Posts by Matt Hocker

Not so tiny: This microscale LEGO Hogwarts uses over 75,000 pieces

In the Harry Potter films, Hogwarts looked massive and majestic. Although LEGO did a great job with the massive 71043 Hogwarts Castle set, builder Mathieu BL has built a microscale LEGO version of the castle that feels just as big as it should, despite its diminutive size. Part of this can be attributed to the surrounding terrain, which places the building within its proper context. The hills and cliff-sides have been carefully sculpted, utilizing a variety of colors and shapes to achieve a nice degree of realism. The sparkly water adds a touch of beauty, and it consists of loose trans clear and trans-medium blue elements mixed together to emulate the choppiness of the sea.

Lego Hogwarts Castle

Turning the model around reveals a quidditch stadium behind the castle. A lot of time and care went into detailing this model. Mathieu spent over 1,200 hours designing and building Hogwarts, and nearly 75,000 pieces were used in its construction.

Lego Hogwarts Castle

When photographed from certain angles, the little castle seems huge. Here, it looks absolutely stunning.

Lego Hogwarts Castle

If you’d like even more LEGO Hogwarts in your life, be sure to check out our review of set 71043.

Immerse yourself in an awe-inspiring auto repair shop

Some of us here at the Brothers Brick are big fans of car builds. Yet, every good car needs an equally good auto repair shop to continue running, and this LEGO scene built by Ben Pitchford fits the bill. It has all the tools to get your motor running and on the highway. You can even beef up your favorite ride with the monster of an engine peeking out from the right. Best of all, everything is framed within an immersive, self-contained image. Columns and beams extending forward make you feel like you’re a part of the crew, so much so that you can almost smell the gasoline.

Auto Repair Shop

Two chipmunks take a squirrelly selfie

Now that the second series of Disney Collectible Minifigures are available, LEGO fans are already using them in creative ways. For example, grubaluk took Chip and Dale and turned them into a selfie image on a smartphone. To finish the scene, the builder made adorable versions of Disney’s beloved chipmunks. Dale’s goofy charm is intact here, complete with his face turned away from the camera with a toothy grin. While the image is not exactly mirrored on the screen, Chip and Dale’s expressions certainly are. The overall scene captures the spirit of Disney’s little rascals while, at the same time, bringing them into the modern age.

Chip and Dale Selfie

The story behind the 1999 launch of LEGO Star Wars [Feature]

Where were you when the LEGO Star Wars theme launched twenty years ago? For me, it began with the January 1999 LEGO Shop-at-Home catalog. The front cover promised “LEGO Star Wars action” on pages 6 and 7, and it did not disappoint! My eyes widened at the sight of LEGO versions of the X-Wing and TIE-Fighter. As soon as the sets hit store shelves, I gathered my allowance money and purchased the Landspeeder as my very first LEGO Star Wars set. Now as an adult, I find the story behind the beginnings of LEGO’s first licensed theme just as exciting.

The foundations for LEGO Star Wars arguably existed long before the launch. Space exploration was a big topic of interest in the 1960s and 70s, giving rise to hit space-themed TV shows like Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. In 1977, Star Wars was released and became a blockbuster hit. During this period, LEGO too began embracing the space age and released the first Classic Space sets in 1979. Instead of lightsaber battles and dogfights, the initial emphasis of LEGO was on exploration. Conflict would eventually make its way into LEGO space sets with the introduction of the thieving Blacktron I faction in 1987. The relationship between these defined “good guys” and bad guys” was relatively tame, keeping in line with founder Ole Kirk Christiansen’s commitment to not make “war toys.”

Keep reading about the historic launch of LEGO Star Wars

This wild Mustang is the Boss of the canyon

Collaborative building projects can yield amazing results, such as this slick 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302 overlooking a picturesque cliff. The bright red Mustang was built by ham_MOC, while the cliff was built by Jonathan S. If you didn’t know this was a collaboration, you might think everything was made by one person. That’s because the two builds pair nicely, complete with advanced coloring techniques like the Mustang’s two-tone exterior and the layering of colors on the cliff. It makes for a cohesive build that couples American muscle with the beauty of the American West.

The Open Road

The two builders built this colorful vignette for the LEGO Ideas contest, “Celebrate your favorite Ford Mustang in a beautiful scenery!”

The Yin and Yang of panda house design

This month is an exciting time for the Copenhagen Zoo because they will be introducing a pair of pandas to the public this month. The two bears will be taking up residence in the Panda House, an enclosure designed to look like the Chinese symbol for yin and yang. Builder Full Plate was commissioned to build a replica of the Panda House for the Copenhagen LEGO Store, where it will be on display. It’s a great likeness of the original, complete with the curved staircase and viewing area. The unique architecture is accentuated by lush landscaping.

