In the first of our Master MOCers Interview series, the Elves cornered DeTomaso Pantera, one of MOCpage’s most famous vehicle builders, and thrust TLCB’s list of questions at him. He kindly obliged (perhaps helped by the pointy stick brandished by one of the little buggers) and thus his answers to all things LEGO-y appear below. You can see DeTomaso’s awesome work on his MOCpages homepage here.
When did you first get into Lego, and what was your first set?
My first experience with LEGO was when I was five, I used to play with my two older brothers’ collection. I still have some of it in my collection. My first memorable set was a large grey castle (I still have this set), I can’t think of the set number off the top of my head but it was great fun to reinact battles with.
How did you get started in the AFOL community?
I have had several “dark ages” through my life but the last time I came out of that age was less than two years ago (it seems like lot longer). My good firend Joe aka MortalSwordsman retrieved his LEGO from the loft to show his kids. Conveniently my LEGO collection was in the same loft and Joe and I were hooked again. Joe found MOCpages and I joined soon after him.
What’s your favourite Lego set or Theme?
This is a tricky question and it might take a while to answer. Some of my favourite “classic” sets would be all of the Classic Space/Blacktron range. I used to love playing space missions with that theme when I was a boy. I then grew up and got more technical. I loved all of the earlier Technic range with the technic figures in. I loved pimping those out and building new vehicles for them ride in. I then had a teenage “dark age”. in my early 20’s LEGO Star Wars was introduced, I did my best to collect pretty much every set from that era and loved them. I don’t tend to buy sets anymore I am a Bricklink junky (that site is stupidly addictive) The most recent sets I have bought are the VW Camper Van which will never be destroyed and mixed into my collection like all the other sets I have, it’s one of the best sets ever (more like this please TLG)! I also really like the Creator range of sets for their diversity.
Who’s your favourite MOCer / what’s your favourite MOC?
- Nick Barrett – I love his choice of vehicles to create and how realistic he manages to make them with that old school studded look. He is a very nice man to boot.
- Mortalswordsman – I’m not just including him because he is my friend, I love the variation of his builds, there is always something new and exciting coming from this master builder.
- Malte Dorowski – I love Porsches and I just love the genius techniques this German genius uses to create his masterpieces.
- Senator Chinchilla – This lad is incredible, my mind boggles how he manages to create such great creations in so little time, I think he employs somebody to find the pieces for him.
I could go on and on and on but you might get bored!
What’s your favourite brick?
Another tricky one. I have a few elements which I couldn’t do without. Two being hinge bricks/plates (old school stye) I wouldn’t have been able to build all of those birds without them. And I can’t forget the little cheese wedges. I would have loved these in my collection when I was younger. I have to include standard plates in here too, they are the most diverse and underated pieces in anybody’s collection.
How do you start a build?
It really depends on what I am building. I’ll give you a couple of examples; With my Mercedes Porsche transporter I started by gathering photos of the vehicle to work from and then built the PORSCHE writing for the trailor and scaled the rest of the build around that. This is a strange example because the last thing I built was the chassis which is usually the first thing I would build to make sure I have the wheels and wheelbase the correct length.
With my birds (TLCB Note; DeTomaso isn’t just a car builder – cue him shamelessly plugging his Cuusoo project!) I usually start with the head and build around that. I have several bird heads lying around with no bodies at the moment though!
What makes your designs unique to you?
I try to build things that I haven’t seen built before. I love building the birds because of all of the different patterns and colours, each new bird brings a new challenge.
Who do you think will be a talent of the future?
Another mention for Senator Chinchilla, he is already a great talent, I feel if he just spent a little more time polishing his creations he would be up there with the best.
Why did you decide to do the Ferrari GTO project together with Nick Barrett?
After seeing my LEGO cars my employer set me an amazing (and a bit daunting) challenge to build a 1964 Ferrari 250 GTO for his father’s birthday. This had to be a very special creation and I would have struggled to build it by myself in the time I had been given. Nick came straight to mind for a collaboration. I’ve always wanted to see how he manages to create his masterpieces and this was the perfect opportunity. I contacted him and he didn’t need much persuasion to get in on the act.
Was there any conflict in styles during the collaboration?
The GTO is mostly Nick’s work, he built the chassis before we met and we built the bodywork together. We made a great team and it was a pleasure to work (play LEGO) with him.
Hopefully I will get more commission work like this, and the first person I would love to work with is Nick B again: A lot can be learnt from this man!
In the meantime I will be building birds. I have set myself a challenge to build over 100 and I want to use them as a good excuse to travel the world. I would like them to be exhibited worldwide as pieces of art.