Certain types of play lend themselves well to toys, and specifically LEGO sets. Dinosaurs seem to be one of them, with the possibilities that the prehistoric beasts offer meaning they keep returning to the LEGO line-up. This year, the launch of LEGO Jurassic World ties in with the release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. There is still a nod to the now 20 year old Jurassic Park in the theme too, though, giving a dose of nostalgia to fans of the original film.
On a sunny in Billund, Denmark, LEGO Model Designer Luis Castaneda talks to Brick Fanatics about the process behind these new models.
When designing these vehicles, how do you decide which to pair with each dinosaur?
We have to think about, it has to make sense, it has to have a balance with the dinosaur and also in the assortment. Here we have a smaller off road vehicle and a base, it is always nice to have some sort of a building, a container area, it is great to have a helicopter in here, and you have a big sturdy wide truck that could be a match to this dino. I think that’s part of the fun of these sets.
What made you include 75932 Jurassic Park Velociraptor Chase in the range?
You have kids who like dinosaurs and they probably haven’t seen the earlier movies, but in the Jurassic World franchise, they keep making references to Jurassic Park. They go and they find that old off roader that they make work, they are in the old reception area, one of the computer technicians is wearing a Jurassic Park t-shirt that he bought on eBay. So we have a proper Jurassic Park set out there as part of our regular assortment, it’s a nod to the origins of the movie.
It is a bit separated from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, but it’s still very relevant, and it’s been a hit, everybody loves that set as it includes key scenes in the JP universe, such as the laboratory and one of the kids hidden in the cabinet. I think that’s my favourite set.
Another unique set in the theme is 75930 Indoraptor Rampage at Lockwood Estate.
That set is the toy representation of one of the key scenes. We know it’s one of the epic scenes, we try to capture the essence of that without revealing too much. It looks a little bit different because it’s not in a jungle environment, it’s in a manor. I think it’s exciting, you think about having these massive animals inside a beautiful manor.
I know the designer for that set is Raphaël. He has been here for as long as we have, he did that set and he puts in so many details, so you may really have the sense for how a dinosaur might crash and bash inside the house, just knocking things down. The kids love that play, old kids love it as well.
How does the design process change over time?
The process is pretty straightforward, it’s been the same for a while. There’s been like such improvement, pretty much like when we polish these things and they look crisp and nice. It’s like our design process has been through the same, just sanding the rough edges, it’s got into a very crisp place now.
Has the process sped up in recent years? It was mentioned by the CEO last year.
I think it’s like a natural response to how well we know our process, it’s just been so well polished. So we realised, “wow, actually we’ve actually gotten so good at this that we can do that more, in a more agile way”. I mean, the learning curve is quite steep for a LEGO designer because it is so unique, but now we have so much knowledge to share with new designers so the learning curve is not as steep as it used to be. We also have a lot of courses and introductions that just makes you a more sure LEGO designer.
So from when you get the concept art to on shelf date, what is the timeframe?
I would say that, since I started ten years ago, now it takes half the time. Pretty much half the time to put these things on the shelf. As I say with timing, we got so much better to tackle some things. Even our communication with partners is so agile now, it feels really organic so that helps a lot.
The way the world is now, with all this communication, everything is at your fingertips, it’s so easy, Skype meetings and what not. So I think it’s a natural part of things. That’s a little of my own views on it, that I see it as a natural thing.