Two for Tuesday: Matt Bace

tuesday

Good evening constant reader, its happy hour and our bartender Lloyd is setting them up neat, just the way you like it. Tonight’s V.I.P. in the Manifesto lounge is an empty bar-stool, because much like Elvis, the builder in question has apparently left the building.  In doing so he has deleted all of his Lego content from the internet, which is a shame.  Matt Bace still resides on MOCpages, but only as a ghost, preserved  for the moment in the legion of comments he left behind on other people’s models.  I’ll tell you up front I have no idea why Matt left the scene, I was not able to find any final statement or even a discussion of his departure. In fact, had Christopher not mentioned it in the comments section of the recent Poland article, I never would have known he left.   Unlike the previous subjects of Two for Tuesday, I don’t know Matt Bace beyond our brief but always friendly communication on MOCpages and Flickr. I never met him in person, so there will be no personal anecdotes in this installment, just a salutary raise of the glass to a guy I wish was still around.  It seems like the assholes never leave, and the stand-up guys fade out, wander off or just disappear one day.

Obviously we’ve lost a skilled builder who raised the bar with LDD creations that ran the thematic gamut from giant battleships to this remarkable Analog Equalizer.  In fact, I’m hard pressed to think of a digital builder who stretched himself quite as far, tackling diverse subject matter and scale with such compelling results. The real loss though, was Matt’s influence on other builders and his frequent encouraging comments.  In my brief bit of research for this article, I came across a dozen example of builders citing Matt as inspiration for their own efforts.  From personal experience running the Decisive Action war games on MOCpages, and looking at hundreds of models in the process, there were two commenters whose names came up again and again, with good advice and praise: Clayton Marchetti and Matt Bace.  We go on at length here at the Manifesto, about critique and communication and I can’t think of a guy who better personifies those values.

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Tuesday means double-shots, and for our second round, I couldn’t very well pass up Matt’s masterpiece, a 1:200 scale model of the USS Kitty Hawk that would have been over 5 feet long in the brick.  I’ve included the builder’s take on the USS Missouri as well, because it was just as influential at over 4 feet, the average length of a SHIP, which we’ve been talking about so much lately.  If you’re not a digital builder, (like me), then it is difficult to understand how important these models are.  I remember seeing it when it was posted and being impressed, but again, while researching this article I saw so many references to both of these ships.  Builders from all over the globe talk about how much they learned from seeing how these warships were constructed and talking to Matt, who was apparently quite willing to offer advice and insight into the process.

I was not able to locate a photo of Matt, so we’ll depart from the format here and abandon any notion of fashion critique.  As I said in the opening I’ve never met Matt and I don’t know the circumstances of his departure, so instead I’ll conclude the proceedings with his take on Rutherford’s hero…General George S. Patton, who was also very fond of the word “attack!”  We salute you, Mr. Bace, for your compelling builds and contribution to the warm and embracing community.  If you have any information about Matt’s departure that you’re at liberty to share, hook us up in the comments.

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I’ll close with a call for suggestions how to best preserve what’s left of Matt’s work online.   You may have noticed that the majority of the photos I used for the article are quite small.  With the exception of the equalizer, I wasn’t able to find anything large to work with on Google.  I’m far from an expert in ferreting out content like this, so if there are other  resources or places I’m not aware of to find and preserve Matt’s photos, let me know.  If nothing else we could start a Flickr Group to slowly accumulate what’s left.  Beyond the technical side of things…should the builds be preserved?  Maybe Matt wanted it all gone and we should respect that wish?  What say you, constant reader?

17 thoughts on “Two for Tuesday: Matt Bace

  1. I say the images were public the instant he made them so on Flickr, his current wishes be damned. It would be a crime against new builders to not share his work.

    Here’s that pictorial map of Europe I had mentioned in the comments of the Poland article: https://ideas.lego.com/projects/79426

    And here’s a similar one he did for the United States: https://ideas.lego.com/projects/81459

    And finally, this is my favorite piece from him, which touches on my nostalgia for Maine: http://imgur.com/a/zwqfY

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    1. Thanks for the links, and the initial heads up about Matt’s departure. I will eventually get around to starting a Flickr group to archive his stuff and I’ll certainly use those links. I’ll shoot you an invite when the group is live. Those maps are so cool, it would be a shame to lose them.

