CoasterDynamix Announces A New Kickstarter For “The Sidewinder”
Two years ago, we interviewed Jack Rimer of CoasterDynamix about the history of their company, and then-recently launched Kickstarter project for the LEGO-Compatible Cyclone “Wooden” Coaster Model. After a successful Kickstarter Campaign, The Cyclone was funded and has received rave reviews. CoasterDynamix is back again with a Kickstarter for their next LEGO-Compatible coaster, the “Steel” Coaster-Inspired Sidewinder.
The Kickstarter Campaign was launched earlier today, and is close to being fully funded. We caught up with Jack again to learn more about their new Kickstarter project!
C101: Last year, you debuted your first Kickstarter Coaster, The Cyclone. How was it received by the various communities? Coaster Enthusiasts, Lego Enthusiasts, etc?
CoasterDynamix: The Cyclone, as a whole, was well embraced by both the Lego community and the coaster community. This is how we were able to meet and exceed our funding goal on Kickstarter. However, the die hard Lego enthusiasts were very reluctant and apprehensive about endorsing the kit since we had no history making block models. Also, the die hard coaster enthusiasts did not like the kits because they weren’t “realistic enough”. We still get this occasionally.
Surprisingly, the Lego community has embraced us to a much greater extent than I could have ever hoped. Our models are allowed at most “Lego only” events. Even since the introduction of the Lego roller coaster, we have enjoyed good press and a general acceptance from the community.
C101: Did you hear any feedback about how well it worked with LEGO building blocks?
CoasterDynamix: I think the reason the Cyclone was embraced by the Lego community was because it delivered on the promise of being a quality kit. Simply making a roller coaster wasn’t good enough. Parts need to fit right and the model needs to go together well and function correctly. The integration with Lego blocks is completely seamless.
C101: LEGO released their own roller coaster sets soon after the Cyclone was released, What’d you think? Did you hear from them at all (either after Cyclone was released or before their kit was released?)
CoasterDynamix: We knew Lego was going to be releasing a roller coaster after we saw the Joker Manor set. There were rumblings of a larger Creator set in the works so it wasn’t a surprise to us when it came out. I actually love it! I think for their intended market they hit a home run. It has a lot of interesting and fun functions. I’m sure a lot of people consider it direct competition, but our kits are very different.
First, the Lego kit is extremely expensive. It is also very limited in design. I have seen a number of MOC’s and honestly, they all just look like a bigger version of the original kit. If they add more variety of track pieces this will change. Their lower priced pirate set is barely a roller coaster. It doesn’t make it around without pushing it through the first turn. As a roller coaster purist, this bothers me. Even the booster wheels on the big set highlight the shortcomings of their system.
While we were at the New York Toy Fair last February, one of the Lego designers from Europe came by our booth and was looking at the Cyclone. He asked if he could take pictures. We told him of course. He mentioned that Lego would never make anything like the Cyclone. There were just too many “not Lego-ish” design features. We understood. He came back about 2 hours later. He said “I have just walked this whole show and THIS (Cyclone) is the best thing I have seen. Congratulations.” That was an important endorsement, even if it was informal and subjective.
C101: What did you learn most from your previous Kickstarter Campaign?
CoasterDynamix: The biggest takeaway from our last Kickstarter was that it is very expensive to ship kits overseas. It prevented many people from pledging in Europe. This time we have partnered with our European distributor to fulfill all the EU and UK orders from a central location. This has sliced shipping costs tremendously.
C101: How was the decision made to create a “steel” coaster as your next Kickstarter?
CoasterDynamix: We knew from the start that we wanted to do a steel roller coaster design. However, a wood coaster allowed us to have a lot of structure for support and many connection points to prevent the bricks from flying apart once the track is installed. We didn’t know if a steel coaster design was even possible. We were very diligent in sourcing rail that was about 70% more flexible than our old style Scorpion rail. If we were limited to using that rail, I don’t think we would have made a Lego based roller coaster. It is truly the key to the design success of the CDX line. This rail makes building a steel coaster with its minimal supports possible.
C101: Are there any major differences between the Cyclone and Sidewinder from a creation standpoint?
CoasterDynamix: The Sidewinder and Cyclone share the same train and track system. The base structure and supports are unique to the Sidewinder. We also have some unique support pieces we are playing around with. We have designed a way to join columns that should be very secure and allow the user to build tall supports. A few other tricks might make it into the final design, depending on the molded parts we receive and how they interact. We have had to use Lego parts to build some of the prototype. The CDX parts have greater clutch strength so it is difficult to know how strong everything will be until we see the final parts.
C101: What is your favorite thing about the Sidewinder?
CoasterDynamix: I think my favorite thing about the Sidewinder is that it looks very similar to our other older models. I always felt this design allowed us to make a nice looking model at a very reasonable price.
C101: If someone has multiple kits, will they be able to CDX “RMC” their own hybrid creations?
CoasterDynamix: As with all of our models, combining multiple kits allows the user to build some amazing creations. I have seen more than one RMC style wooden hybrid coaster built from multiple Cyclone sets. With the train being able to accept Lego blocks, people can make a variety of steel coaster designs from sit downs to wing coasters. I even inverted the track to see if I could make an inverted coaster. It actually worked!
C101: What’s next for CoasterDynamix?
CoasterDynamix: I know this won’t be popular with a lot of coaster enthusiasts, but we are going to make more Lego compatible models. They sell exponentially better than the old style kits. This is a business. We have to make what sells. Even if we wanted to make more realistic style kits, it’s important that we stay true to the viability of the business and not let personal feelings get in the way of sound business decisions.
Of course, we always have Nanocoasters for the enthusiasts! Next year will be a huge year for new nanocoasters. We currently have over 20 new designs on the board with more hopefully coming. Stay tuned!