Tag Archives: locomotive

Lego Train Projects | Book Review

We can be accused of many things here at TLCB, but not reading isn’t one of them. The mass of emailed complaints our inbox receives don’t read themselves…

Requests for building instructions also land here with frequency, and as such a whole industry has sprung up to provide the online Lego Community with step-by-step directions to build all sorts of creations, from realistic real-world supercars to tiny micro models. Today we have another addition to this increasing pool of instructional resource, thanks to Charles Pritchett and the guys at No Starch Press, this is ‘Lego Trains Projects‘.

Running to 200 pages, ‘Lego Train Projects’ brings seven rather lovely train creations to life via step-by-step building instructions, with everything from a coal hopper to a hefty diesel locomotive. Each is compatible with LEGO’s own 6-wide train system, and matches their more advanced models – such as the 10020 Santa Fe Super Chief – for detail, only without the need for stickers.

Whereas previous No Starch books have offered small descriptions or backstories to the builds within them, there’s little pre-amble here, as Charles gets straight down to the building steps. A title page for each model displays the number of pieces, whilst a bill of materials (aka a parts list) and alternative colour suggestions finish each section.

The instructions themselves are fantastic, equal to LEGO’s own with clear steps, sub-assemblies, additions to each step highlighted in yellow, and probably a touch more complexity. The models aren’t necessary more complicated than the more advanced of LEGO’s own offerings, but they do pack in a variety of techniques that are probably above those within the grasp of the average builder, thus ‘Lego Train Projects’ could be a worthwhile educational aid for those wishing to up their game beyond basic studs-up construction.

The result is a set of train-based models that will up the realism of most layouts considerably, and which can be easily tailored to suit the preferred colours of the owner, with our favourite of Charles’ seven designs probably being the milk tanker, which could easily be converted to an Octan tanker if you prefer petrol over cow juice by simply switching the coloured rings.

Verdict

As we’ve become used to with No Starch Press publications, the quality of both print and paper is superb; ‘Lego Train Projects’ not only looks great, it feels great too, with a soft matte cover and beautifully crisp pages within. Whilst we personally don’t always understand the need for building with instructions, if you’re looking to use them to build yourself some really rather lovely train creations, they don’t come much better than this.

★★★★½

No Starch Press

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Air Train

This is the most interesting Lego creation that you’ll see this year. By a mile.

Built by newcomer Alfred Boyer, this huge Technic steam locomotive really works, and is built from 100% standard LEGO pieces. Of course fire and plastic bricks don’t mix that well, so instead of superheating water to generate steam, Alfred’s astonishing creation uses air pressure to drive pistons, which is essentially exactly the same operation as a real steam engine, only without setting fire to coal to generate the energy.

Four LEGO pneumatic cylinders turn the eight drive wheels, with two speed ‘gearbox’ – if you can call it that – controllable from the cabin. Also controllable from the cabin are working brakes, with shows that press against each wheel through pneumatic pressure, and -amazingly – a working whistle, which diverts air pressure through some hollow bricks to create the sound. It’s a good thing the Elves haven’t figure this out otherwise it’s all we’d hear all day.

It’s a phenomenal piece of engineering and one that probably takes LEGO’s pneumatic system further than any model before it. The only way to really appreciate Alfred’s creation is to take a much closer look – head to Eurobricks by clicking here for the complete build details (where you can also find a link to it on LEGO Ideas), and definitely watch the video below!

YouTube Video

 

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Bygone Times

Ah the age of steam, when no-on had to worry about catching a deadly virus named after a beer, and idiots vomiting ‘advice’ on social media in the name of clicks were just idiots vomiting advice down the pub that could be quietly ignored. There was polio, consumption and no National Health Service though, so on balance today is probably a better time to be alive, however romantic the past may look.

This particular piece of romantic looking past is a Thompson Class L1 steam locomotive, produced between 1948 and 1950 and run – in this case – by the London North East Railway.

