Posts by Matt Hocker

In space, no one can hear you drill.

If intergalactic asteroid mining sounds like an interesting prospect, Scott’s LEGO microscale New Bedlam Mining Hub delivers the goods. According to the builder, the mining colony of New Bedlam earned its name for the lawlessness and chaotic growth that comes with rapid development. Scott’s city fits the part, with foreboding dark towers covering the asteroid’s surface. Thanks to an extensive use of black and trans-neon colored elements, the colony also has all the grittiness of a red-light district in the stars.

New Bedlam Mining Hub

Wait Wait...Don’t tell me!

Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! is a weekly radio game show series on NPR. Questions typically revolve around the news with a lighthearted take. When Dave Kaleta attended a taping of the show, he brought with him LEGO versions of the host, announcer, and celebrity panelists. After the show, he presented a model to each of them. Dave has done a great job capturing the spirit of the series, with Peter Segal’s head tilted toward the panelists as if he’s asking a question. At the same time, Roxanne appears to be doing a happy dance after giving the right answer, while Paula seems to lament hers was wrong. Dave’s figures are well-built, with cute headsets made of 14 mm tires and string with end studs. The panelists even have their complimentary water bottles. Well played!

Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!

Using height to dodge danger in sight

When LEGO launched the Islanders line in 1994, it made for an interesting addition to LEGO Pirates. In carrying on the legacy of this cherished theme, LEGO fan website Eurobricks has created a fictional pirate-themed universe. The lost city of Myzectlan, in particular, is reminiscent of the Islanders. Eurobricks’ “Daily Life in Myzectlan” collaborative building challenge has inspired some excellent models, such as this lush and lively jungle scene by Stefan G. With a big cat on the prowl, two Myzec travelers bide their time by hiding out in a miraforma. In the Myzec world, miraforma are used to hide from predators on the jungle floor. They also make for good lookout posts.

Miraforma in the Jungles of Cascadia
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Rob Winner builds a winner of an engine shed

I’m a sucker for history and trains, and Rob Winner delivers on both counts with this slice of the Illinois Midland Railway in LEGO-form. According to the builder, the real line was only 1.9 miles long. This was in large part because of a crooked businessman making big promises and running off with the community of Newark’s money. Regardless, the little town made use of the railway to connect with nearby Millington. Rob’s model is meant to represent the railway during the 1940s, back when World War I veteran William Thorsen was running the show. Thorsen is depicted with the vehicles he operated, including a Vulcan 0-4-0T steam engine and Ford Model T railway inspection car.

Illinois Midland Railway 1

The engine shed plays its part well, looking weathered and forgotten. Rob pulled this off by adding vines and slightly tilting brown plates outward to simulate loosened wooden boards. It’s a stark contrast to Thorsen standing among railway equipment that looks well taken care of. Then again, he is their devoted caretaker! This juxtaposition is inspiring, symbolizing the fight to persevere against all odds.

Return to the Guarded Inn

The original LEGO Guarded Inn was released back in 1986, gradually becoming one of the castle theme’s most cherished sets. It even received a 2001 re-release under the LEGO Legends moniker. Thanks to builder Corvus Auriac, the little inn has undergone major renovations. It’s a medieval masterpiece built to reflect current LEGO building techniques, the expanded range of parts, and diverse selection of colors.

Guarded Inn 6067 Remastered - Comparision

Every angle of Auriac’s build is packed with jaw-dropping detail. While classic red bricks are great, the dark red used for the walls in this build feel more authentic to medieval source material. Whereas the original featured printed timber details, the timber gracing the walls of Auriac’s model is brick built. The placement of each piece has been carefully calculated. Meanwhile, green hues simulating moss growth on the roof add an extra dash of character.

Guarded Inn 6067 Remastered

As you can see in this image, each side of the building looks distinct from the next. A personal favorite is the first image, which showcases both the walkway and vines reaching toward the tower. I love how it shows off the aging of the architecture, a stark contrast to the clean look of the original.

Guarded Inn 6067 Remastered - Four views

A close-up shot of the yard shows off exciting little details you might miss without taking a second a look. There’s a brilliant-looking well, outdoor furniture, and a mix of greenery and weathered terrain. Even the door looks wonderful; the sai weapons make for convincing hinges.

Guarded Inn 6067 Remastered - Yard detail

Auriac’s re-imagined version of the Guarded Inn looks warm and welcoming enough to sleep in. There might be a few ghosts in the tower contend with, but that comes with the territory.

