Kiran Parmar, our resident model expert explains just what it takes to make a scale model car from scratch:
At Free Car Mag we love Lego! In issue 110, we built the fantastic Lego Technic Ferrari Daytona SP3 and later added lights made by ‘Game of Bricks’. In issue 119, and then in Issue 121 we assembled the brilliant Technic Land Rover Defender kit.
Last month, whilst scrolling through my Instagram feed, I discovered an amazing and highly talented Lego builder who makes his own Lego models from scratch! Seeing his work I was blown away, they look absolutely incredible, just as if they were designed by Lego themselves.
Allow me to introduce Lukas, who runs Lukas RS Design.
Hello Lukas, welcome to Free Car Mag. Your Lego models are amazing, how did you get started as a Lego Builder and how long have you been building custom models?
Hello, thank you for inviting me to the interview. I am happy that you like my ‘MOC’s’ (this is a term used in the LEGO world and means ‘My Own Creation’). We use this term for all designs not made by the LEGO company.
I have been playing with LEGO since childhood but stopped when that ‘dark age’ came along (we call it that in the LEGO community; referring to the period of time when you don’t buy or build any LEGO sets). I got back into it in 2019 (after 20 years), I remember that I saw a LEGO Technic Bugatti 1:8 scale model. I started to look out for other LEGO sets that were released since I was a child and I got hooked on how much it changed over so many years.
So after that, as an F1 fan, I was curious what models of F1 cars were available and I was surprised that the very last licensed F1 set was released in 2006. I bought it secondhand and I wasn’t very satisfied. This was the moment when I decided to start designing my own F1 cars from scratch. I started building it at the end of 2019 and finished it around March – April 2020. I released the instructions at ‘Rebrickable’ (a page where other designers share their instructions) in May 2020.
I thought that this will be just a one-off design.
When I released it, I started getting many messages asking if I will do other F1 cars and that’s pretty much that’s how it all started.
When I built my Technic Ferrari Daytona SP3, I was glued to the instruction manual page by page. You of course don’t have a manual to refer to as you build your own designs from scratch. How do you do it?
I look out for models that I would like to have for myself and those I would enjoy designing. I do my research, then I search for blueprints and scale them to the size I want to design. It is mostly 1:8 scale but I try to not limit myself only to one scale. I also did ‘8 stud’ wide models and 1:12 or 1:10 scale too. After that I searched for detailed pictures of that model and learn the specification of the car to be able to recreate as much of it as I can in my ‘MOC’.
Then I start to make a frame and add functions one by one. When the chassis is completed, then I start to shape body work. It’s a lot of trial and error to have the correct look and move forward to put a physical model into a 3D digital model. I use ‘stud.io’ software for that. When the whole model is in ‘stud.io,’ then I start to plan how it should be built from the beginning to the end. I have to think of all the steps that will allow smooth building and that it’s possible to actually build it. When it’s done, I prepare the final instructions and then I build the model one more time according to my instruction to check for errors. Then it is shared in PDF form so everyone can build it too.
It’s worth mentioning that ‘MOC’s’ are a bit different to build compared with regular LEGO sets where you have stages and numbered bags etc. Here you have all the parts in one large pile at the beginning so you need to sort them first. So when you are building, for example, a model that has 4,500 pieces it can be a bit more difficult! However I find this all part of the whole fun, as LEGO sets are more for regular customers that build for fun and enjoy themselves while I find ‘MOCs’ more like a challenge, you definitely need to be more engaged while building it.
Where do you get the parts from to build your models and are they easy to obtain? Do you 3D print some of your own parts?
The parts for LEGO ‘MOC’s’ can be bought mostly at Bricklink. This is a website that gathers all LEGO stores from around the world. You can create ‘wanted lists’ and then search in stores worldwide to collect them for your own design. However sometimes it’s faster and cheaper to buy a LEGO set and break it down as a donor and only buy missing pieces at Bricklink. I also try to search for secondhand sets that have some expensive parts as a used kit. They are sometimes even cheaper to buy than, let’s say, four parts that I need from that set and bought separately.
I personally don’t do 3D prints but I know few fellow builders who do it and can also design custom parts if needed.
Have you ever considered working with or selling your designs to Lego so they can become official Lego kits?
LEGO runs ‘LEGO IDEAS’ page where you can send your ideas. Then you need to gather 10,000 votes, after that LEGO will review it and decide if they will release it as a set or not. I sent my submission in October 2022 and as we do this interview I am still waiting for results. Link below, of course it had to be an F1 model!
I really love your Formula One models, they are so detailed and look just like the real cars. How do you go about building the F1 models? Do you mainly use Technic parts in all your models?
I am a big fan of the sport itself. I started watching it around 1998. So, I came from the Schumacher era. I remember the 1998/1999 season when McLaren and Mika Hakkinen were champions and Schumi fought with them. Especially the SPA in 1998 was an epic race to watch for many reasons.
A fun fact for you; before I stopped playing with LEGO as a child, I was already trying to build my own F1 car back then with very limited parts and I was trying to recreate a Ferrari over and over again.
Basically when I got back into LEGO in 2019, I started doing the same. However this time I started with Technic as I found this a lot more challenging but also more enjoyable to do because as a child I actually never had any Technic sets, so my first introduction to them was in 2019.
I always try to recreate the look of the cars the best I can but I also pay attention to the small details that are not visible from the outside, but when you build the model you can notice these things and I hope, appreciate that they are in the car – things like seat belts, radiators etc.
What is the biggest and most complicated model you have ever built?
Regarding my own designs; then I would say the Citroen C4 WRC; it was challenging as it was the first time I designed a model that has the engine in the front and it was transverse. I had to connect it to the gearbox in the rear section and also added other features on top.
The official LEGO sets are not that challenging to build in my opinion.
The most complicated model I have built so far was a non-LEGO kit; a ‘Pocher’ Lamborghini in 1:8 scale.
Can people purchase plans and parts to build your models?
Yes, the instructions are available at rebrickable https://rebrickable.com/users/Lukas2020/mocs/ and parts can be either collected at Bricklink or also as a kit at (few of them) https://buildamoc.com/pages/seller-profile/lukas-rs-design
Which of your custom made models are you most proud of and why?
The latest one! I always have a tendency that I would like to improve a design over and over again which is not the best approach, so I try to not do it very often!
I am happy with quite a few designs but the Ferrari 499P Hypercar could be my pick at this moment. After F1 models and supercars it was something new and I like how it turned out.
Finally, what is your dream car Lukas?
That’s a hard one! There are lots of great cars out there. As a Ferrari fan it could be pretty much any! I like the Enzo or LaFerrari but I also like the McLaren F1 road car from 1992 very much.
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat to us Lukas. You can follow Lukas here:
and subscribe to his YouTube channel here https://youtube.com/@lukasrsdesign?si=iisYD9mw3tkFLegS
All photos courtesy of Lukas RS Design