not intended to be used as children's toys.
The editing experience is clearly designed to satisfy an adult audience and the 18+ label has allowed us to free ourselves from certain constraints relating to the complexity of the model and the techniques used. We were thus able to develop truly detailed models that are faithful to their real counterparts.
|Niels: We tried to find the best possible balance: We wanted these helmets to be neither too bulky nor too compact.
As these are three-dimensional models, a 10% increase in the size of the product would have involved a significant increase in the volume of the object and therefore the presence of many additional elements, which would also have impacted the public price. of each of these helmets.
Will: What was the most difficult challenge in designing these helmets?
|Niels: For Boba Fett, the biggest challenge was to reproduce the yellow stripes on the side of the helmet because we absolutely wanted to integrate this characteristic detail by using parts and not stickers or decorations that would not have worked there in the model. It didn't take long for me to find an acceptable solution but I think this is the detail that gave me the most difficulty on this model.|
Will: There is a very marked presence of the studs on the surface for each of these helmets. Is this a deliberate artistic choice, or the consequence of a particular constraint?
|Cesar: The presence of the studs was a deliberate choice for several reasons: We wanted it to be immediately visible that these are LEGO products even to someone who is not familiar with our products.
The LEGO DNA of these helmets should show through at first glance. But it's also important to remember that the techniques used here have made it easier for us to "sculpt" some of the organic details that are difficult to interpret on these reproductions of helmets.
Will: Despite all efforts to present these products as collector's items and exhibits for adult fans, we cannot escape the usual stick-on stickers. What to answer to all those who regret the presence of stickers in these sets?
|Jens: We know that many adult fans prefer the parts to be pad printed rather than having to stick stickers on their models. On these helmets, we use a combination of the two processes to achieve the result that you have been able to discover.
One of the reasons why some elements are not pad printed: some parts / shapes are difficult or even impossible to pad print. It should also be remembered that we cannot add an unlimited number of pad printed elements on each model.
On the other hand, we have decided that the identification plate of each of these helmets will be pad printed because it is an important element of these exhibition models which will remain visible from all angles.
Will: Can fans prepare to collect a whole range of helmets from the Star Wars universe or will these three products remain one?one shot"no further action? Will other licenses [Marvel, DC Comics] get the same treatment in the future?
|Jens: As you can imagine, there is not much we can say about future products, it will take patience to find out more!|
Another meeting on the occasion of Fan Media Days curated by LEGO: Mark Stafford, designer well known to adult fans, who worked on the set 75955 Hogwarts Great Hall and with whom I was able to discuss on this box but also on some other very interesting subjects of which I give you some extracts below.
Behind his involvement in the new LEGO Harry Potter range, there is a little more to explore with him than the why and how of such and such a part in such a box. Mark Stafford is indeed a regular at the so-called "recruitment" ranges, namely those universes which are responsible for attracting the youngest to the LEGO world.
He went through the Exo-Force (2009), Atlantis (2011), Alien Conquest (2011), Ninjago (2012-2013), Legends of Chima (2013-2015) and Nexo Knights (2016-2018) ranges. He also worked on the Jurassic World Fallen Kingdoms sets (2018) and the derivative line of the video game Overwatch (2019).
And the revival of the Harry Potter range is indeed a recruiting tool for young fans who have discovered books or films in recent years and who until now could not find any LEGO merchandise on the shelves of their favorite toy store.
Since it was a question of doing a little promotion for the novelties of the Harry Potter range, THE question around the set 75955 Hogwarts Express was obvious: Is the train compatible with LEGO rails and motors and why does the set not contain any?
|"... The train set 75955 is compatible with LEGO tracks and it is easily convertible into a motorized train. It was originally designed on the same principle as the Emerald Night from set 10174 (2009) and the various Power Functions elements could be easily integrated. But this box is aimed at children and we then preferred to design a more compact train and offer a more detailed and playable station rather than including all the necessary gear for its motorization.
Those who wish will be able to run the Hogwarts Express on their circuit at the cost of a few simple modifications, but we didn't want to sacrifice some details for those elements, while still keeping a public price accessible to the vast majority of young fans of the l Harry Potter universe which are not necessarily equipped with Power Functions accessories and LEGO rails.
These new sets are aimed at a young audience who is discovering the Harry Potter universe, because parents who are already fans, for example, have put books or films in the hands of their children. It is therefore a range of "recruiting" that we are trying to develop, with accessible and playable representations of scenes or places emblematic of the first cinematographic episodes of the saga. Adult fans will enjoy it with new minfigs and some original construction techniques, such as the one that allows in set 70954 to attach the roof of the tower to the walls.
