All posts by Matthew Hocker

Take a ride on an epic LEGO garden railway.

Varda Elentári Furrer recently shared a fun video of their LEGO garden railway on Facebook. A camera was placed in front of the train to give us an incredible view from the engineer’s seat.

They layout is expansive and packed full of incredible detail. Varda’s excellent models include railcars, bridges, buildings, signals, and more. Everything is expertly crafted in a scale which appears to be close to G-scale.

While Varda’s MOCs are beautiful, the natural landscaping brings this layout to another level. If we didn’t know any better, we would guess Varda must be one of the gardeners at LEGOland. It really looks that good.

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #25 (on day 26): What’s in the Box?

This 1984 U.S. Mail Order Service (Shop-at-Home) brochure isn’t necessarily a holiday brochure, but I do think it sums up the feelings of anticipation and wonder that are characteristic of this time of year.

The rear cover features the classic battery-operated train set # 7720, as well as three sets of rails. As for what’s inside the packages being delivered by the mail carrier? We’d like to think there’s some LEGO train goodness inside them.

We here at BMR hope you and your family had a wonderful and happy holiday. We also hope that great things will be in store for you in the coming year!

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #24: A Window of Wooden Toys

Since we are one day away from the big day, I wanted to share a very special piece from 1984. This one is from another Christmas card that the UK LEGO Club sent its members. It really captures the spirit of this time of year and is a wonderful scene…There are so many details to soak in.

The main reason I chose this one for day 24 is that the toys in the window display celebrate the early history of LEGO. That’s right; a number of toys in the window display are representations of LEGO’s wooden toys! And yes, one of them is a train. Read on to find out more, and have fun comparing the illustrations of the wooden toys with their brick-built counterparts in the window display!

Wooden Sailing Ship – Image from
A Red Cadillac-esque Convertible from the 1946 or 1947
Soldier Stacking Toy – From the collection of Richard Bintanja

Wooden Train with “Pop-Up” Figure – Image from

Images come from my collection, the website and the collection of Richard Bintanja.

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #23: A Greeting Card within an Ad

Here’s a unique piece of advertising from 1979. This Christmas card appeared in a 5 page LEGO advertistment, printed in the November 1979 issue of the UK magazine, Radio Times. I would have shown the ad in its entirety, but my scanner can’t accommodate it. It features LEGO Christmas cards sitting on a brick-built mantle. This card features 4.5V set 182, which was originally released in 1975. Look at all the cypress trees!

Here is a larger part of the page the image comes from, just for frame of reference.

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #22: Better late than never!

Day 22 has come a day late, so you will receive two advertising gifts today. It is a good thing I’m not Santa!

This piece is the cover of the Holiday 2004 Shop-at-Home catalog. This cover features the LEGO Legends re-release of Main Street (set # 10041). The cover was nostalgic back then but evokes feelings of nostalgia today, too. It features the wonderful BNSF GP-38 (set # 10133) and the train engine shed (set # 10027).

Unfortunately, I do not have this one in my collection, so I had to cheat a bit. The image comes from BrickLink!

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #21: An action-packed Trainmas!

Another holiday Shop-at-Home catalog without snow? You better believe it, and there is a lot to love here. Set 4552 (Cargo Crane) is in the middle of building a bridge, while the LEGOLAND California truck ignores the realities of gravity to jump across. It makes like Evil Knieval, hopping across set 3225 (Classic Train). I had every set featured on this cover, with the exception of the construction sets in the background.

Fun fact, the LEGOLAND truck’s trailer wasn’t an actual set, and the stickers for the trailer were available as Shop-at-Home exclusives and, as a result, are quite rare.

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” # 20: Santa’s Duplo Train

Day 20, and we are getting closer to the end! This one comes to us from Germany in 1990 and is just in time for Weinachten. Santa stands by as LEGO figures parade out of his sack of toys. The Duplo train is the focal point in this one, sitting directly in front of Santa’s boots.

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #19: No Snow? No Problem!

The 1997 Holiday Shop-at-Home catalog doesn’t have any snow, but it more than makes up for this with the emphasis on trains. This one features set 4559, Cargo Railway. This is one that people tend to either love or hate. I have a soft spot for 4559 because it was my first official train set.

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #17: A Super Chief under the tree

Today’s piece of trainvertising comes to us from the cover of a 2002 Holiday Shop-at-Home catalog. There are several classics here, including the UCS Naboo Starfighter, Fort LEGOredo, and Red Baron triplane. We can’t forget the Santa Fe Super Chief either! This one is pulling some of the cars, which were designed by AFOL, James Mathis.