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A mystery to be revealed...

The Design

Castle Christmas Village

Product design not final

Stories

Once upon a time  there was a girl called Kaya. And everytime she went to sleep, she had the wildest dreams. Everytime she’d wake up in her dream as herself but with different hair. Oh, and she dreams about fairytales but that’s just a sidenote.

Daily 10 minute builds with a fairytale. The idea is to let your child build a small but fun object related to the fairytale that you read. Some days you build together, and some days you build by yourself or spend a fun afternoon with your children. The stories revolve around Kaya, more about her, reading, and building the set in the Q&A. As you are reading this I am still writing the stories, but they’ll be ready before the set (hopefully) releases. Yes, there will be multi-language and Dyslexia support.

Once upon a time  there was a girl called Kaya. And everytime she went to sleep, she had the wildest dreams. Everytime she’d wake up in her dream as herself but with different hair. Oh, and she dreams about fairytales but that’s just a sidenote.

yes, it’s

Modular

3612 pcs, No stickers

Functions & Features
• Push the bill into the vending machine to get a chocolate bar (refill on top).
• Turn the gears on the floor to let 3 characters either dance or fight.
• Turn the watermill and the magic generator in the kitchen starts rotating.
• Turn the large chair to unveil a villian.
• Turn the well’s bar and lift up the bucket.
• Remove the welcome mat to reveal the house key.
• The wolf’s mouth opens up.
• Unlock the fireplace with the 2 hidden keys, put in or pull out the pot, and drop a minifigure in it through the chimney.
• Glow in the dark parts throughout the model.
• Posable dragon chained to a treasurechest containing crystals.
• Hide ‘n Seek minigames.

Functions & Features

Designer interview

Name: Chef
 Fav. Dino: Spinosaurus
  Fav. color: Gold
 Fav. movie: Finding Nemo
Fav. theme: Bionicle

Who is Chef

Why the name?
Mainly because I got called so at my old job, and I was working on the character at the time I chose to use it. Chef Labs in turn really is a place for playful experimentation, creating new types of products. That’s also why it’s not a company in the classic form, which usually restricts freedom of creativity. It’s still professional, but with a reworked lookout to what should be the norm of beviour and integrity. Straight to the point, more communicative & personal, and talking like a normal person but with thought put in ofcourse.

2020

Rake in the Lake – Goose Game
My first LEGO Ideas submission. It’s made in LEGO Digital Designer, then rendered in BrickLink Stud.io 2.0. It was meant to finance the development of a game and passively cooled PC. The game has been shelved and the PC has changed drastically in the meantime.

Rapunzel
LEGO Ideas contest submission. Just a 1 day training to get adjusted to designing with Stud.io.

Majora’s Mask
The second LEGO Ideas submission. It unexpectedly failed hard. I still want to build the physical model someday.

Nostrodamus RETAS
LEGO Ideas and Ideas contest submission. Nostrodamus was a labour of love. I didn’t expect it to go anywhere but I wanted to test and increase my skills. The original model was made from 8259 Mini Bulldozer and 9390 Mini Tow Truck. And honestly, it’s a really cool model when you have it in your hands. If you like the 2001 Technic animals you’ll love this.

The Rainbow Fish
LEGO Ideas submission. I wanted to make a fish. I had a hard time making said fish. Like the end result, hated the process. The lips are very nice though, would kiss again.

Christmas Snowglobe
LEGO Ideas submission. This is a bit shameful. A hard lesson on how you should never ever assume something. About a week after posting the model I came to the realisation snow globes don’t use water, but a mixure of water, antifreeze, and glycerol. A childsafe fluid was pretty much required to build this. It’s basically a small brick compatible water bottle you can fill up yourself. Yes you could’ve built the whole model, nothing would’ve been pre-assembled. It did require 3 or 4 new molds though.

My history with LEGO
It all started with Creator X-Pod and the 2004 Speedboat. In 2006 I got my first Bionicle, Kazi. Then I accidentally bought Knight Kingdom’s Lord Vladek, and quickly after that Reidak & Gaaki and the rest is history. I did move on to Hero Factory. In 2012 I bought 2 small Technic sets and got acquainted with more advanced functions. After the dark ages from 2014 to 2019 I started collecting Bionicle again and began designing models. In 2018 I started learning human behaviour, business strategy, webdesign, game design, 3D printing, and the ins and outs of designing LEGO models. I do my best but still have a lot to learn.

2021

Meet the Toa
YouTube series, wanted to know how well I’d do under the stress of timing and consistancy, never again ·

Ignika Lamp
Was meant as a product but didn’t see the light of day due to production issues.

2022

Preparing multiple large projects.

How do you make a great set?
I don’t know. I can only tell you what makes a great theme since a single set is only part of the picture. It’s an idea or concept worked out to its fullest potential. The exact details are too many to write down but to boil it down it’s all about the user experience, which is made up of all the tiny little details of effort you put into something you love doing. It has to be a million and 1 details perfectly designed to work together, like a watch. It needs to feel just right. But more importantly it has to feel like it has always existed and is supposed to be like this. It has to be fun, enjoyable, wonderful even, and at the end a joy to look at play with.

  1. Have a concept and know its audience.
  2. Design your approach and a MVP.
  3. Tailor your product and DNA.
  4. Work out details people will remember fondly and deepen the explorable pit of information.
  5. Publish it. Hopefully the audience has an easy grasp of the concept, assumes what should be there, and hopefully you made that and way more.

