Classic-Castle.com


The source for all your LEGO Castle needs!

Castle Team: The New Role of Fan Feedback

Discussion of official LEGO Castle Theme sets and products

Castle Team: The New Role of Fan Feedback

Postby architect » Sun Sep 23, 2007 1:38 am

Image

My name is Ben Ellermann and I am a huge LEGO Castle fan! This article will tell you how several lifelong Castle builders and I contributed to the new castle line.

I first joined the LEGO Ambassadors in Spring 2006. Soon I found out that a group of Ambassadors, a Certified Professional, and fans had just started working with LEGO to help develop ideas for the latest Castle line in 2007. Knowing that my involvement at Classic-Castle.com gave me a good idea of what fans were looking for, I asked to join the team. Our team included: Nathan Wells, Paul Janssen, Robin Sather, Johannes Koehler, Luis Baixinho, David Tabner, Lenny Hoffman, and Andrzej "Shaggie" Szlaga.

Check out the rest of the article and fan prototype images on LEGOfan:

http://www.legofan.org/ambassadors/proj ... e2007.html

You can ask questions and leave comments in this thread.

Ben Ellermann

Image
Last edited by architect on Thu Oct 04, 2007 11:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
architect
Baron von Ellermann
Baron von Ellermann
 
Posts: 4728
Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2003 5:10 pm
Location: Saint Louis, MO USA

Postby HeartOfDarkness » Sun Sep 23, 2007 1:55 am

Thanks for the article. It's wonderfull to see the way decisions are made. I can't wait to see the aforementioned different factions next year. By the way, how much information are you allowed to reveal about the design process and new products?
User avatar
HeartOfDarkness
Reeve
 
Posts: 478
Joined: Mon May 07, 2007 5:26 pm
Location: Fortress of Insufficient Light

Postby JoshWedin » Sun Sep 23, 2007 2:05 am

Wow, Ben, what a great experience that must have been. Thank you for the article (very well written, by the way). It's a great to have a peek into the process it takes to create a theme.

Josh
AFOL and his money are easily parted.

Image The Brothers Brick
User avatar
JoshWedin
Chevalier de Chèvre
Chevalier de Chèvre
 
Posts: 5642
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2003 2:35 pm
Location: Pondering what you are pondering

Postby architect » Sun Sep 23, 2007 2:23 am

HeartOfDarkness wrote:Thanks for the article. It's wonderfull to see the way decisions are made. I can't wait to see the aforementioned different factions next year. By the way, how much information are you allowed to reveal about the design process and new products?


You are welcome. Our group of fans was only involved in part of the process of set design. Things like child testing and retailer input came later. I received permission to share most of what we did in the article.

Wow, Ben, what a great experience that must have been. Thank you for the article (very well written, by the way). It's a great to have a peek into the process it takes to create a theme.


Thank you. It was a wonderful experience. I was very honored to participate and give fan feedback directly to designers who can make it happen. A good example of this are the castle archers with bows and quivers. If fans were not involved, they would have been crossbowmen.

Ben
User avatar
architect
Baron von Ellermann
Baron von Ellermann
 
Posts: 4728
Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2003 5:10 pm
Location: Saint Louis, MO USA

Postby Quickblade22 » Sun Sep 23, 2007 2:25 am

Excellent article Ben. I'm glad that they chose someone with very good idea of what fans want for this process. It's good to see that the company cares enough to get fan input like this. I think you made the most of your time there, which is probably the most important thing. Great job.
Chief Smithy of Brick Forge
I buy LEGO, I play with LEGO, therefore LEGO are not for children, they are for me!
User avatar
Quickblade22
22 times da man
 
Posts: 999
Joined: Wed Sep 15, 2004 2:04 am
Location: Classic-Castle.....err New Castle, PA

Postby sidewinderl » Sun Sep 23, 2007 2:26 am

You should've suggested that they sell generic soldier minifigs by the garbage sack full! :P

That first knight (the one beside the wizard)...that's the one from the Skeleton Tower, right? Is that knight going to find its way to other sets? The visor knight seems to be pretty heavily used, which is fine, but I'd like to see a lot more of that one (especially in "good guy" oriented sets).
User avatar
sidewinderl
Laborer
 
Posts: 131
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2007 12:30 am

Postby E of Alshire » Sun Sep 23, 2007 2:35 am

I had no idea you guys were working so hard! I had supposed the Ambassador program a token move rather than the massive effort it now is proven to be!

Great work guys!
Image
User avatar
E of Alshire
Merchant
 
Posts: 1289
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2005 1:10 am
Location: Tulsa, OK

Postby architect » Sun Sep 23, 2007 3:48 am

Quickblade22 wrote:Excellent article Ben. I'm glad that they chose someone with very good idea of what fans want for this process. It's good to see that the company cares enough to get fan input like this. I think you made the most of your time there, which is probably the most important thing. Great job.


