Builder Showcase - David Hensel

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There are few in the castle genre that haven't heard of David Hensel, AKA Legonardo Davidy, and there are a great many outside the theme (and AFOL community) that have marveled at his creations. His unorthodox, fluid and organic style is eye catching and splendid, and he is a pioneer of building techniques.

His work continually leaves me in awe, and his down-to-earth attitude and humble personality make his MOCs even more appealing. I'm very happy to let you all get to know him a little better.

Tell us a little about yourself, how did you get started in the hobby?

Well my name is David and I am a TFOL building from New Zealand, although a few in the community say I'm a hobbit, due to my hair, my height, the fact that when I'm not in school uniform chances are I'm barefoot, and I suppose my eating habits, but not many of the Lego community know that... As im sure most TFOLs are, I'm a high school student, and I hope that I can move into architecture one day, or even better, Lego pro, I guess architecture is a bit of a back up plan if that doesn't work out. I was given basic bricks at a young age, and pretty quickly I was hooked. Why wouldn't I be? I could build absolutely anything I wanted, so it didn't take long for Lego to become the favourite toy. I never had a dark age that lasted more than a month or two, (is that even a dark age?) which normally happened because I didn't have the time to build or was away somewhere. As a kid I loved building pirates, and one day a google search for LEGO pirate ships brought me to 12 year old me signed up and was banned within a day for being too immature to be an afol... Fair enough I guess. It did however bring me to knowledge of the community and moccing, and later on after I started posting mocs on Flickr I was invited to eurobricks and joined up with the guilds of historical project, I've been a castle builder (mostly castle) since. I'm progressively getting more and more interested in other genres of building, particularly sci-fi, so I suspect I'll be building more of that in the future.

What is your earliest LEGO memory?


I have 2 early memories with LEGO but I don't know which comes first, so you get both of them. One was receiving one of the 4+ pirates sets on my 6th or 7th birthday, which left me partially disappointed because I was older than 4 and deserved bigger kids Lego, on the other side very excited because I think it was my first item that wasn't basic bricks. The other memory is me falling off my bunk bed and puncturing my head on the corner of a red 2x4, which bled for an awfully long time


What drives you to create?

A lot of things do,  sometimes it's an image that pop up in my head, sometimes it's something that I've seen that I'd like to incorporate into a moc, a new technique I've thought of I want to try, a contest or mostly inspiration from the community.

Would you call yourself a purist (no cutting, painting, knockoff)?

Indeed I do, though I can appreciate when painting certain bricks or using third party elements on minifigs. I always try find a solution with real bricks though, as I believe thats how most cases of npu and new techniques come about... and third party, painting and cutting LEGO costs money I don't have ;)

Do you have any favorite builder(s)?

Many, though if I had to narrow it down to a few top builders I'd say Nick Vas (brickthing), I love how creatively he uses parts and the professional presentation of his work (he's also one of the few builders I've met in person.) Luke Hutchinson (Derfel Cadarn) because he was one of my main inspirations, he builds in a very similar style to me and we have had some friendly rivallary between us; and Sean and Steph Mayo (the king and queen of pretty much all things LEGO) because they're just amazing. Of course there are several other builders I admire heaps, especially the Team Jigsaw guys

Do you ever look back on old MOCs and say "if I only…"

Yeah quite often, most of all with my bigger stand-out mocs like crows nest, that I'd bought more parts so I could build the full building instead of just the facade, and then kept them built.

Tell us about your building area.

A mess.

Oh right.
I have 2 small desks, one for building and the other covered in boxes. It's a system that I would say would work really well if I ever found the time to sort, but I don't, so my smashed mocs end up on the floor to keep space on the desks, and eventually tyheres more LEGO on the floor than there is in the sorted boxes, so I just end up building on the floor in the corner of my room, which is sort of pathetic and I really should do something about it...

Do you ever build digitally? If so with what?

Nope. I have used LDD on 3 occasions when collaborating with other builders for small sections of mocs or Lego set style models with low part counts, but even then I find it unbearable; I have an old slow dying computer which runs ldd at a super irritating 1 or 2 frames per second, even before I've placed any bricks. Therefore I try and avoid it as much as I can, and I also find I'm faster and more creative with physical bricks. A lot of the techniques I use are probably not possible or at the very least quite difficult to pull off in digital building mediams, and I think with organic fluid shapes you need to have a physical model to get it right.

Do you have a time of day when you build most productively?

I probably do and I wish it knew what it was, but because time never seams to agree with me most of my building happens late night/early morning, which is probably not my most productive time because I always end up very hungry and take lots of food breaks.

Do you listen to music while you build?

Absolutely. I love music as much as I love LEGO, I play some instruments. I can literally build for hours on end if I've got music playing, without it I manage to get distracted easily by how hungry or tired I am.

Do you keep all your MOCs? If so, do you display them?

I wish I could, but in most cases a completed moc won't survive as long as a fly does because there's no way I can keep my mocs and build new ones, my collection doesn't allow it.

Do you have an all time favorite LEGO set?

7699-1: MT-101 Armoured Drilling Unit, sure a lot of it is poorly designed, but it was fun, in fact its the only set I have memory of actually playing with, and it looks awesome.

If you could pick a single creation of yours for permanent display somewhere notable, what and where would it be?

If I had made it a full building viewable from all angles I'd have liked crows nest to be displayed in my lounge, just to make it easier to explain to people that what I do with LEGO is more than just child's play, but I didn't. Another moc that I'd have liked to build in full and have displayed somewhere would be the moc of radagasts house to be displayed at weta workshops, (the film guys for lotr and the hobbit) which is half an hours drive from my place, or a Bag End moc I'd like to do one day. However non of those things exist yet so I'm going to have my legitimate answer be the mosaic of my vetruvian minifigure I drew when I was back in primary school, which hasn't been posted because I'm still trying to sort out the hands, but has been in the works for about 2 years and I've run out bricks for it on like 8 occasions, but its nearly done :)

Which of your MOCs would you say personifies you?

Probably admiral Horace snob-bot. He was a bit of a random flash build with some of the team jigsaw guys based off Nicks jigbot. I reckon he's just about as crazy as I am.