Built by Britishbricks it’s a breathtaking replica of one of the ninety-nine Class L1s constructed, with custom valve gear and beautiful decal work too. A convoy of superb trucks follows and there’s more to see of the complete train at Britishbricks’ Album on Flickr. Head to a romanic looking past via link above. Toot toot!

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Trained Eye

Today’s creation probably goes a bit beyond what many of us think of when building with LEGO. Newcomer Britishbricks’ beautiful LNER Class P2 steam locomotive is almost entirely wrapped in custom vinyl, from the bespoke wheels to the smokebox, with many parts coloured or – look away purists – cut, in order to replicate the real locomotive as accurately as possible.

Whilst not to everyone’s tastes Bristishbricks’ creation shows what is possible in pursuit of perfection, and you can view an insight into how this model was made via his LNER Class P2 ‘Prince of Wales’ album on Flickr, which not only shows the finished locomotive that you see here but also the digital and pre-wrapped steps along the way.

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Training Gagarin

We don’t really know much about trains (we are a car blog after all), but we do still like them. Especially when they’re as detailed and colourful as this one is. A PKP ST44-1112 ‘Comrade Gagarin’ (apparently…), it’s been built by Mateusz Waldowski of Flickr, and it is quite wonderfully made and presented. An assortment of five beautifully-built trucks are in tow behind the locomotive, making Mateusz’s model really rather large indeed, with lovely attention-to-detail throughout. Head to Flickr via the link above to see more of the train tribute to the first man in space.

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Not a Car

But a pair of Abt locomotives that are, well… beautiful. We thought Abt were a motorsport company specialising in Volkswagen Group products, but then we are a car blog after all. Sharing a name but otherwise totally unrelated are these Abt locos built for the Mount Lyell Mining Company’s narrow gauge railway on the Tasmanian West Coast. And they really are built for Tasmania’s West Coast, as builder Alexander (aka narrow_gauge) was commissioned to create these for The West Coast Wilderness Railway who now run the real restored locomotives. Custom decals, 3D printed valve gear and motors complete the realism, and there’s more to see at Alexander’s photostream via the link above (or at the The West Coast Wilderness Railway Museum).

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Not a Car

Lego Prussian T3 Steam Locomotive

TLCB Elves haven’t brought much back over the past few days, but fear not readers, we have some cracking cars for you tomorrow! Until then, here is something that is definitely not a car, but it is rather lovely. This usually-scaled steam engine is a Prussian T3, as built by previous bloggee Nikolaus Lowe of Flickr in 12-wide Lego form. There’s more to see of this neat German steam locomotive at the link above, and we’ll see you tomorrow with some particularly awesome cars…

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Not a Car

Lego NSW AD60 Steam Locomotive

But one heck of a beautiful steam train. And who doesn’t like steam trains? This particular locomotive is a New South Wales AD60 Class, of which 42 were built in the 1950s. Coming right at the end of the steam’s reign on the railways the AD60 Class were the most powerful locomotives ever used in Australia and this 97 stud long replica packs a punch too, being powered by twin Power Functions XL motors. Alexander of Flickr is the builder behind this stunning recreation of the AD60 and there’s lots more to see, including some ingenious ‘how to’ photos detailing the hidden building techniques, via the link above.

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Blue Comet

Lego Blue Comet Steam Train

Operating from the late 1920s until the early 1940s in New Jersey, the Blue Comet pulled carriages between New York and Atlantic City, taking just three hours to complete the journey (including a ferry crossing to Manhattan Island), and able to reach speeds of over 100mph. This magnificent recreation of one of America’s most beautiful locomotives comes from Flickr’s Cale Leiphart who has faithfully recreated not just the locomotive, but the tender and carriages too. An extensive gallery of superb images is available to view at Cale’s photostream – click the link above to buy your ticket.

Lego Blue Comet Locomotive

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Not a Car

Lego Steam Train

The Lego Car Blog Elves didn’t find any cars for us to blog today, but they did find this; a lovely Town-scale replica of a German BR23 Epoch II steam locomotive. It’s been built by omega3108, it’s driven by Power Functions, and there’s more to see via the link above.