Precisely, about sets 75954 Hogwarts Great Hall et 75953 Hogwarts Whomping Willow which can be combined and the possibility of obtaining future extensions for an even more consistent playset:
|"... The demand for new boxes in the LEGO Harry Potter range was there, we saw it through the reports made from our official stores where fans kept asking sellers when the range would be available on the shelves again. Taking advantage of the release of the Fantastic Beasts films was the perfect opportunity to relaunch a Harry Potter range.
With these new sets, we wanted to stand out from the boxes of the previous range and opt for a reproduction of Hogwarts as the construction appears in the most recent films. No green roofs and no reference to previous sets. We wanted the range to take a fresh start.
The combination of the two sets here offers a good compromise in terms of scale, playability and public price, no offense to all those who always hoped for bigger, always more minifigs, etc ... Three of the four designers who have worked on these new boxes come from the Nexo Knight universe, so we are used to working on projects aimed at recruiting new fans and this is what these new sets should allow to achieve.
I had initially placed Hogwarts on top of a rock and integrated the Chamber of Secrets into set 70954, but when we tested the set with a panel of children, they preferred to use the Basilisk [Basil] to recreate clash scenes with the various characters and showed little interest in the Chamber itself.
It was then decided to remove it from the set and put the quota of available parts to good use to bring additional details to the existing construction. Personally, I prefer the set as it is today, limited but accessible to a large population of young fans, rather than more detailed but reserved for a clientele of adult fans who could afford it.
If we market other sets in this range, it is possible that possible extensions are then available and we will provide the parts and instructions necessary for the junction between the different constructions ... "
Regarding the pressure that a designer could possibly feel when working on the comeback of a range highly anticipated by fans and the constraints of developing a licensed range:
"... Those who know me as a LEGO designer know that I'm always ready to take on fan assault. I've worked on lines like Ninjago, Legends of Chima and Nexo Knights and so I'm used to it. to see hordes of adult fans criticizing the products or lines I work on. These same fans then often become less vocal about these children's lines when they realize they are the source of original minifigs, parts new or new colors.
These early 2018 version LEGO Harry Potter sets were pretty well received and I was to some extent surprised not to see a surge of nostalgic fan reviews of the previous sets. I'm not used to such a positive reception ...
The real pressure came more from the feedback we received from licensees including JK Rowling during the product development phase. You never knew when a particular comment or criticism was coming directly from her, so it was always a little stressful to receive feedback without knowing who it was really coming from.
Working on the Harry Potter Cinematic Universe isn't an obstacle course: The films have been available for several years and there is nothing confidential about this lineup. You just have to break free from what has already been done by LEGO on the subject and have a fresh look at this universe, as the children of today who discover the adventures of Harry Potter have.
It was more complicated for the designers in charge of the Fantastic Beasts sets: If Samuel Johnson had no problems reproducing the suitcase present in the first part of this new saga for the set 75952 Newt's Case of Magical Creatures, it was more difficult for Raphael Pretesacque to obtain reliable and concrete information about the coach of the set 75951 Grindelwald's Escape based on the second part ... "
Off topic or almost, about the chestnut tree that are the possible returns of the Classic Space and Classic Castle ranges and the difference in perception of these universes according to the generations. Mark Stafford is a designer who has often been criticized for his involvement in various themes (Alien Conquest or Nexo Knights for example) which according to a fringe of fans only occupy the place that the Classic Space or the Classic Castle should find in the catalog. Lego:
|"... The Classic Space range wouldn't really make sense today, except perhaps for a few nostalgic adult fans who would like to rediscover the products of their childhood. It featured a concept of exploration at a time when the conquest of space fascinated the youngest.
Today, Elon Musk or Richard Branson sell space tickets and it would be difficult to bring out a Classic Space range as is without incorporating what interests the new generations: the clashes between good guys and bad guys. It would be necessary to add aliens and weapons to make it possible to stage these confrontations wanted by the children. It would no longer be the Classic Space as we have known it.
Regarding the Classic Castle universe, it's a bit the same problem. A castle is no longer enough for the new generations of children surrounded by universes that mix medieval atmosphere, magic, witchcraft, etc ... The Nexo Knights range was an attempt to mix these ingredients by adding a context in which nice knights face off. an army of bad guys.
