My first serious model is the result of 10 years of reworking and modifying the original version again and again.Daniel H, a true perfectionist in his craft.
Daniel (DanielsMOCs) has been a close friend & partner of The Block Zone for a number of years, a partnership that started out with the launch of his bespoke E30 model. Since then he has been able to release mind blowing iterations of customer requests, each one deserving the spotlight in its own right.
Daniel's designs always use innovative building techniques, are guaranteed to be feature-packed and extremely detailed both inside and out. We know he has some absolute gems in the works & can't wait to share these with you!
AN INTERVIEW WITH DANIEL
Daniel is best known for his iconic 1:16 scale car designs and we know you'd love to meet the legend behind the MOCs! Here's what he's shared with us in an interview about his background, models, passions and his unique design process.
I had blocks as a small kid. Standard blocks, roof slopes, doors and windows and that was all. I remember that I got a small plane to my 6th birthday. It was my first separate set with instructions, and I was absolutely hyped about it. It became obvious, that the bricks were my favourite toys. All coming presents had to be brick-sets. Besides, I had my matchbox cars, so I ended up, building towns out of bricks and combined it with my Matchbox cars and other own-build vehicles. Later I got several Technic sets, which I also loved.
At around the age of 13, I thought I’d be too old (and cool) to play with bricks anymore and put them all in the basement. A few years later I came across a Ferrari brick-set on a budget. I bought it and had great fun building it. After I finished it, I got the idea to create something else out of it. Soon, I was lacking parts and took out my old boxes from the basement and then it all started. Next milestone was, when a friend of mine bought a real BMW M3 E30 in 2010 and the idea was born to recreate it. So all in all, I’m on it for about 20 years now… dang, time is running fast!
Yes! In the beginning I got a lot of inspiration from other designers. Back in the days when MOC-Pages still existed (a platform where everyone could share their designs, which died completely a few years ago), I spent countless hours scrolling through the pictures of the models from designers such as f.e. Firas, M. Dorowski and many others.
In the meantime I've developed my own unique style. Nowadays I still love to look on other MOCs, but the inspiration comes from inside me!
No fun facts! I’m a serious guy! I like my sense of humour, some others do as well.
Recommend just 1 of your MOCs to your fans: which is it and why?
My heart would say it’s the E30, because I worked on it for such a long time! But from a quality perspective it’s the JDM EVO, because it has some excellent building techniques and functions and is still very sturdy. This could probably change when I release my new creations since I’m getting better and better!
Spending time with my wife and little kids, my '92 Toyota MR2, house and garden, woodwork, and the usual stuff: friends, sports, party!
I have countless cars in my mind that I would like to build. I often look at real cars and think about, how I could recreate them in bricks. When I decide to give a certain model a try I start with one of the most complicated or catchy sections, like a wheel arch or a front-light. When it works out and I’m pleased with it, the rest finds it way.
My first serious models took years: The M3 (Classic German Coupe Gusheshe) was developed over years and the final model, is the result of 10 years reworking and modifying the initial version again and again.
Now when I start a model it takes “only” a few months until the model is finished. But all the other stuff around it takes further months. For example, making the stickers or taking the photos & creating videos is very time-consuming. Most effort is the 3D model for creating the instructions.
That being mentioned: I can only design my models in real bricks and only then I recreate them digitally. I can’t design any model on the PC, because I need the real blocks! For 3D-modelling, I use LDCad. This is a free software from a genius programmer called Roland Melkert. It took some time to get really into this software and now I love it!
I have a big cabinet in my “office”, full of bricks. They are in bigger boxes, only sorted by category. For example, I have a box for slopes, one for plates, one for Technic bricks and so on. I like it, because I can dig through all the different bricks within one category and get further inspiration for trying out different parts.
I don’t have these small sorting boxes, where each part has an individual small drawer. This wouldn’t work for me. Over the years, I found my own style. I want to get the sleekest overall visual with as many details as possible paired with functions underneath.
My models all get some special features like working suspension, removable engines, mechanisms for different functions, working pop-up-headlights and more. The car should be recognisable on first sight, but it is not my goal to get a car replicated with perfect proportions. I often accept differences to the visual or proportion of the real car, to get a smooth surface and a great building technique behind it.
Sometimes I think my cars look a bit like caricatures of the real cars. Or like cars in these video games without licenses where you clearly recognise a car, but it’s a bit different to the original.
I have several models "in the pipeline". I think by the time people read this, the Civic Type R should be launched. I'm also working on an iconic Classic German Supercar and, of course, your most requested model of all time, the Evo X!
Vlad T, Designer Program Manager.
Daniel, I'm sure I speak for everyone in the team when I say Thank You for your input into everything we do! It's a pleasure to work with you, someone who shares our vision, someone extremely talented who is able to, time after time, release truly stunning MOCs that our fans love. Your unique ideas have helped shape our path, block by block, and have built the Designer Program into what it is today. Here's to you, Daniel Helms, a true perfectionist in your craft!