Special Interview with Marco den Besten a.k.a. 'Ecclesiastes

This week we have one of the best historical MOC builders as our Guest. Marco den Besten from the Netherlands who is known for his huge historical/fantasy cities and castle MOC's was kind to answer our questions. Photos from the work of our guest will be presented between the questions.

Kaplan: We already know that you are one of the best MOC'ers in the world. What can you tell us about yourself other than that? What is your day job? Do you have any other hobbies or activities?

Marco: I work in retail for a living. Yes, one of those jobs were you have to cope with wining customers all day. It’s a good thing I’ve got LEGO to relax. Other than, of course, building, I like fishing, plenty of water here in the Netherlands. And I like hiking, which I prefer doing in mountainous areas. But that’s something we don’t have here, unfortunately.

K: Do you remember your first day when you get your first LEGO set?

M: I think I got my first sets when I was around three, so I don't recall my very first one. However, I do remember the first large set I got. It was the 6271, Imperial Flagship. Which I was, of course, very happy with, and it is one of the best Lego ships ever made. So were all the ships that were made during those years.

K: What is your best/unforgettable memory involving LEGO?

M: That would be my first convention, which was Fanwelt Skaerbaek in 2012. Everything about the Lego community was very new at the time, but I was welcomed like family there. I made a lot of new friends back then.

K: If you have to choose, what is your all-time favorite LEGO set?

M: The 6086, Black Knight’sCastle. The knights, the tudor style walls, different gates, it has everything a good castle should have. A childhood friend of mine had it back then, so of course, I loved to play at his place. For me it was too expensive when it came out, but I have a copy of it now. Unfortunately without the box, but hey, it’s all about the bricks anyway!

K: Did you have a “dark age”? If you had one when did you return from the dark age and how?

M: I’m not sure if you can call it a dark age. There was a period in high school when I didn’t build anything, but I never stopped buying. And when the Viking theme came out, I was so excited by how cool it looked, it got me back into building. 

K: How many LEGO bricks or sets do you own approximately?

M: To be honest, I don’t have any idea. It must be in the hundreds of thousands of bricks.  By just looking at a layout like Amortug, you can imagine it’s a huge amount.

K: What are your favorite top three MOC's?

M: That’s quite hard, but I think with the following I was really content.
I think my first choice would be Elymas. It was the first one, which I put a lot of work in. The colors worked well together and the photography was really good for the equipment I had at the time.
The second one would be Valholl under Siege. I was building a siege tower and of course it needed a battle were I could put it to use.
A third pick would be Ulvar. I’m still working on an even better tree, but I think I can say this is an unique build tree. And I’m very pleased with it.

K: Do you scrap our MOC’s for parts after taking photos or displaying? Or do you keep them. If you keep some and scrap others which ones are you keeping and why?

M: I scrap everything after a while. Often when I need parts that are in an older build, I start dismantling it.

K: Do you use custom or 3rd party pieces in your MOC's?

M: Never. We all sometimes wish that Lego would make certain bricks or minifigure parts, but there’s already so many stuff out there to be creative with. You can say I’m a purist. For customizing I wouldn’t go further than cutting rope or hoses.

K: If you choose top three LEGO elements that you think are extremely useful for building MOC’s which elements would they be.

K: You are known for your great historical/fantasy creations but you did a great job with your MOC "The Palinurus". Do you plan to build more Sci-fi stuff than before?

M: The Palinurus was a result of joining Shiptember. Contests are often a good way to get out of your comfort zone. But I do like to build sci-fi a lot as well, I did some before like this one: Xyster

K: You are one of the leading members in Guilds of Historica story line in Eurobricks. What is the best part of participating in a story line like that?

M: The best part of it is being part of a community, with members from all over the world that are helping each become better builders. By giving and receiving constructive criticism, you improve a lot. The different challenges also help you to build things you’ve never build before, like microscale.

K: Do you have any suggestions for the new MOC'ers?

M: Meet other people! Be it online or at conventions. Get inspired and just have fun by starting to build!

K: And the final question: Tiles of Studs? 

M: I would have to go with studs, you can’t build without them and there’s nothing wrong with showing that your build is in fact made out of Lego. Nowadays it’s all about covering the studs with snot or tiles.