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The incredible art of LEGO scale models

By on November 19, 2015

Lots of kids spend hours putting together dozens of brightly colored LEGO bricks in wildly imaginative towers. Some move on to kits, building models of animals or famous buildings. And then there are those who never outgrow their LEGOs.

Dennis Glaasker and Dennis Bosman have been building detailed scale models of trucks, shops, planes, race cars, motorcycles, construction vehicles and whatever else catches their fancy since the 1970s. Now the two have released a new book, The Art of LEGO Scale Modeling, to showcase the work of 24 gifted designers and builders. The book includes everything from the impressive Tyr Viking, a four-foot-long ship constructed from more than 20,000 LEGO elements to a Caterpillar bulldozer with two motors. There are locomotives with lights, horns, operable doors and smoke effects; U.S. military aircraft; a five-footlong, Peterbilt 379; and a MAC end dump trailer. There are plenty of cars and cycles too, with Toyota and Ford sharing space with Ferrari, Renault and Harley Davidson.

Bosman talked to Road King about why he and his fellow creators love modeling with LEGO so much, and why trucks and other large vehicles of all kinds hold a special attraction for them.

Q What was the thinking behind this book’s collection of vehicles? Was there an overall concept?

A Both Dennis (my co-author, who is also named Dennis) and I have built scale model trucks for a long time and we try to go the extra mile with every new model. Since we were already in touch with many talented LEGO scale modelers all around the globe, we thought it might be a good idea to combine all of these marvelous creations into a single book. The idea was to show everyone the possibilities of using LEGO as a medium for scale modeling. We aimed to showcase the best models in every category: trucks, cars, motorbikes and more.

lego-bookQ You have been working with auto scale models for a long time; how do you keep the process fresh?

A Yes, for many decades. We started at a young age with LEGOs, but we also worked with traditional large scale models as teenagers. Our main goal then was to get as many details inside a model as we could. Now, 25 to 30 years later, the models can be even more detailed as LEGO very often produces new types of bricks. With all these new LEGO pieces in new colors available, the possibilities seem to be endless. This keeps the process fresh and encourages us to come up with new work every year.

Q The scale models in the book show some incredible detail work. What are the steps the artists take to get that realism?

A It usually just starts with a photo that strikes our interest, something that just makes you say, “Hey, that’s awesome! We have to make a LEGO version of that!” A good example is the K100 wrecker I saw a couple of years ago. I went to their yard and took many pictures of the real thing, and, even afterwards, I collected more background information on the truck like dimensions, blueprints, and restoration pictures so I could make the best model possible.

Q Are there any trucks or large vehicles that you haven’t built yet?

A There are many great trucks yet to build. I still have a Michigan special on my to-do list and an Australian road train. Currently, I’m working on a vintage Pete 359, which I wanted to have in my collection for ages, and Dennis Glaasker is working on a custom Kenworth W900. What I love about LEGO scale modeling is that it’s so complex, you can always improve your work. By choosing new subjects, and with LEGO’s continuous introduction of new pieces, there are always new challenges ahead; it’s an endless medium for exploration.

Q Do you hear from truck drivers? What do they think of the models?

A We have been into the European truck scene for many years and participated in trade shows several times. Our models also are well known outside Europe, and the drivers and owners really like them. We often get requests to sell or build custom models.

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