Always keep in mind that what makes sense for an adult fan may not necessarily mean it for a child. This is the case, for example, with the Steampunk universe which fascinates adults but remains very abstract for the youngest. It's complicated: a car with propellers or an airplane with a chimney does not make sense to them because they know the modern representations of these vehicles and do not associate these different elements with each other. Conversely, a castle with a touch of magic works because there is no modern reference to this construction and their imagination remains available and open to this type of context.
Another example of what children perceive: The Legends of Chima line was not clear enough on the line between good and evil. Each tribe could embody the gentiles in the story and this created a bit of confusion in the minds of the younger ones. With the Nexo Knights range, we rectified the situation by identifying the two camps from the start, with a certain exaggeration, moreover ... "
Again, you probably won't have learned much here, but what Mark Stafford says is the usual LEGO leitmotif: Developing products for children. An important reminder at a time when many adult fans were sometimes convinced to be the exclusive target of the toy manufacturer ...
Meeting two designers who are working on the LEGO Star Wars range is a double-edged sword: We expect to learn a little more about what is going on behind the scenes around this range but we know in advance that many questions will remain. unanswered for confidentiality reasons.
I was able to share half an hour of discussion with Michael Lee Stockwell (designer at LEGO since 2006) and Jens Kronvold Frederiksen (designer at LEGO since 1998) on the occasion of the Fan Media Days organized by LEGO and rather than giving you an interview punctuated with avoidance, embarrassed smiles and high-end diversions, I will content myself with summarizing here what really interesting came out of this meeting with two veterans of the range .
I didn't hesitate for a second to talk about the disappointing set again 75098 Assault on Hoth which was not an assault and probably did not deserve to wear the label Ultimate Collector Series. The two designers readily admit having spent time reading the various unflattering reviews of this box:
|"... We are well aware of the level of disappointment of the fans, but without wanting to justify ourselves, there is an explanation for the presence of only two attackers in this box: The set 75098 (2016) was initially intended to provide context to a more comprehensive reconstruction of the Battle of Hoth.
Its marketing has been postponed [No information on the real reasons for this delay] while it should initially have accompanied the sale of other elements of the scene in question including theAT-AT (75054) and Snowspeeder from 2014 (75049).
The whole would have formed a coherent and evolving scene according to the desires and the means of each one, that was the starting objective but the timing of the marketing and some technical constraints decided otherwise ... "
They readily admit that it would then probably have been enough to make this explanation public to calm things down, but they have deliberately chosen not to intervene in the debates between fans, even if the brand did not impose on them any particular duty of reserve:
|"... Some designers regularly participate in the fan discussion forums, we have chosen not to do so so as not to give the impression of coming to justify the choices that have been made and not find ourselves having to do it all the time in endless debates.
This does not prevent us from taking into account the positive or negative feedback on the products that are marketed and from analyzing the reactions of the fans.
We obviously saw that the disappointment was about this box, the many reviews that have been published have mostly been very hard with this set. We have learned the lessons internally.."
Another set that has been the subject of much discussion: the reference 75178 Jakku Whenjumper which features a ship whose screen presence is limited to ... an explosion of the thing:
|"... We knew from the start that the Quadjumper would only play a very limited role in the action of The Force Awakens. But when we saw the model used in the film during a visit to the filming studio, we still decided to try to create a LEGO version of it without knowing if it would one day end up on the shelves of the stores of toys.
This model was then submitted to a panel of children responsible for testing the product and the success was immediate. The large engines and the explosion mechanism were unanimous and the young testers appreciated the cartoon side of the ship. We then decided to commercialize it, then it was up to everyone to create a real story for this ship ... "
On the difficulty of making everyone happy with the products of the LEGO Star Wars range, speaking here of young people who are discovering this universe and adult fans who have known the range for many years:
|"... We must not forget that we primarily work for a clientele composed mainly of children. We know that the LEGO Star Wars range attracts a lot of adult fans and we do not forget them by regularly offering them products including the appearance and the construction process meet their expectations, but the reactions of children to the products we present to them are obviously very different from those of adults.
We carry out a lot of tests on young audiences and the reactions of these children are sometimes very surprising. Most of them, for example, preferred the Microfighter version of the X-Wing to the classic format. Handling, solidity, speed of assembly, ease of making the ship fly, their concerns are sometimes very far from those of adult fans who seek more fidelity in the representation.
The LEGO Star Wars range will always consist of new additions based on the latest available content. [Movies, animated series] and sets that pay homage to the most emblematic scenes or ships of the saga. It is a balance that we want to maintain.
