In this series we want to introduce some of our designers by interviewing them. Today we will be talking with Jan Beetz, also known as Kaelfros on instagram. Jan designed several Battlin’ Bricks, Battlin’ Bricks City and 1/35 scale models for OmahaBricks. You might know some of his most popular design in our webshop like the King Tiger, the Horton Ho 229 or the Crusader MK. III?
Jan, for most regular OmahaBricks customers you are know for your detailed, and full crew models. But Why don’t you tell us a bit more about yourself?
I’m 35 Years old and still live at my parents house in Germany. I studied up to a master of M.Sc. In Archutecture but failed to find a job in that business. Today i’m working as a product developer in the packaging industries.
Most people who are currently involved with Lego model designing started playing with Lego at a young age, you to?
I played at a very early age with bricks. The earliest, I actively remember was even a duplo set with the number: 2630
Do you have a favorite theme of the sets that Lego releases nowadays?
Currently it’s super Mario, because i want to see more kinetic interavtive sets, where the models actually perform movements and reactions, when i touch or use specific spots on them. The playfeatures here are fantastic.
Not many AFOLs seem to like the Mario line. But you do. Do you own any of those sets?
Yes I have “some”. I have the complete 1st and 2nd wave, the “Luigi Starter Course” and all “Luigi’s Mansion” sets.
Oh wow! That is a lot of those. Is there a theme from the past you like that much to?
In the past my favorite Lego theme absolutely was Ice Planet 2022.
That was a great theme to. How did you end up from Duplo and the Ice Planet in the wonderfull world of military Lego?
I always was interestred in military brick build models since my childhood, but felt too intimidated by my surroundings to express my interest in it. Until I learned about brickmania in 2017.
What in your surroundings made it intimidating to express your interest?
Probably a combination of things. I was raised in a family heavily convicted in socialism. My mom always told me anything involving any kind of violence is bad, and therefore a “taboo”. Als the Germans general heir of guilt was part of it to, I guess. The other big part is, that I was bullied frequently in my youth, which made me say to myself: “Don’t get interested in war. Otherwise it comes to you.”
Luckily I learned a lot since then and saw, that the world isn’t just black or white and I can act accordingly and overcome fears, while still not hurting anyone.
So BrickMania sparked your interest, like most of probably, but can you remember which of their models got you interested?
Not exactly. Probably a Sherman since that was the Paragon of a tank in my head. So I probably did a web search for a brickbuild one and found it there.
How did you end up joining the OmahaBricks team?
I got invited once and actually denied at first, but two months later i found the confidence in myself to ask to join them again and since then i’m a proud member of the team.
With all the designs you by now did for OmahaBricks, is there a favorite Lego part you use for your designs?
99207 is by far my favorite part, because it allows me to design stable but also thin walls and also leave behind enough space to include crews to my tanks.
Most of your models are able to fit a full crew. I know this is important for you. But if you had to choose between historical accuracy or the figs fitting in, where would you compromise?
Definitely minifigs first! To me anything, that’s brickbuild is a toy. Full stop. So it needs to have have as many play features as possible. I can’t imagine even a single AFOL or AFOB (adult fan of bricks) not swooshing around their models. So stop telling me it’s not a toy.
You use a lot of different Lego colors in our designs, is there one color do you like to use the most?
Thanks to my large variety of Micro buildings it actually might be Tan. Altough i would love to build more with Olive Green, Light Bluish Grey and Medium Nougat, but sadly these colors are not widely available in original LEGO.
Olive Green is indeed a very usefull color when you want to build a military model. If you had the change to advise Lego to create one part in Olive green that isn’t yet available, or not in large numbers, which part would you advise them?
That’s simple. Basically every piece, that’s available in Dark bluish gray, so I could swap the entire color in my models. If I had to choose exactly one piece, I had to cheat. Both 2×3 wedge plates (left and right) probably.
Which of your own designs in the OmahaBricks store are you the most proud? You can pick anyone you want.
I cheat a bit here because I have one in Micro scale and in Minifig scale. In Micro its my first Micro City Building: the Bakery. In Minifig scale it has to be my Panther, because it also is my most favorite tank.
To end this interview, can you give a little spoiler of one model you are going to release at OmahaBricks in the near future?
Besides multiple updates in my older designs, that will come to OmahaBricks in the future, I cant tell, that some of my nearest new releases might be some tanks, that are not actually WWII related.
Thanks Jan for this interview, we are pretty sure that your next release will be as awesome as all the ones you already designed for Omahabricks.
In the next interview we are going to talk to our designer Katya.