Interview with Jamie Berard, Design Manager for 10266 NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander

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View image at flickr

Brickset recently attended the annual Fan Media Days in Billund and had an opportunity to speak with Jamie Berard, design manager for Creator Expert, about the new 10266 NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander!

Brickset: Why have you decided to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing with this set?

Jamie: We are delighted to celebrate these major world events and the Moon landing was especially placed on our radar following the great success of the 21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V. There is also plenty of conversation surrounding space at the moment and this is the ultimate icon of an important moment, when we accomplished something as a species.

There have been numerous sets focused upon NASA and space exploration recently. Why do you think they are so popular?

I think the Saturn V rocket demonstrated that our projects can be enjoyed beyond the existing LEGO fan community, although we always seek to design models for the LEGO fans primarily. However, the rocket reached an enormous range of children and adults, far exceeding our expectations. For that reason, we are certainly hoping that 10266 NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander will draw new fans to the Creator Expert theme.

What can you tell us about 10266 NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander?

We have an incredible opportunity to target authenticity within the Creator Expert range, capturing every possible detail of the original subject matter. This set is focused upon the Lunar Module which can be detached from its pedestal very easily and that can be further separated into the descent and ascent stages, revealing the underneath.

There is also some interior which has been designed as accurately as possible, even featuring the tight space through which the astronauts needed to leave the Lunar Module in reality! Furthermore, the base includes a fun detail as you can see some minifigure footsteps. These attracted enormous attention in testing the set during development and I always enjoy these humorous inclusions.

A couple of hidden compartments are located within the model as well. You can deploy the television camera beside the ladder, recreating the moment that the first images of Neil Armstrong descending onto the lunar surface were recorded. Another panel opens to reveal a small reflector. This remains on the Moon today, enabling scientists to use lasers which measure the precise distance between the Earth and the Moon.

The set also contains numerous metallic gold elements. Why were those included and was it difficult to justify including so many in an unusual colour?

Foil of various colours was used to protect the Lunar Module from dramatic temperature differences. We used plenty of drum-lacquered gold pieces along with some reflective stickers and there are some silver examples too. There was some debate concerning whether pearl gold or these drum-lacquered pieces should be included but we decided upon the metallic finish as that appears more authentic. You can find some new parts in this colour here, including the 2x2 corner tile with a cutout.

The actual spacecraft also features some bronze foiling but we chose to exclude that as introducing additional colours to the model might result in a design that looks chaotic. A few pearl gold elements are scattered throughout the Lunar Module too as not every piece is suitable for the drum-lacquering process, although I think the reflective foil effect has been achieved.

Does this set take any inspiration from 10029 Lunar Lander, the 2003 Discovery set?

There is relatively little connection between this product and the 2003 Lunar Module, other than their scale being similar. They probably occupy a similar market space though, depicting a subject which inspires passion among adults and one that LEGO is becoming increasingly aware of, particularly following 21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V.

10213 Shuttle Adventure was released in 2010 and that was the last space set from Creator Expert, before the theme was even known by its current name! I think this set could inspire subsequent space sets from Creator Expert in the future, assuming the product performs well and we can find additional source material. We already have series of Modular Buildings, Seasonal and Vehicle sets so perhaps space could join that group in the future.

This model is displayed on an impressive base. Does this correspond with the real lunar surface where Apollo 11 landed?

We have taken a certain degree of artistic liberty because the actual landing site was relatively smooth. In fact, Neil Armstrong was required to manoeuvre the spacecraft and avoid landing on craters like this one. However, we hoped to connect people with the lunar environment so we felt compelled to include one crater!

There are certain parallels with LEGO Architecture in how the Lunar Modular is displayed as a printed tile is placed on the base. In addition, the dark packaging seems quite reminiscent of the Architecture theme. This was simply our attempt to create a product that someone would most enjoy displaying in their home or office.

Many thanks for speaking with us!


You can find more information about 10266 NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander here and our review is available here.

Are you looking forward to 10266 NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander? Let us know in the comments.

25 comments on this article

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By in United States,

My favorite designer! Glad to see an interview with him! I loved his Beyond the Brick one also.

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By in United States,

I am really, really looking forward to hopefully getting this model soon - I absolutely LOVE it and think they did such a great job designing it. Jamie is probably my all-time favorite designer, so I think it's very interesting to see what he says about this model.

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By in United States,

Jamie Berard does it again! Also, I really love the attention to detail on the lander. Really authentic!

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By in United States,

Good little interview. Thanks to Mr. Berard for taking the time and for creating such a great model.

I hope this sells as well as the Saturn V because I would love to see more and more NASA Creator sets in the future. I'm really looking forward to picking this up.

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By in United States,

"I think this set could inspire subsequent space sets from Creator Expert in the future, assuming the product performs well and we can find additional source material. We already have series of Modular Buildings, Seasonal and Vehicle sets so perhaps space could join that group in the future."

Yes, please! That would be a dream come true! (This set already is!) (Too many exclamation points?)

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By in United Kingdom,

Thanks for this interview, Brickset! And thanks to the LEGO team who brought this dream to market.

(Also, what iwybs said!!)

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By in United States,

yes this is the quote of the article
Quote of the article
"10213 Shuttle Adventure was released in 2010 and that was the last space set from Creator Expert, before the theme was even known by its current name! I think this set could inspire subsequent space sets from Creator Expert in the future, assuming the product performs well and we can find additional source material. We already have series of Modular Buildings, Seasonal and Vehicle sets so perhaps space could join that group in the future. "

A Space Creator Expert line would be amazing! I'm not sure what comes after you pass "Shut up and take my money!" but that is it. I'd think that as often as a space themed set gets 10,000 votes on Ideas someone at LEGO must be seriously thinking about it. Let alone that there are 3 space Cuscoo/Ideas sets now. (man I wish they re-release Hayabusa and Mars Since Lab {Curiosity}). There are so much stuff they could pull from all the worlds Space Agencies too. That's even before you start mining the could have been stuff, or the stuff still being developed.

