Tag Archives: train

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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EMU

Not the running bird type (we’re not sure why things are avian-themed today), but this rather beautiful Japanese National Railways 583-series ‘EMU’ train, built and photographed superbly by TLCB debutant Orient R. Minesky.

Orient has eschewed the usual plain background set-up (that admittedly we usually prefer) for gorgeous (and incredibly life-life) outdoor photography, making his stunning EMU train appear almost real.

Head to Orient’s photostream via the link above for all of the wonderful on-location imagery.

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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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Wrong Side of the Tracks*

Thomas the Tank Engine has had enough! Fed up of shunting along the stupid Ffarquhar branchline, rescuing the hapless James, and taking orders from the authoritarian Fat Controller, Thomas has grown himself mechanical arms and legs purely from the rage burning inside his boiler, he’s about to get mad, and Vicarstown isn’t going to know what hit it.

Flickr’s Dvd owns the somewhat unhinged mind that has managed to turn a children’s classic into a steam-powered automaton and there’s more to see of his frankly terrifying Thomas the Mech Engine creation at his photostream. Now will someone please build a car so we can blog without having nightmares.

*Today’s title song.

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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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The Lego Steam Company

Extinction Rebellion wouldn’t like this. Steampunk, that odd mashup of Victorian tech applied to modern inventions, is thankfully pure whimsy. Sure the brass, iron and wood look damn cool, but that’s a whole lotta coal, and however many times the orange man-child in charge of the free world puts the word ‘clean’ in front of it, coal just isn’t.

Fortunately most of the world (we said most, and we’re looking at you China…) have moved off burning the black stuff, and its use in the modern world is now solely a retro throwback for train and traction engine enthusiasts. Which in a way makes dioramas such as this one all the more magical, as coal is now largely a historical relic.

This gorgeous (and enormous) steampunk display has been built for the Lego World Utrecht 2019 show by builders Brick Rebel and Monstrophonic and is certainly the most stunning display we’ve seen this year. An assortment of delightfully impractical vehicles feature, including airships, a monorail, a steamboat, and even an elevator, all powered by coal in the imagination and by Power Functions electric motors in the display, bringing this spectacular collaboration to life.

There’s loads more to see of this incredible display at both Brick Rebel and Monstrophonic’s photostreams via the links above, plus you can see their ‘Lego Steam Company’ build in person at the Lego World Utrecht 2019 show.

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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

This is definitely, positively, not a car. In fact we don’t really know what it is (OK, a train, but beyond that…), but what we do know is it’s one of the best examples of LEGO presentation we’ve yet found. Brilliantly superimposed on a real-world background, Sergio Batista‘s rendered train includes a little dirt and grime, plus a lovely reflection effect where the light hits the top of the train carriages. There’s more to see of this image plus the others in Sergio’s collection on Flickr.

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BuWizz Train Pull!

Yes you read that right. The guys over at BuWizz, who have designed a rather clever fully LEGO-compatible bluetooth control/battery, have decided to showcase the power of their little brick by a pulling train! With standard LEGO motors (and only three of them!). Don’t believe us? Take a look via the video above!

If you’d like to see how you can use the power of BuWizz yourself (even if you don’t have an old-timey train carriage handy) you can read our review of the BuWizz device by clicking here.

BuWizz

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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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Moon City

Lego Steampunk City

We do not understand steampunk. Effectively what sci-fi would look like if it were devised in the late 1800s, it’s a genre so alien to TLCB staff it may as well be the plot of ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’. The creations that steampunk produces however, are not like the Kardashians at all. They’re wonderful.

Lego Steampunk City

This is one such build, the Moon City originating from the mind of Dwarlin Forkbeard, which is filled with such gorgeous detail that we want to move straight there and get a job mining cheese. Complete with a marvellous motorised train (although the journey does look a bit samey), working elevators, and a rotating orrery, Dwalin’s city is packed with ingenious movement too. Click on these words to head to the moon sometime in the 1880s…

Lego Steampunk City

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M-Tronorail

Lego M-Tron Monorail

Those no-good space pirates Blacktron are at it again. The harmless magnet-collectors of M-Tron have built themselves a monorail, full of some delicious space fuel as yet undiscovered by science. Yet no sooner have they loaded up than those sneaky Blacktron reprobates begin a cunning space siphon of the liquid goodness. Maybe it’s beer? Whatever it is you can see more of the heist courtesy of Kalais of Flickr – click the link to take a look!

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Big Train*

Lego CP 1408 Locomotive

Just like your Mom, today’s model is much, much larger than you think it’s going to be. Riding on brick-built wheels (each made from nineteen pieces), Andre Pinto‘s CP 1409 locomotive is a seven thousand piece Goliath, with another seven thousand pieces in the brick-built tracks and base.

These engines were constructed in England in the 1960s for use in Portugal, where 67 of them pulled pretty much anything across the country. Andre’s creation replicates the original locomotives beautifully and there’s more to see at his Flickr album via the link above, plus you can join the discussion at the Eurobricks forum here.

Lego CP 1408 Locomotive

*The surreal British comedy from which today’s title is taken. Good if you want to see what Simon Pegg did before he was a famous movie star, not so good if you want to laugh…

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