Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Behind the Set: 8694 Krika

Name of Model: Krika
Created by: David Bird as a designer for the LEGO company
Found at:
Details: Although LEGO has made some efforts recently to show us a little more of the design process through their website, promotional bits, and kit designer presence at LEGO fan events (BrickJournal has opened things up a bit as well), we still don't get too many windows into the design process. Naturally, when we do get a look at the process, it tends to be on lines that encourage us to try creating our own designs in turn - Creator, Technic, or one of the broader playthemes. One reason for that is that the company doesn't want competitors to find out about directions that LEGO could still take at some point in the future. By emphasizing the more creative lines, LEGO can show us some of the design process without leaking unreleased elements and concepts. Today's spotlight is a behind-the-scenes look at set 8694 Krika, a "bad guy" from the Bionicle series. The process is incredibly different, with a focus on intentionally designing new parts, a much greater emphasis on how the result can be posed and played with, and a wildly different price/piece ratio. Even the build is different - simple instructions and a contrasting color scheme were a given for the character. Some things remain the same, though, like how using multiples of the same element can keep production costs down (this also has the happy side effect of making it easier for hobbyists to buy parts in quantity when they were only sold in a few kits).

Another interesting sidenote (considering Bionicle's evolution from a Technic-based line to a more independent action-figure-based line) is that this same designer was also behind some great Technic sets from 2004-2006.

I feel a need to bleg: to the LEGO designers reading this (and I know we have a few) - can you give us a look behind more of what goes on? Obviously, there are reasons why LEGO wants to hold some ideas back, but there's something inspiring about seeing different parts and techniques applied before a set gets scaled back (or otherwise modified) through the process of checking on costs/focus groups/how easy it is to build/marketing concerns/etc.

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