In this exclusive feature delving into his model creating career – that recently led to him designing 10295 Porsche 911 – Design Master Mike Psiaki reveals how he became ‘the LEGO car guy’
Do you own any of the recent LEGO model cars? The super detailed ones, like 10295 Porsche 911, 10265 Ford Mustang or 10274 Ghostbusters ECTO-1. If you do, the chances are you own a set that has been designed by LEGO Design Master Mike Psiaki.
In Blocks magazine Issue 77, Mike takes us behind-the-scenes and explains how he designed 10295 Porsche 911, revealing why he included both the Turbo and the Targa in one box, how he concluded it needed to be in white and what his favourite technique in the build is.
During the interview, he revealed how he became ‘the LEGO car guy’ – but there wasn’t space to include it in the feature. So, straight from Mike’s mouth, here is how his name became synonymous with incredibly detailed LEGO cars:
‘When I started at LEGO, I was in the Creator 3-in-1 team. At that point, Jamie Berard was a part of that team as the manager for Creator Expert. He was the only person specifically working on Creator Expert models. Then the other models would either go to someone in that team or even go to someone outside the team. They would kind of farm out sets, like what LEGO Ideas has been doing for the past couple of years, where they would bring in a designer that really has a passion for that thing.
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‘My coworker, Andy Seenan, was making the Mini Cooper. I was asked to help on just a couple of small bits on it. Behind the door it needs this tiny little gap so that it can open smoothly. There’s a silly build in the bottom of the car behind the door to just push the bricks back that half plate to make a nice gap. And that’s what I did. My boss at the time, Simon Kent, was happy with my help on it.
‘Then the Ferrari F40 was originally going to be developed Morten Graff-Wang, who’s the designer of the London Bus, but he ended up being called away to help on Minecraft. I was asked if I wanted to do that F40 mainly because there wasn’t really what anyone else to do it. Of the people available, I was the one that they had the most confidence could make that model.
‘Around the same time in 2014, the new wheel that we use in the Porsche, in the Mustang and in the Beetle came out. I was just curious, what would a Volkswagen Beetle look like built in this new style of car that we’re doing but with that wheel size? I just built that for fun in my spare time and had that sitting around by my desk. Then when it came time to do something after the Ferrari, they decided to do that Beetle and because I had made that concept for it, I was going be the one to do it.
‘I haven’t done all the cars, Pierre Normandin did the Fiat 500 that came out last year now. Then we had Morton Graff-Wang do the London Bus, it was Andy that did the Mini Cooper. And then before that John Henry did the original camper van, the one that started all of this.’