A few weeks ago while cruising through Flickr, I cam across some pics of new prototypes and product molds from a new outfit called BrickWarriors. A little investigation uncovered that long-time customizer “Thrashq4g” (aka Ryan) was the mastermind behind this new venture. Always a sucker for new minifigure customs, I sought out Ryan to find out more about BrickWarriors and his journey. Thrashq4g and Brickwarriors have a lot of great things to check out, so be sure to click any of the pictures below to magnify.
Let’s start off with the basics…How old are you? How long have you been involved with LEGO as a hobby. What brought you out of your dark ages (if you’ve had one).
I’m 21 years old and have been involved with LEGO as a hobby for as long as I can remember. I never really had a dark ages, but there have certainly been times that I didn’t build anything for months at a time. Those mini-dark ages are usually just caused by my room being too messy for me to sit down and build anything…not by a lack of interest in LEGO.
You’ve recently come out with several new custom, molded items under the BrickWarriors brand. How did these items come about? What’s been your journey from concept to cut steel?
Ever since I first stumbled across Red Bean Studio nearly a decade ago, I’ve thought to myself, “I could design stuff like that!” Ten years ago, heck, two years ago, I had never used a CAD program so I, in fact, could NOT have designed anything really, but all of that changed when I bought a CAD program and taught myself how to design accessories.
When I graduated from college a few months ago I realized I either had to get a job utilizing my economics and finance degrees or turn my accessory design hobby into a business. It was an easy choice.
I started by designing 29 completely new items and sending them to a professional tooler to get a few production molds cut. Those items are just about ready and will be available for individual purchase when I open my online store.
The prototypes I’ve shown recently were actually created using an injection molder and CNC mill that I purchased and operate myself. The designing for prototypes is the same as for production items, but instead of sending the design off to a professional tooler to design and cut the mold, I design and cut the mold myself. Once the mold is cut I can use my injection molder to inject the mold with whatever colors (or swirls of colors) that I want.
‘The Gambler’ is your latest custom minifigure design. Did you partner with Joshua Morris on the design? How did you both come together on this collaboration?
Josh and I are old friends from back when we worked on the Eurobricks Community Castle Build together. Earlier this year we were chatting and I showed him some of my production designs and told him about my new company, so he asked if I’d be interested in sponsoring Eurobricks upcoming Spaghetti Western Contest.
I pulled out an old torso design I had done, and while my girlfriend (the Chief Marketing Officer of BrickWarriors, known as MandaBW on Flickr) designed a decal for the back of the figure, I designed the Sawed-off Rifle and Card Deck. Once I got the OK from Josh that he liked the figure, I went ahead and cut the molds for the prototypes and created the figures.
You mentioned Amanda is joining the venture. Is she an AFOL and customizer or just helping out with the cause?
Before we met and started dating a few years ago, Amanda’s experience with LEGO was limited to a box of random bricks she had as a child (which she loved), but over the past few years she has actually built a few MOCs and started customizing some figures. One day a few years ago I challenged her to a customizing battle, thinking that I would just destroy her, but she actually made a pretty awesome figure.
When we decided to start BrickWarriors together, she offered to do a lot of the decal designing so that I could devote most of my time to accessory design. She started out by doing the back of our Gambler Custom Minifig, and more of her custom figures will be available soon.
In the past you’ve partnered with BrickArms for custom minifigure packages. How did that partnership come about?
A few years ago on Flickr I started to get comments from people offering to buy my custom figures, so I ordered the parts to make a few “Zombie Hunter” figures to put up for sale. I planned to sell them on Bricklink and eBay, but then one day while looking at the Brickarms website I noticed that all their custom figures were sold out.
My figures primarily used Brickarms accessories, so I went out on a limb and e-mailed Will to see if he wanted to collaborate with me on the figures. Much to my surprise, he was actually very interested, so we struck up a deal and I started producing the figures on a larger scale. We ended up working together on three great lines of figures (Zombie Hunters, WW2, and Wild West).
What are your hopes for BrickWarriors? Will you be concentrating on any particular theme(s) in the beginning?
I want BrickWarriors to fill in all the places where LEGO has failed to give people a wide enough variety of accessories for their minifigures. When I was a kid I would always have dreams (literally) of LEGO coming out with new accessories, only to be disappointed when I woke up and realized that it was all just my imagination. With BrickWarriors I can make those dreams into a reality, and hopefully in the process make the dreams of others become reality as well.
My first molds do concentrate on a few themes more than others, but I’m not quite ready to reveal what those are yet. Even though most of my prototypes have been modern weapons, that is not indicative of what the focus of BrickWarriors will be. Modern military fans shouldn’t worry though…I think they’ll be very pleased with what I have to offer them on my first few molds.
It seems the only way to get these new custom items will be by winning the Spaghetti Western contest on Eurobricks or hunting you down at Brickfair. Will you be at any of the other conventions this year?
I don’t think I’ll be able to attend any other conventions this year besides Brickfair, but next year I hope to attend various conventions across the country.
We’re also looking into sponsoring a few other contests and making the prototypes available with custom minifigs or weapon packs on our website, so even if people can’t attend Brickfair this year they will still have an opportunity to get their hands on some of the prototypes.
You’ve mentioned on Flickr that the online store will be opening soon. What can we look forward to?
I don’t want to give too much away, but I will reveal that we’ll have 29 never-before-seen accessories available for individual purchase. The items will range from ancient weapons and armor all the way to futuristic guns (with tons of stuff in between), so there should be something for everyone.
At some point I plan to make my prototypes like the Desert Vulture and Adaptive Warrior Rifle available with a custom minifig or in weapon packs, but I can’t make any promises that those will be ready when we launch.
I haven’t announced a launch date yet for the website, but it will be ready quite soon. The URL will of course be www.BrickWarriors.com, but for now you can find information about BrickWarriors on our Flickr group.
Ryan gave me the opportunity to browse the product catalog for the upcoming BrickWarriors site. I’m happy to say there are some amazing, one-of-a-kind items waiting for fans of custom minifig accessories. True to his word Ryan (and Amanda) will have items that span several themes. Keep your eyes open for the site debut this August. Those attending Brickfair next weekend should seek Ryan out. He’ll be the one wearing the badge that says ‘Thrash’.