When did you made your first MOC (My Own Creation), what does that represent, how long did it take and where did you start from?
My first creation must date back to my childhood years, and that is why I don’t remember what it was. There must have been countless castles, spaceships and vehicles I never kept track of, I never took the hobby too seriously until my venture to Internet, where I discovered countless international LEGO communities. But don’t get me wrong, I still have lots of fun building complex models as I had when I was seven. I remember posting my first creation on the Internet; it was a MOC of a Dragoon from the PC game Starcraft. I posted it and eagerly awaited critique. My next first creations I posted were mostly inspired by existing vehicles from PC games or movies such as Star Wars; later on, I discovered it was so much better to come up with my own designs.
What is your latest MOC (details: how long did it take, what does it represent, what were the materials used…)?
Coincidentally, my latest MOC is a Starcraft inspired unit, just as my first creation posted on the Web. This time I went for a more organic zerg. Achieving organic shapes with pieces that are meant to be anything but organic is a challenge. I also have a couple of other creations waiting for me to finish ’em up. One of them is a space fuel/mineral carrier that I’m planning to make it look like it froze in time, as it was blown apart by enemy guns… so yes, my imagination is still comparable to that of a fifth grader.
I’m also building an entry for a LEGO contest about odd medieval jobs. The purpose is to show an inexistent and humorous occupation in medieval times, so I decided to build the guild of donkey pit diggers. A group of brave men assigned to build holes for asses.
What do you need to make a MOC (a special kind of pieces, inspiration, original ideas…)?
You only need imagination and a fair understanding of functionality and aesthetics. I started off with a seriously small collection, one that could fit into a shoebox, and that was three years ago. A limited supply of parts can definitely boost creativity at first, it’s always challenging to see what you can build from apparently useless types of pieces; most of the times this leads to unique ideas that no-one else ever thought of using. Uniqueness is very important in creation, or at least that’s how I see it.
…it’s better to get innovative with the material you already own. Having a small collection is never a good excuse not to build.
I can never re-create something that’s been done before, not by myself or anyone else. After getting the hang of techniques and most part types, investing into a larger collection might be a good idea. Personally I have more than enough parts at the moment, and sometimes it seems harder to come up with something now then it was when I had a more limited collection. New sets and parts are coming out every year, and it’s impossible to keep up unless you have a distant rich dead uncle. That’s why it’s better to get innovative with the material you already own. Having a small collection is never a good excuse not to build.
Inspiration is another key factor when coming up with interesting builds. As I’ve said above, movies, games and anime can provide a great deal of material, but after a while creative juices start going wild and you feel the urge to come up with something way more impressive than anything Mr. G. Lukas can ever conjure. Checking up on different concept galleries is also a good way to get some basic ideas, and I’m mostly referring to sci-fi inspired creations that I usually build.
It’s all about making something that looks convincing, still retains the builder’s personal style, and has an overall kick-ass rating to it.
Depending on the style or theme I want to build, I need some specific parts. Floating rocks and castle need large supplies of gray and dark gray bricks. Minifigs with armors, weapons and maybe even brown pieces to represent wooden structures. While Sci-fi/mecha/space creations usually require smooth wedges, canopies… tubes and numerous small parts for details and engines. It’s all about making something that looks convincing, still retains the builder’s personal style, and has an overall kick-ass rating to it. The last part is important.
In your collection I’ve noticed MOCs inspired from mecha (Gundam Kyrios, Swordfish II – Cowboy Bebop), videogames (the dodge from HL2 Ep2.), steampunk (Stubby). Which are your inspiration sources?
Coming up with my own design can be equally challenging as copying an existing model (such as Kyrios). It depends on what I feel like building at the moment, or if I’m specifically building for a contest on the Internet. I tend to be spontaneous when I start building a MOC; with no specific inspiration in mind, one can simply come up with brilliant combinations of parts, which will eventually end up in an interesting creation.
The biggest source of inspiration is, of course, the community. There are numerous LEGO fan communities across the Internet, with member ranging from ages of under thirteen to over forty. Many are incredibly skilled builders and friendly characters.
Is there any classification of the LEGO pieces?
Normally there’s no need to classify LEGO pieces, unless I need to recognize them when shopping for individual parts on the Internet or when I’m sorting my own collection. I would rather be mugged than have to sort. Sorting is one of the most time consuming and apparently useless thing that has to do with this hobby. Essentially, sorting means the categorization of all of your parts in different bins and trays to make it easier to find them. This is necessary when you reach a large enough overall collection. After I manage to sort through +50.000 parts, whenever I build a MOC and take it apart, it has to be sorted again. No one wants their collection spilled all on the floor and taking up three quarters of the room. Don’t get me started on pets.
How is the LEGO landscape divided (in enthusiasts who follow a pattern and artists that are making MOCs)?
I’m usually against categorizing things, such as music, but in this case there’s a large difference between the two.
LEGO fan is a rather vague term, but it can be split in two major categories: collectors and builders. I’m usually against categorizing things, such as music, but in this case there’s a large difference between the two. A collector simply buys sets for display or just for ownership, while a builder (or MOCer) buys sets for parts for their own use.
Last year you were officially nominated as the official LEGO Ambassador; what does that title represent?
I have been a LEGO ambassador for the last six months. I was elected by members of the first community I ever joined, FBTB, a Star Wars LEGO forum. Basically being the ambassador makes you the messenger between LEGO and the fan community. Or simply put, my job is to share info whenever LEGO wants to share something with the fans, or when LEGO wants to hear input from the fans. I think my greatest attribution was the first LEGO event I organized and participated in, in 2008.
What can you tell us about the international LEGO scene (is it divided in groups, are you part of an international group, are you collaborating with other artists, did you take part in exhibitions/events)?
I’m not going to lie here, the international LEGO community is what ties all the fans together. The Internet is a key factor in connecting people with similar interests. Internet communities give every LEGO fan the opportunity to share creations, to give and receive feedback, and it’s the greatest motivational factor in this hobby. There are countless forums and sites created for different niches of the LEGO universe. Some are theme based, such as Star Wars forums, Castle forums or Space forums, others are just gather points for more experienced builders. So whatever you’re into building, you can always find a friendly place. Communication with fellow builders is essential from where I see it.
Another motivational factor about communities is the contests. Usually held by individuals donating LEGO sets from their own collection, contests can get any hobbyist out of his builder’s block (that’s like writer’s block, only with Lego)
What do you know about the local LEGO scene (what level did it reach, what artists do you know, important events/exhibitions, workshops, collaborations)?
Romanian Lego fans are scarce. The community is looking promising though; in several years I can see people holding contests and organizing events. My only wish is to see this as a collaborative project and hope that all of the community members stick together and don’t get too competitive (as we all know people can get highly competitive even in friendly environments. We have one small (at the moment) forum where we are currently housing sixty (60) members.
And finally, what are your plans?
Oh, the easiest question so-far. There’s no doubt I will keep on building creations and posting them for a long time. As long as I still have a couple hours each day to stick my fingers in my Lego collection, I can keep on being as prolific as I’ve always been. I am hoping to continue building up the Romanian community; and LEGO fans, people everywhere, especially Romanians, need to see what a creative and imaginative hobby this is, and I’ll make sure to carry on this message.