Is your Spider-sense still tingling from yesterday’s reveal of the 2021 LEGO Daily Bugle? To deep dive into the set and the mind of the designer, Mark Stafford did a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) recently chatting to fans about the Daily Bugle.
Senior LEGO Designer Mark Stafford was the lead designer on the 71678 Daily Bugle, with supporting from Mark T (graphics), Carter, Adam, Edward (builders).
I’ve included some of the more insightful questions and answers below from the AMA, so enjoy getting to know the design process behind the Daily Bugle, how minifigures are selected, and speculate about what other Marvel sets Mark could apply his Midas Touch to.
Were there any minifigures you wanted included that didn’t make the cut? – /u/pshcold
Several. I had made a list around 60 long when I started!
I wanted the original Sinister Six, but we just couldn’t make it happen, we ran out of new figures we could make. In fact because it was so minifigure heavy a lot of figures from this set were pushed out into the standard retail line (they ended up coming out first).
TO give you a few names I wanted Deadpool, The Human Torch, Iceman, Spider Woman – all Spiderman’s buddy’s. But Marvel also have to agree and some of the decisions to include or not include figures were up to them and like I said others we just didn’t have the capacity to include.
Is there a way to fix up Goblin’s destruction in the set, such as extra window pieces? /u/jump9575
All the parts required to build the window undamaged are in the explosion. I needed this to be the case!
Was the Daily Bugle the first choice for a Spider-man set of this scale, and was it always intended to be this big? /u/CosmicVSTheWorld
I found myself with a week of dead design time while waiting for Eternals concept art so I asked my boss if I could build the Bugle idea I had in my head. It was just something I really wanted to build. It was always about this big and honestly I’m amazed that 15 months later it’s actually a LEGO set!
Will we ever get minifigs of Shocker, Lizard, or comic-accurate versions of Electro or Rhino? Did you originally intend on including them?
LOVE the new set, btw. Will Daredevil be exclusive to this set? /u/Dry-Anxiety2410
Can’t talk about the future, but those are all great characters, so is DareDevil – he’s my favourite superhero, I’d put him in every set if I could. (Could be confusing for Batman sets.)
We’ve noticed that the building is quite tall! Are there any special challenges when designing a set with a building that is so tall? /u/mescad
Yes. It has to be able to separate between floors and be stack-able because otherwise the building instructions would be difficult to follow (and our Building Instructions team would shoot me).
are there any discussions about a Moon Knight minifigure coming down the line? would really love to see him get made someday!
also, the Bugle looks amazing! thank you so much for doing this AMA:) /u/conquerlord
I can’t discuss future stuff. Moon Knight is awesome though. I hope we do him one day!
- How many Australians do you know working at Lego?
- How did COVID-19 affect the workers and designers at Lego in 2020?
- The Bugle is an incredible feat of architecture and I’m blown away. Will we see more of such location based sets in future?
- What’s the statistical likelihood that the Jurassic World sets in the second half of this year are based on a movie or Camp Cretaceous? No seriously. Is it going to be another completely evergreen wave?
Thanks for creating such an amazing set. And please tell Mark T “you are an absolute madlad” for designing the graphic for Peter’s Office. /u/throwaway10402019
- As Designers, two. (and a Kiwi)
- For a while Designers were the only people in the office as most of us can’t work from home. I can as I have a dedicated room full of LEGO in my house, so about half of this was designed in my basement. https://twitter.com/LEGO_Nabii/status/1242055546460606464
- No clues for future products! (With great power come great responsibility).
- No clues for future products! But seriously no idea anyway, I moved on from Jurassic after the T-Rex and because of COVID-19 I’m not really sure what other teams are up to.
I noticed on the product page for the Daily Bugle it mentions being the largest MARVEL set (so far).
When can I give you my money for an Avengers Tower in the same style? /u/dankestmango
There’s always a bigger set.
Hi, thanks for doing a AMA.
I have two questions since one you may not want to answer. (Which I would completely understand).
Firstly, was there any challenges to including a character like punisher who is known for being notoriously violent? I assume not due to his appearance in children’s cartoon shows but you never know.
Secondly, what made you choose a more modern interpretation of the Daily Bugle? Rather than a more old fashioned style building which we also often see?
(Also have you tried seeing how many times you can stack the set on top of itself for a bit of fun? I’m waiting for the person who buys three of the set to make one two metres tall). /u/cx52j
There are always challenges including more adult characters. We work closely with Marvel to stay appropriate to both our brands.
