About Matt Hocker

Matt Hocker has been an avid LEGO fan since the age of 4, when he received a box of his father's 1960s era LEGO bricks. In addition to being a builder at heart, Matt is passionate about LEGO history and has amassed a sizable collection of LEGO ephemera to provide context for the LEGO story. Matt's collection forms what he likes to call the Library of the Brick, and he lives by the slogan "building history one stud at a time." He invites you to ask him any questions you might have about the hobby or the history behind the brick.

Posts by Matt Hocker

Craft me a hammer, sword, or a horseshoe or two

Growing up in the 1990s, one of the things that made LEGO castle sets so appealing was the way in which they were advertised; catalog images were perfect at world-building, with sets placed within carefully crafted, colorful environments. Robbadopdop‘s blacksmith shop evokes those fond memories, and his attention to detail would have impressed my 8-year-old self ten times over. There’s plenty of clever parts usage to appreciate here, including a minifigure ruff for flower petals, hair representing the end of a mop, and disposable sprues from plants with 3 large leaves for green vines winding up the side of the building. The building itself employs an excellent use of color and utilizes a diverse range of parts, which helps it feel both gritty and fun to look at.

Blacksmith's Workshop

One of the coolest details is the way the roof flexes, complete with staggered shingles. If you’re wondering how this detail was achieved, Robbadopdop has shared pictures of the internal structure. He used rigid tubing, which can be easily cut to size and is flexible enough to shape, and the roofing was then draped into place. The end result is fantastic.

Blacksmith's Workshop - Roof WIP

A gardener’s worst nightmare

If you have a green thumb, running into a loathsome worm could leave you with no thumbs. This slimy, purple annelid with two massive claws was built by Duncan Lindbo, and it looks terrifyingly awesome. Purple, dark pink, and orange elements complement one another nicely, along with a drip of neon green drool. What really makes the build is this hilarious photo, driving home the point of how disgusting a loathsome worm is. It’s a truly unique way of displaying one’s brick-built creatures.

Loathsome worm discovery

A closer look reveals Duncan put a lot of heart into his build…literally! The beast’s underbelly is comprised of 3×3 heart plates and 1×1 heart tiles. Don’t let all the love and playful colors deceive you, though; the worm’s mandibles are reminiscent of the Predator’s, and they look ready to inflict some serious pain (along with a deadly dose venom). Everything about it screams. “you can look, but don’t touch!”

Loathsome worm, coiled

Lounge in this library with style

Libraries are more than book repositories; they also provide educational services and activities for their surrounding communities. Thanks to Łukasz Libuszewski’s, the little citizens of LEGOLAND can now enjoy everything a library has to offer. It looks both modern and inviting, complete with enough glass to let the sunshine in. The library sports a modular design, in which sections can be removed to reveal the service desk and bookshelves. Especially impressive is the motorized glass elevator. Be sure to watch Łukasz’ video to view the library from all angles, the interior and elevator in action. You might even want to sign up for a library card!

Modern Library

Ancient Aliens

I’m not saying it was aliens–but it was aliens! Builders Aaron Newman and Tristan Cain teamed up to build a close encounter of the ancient kind. Cleverly named “Parthenonsense,” the scene depicts a microscale Greek-inspired city being visited by a red “chariot of the gods.” The city itself is enjoyable to look at, with curved walls, a bridge, and buildings of varying heights. I particularly enjoy the UFO, which has a self-sustaining habitat under its dome. The beam of light over the lighthouse is a nice touch, almost as if the spacecraft is engaging in oneupmanship with its terrestrial subjects.

First Contact

To learn more about the model, visit Aaron’s personal blog post on “Parthenonsense.”

Welcome to Air Batman

You are now free to walk about the cockpit in this massive 1:20 scale model of the classic Batwing. Designed by Eivind Loekken, the Batwing looks sleek and fast thanks to extensive use of angled plates, tiles, and slopes of varying degrees; you won’t find a single stud in sight. Equally impressive is the custom Batman Technic figure seated in the cockpit.