Much credit should go to Matt Ashton, the Castle product lead, who was very willing to asking fans (and many other groups) what we liked and disliked. I believe this open minded approach will be the wave of the future for product design.

sidewinderl wrote:You should've suggested that they sell generic soldier minifigs by the garbage sack full!


Mark and I frequently suggested that minifigure packs should be brought back. We also mentioned that the Chess sets were very popular. I am very happy that LEGO decided to create the new chess set, Tic-Tac-Toe (minifig pack in disguise), and the new impulse sets.

That first knight (the one beside the wizard)...that's the one from the Skeleton Tower, right? Is that knight going to find its way to other sets? The visor knight seems to be pretty heavily used, which is fine, but I'd like to see a lot more of that one (especially in "good guy" oriented sets).


I do not know if the grill helmet knight will be in other sets or not. You could purchase grill helmets on bricklink and place them on the Tic-Tac-Toe knights.

E of Alshire wrote:I had no idea you guys were working so hard! I had supposed the Ambassador program a token move rather than the massive effort it now is proven to be!

Great work guys!


Thank you. Our group also had many regular castle fans also who contributed a lot. The LEGO Ambassadors usually can not talk about their projects until after the sets are in stores. This may one to two years. Look for more articles on Ambassador involvement in projects like Mars Mission in the future.

Ben
User avatar
architect
Baron von Ellermann
Baron von Ellermann
 
Posts: 4728
Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2003 5:10 pm
Location: Saint Louis, MO USA

Postby sidewinderl » Sun Sep 23, 2007 4:12 am

architect wrote:
I do not know if the grill helmet knight will be in other sets or not. You could purchase grill helmets on bricklink and place them on the Tic-Tac-Toe knights.



Yeah, it's just that my apprehension towards the TTT and chess sets (and even the crossbow attack) is because I'm not at all interested in the skeleton figures....they're great, but I don't collect those. I suppose I could just ebay them...I saw a couple 3 fig lots going for the ridiculous price of $12 without shipping. I guess Lego should take that as a good sign!
User avatar
sidewinderl
Laborer
 
Posts: 131
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2007 12:30 am

Postby MarioDAlessio » Sun Sep 23, 2007 4:19 am

Thanks for your article Ben, these are fortunate times for Castle Lego Collectors once again.

Can you provide any additional details/anecdotes on this prototype castle;
http://www.legofan.org/ambassadors/proj ... ells01.jpg
I like the extant of mechanical devices and the Great hall.

Ben your castle kitchen is a good example of what separates Lego from its competitors, the ability to create detailed brick built scenes using well designed and detailed blocks, plates and mini figure utensils and why I would always be willing to pay more for them, over other brands;

http://www.legofan.org/ambassadors/proj ... itchen.jpg

For that matter the extant of mini figure accessories inside the new Harry Potter 5378 castle is staggering.

Yesterday when I first saw the mini figure selection in the latest 7029: Skeleton Ship Attack, I instantly thought I could see the influence of AFOL those crown knights heads give the impression of well seasoned man at arms and the homage to the pirates theme:

Crown Knights
http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItemPic.asp?M=cas347
http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItemPic.asp?M=cas348
http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItemPic.asp?M=cas349
Undead - Skeleton Ship Captain http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItemPic.asp?M=cas346

Mario
User avatar
MarioDAlessio
Foot Soldier
 
Posts: 238
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2007 10:15 am
Location: Sydney Australia

Postby Paradosis » Sun Sep 23, 2007 4:24 am

Great article, thanks! Loving the 2007 sets, and looking forward to 2008.
User avatar
Paradosis
Laborer
 
Posts: 103
Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 7:58 am
Location: PA

Postby Tower of Iron Will » Sun Sep 23, 2007 4:35 am

I am glad to see LEGO take a serious interest in what AFOLs have to think. I am glad that our "community" had such representation and were able to help LEGO "build" a better Castle line. I hope this relationship will continue in the future.
-Tower
Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely!

Despise learning and make everyone pay for your ignorance.

The water that floats a ship is the same that sinks it.

My LEGO figures keep me from being evil, drat!!
User avatar
Tower of Iron Will
Master
 
Posts: 1705
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2007 3:47 am
Location: Fortress of the Lion Emperor

Postby Webrain » Sun Sep 23, 2007 9:49 am

ok is that for real or I'm too drunk, is it really red forest man hat? white cape? round red shields? are those elements were made some sort way or the other?
User avatar
Webrain
Journeyman
 
Posts: 445
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2004 11:10 pm
Location: Holon, Israel

Postby Troy T. Moore » Sun Sep 23, 2007 11:23 am

Cool stuff, Ben. Very, very cool. Thanks for your work on this, I know how painful it must have been *pic with Ben holding MISB set and HUGE grin flashes through mind* :wink: Altruistic? I think not.

