Here is original english interview with talented LEGO technic AFOL - Madoca. Russian version was posted here in July 2014.
- Name Madoka Arai
- Age 37
- Country Japan
1.First, tell us about yourself: what is your professional specialization? Do you have technical degree? Where do you work and what do you do?
I am a certified care worker working for a nursing home for the elderly. Five days a week I help the elderly move, eat, take a bath, etc. I do not have any technical degrees.
2. How do you spend your free time? Is LEGO technic popular hobby in your country? Do you have LEGO-friends?
On my days off, I spend most of my time building LEGO models or watching movies on TV. I think LEGO Technic is not much popular in Japan, but there are some Japanese builders whose works are well known globally such as Akiyuky. Unfortunately I haven’t met him yet...
My LEGO-friends are those in internet communities like you. I have a close friend who often helps me make videos, but he is not an AFOL.
3.When did you met LEGO for the first time and was that set? What makes you came back to LEGO as AFOL (if it was you come back from dark age)?
When I was two years old, my parents presented me Duplo. Seeing that I was so fascinated with it, they bought me many system (LEGOLAND) sets since then. 928 Galaxy Explorer was my favorite.
Then 8050 LEGO Technic Universal set came to my room! I was very excited about all the stuff like beams, gears, motor, axles and pins. I built models and disassembled them over and over again. Finally half of my all black friction pins lost friction. This experience taught me how to handle Technic parts without giving any damage.
During my teenage years I got 8851, 8855, 8865, 8835, 8868. I enjoyed all of them, but I was just a set builder at that time. And then, PlayStation games entirely took the place of LEGO building.
In 2010 I knew I could buy LEGO sets through the internet. And the passion for building Technic models revived in me. I bought 8297 Off-Roader and 8258 Crane truck. Then… a man in his mid-thirties became Madoca.
4. What are your favorite official LEGO set and model from other AFOLS? Do you have favorite LEGO piece?
My favorite official set is 9398 4x4 Crawler. It includes a set of power functions elements that are essential for my creations.
My favorite MOC is Sariel’s Pagani Zonda. It is huge, heavy, effectively designed model. Above all, it is one of the fastest LEGO supercar. Also the video editing is so cool!
My favorite piece is 6553 Technic Pole Reverser Handle. Thanks to having 1.5L axle part, it is useful for half stud building.
5. All you MOCs are cars of different types, but wheeled. Scale is mostly medium. Why middle? Which real model inspires you to build?
I love cars especially supercar and 4x4. Every Monday night (in Japan) I watch BBC Top Gear on TV. I saw Lamborghini Aventador, Porsche 911, Land Rover Defender, Toyota Hilux, Chevrolet corvette.
All of them have been copied by LEGO Technic builders. They all inspired me, and I thought I could not build such complex models. Actually, one of my early creations was a large supercar model, though I was not satisfied with it… Then I found a way of building proper scale models on my small workbench.
I think middle scale models are well balanced between appearance and performance. we can give them nice bodywork, propel them at a good speed by one or two motors (and one battery box), add some extra functions like gearbox or height adjustable suspension.
Of course it is occasionally difficult to build realistic chassis, suspension, or gearbox on the middle scale. I usually prefer playability to the realistic construction. That is why my models are fictional.
6. Your LEGO cars are well designed and looks completed. Do you have any tips and tricks for other builders? How do you plan MOC, build and finish? Do you have any secret methods of creating technic MOCs?What is your favorite and most successful creation (your)?
I think I do not have any tips or tricks. I just try and error hundreds of times.
Usually my project starts when I find a car that interests me in terms of design and functions. First I decide location of axles and power function elements. Then I build the chassis and body around them imagining the finished model.
Following are the way how I blush up a MOC:
The project needs 2 or 3 versions of the same model at the same time. First I build ver1.0, and look around it and correct the construction. Then I build ver1.1 beside the ver1.0. Because if I disassembled the only ver1.0, I could not copy the WIP model again. After ver1.1 is built, I disassemble ver1.0 and build the better ver1.2......on and on for weeks.
This process requires tons of parts and patience. But in my experience, the model gets better and better. Also, building the same model many times is helpful in making building instructions.
Wing Body Truck is absolutely my favorite and most successful model. It took me about six months to finish. Fortunately in Japan, we often can see real Wing Trucks running. I also watched various trucks and their ‘wings’ opening on YouTube videos. My Truck was not based on any blueprints, but I am satisfied with the result in terms of appearance and functionality. Since it required 58 of gray panels, I bought four 8110 sets!
7. You have many fans around the world. Number of your YOUTUBE channel subscribers much more than many other AFOLS who spent much time in online LEGO communities. May be that’s because of free instructions to each of your awesome model, what do you think? That’s hard work and need much effort. Why did you began making instructions of you MOCs?
I began to make building instructions because some people wanted me to do so. Probably I love doing something for others just like my nursing job.
When I was a child, I dreamed to be a LEGO official set designer. Now my dream comes true as being a MOC designer. I am happy to help LEGO fans build various models. Besides, I think it is easier to see or download free instructions. So, all of my instructions are free. Of course I have to work hard in making instructions which is clear to everyone.
The way how I make building instructions is as below:
Since I have built and disassemble one MOC at least three or four times in WIP, I can remember most of building process of that MOC. So I build final version of the MOC carefully by taking photos of each process one by one. While doing so, if I came up with better ideas of assembly, I upload the model. After completing the model, I disassemble it totally in pieces. Then I sort out all pieces, count them, put them on the table and take photos of 'parts list'.
The case of Wing Body Truck was a bit different. I started making instructions five months after I finished the model. I could not remember the assembly much clearly. In order to recall assembly process, I had to watch the Truck carefully in detail. And just beside it, I built second Truck completely the same as the first one. Then usual instructions WIP started... It was total chaos in my small room! I made it, but I was completely exhausted, and realized that instructions should be made quickly as possible after finishing the model.
8. We see you can design very well designed cars with smooth lines and rich functionality. What do you think about next step: making scale copies of real cars?
My latest creation is a copy of 1970’s Chevrolet Corvette. It was quite a challenge for me. Hopefully I would like to build copies of real cars and fictional models alternately.
9. Do you have something to tell us about you current projects, plans for future?
One of my future projects is an ATV. I have not built anything yet…
My new Corvette C3 Stingray is almost finished. It is a middle scale model driven by two L motors, steered by a Servo motor, and wearing 56mm tires. Thanks to using 24t clutch gears, Corvette smoothly accelerates and stops. Now I am working to make its instructions and parts list. I hope you will like it!
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FREE Instructions of Madoca's MOCs
Thank you Madoka for this answers and for your awesome LEGO models that inspire fan all over the world! Wish you many creative ideas and enough parts to build all your imaginations!:)