You will also notice that the sets are not identified by era or by film. Boxes of sets 75208 Yoda's Hut et 75205 Mos Eisley Winery For example, wear the same visual appearance as products based on the movie The Last Jedi. Children should be able to mix all of this content to make up their own stories, even if the most knowledgeable adult fans will know what content the set refers to ... "
Another anecdote revealing the impact of the panel of young testers on the choices of designers, which explains the presence of the snake in the set 75208 Yoda's Hut :
|"... During the test phase of the LEGO Star Wars 75208 Yoda's Hut set, the young fans of the panel discovered the potential contents of the box but it was above all the fortuitous presence of a snake on a corner of the table that attracted their attention. .
They already saw themselves making up the adventures of Luke and Yoda meeting the serpent in the swamps of Dagobah. Faced with so much enthusiasm, we decided to keep this snake and integrate it into the set when it was not at all planned at the start.
The same goes for the fire that escapes from the chimney of the hut, this very preliminary innocuous detail fascinated the young testers, we have kept it as it is ..."
On the re-releases, remakes, variations and other urban legends circulating about LEGO wanting to bite into the aftermarket big cake:
|"... We are of course aware of what is going on in the aftermarket, but we shouldn't jump to conclusions about LEGO's behavior in this regard either.
Our goal is to allow each generation of fans to access the ships or machines that made the previous generation happy, not to protect sellers of older products, nor to destroy their business on a voluntary basis.
We are keeping a close eye on what is going on in the aftermarket because there we find some very interesting information about the products that the fans like. These are very useful indicators for defining our future lines of work.
Each choice to reissue this or that vessel is also and above all dictated by a desire to offer a new interpretation of the thing, by integrating the new parts at our disposal and by adapting the functionalities and the overall aesthetic to the codes in force at the time. of its marketing.
The X-Wing is a perfect example to demonstrate this desire to always have the emblematic ships of the saga in the catalog. It is the fire station of the LEGO Star Wars range, it must always be on the shelf and with each new model we try to have a new creative approach in order to integrate new features that have a direct influence on the design and the aesthetics of the product.
Each era or generation has its expectations and requirements. It's up to us to respond in the best possible way by offering more than just remakes. By starting from scratch with each new version, we make sure to avoid offering a simple evolution of an existing model ... "
Speaking briefly of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and products derived from the film, the two designers go there with an interesting remark:
|"... Rogue One was a relative disappointment for the passionate Star Wars designers that we are. If the film provided enough creative opportunities, we knew from the start that it would be difficult to reach our usual young audience with the boxes that we were going to offer.
The film itself is not really a work for younger people and as we had envisioned, the merchandise therefore had a bit of a hard time winning over the younger generation of fans ... "
On some choices in terms of scale, which sometimes divide fans especially when it comes to reproductions of scenes that take place in a context whose grandiose aspect is no longer very present in LEGO sets:
"... We always try to choose the best possible scale according to the scene or the vessel to be reproduced. The criterion of the final public price of the box in question obviously comes into account when it comes to making these choices. .
Taking for example the set 75216 Snoke's Throne Room (2018) that many fans consider too minimalist to be convincing, the aim here was above all to provide a realistic representation of the scene without going into a reconstruction of several thousand pieces which would reserve this box for a clientele who could afford to pay for such a set.
To make this box affordable and make it accessible to all fans of the film, young and old, it was therefore deliberately decided to reduce the size of the throne room by retaining some characteristic elements of the place and adding a few features that give a welcome dynamic. It is a voluntary approach, each set is the subject of intense reflection on the most suitable scale so that the assembly and playing experience is the best possible .... "
Talking about the different functions related to the playability of the products, the discussion started about the Spring-Shooters, these missile launchers often present on the ships of the range with an interesting anecdote and an important precision:
"... We wanted to be able to have an element that was easy to integrate and that met a few very specific constraints: This part had to be in 1x4 format and it had to work on both sides to avoid the user having to disassemble his assembly when 'he would realize a little too late to have installed it the wrong way round.
It took many months and many prototypes to arrive at a convincing result, but we did. This part can now be integrated into a construction without altering the overall aesthetics of the machine or vessel.
Adult fans often judge our work on the appearance of the product, but we must not forget that we design toys that must also offer an interesting editing experience and optimal playability.