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Not a Car…

Lego German Baureihe 41-241 Polarstern

It is in fact a Baureihe 41-241 Polarstern steam locomotive operated by Deutsche Reichsbahn, and, if we’re being honest, we only know that from the builder’s description. But we are a car blog so European railways of the 1930s are a bit outside of our (admittedly limited) skill set.

This stunning model is the work of previous bloggee, TLCB favourite, and Master MOCer BricksonWheels, and it’s a beautifully thought-out build. With exquisite custom 3D printed wheels and valve train (see the image below), plus two Power Functions XL motors and in-built IR receivers driving it, the Polarstern locomotive demonstrates an incredible attention to detail.

Lego 3D Printed Steam Train Parts

You can read further details of both the build and the real train, and see the full gallery of stunning imagery, at BricksonWheels’ photostream – click here to buy a ticket.

Lego Steam Locomotive BricksonWheels

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Hey Big Boy!*

Lego Union Pacific Big Boy Locomotive

This magnificent creation is the work of previous bloggee and TLCB Master MOCer Dennis Glaasker aka Bricksonwheels, and it’s something rather special. It’s a Union Pacific ‘Big Boy’ locomotive, and unlike most of Dennis’ builds it’s a relatively small 1:38 scale. But that doesn’t mean it’s a small build; at over a metre long it takes three Power Functions XL motors mounted in the tender to drive it, which is probably the most power any mini-figure has ever had.

Building such a huge locomotive presented Dennis with several building challenges. LEGO don’t make train wheels large enough, so Dennis worked with a friend to design and manufacture unique 3D printed wheels – complete with LEGO-compatible valve gear. A Tamiya RC battery provides the power, connected via an SBrick control module to ensure the battery power remains derestricted, and the train’s lighting is taken care of via a neat Brickstuff LED kit.

Lego Big Boy Steam Train Bricksonwheels

Whilst some way from a completely Lego build, Dennis’ creation shows how exceptional a model can be when LEGO bricks are used alongside specialist components.

If you’re interest in learning more about the Union Pacific build and the components used to create it you can visit the model at Dennis’ Flickr photostream here, where there are also links to the third-party suppliers and where you can see the other amazing creations that Dennis has built.

Lego Union Pacific Big Boy Train Remote Control

*In the voice of your Mom

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The Flying Scotsman

Lego The Flying Scotsman

Hitting over 100mph in 1934, the Flying Scotsman steam locomotive is one of the world’s greatest trains. This outstanding Lego replica is the work of Certified LEGO Professional Ryan McNaught (aka TheBrickMan), and it’s built from over 165,000 LEGO bricks, measuring over 10ft in length. There’s more to see at Ryan’s Flickr photostream – click the link above to climb on board.

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Union Pacific

Lego Union Pacific EMD SD70 Ace Locomotive

This incredible creation was suggested to us by a reader, and whilst it’s not a car it is very probably the best Lego locomotive that we’ve ever seen. Built by TLCB Master MOCer BricksonWheels it’s a 2005 EMD SD70 Ace 4,300hp diesel-electric locomotive in Union Pacific livery, and it’s almost a meter and a half long.

Taking four months and 27,000 bricks to build, BricksonWheel’s latest creation features a fully detailed interior complete with lighting by third-party suppliers Brickstuff, as well as custom decals matching those of the real locomotive.

There’s a whole lot more to see including work-in-progress shots and a detailed description of the build at both Flickr and the Eurobricks discussion forum, plus you can read our interview with the builder by clicking here.

Lego Union Pacific Train

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Teeny Tiny Trains

rail01

It’s a been a while since we’ve featured anything railway related here at The Lego Car Blog and this pair of locomotives from Bangoo H were too good to miss. Click the link to see the details of the Maersk freight hauler and the GWR style Pacific loco, complete with a clerestory passenger coach. As well as this display stand, Bangoo H has also built a rather nice engine shed for his locomotives to live in.

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