Lego moc Batwing 1:20 scale

See more of Batman’s favorite flying vehicle.

Steam into the circus with this whimsical train

The modern circus can trace its roots back to the late 18th Century in Philip Astley’s Amphitheatre. By the 1800s, the development of a vast railroad network allowed the circus to hit the tracks, traveling from town to town. In a world before radios and television, the circus was often one of the most highly anticipated entertainment events. Celebrating the spirit of the traveling circus, Ben Spector has built a colorful and fun-looking circus train.

Porter Brothers Circus Train

See this charming circus train in greater detail.

We came, we saw, we kicked its bricks!

When there’s something strange in the LEGOhood, who you gonna call? Darren Thew, that’s who! The Ecto 1 has been modeled in LEGO bricks many times before, but Darren takes things to a new level with a massive version of the beloved vehicle from Ghostbusters. He has taken great care in striving for authenticity, from every minute detail on the roof to the use of System and Technic parts to form the curvaceous shape of the retrofitted 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor.

Ghostbusters Ecto1

See more of this ghostbusting ride.

LEGO, Vintage Toys, Video Games and more at The Strong National Museum of Play

What if I told you there was a toy history museum with over 100,000 square feet of displays, interactive exhibits, playable pinball & arcade machines, and an indoor butterfly garden? All this and more can be found at The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York! For the past few years, I’ve been meaning to visit The Strong to check out its collection of vintage playthings and research LEGO history. A scheduled trip to nearby Niagara Falls provided the perfect opportunity for my girlfriend Natalie and I to explore the museum and what it has to offer.

Click to continue reading about the Museum of Play

What’s the matter kid? You never had lamb chops?

Faster than a T. rex can eat a lawyer, Jonas Kramm continues cranking out Jurassic Park vignettes. After bringing us the raptor dig and introductions of John Hammond and Dennis Nedry, Jonas now takes us to the Tyrannosaur paddock. Everything about this scene is iconic from the colorful Ford Explorer touring vehicle to the T. rex bait behind the fence. There is some excellent composition here, including the angling of the fence and lush landscaping behind it. Judging by the smile on Lex’s face, she probably hasn’t seen the goat yet.

06 - T.rex paddock

See more amazing LEGO Jurassic Park vignettes

A fishing boat that’s making waves as a great catch

You can find plenty of good seafood in Vietnam, but you need a way to catch your meal. What better way to do so than on the deck of this colorful squid fishing boat built by Hoang Dang? Practicality meets beauty thanks to the body’s bold blue, yellow and red color scheme, and additional ornamentation like lanterns and rigging used as clotheslines suggest this is a lively vessel.

Take a closer look at this colorful fishing vessel

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the gelato

Once you sample gelato, you won’t look at ice cream the same way anymore! It’s absolutely creamy and delightful, and a little bit goes a long way. Builder Sebastian-Z has taken the famous Italian dessert and given it a LEGO home. The architecture is iconically Italian, complete with an outdoor dining area and tall shuttered windows. Looking through the tall first-floor windows reveals a glimpse of the interior, though the exterior steals the limelight. The lighting in the central courtyard is a nice touch, as is the greenery alongside the building and crawling up its walls.

Romantic Gelato 4 (Lego MOC)

To be truly appreciated, the building is best viewed from multiple angles. I didn’t notice the sculpture in the courtyard until seeing this composite image. It’s a delicious looking build that will leave you exclaiming, “Buon appetito!”

Romantic Gelato Collage (Lego MOC)

Crawlin’ over craters with Chris

Back in 1988, the LEGO Group released set 6885 Crater Crawler as a part of its space theme’s Futuron faction. Inspired by this classic set, LEGO Designer Chris Perron has pieced together what he calls the Crater Crawler 3.0. This spacey vehicle sports the classic white and black Futuron color scheme, along with the iconic dark blue windscreens and trans red accents. With its four wheel independent suspension system, 3.0 looks ready to handle just about any intergalactic terrain. Practicalities aside, Chris’ vehicle looks particularly elegant with plenty of curves, smooth sides, and a dash of greebling.

Crater Crawler 3.0