The Bugle has always been portrayed as a modern rectangular skyscraper in the comics, until the Raimi movies I think this was it’s iconic look. After those the Flatiron building is in a lot of peoples heads (fun fact the Flatiron is a trademark and requires a license). The recent video games walked a line between these by colouring their skyscraper tan – a choice I almost went for here, but the minifigres stand out much better against a neutral grey.
I LOVE this set!!! I’m curious about the inspiration behind the design of the building – did you consider a more classic architectural look, or were you always going to have it be more industrial-looking? Thanks for doing this! /u/ZombieYeti
The inspiration is mainly the comics. It was almost impossible to find two artists who drew the Bugle the same way, but a lot of them had the grey 1960’s/70’s rectangular office building as their style.
More recently many Marvel artists have used the X,Y,Z building in New York as their inspiration (I think because News International (Fox)) are based there, but I wanted to be more generic and choose the more classic comic book appearance as my source.
Hi! Before I ask, I must say this is an incredibly impressive build, top 10 sets of all time!
But I need to ask, why wasnt Marry Jane Watson included? I think shes one of the most essential Spiderman characters, so was there a reason why she wasnt present?
Right now MJ is in the MCU, we don’t want two versions around at the same time. (Ignore Ghost Spider on the side of the building there please Gwen.)
Are there any plans to do any future sets in this scale to go with the Daily Bugle? /u/SpiceGod
Sorry I can’t discuss future plans. But of course the better this set does the more likely similar sets will follow.
As a diehard Daredevil fan, I was absolutely ecstatic to see all the references. I would love to see more Defenders based content in the future!
Do you have any personal favorite Marvel comic runs or graphic novels that had influence on the set? /u/_pixel_perfect_
Daredevil is my favourite Super hero, I have been buying his books since Born Again and try to stay as up to date as I can (I think I’ve fallen about two years behind at this point though). I really wanted the ‘Matt Murdock is Daredevil?’ headline as one of the Bugles.
The watertower on the roof is based on Dare Devils comics more than Spider-man’s.
Which section of the building were you most proud of in designing? /u/Lepupjames
The exploding window. I have always loved building ‘the action’ and when AFOL Keith Goldman held some competitions about this more than a decade ago I always took part.
My favorite being this horrific collision between two spaceships I built: https://brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=358182
So I’m happy to get something like this into an official set.
How do you decide which minifigures get new moulds or extra printing (arms & legs)? Is it mostly just a financial decision, or are there other factors? Thanks for a great set! 🙂 /u/GigglesElGordo
This is a great question. And it will need a long answer where i have to be careful not to give away secrets.
The limiting factor, isn’t pure finance, it’s is the same one you have at home. Space. After a while you run out of places to put your LEGO.
Think of each factory having a limited amount of space (I won’t go into why it’s limited, read ‘Brick by Brick’ by David C. Robertson if you want to know what happens when LEGO didn’t have limits).
Every brick made, in each colour has to go into it’s own box. This box needs to be stored until it’s ready to be packed into the bags in the retail boxes you buy.
So there are thousands of boxes. Each year some bricks stop being made and this leaves empty boxes we can fill with new bricks (or new colours of bricks at least). So each team of Designers is given a number of boxes it has the chance to fill.
So let’s say you want some new minifigure legs. First you mold the hips, and fill a box, then a left leg – fill a box, a right leg – fill a box. Then you stick all those parts together and fill another box in the factory. Then if we print the legs it’s yet another box.
But consider, if we don’t print the legs then, after four non-printed legs we have saved four boxes and this means we could make a whole extra set of legs. This might mean we have a whole new character we can make.
Or alternatively the set designer can change the colour of a brick to fill that single saved ‘box’ in the factory, or print an element.
A lot of people wish we printed every part we sticker, but consider this in terms of ‘boxes’ A sticker sheet is one box, but each printed part is the box without the print, and another box after it is printed. It could take dozens of boxes to replace a single sticker sheet box.
Of course this is hugely simplified, there is also a limit to how many molding machines there are and how much time we can use to change the molds in these machines and a million other tiny issues which I’m glad I don’t have to deal with, that limit the number of ‘boxes’ available.
I hope that makes sense, I’m pretty sure I heard our old Vice President explain it a bit like this at a fan event once, so I hope it does.
