All posts by Matthew Hocker

San Francisco Cable Car: Support it on LEGO Ideas!

I have a soft spot for trolleys, and so does LEGO Ideas user, kevinszeto. He has posted a few of these vehicles to LEGO’s crowdsourcing platform, including one which hit 10,000 supporters but failed to pass the review process.

This has not stopped him from posting other trolley projects, including this iconic San Francisco cable car.  Unfortunately, it has 35 days left unless it hits 5,000 by that time. It would be a great shame for this lovely model to fade into obscurity. If you would love to have one of these, go here and hit the “support” button. Share it with anyone who might be interested!

Kevin was lucky enough to have his Yellow Submarine project get turned into a set. While the Beatles are cool, an official LEGO trolley would be tough to beat!

“He’s a really useful engine, you snow!”: Thomas & Friends for the Holidays

Flickr user Johnny N. has been kind enough to indulge our childhood fantasies by decorating classic “Thomas the Tank Engine” characters for Christmas! Disclaimer: These are renders, so there are certain parts portrayed in colors which they have never appeared. Now if only Santa would bring us green and yellow train wheels, we would be set…

Click here to view the entire assortment of Thomas characters.


Make way for Maintenance of Way!

Flickr user de-marco has created an amazing little railroad maintenance vehicle.  In particular, the detail of the cab is stunning and uses an interesting offsetting technique.

Want to build this for yourself? de-marco was kind enough to share building instructions via this YouTube video! You can even find the parts list on Rebrickable.

It turns out that de-marco is skilled at making other LEGO vehicles. Visit his flickr account for a world of automotive excitement!


Wood is Good: wooden LEGO trains of the 1940s & 1950s

Niels Thomsen saw we shared his 1960s Christmas card the other day and, in response, posted pictures from his collection of LEGO wooden trains! LEGO made wooden toys from 1932 through 1960, the year in which a fire ravaged the wooden toy warehouse.

LEGO made a wide variety of wooden trains, and these represent a few of them. They appear to be from the period of the 1940s and 1950s. Enjoy these images of historic wooden LEGO trains, and be sure to thank Niels for sharing. While you’re at it, check out his wonderfully diverse collection of wooden toys! (click here)

Niels even photographed the engines alongside one another. This really gives you an idea of the variety of sizes these trains came in.

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #15: Walking in a Windsor LEGOLAND

Today’s images come from a booklet advertising Christmas at LEGOLAND Windsor in 1999. How did the UK LEGO park celebrate Christmas that year, you might ask? There was a Peter Pan live show, Santa & his toy factory, the 12 Days of Christmas rendered in brick and “the widest selection of LEGO toys anywhere in the UK!”

However, the real treat was Miniland decorated with Christmas lights. The centerfold features Miniland London lit up at night and, yes, there are trains!

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #14: The Snowy Sixties

Flickr user Niels Thomsen (aka bricklick) has a wonderful vintage LEGO collection, filled with many unique and unusual items. Thanks to him, we are able to enjoy this circa 1966 LEGO Christmas card.

The card features the train from set 114, which was first released in 1966. It has a very special non-LEGO passenger. Santa Clause appears to be typical of the figures that were produced in Japan back then. To see more cool vintage LEGO items, be sure to visit Niels’ flickr page.

A cute little engine you can build

Did you receive set 40235 (24-in-1 Holiday Countdown Set) this year? The set comes with instructions for building 24 different models (one for each day leading up to Christmas). Bill Ward has been doing each day’s build, while also making a MOC with leftover parts each day. Day 13 was this cute micro steam engine. His use of the white croissant for smoke is both well-played and deliciously adorable.

Bill has been kind enough to post instructions so you can build your own. You can access them here: page 1 and page 2.  To see what other builds he comes up, be sure to follow his blog, Bill Ward’s Brickpile!

“You’re in the Army now. You’re not behind the plow.”

Flickr user Tablizm brings us a super-detailed U.S. Army train. You may have seen this when it was blogged by the Brothers Brick, but I did not stumble upon it until today. I enjoyed looking at it so much that I wanted to share it with you. In particular, I love how the builder made such a diverse lot of cars, some of which have interior details! Click here for additional images of his train.

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #13: The polar bear who ate Steven Spielberg

You may recall the post featuring Steven Spielberg (shared on December 4th). I later discovered that the UK Winter 2000 Shop-at-Home catalog had a similar holiday cover illustration…but with slightly different artwork.

The UK catalog replaces Steven Spielberg and his crewman for a football (soccer) player and polar bear. Given the popularity of football in the UK, the design change makes sense. As for the polar bear, I smell a conspiracy involving a Spielberg snack.

The UK catalog image (top) comes from BrickLink’s image library, as I do not personally own this variation myself.