Set designer insights for Lego Voltron 21311 has been published on Eurobricks and Brickset.
With the press release of the IDEAS Voltron set last week, response to the sets’ reveal has been overwhelmingly positive but there exists two small quibbles about the set from the AFOL community. The existence of AFOL dreaded stickers and the fixed leg pose. LEGO clearly states that the “legs are not posable”.
A long standing gripe about other LEGO mechs is about the lack of knee articulation but this means that in Voltron robot form, not only the knees, but the whole leg itself will be static.
The set designer, Niek Van Slagmaat(toothdominoes) has taken time to try and address these concerns and also to tried to give further insight on the set design process itself.
Firstly, we have a comment on Eurobricks (EB Nick: toothdominoes) which addresses the concerns on the reason for stickers (only for the numbers!) and the lack of leg movement (limitation in currently existing LEGO elements)
Hey there, there are indeed stickers. Only the numbers though. We wanted to give you the option of picking whether you wanted to have the original Japanese version or the American version with the numbers. Everything else is a print.
The hips on the black lion are rotated by popping them off 3 snaps on either side. You then rotate it 90 degrees and snap it back on.
Believe me when I say I investigated joints. But for this extremely crucial joint, we do not have existing pieces strong enough to provide me with the friction needed. We tested at least 20 hip solutions that were all too weak.
Also, thanks a lot for all the comments, 🙂 I am so happy people seem to generally like it. If you want to read some more about the development, check out my bricklist: https://brickset.com/sets/list-24652
Additional design constraints, compliments and personal touches included in the set can be found in the same designer Niek Van Slagmaat’s Brickset Bricklist (View it in “list” mode to view the designer insights) which might possibly point out another reason for the extra lengthy review and release process after the initial IDEAS submission reached 10,000 votes.
I cannot put into words how much this model means to me. When it hit 10k votes, I started working on models to try and prove that we could do something like this. Now, almost 2 years later, it’s really happening!
I have Samuel Johnson to thank for fighting to allow me to work on this project and Lendy for getting it to 10k with his awesome model.
From the very beginning, the consensus was that we could not make this as a LEGO product, so it was my job to prove people wrong. To kick reason to the curb and do the impossible! By not giving up and continuing to smash our heads into the wall, we made it possible.
Crucial points in a mech this size are the joints. Most of the development time on this product was relentlessly churning out shoulder and elbow joints just to have them be rejected for any number of reasons by our rigorous quality department. I went through at least 30 different shoulder builds and about 20 full iterations of Voltron in designing this model.
As a fan-builder myself, I was eager to get some good recolors into this set for people that like to build their own stuff, like the ingot and a whole host of drum lacquered pieces!
This set also features a number of decorations, my favorite being the 2×2 grey tile with mechanical detail. This was designed to be a perfect fit, but also a good element to be used in your own creations as a finishing touch. Graphic designer Mark Tranter did a fantastic job.
I really hope you will enjoy building this model, I poured my heart and soul into making this a reality!
We hope that this compilation gives some small insight on the decision making process of the designers that concluded with the inclusion of a few stickers and the final outcome of a fixed leg pose. These are actually minor quibbles from AFOL’s since the greatest joy of LEGO is the innate personal customisability but it’s heartening to see the designers taking time to address their users like this. That being said, it doesn’t detract from the fact that this is a brilliant set and one that we will be queuing up to buy on day one.
Oh, about the “drum lacquered” pieces, the visible ones that we see are definitely those tiles surrounding the insignia and seen on the Blazing Sword. Ryan Howerter has a cool image of similarly processed parts up on Brickset.