The elimination of acid rain by the U.S and Europe (but not China, cough*) is one of very few environmental success stories in world we are still polluting much faster than we can clean it up.
In the ’70s and ’80s forests were dying, lakes became barren, and those living in affected areas suffered respiratory problems. A concerted effort** to lower sulphur and nitrogen emissions – despite the usual environmental denials and refusal to accept blame (sound familiar?) – reversed the catastrophe, and nature is – miraculously – healing itself of the damage.
Back in the early 1900s though, there were no such concerns, and pretty much anything could be dumped into the air, water, or soil in pursuit of profit. Acid included.
This beautifully constructed Epoche 1 ‘Säuretopfwagen’ (acid wagon) and Bayerische PtL 2/2 shunter comes from previous bloggee Pieter Post, who was inspired to recreate some commonplace turn-of-the-century environmental vandalism by the news that a Dutch chemical company has been granted a license to annually discharge up to 14,000kg of micro-plastics into one river.
And thus over a century later, even with the success of halting acid rain (except in China), nothing has really changed at all.
This post features something on rails, carrying something on rails, craning something on rails. Previous bloggee Pieter Post is the builder behind this railway-based Inception, with his 1930s diorama depicting a Henschel ‘Brauns’ narrow-gauge steam engine being lowered onto its new route by a fully motorised Ardelt 25-ton railway crane. Each is beautifully constructed and there’s more to see on Flickr via the links above.
If there’s a more ‘Choo Choo!’y Lego creation than this, we haven’t found it. Wonderfully built by Owen Meschter, this is a Class Y14 steam locomotive, as used by LNER at the turn of the century who classified them as J15s, and which saw service on British railways right up until 1958. But that’s enough boring train facts. You now have permission to run around your house or place of work shouting ‘Choo Choo!’. If anyone stops you tell them TLCB sent you.
This is not a car. It is in fact a Prussion G12 steam locomotive, depicted here in Royal Württemberg livery (and in a wonderful snowy scene) by Flickr’s Pieter Post.
Around 1,500 G12’s were built between 1917 and 1924, when it became one of the first standardised locomotives in operation across Germany.
Pieter’s beautiful recreation of the G12 utilises a slew of third-party parts to maximise the realism, with custom valve gear, tender wheels, LED lighting, and a BuWizz bluetooth battery powering the LEGO L-Motor that drives the wheels.
The result is – as you can see here – spectacular, and you can check out the full description of both Pieter’s Prussian G12 build and the real steam locomotive at his photostream.
Click the link above to take a winter’s journey across 1920’s Germany.
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.
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.
Thump. It was just before Christmas, and a brown package slammed onto the hallway floor of TLCB Towers. A dozen TLCB Elves immediately ran towards it, but thwarted by its weight were unable to make off with their prize. A lot of post goes missing here.
Fortunately this TLCB writer is considerably bigger than a TLCB Elf and thus was able to pick up said package and, with some Elves still attached, retreat to the TLCB ‘staffroom’ (an ancient sofa in the corner of the office).
Usually heavy packages received here at TLCB Towers are ‘Cease and Desist’ notifications wrapped around a breeze block from The Brothers Brick, but this time we had a present! No Starch Press; we like you!
No Starch have been in the Lego book game for a while, consistently churning out books about our favourite plastic building blocks for some years. Their latest publication is this, the 230-page ‘The Lego Trains Book‘ by Holger Matthes.
In compact landscape format and produced in No Starch’s usual glossy high quality form ‘The Lego Trains Book’ really is surprisingly heavy, but does the content live up to the cover?
‘The Lego Trains’ book begins, after a brief Forward and Acknowledgements section, with a chapter detailing the history of LEGO’s official Trains line, following the range from its beginnings in the 1960s, through the battery era, live rail era (this writer’s favourite), to the latest remote control Power Functions sets. It’s a comprehensive compilation of the LEGO Trains history and one that’s sure to be of interest to anyone who loves the theme, although it is perhaps a bit too in-depth for the more casual Lego builder.
Chapter two is entitled ‘Basic Principles’, and it’s brilliant. Detailing building techniques and parts ratios it’s perfect for any builder of any theme (not just Trains) looking to create more advanced Lego creations. Utilising well-chosen digital depictions the author makes even the more complex techniques easy to understand, and whilst these aren’t quite as high quality visually as LEGO’s own they are good enough to make for useful teaching-aids.
Chapters three and four build upon these techniques with practical application, detailing the considerations and choices available when designing your own train models. This is a very thorough chapter offering insights into a variety of scales, how to ensure models can handle tight corners, how to connect carriages to one another, how to create realistic steam train mechanisms and such like.
It’s a gloriously nerdy section and as such Holger includes links to third-party products and design software that can help a builder reach the utmost level of realism. This may be a bit too in-depth for most builders (ourselves included), but it’s usually better to have too much information than too little.
The final chapter, which at 100 pages long makes up nearly half the book, is where ‘The Lego Trains Book’ comes alive. Continue reading →
We don’t often post railway-related builds here at The Lego Car Blog, but when we do they’re good. As demonstrated here by William Dumond‘s beautifully recreated Town-scale Bangor & Aroostook BAR X127 wrecker. Clever building techniques are in evidence throughout the build, and it functions too. See more on Flickr via the link above.
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.
Get your FREE copy of RAILBRICKS Issue 11, complete with sexual innuendo front page story!
We’re not particularly geared towards trains here at The Lego Car Blog, but occasionally we do like to share what other LEGO websites are up to if they’re transport related.
RAILBRICKS offer a free low-res download of their magazine, available on railbricks.com, which features model instructions, event reviews, building techniques and interviews (this issue with the Glenn Holland!*). Worth a couple of clicks.