Builder Showcase - Mike Dung

One of the things I most love about the AFOL community is it knows no borders and speaks a common language. I have contact with builders from all over the world, and very much enjoy sharing their work on this blog. Through it I have made friends in so many countries I've lost count. It also exposes me to different pop culture, that while I may not completely understand, I can totally appreciate. One of these builders is Mike Dung. He's one of the reigning kings of manga builders, and his lovely characters are responsible for a great many Google searches  on my part, but all worth it.

I'm happy to let you get to know him a little better

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

I started playing LEGO when I was 6 years old, the first set I played was a reward for an exam. After that I started studying hard for more LEGO sets as rewards. After I entered junior high school, I stopped playing with LEGO while preparing to enter higher grades. When I was a master student, one day I bought a set 10193 Medieval Market and it brought me back to the LEGO world.

What is your earliest LEGO memory?

The earliest set I got is Basic set 720. Although I cannot find this set completely, the great experience I had is still in my deepest memory. After this basic set, I started playing with SYSTEM LEGO such as pirate and space. These sets are so fantasic and make my childhood complete.

What drives you to create?

While I came back to play LEGO, I just bought some sets and build with instruction. Of course I build some MOCs but they were so simple and not very good. One day I found a Japanese LEGO builder's blog and I found that he built many fantasiic figure. With his inspiration, I tried to build my own figurine.

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

My early work sometimes incorporated cutting soft hose in order to build a skirt. But now I try to not cut hose to finish my models. I believe that the figures I want to build can always be achieved. I cannot accept painting and knockoff. I think that using the existing parts to build things is a challenge. In fact, with some new releases and new LEGO parts, I could avoid cutting hose now.

Do you have any favorite builder(s)?

As I mentioned before, the most impressive builder is a Japanese LEGO builder. His name is MOKO. After I started using flickr, I could see many great builders every day and I like all of them!

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

I often look back on my old MOCs, but I never say "if I only...". If I find a better way to present my models I will just modify them! Since I don't break down my MOCs, I can modify if I have a new idea!

Tell us about your building area.

I have seen many photos of foreign builders' LEGO rooms. Although I sometimes imagine that I could have a specific room like that, I am satisfied with my building area. Since I have only built small models up to now, the parts I need is much less and my work area is not large. A table and some cabinets compose my little world.

Do you ever build digitally? If so with what?

No, I don't build digitally. I like to try many different ways to present the things in my mind. The other reason is even if I could build the model in my computer, if I don't have the parts, it means spending more time collecting those parts. I've used MLCAD to make some easy instrction of my early works, it is good software, but I still like to build things with my hands.

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

I build things when I'm inspired. So there is not a certain time I build most productively. Once I have a good idea to build, I could spend all day until the part is finished!

Do you listen to music while you build?

The answer is definitely YES. Since most of my works are from Japan animes, games, and vocaloid, I like to listen to the songs belong to them while building. Mostly I listen to vocaloid as a big vocaloid fan!

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

Of course I keep all of them! The MOCs are my way of playing LEGO, everytime I see my old work I always consider where can I modify my models. Most of them stand in my cabinet, but with time passes, the space for displaying MOCs is smaller and smaller. Now some of them are in the boxes. :(

Do you have an all time favorite LEGO set?

Yes, the set is 6991 Space Monorail. I didn't have the set in my childhood, but I saw this set in a catalog and I told myself that one day I must own this great set. Fortunately, I bought one from bricklink recently to fulfill my little dream!

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

I will display my first figurine MOC "Hatsune Miku". It is the origin of my MOCs and meaningful to me. I want to try telling everyone that even LEGO could build cute things like that! And if I have the chance, I want to display it in the LEGO company!

Which of your MOCs would you say personifies you?

Of course Hatsune Miku is my behavior MOC of me. Although there are some figurine builders, I avoid being similar to their work. I discovered my own building skill and complete it step by step. My biggest wish is that everyone could know that someone could build cute figurines with LEGO bricks!