So if you did all that what did the others do? What about Lenny (who I haven't seen a post from in ages), was he just there for the foreign food?

Will Classic-Castle benefit from this, in the sense that product images will be released here (say a couple of weeks or a month before release date) to placate the community and build anticipation? I am sure I am not the only one who wants to see the Dwarves Mine 70XX that is supposedly coming out in November (although I was hoping October as my b'day is just over half way through that month).

Thank you all fans who were a part of this, for helping LEGO resurrect so many great elements (including the 1x2 brick :wink: ) and styles of building that harken the days of Classic- Castle.
Troy T. Moore
User avatar
Troy T. Moore
Gentleman
 
Posts: 710
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2003 10:58 am
Location: Saskatchewan, Canada

Postby architect » Sun Sep 23, 2007 1:19 pm

MarioDAlessio wrote:Can you provide any additional details/anecdotes on this prototype castle;
http://www.legofan.org/ambassadors/proj ... ells01.jpg
I like the extant of mechanical devices and the Great hall.


That prototype was built by Nathan Wells. It would be better for him to explain how the mechanism works.

Ben your castle kitchen is a good example of what separates Lego from its competitors, the ability to create detailed brick built scenes using well designed and detailed blocks, plates and mini figure utensils and why I would always be willing to pay more for them, over other brands;


I am also really interested in modular civilian sets. Unfortunately my civilian creations, and a few by the LEGO designers, did not test well with children. Retailers also prefer sets with action that will sell easily. Hopefully sets like these could be made as Shop at Home exclusives sometime in the future.

Yesterday when I first saw the mini figure selection in the latest 7029: Skeleton Ship Attack, I instantly thought I could see the influence of AFOL those crown knights heads give the impression of well seasoned man at arms and the homage to the pirates theme.


Actually this was probably the designers. Some in our group worked on Pirates in the 80's and 90's. Designers love old themes like Pirates and Western just like we do. :wink:

Tower of Iron Will wrote:I am glad to see LEGO take a serious interest in what AFOLs have to think. I am glad that our "community" had such representation and were able to help LEGO "build" a better Castle line. I hope this relationship will continue in the future.


I hope so as well. It really helps that everyone on CC often posts what they like and dislike about old and new sets. We try our best to get this infomation back to LEGO.

Webrain wrote:ok is that for real or I'm too drunk, is it really red forest man hat? white cape? round red shields? are those elements were made some sort way or the other?


All kinds of different colored pieces exist. I chose the white cape (and backwards police hat) for the cook because I wanted him to look different from the standard chef figure seen so often in Town sets. The red hat and shield were actually easier to find than a green hat and dark grey shield.

These are early prototypes and obviously color schemes and piece selection change with later designs. You can notice that my stables have blue and yellow flags which later became dark blue and gold flags in the sets. Unfortunately most prototypes, including mine, are photographed and destroyed after the set design process has been completed. Storing prototypes would take too much space.

Cool stuff, Ben. Very, very cool. Thanks for your work on this, I know how painful it must have been *pic with Ben holding MISB set and HUGE grin flashes through mind* Wink Altruistic? I think not.


Designing sets and remembering the various things that fans would like is much harder than it seems. But I also had a great time working with the designers, meeting various LEGO groups, visiting the set archives, etc.

Troy T. Moore wrote:So if you did all that what did the others do? What about Lenny (who I haven't seen a post from in ages), was he just there for the foreign food?


All of the group members worked online building and passing along our prototypes. Some of these relate to future sets so we can not share them yet. Only Mark Sandlin (for Space) and I (for castle) were chosen to go to Billund. Actually we were both back up choices when others could not go.

Will Classic-Castle benefit from this, in the sense that product images will be released here (say a couple of weeks or a month before release date) to placate the community and build anticipation? I am sure I am not the only one who wants to see the Dwarves Mine 70XX that is supposedly coming out in November (although I was hoping October as my b'day is just over half way through that month).


CC has been working with LEGO to get preview images since the beginning of KK2. Unfortunately decisions about releasing product images are made by various marketing teams. Lately these previews either have come too late (after leaked pictures are out) or been given accidentally to other sites (lugnet) first. Hopefully we will receive preview pictures again. On the other hand, LEGO was very generous to give Classic-Castle copies of the new line for the LEGO Castle Contest earlier this year.

Ben
User avatar
architect
Baron von Ellermann
Baron von Ellermann
 
Posts: 4728
Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2003 5:10 pm
Location: Saint Louis, MO USA

Next

Return to LEGO Castle Sets

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests