Hispabrick Magazine 010 is out, and this month it features an interview with Menno Gorter, The Walker Dutchman.
As you can see, Menno's latest creation, the Tripod, has made the cover of this edition and in a special collaboration between Hispabrick Magazine, TBs and Menno Gorter, we are offering you an exclusive look at his work and especially this latest creation.
Below you can read an excerpt from the interview:
HBM: To start off, maybe you could tell us how you got started with LEGO:
Menno: There was LEGO in our house even before I can remember. My mother was a kindergarten teacher and fortunately she soon realized the great educational value of LEGO. It teaches you to think systematically, spatially and problem-solving; I can sincerely recommend it to all of you! Only then I had to share everything with my two sisters and brother. Later on we got electric motors and rails – that must have been my father’s input; he was a civil engineer. By the time I was twelve I already earned some money and I was the only one in the family who spent his own money on LEGO, and eventually all of it ended up being mine as I was the only one who continued using it. I’ve never really had a dark-age; the way I used LEGO was not usually considered childish and that kept motivating me. I did have a period when I felt I was the only one to still “play” with LEGO (I keep calling it playing, because playing with LEGO is fun…  ). That lonely period lasted quite long, until about halfway the 90s when I got in touch with De Bouwsteen, a then still small LUG. Ironically the first thing I was asked by this LUG was whether I was a builder or collector. When I explained what I did with my LEGO the reply I got was that I was neither of those. There were no members then who used Technic the way I did.
HBM: So when did you start with LEGO Technic? Your oldest walker on BS is from 1979!
Menno: I built my first reasonably working LEGO walker in December 1972, only I didn’t make pictures of my creations back then. I did already have LEGO motors, but in 1972 I got one of those sets with gears, universal joints and tread links and that opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me! In short, it was a construction that had something like the push rods of a steam engine and as a result it did not so much roll as walk with a walking frame. Before that I had tried something similar with the white turntables on the red rims that were available then, but the result was not what I wanted. Later on I have even created six-legged walkers with really old LEGO. There were so many more possibilities after the introduction of LEGO Technic! That’s the kind of walker you can see in the 1979 picture in my BS folder.
HBM: LEGO Technic has changed a lot over the years. To what extent do those changes affect the way you build your models?
Menno: If you were to step straight from the time of the 850 into present day Technic you’d probably not know where to start It’s simply a challenge to make the most of what you have. During my time in MPD (the NXT beta test program) some complained about the rough shapes of NXT motors and sensors. I looked at it differently. Instead of building that big motor into something you need to use it as a starting point and attach things to those motors. It’s hard to find more sturdy elements! New elements mean new possibilities.
HBM: Some people say it is a pity there are no better pictures of those creations and it is virtually impossible to see any construction details. Why is that?
Menno: I don’t like to show technical details. You need to be able to see something works, but not exactly how – people will spend more time watching models that way. Additionally, I believe that if you want to learn something you shouldn’t simply copy or follow building instructions. I am absolutely against the current ‘cut and paste’ culture. And to make things worse there are even people who claim those copied constructions as their own. Another reason is that I spend most of my day working with photographs. Since 1996, photography is an important part of my job, so at home I’d rather build than take pictures. Anyway, when I did take more detailed pictures people were always asking for video footage and I suppose now they’d want building instructions… I do make videos now so people who cannot come to any of the events I go to can see my creations in action.
If you want to read the rest of the interview you can also download Hispabrick Magazine for free or read it online.