I love the reference to the Spider-Mobile! What was your favourite detail/reference in designing the set?
This set has a few great exclusive figures! Any chance some of them (coughBlack Catcough) could appear in a, let’s say, more affordable set later down the road? 😛 /u/jongofett12
Many figures made for this set have already come out in cheaper sets, they just made it onto the market before this huge one. I can’t talk about future plans though sorry. Black Cat looks really cool though, so happy with her.
Hey, u/Lego_Nabii. Mark you’re the chad for designing this. My question is, what motivated you and your team to add referneces such as the 60s Spidey Desk Meme and all the Raimi Newspapers like the “Who is Spider-Man” and “Doc Ock Still at Large”, that was even remade (i think?) from the 2004 Spider-Man 2 Set. Thanks for making the set and this is Day 1 buy for me! /u/NicoLegoYus1419
If I thought anyone would point and laugh and want to tell their friends or parents or a random stranger about the detail I was including then I kept it. If I was bored with it after a week or two, I took it out.
I think Mark T’s choices for the Newspapers and stickers was similar, but honestly i should ask him!
When designing a set like this, how do you decide how many minifigs and how many pieces go into it? Do you design the building first and then decide on the minifigs or does it all happen at the same time? /u/tazzgonzo
I knew from the beginning I needed a lot of figures. I made a huge list. We then look at how many new minifigures the Super Heroes team can make this year, if we can use some of them more than once to include more in this set then we could otherwise. Also we work with Marvel who have their own plans that we know nothing about which might stop a few characters from appearing yet!
The size was just how big the sketch model came out when I built the model from my head. It’s a bit bigger then the team originally planned for this year.
I love the look of set!! Was it intentional to include more BIPOC minifigures, such as Amber Grant and Ron Barney? If so, that would be exciting as it’s really difficult to get nougat and reddish brown minifig heads! 🙂 /u/Galactic_Hippo
New York wouldn’t be New York without it’s people. We’re aware of the issue and will continue to include as many diverse people as possible, LEGO is for everyone.
Thank you so much for this set! My question, was there any thought about including Stan Lee in the set? /u/SnooPeripherals6261
Stan Lee, like George Lucas is a real person and not included in licensing deals for their creations. I would have loved to put Stan Lee in here though.
What do you think of leaks? Do you get upset that your work is revealed too early, or do you not mind that it builds up hype? Do you know how leaks happen? Do you know if anyone was ever caught? /u/YodasChick-O-Stick
I hate leaks, we have some great reveals planned and so many get spoiled just a day or two early. It’s much worse when it’s months in advance though. All the momentum has gone by the time the sets are revealed officially.
Leakers have been caught in the past. We grind them up and make them into Galidor. No, seriously it jeopardizes their access to future sets and most caught leakers never do it again. But maybe ‘LEGO Security’ should do an AMA to answer this better than I can!
Will there be any more Marvel building sets in the future? Is that the plan for the technic connectors on the side? /u/Demonic_Cucumber
The connectors are there to match the Modulars. A couple of them look like New York brownstones so I figured an easy conversion into the law offices of Nelson and Murdock could be made.
Also I thought it would annoy Jamie Berrard to see one of his beautiful modular buildings next to this 1960’s concrete box so I had to do it. 😀
What is the timeline on a project like this, from inception to announcement? Edit: THANK YOU FOR DOING THIS! /u/pbpdesigns
I think my first sketch model was autumn of 2019, then when it was finally chosen to be a set I had around five months to polish and make it build-able and finished it about ten months ago. Then the hard work of other people starts. Building Instructions, Graphics, manufacturing the 3700+ parts, packing them all, distributing them. I just do the fun bit. 🙂
How does the design process go (as far as having an entire team involved)? Does each person get assigned an aspect of design or is it a collaboration on everything from the beginning? /u/gary_aaa
Once a set has been green lit and we have a design brief it’s generally up to the individual designer. Mostly we work alone, but in this case I pulled from the rest of the team. Carter Baldwin helped with some of the interiors (the desk meme) and the Newstand sketch. Adam Grabowski is our resident car guy (’66 Batmobile etc.) and I asked him if he had any NY Taxis in his box of unused ideas. He did, but then totally rebuilt anyway, without me asking, into the version in the set, and Edward L. who was a design student interning at LEGO built the Spider Buggy (and also the Guardian’s spaceship BTW, -along with Chris Perron).