Tag Archives: vintage advertising

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #12: Steamin’ Santa

This image comes to us courtesy of Emil from the UK. Back in the 1980s, the UK LEGO Club sent its members a Christmas card each year. This is one of them! It’s a pretty colorful and well-built scene, probably built by esteemed Master Builder, David Lyall.

I’m uncertain as to what year the card was produced, though it was most likely printed sometime in the 1980s.

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #11: Dinosaurs, Elephants and Bears…Oh My!

Today’s piece of advertising comes from the front cover of a 1998 preschool Shop-at-Home catalog. It features a Duplo steam engine pulling a load of classic ’90s Duplo animals, including a bear, giraffe, elephants and even a dinosaur! Due to the target market, this is not an easy catalog to track down and does not even appear in BrickLink’s catalog. Sadly, someone took some “artistic license” with the cover, drawing dashes through the title lettering, sketching over some bits of snow and drawings spots on the cat (to match the dog, of course).

The cover art for this is truly unique and fun to look at.

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #10: I Spyrius Set 4525

Yesterday, we shared the cover of a 1994 holiday catalog with you. This time we’re bringing you the cover of a 1994 U.S. Shop at Home catalog. Spyrius and Islanders are back, but the style of the artwork is completely different. Set number 4525 (Road and Rail Repair) makes an appearance. It can be seen trying to free the tracks from snow (it appears to be a losing battle). Set 4525 debuted in 1994.

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #9: The Islander of Misfit Toys

Freight Rail Runner (set 4564) was the new train set for 1994, and it makes an appears on the cover of this 1994 UK holiday catalog. The Islanders don’t seem to care about the cold, and it appears as though Spyrius has taken over Santa’s gig. The ice skating rink seems to be the work of two firefighters who were tied up in their work.

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #8: Making a Wishlist and Checking it Twice

How many of you remember looking through LEGO catalogs as a kid, checking off all the sets you wanted Santa to deliver. If so, the cover of this 1992 U.S. Holiday Shop at Home catalog is sure to rekindle many fond memories!

The boy is looking through an earlier Shop at Home catalog, which prominently features the Metroliner and Metro Station sets on the front cover. I’ve included the cover of that catalog for you to take a closer look.

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #7: Jack Stone Nipping at your Rails

Some fun artwork from the cover of the 2001 U.S. Holiday LEGO Shop at Home catalog. Palpatine guards a steam engine from the My Own Train theme, introduced in 2001. The tree is decorated with Bionicle masks, and the Sopwith Camel chases down candy cane thief, Jack Stone. There is also a healthy dose of pirates and dinosaurs.

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #6: Holiday Magic (1994)

Folowing our first “25 Days of Trainvertising” post, a BMR Facebook fan pointed out an error on the front cover. The cover featured the train from set 4563 (Load and Haul Railroad). Evidently, a 2×4 red brick was missing from the front of the locomotive.

This catalog comes to us from 1994, so LEGO had a fully year to fix the mistake. However, they must have used the same locomotive in this photograph because it is still missing the 2×4 brick! Perhaps Majisto made it disappear.

The image itself is really fun to look at, though. A snow-covered Metro Station (set 4554). Knights on skis. What’s not to love? Throwing the image on a Christmas ornament was also a really nice touch.

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #5: Duplo through the Snow

1993 was a good year for LEGO…I have fond memories of the Dragon Knight sets. Today’s image comes from the front cover of a 1993 UK Christmas catalog. This one gives Duplo trains some love. Meanwhile, Majisto the wizard has hijacked Santa’s job this year, complete with a sled pulled by three monstrous dragons. Who needs eight tiny reindeer anyway?

The second image is from a French advertising insert. It is a slight variation on the first, but is void of any trains. Still, I thought I’d include it for comparison.

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #4: A Very Spielberg Christmas

Today’s catalog comes to you straight from 2000. The cover art of this U.S. holiday catalog prominently features the engine from “Freight and Crane Railway” (set 4565), originally released in 1996.  This time, Santa takes charge of the controls and ditches Rudolph in favor of everyone’s favorite little astromech droid, R2-D2.

A lot of memorable characters are here, including Johnny Thunder (aka: Joe Freeman & Sam Grant). Emperor Palpatine uses force lightning to shake a package, while Darth Maul is left with nothing but coal to sort through. The Sith may be causing trouble, but Steven Spielberg is calling all the shots.

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #2: Miracle on 56th Street

Our second post comes straight to you from 2001. The winter was cold, and LEGO’s financial situation wasn’t so hot either. In a partnership that will probably never happen again, LEGO teamed up with Department 56 to release ceramic holiday miniatures. These depicted portions of Santa’s workshop involved in the manufacture of….LEGO toys!

I know, I know….You’re probably asking yourself, “where are all the trains?” While there aren’t any trains per se, the Department 56 buildings and figures often wind up in holiday train layouts. Therein lies the train connection….Hey, I have to fill 25 days, people!

On an unrelated note, I think we can all agree that is some nice brick-built scenery.

P.S.: I promise Monday’s image will contain actual LEGO trains. 🙂