Guarded Inn 6067 Remastered - Ghost detail

A snail’s Creed

If you went to BrickWorld Chicago in 2016, you might remember seeing the amazing Eurobricks collaborative display called “Ready, set, escargot!” The display consisted of giant medieval-themed snails racing around a track. The template for these mammoth mollusks was designed by Mark Larson, while the structure on this snail’s back came from the mind of Marco den Besten. Marco drew inspiration from the Assassin’s Creed video game franchise, and I think his take on the idea would make for an interesting game. The rustic-looking towers complement the dark tan structure of the snail’s shell. Speaking of the shell, Marco has attached wooden posts to the sides for some classic platform gaming fun.

A snail's Creed

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The founding fathers of classic gaming

As a big fan of classic gaming, I was thrilled to see Mike Dung’s adorable chibi trio of LEGO Nintendo characters. Mario and Link are here, as is the LCD handheld gaming legend that is Mr. Game & Watch. I love that Mario and Link’s tiny bodies are poseable, and the sculpting of their facial features is spot-on. Despite being monochromatic, Mr. Game & Watch looks quite animated! After seeing these figures, I could play a few rounds of Super Smash Brothers.
 
Mario_Link_Mr_G&W

Sail away in this Seanchan Greatship

The Wheel of Time is a classic series of Fantasy novels by Robert Jordan, first published in 1990. One of the empires in the Wheel of Time universe is known as Seanchan, and it inspired Douglas Hughes to build a LEGO version of a Seanchan Greatship. According to the builder, the Seanchan style is a fusion of medieval European and Asian influences. For example, the figurehead is European while the trio of ribbed sails are reminiscent of Chinese junks. I love the sculpting of the bow and the ornate detailing running the entire length of the ship. The golden hawk figurehead looks stunning and doubles as a reference to Artur Hawkwing, one of the Seanchan empire’s earlier leaders.

Seanchan Greatship

You couldn’t paint a better Nightmare than this, even Before Christmas

Twas the Nightmare Before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring…except for SpaceBrick. SpaceBrick’s latest LEGO model presents a unique twist on the classic Tim Burton film by taking a scene and contextualizing it as a painting. His brick-built illustration is even mounted on an easel! The builder did a great job of crafting the moonlit cliff with a curl, and the surrounding scenery is to die for. Pairs of Harry Potter wand on sprue elements were used to create tombstones, which look Burtonesque in their own right. Look carefully, and you might also catch a glimpse of a tiny Jack Skellington.

Nightmare before Christmas: Lego on Canvas

The level of detail in this LEGO model is frighteningly high, right down to the tools of the trade scattered below the easel. There are half-filled tubes of paint, a paint spill, and wood shavings alongside the pencil sharpener. It all helps one feel the artist’s sense of accomplishment they must have experienced upon finishing their masterpiece.

Nightmare before Christmas: Lego on Canvas

Mr. ROBIN’s NeighborHOOD

Hong Kong builder, mamax711 brings us his rendition of Robin Hood’s home. It’s an excellent fit for the medieval rogue, right down to the organic-looking shape of the building, the patchwork, and plant growth. Robin’s home would be well-hidden in a dark forest. I love the non-traditional angles of the walls and roof-lines and would love to see the interior framework holding everything together. Since this is Robin Hood’s house, I am guessing it will have to remain a secret.

Back to the Old Good Times Robinhood's house

Revisiting a classic castle on New Year’s Eve

Ringing in the New Year is all about reflecting on the past and looking toward the future. John Tooker has accomplished both with his modern take on the classic LEGOLAND yellow castle (set 375), originally released in 1978. John’s model is not an exact replica, as it features some different windows and does not swing open like the original set. However, it possesses the basic form and enough key features to make it immediately recognizable. The castle looks wonderful in tan, which was not officially available back in 1978. However, it’s an appropriate choice, given that the LEGO Group’s official name for the color is “brick yellow.” John also makes good use of darker colors with landscaping, including olive green vines climbing the castle wall. The period-correct castle minifigures and brick-built horse look right at home in their new abode!

LEGOLAND Castle Revisited

Have yourself a very merry Potter

Christmas may have come and gone, but Jonas Kramm is still celebrating with this elaborate scene calls “Christmas at Hogwarts.” I love the composition of this build, which is filled with plenty of excellent architectural details and brick-built furniture. Jonas drew partial inspiration from The Book of Unwritten Tales 2, a modern point-and-click adventure game. This is where he found the idea for the curved balustrade and fireplace depicting stacks of books. Some of my favorite details include the bat-a-rang used in a candelabra, gifts tied with LEGO rubber bands and Belville bows, and the dark orange easy chair. The tree also looks nice, with enough decorations to make it stand out but not distract one’s eye from the rest of the image. I’m sure Harry would approve!

Christmas at Hogwarts