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By in United States,

Jamie is the Design Manager for the Creator Expert team, so I'm sure he was involved in the design process, but Lars Joe is the official set designer for this set.

Here is the official designer video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRRvciO4E2s

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By in United States,

Jamie Berard is I think one of the best designers Lego has. He seems to have a good grasp of the line between functionality/sturdiness and design.

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By in United States,

Saturn V has 900 more pieces for only $20 more. Also has printed pieces.

So please LEGO cult members explain to me why the lander is well priced at $100 and not like $70-80?

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By in United States,

^This is an authorized message from the secret underground Lego cult:

How DARE you insult one of our precious items of admiration for being TOO expensive. WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE??

Haha, all joking aside, the price per piece for this set is still excellent at 9.2 cents. Maybe a proper view of the matter is that this is set is normally priced, and the Saturn V is available at a discounted-from-what-it-would-normally-be price. I don't know; I don't think that this price is too unrealistic, but as with everything, don't buy it if it hurts your wallet too much.

P.S. Jamie is the founder of the Lego cult ;-)

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By in United States,

Design Manager? If Jamie gets promoted any higher, he won't be able to design great sets anymore.

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By in United States,

originally i was going to buy this sometime next month--then it inspired me to get 21309 saturn V while it's still available instead, and bump my buy of this one down the road a few months. then i'll have the tiny & minifig landers displayed next to each other ^_^

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By in United States,

@David1985: Okay, I'll rise to that obvious bait. Among many possible reasons: more new pieces (including a large number of more expensive lacquered pieces), less repetition of pieces, and minifigures all could add to the price. Not to mention the fact that the material cost for Lego parts is not fixed, and being petroleum-based is subject to the fluctuating price of oil. And the fact that, rather than working from a Lego Ideas proposal that was already fairly polished and refined, this model had to be designed from scratch by Lego's own internal designers.

But beyond all that, Lego prices are often based on "what the market can bear", which factors in demand. The Saturn V was a huge seller that if I remember correctly was intermittently out of stock for several months due to the high demand, so it's entirely possible that Lego is in fact artificially inflating the price of this one to temper demand so that they can actualize more potential sales, rather than having the set unavailable to willing buyers at the peak of its demand. This is the same reason that I assume the collectible minifigures have gone up in price since their original introduction—Lego can make more money by charging more per set than they can by charging less and not being able to keep up with high demand.

That may not seem fair to an end consumer who expects Lego to always cost roughly the same price, but ultimately Lego isn't merely a raw material but rather a highly engineered and designed product, and as such the price isn't based solely on what it costs to make physically. If you don't feel like the price adequately reflects the value you place on it, then there's a simple course of action to take—don't buy it. If others share that view and don't buy the set then Lego is likely to adjust their pricing for future products accordingly.

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By in Netherlands,

I will definitely get this set, although, I'll have tot wait for my bank account to recover from May the Fourth first.

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By in Bahamas,

Why would LEGO make a set about a hoax? Everyone knows the moon landing was fake, they should have made an Illuminati set instead!

LMAO I’m kidding, great set, can’t wait to get it. What a great piece of history to be forever immortalized in a LEGO set.

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By in United States,

A regular series of space inspired sets in Creator Expert? That would be fun. I think a taste of some Soviet/Russian style ships would be fun; along with some modern rockets such as SpaceX. I hope they don't squander it via just releasing yet another Space Shuttle replica.

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By in United States,

This set wasn't on my radar at all. Didn't even know about it.

Then I got my Lego catalog today and my wife and I immediately put this on our "must buy" list.

Great looking set.

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By in Australia,

I’d completely understand the backlash to Space becoming a regular sub-theme of Creator Expert, as it would eat up production slots for other set ideas (Trains would be my first choice) but Personally I can’t get enough of real world space vehicles at close to accurate scale in LEGO.
I hope they stick to real world vehicles that have actually flown though. Any number of famous unmanned spacecraft like Voyager (though hard to build with those long antenna), Juno, Cassini-Huygens or Viking.
Falcon Heavy is begging for an accurate to 1:110 scale set, with separating core and side boosters with folding landing legs, it would actually be surprisingly playable.
But it would also be exciting to see LEGO leave the well-trod NASA and American path to produce a Soyuz rocket, the way that rocket separates is incredible (just google “Korolev cross”).

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By in United Kingdom,

Fantastic interview! I hope this sells as well as the Saturn V

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By in Canada,

I think of Jamie as LEGO's best designer. I can't think of a set he has designed that I don't love, and this set is no exception. I pray he doesn't get promoted to the point where he no longer is designing sets (sorry for being so selfish, Jamie). Thanks for all you've given us.

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By in United States,

Anyone know if the landing legs move? Looks like maybe, but it wasn't shown in the designer video so I'm guessing no?

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By in Germany,

@legoDad42 There is no such thing as NASA licensing fee, as it is a public entity. Companies wishing to use its logo must submit an application that may be denied if the intended usage goes against the guidelines, but other than that there are no costs to paid to NASA.

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By in United Kingdom,

Nice to hear the rationale behind their choices; I think it's ended in a very attractive set.

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By in United States,

@Backbiter222

I was also wondering that. Where is the film crew? Maybe they'll be in a polybag later.

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