31 December 2022

LEGO® Speed Champions interview: Christopher Stamp discusses new part 3386

Posted by Thomas Jenkins

During Skaerbaek Fan Media Days 2022, New Elementary’s Tim Johnson and Francesco Spreafico had the opportunity to chat with LEGO® Speed Champions Design Manager Christopher Leslie Stamp about the new sets to be released in 2023. As part of this, Chris unveiled several new elements that will be appearing in the March wave of sets.

We will be telling you more about the sets and elements soon, but today we share with you our discussion about one particularly interesting element, which Chris considers “a game changer”!

Chris showed us a new SNOT piece that is quite original, and will surely delight AFOLs and builders of all themes. In fact, this element wouldn't have looked out of place among your entries for our Wishbrick Contest that we held in early 2022!

Here is the prototype, and final version in black:

Its design ID (aka part number) is 3386 and we reckon a good name could be Plate Special 1 x 1 x  Half Circle with Stud on Side. It's 2 plates high with a (solid) stud on the top. One side has an open stud, to fit a 3.18 bar. The opposite side is curved, like the "D-tile" (24246), which allows some rotation when placed in a build, similar to Plate Round 1 x 1 with Bar Handle (26047). 

Chris and the team have squeezed as much functionality into one tiny element as possible! It will be present in lots of the upcoming LEGO Speed Champions sets. We can't wait to get our hands on it and explore all the new building possibilities this baby D-SNOT opens up.

The March 2023 Speed Champions sets

76914 Ferrari 812 Competizione

$24.99 / £19.99

76915 Pagani Utopia

$24.99 / £19.99

76916 Porsche 963

$24.99 / £19.99

76918 McLaren Solus GT & McLaren F1 LM

$44.99 / £39.99

Interview with Christopher Stamp

During our time at LEGO® Fan Media Days in Billund, Denmark back in September, we had the opportunity to talk to a number of LEGO designers about upcoming LEGO products. We have already shared our conversation with LEGO Senior Designer Rok Žgalin Kobe about 10307 Eiffel Tower about and we included some insight from designers César Soares and Jens Kronvold Frederiksen in our set review of 75331 The Razor Crest

Here is an excerpt from our interview with Chris Stamp about the new element. The transcription has been edited for clarity, readability and narrative flow.

New Elementary: Chris, what can you tell us about this new marvel?

Christopher Stamp: This is an element that was on our bucket list for a couple of years now. We originally thought that we don't actually have anything like this, unless you put an Erling [headlight brick, part 4070] sideways on its back. This new brick allows you to get a stud on the side at two plates high in a 1 x 1 module space. 

Sketch of Plate Special 1 x 1 x ⅔ Half Circle with Stud on Side by Kev Levell

Currently, there are ways to do it without our new element: you could potentially use a bracket and then use plates stacked on top of it and things like that, but then you don't get a stud on top to build from, and it creates other complications within builds. We do a bit of "3D Tetris" with our models when we're trying to figure out how to get all the pieces together!– and this was the solution we kept coming up with.

New E: The shape is not what one might have expected. Can you tell us about this curve at the back? 

Chris: We've added the curved back because that allows you to finally have a stud at 45 or any degree angle, whereas right now it's either straight-on or sideways. There's nothing else in the [element] portfolio that does that. What's also beneficial is that not only can you finally have a stud [on the side] 2 plates high in a 1 x 1 module space – which is great – but this thing also has a hollow stud, so you can have a 3.18 bar like the lightsaber blades going through, or have a flag set at a 45 degree angle, for example. 

We’ve really tried to maximize functionality, even though would have been easier for us had we made a square 1 x 1 module element. LEGO® Speed Champions use it to get a headlight or a small detail like an exhaust built in. Maybe it could be used for the fingertip of a robot or something like that? There's so many different uses. 

New E: Can can you tell us a little about the design process for an element like this? 

Chris: We actually teamed up with LEGO® Minecraft, a team that we’ve worked with very closely with for many years. We've actually sat directly next to each other. We're not competitive – the teams work together and share ideas, and that's why if LEGO Minecraft makes an idea, we will use it. We both had interest in this new element and when we were looking at ideas, we said, “Why don't we just make it like we want it? We think we can do it; if we put our heads together, we can figure out how to do it.” 

We didn't just jump straight to this design; the starting point was that we took the existing 2 x 2 with 2 studs on the side [part 99206, see below] and sliced the back half off so it was a 1 x 2 with 2 studs, but it kind of did the same things that we currently have. 

We went through a lot of variations. We looked at a square version, and we did all of the testing with everyone from seven-year olds up to teenagers to ask, is this confusing? Do you need this? Does it help you?

New E: What was your goal with introducing this element?

