Today we’re interviewing Brickdoctor, the newest member of the Star Wars forum team. Best known for his accurate ship models, Brickdoctor has been on the site for quite some time, and has risen through the ranks quite rapidly.
EBSWF: Thanks for doing this Doc, but why LEGO Star Wars? How did you start with the hobby?
I’ve been a fan of LEGO in general for as long as I can remember. Originally, though, I was a Town and Castle fan. Town, because when I was younger, it seemed to be the theme that everyone agreed was appropriate to give as a gift to anyone; and Castle, because, well, what’s not to like about armies of little cartoonish plastic knights marching across the floor?
Star Wars was something that I’d experienced but wasn’t that huge a fan of. I’d seen the original movies and Menace. LEGO Star Wars came along, and, one Droid Developer Kit later, I was hooked on that. Obsession with Star Wars as a whole followed slowly but surely after that, largely thanks to Heir to the Empire.
EBSWF: What was it like to become staff, and how did you find the site?
What’s it like to become staff? Well, the standard response is that when one first becomes staff, one is excited until one realizes that one has been tricked into accepting the job, and then one has to navigate a forum full of scary admins, and…oh, what does this button do? Seriously, though, it’s been an honor to be a staff member for the Star Wars forum. I’m never rearranging that MOC Index again if I don’t have to, though.
I believe that I first found EB when I followed a link from The Brother’s Brick regarding some rumored upcoming Star Wars set. I lurked for a year or so before I joined, though I did so for reasons unrelated to Star Wars. I had seen Superkalle’s topic about LU mode for LDD 3, and at that time the unlock instructions were on a text file that was an attachment, only downloadable by members of EB.
EBSWF: How do you like working on the blog, and how much coding/graphical work do you do on the blog and here on EB?
I’ve definitely enjoyed working on the blog. I’m told that employees of TLG read it to keep up-to-date on some of the happenings in the LEGO Star Wars fandom, and I’m proud to be a member of the blogging team. I remember I was very excited when KimT first asked me to be a Rebel Blogger, especially since it was alongside such members as Kiel, Oky, and Cloney O’. (speaking of which, I was on vacation on the day when we supposedly had those giant Rebel Blogger rank images, and I have never seen what they looked like, so if anyone has a screenshot, I’d really like it if you could PM it to me…)
I’ve done some coding work on the blog, but it’s just fixing the choppy HTML that WordPress’ WYSIWYG editor outputs, since the blog uses the online WordPress editor and doesn’t actually let us touch most of the source code. I’ve never coded anything for EB. As far as graphics, I’ve done the big banners for the blog’s header and square banners for links to important pages on EB. On the boards, I’ve just done a couple of tags, though I just finished up a bigger graphic for the forum. Here’s a peek at the header for the updated Forum Index I’m working on:
EBSWF: How much time do you spend on LEGO related activities?
I’m usually on EB throughout the entire day, but I’m just checking in every fifteen minutes to an hour or so, made possible by wireless technology. I get in about a half an hour of time, if any at all, of working with physical LEGO in a day.
EBSWF: What do people around you think of your being a LEGO fan?
My family is made up of what I’d consider to be casual LEGO fans. They like the occasional set in the $50 range for display, and CMFs are popular among them. That’s about as much as they do with LEGO, but it’s enough that they support the hobby. Some of my friends think it’s a little strange, but having my AT-ST prominently displayed in my room never fails to turn the ‘ ‘ faces into ‘ ‘ faces.
EBSWF: Aside from LEGO, what other hobbies do you have?
Not much, to be honest. With the limited funds that I had as a kid, I decided to focus on growing my LEGO collection instead of all the other things that other kids my age would do. The result was that by the time I was a teenager, I had a collection quickly approaching twenty thousand pieces, and I didn’t really have the addiction to action figures, video games, or the like that my peers preferred. (although Hasbro constantly reminds us that our minifigs are action figures ) The only non-LEGO video game that I’ve spent more than $10 on is Civilization V.