2023

Fairytales
BrickLink Designer Program submission.

2024

EXOMINERS

Artakha Mark I

My sister: Why?

Le me: Why what.

Why the eyes?

Because of a certain game with a bear and a bird. Everything was lively and fun. The bird poops eggs towards bad guys, real funny. There are lots of easter eggs hidden around the set too.

Okay and how many are there?

Yes

*sighs* What was your inspiration to make this set?

I had a written out concept but shelved it because it didn’t seem fitting for LEGO Ideas but it does for the BrickLink Designer Program. So when it got announced I got to work and developed it. The idea originated from brainstorming.

Okay, and what is your favorite fairytale?

What a shrektastic question. The answer has multiple layers to it, like an onion.

Of course it is. And out of the ones that are actually in your set?

Red Riding Hood because it’s the most playful setwise. I worked functions into key storyparts so children can playfully reenact the story while the parent is reading it.

What is your favorite minibuild from the set?

Either the vending machine or stairs. Isn’t it funny how stairs and stars are only one letter apart yet in the real world it’s multiple kilometers?

I.. guess. Wait a minute, what is the story of The Ugly Barnacle? Is that even a real fairytale?

Oh that’s a classic. At least as good as Hansel & Gretel. It goes like this: Once there was an ugly barnacle. He was so ugly that everyone died. The end.

That didn’t help at all. What is your favorite fairytale related meme?

“Somebody toucha my spaghet.” – like it is portrait in the set. Well actually it’s pizza since there isn’t a spaghetti element but if you add lots of sauce it’s basically the same. But when does it become soup? When does pouring milk in a bowl of cereal become soup instead of sauce?

Some angry Italian is making the hand gesture right now. Why did you make the set?

I needed to create a job for myself. I wrote a business plan and am working on it, but it’s a large project and it’ll take a while before it comes out. The Fairytales project will hopefully take care of me in the meantime.

How do you expect busy parents to build such a large set?

By building 10 – 15 minutes with your child everyday while reading a short story and a couple of Sunday afternoons. The most time consuming thing is searching for pieces. Best way to counter this is to flip upside down ones, and not mix different bags; or last resort just point a piece out. It’s okay to skip a day if you don’t have time, but it doesn’t take long and is time well spent. There’s a somewhat flexible baseplate so building can be done in bed, just put the pieces in a bowl. You can use your phone for the stories and instructions, just lay it on bed and turn around the instruction images with the button while you read the story. You can add a shortcut to visit this page from your home screen so you don’t have to search for this tab to open the stories and instructions.

Was there any particular detail you wanted to capture?

The chimney. Easily the strangest part to design. It pulls you in because it’s round and at an angle. I also wanted a roof with 2 bends, easily the hardest part to design. Aside from that I put in as many references as I could from all fairytales. But the point was to get the main feeling across of the “Fairytales” theming. There’s also a classic witch hat & flying broom , potions & ointment above the beds, and a large steering pot in the fireplace.

Did you get stuck a lot designing the model?

Yes. Working out small ideas by themselves is fairly easy compared to incorporating them all into 1 stable model, while having each one maintain their signature look. And then there’s the neverending cycle of changing 1 piece or a part of the concept in general resulting in large overhauls.

What is the open box at the back of the house? And what is the christmas tree on snow doing next to it?

Those are a sandbox and a small extra to bring the story of the Little Match Girl to life. The sandbox is for storing extra character parts & utensils.

What’s the white thing?

Nobody knows really, but if you got 10 of those you could build spacecrafts with them.

What’s the bar of studs doing above the kitchen?

It’s hanging there. If your child finds the 3 lost studs hidden in the set he becomes a True Storyteller .

Who is Kaya and why is she the main character?

I read lots of fairytales and most don’t make any sense. I’m sure they used to be well written stories but I think their meaning has gotten lost in translation. It’s hard to write a good twist and conflict children can understand, but I think how modern Doctor Who used to be written is the way to go. Kaya is the new princess, she is 14 years old and an “older sister” of the reader. Kaya gets to see all twists & turns, needs to make decisions, and deal with simple conflicts that makes children reason and think from both sides. Reading through Kaya’s stories gives meaning, weight, and real lessons to learn from. Modern tellings of fairytales often are too sweetened and the originals sometimes end on a pointless dark note. Old and new fairytales often miss a more realistic viewpoint or the intented clue which is one of the reasons why Kaya is important. She carries lessons from previous stories, adapts to them in a way a child can understand, and lives with them througout her adventures. This does mean that like in real life not all stories end on a good note, but there’s always the next day. Kaya is not a hero, she’s a companion.

Will the instructions be printed?

No, I’m sorry they won’t. I’ll see what I can do with a printable PDF. But on the flip side I did do my best to make them digitally as comfortable as possible. Everything is clear, large, and readable. The use of Almost White instead of Pure White and more ambient colors so switching between display and natural light won’t cause as much fatique. The model exists out of many 5 minute builds, allowing the builder(s) to take a break when needed without loosing track and pick it up again without the pressure of needing to spend 30 minutes on it. In the end many small pieces form the larger picture.

Alright, is there still something you want to say?

Help me Ignite The Dream

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