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Etiquette: asking a builder for instructions/breakdown/parts list?

bkprbkpr Texas, USAMember Posts: 295
edited May 2012 in Building and Techniques

Often I come across a MOC which i'd love to build/have for myself. My favourites are small (mini-fig scale or smaller), cleverly designed MOCs from Sci-Fi films and/or themes. I've approached two or three builders asking if they'd be kind enough to provide a breakdown/parts list for their particular creation, but most don't respond. I am appreciative and pleasant in my emails, and have offered to pay them for this info also.

So it got me thinking, is there a general etiquette among builders about asking for instructions? Is it bad form or rude in the AFOL community to ask? I'm not a builder myself, but I love some of these clever MOCs and just want them on display in my office :)

Some example of which sets I mean:
+ Power loader from Aliens (I have built this as the builder has posted the break down. So good!)
+ Light cycle from Tron (Have also built this)
+ Apache Longbow. This is a little old so may not be easy/possible to get instructions
+ And the most recent MOC I'd love to have is The Bat Rod.

How should I approach a builder about possibly acquiring their creation? I'm happy to pay for their hard work and skill as I believe it's well worth it and I'd like to be fair. I don't have a library of Lego to try and copy the MOC for myself, so I'd be ordering each part from BL. I assume the easiest thing to ask for is a breakdown of the model as seen here as opposed to a parts list (which I could figure out 99% of on my own) or instructions (which would require additional effort on the MOCers part).

Appreciate any advice you might have :)


  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    I honestly don't know the answer to your question, but I would assume just asking nicely would be a good start. :)

    So here goes...

    Cavegod, can I please have a parts list and instructions to your AT-AT and Sandcrawler? :)
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,366
    Bear in mind that often MOC'ers do not have this information. Only very occasionally do I plan a model using LDD. Twice I think, and then only a part of a larger model. Many people prefer to go with the flow rather than plan and may not necessarily keep detailed a list of instructions or parts used.
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 2,063
    Ive only had good experiences with this. But it has been asking speific questions about the build. As @CCC says most builders dont have instructions. I know I dont ever have them. So maybe why you not getting an answer.
  • andyscouseandyscouse Western MAMember Posts: 365
    You could maybe ask for several 'close-up' pics of the building/MOC (with interior if furnished) - that way, you get to see how they did it, and leaves enough for you to fill in the blanks creatively. When I build MOCs, I use the "go with the flow" method, and instructions would not be available.
  • bkprbkpr Texas, USAMember Posts: 295
    edited May 2012
    Yes, if I was building an MOC I'd definitely 'go with the flow'; just try different things out and change as I go along until I get it right. I wouldn't expect others to have 'instructions' per se, but they could do photos of a semi-exploded model. I wouldn't think this would be very difficult especially on a small model, but it is extra work for the builder to take it apart into a few sections, photograph each one clearly, and email/post them.

    The close up pics would be good, however I reckon I'd need more detail as I don't know Lego parts well enough to guess them, and seeing I don't have a library of parts to play with, I'd be ordering specific parts on BL so don't have the luxury of trial and error.

    That no one has commented with 'yes, there's an unwritten rule of not asking for instructions' gives me a bit of hope.

    Thanks for your replies.
  • bluemoosebluemoose Member Posts: 1,716
    I don't think there's anything wrong with asking, but I don't think there's anything wrong with them ignoring your request either. Remember, you may not be the first to ask, and getting asked for instructions 5, 20 or 200 times may not be much fun.

    Some builders are very protective of their designs, and there's nothing wrong with that. There have been incidents of unscrupulous folk ripping off MOCs in the past & selling them on eBay, claiming them as original creations, making money off someone else's creativity, so I wouldn't fault people for being wary.

    Making instructions, or even a 'bill of parts', can take a lot of time to do properly ... time that many MOCers would rather spend on building. It also isn't much fun ( to me, anyway ).
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 2,063
    ^Or putting them on Cussoo. Been several cases of the same model turning up on that site.
  • akunthitaakunthita USAMember Posts: 1,038
    @bkbr I have been asked several times for instructions for my MOCs. I always respond to the question, but I have also found that most people have no idea who much time it would take to put together instructions and a parts-list. Building is a wonderfully flowing experience, but recreating the same model in LDD is tedious and boring work (at least to me) that can take many hours.

    So I usually just direct them to my pictures and tell them to let me know when they get stuck. Most people will just go with that. I have had a couple of persons who kept insisting and asking a gazillion questions - obviously not appreciating my time. So at some point I did stop responding....)c:

    I would say it never hurts to ask and certainly mention if you are willing to pay for the work involved creating a parts-list and LDD files. MOC-ers get so many requests, so saying something more than just "can I have the instuctions?" can separate you out of the crowd and get you noticed....(c;
  • bkprbkpr Texas, USAMember Posts: 295
    I wouldn't expect someone to recreate a design in LDD just for me (or at all). A breakdown like this is all I'd need for a small MOC. I'm experienced with Lego, but not really with the 'modern' (c.1985-now) parts which is where I might struggle with just closeup pics of a complete model.

    ^^ I understand builders being protective of their models. I'd never do anything dodgy like whack it on Cussoo or eBay, but a builder doesn't know me from anyone else. I can just hope they'd be willing to help me have my own copy of their work to appreciate :)

  • weinnerweinner Banned Posts: 148
    I like that bat rode
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