When it comes to creating LEGO compatible accessories and minifigures BrickWarriors need no introduction, and we were delighted when one of the most talented custom creators and founder Ryan Hauge agreed to be interviewed.
What made you decide to start manufacturing custom designed pieces?
It was a childhood dream, really. I mean, when I was a child I didn’t think to myself, “I’m going to own a small business where I design and sell LEGO minifigure compatible pieces,” but I was always dreaming up new minifigure accessories that I wished LEGO would create.
While I was in college I had a lot of free time and my LEGO collection was back at home, so I decided to get a CAD (computer aided design) program and try to actually design some of the items that I had dreamed about as a child. My first designs really weren’t very good, but with hours and hours of practice I was able to learn how to do the designs that you see in production today.
When I graduated from college my options were to find a job in the corporate world or start a business where I get to do what I love and design minifigure accessories all day. The choice was easy.
Where do you get your inspiration from for new designs?
Inspiration can literally come from anywhere I look. Some designs might be based loosely on video games or movies, while others can just be based on an image I come across on Google images. On the BrickWarriors forums our fans are always posting ideas for items they would like to see, so that’s always a good place to turn to for inspiration as well.
A lot of the pieces that we’ve already released, such as the Minotaur Head, were pieces that I always wanted in LEGO form as a child. Sometimes the best way to think of new pieces is to sit down and think about all the crazy pieces I had dreamed of having many years ago.
Describe the process needed to create a new piece?
Once I have an idea of what I want to create, I’ll search for lots of pictures of it on Google images and try to see it from all angles. Sometimes I’ll just have one or two angles to work with if the thing I want to create is obscure, but the more angles I can find the easier is it to design the piece.
Once I’m happy with the pictures I have, I’ll open up my CAD program and start designing. For most weapons the design process usually only takes a few hours, but for helmets and armor it can take anywhere from about 5 to 20 hours for a single design.
The finished designs get sent to a manufacturer to cut the designs into big blocks of steel. A few months later, I get real, solid, ABS (the same plastic LEGO uses) samples of the pieces that I designed. That is by far the most exciting part of this job!
The samples usually aren’t all perfect, so I’ll tell the manufacturer what needs to be fixed, and then I’ll get samples of the fixed products. This process continues until the products are perfect and ready for mass production.
What are your favourite pieces?
My favorite pieces are ones that I haven’t released yet, but that’s just because new stuff is always the most exciting!
Of the items that I already have in production, I think my two favorites are the Invader Helmet and Gladiator Pauldron. The Invader Helmet is one of my favorites because of all the different variations you can have by just switching the horns. Gladiators have always been one of my favorite things to turn LEGO minifigures into, so naturally the Gladiator Pauldron would also be one of my favorites.
Are you currently on any new projects?
Of course! I have over fifty items designed that are slated for mass production in the near future.
I feel like it’s my duty to the LEGO community to always be coming out with new, exciting pieces for them to enjoy, so I try to put as many new items into production as BrickWarriors can afford!