The member we’re going to interview today is one of the foremost builders of LEGO dioramas, which range from ninja castles and desert caravans to marching Romans and, of course, Star Wars scenes of all types. In addition to building MOCs, ACPin has also hosted three Star Wars Community Builds on EB.
EBSWB: AC, thanks for doing this interview with us!
Truly honored to be considered for this interview by the staff.
EBSWB: I know you’ve built in other themes such as Ninjago and Winter Village (subtheme of City), but the vast majority of your creations are from Star Wars. How did you first get introduced to LEGO, and why do you build so much more of Star Wars?
First and foremost I’ve been a Star Wars fan (geek) way before Lego introduced the SW line when I collected the SW action figures/vehicles/sets. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise for those who’ve known me over the years that I love to build Star Wars. In fact I’ve done action figure dioramas and was affiliated with various SW fan sites which featured them before I even started with Lego.
Lego sets were the favorite toys of my three sons when they were very young as they started out early with Duplo sets. Then they moved on to Lego Town/Castle/Space sets which are still kept in storage up to this day together with boxes and instructions! (I should probably raid those sets for parts since they’re not played anymore.) No matter what the new toys at the time were (Heman, GI Joe, etc) after they’ve been played out, my sons went back to their Lego sets.
By the time Lego released the Star Wars line and the prequels were shown, the shift on my collection started to move away from action figures to Lego sets. As the Lego collection grew, I was also growing tired of doing action figure dioramas. Then I’ve started helping/playing with my sons build play areas for their sets. Of course, these are more like simple brick structures that they used to build/play/crash like any kids would do! Over time my sons would sometimes complain that I was taking longer to build the structures as I kept putting more detail into them when they just want to play with them! Then they grew up and had other interests besides toys and all these Lego sets were left for me to build MOCs!
As much as I want to build in other themes, I’ve essentially done them to be able to experiment with various techniques/designs that I probably won’t have a chance to utilize if I just stayed with Star Wars. However, I keep true to my Star Wars roots by using SW pieces as easter eggs in the other builds when I can. Droid pieces in the Roman temple and the veggies in the Red castle are some examples.
EBSWB: Your dioramas can be massive. How much time do you spend on LEGO, and what do other people who aren’t LEGO fans think of your hobby?
They usually don’t always start out that way. But when I have the correct pieces to build a larger scale diorama then it can sometimes go crazy (remember Domino Squad Final Run). This particular MOC was featured in the official Star wars blog when it came out!
I don’t watch a lot of TV except for news/sports highlights so a couple of hours in the evenings is when I find the most time to build. Most parents don’t understand/get it but their kids love me to death until they’re told that they can’t play with them!
EBSWB: How did you discover EB, and what made you decide to join?
I’ve had a self-imposed dark-age due to personal reasons that I can’t divulge from mid 2008 through 2009 that I didn’t post anything on my site. I still built some MOCs from time to time during that period but just didn’t share them. Imagine trying to get back up into the stream of things and finding the usual sites (LUGNET, Brickshelf, etc.,) not as active anymore. So I had to find my way again through the various sites of Eurobricks, MOCPages, Flickr to seek those with common interests in the hobby. Finally, after several months of going back and forth I knew I finally found my new home here at Eurobricks!
EBSWB: Is there any particular reason why you build so many dioramas, instead of other types of MOCs? (such as vehicles)
There’s already a slew of MOCers that do a good job with vehicles and I don’t know how many iterations of an X-Wing, TIE fighter, AT-AT I’ve seen through the years. I’d like to tell stories in my works and can’t do that with just vehicles. Though from time to time I’ll build vehicles when the diorama requires one. I’ve done some large ships earlier and maybe will do again in the future.
EBSWB: Do you have any sort of plan of what you’d like to build, or is it just a matter of whatever you’ve seen recently that inspires you?
For the SW community builds, it’s planned as I just pick out what scenes I’d like to create. Other than that whatever comes to mind that nobody has done yet or even attempted to in the realm of Star Wars. For other themes, the MOCs are more from inspiration like
when I knew that the Spartans were going to be released, the thought running through my head was “Wouldn’t it be cool to do a 300 MOC?”. The Ninjas/Samurais came next which brought out the Red Castle (Akai Shiro). Then came the Romans and I did a Roman temple. Come to think of it “Spartans vs Samurais vs Romans” would really be a cool project to do in the future!
EBSWB: Even though dioramas are what you usually build, you’ve also amassed some smaller armies. Do you try to build up armies based on dioramas you want to build or are working on?
You got that right, I don’t buy as much I did before especially with the new sets that come out unless I’m planning to use them in a future MOC. The older armies like the Gungans and Stormtroopers were bought during the earlier days of really good clearance sales. Every now and then, there’s good deals to be had in some stores for the battle packs that increase the numbers of my armies. Don’t have a clue as to the exact number that I have but it’s good enough to populate the dioramas that I build.
EBSWB: How has the LEGO hobby changed or impacted your life? Do you have any practical uses for LEGO?
On the internet, you’ll probably find “ACPin Lego” with thousands of hits and I’m just four countries away from hitting 100 that have visited my site! In real world, I’m just like everybody else who leads a normal life with a stable job and family. After having my works shown out in public before in a Lego store and much recently in a train/toy show, I’ve considered to do more of them now that I’ve become affiliated with the NJ GardenSLUG which does trade/charity shows around the tri-state area. One of these days, I’ll plan and actually go with my MOCs to one of the brick conventions.
Practically none except that it’s my hobby which brings out the creative juices from my head into reality through the bricks.
EBSWB: Other than LEGO, do you have any other hobbies?
Long distance running like half-marathons/marathons is more important than my Lego hobby. That’s why I rarely build on weekends because I’m either training for a race if not running on one. From the start of the year 2012, I’ll be doing at least one race every month gearing up to the New York City Full Marathon in November. Though on my downtime I’d go back to building MOCs to relax/soothe/recover after the runs. My wife and I also do ballroom dancing and line dancing when the occassion arises.
EBSWB: So, why did you choose the name, ‘ACPin’?
Not much to it, the first two letters are the initials for my first name and middle name. Then Pin are the first three letters of my last name. Earlier it was “ACPin & Sons” as my three sons did ideas/parts of the builds which then became just ACPin when their interest in the bricks have gone.
EBSWB: What MOCs will we be seeing in the future from you? Anything in particular that you’d love to build one day?
More Star Wars MOCs until there’s no more to be done! I tried to do Mecha one time and I really suck at it.