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A la Kart

Do you like vehicle builds? Diesel knock your socks off

A long time ago, before the wheel was invented, life was hard. If you wanted to take your children to school, you had to walk. If you wanted to carry your groceries around the supermarket, you had to hold them all in your arms. And anyone who needed an ambulance probably just died. Yes, the wheel was truly mankind’s greatest achievement, second only to the invention of fried chicken. Oh, and Minecraft, of course.

We take wheels for granted these days. So it’s time to remember why we invented the wheel in the first place with Captain_JEK’s vehicle builds, which range from a garbage truck to a “spooky hearse” complete with a spooky skull!

Captain_JEK, also known as just JEK, has always loved vehicles, so the transition from looking at them to recreating them in Minecraft was an obvious one. “Building vehicles for me is a kind of hobby,” says JEK, saying that he’ll often take about three to five hours to complete each build – perfect for when he comes home after a long day!

JEK puts a lot of pride into his work. “For me, each vehicle is a small piece of art,” he says. “I try to make every one of them as good looking and realistic as possible.” This is pretty difficult with blocks – the smooth exteriors that many vehicles have is hard to achieve in a small-scale build. However, JEK’s creativity and attention to detail is clear, because even though the vehicles he builds are made with blocks, they look just like the cars and trucks they’re based on. “I made it my mission to present high-quality, realistic vehicles that haven’t already been built decently in Minecraft,” he says, which is why none of his builds are of lorries – there’s already loads of those that are “really good”!

JEK’s entry into the world of Minecraft builds came from his competitive nature. He saw the vehicles that other people were making, and thought, “I can do better than that” – and so he did!

He was concerned that a lot of the vehicles that people had built in Minecraft weren’t as realistic as he wanted, or that some vehicles hadn’t been recreated at all, or had features that didn’t make any sense, and so he set out on a mission to change that. For example, “most people attach the tyres directly to the body [of the vehicle],” he says. “How does that work? You can’t even steer!”

JEK has a single-player world that he says is filled with vehicles that he’s built, almost entirely by hand. Many builders, especially ones making large-scale builds, will use programs like WorldEdit to make the work of placing blocks easier, even if the creative work is just as difficult, but not JEK. “My builds are simply too small,” he says, although he does admit that he uses WorldEdit for some tasks, like making sure the things he’s built are symmetrical!

When JEK is researching the vehicles he wants to build, he finds reference photos and reads about them on Wikipedia. “The cool part about this,” he says, “is that I know more after building each vehicle, and it’s fun to understand why it’s designed the way it is.” Sometimes, he even bases his builds on his own memory, remembering cars and trucks that he's seen in action.

JEK finds some aspects of building in Minecraft harder than others. The shape, the colours, and the overall look are difficult, and the types of block available to the builder can limit what is possible. “The most ambitious vehicle was the mining excavator because it has a weirdly shaped arm,” he says, “but the most challenging vehicles are ahead of me. I’m putting off building them because they’re so hard.”

Most of all, JEK loves the details of each build, and that’s one of the hardest things to get right. “I like exhaust pipes and air filters a lot. They make the vehicle able to breathe,” he says. “But I’m more a fan of well-put-together details. That’s what makes something look good.”

Well, one thing is for sure: JEK’s vehicles are wheely, wheely well-put-together.

Kate Gray
Written By
Kate Gray

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