Each step of the assembly is carefully thought out so that the process remains fun and accessible to the youngest. Same remark concerning the choice of the colors of the parts, the young fan should not have to spend too much time looking for a part during the assembly phase which must continue in a fluid and rhythmic manner. Even if adult fans don't always seem to realize it, judging by their sometimes harsh reviews, each product is the result of long discussions, compromises, choices and testing phases."
In addition to these reactions on very specific subjects, the two designers also discuss their relationship with Disney since the purchase of the Star Wars license:
|"... Disney's entry into the loop didn't change much of our relationship with Lucasfilm and the way we work on this line. Disney knew from the start that we had some experience in product design. derived from the Star Wars universe and we have retained all our creative freedom.
It's no longer a secret, we work very early on on upcoming novelties, sometimes a year and a half or two years in advance, and it is not always easy to work on very preliminary visuals or to compose with the secrecy which surrounds the next films envisaged even if Disney gives us a certain visibility on what is in the boxes. We do our best to respect the work and at the same time provide the fans with the products they expect, even though in hindsight we know that some sets miss the result seen on screen a bit.
As is the case with the various films in the Star Wars saga, however, it is difficult to please everyone and the LEGO Star Wars range is a patchwork of products that tries to appeal to all types of fans and all generations. .."
Here is what is interesting to me from this exchange with these two veterans of the LEGO Star Wars range. Nothing new or spectacular, but a few details and explanations that may help some of you to put your perception of the products in the range in a more global context.
Today, Friday August 25, you will be able to meet Robert Bontenbal aka RobenAnne, the designer of the project that became the official set LEGO Ideas 21310 Old Fishing Store.
As part of his European tour of the LEGO Stores, he is indeed stopping today at the LEGO Store des Halles in Paris (13:00 p.m. - 16:00 p.m.) to meet those who wish to ask him a few questions or simply congratulate him. and have him sign the box that they will have the opportunity to acquire in preview (159.99 €). For the others, it will be necessary to wait until September 1st to obtain it on the LEGO Shop ou hope to be drawn...
For the occasion, LEGO offered me (as on other sites) to ask Robert Bontenbal a few questions and I give you his answers below. Nothing very complicated, but I especially wanted to have an explanation on the source of inspiration of this set by its creator.
Hoth Bricks: Hello Robert, congratulations on validating your project and converting it into a real LEGO set. In the project description, you mention that you were inspired by the sets from the Winter Village range. When I discovered this Old Fishing Store, I had the impression that it could fit into a coastal village in Maine (USA). What were your other sources of inspiration for this project, if any?
Robert Bontenbal: I really like the sets from the Winter Village range and, on the occasion of the holiday season, I actually started to design my own buildings with the help of my children. After having imagined the design and made the sketch, I created the Old Fishing Store under LEGO Digital Designer [official LEGO digital creation software] by combining my passion for fishing and the architecture of wooden houses in Saba (West Indies Dutch), where my family is from.
Hoth Bricks: When the project was selected and validated, did you have the opportunity to work closely with the LEGO designer Adam Grabowski during the phase of adapting the set to the constraints and construction rules defined by LEGO?
Robert Bontenbal: When the project reached 10.000 supporters, I actually got in touch with Adam Grabowski and the entire LEGO Ideas team via Skype. It was the start of this incredible adventure.
Hoth Bricks: Are you happy with the end result? Do you consider that the spirit of your creation has been kept by the LEGO designer?
Robert Bontenbal: Yes, I am satisfied. The final product is very close to the original design. Technical changes were made to make the whole thing stronger and Adam Grabowski added some really cool props but overall I think the end product is really very close to my project.
Hoth Bricks: A lot has happened since your initial project submission to the LEGO Ideas platform. How do you feel now that your creation is finally available on the shelves in the LEGO Stores and that LEGO fans can acquire it?
Robert Bontenbal: It was indeed a long process. There were a lot of intermediate steps to validate. But the result is truly exceptional and seeing your creation featured on the internet, in the media and in stores is truly satisfying. I really enjoy reading comments on all of the forums and sites that deal with news about LEGO products. I think every designer should appreciate this stuff.
I see you have developed any a range of assorted modular buildings to this one. Many fans know this and are already supporting your other projects on the LEGO Ideas platform. Many of them would no doubt appreciate having an entire line of official products based on your designs. Do you plan to offer / sell the instructions for assembling these other models?
Robert Bontenbal: I have effectively created a range of buildings that form a seaside village. I'm not sure yet if I will offer / sell the instructions for putting them together, but I can assure you that the seaside village will continue to grow. develop !
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