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  2. Coincidentally, a couple of fellow afols recently brought him up on Flickr. We were about to reach out and send him an inmail over on Linkedin. Personally I think it’s a shame such a vast amount of quality builds suddenly disappears. But I do respect anyone’s reason for leaving if it influences work or personal life.. The Waybackmachine doesn’t seem to handle Flickr very well: http://web.archive.org/web/20150922182045/https://www.flickr.com/photos/mmbace/20156302559/ Too bad..

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    1. Thanks for the info, Pico, please let me know if you guys hear back from Matt, if you’re at liberty to do so. To be clear I respect his decision too, there have been many times that I’ve considered doing the very same thing so I don’t want it to come across as if I’m judging him harshly. I agree with you that its a shame to lose all those builds, he inspired a lot of builders and that should continue, even if he’s not around to share them directly.

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  3. Maybe you could bring one of his colossal digital models to life (someday, if it’s not too much to ask) and invite its original creator to see it in person (and take a few pics together).What do you say, Keith?

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    1. Now that is crazy talk, Angka, I need a break from colossal models for a while and I’m not sure I could sustain the interest over time if I had to recreate the vision of another builder. Also, I’ve got no way to get a hold of Matt nor any idea where he lives. So while your plan is good in spirit, I don’t think it’s gonna happen.

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  4. This put a heartfelt smile on my face this morning. I truly miss his encouragement and of course his brilliant builds.

    When we started the 100 piece brick built figure contest, we were discussing the addition of LDD. It took only a second to realize that if we did NOT include it that we would miss out on what Matt would give us. He was seriously the one solid reason to include LDD in everything that we did, and we were NOT disappointed. He gave us Bobby Orr’s “Superman Goal.” And it was glorious! Additionally, the success of his work in that contest, I feel, led to the inclusion of LDD for Decisive Action 2 with equal success.

    It is a shame that he left the community, but I doubt that it was due to any disenfranchisement thereof. It just wasn’t in his nature as far as I could tell from his online persona. A possibility that was mentioned was that he may have been laid off from work and that all his files were on a company computer. If that is the case, I hope he was able to save them personally. Hopefully he shows back up as the quality of his builds were almost as inspiring as his presence alone.

    Class act that one! Cheers Matt.

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    1. I forgot about the Superman Goal, that was a brilliant model, and you’re right, he did play a huge role in convincing me to open up DA2 to digital builds. I share your opinion that Matt would leave the community over some petty drama, he seemed too level headed for that, I fear it’s something more serious. A class act indeed, we need to find the Superman Goal, it was one of the most surprising topics for a digital build that I’ve ever seen. He used those bananas like a boss.

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  5. I had sort of a cold gut feeling when I found out he was gone. Matt was always one of my chief inspirations for building, especially in the way he celebrated the digital medium. Some of his stuff, including much of his work before I joined MOCpages initially, really inspired me to investigate the AFOL community at large. I met him on Ideas, and following his trails back to MOCpages and Flickr encouraged me like few others to take the step and begin posting there as well.

    I noticed his absence a couple months ago. It’s great to see he left such a big impact on the community. And if rowntRee’s claim is true, his success in digital design helped me get my foot in the door building MOCs as well, both for the 100 PBBFC, and DA 2. With that being said, I will help recover as much of his work as possible.

    Thank you Matt (Bace), and I hope you find the desire to return to this community.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your experience with Matt, in the unlikely event he’s reading this somewhere I’m sure he appreciates it. I don’t think your experience is unusual either, In a short period of time looking around the corners of the hobby I encountered this sentiment over and over. I’ll give you an invite when I get the archive group going. I hate talking about like he’s dead, but I’m not sure how to frame things in a more positive light other than to focus on preserving some of the models.

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    1. Thanks for the link, I’ll make sure it gets in the group pool. Vakkron was kind enough to add so many that I’m not sure if this was in there or not. I confess that I did not know he had as much of an impact, or enjoyed as much popularity. He might not have been high-vis, but it seems like the builders knew him well.

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  6. Matt really is not enough … He was the first to leave a comment for my first MOC, and his work has always been a source of inspiration and an example to follow.

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