There is a whole other language used by enthusiasts to describe LEGO but also the people playing with them. Here is what you need to know.
There is a whole other language used by enthusiasts to describe LEGO but also the people playing with them. Here is what you need to know.

AFOLs with MOCs: Inside the secret language of LEGO fans

You know someone is a diehard fan when they start rattling off LEGO acronyms.

There is a whole other language used by enthusiasts to describe the coloured interlocking brick pieces themselves but also the people playing with them.

A LUG is a LEGO User Group bringing together fans with a common interest in building and sharing their creations while an AFOL is an Adult Fan of LEGO.

Magnus Hindsberger building his Lego model of Venice. Picture: Richard Walker
Magnus Hindsberger building his Lego model of Venice. Picture: Richard Walker

 

The model is being constructed on the back deck of his home at The Gap. Picture: Richard Walker
The model is being constructed on the back deck of his home at The Gap. Picture: Richard Walker

And just like puzzles and boardgames, the word famous plastic bricks has flown off the shelves with many sets selling out online as Australians stuck at home attempted to fill their time with something constructive.

"It is quite a deep world if you want to go into LEGO acronyms," explained Gregg Odlum, 39, who is an ambassador for the Sydney LUG alongside other members that include military personnel, teachers, computer engineers and others. "It has really got its own subculture. It is quite a broad spectrum of people involved."

Mr Hindsberger is an AFOL – Adult Fan of Lego. Picture: Richard Walker
Mr Hindsberger is an AFOL – Adult Fan of Lego. Picture: Richard Walker

 

Mr Hindsberger has a particular interest in Harry Potter. Picture: Richard Walker
Mr Hindsberger has a particular interest in Harry Potter. Picture: Richard Walker

Bendigo's Michael Peebles is his local LUG leader and ambassador, who has travelled the world attending conventions and events.

LEGO to him is a way of de-stressing in an increasingly "full on" society and it also provides a sense of achievement with something he can show off at the end.

"Even for those that in the community it can be hard to keep on top of the terminology," Mr Peebles said. "There is a whole language that keeps being added to as the building evolves and we come up with new techniques and new ways of doing things, so does that language evolve."

Brisbane father of three, Magnus Hindsberger is what those in the know call a MOC builder with a particular interest in Harry Potter.

Lego Ambassador Gregg Odlum pictured with his Lego Dinosaur and his daughter Grace, 5. Picture: David Swift
Lego Ambassador Gregg Odlum pictured with his Lego Dinosaur and his daughter Grace, 5. Picture: David Swift

MOC stands for My Own Creation. He does however like to buy sets "to get parts or rebuild them into larger dioramas".

"There is no way we can even fit our car into the double garage because the whole space is taken up by LEGO," the 47-year-old said. "There has not been a lot happening on the weekends so I've been spending even more time building than usual."

For more than 70 years LEGO has been a staple of any young person's childhood. Increasingly though, adults have taken up the hobby and they take it very seriously.

Like many retailers, AG LEGO Certified stores were forced to close due to COVID-19 but are now operating again with punters queuing for a prized piece of the coloured bricks.

LEGO fans Jenny Ni, Frank Yu and their daughter Amy. Picture: Adam Yip
LEGO fans Jenny Ni, Frank Yu and their daughter Amy. Picture: Adam Yip

 

Richard Facioni, executive director at Alceon, which partnered with LEGO Group in 2019 on the retail shopfronts, noted a substantial increase in foot traffic as stores reopened over the past few weeks.

"There has obviously been a bit of pent-up demand," Mr Facioni told Hibernation. "Everyone seems to be keen to get their LEGO fix. Prime Minister Scott Morrison referred to jigsaw puzzles as an 'essential item' during lockdown. LEGO is a bit like a 3D jigsaw puzzle, offering hours of entertainment to both young and old. We missed our customers in-store and many brick fans were clearly eager to come back."

 

Lisa Thornton and Matt Tilbury. Picture: Adam Yip
Lisa Thornton and Matt Tilbury. Picture: Adam Yip

 

On Monday, dozens of super fans queued up for hours to be among the first to buy two new releases, the Technic Lamborghini Sian FKP 37 and the Fairground Collection Haunted House.

Jenny Ni and husband Frank Yu are relatively new to the game and have been particularly busy at home working on creations during coronavirus.

"Being pregnant, it was so boring staying at home every day so I started playing LEGO," Ms Ni said. "It is creative and fun to do and I feel like I have achieved something afterwards. Everyone has been at home because of coronavirus now with nothing to do."

Mr Yu added with pride: "We have more than 20 sets on the shelf at home, the whole wall is covered."

Matthew Tilbury and partner Lisa Thornton said playing with LEGO reminded them of simpler times in their childhood.

"It is kind of like a museum in our house, only 10 per cent of the collection is out at any given time," Ms Thornton laughed, Mr Tilbury adding: "Everything seems to be selling out, like puzzles and games. Anything you can do at home at this time is fun, and the bigger sets take quite a bit of time to do."

Originally published as AFOLs with MOCs: Inside the secret language of LEGO fans



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