interviewLEGO IDEAS

Aloha Bricks Sets Sights on Launching a NASA Space Launch System (SLS) set

While it is not the usual position for BrickJournal to promote a LEGO Ideas project, there are some projects that have caught the attention of the magazine. BrickJournal has previously talked to the group (Aloha Bricks) behind the Saturn V Ideas set and now talks about their current project, the  LEGO Ideas SLS project.

Aloha Bricks is a small team of “AFOLs” composed by: Valérie Roche (co-designer with Felix Stiessen of the famous “bestseller” Lego Ideas set: NASA Apollo Saturn V), her husband Gilles Quideau and Matthew Nolan, a fabulous Australian Master Builder.

Valérie Roche and Gilles Quideau live in Paris France, and they have two adult children. Their family passion for Lego was rekindled 15 years ago when Gilles rediscovered a trunk from his childhood containing old Lego bricks from the 70s. When not building Lego, Valérie and Gilles are passionate about all things like nature, space, science, culture and new technologies.

Working on the SLS

Matthew Nolan works in finance and has 6 children. Some of his favorite childhood memories are playing Lego. 18 years ago, this passion reappeared in his life when his children grew up enough. His Lego creations include co-creations with Valerie Roche, such as the Lego Ideas projects: SpaceX Ultimate Collection, Starship, New Glenn, CNSA Long March 5 and NASA SLS, which were featured on Breakfast TV in the United States, and some were liked by Elon Musk. When he’s not building Lego, Matthew enjoys traveling, watching movies, paleontology, and all things Space.

BrickJournal: How did you come to create MOCs?

Valérie Roche:  Well, it’s simple, at the beginning I spent a fortune buying sets from my children who spent very little time building them and after the sets ended up on a shelf, then we always had to buy others, …

So one day I discovered LDD and I told my children that if they could design their own models I would order them the bricks and they could build them afterwards. Then I decided to do the same for myself and I created my own MOCs!

How did your “Moccer” duo come together?

It dates back to 2017, when the set of my Saturn V rocket was marketed, I had the idea to submit the launch tower of the Saturn V rocket (Launch Umbilical Tower) as a new project at Lego Ideas (this project had unfortunately not been retained in the end by Lego) and one day I received a message from Matthew with a photo of this tower perfectly rebuilt identically in real bricks and all that without any plan, just from the few images (in very small format) of my project captured on the Lego Ideas website. This totally blew me away and I asked Matthew if he would like to collaborate on my future project ideas. Since then, we have created together more than fifteen collaborative projects, some have been submitted to Lego Ideas and others (those who didn’t suit that platform) have become booklets containing building instructions, the history of the model, bricks list …

SLS & Saturn V sets

How is your creation process as a duo?

Our collaboration process is quite special, because we had to develop a method to be able to design and build designs with 10 hours of jet lag, 17000 km between Paris and Sydney and as we are not bilingual, thanks to google Translator! Thanks to our boundless passion for Lego, surprisingly it always goes wonderfully!

As a general rule, we start by finding a theme (most often it is Space) then a subject on which we have common affinities, then comes the documentation which is a long part (about a month) and important (photos, plans or drawings, technical specifications, scaling, dimensions …) then we divide the tasks: Valérie designs the prototype and the multiple updates on LDD / Studio 2 and Matthew builds these prototypes in real life (his stock of bricks is gigantic!) and rebuilds them with each update, he tests and improves them until obtaining a satisfactory result in terms of solidity, feasibility of assembly, playability and also with the most accurate final appearance possible of the original, it often takes more than three months, then Gilles does everything that is purely graphic such as printable decorations or decals, digital renderings, photo editing, booklets, building instructions, …


How does the creation of a Lego Ideas set work? Tell us about this adventure!

The creation of a project submitted to Lego Ideas is no different but there are many constraints that limit the choice of theme due to multiple IPs prohibited or reserved for Lego, the number of bricks limited to 3000, themes not authorized or already proposed in the past, …

Once the project is realized and submitted on the platform, comes the time of promotion, many months or even years of intense promotion, then the ultimate Grail of 10,000 supports and the endless wait for the final decision and finally the magic word: yes! 

Then, after two years of waiting, we finally have the ultimate happiness to see his work on sale worldwide. This was a fabulous time!

NASA Artemis I Ascent and Entry Flight Director Judd Frieling with the SLS model

You have proposed a lot of works on Lego Ideas, do you have any new projects?

Our most recent Lego Ideas collaborative project: NASA’s SLS Block 1 & 1B rockets – Artemis Missions is an upgraded version of NASA’s SLS, including both the Block 1 and 1B versions.  This is quickly gathering support on Lego ideas, with over 7,500 votes in just the first six months.

At 1:110 scale, our product idea based on the concept of a “two in One” set includes a total of 2742 Lego bricks and can be used to make two different versions of the SLS rocket. Following the successful launch of the SLS Block 1 Crew version rocket on November 16, 2022 as part of the Artemis I mission, we have updated, improved and expanded our previous Lego Ideas 10K project:  NASA’s SLS & Artemis.

It is now possible to build two models of the SLS rocket: 

Orion 1LS, SLS Block 1 and Block 1B

– 1 The SLS Block 1 Crew version, which has and will be used until 2026 for the Artemis I, II & III missions. Stage 2 of this model contains the first generation of Orion spacecraft with its capsule, this spacecraft can be displayed independently on its stand. 

SLS Block 1B

– The future version of the SLS Block 1B Crew rocket, which will be used from 2027 for deep space manned flight, in the Artemis IV & V missions. In this version, stage 2 which is the second generation of Orion spacecraft can also be displayed independently on its own stand inclined at 45°.

The vertical stand and Stage 1 are common to both versions of SLS rockets.

SLS Block 1 Crew version & Orion Crew Vehicle: 1683 bricks

  • Width: 12.0 studs, 9.6 cm or 3.8 inches.
  • Length: 18.6 studs, 14.9 cm or 5.8 inches.
  • Height: 114.4 studs, 91.5 cm or 36.0 inches.
  • Core diameter: 10.0 studs, 8.0 cm or 3.14 inches.

SLS Block 1B Crew version & Exploration Upper Stage: 2156 bricks

  • Width: 12.0 studs, 9.6 cm or 3.8 inches.
  • Length: 18.6 studs, 14.9 cm or 5.8 inches.
  • Height: 130.7 studs, 104.6 cm or 41.2 inches. 
  • Core diameter: 10.0 studs, 8.0 cm or 3.14 inches.

Vertical rocket stand: 233 bricks

  • Displays SLS ready for launch at Kennedy Space Center’s Pad 39B.
  • Articulated mast to easily and securely lock the rocket.
  • Width: 22.3 studs, 17.9 cm or 7.0 inches.
  • Length: 18.0 studs, 14.4 cm or 5.7 inches.
  • Height: 14.0 studs, 11.2 cm or 4.4 inches.

Exploration Upper Stage Stand: 174 bricks

  • It is tilted at 45° for a display in flight mode.
  • Width: 13.0 studs, 10.4 cm or 4.1 inches.
  • Length: 17.0 studs, 13.6 cm or 5.4 inches.
  • Height: 17.5 studs, 14 cm or 5.5 inches
Current 2022 version of Orion spacecraft on its stand

Accessories: 48 bricks

  • Orion spacecraft stand.
  • Display plate.
  • Orion folded solar panels.

Here at Flickr you can view all the pictures of our design built in real LEGO bricks.

Thanks! This set idea will be considered for production when it reaches 10,000 votes – if you like it vote here (registration required)! Good luck to Aloha Bricks for a successful project!

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