#218 Q&A with a Master Builder: Answers from Koen
Updated: May 1, 2021
Today, Master Builder Koen from Flickr will be answering your questions from last week. Make sure to check out his MOCs via his Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/swandutchman and his Facebook page for updates in his builds: https://www.facebook.com/swandutchman/
So lets get into it; here are his answers that include very useful and interesting information collected from years of building experience:
"How do you decide what scale you will be building at?" Answer - "The scale is sometimes determined by the available display space. The Harrower Star Destroyer for example had to fit on top of my bookshelf, because that was the only empty space I had at the time. Otherwise the scale is determined by parts or by a small section of the MOC. The black dish with handle reminded me a lot of Mickey Mouse ears and that part was the starting point of that MOC. For the Barad-dur I first build the top of the tower with the Eye till I got that right. From there I build the rest of the fortress in scale with the top section. "
"How did you get into MOC building and what were your first creations?" Answer - "I used to build my own castles as a kid, but went into the ‘dark ages’ when turning 12 and sold all my LEGO (I still regret that). At the age of 24 I rediscovered LEGO by chance. At the time I had to undergo some minor surgery with the prospect of not being able to move much for a week. To prevent getting bored I purchased the Queen Anne’s Revenge from Pirates of the Caribbean and build it. I was surprised to see the new colours and shapes and I saw potential of building anything I would want. Soon after I bought a big party of second hand LEGO and started building. One of my first MOCs was Anakin’s Jedi Interceptor with hyperspace ring."
"What is your all-time favourite piece to include in your MOCs, or your current favourite that you like using?" Answer - "That’s a difficult one. I prefer plates to bricks, because plates allow me to build smaller and add more detail. I also like curvy parts like dishes and corner dome top bricks. The latter I used a lot for making feet of my LEGO characters."
"For your projects, do you plan beforehand or just build from ideas and adjust as you go along?" Answer - "I mostly build digitally using LDD until the design is ready to build with physical bricks. However, sometimes it’s easier to build with physical bricks right away so I can test for example the strength of constructions. I did this with the Harrower. In that case I used LDD to save what I built and to make improvements for the final model. Thus I practically build the Harrower twice: a prototype which looked very colourful indeed and the final version. Many MOCs I build already exist in games, movies and so on. I collect a lot of image footage to get the look right in the MOC."
"Have you tried to work as a LEGO designer for The LEGO Group? If not, why?" Answer - "I haven’t tried working as a LEGO designer for TLG because of personal circumstances. Maybe sometime later."
"What is the hardest part of building a MOC for you? I personally struggle with the inner structure, aka everything you won’t see but is still essential for the structure, any advice?" Answer - "Sometimes I want to build something that is just not possible, because the parts I need don’t exist in the correct colour. It also happens that some parts are very expensive and I need lots of them. I currently have a design ready in LDD to be build, but I postponed the physical build by a year to get the parts I need a lot cheaper. So I guess part availability is the hardest part of building a MOC for me. The inner structure is a challenge indeed. I build digitally in LDD: anything that is visible on the outside I paint in the correct colours. Anything that isn’t on the outside is coloured red by default. By doing so you get a clear distinction between LEGO parts for the looks and LEGO parts for structuring. For structuring I use the biggest parts I can use (completely the opposite I do for the outside of a MOC which contains many small parts for details). I prefer bricks to plates for structuring since bricks can carry a lot more weight; they simply won’t bend. Another advantage of building digitally first is that you can simply replace or remove parts without taking apart the whole build."
Thanks again to Koen for answering all these questions in such detail and for taking the time to help out the community. Make sure to follow him on Flickr and Facebook using the link above if you haven't already!