Chris: On LEGO Speed Champions, as I've often repeated, we want to think about more than just our cars. We want to make elements that are going to be in the portfolio for many years that can be used in a spaceship, a house, or Modular Buildings and all those detailing and new building possibilities. It’s not just about saying, "Hey, look, we've done a new element that allows you to do new and curious building techniques!" One of our goals is about educating. It's not just about the build, and building the car as fast as possible. When you're building our sets, we want you guys to be like, “Oh, that's how they did this! I've never seen this before.” And that comes down to our element design. 

So for many years, as we keep hitting the same challenges when we're doing builds, we keep adding to a list of elements we need. Sometimes we might build six elements together to achieve what maybe one element might do. It's also about simplifying in areas where it makes sense. 

New E: You’ve mentioned the other lines; what do they think about this new element? 

Chris: We checked in with many different projects, from LEGO® Super Mario™ to LEGO® Monkey Kid to ask, “Have you ever found yourself with a problem where this might help?” And everybody said that yes, if they had this element, it could help them from having to add six pieces to do the job of one, and that it would really simplify things. 

New E: We cannot wait to get our hands on this one. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us and a big thank you on behalf of the whole community for this new brick... even though the community hasn’t even seen it yet!

Well, now that you have seen Plate Special 1 x 1 x  Half Circle with Stud on Side – what do you think? Is it a "wishbrick" you always dreamed of having, or do you think it is a case of "too many specialized elements these days"? As Chris asked the children: is this confusing? Do you need this? Does it help you? As always, the LEGO Speed Champions will be keen to read your comments.

We are really excited about it – not just for the problems it solves, but also for the new opportunities it opens up. Obviously it still has its limitations, for example builders will have to think carefully about how to take advantage of the rotation feature, which will be limited in certain situations – for example when a brick is placed on the side of the new element as well as on top, as it is only 2 plates high. 

Come back soon for insight on more of the exciting elements developed for LEGO Speed Champions 2023, as well as the sets of course!

READ MORE: Check out every new element in LEGO® Friends January 2023

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  1. Stunning! Absolutely amazed by this new piece. Will be a great part of the system, especially with its rounded back. My biggest frustration with the existing 1x1 with studs on the side is that stacking them together can be super laborious to get the studs to line up correctly. Sure, the ratio is pretty easy to remember, but having this available will make building some particular configurations a lot easier. Also really love the possibilities with the rounded back. Will be great to see this part of it used specifically to get some unique angles going in models.

    Really great seeing all the different elements they are coming up with lately. I keep wondering what else we really need, and the designers keep impressing us with totally unique elements that provide so much benefit. It makes me wonder what else designers have on their list of elements to create!

  2. I wonder why the top stud isn't hollow.
    Regardless of that, I am thrilled to see this new piece. This is the type of thing I would expect to become very common in sets, so hopefully there will be a decent supply and color selection within the first year.

    1. Perhaps two identical open studs at different sides could confuse users about which side is up? Also, a filled stud is needed for the LEGO lettering.

  3. Been waiting for this for years and years! Well except the rounded back, never thought about that, which increases the possibilities indeed but also somewhat decreases them for certain situations. Hurray!

  4. So excited about this new piece! Actually very close to my wishbrick a few months ago so I'm super happy. Gotta love Speed Champions :D

  5. Wishbrick, definitely. I visited Chicago for the first time late '21 and only afterwards realized there was an Architecture Skyline set about it, which I have been (on and off again) trying to reproduce and extend ever since. This piece may be the key to adding a reasonable Lake Point Tower.

  6. It's hardly original when the competition has it (and a lot more) for so many years. Well the original part is that it's rounded, I guess. But it took soooooo much time......
    But yeah, it's gonna change everything in pure Lego builds.

    It could have been 1 plate thick, the competition has bracket plates too (very common with the same alignment as a bracket brick, pretty much a bracket brick with the top & bottom plates missing)

    1. Oh and I'm also excited about that new wedge brick thing at the back of the new cars, because it has no annoying stud, pretty useful.

    2. LOZ had this exact piece with the rounded back for a couple of years....
      (to be fair, LOZ copied many more pieces from Lego than the other way around....)

  7. This is great! I predict that this will get a ton of use in official sets for putting things at an angle. Sort of like how the shield with bar (30166 Plate with 4 Studs and Bar Handle Rocker Plate) gets used in all sorts of ways for putting building roofs and other parts at a non-90deg angle.

  8. Is it a "wishbrick"? Are you kidding? This is THE wishbrick!
    I can't tell you the number of times I've looked at a headlight brick on it's side, or the 2x2 plate with 2 studs on side, and wished I could just chop it down to a 1x1 area. This is a game changer!