Hey fellow Lego car fans, I'd like to introduce you to a friend of mine. He and I are the founders of the LUGNuts online Lego car club. You can check out the group over on Flickr later. In the meantime, sit back and get to know one of the greatest Lego vehicle builders on the planet.
How might we know you online?
I'm AtomicBuilder on brickshelf and simply Lino M on flickr.
What is your real name?
Lino A. Martins
How old are you?
Where do you live?
Seattle, WA. in the heart of the hip and trendy neighborhood of Capitol Hill
How long have you been building?
In the whole scheme of things not that long. I had Lego as a kid but got into my dark ages right around the age of 13 when my dad suggested I should put away the toys and play sports or chase girls or something. In my late teens and twenties I still liked Lego but didn’t buy any for fear of being uncool. In my twenties I may have bought a set or two…and actually built neat things with them…but kept my shameful Lego secret hidden like a trunk full of German magazines. (you know the ones) Then right around when I turned 30, I discovered online that there was a HUGE network of adult builders…all of them very talented. I started collecting Lego with a gusto right around that point and showed everyone my creations. They all thought they were the coolest things ever! It says on the box ages 7-14 but as you get older you develop a mind for architecture, art and design. Building Lego truly is a fine adult past time. I chased girls with moderate success just as my dad suggested but never did get into the sports thing.
How long have you been building cars?
Maybe about 4 years. You can see some of my early cars on brickshelf...before I discovered that three pieces of white foam core and a good camera can produce quality photos. This is also before I really stepped up the quality of my work so a few of the old builds are kinda laughable. my first hot rod was too embarrassing to take any photos of but it was a '32 Roadster...sort of.
Do you have a favourite style or scale of vehicle to build?
I do seem to enjoy the larger than mainland scale of building. My cars tend to be an average of 18 studs wide (give or take in some cases). The amount of detail you can achieve at that scale is pretty good. At first I thought I was all about 40’s and 50’s era customs and hot rods…but lately I’ve been researching other car cultures and built some 60’s era muscle cars, funny cars, jumping lowriders and recently with the ‘71 Cadillac Eldorado and the newest early 70’s George Barris show rod…I’ve really been expanding my horizons.
What other themes do you enjoy building?
Well…I have a secret passion for science and nature. I don’t get to utilize that interest all that much so I tend to occasionally build biomorphic mechs based on bugs or deep sea creatures or something. Before and during building I delve myself in research on the subject. While doing the research for my various mech bug collections I was looking at close-up detailed photos of insects and spiders and reading up a lot on their habitat and was actually getting myself “bugged out”! I imagined creepy crawlies all over me and my skin itched.
My bugs on Brickshelf.
Also, I like to build spaceships and stuff, but I tend to go for subjects that will surprise everyone…I go for creations that is not overly used….kind of retro sci-fi. A couple of good examples of that is my large scale classic Cylon Raider and my super tall and super wobbly Alien Tripod from War Of The Worlds.
If you had to choose a personal best MOC, (my own creation) what would it/they be?
This opinion changes by the minute, but while my ‘66 Batmobile, and ‘60 Impala Wagon are major hits…I still have a soft spot in my heart for a custom ‘49 Cadillac Fastback called “Bad Apple”. Its an older build and as I vowed to change out my entire repertoire every single year, this MOC should have met the wrecking ball awhile ago…but I just can’t bring myself to destroy it yet. I look at its sleek styling, snarling grille and low, crouching stance and I can’t help but smile.
How long did they take to build?
Um...probably over an entire weekend...every day from waking to sleep and maybe a little more. I tend to be very focused and anti-social when I build.
How many pieces are in them?
Um...I don't know...maybe 1200-1300?
Did you use instructions?
Never! I tend to build one-of-a-kind creations so there are no instructions for anything I do...but I do look at a lot of pictures and do a great deal of research. I list all the features I want the build to have and the overall feel and design of the piece, then go from there.
Do you have any projects on the go?
Well…as you know, I’m the Co-Admin for LUGNuts and I propose all the monthly challenges. We’re on the 9th challenge now…I know the names and themes of all the challenges right up to the 13th. (after that it gets a little hazy but I‘m always open for suggestions) 12th will be A Year In Review and 13th …well, lets just say will be kind of scary. I’d like to make a huge deal about them as we did with Heroes and Villains. I think both challenges will be worthy of a lot of press and hopefully lots of participation. I have a vague idea for what I’d like to do for each upcoming challenge…notes and sketches are in the works. Maybe its unfair that I get to think about the challenges long before anyone else…but ya gotta admit the results are pretty good. (wink) I can assure you I don’t start building until after the challenge is posted, so I work within the same timeframe as everyone else…I just have more time to think about it. As for other stuff, I’m gearing up for Brickcon 08 the first weekend in October here in Seattle. I'm designing the T-shirt art as well as the memorial convention model that you can purchace there...and I wouldn’t be me unless I submitted some weird and cool MOCs for other categories. I’m thinking about doing some unusual entries for the Medieval section of the con. There is still plenty of time to register, but registration goes up on Aug. 5th, so register soon to save some dough to spend on more lego.
Well, thanks Lino for sharing a bit about yourself with all us motorhead types. I know I speak not only for the LUGNuts community but also for the greater Lego fan community when I say that we eagerly await your next show-stopper.