Way back in the second week of March, I approached Karf Oohlu about doing an interview regarding what was then a work-in-progress simply referred to as the “AFV Project“. Over the months, lots has happened both in terms of his MOC and my own non-AFOL life, so the interview stumbled. In the meantime, Karf Oohlu kept plugging ahead with his project and was particularly great about posting a ton of documentation and in-progress shots on his Flickr. What follows is the result of some stilted Internet communication and about an exceptional MOC that, through some great building and a nice let-it-flow approach, eventually came to be known as The Tonka Truck. It’s a fantastic reminder of the exploration and problem-solving that’s inherent to playing with LEGO, thanks to this AFOL’s frank description of his own building process and a ton of great photos to illustrate how this project came to be. I apologize for the choppy and incomplete nature of this interview and regret that this didn’t have the depth that such a great MOC deserves, but I know that there will be plenty more great work from this AFOL in the future providing us with many more opporunities to talk shop at a later date. There are plenty of great shots of this MOC in progress, so be sure to click the thumbnails to zoom in for some armored goodness.
Can you talk a little about how you came up with the idea for this behemoth? Oh, and what’s an “AFV”?
Well, the “Tonka Truck” is the final result of all the experimenting with [what was first known as] the “AFV” project. I came up with the Tonka Truck [title] pretty much at the end of the project. I wanted something different for a name, yet fitting for the beast. So I figured a “Tonka Truck” reference would stand out since it’s a well known brand item that really has no connection with military hardware.
Yeah, I remember those from when I was a kid. Their tagline was “Built Tonka Tough®”, so it’s a great idea for this mega-tank. So aside from the name, can you tell me how the concept for this thing developed and give a basic run down of how it all came together?
The following items basically lists how it all began:
- When I first saw these fold-out race tracks I wanted to find a way of using them in a MOC. [The image] is of a large turret [that I thought] was failing at this stage.
- Later, I came across those foot operated air racers sets, and saw great potential in the pump parts.
At about this time, the thought of combining these two elements into one MOC started growing. [Eventually,] an AFV (Armoured Fighting Vehicle) of some sort seemed the ideal way to go.
Wow. Talk about NPU. It’s funny that these random pieces were the inspiration of this huge MOC. So really, this thing started because you were intrigued by two unorthodox pieces, started playing, and just sort of went from there. I can see why you’d think “tank” based on your experiments, but you went and made a ginormous tank. Ha. How does one take that leap and say, “I’m scaling up!”
Never having built anything of this size before, I felt I was in very new waters, so [I] decided to just go for it. [There really was] no detailed planning, just a general idea of what I wanted to achieve. [I was playing] with ideas, keeping the good, recycling the unsuited. The tracks I decided were what I had to get done first—they [would] be very prominent and so had to sell the MOC before all else. Funny how just putting one brick on top of another, looking, going yes/no and then moving on, [I ended up with something like [the third picture above and] decided that this would do the job just fine.
Yes! That tank tread is amazing. I can see how that could totally get you to an “Aha!” moment where the entire project just starts to come together. I love the shots of the workers building the thing.
[That's when] I felt like the project first started to get into the feel of things as the “AFV” [seen in the first photo below]. It eventually ended up as the “Tonka Truck” [seen in the second shot].
The final product really is amazing. It’s interesting to note that neither the race track nor the air pump that you pointed out earlier as really being the sparks of this MOC made it into the final. And really, that’s okay. It’s a fantastic lesson in managing two opposing forces—inspirational ideas and a refined editing process—because the final MOC’s use of that new cannon / missile array on top and the smaller turrets are simply perfect. Here’s to creative exploration!!!