Other than that, I enjoy reading sci-fi and classic novels, I’ve played a little bit of baseball, and I’ve done some live sound mixing for friends.
EBSWF: How did the LEGO hobby change/impact your life? Do you have any practical uses for LEGO in your daily life?
One big change was that my first work with image editing was using Paint.NET to resize my images. From there, I started adjusting brightness and contrast, reducing noise, using curves, and, finally, removing backgrounds and compositing. Now, I’ve used Photoshop to do some graphics work for some people I know. (no examples that I can show you, unfortunately)
I’ve made some things out of LEGO: pencil holders, iPod stands, things like that – but I always end up parting them back out when I want one of the pieces I used. Sometimes I do use a couple bricks when I need to quickly hold something up, but it’s always very temporary.
EBSWF: Has anything funny happened to you when some of your “LEGO talk” has gotten into your daily life?
Not really. It’s more like a second dialect for me. I can switch over to “LEGO talk” if I want to, but I don’t think I’ve ever used it in normal (non-LEGO-related) conversation.
EBSWF: Why did you choose ‘Brickdoctor’ for a username, and why do you have a Scout Trooper as your avatar?
Okay, that’s a complicated story. Originally, I picked it out for a Bricklink account that I was going to share with my dad, who is a doctor (optometrist). He wanted to buy himself a Han Solo minifig, and I was a (now failed) minifig customizer who wanted to buy various minifigs to experiment with. Neither of us actually ever ended up buying anything from BL, but when i signed up for MOCpages, I decided to use the name because… well, I don’t remember why anymore. Now I use the name everywhere, so I don’t really want to change it.
As for the scout, my old avatar was a Kashyyyk Trooper, because I was obsessed with the AT-RT during my time on MOCpages. I still think it looks like a very fun vehicle to drive. I switched to the scout because it’s my favorite imperial trooper and because the Kashyyyk Trooper is a PT minifig which doesn’t reflect my favorite era of the Star Wars saga. I’ve recently switched to a new version, with a classic smiley face under the helmet, to make my avatar more of a true sig-fig, and less of just an image of my favorite imperial trooper.
EBSWF: We know you build accurate ships, how do you get started on building one?
I start by finding a ship that I want to build and think I can build well. Usually, that means at least one greebled section and a lot of angles, with few curves. I find some reference material to work off of, and then I just start building. A lot of the time, I start from a section that I already know how I want to build, and I work outwards from there. For example, with the T-47, I already knew I wanted SNOT wings, so I started there. With the T-16, I knew I wanted a big brick-built top fin, so I started there. With the AT-ST, I had built the guns and the front of the ‘head’ already while playing around, so I worked from there. When I look for reference material, I start at this flickr collection, and if that site doesn’t have any, I look at Forbidden Plastic and Modeler Magic. If neither of those has what I need, I turn to Google. (I search for something like “T-16 Skyhopper studio model”)
EBSWF: What do you have in store for the future? Will we see more of your fantastic MOCs? Any ships got your eye? (Though you’ve been doing a lot in LDD we want to see some physical stuff!)
I definitely want to build a TIE/ln, TIE/in, and possible a TIE x1. I’d like to do an A-wing, but if I do, I’ll probably just do a replica of Jerac’s model with slight tweaks, because I’m not sure if it’s even possible to build a better model. I’ve done portions of a Y-wing, so I’ll probably finish that someday. And – I know you still read EB, Fallenangel – yes, I will one day build an X-wing.
I’ve been doing a lot of digital MOCs lately because I’m in the process of sorting my collection, and I avoid building large physical MOCs because it’s too easy to pull pieces out when I’m supposed to be sorting them, and never sort them back when I’m done. I’ve also been using a lot of the time I have to build to work on sets for Heroica. I’m going to take a break after my current Heroica quest finishes up, and I want to build some stuff for Historica, but I should be back to Star Wars after that.