As a LEGO photographer and AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO), I get excited when I see something unique in my Instagram feed. Anthony Bill (aka @billsbrickz) creates small dioramas in brick form. His most popular LEGO MOC (My Own Creation) builds are from the Star Wars universe. He even sells the instructions and info on how to build them! These fantastic creations are appealing to LEGO build fans, to collectors who want a special way to display their minifigures and, of course, toy photographers.
Anthony agreed to an interview, so let’s hear about his work!
How did you get started with LEGO bricks and building your own creations?
My love for LEGO stemmed from my childhood. My first set was from the pirate theme, but I had a diverse collection throughout. I always loved building MOCs, especially with my younger brother. I then rediscovered and got back into building around four years ago due to my love of Star Wars and after seeing one of the larger available sets.
What gave you the idea to create LEGO MOC display stands?
My Star Wars minifigure collection was growing rapidly and I wanted to design a unique display solution depicting different scenes for each. At the time, the only bricks I had were in official brick-built sets, and I didn’t have the array needed to complete my ideas. I decided to download some digital software (Studio from Bricklink) which enabled me to create all my designs digitally before calculating what I needed to purchase to make them a reality.
Another great feature with the software was being able to create instructions for each display, which made building in real life a lot easier.
When you create a mini diorama, what is your process? Can you walk us through the steps?
Each display module has the same “footprint,” which I use as a template.
I first decide on an iconic scene that will look great as a display.
Then I look for reference material: movie stills, behind the scenes images from the films for details, and watch certain scenes multiple times for inspiration.
After that, it’s a case of deciding how feasible it would be, as the footprint can be restrictive.
What are your top tips for someone who wants to create their own mini diorama or LEGO MOC?
If anybody is looking to create their own displays, I would highly recommend either checking mine out for inspiration or others on Instagram for some great ideas.
I have learned a lot of new and interesting build techniques this way. Also, the community is really helpful and friendly. I often engage with many similar accounts to mine as the feedback is very useful. Here are a few I recommend: @minifigs_james, @supa_dupa_lego_troopa and @cowbrickz.
Tell us about your business. Can people buy the display stands or other creations you’ve made?
After a lot of interest, I decided to make the instructions available on eBay to purchase for a small fee. There are now two series available for download depicting eight different scenes. Series 3 is now in the works with some designs being chosen by my Instagram followers.
What’s your favorite thing about your LEGO hobby?
I would still say my second favourite part is building official LEGO Star Wars sets!
But specific to my MOCs, originally I started my Instagram account to get the displays seen in the larger community. This soon grew and I began building larger scenes that would generally be too big for the displays, and I really enjoyed photographing and editing the images.
This is now my main focus (and the most enjoyable aspect). I have just purchased a DSLR camera as I previously only used my phone.
Which of your creations is your favourite, and why?
Out of the displays, my favourite would be either the Endor Shield Generator Bunker or the new Rancor Pit from Series 3! But my favourite creation is the Coruscant Underworld MOC. It was actually a competition build entry for a group on Facebook called ‘Lego Build Offs & Banter’—and it won! Once shared on social media, it rocketed to over 1,000 likes in days. It was shared an awful lot and I received some amazing feedback and love from the community!
Thank you, Anthony, for sharing your talents with us and the toy photography community!
Further LEGO MOC Resources
- Instagram hashtags to browse for inspiration:
- LEGO digital build planner and instructions generator: Studio by Bricklink
- Build instructions from Billsbrickz eBay store
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