Panda Hosue (4 of 5)

More pandas!

Saying goodbye to LEGO legend, Arthur Gugick (1960-2019)

The LEGO fan community is mourning the loss of kindhearted and prolific builder, Arthur Gugick of Ohio. On March 30th Arthur and his significant other, Barbara Becker, were tragically killed in a car accident. If you ever attended North American fan events like BrickWorld Chicago or BrickFair VA, you may have run into Arthur before. At these events, you could catch a glimpse of his elaborate architectural builds and mosaics. Arthur was featured in the Winter 2008 issue of BrickJournal magazine, and he was even contracted to recreate his model of the Taj Mahal for the Australian independent film, Taj (2011).

Photo Shoot 4

In addition to being an avid LEGO enthusiast, Arthur taught math at Beachwood High School. He was passionate about his job and had a knack for harnessing his creativity to make math fun for his students. In an interview with ABC News 5 Cleveland, Ed Bernetich (who had been responsible for hiring Arthur) commented:

I was very sad because he is one of a kind. He’s a total unique individual. There are many great math minds, but sometimes they don’t relate to other people very well. And here we had a guy with a mathematician’s brain who also was extremely skilled at reaching kids.

Arthur’s death has been a difficult time for Beachwood School District staff and students, whose lives he has touched over the years.

Mont St. Michel 1

Ever the mathematician, Arthur approached his LEGO models from a mathematical angle. Some of his structures utilized calculus, and he even wrote his own software for building domes like the one on his Taj Mahal. According to Arthur, “I look at my buildings as more an exercise in mathematics than necessarily an art form, which might be a little different of a take than other people do, or maybe it’s the same… For me it’s a puzzle” (BrickJournal – Winter 2008).

Continue reading about Arthur’s legacy

A LEGO Bubble Tea shop that looks good enough to drink

Bubble tea is a drink that was originally conceived in Taiwan back in the 1980s. Since then, it’s popularity has spread throughout Asia and even major Western cities. The sweet drink is perhaps best known for the black tapioca pearls lining the bottom of the cup, which are easy to sip with the aid of a large straw. Great B.W. (大黑白) built a deliciously adorable LEGO bubble tea stand, cleverly designed to resemble the classic drink.

Check out what’s inside this bubble tea stand.

Dive deep with the return of Aquazone

LEGO fan Tim Goddard is perhaps best known for his space-themed builds, such as this microscale space station we shared in February. Building off of his intergalactic experience, Tim is now diving below the seas to revisit the classic mid-1990s Aquazone theme. The centerpiece here is a large submersible, cleverly designed to look like a lobster. Instead of building the sub in lobster red, Tim went with the iconic yellow, black, and neon orange livery of the Aquanauts. By combining a mix of period-correct parts and more modern elements, Tim has created a submarine that feels both modern and true to the original source material. Meanwhile, an adorable fishy “drone” makes for a fine finishing touch.

Aquazone is back :)

A bird that looks majestic in miniature

For those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, Spring is finally here. In observance of the season, Jarema has built a small, yet elegant-looking LEGO bird returning from the tropics. It doubles as an excellent case study in how just a few parts can go a long way in modeling a subject that is instantly recognizable. Coupled with the tilted beak, black wings staggered above white wings imply we are birdwatching from beneath the clouds.

Spring of life

Meanwhile, the placement of each element is carefully calculated. Red crowbars make for excellent feet stretched out in flight, and the mechanical arm doubles nicely as a neck. I particularly love how the minifigure epaulette has been used to form the bird’s belly. It looks like it could hold a fish or two!

This micro Mount Rushmore is monumentally beautiful

Located in South Dakota and finished in 1941, Mount Rushmore is one of the most iconic U.S. monuments. It depicts the busts of four famous American presidents, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. It’s an excellent candidate for modeling in LEGO, such as this beautiful microscale layout built by Rocco Buttliere. Rocco has gone the extra mile by building the visitor center, rows of state flags, and the surrounding terrain. It’s a sight to behold, and I bet it looks even more impressive in person.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

See more of this tiny monument

Enjoy interstellar exploration in style with this sleek and silver spaceship

Cole Blaq is well-known for his LEGO spaceships, such as this starfighter we shared back in December. We’re pleased to see Cole back again with another slick-looking spacecraft. The color scheme is particularly striking, relying heavily on dark metallic bricks with a dash of tan here and there. This combination feels believably modern.

TX-2g